Category Archives: Vietnam

Sail the Mekong with the Brand-New Emerald Waterways Harmony

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If you love Emerald Waterways, here’s your chance to join their brand-new river cruise ship on the Mekong River.

The 84-passenger Emerald Harmony, will sail the Mekong River in 2019.


Emerald Harmony will have many of the features of the line’s European “star ships,” including:

  • Panorama Balcony suites with drop-down windows
  • Asian design touches
  • Horizon Bar & Lounge will be Asian-themed
  • the ship’s main dining venue, Reflections Restaurant, will serve a locally-inspired menu.

One standout feature of the ship is that it will be built to allow access to the center of Ho Chi Minh City, so passengers can embark there as opposed to a dock outside of the city. Emerald Waterways has been sailing on the Mekong since 2014, with a chartered vessel, Mekong Navigator.

Emerald Harmony will be the first time that the company has put a “star ship” style ship outside Europe.



Beginning August 2019, Emerald Harmony will sail three itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia:

a 13-Day Majestic Mekong River Cruise – cruise tour sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, with time for Angkor Wat; 

Your journey begins in Siem Reap, where early mornings and ancient architecture promise to be the perfect combination. Angkor Wat is sure to fascinate, as is Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Then your journey along the majestic Mekong introduces Phnom Penh, invites you to a family-owned silk-producing factory and to attend a scarfweaving workshop in Long Khanh Island. Continue onwards before leaving your Star-Ship at the center of Ho Chi Minh City for a two-night stay in a 5-star colonial-style hotel.

a 17-Day Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia: that adds stops at Hanoi and Halong Bay in the north;

Begin your adventure in Hanoi, where centuries-old architecture is a wonderful nod to the past and the Old Quarter strikes a fine contrast with its many temples. Cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay in a traditional junk boat, learn of Ho Chi Minh City’s fascinating war history and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime river cruise along the Mekong. Enjoy tuk-tuk and ox cart tours in Phnom Penh and finish your adventure in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, where you’ll witness Angkor Wat and attend a circus performance.

and a 21-Day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia that encompasses all of the above, plus Hoi An and Hue.

Hanoi’s labyrinth of streets is filled with food stalls and markets. Journey to Halong Bay and embark on a traditional junk boat as you sail its ethereal waters, and drive through Da Nang before crossing the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Discover Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi Tunnels, before meeting your Star-Ship and sailing the Mekong, stopping off in My Tho, Sa Dec and Phnom Penh. Conclude your trip with three nights in Siem Reap, attending the Phare Cambodian Circus and visiting the historic Angkor Wat.



Fares for Emerald Harmony will have the same inclusions as other Emerald Waterways ships:
  • transfers,
  • port charges,
  • meals,
  • unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner,
  • bottled water in the cabins,
  • complimentary Wi-Fi,
  • at least one shore excursion in every port and
  • all onboard and excursion gratuities.
  • During the cruise tour portion of the trips, hotel, internal flights and transfers are also included.


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Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Cruises, emerald waterways, Thailand, Travel by Ship, Vietnam, Vietnam

Vietnam: A Photographer’s Paradise


Vietnam is a gorgeous country, an absolute paradise for photographers. Several award-winning photographers are based in Vietnam these days: Ehrin Macksey, Réhahn, Quinn Ryan Mattingly, plus many more. Its landscapes and cities speak to the heart and the eye in an inviting and unflinching way.

Willamette Intl Travel is proud to have sent countless of our clients to discover Vietnam for themselves. We can arrange travel for you and your family with knowledgeable guides, on eye-opening trips to temples, rice paddies and old world streets. Plus, who can resist a cooking class for spicy spring rolls in Old Saigon? Call us to find out more: 503-224-0180. 

Feel free to flip through the photo album: 

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For more eye-candy:

A bilingual photobook, Huế – The City of Crying Stones, was published last week in Paris and features 200 bw and color photos of Huế, Vietnam’s capital in the years from 1802 to 1945.

Also, check this article out on local street photography in Hanoi.

Thinking about a Spring getaway to Vietnam? February and March are some of the best months to travel to this unique and flavorful country. In Fall, too: the mid-autumn festival Tet is one you’ll be talking about for years to come. Call us up for a chat! 503-224-0180 or email

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Filed under Asia, Europe, Vietnam, Vietnam

Nancy’s Reading List for Vietnam and Cambodia

Nancy has spent time exploring the wild countries of Vietnam and Cambodia. She’s come back with a fantastic reading list. Call her up for a chat on these destinations!


 Andrea Warren. Escape from Saigon: How a Vietnam War Orphan Became an American Boy. Thetrueaccount of an orphan and his decades-long struggle with cultural identity.

Edited by Kim DePaul, Compiled by Dith Pran. Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields. A must-read, hard-going memoirs from survivors. 

Jackie Brown. Little Cricket. The fictional story of the Hmong family, who flees North Vietnam to a refugee campin Thailand, then onward to America. Set in Laos and Minnesota in the 1970s.

Minfong Ho. The Stone Goddess. Another fictional account of the evacuation of Phnom Penh.

Richard Pyle and Horst Faas. Lost Over Laos: A True Story of Tragedy, Mystery, and Friendship. Thestory of four combat photographers who died 4 combat photographers who died in Indochina and the two journalists who kept their memory alive. I enjoyed this book.  After seeing the room dedicated
to the media at the War Remnants Museum, this gave me more detail on events.

David Lamb. Vietnam Now. I’ve read this 3 times.  It’s a timeline of the Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.  It gives a great insight into what was happening in the 3 countries simultaneously—both in the military and politically.

David Lamb. Vietnam Now, a Report Returns. Excellent follow up to his first book. 

Francois Bizet. The Gate. I’ve read this twice.  The author was in Phom Penh when the Khmer Rouge took over. He was inside the French Embassy with a number of refugees—it was in “lock down” by the KR, who put pressure on the Embassy to release all Cambodians, etc. 

William J Duiker. Ho Chi Minh, a Life. Recommended to me while I was in Vietnam in 2004, I read this book before I returned in 2007.  Heavy going but I felt it was worth it.  I’d heard North Vietnam’s version and South Vietnam’s version, so to read a third party’s version was helpful.

 Jon Ortner. Angkor. Celestial Temples of the Khmer Empire. Photo essay with fabulous photos. Very detailed text of the history, with building plans and good maps.

Edward Gargan. The River’s Tale, a Year on the Mekong. A New York Times correspondent’s travel narrative that delves into the world around the Mekong and its people.

Stephen T. Asma. The Gods Drink Whiskey: Stumbling Toward Enlightenment in the Land of the Tattered Buddha. A spiritual travel narrative / memoir that follows the author’s search for Theravada Buddhism and modern Enlightenment in Cambodia. 

 Ed. Andy Brouwer and Kim Fay. To Cambodia with Love. The collaboration of fifty writers that contains personal essays on this vibrant, historically torn country.

Loung Ung. First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers. Biography/memoir.

Frances FitsGerald. Fire in the Lake. History of Vietnam from feudal times to Communism to the War.

Bill Hayton. Vietnam, Rising Dragon. An examination of social change and economy of Vietnam, in a historical and cultural context.

 Michael Herr. Dispatches. A war correspondent’s biography/memoir in Vietnam.

Tim O’Brien. The Things They Carried. Collection of stories about the daily life of a soldier in Vietnam

Andrew X. Pham. The Eaves of Heaven, a Life in Three Wars. A descriptive family memoir during the tumultuous 20th century in Vietnam—from the French occupation of Indochina, the Japanese invasion, and the Vietnam War.

John Balaban / Nguyen Qui Duc. Vietnam, A Traveler’s Literary Companion. Anthology of folktales, poetry, and essays from Vietnamese writers.

Kristin Kelly. The Extraordinary Museums of Southeast Asia. One of my fellow travelers had this book on our 2004 trip.  It seems to be out of print; Powells found a used copy for me. Fans of museums love this book.

Michael Buckley. Moon Handbooks Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This is my personal favorite guidebook series.

Our agents Linda and Nancy have traveled Vietnam and Cambodia extensively. Call for more information about these stunning destinations at 800.821.0401 or email

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Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Reading Lists, Vietnam