Meandering Along the Mekong
Interested in something a little more exotic? How about water-wending into the heart of Southeast Asia along the storied Mekong? It begins in the Tibetan highlands and flows southeast through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, where it fans into a rich delta near Ho Chi Minh City before emptying into the South China Sea.
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Here are two Mekong options:
The South: Pandaw River Cruises' eight-day, seven-night Mekong River Exploration plies from the Vietnamese port of My Tho, near Ho Chi Minh City, into rural Cambodia, ending at Siem Reap (site of Angkor Wat's wonders).
Highlights ofthe cruise include colorful canals, backwater markets and tribal villages in Vietnam, and silk-weaving villages, monasteries and temples in Cambodia. The cost ranges from $1,132 to $2,713 per person, double occupancy.
The North: Mekong River Cruises' eight-day, seven-night GoldenTriangle-Luang Prabang journey begins in the Thai town of Chiang Saen, near the borders with Myanmar and Laos.
Highlights in Thailand include visits to the spectacular Doi Tung Royal Orchid Botanical Gardens and the village of Mae Sai, on the Myanmar border. In Laos, passengers can soak in the spectacular scenery, travel by longtail boatto a Khmu village and visit famed Pak Ou Caves, where thousands of small Buddha statues are placed inside deep caverns.
The journey ends in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang; the itinerary includes two nights onboard in Luang Prabang so that guests can fully explore this historic city. Rates vary based on departure date; consult the website for fares.
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