Where to? Vietnam and Cambodia
Why you’ll love it: The mighty Mekong is Asia’s longest river, stretching 2,700 miles through most of Southeast Asia — China, Tibet, Yunnan, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
If you don’t have much more than a long weekend, opt for a short three-day journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, which will showcase floating villages, jungles and rural regions along the way — not to mention the famous 12th-century ruins of Angkor Wat and historic capital of Phnom Penh.
Another popular stretch is the Lower Mekong, where several boutique river boats float through Vietnam and Cambodia in relaxing week-long trips. This Cambodia-Vietnam route typically makes stops in major cities such as Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Ho Chi Minh City, and includes a host of onshore excursions — anything from hiking through lush forests, spotting wildlife, exploring stilt villages to peeking into Buddhist monasteries.
The region’s appeal — with its varied landscapes, alluring temples, ruins, food and culture — has given rise to a wave of boutique operators that’ll ferry you around the river in style. If you’re going for all-out luxury, then check out the itineraries on board Aqua Mekong, which boasts 20 air-conditioned suites, menus by famed chef David Thompson, a spa, a library and games room, and an observation deck with a plunge pool and bar.
Several colonial-inspired river boats from companies such as Pandaw River Cruises, Mekong River Cruises and Viking River Cruises also offer intimate experiences, generally with fewer than 50 guests on board.
Fun fact: Typically, Mekong River cruise fares are all-inclusive of food, drinks and excursions. So don’t hold back!
Get there: Cathay Dragon flies direct to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, while Vietnam Airlines connects with Ho Chi Minh City.
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