5 of the best Mekong river cruises

by Paul Stafford  |  Published July 17, 2020

The Mekong River rises in China’s Tibetan Plateau and drains a large part of Southeast Asia, finally meeting the south China Sea in southern Vietnam. It’s a vital lifeline for the entire region too, with villages and towns dotting its entire length as it passes through, or defines the border between, all countries in this part of Asia, including Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Perhaps unsurprisingly then, extended boat tours and river cruises are an extremely popular way to explore the area, from a few days to tours of a week or more than incorporate additional side-trips away from the Mekong.

When planning to take a longer cruise along the Mekong, it’s useful to note that the river’s course passes the capital cities of Laos and Cambodia, Vientiane and Phnom Penh, while the delta is easily accessible from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam. That makes tours that depart from one place and end in another particularly popular, and perfect for longer trips or backpackers who want to incorporate the journey into an onward itinerary. There’s plenty of other factors to consider before booking however, such as the river cruise itinerary, value for money, comfort on board, and the health and safety record of the tour companies. Of the myriad tours available, here are five of the best based on those factors and more.