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Mekong River Cruises

From its origins more than 16,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, the Mekong River flows south through precipitous gorges in China before it reaches the Golden Triangle—a geographical point where the borders of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand meet. From there, it continues its southward course through Cambodia and Vietnam (the region explored by many Scenic Mekong river cruises) before it finally empties into the South China Sea. Measuring slightly more than 2,700 miles long, the Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river, and it is known by several different names. The Chinese refer to it as the Lancang Jiang, or Turbulent River. The Lao and the Thai call the river Mae Nam Kong, which means Mother Water. And the Vietnamese refer to it as Cuu Long, meaning Nine Dragons. The Mekong in English is derived from the river’s name in Lao and Thai cultures.

The Significance of the Mekong River

A Scenic Mekong River cruise sails through various parts of Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and it provides an enlightening view of how important the river is to the local Cambodian people and to their livelihoods. While it is true that severely fluctuating water levels can make cruising on the Mekong difficult from time to time, much of the region’s fertility is derived from those dramatic changes in the river’s elevation. During monsoon season (May to October), the lower basin of the Mekong often floods, which forces the river to flow backwards, or upstream. Occasionally, these floods will be severe enough to damage villages and destroy crops; however, most of the time these floods have a greater positive impact on the region. Flood waters are often stored and used for irrigation purposes during the dry season later in the year. The annual flood pulses also help to sustain the Mekong’s freshwater fisheries, which are crucial, since some reports indicate that close to 80 percent of the protein found in Cambodians’ diets comes from fish that have been caught in the river.

The Unique Wildlife of the Mekong

On that topic, the Mekong River supports about 1,100 species of fish, but it is also home to an array of rarer and more unique animals. According to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF), a 118-mile-long stretch of the Mekong that runs between Cambodia and Laos is home to fewer than 100 Irrawaddy dolphins. These rare river dolphins are not yet endangered, but the WWF classifies them as being vulnerable to extinction; and the Khmer and Lao cultures both regard the species as a sacred animal. The Mekong is also home to Siamese crocodiles (in the wetlands region) and giant species of Catfish, Carp, and Ibis. Endangered tigers can also be found in the forests of the Mekong River valley.

Mekong River Cruising

South East Asia is a treasure trove of culture and color, and the Mekong River offers a unique vantage point from which to soak up the ancient sights. Between the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta and the elegant French colonial capital of Phnom Penh in Cambodia, a mixture of magical temples, wild forests, time-honored cultures and bustling cities scatter the exotic land.

Mekong River Cruising: Cultural Immersion

Like every Scenic journey, a river cruise down the Mekong River provides guests with opportunities to immerse themselves in the local culture and the history of the region. Immersion begins with a visit to Wat Hanchey, a pagoda set atop a prominent hillside near the city of Kampong Cham. The Buddhist temple and monastery was a significant place of worship as far back as the Chenla period in the 8th century. The site consistently fascinates visitors with its bright colors, large fruit sculptures, and a brick Hindu temple from the 7th century that was built in honor of Shiva, one of the three major Hindu deities.

Only a short distance down the river in the city of Kampong Cham itself, travelers can visit Wat Nokor, a religious site that is made up of a colorful, modern Hinayana Buddhist pagoda that has been built inside the walls of a 12th-century Mahayana Buddhist shrine, which was originally constructed by Khmer King Jayavarman VII, a Buddhist ruler who built more than 100 hospitals and many monuments during his three-decade-long reign. 

Unique Experiences On The Mekong River

Other experiences to be enjoyed during a Mekong River Cruise include a lesson on Buddhist prayer with monks at a mountaintop stupa, pagoda, and monastery in the ancient capital city of Oudong; guided tours of local food markets followed by a cooking demonstration of Khmer cuisine in Phnom Penh; and a visit to Tra Su Bird Sanctuary in Tan Chau, which offers guided boat tours through acres of flooded forests that are inhabited by various types of stork, herons, waterhens, kingfishers, and other species of birds.

Those looking to connect with nature in other ways will enjoy an elephant trek to the peak of Mount Phou Asa, which offers splendid views across the Mekong River valley. Those wishing to do a bit more of the exercising themselves can take bicycle tours of nearby villages in Champasak, a province in southwestern Laos. Java aficionados will enjoy a visit to a nearby coffee plantation, where they’ll learn about the process of growing and harvest coffee beans. And, of course, Scenic river cruise guests will have a chance to explore the World Heritage Site of Wat Phou, an ornate Khmer temple made up of pillars, shrines, and palaces (among other edifices). The site also features a natural spring that, according to the local people, emits holy water. Guests interested in exploring Southeast Asia further might also be interested in hearing about Scenic’s Irrawady River cruises.

Scenic Space-Ships: All-Inclusive Luxury Riverboats

Every Scenic Asian river cruise begins aboard one of the company’s boutique vessels or custom-built Space-Ships, so named for their spacious guest cabins, dining, and entertaining areas. Each of these four-deck Scenic Space-Ships includes numerous dining and sightseeing areas, as well as a lounge and bar area that offers panoramic views. Additionally, guests can soak up the rays at the top-deck swimming pool or retreat to the wellness center, which is equipped with a fitness area, beauty salon, and massage rooms. These ships are also noteworthy for their luxury suites, which are outfitted with sun lounges, 32-inch high-definition TVs, and complimentary wireless internet access. 

Scenic’s Mekong River cruises take place aboard Scenic Spirit, a 279-foot vessel that was launched in 2016 and can accommodate 68 passengers in 34 one-bedroom balcony suites, as well as 50 crew members. The Scenic Spirit, which offers an almost 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, is equipped with a sleek swimming pool, a steam sauna, and an open-air cinema, among other amenities.

Mekong River Cruise

13+ Day Cruises Fly Free

Luxury Mekong

8 days
Ho Chi Minh City > Siem Reap
Discover the culture, history and allure of Vietnam & Cambodia on an 8 day Mekong river cruise. Explore ancient pagodas and the floating markets at Cai Be.
from $3,195 $2,845
13+ Day Cruises Fly Free

Treasures of the Mekong

13 days
Ho Chi Minh City > Siem Reap
Embark on a luxurious 13 day journey from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap. Cruise the Mekong river on board the all-inclusive 5-star Scenic Spirit.
from $5,285
Fly Free Economy Class In 2017

Journey along the Mekong

18 days
Ho Chi Minh City > Luang Prabang
Cruise the Mekong River and explore the culture and traditions of Vietnam and Cambodia over 22 days. HIghlights include Hanoi, Halong Bay and Angkor Wat.
from $8,465
13+ Day Cruises Fly Free

Highlights of Vietnam, Cambodia & Luxury Mekong

17 days
Hanoi > Ho Chi Minh City
Discover the wonders of Halong Bay, Cambodia and the heaven on earth that is Angkor Wat on a 17 day tour including a luxury river cruise along the Mekong.
from $9,270
Fly Free Economy Class In 2017

Essence of Cambodia, Vietnam & Luxury Mekong

22 days
Siem Reap > Hanoi
Over 22 days explore extraordinary temples, villages, and vibrant cities across Vietnam and Cambodia including a cruise long the magical Mekong River.
from $9,455
Fly Free Economy Class In 2017

Grand Indochina & Luxury Mekong

27 days
Hanoi > Luang Prabang
Spend 27 days unveiling the most magical of sights, tastes and experiences of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, including a luxury river cruise on the Mekong.
from $13,025

Asia River Cruises

Fly Free Economy Class

Bordeaux Affair

8 days
Bordeaux > Bordeaux
Learn wine tasting in one of the traditional vineyards or visit an authentic local food market on this 8 day cruise through the magical Bordeaux region.
from $3,895
Fly Free Economy Class

Bordeaux Sojourn

9 days
Paris > Bordeaux
Discover the very best of Bordeaux with wine tasting and visits to vineyards and castles on this amazing 9 day cruise in the magical Bordeaux region.
from $4,355
Standard Suites Fly Free

Idyllic Rhône

8 days
Tarascon > Chalon-sur-Saone
Board a luxurious Scenic Space-Ship in the former Roman town of Tarascon & cruise the Rhone to Chalon-sur-Saône. Enjoy the cuisines and delights of France.
from $4,475
Standard Suites Fly Free

Enchanting Rhône

9 days
Nice > Paris
Cruise the enchanting Rhone river from Tarascon to Chalon-sur-Saône. Discover the towns of Avignon, Tournon & Lyon with exclusive Scenic Enrich activities.
from $4,990
Save Up To $400*

Rhine Highlights with Switzerland

12 days
Amsterdam > Zurich
Cruise to the heart of Europe on a 12 day journey from Amsterdam to Zurich. Discover the beauty of Switzerland, visit Lake Geneva, Montreux and the Alps.
from $5,400 $5,200
Fly Free Economy Class

Beautiful Bordeaux

11 days
Bordeaux > Bordeaux
Learn how to taste wine from a sommelier during the visits to the wineries and vineyards on this romantic 11 day cruise through the Bordeaux region.
from $5,319
Fly Free Economy Class

Gems of the Seine

11 days
Paris > Paris
Cruise along the Seine on an 11 day journey from Paris to Honfleur. Tour the historic Normandy beaches and visit Giverny where you can see Monet's gardens.
from $5,845
Fly Free Economy Class

Breathtaking Bordeaux

12 days
Paris > Bordeaux
Refined elegance and charming beauty combine on this 12 day experience through France's treasures. From Paris to Bordeaux, you won't want to look away.
from $6,165
Standard Suites Fly Free

Enchanting Rhône with Paris

11 days
Nice > Paris
Board a luxurious Scenic Space-Ship and cruise the Rhône to Chalon-sur-Saône. Travel from the beautiful Île-de-France region to Paris & explore the city.
from $6,260
Fly From $995 Premium Economy

Enchanting Rhône with Barcelona

12 days
Paris > Barcelona
Cruise the Rhone from Chalon-sur-Saône to Tarascon before travelling to beautiful Barcelona. Enjoy guided city tours, delicious cuisine & exclusive events.
from $6,450
Fly Free Economy Class

South of France

13 days
Chalon-sur-Saone > Tarascon
Feast on exquisite French cuisine and marvel at the beautiful landscapes on a 13 day cruise from Chalon-sur-Saône to Tarascon on board a Scenic Space-Ship.
from $6,775
Fly Free Economy Class

Spectacular South of France

14 days
Paris > Nice
Soak up the spectacular South of France on a 14 day river cruise from Paris to Nice. Explore the food capital, Lyon and enjoy the entertainment in Tarascon.
from $7,235
Standard Suites Fly Free

Enchanting Rhône with Barcelona & Paris

14 days
Barcelona > Paris
From the city of dreams to the city of light, enjoy a 14 day journey from Barcelona to Paris. See the sights of the Sagrada Familia to the Champs Elysées.
from $7,700

Beautiful Bordeaux with Madrid

14 days
Bordeaux > Madrid
Enjoy this romantic 11 day cruise in the gorgeous Bordeaux region. Afterwards discover all the hidden gems of beautiful Madrid with a 3 day city trip.
from $7,714

Eastern Mediterranean Treasures

10 days
Venice > Barcelona
Get to know the delicious culture, cuisine and landscapes of this region on this luxurious 10 day cruise in the Mediterranean from Venice to Barcelona.
from $6,395

Breathtaking Bordeaux with Madrid

15 days
Paris > Madrid
With beautiful sights and incomparable gastronomy, you'll never want to leave. Enjoy perfection from Paris to Madrid on this 15 day luxury experience.
from $8,229
Fly Free Economy Class

Spectacular South of France with Monte Carlo

17 days
Paris > Nice
Experience the South of France and Monte Carlo while you cruise the spectacular Rhone river. Visit the Château de Cormatinand the Prince's Palace of Monaco.
from $8,410
Save Up To $2,000*

Jewels of Europe with Paris

18 days
Paris > Budapest
Lights sparkling on the river, enchanting towns, romantic culture - find it all on this all-encompassing 18 day European experience from Paris to Budapest.
from $8,020
Fly Free Economy Class

Romantic Rhine & Moselle with Switzerland

19 days
Amsterdam > Zurich
Experience the magic of Europe’s most romantic region on a 19 day journey from Amsterdam to Zurich. Cruise the Rhine and Moselle, create your own fairytale.
from $8,730

Jewels of Europe with Paris

18 days
Budapest > Paris
Have an amazing experience on this 18 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Afterwards visit for 3 days one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris.
from $8,665
Standard Suites Fly Free

Spectacular South of France with Paris

16 days
Paris > Nice
Experience the delights of France on a luxurious 16 day journey from Paris to Nice. Discover the magic of Paris, culture and cuisine that makes it famous.
from $9,185
Fly Free Economy Class

Spectacular South of France with Barcelona

17 days
Paris > Barcelona
Explore the quaint French countryside and beautiful Barcelona on a luxurious 17 day journey from Paris to Barcelona that will leave you wonder-struck.
from $9,295
Fly Free Economy Class

Jewels of Europe with Paris & Prague

21 days
Paris > Prague
Explore the wondrous cities of Amsterdam, Cologne, Vienna and more on a 21 day journey from Paris to Prague. See the Rhone Gorge, Marksburg Castle and more.
from $9,310
Standard Suites Fly Free

Spectacular South of France with Paris & Monte Carlo

19 days
Paris > Nice
Cruise the spectacular rivers of the South of France in 5-star luxury and soak up the sun in Monte Carlo on a lavish 19 day journey from Paris to Nice.
from $10,360

Imperial Russia with St. Petersburg

18 days
Moscow > St Petersburg
Explore St. Petersburg before boarding Scenic Tsar in Moscow for a luxurious river cruise along the Volga. Enjoy guided tours and grand sights of Russia.
from $10,520
Standard Suites Fly Free

Spectacular South of France with Paris & Barcelona

19 days
Paris > Barcelona
Discover Paris and cruise the South of France from Chalon-sur-Saône to Tarascon before falling in love with beautiful Barcelona on this 19 day adventure.
from $10,575

Gems of the Seine & Beautiful Bordeaux

21 days
Paris > Bordeaux
Discover the best of France, including a 10 day cruise along the Seine that starts in Paris, combined with a 10 day cruise through the Bordeaux region.
from $10,750

ANZAC Day Mediterranean Discovery

15 days
Barcelona > Istanbul
Discover the Europe of your imagination and experience a moving ANZAC Day in Gallipoli on this luxurious 15 day cruise from Barcelona to Istanbul.
from $11,095

Gems of the Seine & Unforgettable Douro

21 days
Paris > Porto
Discover two of the most magical rivers in Europe, with a 10 day luxury cruise along the romantic Seine and a 10 day cruise along the beautiful Douro.
from $11,340

Romantic Rhine & Moselle with Alpine Escapade

26 days
Munich > Amsterdam
Be swept away on this wonder-filled 26 day experience across the Swiss Alps and Rhineland. Marvel at the endless beauty from Munich to Amsterdam.
from $12,860
Save Up To $2,000*

Beautiful Bordeaux & Unforgettable Douro

21 days
Bordeaux > Porto
From elegant Bordeaux to sparkling Porto, travel in style on this 21 day experience. Endless visual and gastronomical delights await - a trip of a lifetime.
from $10,865

Gems of the Seine & Beautiful Bordeaux with Madrid

24 days
Paris > Madrid
A leisurely pace through a number of beautiful destinations is the ultimate luxury. Experience France and Spain's best in 24 days from Paris to Madrid.
from $12,575
Fly Free Economy Class

Gems of the Seine & South of France

23 days
Paris > Nice
Discover the best that France has to offer on a 23 day journey from Paris to Nice. Cruise the Seine and Rhone rivers past the vineyards, castles & villages.
from $13,855

Gems of the Seine & Unforgettable Douro with Madrid

24 days
Paris > Madrid
Over 24 days journey on the Seine River in France, before stepping on the Scenic Azure for a cruise along Portugal's Douro River, finishing in Madrid.
from $13,125
Save Up To $2,000*

Beautiful Bordeaux & Unforgettable Douro with Madrid

24 days
Bordeaux > Madrid
The elegance of Bordeaux coupled with the color of Portugal - this experience has it all. Be swept away over 24 glorious days from Bordeaux to Madrid.
from $13,739
Save Up To $2,000*

Breathtaking Bordeaux & Unforgettable Douro

22 days
Paris > Porto
Visit the most famous wine regions of Europe during a 10 day cruise through the beautiful Bordeaux region and 10 day cruise along the Douro River.
from $14,239

Great Civilisations ANZAC Day Discovery

23 days
Tenerife > Istanbul
This 23 day cruise will sail to some of the most iconic sites in Europe as well as the chance to experience a moving ANZAC Day service in Gallipoli.
from $18,290

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