Review: Mekong River cruise
Specialist Holiday - Sightseeing
Exploring Cambodia and Vietnam with a little bit og Bangkok
98 people found this review helpful
A small group of us (mostly Americans) met for a pre tour visit to Bangkok. At the time the city was in immenent danger for being flooded. On our first day we visited China Town, the flower market and the magnificent Royal Palace. We then had a two hour trip on the river and canals. It was interesting to see the riverside houses and the postman delivering mail by boat. The river was very high and sandbanks were everywhere. We visited the Temple of Dawn on the way back to our hotel. This evening some of us dined in a nearby restaurant with water almost pallping round our feet. Our next day was spent visiting the first ot many markets that we were to see during our trip. This market was interesting – selling a variety of exotic fruits. It was fun to see the market stall holders quickly pack up to allow a train to pass through the centre of the market and then just as quickly set up once again. On for a boat ride to the floating markets area. Sampled some of the local food including fried bananas. The weather was very oppressive.
We flew from Bankok to Siagon in Vietnam and met up with the rest of the tour group. There were ten of us from the UK, but most of the group were Americans. The hotel was a bit characterless. On our first evening we had to find our own food. Found a nice restaurant called Lemongrass and had a walk though the city centre. The following day we had a brief city tour- this was disappointing as we didn't visit many of the city landmarks but we did see the local market! The group evening meal was rather disappointing in that it was held in a tourist restaurant
We went by coach to our boat that was to take us up the Mekong river. Single cabins were small to say the last and almost at river level but they did have air conditioning. All meals were rather noisy affairs as our American cousins do like the sound of their own voices. off on a smaller boat to visit another floating market. After dinner we were entertained by a group from a local village. We had a number of trips off the boat to visit local towns/villages/temples and finally arrived at Phnom Pehn. Quite a contrast to the noise of Saigon. The royal place has a real wow factor. In the afternoon we went to the Killing Fields – quite a harrowing experience. On a lighter note – in the evening we were entertained by a group of local children. After a visit to the Cambodian National Museum we were taken to yet another market. We were able to purchase a number of small items to take with us the next day when we were due to visit a village school. Our river trip soon came to an end and we disembarked and boarded a coach for the journey to Sem Reap. Our hotel was very grand – a far cry from the cramped cabin on the boat. We had dinner in the hotel and were entertained by a grou of local dancers. The highlight of the tour were visits to the Angkor Wat complex – out of this world, I wish we could have spent longer exploring the ruins but it was getting too hot and humid. After colling down we spent the afternoon at Angkor Thom – a fascinating temple with magnificent wall carvings. Next day we wnet to Ta Prohm temple which has been left largely unrestored with trees gowing over the runins – yet again not enough time to explore. This was certainly the highlight of the tour.
We flew to Hanoi and checked in at the very swish Metrapole Hotel. We saw the sights of Hanoi during the day and in the evening were taken to a flea pit of a tourist restaurant for an evening meal. This was the most disappointing evening to the trip. I came out covered in insect bites. The food was OKish. We had to walk down some rather dodgy steps in the dark to get into the place – not very safe.
The majority went home from Hanoi but a few of us stayed on for a trip to Ha Long bay. This was disappointing as the bay was shrouded in mist so we couldn't see the magnificent scenery at its best. The best thing was that we got an extra night in Hanoi at the Metrpole.
Our two local guides were from Vietnam and it was sometimes rather difficult to understand what they were saying as they were trying to speek English with an American accent. They did assume that all the group were Americans and made no reference to the other nationalities on the trip. This is the first trip I have undertaken where there hasn't been a tour manager from the tour company.
The ratings below apply, in the main, to the river trip. The hotels in Sem Reap and Hanoi were excellent.
98 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Viking River Cruises