I recently travelled to Cambodia and Vietnam to cruise on the Mekong River. My flights were with Singapore Airlines via Singapore to Siem Reap and were excellent as usual.
I arrived a day prior to my cruise so I booked a car/driver through my hotel to take me to the Killing Fields. This was one of the saddest places I have visited. I did a self-guided tour with the headset, so you were caught in your own moment. To think that this type of behaviour exists between human beings in the late 1970’s is just appalling, however a very interesting part of the Cambodian history.
After the tour, I caught a tuk tuk (with my suitcase) down to my wharf to board the ship! Our cruise was on board the RV Indochine II which is operated by Croisi Europe. The trip was from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh for 4 nights. Cruising along the Mekong is an amazing experience, especially on a luxury cruise ship that I couldn’t fault. There was a pool on the deck which was a bonus also as it is hot, and it was a great way to relax after the days touring. The cruise is all inclusive of dining, equipped with a bar and even a spa for relaxing massages.
The beauty of unpacking once on a luxury cruise ship but experiencing adventure ashore was the perfect way to travel. You will get to experience amazing villages and cities which immerse you into the culture. 80% of the population rely directly on the river system for food and livelihood so there is always so much activity along the Mekong.
We travelled by tuk tuk’s and rickshaws, and by small boats to local food markets and a floating fish farm with our local guides.
One highlight was cruising through the Chao Gao Canal where you can see the stilted homes and shacks where the locals live along the river going about their day to day life. Oh, and in Sa Dec, the local food markets were amazing- live skinned frogs, skinned rats just to name a few delicacies! We visit markets, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, the detention centre where they held people for torture and execution Tuol Svay Prey S21, this was also another sad part of their history.
In Ho Chi Minh, we were taken on a city tour and a visit to Chinatown which was very interesting. After the cruise I stayed for a couple of extra nights in Ho Chi Minh. I very much enjoyed the Vietnam War Museum and spent a couple of hours here intrigued by the graphic pictures and effects of Agent Orange, followed by some time in the markets.
A highlight of my extra days was a “back of bike” foodie tour which was fabulous. They take you to parts of the city you would not see otherwise and experience amazing food, the guides were funny and great company.