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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Logistics and journey times
Car transfer from Ho Chi Minh City to hotel (30 minutes)
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)
Shared transfer from cruise drop-off point to Siem Reap (5 hours)
Car transfer from town to Siem Reap airport (15 minutes)
What's not included
- International flights
- Meals not mentioned
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tips for guides & porters