The 12th-longest river in the world and one of its most enigmatic, the Mekong winds through Southeast Asia on a journey of more than 4,300 kilometres. From the Tibetan Plateau through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, the Mekong winds its way to the South China Sea via the famed Mekong Delta.
During that trip, the river travels through the Golden Triangle—the intersection of Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Thailand—serves as several national borders, breaks into rapids and waterfalls, and is a lifeline for millions of people. It is also the backbone to thousands of years of history both ancient and modern, and to an endlessly captivating culture.
This voyage explores the Mekong as it flows through Vietnam and Cambodia. Travelling in style aboard a riverboat, with its 14 air-conditioned cabins, ensuite facilities and large decks, the Toum Tiou II is a smaller ship and can navigate closer to shore, providing better views along route.
The exploration begins in southern Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), a place steeped in history from the 17th century and earlier, through to the Vietnam War and beyond. Before boarding ship, you visit the Cu Chi Tunnels: a subterranean network built by the Viet Cong during the war.
Leaving the capital of the short-lived Republic of South Vietnam behind, you cast off and head upriver, past rolling countryside, towering pagodas and Buddhist temples. Stop by a floating market and a coconut product manufacturer, try some local fruit and honey, and visit some of the mighty river’s islands.
Crossing into Cambodia, you will enjoy a cyclo tour of Phnom Penh, with its colonial buildings and royal palace, visit small towns and floating villages, watch local craftsmen and women at work, and admire outstanding murals in a Buddhist monastery. After disembarking near Siem Reap, you head to Angkor Wat, the legendary temple complex carved out of the jungle, before returning to Siem Reap and heading home. A great way to explore what are for many two must-see once-in-a-lifetime destinations.
KE ADVENTURE TRAVEL
- Phone: 888.630.4415
- Length/Departs: 10 days/April, July to Nov.
- Accommodation: Riverboat, hotels
- Starting Price: $2,775 US
- Difficulty: Easy
- By Simon Vaughan, Senior Editor/Special Travel Advisor for Outpost Travel Media