How to Choose Best Mekong River Cruises for Your Mekong Trip
To have an extraordinary experience during your Mekong river cruise trip, it is very important to choose a suitable cruise line that fits your interests and requirements. It takes time to get the right one, so let's sit down and catch a glimpse into what you should consider in your mind for a wonderful Mekong cruise trip.
1. Mekong River Cruise Category: Luxury or Deluxe or Private?
Price and budget are some of the first factors in helping you choose a proper cruise line. With Mekong River Cruises, it is divided into three basic categories: luxury, deluxe, and private. If you have lots of money to burn, you’ll probably want to start your search among luxury cruise operators, such as Heritage Line, Pandaw, or Aqua Expeditions. Meanwhile, if your finances don't support your vacation, you should consider a deluxe vessel which still offers you a great cabin and nice itinerary. Another choice for those traveling with partners, small families, or friends is private cruises. These ships often feature one to four cabins onboard that let you enjoy privacy to the fullest.
2. Mekong River Cruise Style: Modern or Boutique or Traditional?
Today's Mekong River cruise lines largely fall into three styles: modern, boutique, and traditional. Many recently built vessels are made of metal with modern architecture and stylish interior design. Your cabin or stateroom will be akin to an up-to-date hotel room with all necessary amenities. In the meantime, boutique cruises will catch your eyes for its elegant and imposing French-Indochina colonial outfits. Expect classic and state-of-the art rooms and public spaces with delicate ornaments. For passengers who prefer to glide through the charming sense of Mekong Delta, traditional Mekong River cruises will take you in the most authentic way. These vessels are all wooden boats suitable for small groups that are designed in the traditional style of local river barges.
3. Mekong River Cruise Amenities and Facilities
Another criterion you should care about when selecting a Mekong cruise ship is the public facilities and in-cabin amenities it offers. You need to know yourself: Do you need a double stateroom or a connecting cabin to stay with your kids? Do you prefer a large room with a balcony? Is your idea of a stateroom full of fancy extras, like a bathtub or jacuzzi? Do you like a cruise with a fantastic public pool? Answering these questions will help guide you toward choosing a cruise ship for your next vacation. Check out carefully the cruise operators and our travel agents to make the best choice.
4. Mekong Cruise Starting point and Ending point
The Mekong River Cruises sail through the waterways of the Mekong Delta with many iconic stops and fascinating experiences. You can choose to cruise in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos, or from Vietnam to Cambodia and vice versa. Your starting point will depend much on your latest land tour. For example, if your last stop is in Vietnam, your starting point should be Saigon instead of flying to Cambodia or Laos for a voyage. Meanwhile, if you just finished your visit to the Angkor Wat complex, it's better to pick Siem Reap as your starting point. The case is the same as your ending point. It should be suitable for your next destination or tour. Once you determine your first and last stops, you’ll make your travel plan in the Mekong Delta easier.
5. Mekong River Cruise Itineraries
Each Mekong River Cruise provides several choices of cruise itinerary that often come in pairs of upstream and downstream trips. These journeys vary in length and the stop destinations leading to different prices. Therefore, your best route to discover the Mekong River should be based on the amount of time you want for your trip and the expense you can afford. You can take a long tour to explore the Mekong extensively through 3 countries (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam), but your health condition should be taken into consideration as you will have a great amount of time on board.
As mentioned above, you can choose to sail in Laos with planned cruise tours that last from 4 - 11 days. There are only a few cruise operators traveling between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai, Huay Xai and Vientiane, or between Vientiane and Chiang Saen. On the other hand, the itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia, and between the two countries are more popular and diverse. You can easily find a number of cruise lines sailing from Saigon to the Mekong delta provinces like Cai Be, Can Tho, or even Phu Quoc in 2 - 3 days, from Saigon to Phnom Penh in 3 - 4 days, and in 7 - 8 days for longer tours between Saigon and Siem Reap. These cruise plans with the same time length consist of similar destinations. The only difference is the services and experiences the operators deliver to travelers.
6. Mekong Cruising Highlighted Destinations Included?
There are a vast majority of destinations included in Mekong cruises, but several highlights you should not ignore in your expedition are Saigon, Cai Be, Phnom Penh, Tonle Sap, Siem Reap, and Luang Prabang. Picking up your favorite places ahead is also a great way to choose your right cruise.
In addition, when you consider the destinations for your voyage, you should check out the weather at the time of your departure. There are two main seasons in the area: dry season falling from November to April and rain season from May to October, which may affect the conditions and experiences these stops offer. For instance, if your favored destination is Tonle Sap, you should travel in the high water season (rain season) from end-July to mid-November, ‘cause at that time, the lake is 5 times larger than in the low water (dry time), and the cruise ships can glide over. Plan your cruise carefully and ask for advice from your travel agents to plan a particular Mekong river cruise.
Though there are some criteria to apply, choosing a proper Mekong cruise ship can be fun and a little bit challenging at the same time. If you're feeling overwhelmed by choice, our Mekong River Cruise experts are ready to support you and your travel party for the best cruise experience.