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Old Dec 28, 18, 12:06 am
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: UK
Posts: 1,343
I did this trip in 2011, sailing from Siem Reap to Saigon. It was part of a much longer trip that started in Bali with an expedition cruise to Sulawesi and Borneo. We then flew to Luang Prabang and Amantaka, then Amansara before getting on the river boat. I would say that the Mekong section was the least interesting section of the whole trip and while enjoyable had some significant drawbacks. It was much less interesting than a river cruise in Burma which we did a few years before that.

The best part is just to sit on the top deck, sip a G&T, and watch the river and river communities glide past. Our boat - a Pandaw vessel - back in 2011 was quite primitive by today's standards. It had about 20 cabins so 40 people on board. Our motley group was OK but you can get boats booked out by quite large groups who can be disruptive.

In 2011 there was a significant difference between Cambodia and Vietnam - the latter was clearly still suffering from the Khmer Rouge trauma while Vietnam was clearly going places. Pollution levels in Vietnam were extremely high, even back then, as industrialisation had begun. Cambodia was still largely a rural economy. Shore excursions into small villages or towns were always frenzied and immersive - you have to want to really throw yourself into that world of sensory overload. Poverty levels will be fairly high in some places though nothing like Burma. There are some truly unforgettable things on this route, though nothing on the scale of Angkor of course.

In 2011 we did notice how tourism was taking hold and will be ever more so today. This was particularly noticeable when boats moored overnight, side by side, so to get ashore you had to walk across maybe two other boats. And every boat had its generator working for the air-con so there was a lot of noise and smoke at night. And sometimes a blizzard of insects.

I was glad I did this trip back then. Personally, knowing what I know, I wouldn't do it again.

Last edited by Pausanias; Dec 28, 18 at 12:11 am
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