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Mekong Cruise Specialists
Spanning 2703 miles, the Mekong River is the world’s 12th longest river and 7th longest in Asia. It runs from the Tibetan Plateau through China's Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, and presents one of the best ways to experience South East Asia. Discover historic treasures, ancient temples and distinct cultures along the Mekong River.
The capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, is packed with sightseeing opportunities. Step inside the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, see the historic Buddhist temple of One Pillar Pagoda or behold the maze of courtyards at the Confucian Temple of Literature. Saunter around Hoan Kiem Lake, catch a water puppet show or tour the notorious Hanoi Hilton where American POWs were held captive during the Vietnam War. Cruise through thousands of towering limestone monoliths that rise from the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay in the Gulf of Tonkin.
As Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh (formerly known as Saigon) possesses many cultural wonders and historical sites. Stroll through the colonial heart of the city along Dong Khoi Street to admire prominent buildings like the Municipal Theatre, Central Post Office and the double-spired Notre Dame Cathedral. Browse a variety of museums including the War Remnants Museum, visit Reunification Palace where the Vietnam War ended, sample local cuisine in Cholon or see magnificent carved figures at the Jade Emperor Pagoda. Explore the extraordinary network of underground passageways used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War called the Cu Chi Tunnels, interact with a Viet Cong veteran or tour a rubber plantation.
Along the river, pass floating markets as you sail toward the little port town of Sa Dec. Absorb the bustling atmosphere at a local market, admire a Fujian temple or see local workers producing rice noodles, coconut candy and an array of other handmade products. Cruise through scenic Cai Be to see the city’s beautiful French Gothic cathedral, tour An Kiet House and its surrounding gardens or visit rice paper workshops. Traditional Vietnamese villages dot the river as you enter Chau Doc near the Cambodian border. Visit a floating fish farm to learn of the different species of fish living in the Mekong, enjoy a walking tour of a lively outdoor market or explore sacred Sam Mountain, which attracts pilgrims from all over Vietnam.
Dock along the pretty waterfront of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, and admire the city’s wide boulevards and French-infused architecture by cyclo (cycle rickshaw). Visit splendid Royal Palace with the magnificent Silver Pagoda built in the 19th century by the French but inspired by age-old Khmer architecture, as well as the National Museum that houses a terrific display of Khmer artifacts. Take a solemn tour of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as "S-21", a former high school transformed by the Khmer Rouge into a torture and interrogation center, in addition to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek where over 200,000 people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge.
Further along, explore the village of Udong, Cambodia’s former capital, and its Buddhist monastery. Or, take an oxcart ride past rice paddy fields, pagodas and the beautiful Cambodian countryside in Kampong Tralach. Enjoy a stunning variety of bird life and see numerous great fish traps at the port city of Kampong Chhnang located on the Tonle Sap River.
Sail to the charming horse-and-cart hamlet of Angkor Ban to visit traditional Khmer homes and meet local Buddhist monks. In the small village of Chong Koh, famous for silk and cotton weaving, browse for beautifully crafted scarves and tablecloths. In Kampong Cham, ascend to the hilltop temple of Wat Hanchey for amazing views of the Mekong River or visit the twin holy hilltops of Phnom Pros and Phnom Srey (Man Hill and Woman Hill) that boast many temples, pagodas and massive gilded statues of Buddha. A highlight of the Mekong River is Tonle Sap Lake, which dominates Cambodia and is famous for its profuse bird life and tranquil fishing villages.
The city of Siem Reap is best known as the gateway to the Angkor region that served as the seat of the Khmer Empire. Marvel at the architectural grandeur of the Angkor temple ruins with the highly revered Angkor Wat being the best preserved that was built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century and is now a symbol of Cambodia. Explore the fortified city of Angkor Thom home to popular sites like the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper Kings with their dramatic bas reliefs. Other Angkor temples worth visiting include Bayon, a Buddhist temple featuring 200 striking faces carved in 54 stone towers; the ancient "jungle temple" of Ta Prohm that’s shrouded in tentacle-like tree roots; and Banteay Srei, a unique Hindu temple made from red sandstone and dedicated to god Shiva.
Savor the exotic sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Bangkok in Thailand. Often, Bangkok is an arrival or departure city for Mekong River cruise itineraries, and if time permits, explore this vibrant city’s temples, palaces, lovely Thai homes and floating markets. Additionally, some Mekong River cruise packages visit Luang Prabang in Laos where you can shop at colorful markets, peruse the Royal Palace museum, participate in a weaving demonstration or admire famous Buddhist monasteries like Wat Mai, Wat Visoun and Wat Xieng Thong.
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