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Six Fascinating Experiences on the Aqua Mekong Cruise

A Mekong River cruise trip with Aqua Mekong across Indochina is the perfect combination of old-world charm and French glamour, offering the finest experiences of regional culture, tradition, and adventure. There is plenty of beauty everywhere, from breathtaking landscapes to ancient temple architecture, from centuries-old customs to vibrant cities and markets. Here are six of the most favorite highlights throughout the great voyage of Aqua Mekong Cruise.



1. An ornithologist's fantasy at Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary

Wake up at daybreak for an excursion to the 22,000-hectare Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary in the Tonle Sap Lake's delicate wetlands. As one of Southeast Asia's last homes for large water birds such as lesser and greater adjutant storks, black-headed ibises, spot-billed pelicans, and the elusive masked finfoot, it provides an excellent chance for bird watching as you make your way through the tranquil hyacinth-filled waterways.



During the boat trip, you'll be entirely immersed in the wetland environment with just your fellow visitors, the cruise guides, and the expert Biosphere Reserve rangers. Brave the peak of a semi-permanent outpost constructed high in the woods to observe nesting storks and pelicans, it's simply breathtaking.




2. Royal treasure at the foothills of Phnom Oudong

When it comes to Cambodia, most travelers are familiar with the ancient lost city of the Khmer Empire, Angkor, which rose like a pinnacle out of lush jungle surroundings. However, an underrated historical landmark you will discover with Aqua Mekong is Udong, Cambodia's royal capital for over 250 years. Located at the foothills of the Phnom Oudong (Hill of the Victorious) and Phnom Preah Reach Throp (Hill of the Royal Fortune), the city saw several royal coronations.



Legend has it that the Buddha statue at the Arthaross Temple faces north rather than the traditional direction of east, thus safeguarding the country from the ancient Khmer monarchy. Accompanied by a knowledgeable tour guide, it’s time to discover more about Cambodian history and religion.


3. A feast for the senses at Chau Doc’s markets

While not as well-known as other locations along the mighty Mekong, Chau Doc is a dynamic gateway to several attractions in An Giang province and a major commercial center between Vietnam and Cambodia's borders. The floating market, with its buzzing early morning activity, could be a sensory overload. As you board a local vessel and wind through the river, you will see floating boats of exotic fruits, vegetables, and even breakfast dishes and local coffee.



Another highlight is taking a rickshaw ride, a local means of transportation, to the picturesque Chau Doc Market for a strolling tour with one of the onboard chefs. You will be introduced to a variety of regional delicacies, including dried fish, coconut, tamarind paste, and mango-flavored desserts, some of which are used for the day’s meals on the Aqua Mekong Cruise and tastefully curated by a Michelin-starred chef.


4. The creation of pottery in Kampong Chhnang

Step back in time and dig into Khmer riverside life in Kampong Chhnang, often known as the “Port of Pottery” because of archeological findings dating back over 5000 years. Visit the families in Andong Russei village, where you’ll meet and observe traditional potters practicing age-old skills and methods that were nearly lost during the Khmer Rouge regime. Here, potters use clay from the neighboring Phnom Dey Meas, which literally means golden earth mountain, and once the clay has been fired, you can see fine gold flecks on its surface. Though the potter’s wheel has recently been reintroduced in the region, clay pots in Kampong Chhnang are typically thrown by hand on a palm tree stump and formed into the desired shape by a wood paddle.



5. The island of Cambodia’s national thread

While cruising along the Mekong, you'll realize how prevalent silk is in Cambodian society. It is a component of the sampot, the country's national garment, and golden silk produced by the yellow silkworm is its specificity. The Aqua Mekong will take you to Koh Oknha Tey, a river island known for its long history of silk weaving. Here, you can see skillful Khmer artisans hunched over their knotty art form, observe the ancient silk manufacturing techniques, from silkworm breeding to silk weft ikat weaving, and then buy some as mementos!



6. Local life on Wheels

On each port of call along the Mekong River itinerary, Aqua Mekong offers guided bicycle excursions as an optional and enjoyable way to explore the countryside and experience true rural life. The cruise provides top-of-the-line bicycles designed to handle any terrain in comfort and safety, making them appropriate for all riders. No two curated bike tours are the same, and each ride will get you up close and personal with Mekong life and culture. Most rides are pleasant 10- to 17-kilometer routes that weave through meandering roads, across bridges, and along rice paddy fields, with the sweet scent of frangipani and mango hanging in the air.



A river cruise in the Mekong with Aqua Mekong Cruise is the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in authentic experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime. From bustling markets in Vietnam to ancient temples in Cambodia, you’ll taste a different slice of Southeast Asian life and culture. Plan ahead for your trip with our Mekong River Cruise Experts for the best vacations on the Aqua Mekong.

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