A Mekong River cruise exposes passengers to the unique cultures of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. This part of southeast Asia has a rich Buddhist religious heritage, colonial history, and exotic scenery. When you travel down the Mekong, you'll know that you're experiencing a major area of historical importance. The river starts in China and empties into the South China Sea near Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider a Mekong River cruise.
A Rich Historical and Cultural Heritage
Depending on the cruise line, a Mekong River cruise can encompass as many as six countries. This is because many Mekong cruises also branch out into other rivers in these countries. All of them have their own special history and distinctive cultural groups. A cruise is a great way to learn about the various ethnic groups. When cruising through Vietnam, you'll usually get to personally view the sites of key sites in the Vietnam War, including the Xeo Quyet Forest. The area has mountain ranges that allow you to enjoy a bit of refreshment from the heat. Taking a cruise through Cambodia puts you in easy reach of the impressive temples at Angkor. These temples aren't easily forgotten, and you'll be glad you decided to explore them. In Laos, you'll get to experience Vat Phou and its network of 4,000 islands. This lets you watch wildlife easily.
A Different Type of Cruising Experience
River cruising has a very loyal following, and offers a different type of experience from ocean-going cruises. Mekong cruises are no exception. For one thing, the vessels are much smaller. This makes it easy for them to navigate the difficult parts of the river. Many only hold a few dozen passengers at a time. The cabins are comfortable, and are usually all facing the river. Most of each day is spent in fun shore excursions, so there are few, if any, onboard activities during the day. Guest lecturers will often give presentations about the history, people, and wildlife of the area. Dinners are more relaxed and informal. You won't have to worry about the quality of the service being any less than it would be on any other cruise. The cruise staff will be attentive to your needs and helpful.
A Way to Experience Buddhist Sites
If you're a practicing Buddhist, or interested in sites important to Buddhism, a Mekong River cruise might be perfect for you. One of the sites likely to be visited are the temples at Angkor. These majestic structures are one of the seven wonders of the world. The complex was constructed in the 12th century by the Khmer people and is beautifully-preserved today. Laos has an impressive temple built at the junction of the Mekong and Nam Kham rivers. The temple, Wat Xieng Thong, was built in the 16th century and has undergone extensive renovations. Visitors should always remember that these are religious sites and be respectful.