Exploring Indochina on a luxury river cruises used to be a holiday that has been planned only for hardened adventure vacation makers. If you were planning to set off beyond the outer limits of urban centres, you had to be ready to brave the elements and the discomfort that came with it. Experiencing rural villages and remote communities usually meant ditching the vehicles, the air conditioning and the indoor plumbing and embarking on foot into the wilderness. In the end, the discomfort usually equaled an unforgettable cultural experience, but not without a few mosquito bites or sore feet as a souvenir.
And while braving the elements and setting off into the wilderness in Southeast Asia is still a big part of what we do offer on our Indochina tour, we don’t think that experiencing traditional communities in our destinations should only be for those ready to lace up their trekking boots. After all, many of Southeast Asia’s most fascinating destinations and or attractions are well within our reach via the region’s natural highways — that is, right on the banks of the Delta of Mekong!
Small riverside villages along the Delta have sprung up along the banks of nearly every waterway in Indochina peninsula, large and small. Getting to those fascinating destinations, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos as well as Thailand further afield is just a matter of finding the right cruise to discover the secrets with. Thankfully, Southeast Asia’s riverside destinations had already perfected the art of river sailing centuries before, and gave us all of the inspiration we could ever need.
Aboard our fleet of converted rice barges, traditional sampans, magnificent wooden junks and even a few speedboats, we like to think that our luxury river cruises are more than just a means of transportation. They’re a holiday experience! Out of all of the destinations throughout Southeast Asia, these are our favourite destinations to skip the roads and take to the waves instead.
Mekong Delta, Vietnam
As the most important agricultural region in Vietnam, the communities and cultures in the heart of the Mekong Delta are some of the most fascinating in the country. Plenty of the families here have passed down traditional farming and fishing methods through generations, and some of the floating villages and markets here seems they haven’t changed in centuries. It’s lucky for travellers, who can get a glimpse at what authentic Vietnamese life looks like without having to venture more than a day or two out of urban Ho Chi Minh City. The best way to do it? By booking a Mekong Delta tour, of course
While a whole lot of the Mekong Delta is only reached by busy highways on land, getting to them by the river is a wholly illuminating experience. Most river cruises make short stops along their voyages to visit floating markets, fishing villages and rice plantations that are quintessential Vietnam. Even beyond land is a whole flurry of culture on the water itself — it’s not uncommon to see boat workers perched on stacks of rice or bamboo as it chugs down the river on board a rice barge. If you’re looking to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination in the Delta, do it by swapping roads for waves.
Explore the Mekong Delta with us onboard the one of the best selection of our carefully chosen Mekong delta tour while experience a converted rice barge that’s spent its time on the Mekong as both a working boat and now as a travel cruiser. What’s best, though, is where it ends up — the cruise sets sail down the Delta of Mekong and past sleepy riverside villages to arrive in Ben Tre, the dreamy Mekong township famous for its chocolate rivers and mangrove forests.
In addition, the Mekong River cruises are almost crossing the mighty waterways from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh by sailing through the Tonle Sap river to reach to the Siem Reap, home to the magnificent Angkor Wat temples. Our 13 day cruise voyages from Saigon to Siem Reap allow you to get on board a cruise and experience all these on a single magnificent holiday.
Si Phan Don (4000 Islands), Laos
Laos is one of the few countries in Indochina that is completely land locked, but for what it lacks in coastline and beaches it surely makes up for in cultures and scenery, which, I would say it will amaze you on every single day of your journey. But like most of its neighboring countries, Laos is home to the mighty Mekong River too. Unlike the rest, though, it’s also home to the incredible Si Phan Don, or 4000 Islands. To call the collection of islands in this southern Laotian section of the Mekong River a scenic gem would be an understatement.
Plenty of its islands are travel destinations on their own (with Khong Island one of the most famous) but experiencing the scenery of the entire area requires more than just a transfer ferry to and from each. Si Phan Don is an incredible destination as a whole, but one that should experience from the water. When it comes to Mekong River experiences, Si Phan Don is certainly unique. Many of our Laos journeys include a cruise in Si Phan Don, with plenty of stops to the best islands along the way.