Discover Asia On An APT River Cruise

6 July 2014

Winding your way past quaint riverside towns and floating markets surrounded by green fields along the Mekong Delta and its adjoining waterways is a great way to discover Asia. APT's Southeast Asia cruises offer beautifully furnished private suites, international cuisine and small group excursions on rickshaws and water boats. You can cruise magically through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, discovering hidden gems not seen by land.

A visit to the Mekong Delta is so special because of its unique diversity. See kids riding on water buffalo, rice workers hunched over their fields, flocks of storks at dusk and rowboats on its maze of channels. Home to over 1,000 varieties fish, 20,000 plant species and an array of wildlife, the Mekong Delta is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. It's Asia’s third largest river; a comma-shaped flatland that is also known as Vietnam’s ‘rice bowl’, producing more than a third of the country’s annual food crop. Here are four countries you can explore on an APT Asian river cruise.

 Otherworldly sights await at Vietnma's Ha Long Bay

Vietnam

An APT Mekong Delta cruise can take you through the contrasts of beautiful Vietnam, from the hive of activity in its crowded cities,to the relaxed pace of the beautiful countryside. In northern Hanoi, you will find a beautiful blend of French colonial influence, with the modern pace of Asian city life before cruising onward past the spectacular mountains of Sapa and the sparkling Ha Long Bay.

Be transported further south to Saigon, where you will find a mix of soaring skyscrapers with French architecture and the energy of chaotic outdoor markets. Along the way, Australia’s revered chef, Luke Nguyen, can help you discover the culinary heritage of his home country.

 See Cambodian life along the Mekong Delta

Cambodia

Channels carve a lifeline into Cambodia, a country full of history and magnificence. Visit the famous temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and cruise past the beautiful Royal Palace. Located on the riverfrontm the Palace showcases classic Khmer roofs and ornate gilding.

You can experience Cambodia's lush countryside filled with rice paddies and sugar palms, cruising along the south coast past tropical islands and beach huts.

 Lush landscapes around the Nam Song River, Laos

Laos

After years of isolation, Laos is now one of the most laid-back Southeast Asian destinations. Enjoy the well-preserved culture, stunning natural environment and friendly people. Life in Laos still revolves around tradition and you can experience riverfront life unchanged over generations. See the historic royal city of Luang Prabang where hundreds of saffron-robed monks move quietly among centuries-old monasteries.

The Mekong opens up at Si Phan Don (meaning literally 'four thousand islands'). It’s an archipelago of tranquil islands popular with travellers for cycling, swimming, tubing, boat cruises, kayaking, and dolphin spotting.

 Cruise into beautiful Bangkok

Thailand

Known as the 'Land of Smiles', you're awarded the opportunity see Thailand’s famous beaches and lush mountain ranges on an APT river cruise. Stop at Bangkok for a spot of shopping in its many malls, or take in its history by visiting the ancient temples.

Heading further north, the landscape changes to dense forests, where you come face to face with hill tribes of and see village life rooted in centuries of tradition. The Mekong Delta and its distributaries are lined with natural beauty and is the perfect waterscape to discover Asia from a different perspective.

Rowena Ryan

As a well-travelled writer, Rowena looks for the local experience. Whether it’s a glass of rose in Paris or a shiraz in the Barossa, she embraces the fascinating and different cultures around the globe. Rowena loves Canada for its Caesar’s (a Clamato-based cocktail), the local markets in regional France, and a North American sports bar for wings and a cold beer.