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Exploring the Mekong River – Vietnam and Cambodia

Exploring the Mekong River – Vietnam and Cambodia-Featured Image-AMA
A few years ago, I had zero interest in this type of trip, so my conversion from meh to enthralled inspires this week’s article…

Exploring the Mekong River – Vietnam and Cambodia

When I think of taking a vacation to an exotic destination, traveling to Vietnam and Cambodia on a Mekong River cruise immediately springs to mind. I must confess that years ago I would not have been very interested in traveling there, but the more I’ve learned and researched, I’ve come find it a totally intriguing goal as I plan my future trips.

The way it came to my attention was through the annual recognition events of the national travel agency I’m associated with. Each year on the top agents’ trip, they create a ‘dossier’ where we answer questions that are then published with profiles of each of the attendees. There are usually about 7-8 questions, and one that is always asked is ‘what is your most memorable vacation and why?’.

I love to read through everyone’s answers every year, and then I started to pick up a trend. While there are many different answers to the memorable vacation question, the answer that I saw consistently show up multiple times every year was Vietnam and Cambodia. These are very well-traveled folks so their comments made me pay attention. People described how much they loved the people and the culture, and that the experiences of the trip were fascinating and changing each day.

Vietnam and Cambodia offer a wealth of historic attractions, from ornate Buddhist temples to ancient cities. In Vietnam, a visit to Hanoi yields mouthwatering street food, whilst the tranquil limestone islands of Ha Long Bay are the perfect setting for relaxation. And in Cambodia, mighty Angkor Wat is so important to the nation that it features on the national flag.

A sensory journey

One of the consistent themes I notice about visiting Southeast Asia is that it is a destination that appeals to all the senses. It’s an immersive sensory journey that creates a truly unforgettable experience.

As you cruise past rural villages and larger cities, your eyes will be captivated by vibrant landscapes, ancient temples, and bustling markets. Smiling children wave from the riverbanks and musky ox carts carry produce to and from the fields. The symphony of sounds, from the gentle lapping of water to the calls of exotic birds, creates a harmonious atmosphere. Aromas of exotic spices and fresh local dishes waft through the air, while the culinary journey introduces you to the diverse tastes of Southeast Asia.

Feel the cool breeze on your face, the warmth of the tropical sun, and the softness of gentle river winds. Engage with the local culture through hands-on experiences, creating lasting memories.

More than the River

While a river cruise through the Mekong Delta is fabulous way to visit Vietnam and Cambodia, there is so much more beyond the river, so that the best way to explore the region is by a combination of river cruise and land tours.

Begin your journey from the vibrant heart of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly acclaimed as the “Pearl of the Orient,” signaling the beginning of an extraordinary expedition through Vietnam and Cambodia. Then embark the river cruise.

Picture this: cruising lazily along the majestic Mekong, where the river spills ancient tales that paint a colorful picture of times long gone. Get ready to dive headfirst into the rich cultural scene – think wandering through rural villages, checking out centuries-old pagodas, and getting lost in bustling markets that practically explode with every color imaginable.

Imagine a serene moment within a Buddhist monastery, where a unique blessing is bestowed by resident monks. Witness the skillful artistry of hands crafting exquisite handicrafts and delectable delicacies.

After a week on the Mekong River, continue your Southeast Asia discoveries by disembarking your ship and proceeding to Siem Reap. Let your inner explorer run wild amidst the ancient wonders of the UNESCO-honored Angkor Archaeological Park—unveiling the secrets of Banteay Srei, Angkor Thom’s majestic presence, the Elephants’ Terrace, the mystical Bayon pyramid temple, the vine-draped marvel of Ta Prohm, and the iconic grandeur of Angkor Wat. Going to Angkor Wat to watch a breathtaking sunrise is a highlight of the journey.

Conclude this odyssey in Hanoi, Vietnam’s vibrant capital, with Hanoi’s Old Quarter displaying a fusion of French colonial and traditional Vietnamese structures. Enjoy local experiences such as an authentic rickshaw ride in the Old Quarter and a traditional Water Puppet Show.

Then you leave Hanoi and go to the ultimate, spiritual place, UNESCO-celebrated waters of Ha Long Bay, to relax on a one-night cruise and enjoy the beauty before heading home.

A trip to Southeast Asia is not just a journey; it’s a sensorial odyssey, inviting travelers to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the essence of this enchanting region.

I’ve been looking at creating this bucket list trip to Vietnam and Cambodia for years, and I’ve finally done it. Join me in February 2025 for this amazing journey. There are special promotions available for registrations before December 31, 2023, and an extra cruise discount for the first five staterooms booked. See the details at: