Spanning 4,350 kilometres, the Mekong River is the lifeblood to innumerable communities across Asia. From its icy beginning on the Tibetan Plateau, the river then winds through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before breaking into Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
In Cambodia, seasonally changing water levels result in the unique flow reversal of water into and out of Tonle Sap, a great lake at the heart of the country close to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, which supports millions of people through fishing and farming. Further downstream, Phnom Penh marks the beginning of the delta system of the Mekong River, where the mainstream begins to break up into an increasing number of branches as it fans out into Vietnam.
Along the banks of the vast Delta, rice paddies, fruit orchards, fish farms and floating villages depend on the river’s bounty. The Mekong Delta is a bucolic watery landscape of working villages farming rice, fish, sugarcane, fruit and shrimp.
The best and most comfortable way to experience the Mekong is a refined river cruise with daily guided outings to explore quaint riverside towns, to barter at the colourful floating markets and gain a compelling insight into the rural life in Indochina.
When to go
The best months for a river cruise are November to April to avoid the rains.
What to do
- Discover unfamiliar but delicious fresh fruit at the floating markets.
- Relax as you float through daily life and livelihoods on the Mekong.
- Visit orchards, flower markets and fish farms.