Popular Itineraries of Mekong River Cruises 2017
Being the longest river in South Asia, Mekong River is characterized by the second richest biodiversity in the world, just after that of the Amazon, which includes 20,000 species of plants, 430 of mammals, 1,200 of birds, 850 of fishes and 800 of reptiles. A Mekong river tour is the great opportunity to admire the incredible scenery and discover local discover the local daily life along the river. If you are planning for your Mekong River cruises 2017, we will recommend the popular Itineraries as a useful reference for you.
Best Time for Mekong River cruises 2017
Although Mekong River itineraries are offered for most of the year, an ideal time to make your trip is during the winter, from November to February. The reason is that it’s cooler (although still plenty hot) and the rainy season, from July to October, has finished. But even during the rainy season, a Mekong river tour is not such a bad choice that rains typically last only 30 minutes or so.
As the water levels of Lake Tonle Sap in Cambodia are seasonally affected, the itineraries of Mekong River cruises 2017 may be altered. The river reaches its highest water level in September. There is a strange fact that the Tonle Sap River linking the lake and the Mekong River together reverses its flow during flooding periods. The surge of river water makes the lake’s size six-fold larger and transforms it into one of the most productive fisheries in the world.
Popular itineraries of Mekong River cruises 2017
A Mekong river tour is commonly made as part of a long land trip (two weeks or more), including several nights in hotels and other overnights aboard ship. Therefore, you should consider thoroughly the total package when choosing your cruise. If you want only the portion of a river cruise, look for a seven-night trip such as the one offered by Avalon Waterways. Most Mekong River cruises start and end in Vietnam. The initial point is Hanoi and the final one is Ho Chi Minh City (popularly called Saigon) or vice versa. Included in the itineraries are a flight to Siem Reap and a sail on the Mekong, with ports in Vietnam and Cambodia.
In general, the itineraries are quite similar, consisting of the abovementioned cities and Phnom Penh, plus important temples; famous sites such as the Hanoi Museum of Ethnology and the Killing Fields; and major markets and rural villages along the Mekong. It’s slightly different from them in terms of stops; for example, a visit to a local orphanage in Kampong Cham is included in the tours of Viking River Cruises as the company supports the orphanage, while AmaWaterways adds a stop at the English-language school in Ta Toum that they sponsor. All lines offer an opportunity to shop for local handicrafts, such as weaving, silver and lacquer pieces, but the exact addresses of shopping may be different.
If you feel very necessary to see Ha Long Bay (one of the best world’s natural wonder) in your Mekong River cruises 2017, note that some lines include the bay in their basic itineraries, such as AmaWaterways. Other lines offer Ha Long Bay as an additional choice to their cruise, and you have to pay an extra fee. Bangkok is another popular extension. For most travelers, it takes a long time (several hours) by air to get to Southeast Asia, so stay as long as you can and see as much as you can as long as budget and time permit.
Mekong River Cruise Lines
The major river cruise lines offer a variety of Mekong tours in Cambodia and Vietnam. These include Avalon Waterways, Pandaw, AmaWaterways, Uniworld, CroisiEurope Aqua Expeditions, Vantage Deluxe World Travel and Viking Cruises.
As the itineraries are quite similar among the cruise lines, the best strategy to choose a suitable Mekong River tour for you is taking a look at your budget and the services included in the cruise fare. Uniworld, for instance, provides beer and wine throughout the day while the others offer free beer and wine at dinner (and possibly lunch as well). Be a smart customer to have a comfortable and pleasant trip!