Early Sign-up Discount

20% Early Sign-up discount on a limited quantity of cabins for reservation booked and paid in full on all 2021 and 2022 departures. Please call for availability.

Offer expires Jun 30, 2021

Mekong Expedition Cruise

Ho Chi Minh City, Jungle, and Villages Aboard a Premier River Vessel

Overview

This journey promises a truly immersive experience and the opportunity to discover rich heritage and traditions along the Mekong River. Experience one of Asia’s most epic and worthwhile cruises. Embrace the most authentic parts of Mekong culture and way of life while embracing the beautiful landscapes of the Mekong river basin in the comfort and luxury of the Aqua Mekong riverboat.  

These cruises operate year-round and you will find there is always something fascinating to experience along the river, no matter what time of year you travel. The Mekong has two distinct seasons: low-water and high-water, which refers to the water levels of the Mekong River. Whether you choose the high-water or the low-water season for your cruise, traveling aboard the Aqua extends your options. Low-water season (December to mid-August) offers the opportunity to see a quieter side of local life on Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.

During high-water season (mid-August to November), you are able to travel up the river to Siem Reap and experience floating villages and Tonle Sap Lake.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.

Itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap Itinerary

Day 1
My Tho / Ho Chi Minh / Vetnam

From the Saigon meeting point, you will be transfered by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where you will be welcome board the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.

Day 2
Binh Thanh / Sa Dec / My An Hung / Vietnam

Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where you will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras' legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le.  In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where you will walk through verdant plantations. You will be invited to a local's home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 10.5-mile biking option is also available.

Day 3
Chau Doc / Vinh Xuong / Ka'om Samnor Border

Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 11-mile bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while you cross the border.

Day 4
Koh Oknha Tey / Preah Prosop / Cambodia

On this river of time, you can admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, board the marine-grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.

Day 5
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Explore the Cambodian capital by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, you can visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. Bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.

Return to welcome your 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.

Day 6
Tonle Sap River / Koh Chen / Kampong Chhnang / Cambodia

This morning, visit Koh Chen, a silversmith village known for its fine craftsmanship. Keep an eye out for their famous silver bowls, regularly chosen by Cambodia's king as gifts for visiting dignitaries. In the afternoon, continue learning about Khmer riverside life in Kampong Chhnang, the 'Port of Pottery' so called because archaeological findings here date to the 6th century. Bike option is available.

Day 7
Mouth of the Tonle Sap Lake / Chhnok Tru / Moat Khla

Continue exploring the remote communities around the Tonle Sap Lake, designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. In Chhnok Tru, “slide” into an ice factory and learn from locals what it’s like to live in a town where schools, churches, pagodas, and even the karaoke bar and police station all float. After lunch, visit the floating village of Moat Khla, accessible only by water, and attend a Buddhist blessing ceremony.

Day 8
Tonle Sap Lake / Prek Toal / Siem Reap

Set off by skiff into the 22,000-hectare Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, one of the largest freshwater bodies in Asia and the last refuge in Southeast Asia for large waterbirds like the spot-billed pelicans, milky stork, black-headed ibis and the elusive masked finfoot. Disembarkation.

Itinerary-in-Brief (Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City)

Day 1: Tonle Sap Lake / Siem Reap / Cambodia
Day 2: Tonle Sap Lake / Prek Toal / Moat Khla
Day 3: Tonle Sap Lake /Chhnok Tru / Kampong Chhnang
Day 4: Tonle Sap and Mekong River / Koh Chen / Koh Oknha Tey
Day 5: Mekong River / PHNOM PENH
Day 6: Mekong River / Ka'om Samnor-Vinh Xuong Border Crossing / Chau Doc / My An Hung / Vietnam
Day 7: Binh Thanh / Sa Dec / Cai Be / Mekong River
Day 8: Mekong River / My Tho / Ho Chi Minh

Highlights

Highlights

Cruise the Mekong River aboard a luxury river vessel
Enjoy optional guided cycling tours, kayaking excursions on Kampong Chhnang’s waterways
Explore the World Heritage Site of Tonle Sap Lake during high-and low-water season—both offer unique perspectives on the landscape
Visit Mekong’s famed ‘Silk Island’ to learn how artisans handcraft traditional krama silk from harvesting silk from silkworms to dyeing and weaving the silk on massive wooden looms
Take a local rickshaw through an atmospheric town, ride a traditional sampan fishing boat in a bustling waterway past fishermen on long tail boats

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $9625  
Arrive: Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam (or reverse)
Depart: Siem Reap, Cambodia (or reverse)
Lodging: 7 nights aboard a premier river vessel
Meals: All meals included on board
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Sea Kayaking, Walking, Wildlife & Natural History, Photography, River Cruising, Culinary, Bicycle Tours
Trip Level:

8-day cruise, cultural exploration and walking tours

Other Trips You Might be Interested in: