Many boats cruise the historic Mekong River. Now, you can experience life on the Mekong in ultimate luxury. Aqua Expeditions, a leader in small ship luxury cruising on the Amazon since 2007, will launch the same five-star river cruise experience on the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia.
A luxury cruise on the Mekong River transports travelers into a different world, as you float by a sleek river boat through Vietnam and Cambodia, two of Indochina’s loveliest countries. Your tour by river will take you past bustling cities and small villages, as you experience the equally rich, but very different cultures of these two countries.
Your journey along the Mekong River will take you through Vietnam, starting in bustling Ho Chi Minh City, (also known by its former name of Saigon). Because the Indochina Peninsula was colonized by the French in the mid-19th century, it is still possible to see traces of the French culture in the local food and fine wines. This exotic blending of cultures enables you to can enjoy fresh croissants, café au lait, and a good Pinot Noir or Cabernet, while also sampling fresh Vietnamese cuisine, sipping the local beer, and watching early risers do traditional tai chi out of doors in the early morning. You will float past colorful local fishing villages and explore flooded forests, see towns made famous by the Vietnam War, and experience lovely Vietnamese cities (including one, Sa Dec, where the French writer Marguerite Duras lived and wrote) .
Visitors will find a delightful contrast between the bustling south in Vietnam and the quieter, more traditional north, which remained in isolation for some time after the Vietnam War ended, almost 40 years ago. Today, visitors marvel at Vietnam’s vibrant economy. Saigon ( officially Ho Chi Minh City) is a sea of skyscrapers, many bearing the names of international—often U.S-based—companies. The city of Hanoi, with its European-style mansions and broad boulevards, still retains its French colonial flavor, amidst the hustle-bustle of a city with a growing Asian economy. And Danang, once home to a major U.S. airbase, as well as to China Beach, was made famous by the television show of the same name. The former imperial capital of Vietnam, the city of Hue, with its picturesque tombs and pagodas will delight you as will Halong Bay with its graceful limestone karsts. Dalat in the Central Highlands (a key site in the Tet Offensive) are other lovely stops that you can make in Vietnam.
Your Mekong river cruise will also take you into Cambodia, an emerging destination that has been visited only by the well-traveled few. You will have the opportunity to explore the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s lovely capital with its elegant French colonial architecture, and visit isolated villages by motorized tender where the local Cambodian people live in stilt houses above the water. Optional post-trip extensions not include in our cruise rates will allow you do a more in-depth exploration of the Cambodian countryside away from the river, including visits to such must-see destination as Angkor Wat in Cambodia; the lovely city of Siem Reap; the city of Sihanoukville with its lovely beaches.