The Mekong River is the 7th largest river in Asia and is over 2,700 miles long. The river starts in the mountains of China and travels through the Golden Triangle of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand. The Mekong then continues to run south acting as a border between Thailand and Laos making minor inroads into both countries. It then continues into Cambodia where it joins the Tonle Sap River and then continues down into Vietnam before heading out into the South China Sea.
Thailand to Laos
The slow-boat from Thailand to Laos is a great way to see the fantastic scenery and take a trip along one of the largest rivers in the world. The boat departs from the small border town call Chiang Khong. There are many hotels in the town where you can stay or you can take an early bus to get to Chiang Khong in time for the boat to leave.
You’ll exit Thailand at Chiang Khong border and a bus will take you to Huay Xai where you will board the boat and start the 5-hour journey to Pak Beng. You’ll see the stunning mountains as you head down the Mekong before arriving at Pak Beng to spend the night.
On the next day, we’ll start the trip to Luang Prabang. The boat leaves early in the morning to start the 7-hour journey where you will reach your destination in the north of Laos. Luang Prabang is one of the most popular destination for visitors to Laos.
Cambodia & Vietnam
The slow journey from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) can take 6 or 7 days to complete. Along the way, you’ll slowly cruise down the Mekong River and stop overnight at small villages along the way where the ship will be moored and we’ll spend the night. Tours stop at various places along the way but Koh Chen is a popular destination on most cruises.
As you head towards the border at Chau Doc in Thailand, you will see cultural mix of Chinese, Vietnam, Cham, and Khmer people all living in one area. Most tours continue with multiple stops in Vietnam including Sa Dec and Vinh Long where life is lived on top of the water. Houses sit on stilts and small boats carry the villagers around.
The tour usually continues into My Tho which is an untouched part of the Mekong Delta where you can see large areas of coconut palms as well as mango and banana trees. The trip then continues to the port in Saigon which is now called Ho Chi Minh city.
Mekong River cruises are a fantastic way to see the stunning countryside of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. You can spend a relaxing week on a comfortable boat watching the world go by on top of the water.
The Mekong River is a huge river which stretches for more than 2,700 miles and there are many options including large cruise boats which offer high-class luxury cruises to small and faster boats which you can do on a shoestring budget.
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