Mekong River scenery - Heritage Line

Mekong Explorer

Trip code
MKE001

Usually, covering such an amazing variety of destinations means putting up with multiple transfers, uncomfortable road journeys, and numerous hotel check-ins. Not on this trip.

With a luxurious, colonial-style cruise liner as your base, travel up the Mekong deep into the Southeast Asian countryside, visiting stilt villages and river islands where life is still dominated by tradition. Contrast this with life in some of the region’s biggest cities. Then, round it all off with a visit to one of the most magnificent manmade sites on the planet – all at a pace that feels deliciously slow.

Pricing

Price based on 4* accommodation
From
A$5,400
pp

Key facts

13 days / 12 nights
Get to know Vietnam’s biggest city on a walking tour of Ho Chi Minh’s backstreets
Spend a full day exploring the vine-entangled temples of Angkor in Cambodia
See world-class acrobatics at the incredible Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap
Spend seven nights onboard a Mekong cruise, with stops to explore the countryside and Phnom Penh along the way
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DAY 1-2 HO CHI MINH CITY DAY 10-12 SIEM REAP DAY 3-9 MEKONG RIVER CRUISE
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DAY 1-2 HO CHI MINH CITY DAY 10-12 SIEM REAP DAY 3-9 MEKONG RIVER CRUISE

This itinerary is designed around a seven-night cruise, so most of your travelling will be done on the river. Transfers to and from your cruise will be by shared coach, and airport transfers will be by private car.

What's great

The slow pace of travel along the river means you have plenty of time to immerse yourself in scenes of riverside life, observing as the landscape changes from day to day

The cruise includes a great variety of activities and excursions, including modern history tours, cottage industries and ancient temples

You’ll have one of our fabulous local guides to help you get to know Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap at either end of your trip

This itinerary could easily be extended with a few days on the beach, or more cultural exploration in Vietnam and Cambodia

Things to consider

The Mekong’s water levels vary from season to season, and this will affect the cruising route. The itinerary described here is the low water programme

Cruises don’t run every day, so you’ll need to factor departure dates into your schedule

This itinerary can also be done in reverse, beginning in Siem Reap and concluding in Ho Chi Minh City

This cruise is very popular, so you’ll need to act fast — it sometimes gets booked up a year in advance!

This itinerary doesn’t include some of Vietnam’s most famous destinations, so if you’re a first-timer to the country, you might want to think about extending your trip

The experience

This itinerary is just one of many cruising options we can offer. Want more or less time on the water? Cruises in other countries? Just pick up the phone and let’s talk ideas.

Day 1-2

Ho Chi Minh City

Beyond its neo-gothic cathedrals and French-colonial boulevards, Ho Chi Minh City is alive with local life and colour. Getting beyond the tourist sights is what it’s all about — and that’s exactly what you’ll do on your first morning, on a walking tour of the city’s hidden backstreets. With a local guide, you’ll wind your way through narrow alleys rarely visited by tourists, where family-run businesses spill into the streets, vendors cook up sizzling treats on rickety food carts, and little temples preserve age-old rituals found nowhere else in the world. In the afternoon, we recommend a visit to the War Remnants Museum for a look at how the “American War” has shaped life in Vietnam.

Street vendor in Ho Chi Minh City - Shutterstock

Highlights

Get to know Ho Chi Minh City with the help of a local on a walking tour of its hidden backstreets

Learn about the worship of the “mother goddesses”: a unique ritual recognised by UNESCO as part of Vietnam’s intangible cultural heritage

Get a sobering insight into Vietnam’s modern history at the War Remnants Museum

Ho Chi Minh City church - Shutterstock

Day 3-9

Mekong River Cruise

For the next eight days, your home will be a beautiful cruise boat on the Mekong. As you travel deep into the countryside, your journey will be punctuated with opportunities to explore tiny villages, floating markets, rural workshops and fish farms — communities where life has changed little in centuries. Then, as you pass from Vietnam into Cambodia, you’ll contrast this with a day in the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh, a city bursting with optimism after a troubled past. On board, there are even more activities to enjoy, including cultural lectures, t’ai chi classes, dance performances, film screenings and spa treatments. If it weren’t for what’s to come, you might never want to leave.

Aerial view of the Mekong - Heritage Line

Highlights

Sit back, relax, and enjoy the facilities onboard your elegant river cruise boat

Watch the countryside change as you travel from the bustling Mekong Delta deep into the hinterlands of Vietnam and Cambodia

Disembark to explore remote villages where the locals use traditional methods to produce pottery, rice paper, coconut sweets and silk

Spend a whole day in Phnom Penh to learn about the history and regeneration of Cambodia’s capital city

Stop to explore temples even older and more mysterious than the magnificent ruins of Angkor

Heritage Line cruise boat at sunset - Heritage Line

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day
  • Eight lunches: Seven onboard your Mekong cruise; one during Angkor temple sightseeing
  • Seven dinners: all onboard the Mekong cruise
  • One full-day experience: tour of the temples of Angkor
  • One half-day experience: walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City
  • One evening experience: Phare, The Cambodian Circus performance
  • Seven-night cruise on the Mekong River with activities & stops
  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
  • All internal transport & accommodation

Day 1:
Car transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to hotel (30 minutes)

Day 3:
Shared transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to My Tho pier (2.5 hours)
Mekong cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap (8 days)

Day 10:
Shared transfer from cruise drop-off point to Siem Reap (5 hours)

Day 13:
Car transfer from town to Siem Reap airport (15 minutes)

  • International flights
  • Meals not mentioned
  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
  • Tips for guides & porters