With its irresistible mix of colourful cultures and rich history, the Mekong River has become one of the most popular long-haul river cruise destinations.
The lack of industry along the banks has kept the Mekong teeming with life. Tonnes of plants, mammals, birds and fish have their home along the river, and a Mekong river cruise is the perfect way to fully experience its wonders.
A Mekong River cruise will take you through a stretch of Cambodia and Vietnam. The beautiful scenery and landscapes will fully immerse you in the culture of this part of the world.
The most popular sailings are between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Siem Reap in Cambodia, with hotel stays in both cities.
Currently, Global River Cruising offers almost 30 different itineraries from 10 different operators. AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Scenic, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Pandaw, Emerald Waterways, APT, WendyWu Tours, G-Adventures and Viking River Cruises all offer journeys along the Mekong. Accordingly, we get a lot of questions here on Global River Cruising about Mekong River cruises. Here are the top five.
What is the best time to travel?
The Mekong delta is in the south of Vietnam, west and south of Ho Chi Min City and experiences two main seasons, the wet season and the dry season. Rainy season is from May to November with the most rain in June/July. It’s very hot and humid. Coolest and driest tends to be November.
Dry and sunny is December to end of April. Prices tend to be highest in Dec through to March as this is seen as the most comfortable weather to travel in this part of South East Asia. Just remember though that if you are aiming to add on other bits to your trip such as Ha Long Bay and Laos, then the weather here will still be different again.
Do I need a visa and if yes, will you help getting it?
If you are travelling in the Mekong Delta then you are travelling to Vietnam and Cambodia. You can start in Cambodia in Siem Reap. Or you can start in Vietnam.
You need a visa for Cambodia but at the moment you don’t need a visa for Vietnam if you are a UK citizen. If you then travel across to Cambodia on the river ship, then the crew will take your passports and this will be done on your behalf.
If you start in Cambodia, then you can get a visa at the airport on arrival. There is an e-visa for Cambodia, but this won’t help if you are travelling to Cambodia from Vietnam on the ship. We are here to help, so don’t worry.
What are the ships like? Are they as good or better as European river cruise ships?
The river ships on the Mekong are nothing like European river cruise ships. They are able to be taller and wider and you generally find that cabins are larger and the numbers on board the vessels are smaller meaning that you can have more space and a larger staff to passenger ratio.
Per night cost in Asia works out very reasonably compared to Europe although the cost of getting there is of course something that needs to be factored in. Again, you can go for authentic or you can go all the way up to ultra luxury with 400 sq ft suites and verandas.
Some will have swimming pools and gyms, some will not but all will have a shady sun deck to sit on and lovely local staff to talk to. As in Europe you get what you pay for but you don’t have to blow the budget to get something really enjoyable.
What activities are included and how fit do I need to be?
From more basic to ultra all-inclusive luxury, there are ships to fit every budget. And you don’t need to be super fit but we do make people aware that often the ships are using very basic local infrastructure and the gang plank maybe placed at an angle against a steep bank.
There is a sense of adventure away from the infinity pool. Most cruises will include a daily excursion within the price. There will also be full board included. Then things like drinks packages can be added and gratuities. The higher the price, the more that is included.
When is the best time to book a Mekong River Cruise? Are there any single supplements?
The best offers are usually further in advance if you want to go at the most popular times of year, so book as early as you can. If you are happy to go in the rainy season, you may pick up a bargain, but then the flights will be more expensive.
There are no single supplements on certain operators, but these go quickly. We’ll always look for the best offers in the market when specifying your best options for a Mekong river cruise.
We’re here to help with your Mekong River Cruise booking!
If you have any questions regarding the best time to go on a Mekong River Cruise, the Mekong River Cruise operators and their itineraries, please do get in touch with Global River Cruising. We’re can save you time by answering all of your questions and take out the hassle of vacation planning.