Orange and pink sunset on a Mekong River cruise

Mekong River - Best Tours & Trips 2019

Mekong River cruises offer a passing panorama of temples, rural villages, big cities, rice fields, and floating markets in two countries, Vietnam and Cambodia. Some itineraries also include land forays into Laos and Thailand as well. A Mekong voyage typically starts in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, and stops at the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh before ending in Siem Reap, Cambodia, gateway to Angkor Wat, the 12th-century complex of stone structures that’s the world’s largest religious monument. You'll also have opportunities to view river dolphins, wats, monasteries and pagodas.

View All Mekong River Trips  
X
Unlock Member Savings

In order to see Stride Select deals you must sign in. We’ve negotiated with many of the world’s best travel companies to save you money! Get the best experiences, save up to $700 per person, and be a hero to your travel companions!

or
or
Provide email and Password

We respect your privacy and take great care to protect your information. By joining you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Already a member?

With FREE membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
See member program details

Top Mekong River Experiences and Attractions


Top Mekong River Experiences

view more

Mekong River Trip Reviews


63
Mekong River Tour Reviews - Summary
100% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 45 Great 18 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 0
Value
4.7 Guide
4.7 Activities
4.7 Lodging
4.7 Transportation
4.7 Meals
4.7

A

Recommends

Thai Indochina Tour October 2018

5.0

Thai Indochina Grand Tour

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
It was amazing, I did things, saw places and ate food I never thought I
would. It was probably the best adventure I’ve ever had and I did it with
a fabulous group of people.
I think it was seeing Angkor Wat, although we didn’t manage to see the
sunrise, it was overcast. The temple was something else.


We had three group leaders during the trip. They were all very good. The
tour leader we had for Cambodia was brilliant, she really went the extra mile
for us and was so pleasant and amusing.


Pack a lot lighter than I did, be prepared for more cold weather than you
expect, we had it pretty cool for best part of two weeks. Especially when you
are on the water. There’s lots of laundry opportunities.


The money can be confusing because of the amount of notes, usually about
eleven different ones, most places are more than happy with dollars. No
coins.


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

KA

Recommends

I would highly recommend this trip March 2018

5.0

Bike, Hike & Kayak Cambodia

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Our guide Bratna was fantastic, friendly and full of local information. There were many highlights. I particularly enjoyed the kayaking and the jungle hike, sleeping in hammocks. This trip packs a lot in. Read more

Operator World Expeditions

A

Recommends

Fantastic trip February 2018

5.0

Thai Indochina Grand Tour

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Brilliant trip, great balance between cycling and cultural. Our leader "Is"
was wonderful - she stops traffic with a wave of her hand and big smile! We
were really well looked after.
The hotels vary a bit with most being very comfortable, one or two in out of
the way places are just OK. All were clean, en-suite and had air-con.
We visited markets, got top try a range of "food" - I'm veggie, so skiped the
meat bit (some it had 6 or even 8 legs). As a veggie, Is always made sure I
had a suitable meal.
The bikes were heavy mountain bikes, in excellent condition in Thailand, less
so in Cambodia and Vietnam. The cycling is all flat, there are couple of long
days, but we all managed.
My advice, book it. Its a great trip.
So many. I love the cycling, with 3 guides we were able to push teh pace a
little while no leaving anyone behind. Siem Reap and the temples were great,
but so was everywhere else. The killing fields was the most moving. While
upsetting, it I do feel it was the right thing to include it in the trip.

Weaving through traffic in Siem Reap, its utter chaos, but everyone gives way
to each other and somehow it just works.

I think the abiding memory will be the huge and warm welcome we got from the
locals, the kids hi-fiving us as we rode past, lunch at one of the cycle
guide's mum's house (best meal of the trip).


Is, our leader, was tireless, hard working, great fun, and made sure we all
had a great time. We owe her a massive thank you, she really made the trip.


I read a lot of other reviews and lot of them mentioned the bike seats. I
dismissed them at the time,a mistake. I don't know why, they look OK, but oh
my bum!

Take Thai Bart, US dollars for Cambodia. In Vietnam there is a good exchange
near the hotel that takes £ $ and I guess a lot more.


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

A

Recommends

Thai Indochina Grand Tour February 2018

4.0

Thai Indochina Grand Tour

  • Value 4.0
  • Guide 4.0
  • Activities 4.0
  • Lodging 4.0
  • Transportation 4.0
  • Meals 4.0
If you want to get a taste of the 4 countries, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and
Cambodia, this is the tour for you.
The accommodation was brilliant throughout, with a variety from riverside
hotels to overnight boat on Halong Bay to homestay and lastly, the most
restful of all, the overnight Reunification Express from Hanoi to Hue.
The tour leaders were very professional and, in particular in Cambodia,
Vanthe was both passionate and knowledgeable about his country. in fact, in
many ways Cambodia was the highlight as the scenery, people and places we
visited were beyond our expectations.
This trip provides an excellent taster of what Indochina has to offer and we
are considering revisiting Laos and Cambodia at some time in the future.
The most inspirational moment was undoubtedly Cambodia and the way the people
have bounced back and proved so resilient from all the recent devastation,
both in terms of population and habitat.
In addition the passion with which Vanthe spoke about the history and people
was both refreshing and eye opening.


We had 3 different group leaders. All were excellent, in their own way.
They were backed up by individual guides in the various places visited, who
were prepared to open up their hearts and souls to inform us of their
countries and knowledge of the places visited.


Do not hesitate. Book the trip immediately.


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

A

Recommends

Great Thai Indochina trip January 2018

5.0

Thai Indochina Grand Tour

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Excellent trip for those wanting to see and do as bike rides and kayaking
included with the sightseeing.
Ha Long Bay stunning.
Angkor complex amazing.


Different group leader for each country though Boom covered both Thailand and
Laos and was great.


Angkor though the highlight of the trip comes right at the very end when you
may be tired and "all templed out".


I was the only one from our group who did the optional activity at Ock Pop
Tok of a day learning about natural dyeing and weaving. It was a great day
and perhaps this option should be pushed more.


Read more

Operator Exodus Travels

Mekong River Tours and Travel Guide


Mekong River Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Mekong River cruises offer a passing panorama of temples, rural villages, big cities, rice fields, and floating markets in two countries, Vietnam and Cambodia. Some itineraries also include land forays into Laos and Thailand as well.

A Mekong voyage typically starts in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, and stops at the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh before ending in Siem Reap, Cambodia, gateway to Angkor Wat, the 12th-century complex of stone structures that’s the world’s largest religious monument. You'll also have opportunities to view river dolphins, wats, monasteries and pagodas.

Mekong River cruises vary quite a bit in scope and length. Unless you’re taking an extended trip via Thailand or Laos, a Mekong voyage typically starts in either Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) or Hanoi, Vietnam, and stops at the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh before ending in Siem Reap, Cambodia, or returning to their embarkation point in Vietnam. 

Some cruises reverse the order and start and end in Siem Reap, Cambodia, best known as the gateway to Angkor Wat, the vast 12th-century religious complex of stone structures that’s the most indispensable stop on a Mekong River itinerary.

Cruises generally allow ample port time to explore Hanoi, Saigon, and Phnom Penh, where many of the sights – typically seen via shore excursion – center around the wars and killing fields that ravaged Vietnam and Cambodia a half century ago. With most of the countries’ populations born well after the wars, however, you’re likely to encounter little anti-American feeling. On the contrary, people are generally very friendly and eager to strike up conversations. 

Beyond the cities and world-class icons, though, you’ll also find long, peaceful stretches of river that reveal the everyday life of Southeast Asia. Buddhist temples and monasteries, saffron-clad monks, children splashing in the river, small boats with entire families hawking fish and trinkets, houses built on stilts…the sights are riveting. Lush vegetation lines the river in many areas, and you may spot river dolphins, monkeys, and other wildlife.

English-speaking cruise lines that ply the Mekong include Viking, Pandaw, Uniworld, Avalon, AMAWaterways, CroisiEurope, and Vantage Deluxe World Travel.

Classic Mekong River Cruise Routes

Mekong River tours have three usual routes: Ho Chi Minh City - Siem Reap, Siem Reap - Ho Chi Minh City, and Hanoi - Siem Reap. Most of the tours will be between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. But there are tours that include stops in Hanoi and Bangkok as pre or post cruise stops. Those cruises will include some flying time between the cities.

For voyages that are between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, stops along the river include Tan Chau, Phnom Penh, Toul Sleng, and Cai Be. These cruises last at least 13 days and include multiple chances to get off and explore the countryside and explore rice paddy fields, pagodas, temples, and markets.

To experience more of Vietnam, cruises that begin in Hanoi include multiple cultural destinations down the Vietnamese coast. Some stops include the modern capital city of Hanoi, the French inspired shopping city of Hoi An, and the breathtaking water of Ha Long Bay. These tend to be closer to 20 days in length to accommodate the additional stops in northern Vietnam. But the trips still include the main highlights on the Mekong River.

What to Pack for a Mekong River Cruise

Mekong River tours are much more casual than river cruises in Europe. Since you will be in more remote locations in warm weather, lightweight clothes that dry quickly will be best. With the warm weather and religious sites, shorts, pants, and dresses will all be needed.

If you’re traveling during the wet season, don’t forget a rain jacket or umbrella to keep back those downpours. Umbrellas may be provided by the tour companies, but it’s best to pack one as well. Many of the excursions include uneven walking so packing good walking shoes will be a essential to keeping you comfortable.

Southeast Asia is known for its high amount of mosquitos, especially during the summer, so bring plenty of bug spray (and reapply). The sun is extremely hot on the Mekong River and most of the day trips will have you outside enjoying the villages. Packing sunscreen is a must at all times of the year.

Many of the side trips include visits to temples or pagodas. Include clothes that will cover your shoulders and knees and aren’t see-through to wear to the religious sites, including Angkor Wat.

The Mekong River has some of the most beautiful river landscapes in the world. Photographers will go crazy over the stunning river views and vibrant colors of the villages so don’t forget your camera and extra storage so you don’t miss anything!

Top Cultural Attractions Along the Mekong

With the Mekong River being the largest river in Southeast Asia, there are plenty of cultural stops and experiences along the way. Dotted along the Mekong River are sprawling metropolitan cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh, and the cultural stops of Angkor Wat and Toul Sleng. The best Mekong River cruise will include a combination of large cities, small villages, and cultural hotspots.

1. Angkor WatIt is a world of spiritual towers, domes, and hallways. Angkor Wat is a sprawling 12-century religious complex that was the center of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia. Get ready to enter a spiritual oasis as the temple complex sits in the middle of the jungle surrounded by a 3 mile moat and is a city in and of itself.

2. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) - Where East meets West. Saigon (now called Ho Chi Minh City) is a blend of the modern, technological world and the traditions of the past. With over 8 million people, Ho Chi Minh City is a perfect stepping off point for any Mekong River cruise. The city is an introduction to the Vietnamese culture and traditions. But watch out for those scooters, they tend to offroad and drive on the sidewalks.

3. Phnom PenhWith a combination of French and Asian influence, Phnom Penh is a unique cultural experience and the heart of Cambodia. Wide boulevards are dotted with French colonial buildings, Khmer-style temples, and modern skyscrapers. It assaults all of your senses at the same time, especially taste. Phnom Penh is full of traditional and new dishes to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.   

4. Cai BeGet ready for an experience like no other. The floating markets of Cai Be are one of the highlights of any Mekong River tour. Local sellers and wholesalers sell their clothing, fresh produce, and crafts to locals and tourists alike off their large barges. Don’t forget to take your camera for pictures or money for a fresh mango.

5. Toul SlengToul Sleng is a frequent stop on the Mekong River and houses the important Toul Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum is a former prison that was used during the Khmer Rouge regime. You can visit the historical museum to learn about the atrocities and daily life of prisoners of the Khmer Rouge as much of the museum is the same as when it was a prison.

6. Siem Reap - The gateway to Angkor Wat. Siem Reap is the beginning or end to most Mekong River trips. Take a day to explore the historical Old Town, cultural village, shops, or rice paddies that surround the city. It is a growing city with its central location and being the starting point for trips into the Angkor region.

Top Activities on a Mekong River Cruise

A Mekong River tour is chock full of day trips and activities along the way. There is no shortage of physical activities, relaxation, or shopping that can’t be done while on your trip.

1. City SightseeingWith metropolitan cities as Hanoi, Siem Reap, and Ho Chi Minh City included in the tours, it provides ample opportunity to experience the modern world in Southeast Asia. Each of these cities have modern city centers, historical museums, old towns, and architectural neighborhoods just waiting to be discovered.

2. Biking and Cooking Classes - Down the Mekong River there will be plenty of occasions to get out and stretch the legs on stops. Some trips include bikes available to scoot around the village and discover the local way of life. Other day trips include cooking classes to try your hand at making traditional Vietnamese or Cambodian cuisine.

3. Shopping Along the Mekong River - Southeast Asia is a well-known hotspot for shopping. Hours can be lost exploring the massive Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City, the floating markets in Cai Be, or the countless souvenir shops in Siem Reap. For tours that include Hoi An, make sure to spend plenty of time in the custom-made clothing shops that make up the French quarter of the city.

4. Religious Temples - For those interested in religious temples and shrines, both the major cities and small villages along the Mekong River will not disappoint. Multi-colored pagodas and temples spring up along the landscape of the river or are nestled amongst the skyscrapers of the larger cities. Wear clothes that cover your shoulders and legs for the temples and pagodas.

Mekong River Regions

The Mekong River flows through six countries in Asia: China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia. However, most Mekong River cruises will primarily be in southern Vietnam and Cambodia where the Mekong River delta is located. Longer tours include stops in Laos or Thailand before or after the cruise.

1. Cambodia RegionThe Cambodia region of the Mekong River is mostly flat and covered with rice paddies and green jungle. In northern Cambodia, waterfalls dot the river and make for more difficult travel. Small fishing villages sit near the riverside and local fishermen frequent the river. Unique to Cambodia, the flow of the river changes between the high and low season due to water levels.

2. Vietnam RegionThe main delta of the Mekong River sits just west of Ho Chi Minh City creating a web of little rivers and islands. The delta region is quite brown due to over-logging, but heading up the Mekong River from the delta, the land is full of lush greenery and overhanging branches.

Food Along the Mekong River

Food along the Mekong River tells the story of the lifestyle and history of the region. While much of the cuisine in this region is based off of broth, there is much more to be discovered.

One of the main sources of food in the region is the Mekong River. Fish is the primary protein in Cambodian cuisine and most of the fish eaten are freshwater fish. Famous Cambodian dishes, amok and prahok, are based off of fish from the river.

Broth-based meals, such as pho and kuy teav, are extremely popular in this region. These soups usually include rice noodles, a protein, spices, and some vegetable garnishes. Variations of these broth bowls can be found up and down the river and the warm soup even provides a nice facial.

A local food technique that has spread across the world is fermentation. Fermented spices and vegetables are a base for Southeastern cuisine and can be found in both Vietnamese and Cambodian food frequently.

Before you leave Vietnam, make sure to try one its most famous dishes, the banh mi. Banh mi is a French-inspired baguette sandwich that is traditionally filled with pate, cilantro, pickled carrots, green onions, and spreads. It’s the perfect quick lunch or pick me up.

Along the river make sure to partake in something quintessential Southeast Asian, street food. You’ll be able to find street food markets in both the major cities and small villages selling banh mi, grilled insects, broth bowls, sweet cakes, and anything you could want on a stick. Just make sure it has been cooked and hasn’t been sitting out too long in the hot sun.

Related Trips & Tours


Top Mekong River Travel Companies


Things to Know Before You Go


All Mekong River cruises, tours, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all Mekong River trips.

91 trips from 43 tour companies with 63 reviews

More Mekong River Guided Tours

View All Mekong River Trips
×
×
Sign in to Save Trips
Welcome back! We're so happy to see you. ? Forgot Password?
Don't have an account? Join
  • Bookmark trips you like
  • Share with your travel companions
  • Track price changes
  • Access private discounts on trips you save
×
Sign in to see your results

TripFinder is a member-only feature. Don’t worry, it’s free!

With a membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
×
Activate your free Stride membership

Just use the email address and password provided in the email we sent.

? Forgot Password?

With your free membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
First name is required!
Last name is required!
First name is not valid!
Last name is not valid!
This is not an email address!
Email address is required!
This email is already registered!
Please enter valid email address
Password is required!
Enter a valid password!
Please enter 6 or more characters!
Please enter 16 or less characters!
Passwords are not the same!
Terms and Conditions are required!
Email or Password is wrong!
Please select the captcha checkbox!
Please select the valid captcha!
Something went wrong! Try again later!