MEKONG Luxury RIVER CRUISE
A Small-ship Luxury Cruise along the Mekong River
Vietnam & Cambodia Itineraries – 4 & 7 nights
Every itinerary on the luxury small ship, Aqua Mekong, is designed to offer an enjoyable and deeply insightful experience of the stunning Mekong region.
Culture and civilizations have flourished around great rivers throughout history, and the Mekong is no exception. The opportunity to discover rich heritage and traditions enriched by 2,000 years of human history is what makes the Mekong river cruise one of Asia’s most epic and worthwhile journeys on water.
A traveler cruising the Mekong is in close pursuit of a glorious past, retracing significant human accomplishments and cultural highs. From the flourishing of the Khmer empire from the 9th to 15th century to the prominence of Theravada Buddhism in present-day Cambodia and Vietnam, this is one of the few cultural destinations on Earth that’s best explored on a river voyage.
With our expert English-speaking guides and local connections, we’re able to reveal a more authentic side of Cambodia and Vietnam, offering fresh perspectives and deeper insight for a truly rewarding journey.
Within each itinerary, activities are also highly personalized. Guests can choose from different excursions throughout the day, and follow a dedicated guide on small-group explorations that set off on Aqua Mekong’s own private skiffs. At the pace you desire, we make it possible to experience the beauty and culture of the Mekong River in comfort and exclusivity.
And no matter what travel plans you have in mind, you can find a luxury cruise itinerary that suits your schedule. Begin by exploring the various itineraries for Aqua Mekong river cruises, which sail from Vietnam to Cambodia and vice versa, or within Cambodia. Itineraries depart from Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap.
CONTACT US for more information, dates, itineraries (4 & 7 nights), pricing, etc.
Day 1: Marina My Tho Port – Ho Chi Minh
We will collect you at the Ho Chi Minh meeting point and transfer you by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where we will welcome you aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.
7-Night Aqua Cruise Itinerary from $9675 USD per person
DAY 2: Binh Thanh/sa Dec – My An Hung
Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras’ legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local’s home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometer biking option is also available.
DAY 3: Chau Doc – Vinh Xuong –Ka’om Samnor Border
Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18 kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while we cross the border.
DAY 4: Koh Oknha Tey – Preah Prosop
On this river of time, we admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, we board our marine-grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.
DAY 5: Phnom Penh
We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.
Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.
DAY 6: Koh Chen – Kampong Prasat
In the silversmith village of Koh Chen, we watch artisans producing the magnificent silverware favored by Khmer royalty. We continue to Udong, the royal capital from the 17-19th centuries, where we learn about a uniquely challenging Buddhist practice at the Vipassana Dhura Mandala, a meditation center. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Kampong Prasat offers a close up perspective on local lives and their riverside environment.
DAY 7: Kampong Chhnang – Kampong Tralach
In the cooler hours, we head into the lush countryside to visit traditional potters and palm-sugar producers, astride mountain bikes, or chauffeured by shaded tuk-tuk. Into the rice paddies, we pedal to watch wizened masters scale sky-piercing palms towering over us. Cruise across the glassy water and disembark among the lotuses for an ox-cart ride along the Tonle Sap riverbanks, past lacquered wooden houses where during these dry months residents take refuge in the relative cool of these outdoor impromptu living rooms.
DAY 8: Mekong River – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap
Customized exploration of Phnom Penh and disembarkation. Airplane transfers are provided if you would like to continue your Cambodian adventure to Siem Reap and its ancient lost city of Angkor Wat. Guests will be fully escorted by our guides in a luxury car transfer to Phnom Penh Airport.
SIEM REAP FLIGHT EXTENSION
During low water season, cruise vessels are not able to travel up to the Tonle Sap Lake due to the water level. Airplane transfers via Cambodian Angkor Air are included in your cruise fare in order to continue your Cambodian adventure with us to Siem Reap and its ancient lost city of Angkor Wat. Requests for flight changes and/or upgrades are not available. Please kindly inform our Reservations team should you choose to remain in Phnom Penh after disembarkation.
Note: All itineraries are subject to change, due to weather and other conditions.
Embark on a cultural odyssey through Cambodia and Vietnam aboard the finest of river cruise ships in Asia.
A magnificent presence on the Mekong river, Aqua Mekong showcases modern architecture and interiors by renowned architect Noor Design. The Mekong River Cruise ship’s 20 spacious, air-conditioned suites (40 passengers max) feature full-length windows that offer spectacular panoramas of the ever-changing Mekong scenery. Aqua Mekong also received the coveted Gold Award in the Architecture/New Build category in the 2015 Asia Hotel Design Awards. With its commitment to safety and comfort, Aqua Mekong remains the leader in Cambodia and Vietnam luxury cruises. Check out the cruises HERE.
As the Aqua Mekong charts a luxurious passage across Cambodia and Vietnam, onboard guests embark on an inspiring journey of local flavors with a dining experience crafted by Michelin-starred consulting chef David Thompson. The ship’s bar menu, created by renowned spirit experts and cocktail designers Proof & Co, echoes a similar locally-minded philosophy.
Aqua Mekong guarantees the utmost safety, comfort, and exclusivity for off-shore excursions, as Aqua Expeditions owns and operates the only private fleet of launch boats on the Mekong river. The four ergonomically-designed launch boats bring guests on highly personalized day trips to explore the Mekong delta. Cruise your Mekong river boat to landmarks, temples, and villages where tradition, spirituality, and craftsmanship reside.
CONTACT US for more information about the Mekong River Cruise
RIVER CRUISE INCLUSIONS:
BEST TIME TO VISIT:
The tropical climate of Cambodia and Vietnam means temperatures are warm year-round, which makes cruising even more appealing as temperatures on the Mekong can be 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) lower. Excursions aboard the Aqua Mekong are also organized to take advantage of pleasant weather during certain times of the day.
On the Aqua Mekong, cruises run year-round. Sailing aboard a river cruise ship on the Mekong, travelers also find that there’s always something fascinating to experience throughout the year.
Unlike the usual summer or winter, the Mekong river has two distinct seasons: low water and high water. This refers to the water levels of the Mekong river, which during the high season from mid-August to November receive increased flows originating from the Tibetan highlands and China.
The key difference for travelers to the Mekong is that, during the high water season, the Tonle Sap lake becomes accessible to river cruise ships because the Tonle Sap river connects the lake to the Mekong swells. Guests who travel on the Aqua Mekong during this period can visit floating villages and the Prek Toal Bird Reserve. Ships can also dock on the shores of the lake, just 45-minutes away from Siem Reap. The eight-month low water season from December through to mid-August sees a lower water level in the Mekong and reduced flows. The Tonle Sap lake is inaccessible from the Mekong via the Tonle Sap river during this period, making the lake inaccessible to river cruise ships. That said, this period is also an opportunity to see a quieter side of local life on the Tonle Sap lake.
This brings us to an important point: Why do other river cruise lines still claim to sail to and from Siem Reap during the low water season? That’s because the itineraries that do so require guests to endure an unpleasant six-hour road journey by road from a distant port on the Mekong to Siem Reap.
Aqua Mekong, on the other hand, only docks at Phnom Penh in Cambodia (other than Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam) during the low water season while offering itineraries that still take you upriver to amazing excursions on the Tonle Sap river. Docking at Phnom Penh’s city centre lets travelers to take a quick 45-minute flight from the capital to Siem Reap if they wish, compared to a back-breaking six-hour bus ride on uneven country road.
All said, it’s helpful to remember that high-low water seasons may vary unexpectedly from year to year, and river cruises may have to adjust their itineraries in short notice. Aqua Expeditions keeps guests who travel during the transition period informed of any last-minute changes.
The tropical climate of Cambodia and Vietnam means temperatures are warm year-round, generally fluctuating between 26°C (78°F) and 32°C (86°F).
In the warmest month of March, this figure may climb as high as 38°C (100°F). Coincidentally, the heat makes cruising the Mekong even more appealing to travelers who are in the region during this period, when temperatures aboard Mekong river cruise ships can be 1 to 2°C (3 to 5°F) lower. This is because the Mekong’s waters flow from the icy Tibetan Plateau and the cool Laotian highlands, which takes the edge off the equatorial swelter and make river cruising the ideal way to travel. The warmer months are also less humid. In the meantime, the Aqua Mekong brings temperatures down further with state-of-the-art central cooling and an award-winning design that maximizes ventilation. Grab an icy cocktail and take a dip in the plunge pool at the ship’s bow any time of day.
Rain-wise, rainfall in the lower Mekong basin peaks from August to October each year. Even during the wettest times of the year, rainfall comes in the form of brief showers typically lasting 30 minutes to an hour, thanks to Mekong’s inland position and savannah-like climate. So, travelers have it good: not only are itineraries and excursions unaffected by these brief showers, but these showers also cool off the tropical countryside and bring sweet relief, usually in the afternoons when it’s most needed. After the afternoon showers, grey skies tend to disappear as quickly as they come, setting the stage for Mekong’s iconic multicolour sunsets.
With a mild annual monsoon lasting five to six months from May onwards, the brief showers also turn the already-beautiful Mekong countryside into endless fields of vibrant green — a truly mesmerizing sight. Coinciding with the US and Europe summer holidays from June to August is Mekong’s picture-perfect ‘green season’, when the rice fields are at their most verdant.
In all, one of the plus points about the weather on the tropical Mekong is that there are compelling reasons to visit at any time of the year without having to worry about the weather.
PRICING: Prices are subject to change without notice. Please contact us for the most up-to-date pricing, dates, and information.
PLEASE NOTE: These itineraries are subject to change. Although we always do our best to stick to the itinerary, due to the ever-changing nature of Mother Nature, activities, hotels, and visits are subject to change due to forces beyond our control.
FLIGHTS: Please do not purchase your flights until this tour is confirmed.
PASSPORTS: Must be valid for at least 6 months upon return date to your home country. Proper documentation is the responsibility of each traveller.
VISAS: (responsibility of the traveller)
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4 NIGHTS | Aqua Mekong Explorer Cruise – PRICES FROM $4075 USD PER PERSON
Go deeper into the mesmerizing culture and life of the Mekong river
Every activity on board the five-star Aqua Mekong brings a fresh perspective of culture and life in Cambodia and Vietnam, so 4-night itinerary is an ideal addition to any existing travel itinerary of the region. Included are twice-daily excursions (walk, bike, kayak or ride a tuk-tuk) and expert-guided visits to the Mekong River’s dynamic riverside markets, villages, and holy sites.
USD per Person FOR 4 NIGHT CRUISE
PLEASE CONTACT US FOR MORE DETAILS.
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We are super passionate about sustainable, transformational, and adventure travel. Definitely not “armchair travellers”, we have firsthand experience of where you’ll be heading.No one wants to feel like a tourist which is why when we plan a custom travel experience for you, we strive to make your adventure as authentic as possible. We offer an array of Small Group Adventures & Custom Trips, and have something for every type of traveller.
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