Winding its way through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the majestic Mekong River covers an incredible 2,703 miles! But don’t worry, we don’t expect you to cover it all. We’re focussing on the section that goes through Vietnam and Cambodia, where the beautiful landscapes and its rich, local culture will astonish you.
Life by the water’s edge
What’s great about river cruising is you can access areas that are often not reachable by land, and as a result, experience Vietnamese and Cambodian life just as it should be – genuine and authentic.
Day excursions are often available and included within your cruise, which are worth taking advantage of. Often, you’ll be greeted by smiling children, eager to meet their visitors, and who will share their stories with you. As you sail, keep your eyes peeled for local villages, many of which are floating on the water – the children will be calling and waving to you, so be ready to wave back!
Time to relax
The pace of life slows right down on the Mekong River, where taking in the scenery and sounds is the top priority. You’ll pass lush trees that tower over you and hear exotic birdsong daily…the perfect ingredients to help you relax and unwind. Whilst shore excursions are a must, there are plenty of opportunities to sit back and simply soak up your surrounds on a Mekong River cruise with the sun’s warmth on your face. You’re on holiday after all.
EXPLORE MORE OF VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA
There’s so much to see in Vietnam and Cambodia, so in our eyes, combining a river cruise with an escorted tour is the perfect holiday choice. And as a dream destination for many travellers, keep reading to find out more about our favourite places to visit in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
A designated World Heritage Site, Halong Bay’s towering limestone pillars and tiny islets are scattered through the water, so it’s no wonder it’s Vietnam’s most popular tourist spot, but with small boats, there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the views, wave eroded grottos and clear turquoise waters. There’s nothing quite like waking up to sunrise on Halong Bay, so we recommend opting for an overnight stay onboard.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Life slows down in atmospheric, graceful and delightful Hoi An. Full of architectural influences, a warm atmosphere and Chinese temples – as well as an array of incredible eateries and markets, this is the place to leisurely wander and explore. Tailors are at every turn too – so if you’re looking for a bespoke item, save yourself for your visit here.
In contrast, Saigon (otherwise known as Ho Chi Minh City) is a wonderful whirlwind of chaos. The energy, culture and commerce are leaning towards the modern world, where sipping coffee and eating out is a huge way of life. From the classiest restaurants to tasty street stalls and everything in-between, as well as the finest hotels to low-budget guest houses, Saigon caters for everyone, so get out there and explore it!
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Be prepared for an assault on all the senses on a visit to Cambodia’s capital. Glimmering palaces, super-fast motorbikes, traditional monks and markets selling pungent delicacies are all what make it what it is today. Representing a big part of Cambodia’s history, and once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh is rising back from the ashes and making a name for itself as the hip capital of Southeast Asia, now home to buzzing bars, a vibrant café culture and a top-notch food scene.
Siem Reap and the Temples of Angkor, Cambodia
Small in size, but large in character and visitor numbers, Cambodia’s Siem Reap is fast becoming the ultimate destination for adventure, culture and cuisine! There are plenty of stylish restaurants, hotels and buzzing bar culture to get stuck into. For culture vultures, check out the galleries, boutiques and craft shops – as well as learning about traditional Khmer arts. And of course, it’s just a short hop away from the Temples of Angkor.
Whilst there’s a whole complex of temples and history to indulge in Angkor Wat takes centre stage – and has even become the symbol of Cambodia, so don’t miss it! The symmetrical beauty, intricate detail and uniqueness will take your breath away. We’d even go as far to say its one of the world’s greatest structures, but don’t take our word for, go and see it for yourself!