Frequently Asked Questions
What if I have dietary requirements (allergies, religious restrictions, or preferences)?
We will make every effort to accommodate special dietary requests. Please inform our office at least 45 days prior to departure of these requests.
How do I power and charge my devices?
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 Jewel 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.
What are the passport and 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. You’ll need to obtain your Cambodian and Vietnam visas in advance.
What are some local customs and etiquette for this vacation?
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.
What are pre-paid gratuities?
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.
Will I need insect protection for this trip?
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.
What to Wear?
We suggest sporty casual clothing that is lightweight and breathable; and sturdy comfortable footwear. Polo type shirts or short sleeve button down shirts paired with lightweight slacks or blue jeans are the nicest clothing you’ll need for the Brand g program. On most days, shorts, t-shirts or lightweight expedition style pants are perfectly fine, especially during the cruise. You may wish to pack something a bit nicer if you plan on any fine dining or other more formal nightlife in your free time.
What should I expect on the included shore excursions?
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.
What is the local & on board 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 Jewel 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.
Will there be smoking areas?
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.
What are the vaccination requirements and health recommendations?
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.
Is the water safe to drink on board?
Please do not drink the tap water while on board or on shore or use it for brushing your teeth. Every hotel has bottled water available. Pay close attention to pricing as some water is complimentary and some is at an extra
charge. On every excursion complimentary bottled water will be available. 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. In each stateroom and suite, your water carafe will be replenished twice daily, and on request, with fresh, mineral water. Each guest will also receive a reusable water bottle, which can be refilled at any time and carried on excursions.