A less commonly visited part of Vietnam and Cambodia
The Mekong is the longest river in South East Asia and a relatively undeveloped one
Along the Mekong, you will witness sights that will linger in your memory. Ancient temples, diverse wildlife such as monkeys, and sunsets over scenes of rural tranquillity will all feature, but if you are new to South East Asia, then you may also be shocked by some of the poverty that you see as well as the scars of past wars. One of the sights that you are likely to witness is the “Hanoi Hilton,” a former POW camp and now a genocide museum. It is a region of contrasts, but overwhelmingly, while not forgetting the past, the people are looking to the future with hope.
When cruising to Siem Reap, you will experience what will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your trip – a visit to the remarkable temple complex of Angkor Wat. Built in the 12th century and dedicated to the God Vishnu, the temple is surrounded by a moat and a wall depicting scenes from Hindu tales. The five towers of the temple will be familiar from photographs, but nothing will fully prepare you for the thrill of seeing it for real. It is truly one of the wonders of the world. Along the river, there will be many opportunities to visit riverside towns and markets such as Tan Chau, famous for its silk, Vinh Hoah, a floating village whose residents live by fishing and farming as they have for centuries, and Cai Be, where you will have the opportunity to sample Snake Wine – a rice wine with a snake coiled inside it.
Many cruises will offer excursions to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Visit the reunification palace or shop for souvenirs in the Ben Thanh Market. There are many tailor shops in the city where you can have a suit or dress custom made for you.
To make sure your cruise on the Mekong is memorable for all the right reasons, there are some simple precautions that you should take. It is fun to watch the monkeys dangling from walls, but do not touch them, as rabies can be an issue. Take insect repellent and be careful what you eat. Food preparation on board your cruise ship will be safe, but while sampling the local cuisine that should be part of your trip, take advice on where and what to purchase.