Fisherman, Mekong river, Laos

Mekong River Cruise



14 Days

Prices Start from

£3,550 (ex. flights)

This two week holiday begins in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam before spending seven nights peacefully cruising the majestic Mekong River to the Art Deco sites of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, ending amidst the iconic temples of Angkor. 

A cruise on the Mekong is a wonderful way to experience the rich tapestry of life running through Vietnam and Cambodia. Cruising on a small luxury ship takes it to another level. Passionate and knowledgeable guides on board offer a unique insight into river life and comfortable cabins and guest spaces ensure ever changing panoramas of the river. Beginning the holiday in Ho Chi Minh City and ending in Siem Reap also ensures a dose of city life plus the unmissable magic and mystique of Angkor.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Tuk Tuk, Sri Lanka 1

Phnom Penh by Night

Watch the sun set and explore by tuk tuk, dining in hidden restaurants among locals before coffee on the riverfront.

Outdoor Top Deck Plunge Pool, Aqua Mekong, Mekong Delta, South East Asia 2

Small Luxury Ship

Travel aboard a luxury, small ship with expert guides, delicious cuisine and small group sightseeing.

Small Boat on the Mekong, Mekong Delta, Vietnam 3

River Landscapes

Cruise the Mekong soaking up pastoral landscapes, cycling, visiting floating markets and Buddhist Temples.

Angkor Thom Gate, Angkor Wat, Cambodia 4

Angkor temples

Explore the iconic temples of Angkor, away from the crowds with an expert guide.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1

    Ho Chi Minh (Hotel Des Arts)

  • Day 2

    Ho Chi Minh (Hotel Des Arts)

  • Day 3

    Ho Chi Minh - My Tho - Cai Be (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 4

    Cai Be - Sa Dec - Tan Chau (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 5

    Tan Chau - Border crossing - Phnom Penh (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 6

    Phnom Penh (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 7

    Phnom Penh – Kampong Tralach – Kampong Chhnang (Tonle) (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 8

    Tonle River - Koh Oknha Tey - Kampong Cham (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 9

    Kampong Cham (Mekong Cruise)

  • Day 10

    Kampong Cham - Siem Reap (Shinta Mani Angkor)

  • Days 11 - 13

    Siem Reap (Shinta Mani Angkor)

  • Day 14

    Siem Reap

Day 1

Ho Chi Minh (Hotel Des Arts)

Arrive into Ho Chi Minh and transfer to your accommodation.

Day 2

Ho Chi Minh (Hotel Des Arts)

Spend the day at leisure exploring the city.

Day 3

Ho Chi Minh - My Tho - Cai Be (Mekong Cruise)

Travel 70 kilometres south over land towards My Tho to board your small ship to cruise the Mekong with expert guides, delicious cuisine and small group sightseeing. Relax onboard while cruising upstream before arriving into the historic 19th Century town of Cai Be.

Day 4

Cai Be - Sa Dec - Tan Chau (Mekong Cruise)

Visit the floating market in Cai Be and explore the green canal network, watching the farmers working in the fields. Afternoon arrival into Binh Thanh Island, home to several traditional communities before sailing on to Tan Chau.

Day 5

Tan Chau - Border crossing - Phnom Penh (Mekong Cruise)

Explore the vibrant town of Tan Chau by local vehicles called “xelois”.  Visit a floating fish market by local boat before sailing towards the Vietnamese-Cambodian border and on into the Cambodian countryside towards Phnom Penh.

Day 6

Phnom Penh (Mekong Cruise)

Spend the day exploring Phnom Penh including the historic Killing Fields and “S21” prison. Afternoon visits to the Royal Palace and the National Museum. Evening onboard includes a fascinating lecture on modern Cambodian history.

Day 7

Phnom Penh – Kampong Tralach – Kampong Chhnang (Tonle) (Mekong Cruise)

Before sunrise, cruise towards Kampong Tralach through the jungle like landscape of the Tonle River. Take an ox-powered journey through rice-paddy fields to visit a tiny village school. Continue cruising to the floating village of Kampong Chhnang.

Day 8

Tonle River - Koh Oknha Tey - Kampong Cham (Mekong Cruise)

Visit the island of Koh Oknha Tey, in the middle of the Mekong and known for its manufacturing of high-class silk products. Experience a monks’ blessing ceremony before sailing towards the small Angkor Ban village. Continue cruising while dinner is served and overnight at Kampong Cham.

Day 9

Kampong Cham (Mekong Cruise)

After breakfast, visit the enchanting pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Hanchey – formerly built to honour the Hindu god, Hirahara, the hilltop complex is now a Buddhist temple. Observe daily life of the young, novice monks who live on the compound. Later visit the tranquil monastery of Wat Nokor.

Day 10

Kampong Cham - Siem Reap (Shinta Mani Angkor)

Disembark the boat after breakfast and transfer around four to five hours to Siem Reap, arriving early afternoon. Check into your accommodation.

Days 11 - 13

Siem Reap (Shinta Mani Angkor)

Constructed over a period of 30 years, Angkor Wat is the largest religious complex in the world. Spend three days exploring the temples away from the crowds with an expert guide. Beyond the temples lies a rural landscape of rice paddies and traditional villages easily explored on foot of by bicycle.

Day 14

Siem Reap

Transfer to the airport for onward travels.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

River Life, Song Xanh Sampan, Mekong Delta, Cambodia
Floating market trader on the Mekong
Boat Bow, Mekong River, Laos
Mekong river life
Close up of golden silk hanging to try.
Golden silk in Cambodia

The Mekong Delta

Much of life in Southeast Asia revolves around the mighty Mekong River. Snaking over 2,700 miles through several countries including China, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, it finally empties into the sea at its extreme southern end, in southwestern Vietnam. On the river it is possible to experience whole towns floating on rafts, explore remote stilted villages untouched by the modern world, expansive paddy fields and many local artisans weaving, making paper and silk. Also keep your eyes peeled for birdlife and on some parts of the river, the notoriously shy river dolphin.

Pandaw Cruises, The Mekong Laos to China,China
Pandaw Cruises

Mekong Boat Options

We have included Heritage Line Jahan in this itinerary – brimming with character and Anglo Indian decor, all cabins have a private balcony and the Jahan has the added attraction of a sun deck and jacuzzi pool. If seeking a more contemporary option the Aqua Mekong offers Michelin standard cuisine and a staff to guest ratio of 1:1. RV Mekong Pandaw operated one of the inaugural cruises on the Mekong and the 24 colonial style cabins, each with French balcony windows is one of the most spacious ships on the Mekong with wide promenades and plenty of public space.

Three and four night cruises are also an option.

Stilt Houses, Ream National Park, Cambodia
Stilted houses in Cambodia

Guides and Experiences Onboard your Cruise

The onboard expedition teams include local guides who know every historic and cultural tradition on the Mekong. Onshore excursions include travel by skiff, bicycle, rickshaw and tuk-tuk taking in colourful floating markets, gilded pagodas and rural life among the paddy fields. An insight into the local culture and Khmer history is also ensured with time spent among local village people and Buddhist monks.

Planting Rice, Cambodia
Rice planting in Cambodia

Angkor Wat and Country Life with Locals

Disembark your cruise in Siem Reap and spend three days exploring the magnificent temple complex of Angkor taking sunset drinks or a light breakfast amidst some of the less known ruins. Beyond Siem Reap and the temples is some beautiful rural countryside, much of which is rarely explored by visitors to the country. Join former tuk tuk driver and self-taught photographer Mr Kimleng for a day hearing about his life in Cambodia and capturing images of vibrant villages, lush paddy fields and local people working the land.

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

Heritage Line boats operate eco-friendly waste management systems, have eliminated single-use plastics on-board, and outfitted their boats with state-of-the-art water treatment technology.

This itineraries includes experiences designed to have a positive impact on communities, simultaneously promoting the local culture and traditions while advocating social equality and supporting underprivileged or marginalized groups.

By staying at Shinta Manu Angkor, USD$5 of each night booked goes towards the Shinta Mani Foundation. A registered local NGO (Non-Government Organization), the Shinta Mani Foundation focusses on contributing to three core areas within the local community: education, small business start-ups and healthcare.

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Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Shinta Mani Angkor £££££

  • Cambodia
  • City

Shinta Mani Angkor is an eclectic and contemporary boutique hotel created by acclaimed architect Bill Bensley.

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

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