Discover the heart and soul of Southeast Asia on a 7-night Mekong River cruise from Cambodia to Vietnam
One of the best and most relaxing ways to travel between Cambodia and Vietnam is by taking a 7-night river cruise down the mighty Mekong river. Before embarking on this truly enchanting journey make sure you arrive in Siem Reap a few days before setting sail to visit the majestic Temples of Angkor and take in a breathtaking sunrise at Angkor Wat, an experience that will stay with you forever. The Mekong River, often referred to as the “Mother of Waters,” winds its way through six countries in Southeast Asia, offering a glimpse into the heart and soul of the region. This voyage takes you through lush landscapes, vibrant cultures, and storied history, making it a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that captures the essence of Southeast Asia. The first leg of your journey will take you southward, following the meandering path of the Mekong River.
One of the highlights of this river cruise is the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Along the way, you’ll visit quaint villages, bustling markets, and serene pagodas. Each stop provides a unique window into the lives of the people along the Mekong, known for their resilience and hospitality. Each day will bring you a new and exciting experience, the shore excursions visit locations that are not often visited by road, a natural off-the-beaten path, and a unique opportunity to experience the true heart and soul of Cambodia and Vietnam.
Some of the shore excursions and experiences that you have the opportunity to partake in include the small village of Angkor Ban is our first destination. The village is famous for its unspoiled community and beautiful, traditional houses. It feels like being transported back a hundred years, into an era unaffected by modernity where villagers are characterized by their unbridled warmth. Further downstream you may make a stop on the island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owes its fame to manufacturing high-class silk products. Go sightseeing along the island’s roads via tuk-tuk before arriving at the village’s workshops and witnessing the curious process of making silk, starting from a tiny silkworm larva to a cocoon, then dyeing, spinning, and weaving the fibers into high-quality Cambodian silk. Another highlight is Kampong Chhnang. This town is renowned for its vibrant pottery-making industry. You can visit the pottery villages and observe skilled artisans shaping clay into beautiful, functional art pieces. All cruises dock for an overnight stay on the river port of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital city. The full-day Phnom Penh includes all the best and must-see sights including the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda, the architectural masterpiece of the Central Market, and the harrowing Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The contrast between the city’s past and present is striking.
As you leave Cambodia behind, your cruise will take you into the heart of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The scenery changes, with lush green rice paddies and stilted houses appearing along the riverbanks. Some of the incredible shore excursions include a visit to Tan Chau, and hop on “xelois” to see Tan Chau’s vibrant town life. A “xeloi” is a local vehicle that is still used as a taxi in this area. Your personal xeloi driver slowly navigates through the streets to observe all the workshops, houses, and shops while feeling the laid-back vibe of this place. Stop at the colorful, local market near one of the town’s temples. Cruising further into the heart of the Mekong Delta visit My An Hung Village, an excellent example of an authentic local village in the Mekong Delta. Time stands still here, and you will receive beautiful insights into the private household of a local family and visit the seasonal vegetable fields to see what they are cultivating. Visit a local Vietnamese house for some tea and tropical fruits. Vietnamese tea is often bitter, so locals sweeten it with honey.
The adventure continues, and some other stops may include Binh Thanh Island where locals make their living by growing water hyacinths. VisitcCai Be which is a charming town famous for its Catholic French church and the manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products. Here you will also find the floating market of Cai Be, witness boat-to-boat trading of local goods, such as fruits, agricultural products, and practical day-to-day items like cooking utensils. Board a small local boat sail along the green canal network and watch the farmers working in the fields. A visit ashore of a workshop to see the manufacturing of rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies, and rice wine. Cai Be’s surrounding areas are covered by palm trees, so the region is also famous for producing coconut candy.
Most cruises will disembark in My Tho and transfer to the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City or as it is affectionately referred to, Saigon. In Saigon, you will visit the highlights and see historic landmarks, such as the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, the War Remnants Museum, and the bustling Ben Thanh Market. You may even get the chance to take a trip out to the Cu Chi tunnels these underground tunnels are a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War. You’ll have the opportunity to explore a section of the tunnels, gaining insight into the hardships faced by those who lived here.
A river cruise from Siem Reap to Saigon is not just a vacation; it’s a transformative experience that allows you to connect with the soul of Southeast Asia. Along the way, you’ll encounter the warmth of the people, the beauty of the landscapes, and the history that has shaped this region. It’s a journey that leaves a lasting imprint on your heart and a deeper understanding of the cultures that call the Mekong River home. So, if you’re seeking adventure, culture, and an unforgettable travel experience, set sail on the Mekong and let the river reveal its secrets.
Khiri Travel offers a range of Mekong River cruise options, from the uber high-end and luxurious Aqua Mekong, the stunning and enchanting ships of The Jahan and The Jayavarman to the more modest Pandaw cruise and the smaller and more intimate Toun Teav. The shore excursions may differ depending on the cruise liner, and this journey can also be done in reverse by starting in Ho Chi Minh City and finishing in Siem Reap. Contact our Cambodia team at firstname.lastname@example.org.