The lure of travelling along the Mekong River

10:48 | 05/04/2018 Travel

(VEN) - Taking a Mekong River trip from Ho Chi Minh City or My Tho in Tien Giang Province to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Province is a relaxing, rewarding experience enhanced by beautiful landscape and local specialties.

the lure of travelling along the mekong river

Three to five-star boats carry passengers from Ho Chi Minh City along the Sai Gon River towards the Cho Gao Canal, which connects the Vam Co and Tien rivers, and then to Ben Tre Province, Tra On District in Vinh Long Province, the city of Can Tho, and An Giang Province’s Long Xuyen and Chau Doc cities.

At the Cai Be stop in Vinh Long Province, visitors are offered the use of small boats to sail through canals and nipa palm forests, followed by a walk or bicycle ride through island villages, where they can experience local life. In addition to sampling local food, visitors can learn how to cook local food, work together with local residents to make rice paper and coconut candy, and weave vases with dried water hyacinth trunks, among other activities.

Visitors watch the sunset on board as soon as they are back on the big boat late in the afternoon. They are then served with special local dishes by chefs. The boat harbors at Cai Be the first night so passengers can visit a floating market there in the early morning hours of the following day. The tourists sit on the deck watching as boats ply the river laden with farm produce for the floating markets, including Cai Rang and Phong Dien in the city of Can Tho, Cai Be in My Tho Province, and others.

After visiting a floating market, the big boat takes passengers to Dong Thap Province’s Sa Dec City, enabling them to admire vast flower gardens there, then to Long Xuyen to fishing villages, Chau Doc, and the Vinh Xuong Border Economic Zone.

The next stop is Cambodia. After about four hours of sailing along the Mekong River, visitors arrive in Phnom Penh, which features typical architecture of the Khmer as well as a French architectural influence. During the rainy season from June to December, the water level of the Tonle Sap River is high enough for large ships to sail on to Siem Reap, taking visitors to admire the fabled architectural projects of the 200 square kilometer Angkor Wat complex in northwestern Cambodia.

A Mekong River tour from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap takes five to six days. Vu Minh Anh, managing director of the Dat Xanh Travel Company, said travel businesses worldwide are drawn by the tourism potential of the great Mekong, especially the downstream section between Vietnam and Cambodia. Many foreign shipping companies have come to Vietnam to explore the Vietnamese-Cambodian river route, he said.

In 2014, Touropia, a travel blog, credited the Mekong with being one of the world’s 10 most attractive river-way travel routes.

Thao Ngoc