Carry on up the Mekong!

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Part I: Vietnam and Cambodia

Well it seems that the BBC love Indochina almost as much as we do – no sooner have we finished delving into the Cambodian jungles to unearth the mysteries of Angkor, and exploring the magnificent Tonle Sap in the Wonders of the Monsoon, we’re back on the water in The Mekong River with the Great British Bake Off’s Sue Perkins (BBC 2 Sunday night at 8pm) at the helm.

Commencing amongst the bustle of boats and traders in Vietnam’s bountiful Mekong Delta region, over the coming episodes Sue is travelling 3,000 miles upstream through Cambodia, Laos and Burma to the Mekong’s source in Tibet, learning to love the incredible landscapes and fabulous people as we at InsideVietnam do.

We have long thought that getting out on the mighty Mekong was a wonderful way to experience the contrasting delights of the countries through which the river flows, and the Cruises in Indochina section of our shiny new InsideVietnam brochure lays out lots of the exciting options available for experiencing it yourself firsthand. Here’s a quick taste to whet the appetite…

 Mekong Delta cruises

Just a couple of hours’ drive from the manic energy of Saigon the watery wonderland of the Mekong Delta region provides a fabulous view of an altogether different facet of the Vietnam story. This incredibly fertile region, blessed with year-round tropical temperatures, produces a great proportion of the rice, seafood and fruit consumed across the country. Criss-crossed with an intricate web of waterways much of local life plays out on the river: visit the famous floating markets, explore the quiet backwaters and soak up the magical atmosphere. The Delta can be visited as a day trip, but try an overnight cruise for the fully immersive experience.

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Mekong River Cruises

For those with a little longer to spare and a yern for kicking back and watching the world go by, there can be few more exotic and relaxing options than an extended cruise on the Mekong River, taking you from the delta in Vietnam to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in neighbouring Cambodia.The journey provides a wonderful glimpse of life playing out on the river, and allows you to witness the transition from the Vietnamese Delta to the Cambodian hinterland. The cruises also pay an extended visit to Phnom Penh, a city undergoing a quiet transformation as it rebuilds from the dark days of the Khmer Rouge.

Part 2 of this post will follow next week, as we follow Sue upstream into Laos. As the oft-overlooked third member of the Indochina trio we really think Laos is too fantastic to hide away. Watch this space…!

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