Frequently Asked Questions
Aboard the Mekong Navigator, attire is casual and comfortable during the day, with resort-style clothing, and comfortable, but sturdy, footwear for excursions. Evening wear consists of open-neck shirts, trousers, skirt, or similar attire. Footwear is always required in all public areas, and when navigating stairs on board.
Onboard Account & Currency
The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong. It is advisable to exchange at least a small amount of money into Vietnamese dong on arrival, especially for purchasing items from small, local merchants and restaurants, and for taxis, which typically do not accept other currencies. Some large merchants and restaurants will accept US dollars. ATMs in Vietnam only provide Vietnamese dong. The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian riel. However, most monetary transactions, including withdrawing cash from ATMs and banks may be in US dollars. Should you be due change in an amount less than US $1, you will be given riel; otherwise, US dollars are given.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in both countries by many merchants. You may find, however, that some are reluctant to take credit cards for small purchases because of the fees associated with the transaction. Therefore, we suggest that you carry some cash, whether local currency or US dollars. Aside from the international hotel chains, American Express is not widely accepted in this part
of the world.
You may exchange currency at banks, currency exchanges, or hotels, all with very similar rates. Please note that both currency exchanges and ATMs charge fees. You are advised to inquire as to the currency exchange fee before making the exchange; ATMs will require you to accept the charge before proceeding to dispense cash.
The official currency on board the Mekong Navigator is the US dollar. During the cruise, we operate on a cashless system, with all purchases billed to your onboard account. At the end of the cruise, bills may be settled in cash with US dollars or by credit card with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. The Mekong Navigator does not provide a currency exchange service, nor is there an ATM on board. It is advisable to bring crisp, new, undamaged bills, as tears and obvious wear may cause banks and local businesses to refuse them. In Phnom Penh, about halfway through the cruise, you will find multiple options for obtaining US dollars at both Cambodian and international banks, ATMs, and wire services. ATMs are widely available in Vietnam, as well, but will only provide Vietnamese dong.
Our culinary team will make every effort to accommodate special dietary requests. Please inform our office at least 60 days prior to departure of these requests.
The voltage in both Vietnam and Cambodia is officially 220/50Hz. To use any electrical product from the US that is not dual voltage, you will need an electrical converter. The Mekong Navigator has multi-configuration outlets, which accommodate most Western plugs. We recommend bringing an adapter for use in the hotels. Because the voltage may fluctuate at times, we also recommend unplugging your devices when not in use or when leaving them unattended.
While you can expect to encounter insects during your trip, most are relatively harmless. Switching off lights when exiting your room or suite, and ensuring that glass or screen doors or windows are closed at all times will minimize the number of insects allowed into your room. On the fast-moving river, mosquitoes are rarely seen while sailing. If planning to be outside in the early morning or evening hours, applying an insect repellent to exposed skin is recommended.
Excursions are led by expert guides, and guests are divided into groups. Electronic listening devices are complimentary to all guests in order to ensure that guests are able to hear their guides, without disturbing nearby wildlife.
The comfort and safety of our guests is our first priority. Smoking is not permitted in the suites or enclosed, public areas on board. There is a designated smoking area on the Sun Deck.
Visitors on Board/Security
Only guests who possess tickets for passage are allowed on board. Security services are provided on board to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the journey.
Gratuities are customary expressions of appreciation for a job well done. It is our goal to ensure that the service you receive is as wonderful as the sites you visit. Gratuities for the included portions of this program have been pre-paid. At your own discretion you may choose to provide additional tips.
Please do not drink the tap water while on board or on shore, or use it for brushing your teeth. The ship’s water supply comes from the river after passing through a sterilization process. This water is suitable for showers and baths, but should not be consumed. Complimentary bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth is provided on board, as well as during excursions. Ice on board the ship is also made from bottled water.
Many of the local customs in Vietnam and Cambodia differ greatly from Western culture. In many temples, and on the grounds of the National Palace in Phnom Penh, it is required that all guests cover their knees and shoulders when entering the grounds. Shoes will need to be removed when entering some buildings. Our itinerary takes us into areas where locals are simply living their daily lives. Should you wish to take a photo of locals, please request their permission first (simply pointing to your camera and allowing them to nod is sufficient). Monks wearing saffron robes will be encountered in numerous places in Cambodia.
Passport & Visa Requirements
A passport, which is valid for six months after your last date of travel, is required for this trip.
Visa Requirements – citizens of almost every country require tourist visas to enter Vietnam and Cambodia.
Cambodia: We will charge a $50 fee to your reservation and arrange visa on entry for Cambodia. Additionally, each guest will need 2 passport photos in order to obtain your Cambodian visa.
Vietnam: You’ll need to obtain your Vietnam visa in advance. Once issued, the visa will be valid for 3 months from the date of issue, so the soonest you may apply is 3 months prior to the day you expect to depart from Vietnam.
o Brand g’s main program and the Hanoi and Ha Long Bay extension only require a single entry visa, however if you make your own arrangements to visit other areas of Vietnam prior to the start of the Brand g program you will require a multiple entry visa.
o You may apply for the Vietnam visa through this link: http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/consular/visa-application-process
o If you prefer you may also use a visa service to assist you with obtaining your visa. One such service that we’d recommend for US citizens is G3 Visa Services: http://www.g3visas.com/
Vaccination & Health Information
US citizens should consult the Centers for Disease Control websites, https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/vietnam and https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/cambodia, or your health care provider for vaccination requirements and recommendations. Citizens of all other countries should consult their government’s national disease center or their physician.