Small Ship Cruises
Best Vietnam & Cambodia Trip | Mekong River | Adult
Experience the hidden jewels of the Mekong by small-ship cruise.
5 days / 4 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Step back in time as you travel between the ancient wonders of Cambodia and Vietnam on this small-ship, all-inclusive voyage along the Mekong River. From Angkor Wat to the UNESCO-designated biosphere of Tonlé Sap, past ageless, floating villages and onward to the modern marvels of Phnom Penh, days are filled with adventure, discovery and insights into the fascinating cultures of river life. As night settles over the Mekong, enjoy a whole new world of sights, sounds and flavors as you sample some of Southeast Asia’s flavorful dishes aboard the Aqua Mekong, your home for these five action-packed days. Drift along the Mekong River and disembark to explore the remote sanctuaries of Buddhist monks and receive their blessings, hike through ancient flooded forests and espy rare birds and turtles. All the while, Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service invites you to unwind and get swept away by one of Asia’s most enchanting regions. A small cruise ship vacation package like no other awaits!
Southeast Asia is home to countless vibrant cultures, floating villages, and colonial charms, and the Mekong is the thread that connects them all. Dive deep into a watery world of untouristed discovery on this four-night journey aboard the Aqua Mekong. Our expert guides can’t wait to share the remarkable wonders found along this winding river. Throughout your voyage, enjoy best-in-class service and the decadence of your luxury suite as you soak in the wonders of Cambodia and Vietnam.
- Settle into your elegant suite, taking in the view from floor-to-ceiling windows, or from a sun bed on the ship’s observation deck
- Paddle by wooden sampan through stilted villages and floating markets where locals sell everything from fish sauce to sticky rice-stuffed bamboo stalks
- Crisscross through a tiny network of canals in the remote village of Chnok Tru
- Float beneath a dense tree canopy in Tra Su Cajuput Forest, on the lookout for the rare painted stork and Oriental darter
- Sit with a venerable Mahayana Buddhist monk at Long Son Tu Temple for a private blessing
- Watch an artist at work on her loom in an island village known for its silk weaving
- Take a tuk-tuk tour of Phnom Penh, visiting the Royal Palace (home to the reining monarch) and the National Museum of Cambodia
Our Partner – Aqua Expeditions
Aqua Expeditions was the first adventure travel company to introduce five-star luxury cruises on the Amazon River in Peru. CEO, Francesco Galli Zugaro, founded Aqua Expeditions to cater to discerning, adventure travelers seeking to explore remote and culturally important destinations for luxury voyages on the world’s greatest rivers. Aqua Expeditions’ 16-suite Aria Amazon vessel entered service in 2011, a creation of Peruvian designer, Jordi Puig and featuring floor to ceiling windows, Jacuzzi, gym, sundeck and the haute Peruvian cuisine of Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. Demand from satisfied passengers who wanted the same luxury in other river destinations led to the creation of the Aqua Mekong in 2014. Here, between Cambodia and Vietnam, Aqua Expeditions delivers the same in-depth exploration of culture and nature, luxurious comforts, design accommodations, gourmet cuisine and excellent service.
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The history: People have been living on the Mekong River for 2,000 years!
To make up for lost time: It wasn't until 1540 that any Westerner saw the Mekong River.
Cultural wonders: Learn how locals live along the Mekong as you explore villages, markets and pagodas.
Saigon, Vietnam SGN
Phnom Penh, Cambodia PNH
Mekong River / My Tho / Ho Chi Minh / Vietnam
We will collect you at the Ho Chi Minh meeting point and transfer you by air-conditioned coach to My Tho dock where we will welcome you aboard the Aqua Mekong. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace, or daybed.
About Aqua Mekong
Taking guests on a journey into Aqua Expeditions next frontier, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 205 feet Aqua Mekong was designed by Saigon-based architects at Noor Design to embody the aesthetic of a sophisticated five star hotel. Local sustainable materials and artisanal touches of the Mekong’s multifaceted cultures round out these generous interior spaces designed to welcome guests in the utmost comforts between on and off shore excursions along this fascinating river, to flooded emerald forests and bamboo stilt villages accessible only by boat, among flocks of painted stork and spot billed pelicans in their last Southeast Asian refuge and to Chinese wing tipped pagoda temples and remote Buddhist monasteries.
Mekong River / Binh Thanh/Sa Dec / My An Hung
Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras’ legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. In the afternoon, visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local’s home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers followed by a unique unicorn dance. A 17-kilometer biking option is also available.
Mekong River / Chau Doc / Vinh Xuong / Ka’om Samnor Border
Travel by skiff along Bassac Canal to Chau Doc floating market and then head off by van to Long Son Pagoda atop Sam Mountain. Ask the monks about their age-old Buddhist practices. Return via the bustling morning market. Optional 18 kilometers bike ride on Long Khanh Island or take a rickshaw ride to visit Tan Chau Market with chef. After lunch, relax by the pool, try traditional Khmer massage or learn to cook Mekong inspired dishes while we cross the border.
Mekong River / Koh Oknha Tey / Preah Prosop
On this river of time we admire dexterous Khmer artisans dyeing and weaving kroma, the ubiquitous item no Khmer lives without. Explore the riverbank on two wheels if you wish, past Buddhist temples and thatch houses perched on spindly wooden stilts while white oxen wade just offshore. After lunch, we board our marine-grade aluminum skiffs and head towards the tamarind trees of Preah Prosop, a remote village little changed over several lifetimes.
Phnom Penh / Cambodia
We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk. Discover the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at the Russian Market. Bid farewell to the Mekong River.
* This trip is run in partnership with Aqua Expeditions.
** Please inquire with your Adventure Travel Consultant for more itineraries aboard the Aqua Mekong including 3 & 7 night options and High & Low Water options (depending on time of year).
***Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Aqua Expeditions
Arrival & Departure
Your Aqua Expeditions guides will greet you at your meeting point in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam. Porters will collect your luggage and deliver it to your ship’s suite. The bus ride to the Aqua Mekong (at My Tho Port) takes 1.5 hours. On Day 5 you will disembark the Aqua Mekong and take advantage of an urban adventure with your guides. Afterwards, your guide will drop you off at the Passenger Terminal during Low Water Season or the Autonomous Port during High Water Season in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Shore Excursions: A shore excursion can be anything from a tour of a bustling city to a chance to experience rural Mekong River life to bird watching within a flooded forest or an audience with a learned Buddhist monk. Some excursions do involve considerable walking, but most travelers who are reasonably fit will have no trouble participating in every excursion. There are also several opportunities to ride a bicycle as an extra optional excursion.
Boating: Guided skiff cruises to remote villages and other neat sites.
Over sixty million people rely on the Mekong River to eat, work and live. Between its source high on the Tibetan Plateau and where the Mekong flows into the South China Sea from the flood plains of Vietnam, the cultural and religious diversity of this region in Southeast Asia is staggering. Nearly 100 different ethnic groups live just in the lower Mekong basin. In this region where the Aqua Mekong cruises between modern day Cambodia and Vietnam, Khmer, Lao, Thai and Vietnamese people have depended upon the Mekong’s resources for thousands of years. The Mekong still forms an integral part of each distinct culture and they all rely upon its fish to eat and its waters to travel and trade. Geography offers one explanation for this rich cultural diversity that will be apparent to guests who travel with us aboard the Aqua Mekong. Except in the Mekong River Delta, which was part of Cambodia for most of history, towering limestone mountains separate Vietnam from Cambodia to the west, providing a natural boundary as well as the physical barrier that naturally split the two powerful outside influences on ancient Southeast Asia, namely India (Hinduism) from the west and China (Buddhism) from the north. Come explore the Mekong River with the experts in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions as indicated by itinerary are included. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Aqua Expeditions is proud to present David Thompson, Asia’s top ranked chef on The Diners Club® World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ List join them as Executive Chef on board the Aqua Mekong. Your onboard chefs shop local riverside markets, often with guests, for the day’s freshest ingredients, from catfish to river prawns, and organic local produce. Coconut, lemongrass, coriander, turmeric are just a few of the most recognizable flavors you can expect on Thompson’s ever changing, inventive menus that always remain authentic to the fertile surroundings.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy, air-conditioned suite with panoramic windows and private bath.
- All meals while on board the Aqua Mekong.
- Fully trained, bilingual, professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Any necessary equipment ”“ all safe and well maintained.
- All excursions.
- Transfer to/from vessel when arriving on recommended flights.
- Beverages (non-alcoholic, wine and beer).
- Austin Adventures T-shirt and luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Guide & crew gratuities.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Boutique purchases and personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.