Home Travel Guide Mekong River Cruise Tour through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

Mekong River Cruise Tour through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

by Jane Sophia
Mekong River Cruise

Cruise Critic and a few other experts on river cruises have published a list of top trending cruises to look into in 2019  which include Mekong River Cruise.

I thought it is a bit late they have published as such trending travel destinations used to come out online during the first fortnight of Jan.

Well, I take it still as a great help for river cruise buffs like me who sits up bolt upright whenever I see recommendations for new river cruise routes or an increase in the duration of a river cruise such as Mekong River Cruise that takes you to the hidden corners of the exotic South East Asian countries.

I am seriously contemplating to buy a two-week Mekong River cruise during this June.

I have curated all that are likely to cross our small cruise ship’s cruise trails and I am happy to share them with you. And I foresee several readers to decide in favor of a shorter Mekong River cruise sometime in 2019.

Mekong River

Staring somewhere in Tibet, the Mekong River flows through:

  • China
  • Burma
  • Thailand
  • Laos
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam

During its lengthy run, it travels 4350 km before joining the South China Sea near Ho Chi Min city in Vietnam.

Mekong River Cruise Viking

The Mekong River is wild and untamed; there are no damns capturing and storing its water for the purposes of:

  • Agriculture
  • Power Generation
  • Drinking water supply

You might have seen the Mekong River in films and documentaries. The water is brown and murky. It has several rapids along its course and a few waterfalls too that form natural tributaries that include:

Nam Khan


Nam Ou


Tonle Sap



Mekong River Cruise Tour through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam

Mekong River Cruise highlights-what to see and where:

You may be surprised to know the lengthy and wild Mekong River doesn’t touch the feet of any major cities that the tourists are generally interested in visiting. That’s the exact reason the Mekong River cruise will be more thrilling than Danube or Rhine river cruises as the Mekong River cruise lets you disembark at some of the exciting villages of all these 3 South Asian countries that it flows through.

Of course, your Mekong River cruise itinerary will take you to all the important tourists attractions in South East Asia that include:

  • Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex
  • Siem Reap
  • Luang Prabang- a very big religious and cultural attraction comprising of stupendously built temples and palaces, numerous UNESCO protected villages, excellent food stalls selling the unique Laotian cuisine, and gift and souvenir shops that compel you to buy something for your home.

Small Cruise Lines that offer Mekong River.

Before we go over the places to see during your Mekong River cruise, I want to apprise you about the small cruise ship companies that offer Mekong River cruise packages starting from just one week tour to the long 3-week cruise on the Mekong River.

Mekong River Cruise Laos

Choose the one that doesn’t take more than 100 passengers; river cruise can be smooth and companionable if the passengers don’t exceed 100. I would say 50 passengers would be ideal for a river cruise ship.

  • AmaWaterways
  • Avalon Waterways
  • Viking River Cruises
  • Emerald Waterways
  • Pandaw River Cruises
  • Aqua Expeditions

Please note that all these small cruise ships operate only on the lower Mekong region that covers Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. The upper Mekong means the turbulent section involving the Himalayan regions of Tibet, China, and Burma, where the navigation is really difficult.

Mekong River cruise Itinerary

Mekong River cruise itinerary includes visiting the following famous tourist landmarks in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

  • Angkor Wat temple complex, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Cai Be Floating Markets-Ho Chi Minh city

Cai Be Floating Markets

The local vendors fill up their barges with fruits and vegetables. The shops that are lining the banks of the Mekong River sell all and sundry that you can buy sitting from your boat.

  • Phnom Penh 

    -the capital of Cambodia

When your cruise lone docks at a convenient port to visit Phnom Penh, your tour guide will take you inland and show you all the sightseeing landmarks such as the Silver Pagoda. You can choose to eat whatever you want in one the numerous street food stalls in Phnom Penh. Mostly, they sell noodles of several flavors changing the meat and the vegetables to suit your preference.

  • Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam. An extraordinary city where the past and the present somehow co-exist that is typical of various cities in Asia. Temples are seen everywhere and street foods stall do brisk business throughout the day starting from 9 am.

  • Ho Chi Minh City-see the old city of Vietnam that was known as Saigon in the past. Tour the Ben Thanh market and Cu Chi tunnels.
  • Khmer Rouge-if you have the heart, visit this

infamous place that witnessed a genocide, not long ago.

  • Chau Doc

This is a town that is situated on your Mekong River route. Your ship will dock here and you can go inside the town and see the Sam Mountain. Other places on interest in Chou Doc are:

*Chau Giang Mosque

*Murbarak Mosque

*Phat Thay An Temple

  • Tra Su Indigo Forest

A boat ride through this greenest forest is the ultimate experience of your Mekong River trip. To see the thick canopy of green cover, you should plan your Mekong River cruise during September and October when the rain pours in torrents.

To conclude the Mekong River cruise, you will see:

  • more of Buddhist temples
  • meet a few Buddhist monks
  • eat a lot of local foods of 3 different countries
  • feel the heat and sweat a lot
  • apply several tubes of mosquito repellent creams
  • see several world class tourist destinations including a few UNESCO World Heritage sites


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