Top 10 Riverboat Cruises
One of the world's longest and largest rivers, the Mekong is the lifeblood of Southeast Asia, snaking through China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea. Pandaw River Cruises, the largest riverboat cruise company in Asia, emphasizes the latter two countries in its 10-night Mekong Unexplored journey, which kicks off with a full day in Saigon and includes tours of local landmarks, such as City Hall, Ben Thanh market, and nearby Cu Chi tunnels which were constructed by Viet Cong guerillas. From there, embark on one of four luxe, colonial-style steamers (each with capacity for less than 70 people) and wind upstream toward Cambodia, passing by jungle villages, lush wetlands, and rolling hills, before disembarking in Siem Reap. En route, excursions range from the adventurous to the otherworldly. Visit a catfish farm in Vietnam, then cruise through the colorful floating markets of Cai Be. In Cambodia, overlook the Mekong from Wat Nokor, an 11th-century Buddhist shrine, or tour Phnom Penh via private “cyclo“ (pedicab). Towards the end of the journey, travel to the WWF protected area to catch a glimpse of the region’s rare river dolphins. Optional pre- and post-trip excursions to Angkor Wat and Saigon are also available, as is a shorter, reverse (downstream) itinerary. Cruises are available in July and August. From $2,425.50 per person.