CRUISING UP THE LOWER MEKONG RIVER 3 DAYS

Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City/Cai Be/Vinh Long/Tra On (L, D)

After escaping from Ho Chi Minh City’s urban sprawl, you’ll be driven to Vinh Long where you’ll embark on a riverboat to cruise on the Mekong River and its many branches.

Your first destination is Cai Be floating market after which the boat will wander through a maze of channels lined with fruit orchards on the way.

Next, you’ll disembark to visit a traditional family-run brick kiln and a wide range of varied cottage industries – a workshop constructing massive coffins stuffed with kapok (a style unique to Mekong) is particularly interesting.

You’ll return to the cruise boat to coincide with lunch served on board. After digesting your meal, the boat will moor at Cho Lach village for an hour or two of walking or cycling, a pleasant way to absorb the local culture. The route takes you past country footpaths, canals, tropical fruit orchards and small villages.

Later in the afternoon, you’ll pass Tra On town and, weather permitting, lay back to watch a striking sunset as twilight falls along the Mekong. Then, after an aperitif, it will be time for dinner and, eventually, retiring to your cabin for the night!

Day 2: Tra On/Can Tho (B, L, D)

Breakfast is served as the dawn appears over the Bassac, one of the nine major branches of the Mekong. The locals come to life, the boat slips its mooring, and the Captain heads for Cai Rang floating market, one of the best on the delta.

A small shuttle will take you into the mêlée of waterborne commerce. After lunch, you’ll meander through the lush palm-shaded waterways and many riverside dwellings. Soon, you’ll begin to realise how remarkable it is that inhabitants of the delta have managed to adapt to the annual three months when most of the land is under three metres of water!

As the boat passes Long Xuyen and the sun’s rays begins to slips lower, dinner will be served on board.

Day 3: Long Xuyen/Cho Moi/Hoa Hao/Chau Doc (B, L)

To make the best of Long Xuyen and visit its floating market, an early breakfast is a must. Once again, you’ll climb into a small tender to make your way into the many small boats bustling to and fro. Next, you’ll visit a crocodile farm followed by a walk around Ong Ho Island, a good example of the daily life of the local people living on the sides of the Bassac.

With noon approaching, it will soon be time to return to the Le Cochinchine and continue you to Hoa Hao village. After lunch on board, you’ll disembark in Hoa Hao and head to Chau Doc, a border gateway to Cambodia. Your overnight accommodation will be in Chau Doc.

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