My Travel Agents' Fam: Mekong Delta River Cruise from Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) to Siem Reap (Cambodia)

Up and until last March I thought I had seen unusual and intriguing sights but I must admit this experience did surprise me. We organized a travel agents' famil to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam /Cambodia. After having spent the first two nights at the start of our journey in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in utter luxury, we boarded a fairly large ship (fit to cruise only on a river) . Once on the ship, the crew escorted us to our individual cabins. The crew consists of wonderful local staff who are most gracious and caring and look after every guests' needs. The cabin is small , all paneled in local Vietnamese timber. A double bed is too large for the size of the cabin. A very minimal size of a so called "balcony" and a large window are decent for the size of the cabin. The problem here is the shower in the bathroom. Not only is the bathroom poorly lit but water leaks from all around the shower base onto the bathroom tile floor. They did plan for this ,I am sure, as the bathroom floor does have a drain. Still I find it most inconvenient to step on wet floor. The mirorr above the sink, is in a way, of no use, sicne If one is to shave or put make up on, it is impossible to do as the lighting is minimal and bare as it is the same elsewhere in the cabin .

The cabins are definitely a 7 on a scale 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest). The food is good and abundant buffet for breakfast and lunch, however the dinners are all another experience all together. There is a world of difference when sitting down for dinner which is served "a la carte". The bread is extremely stale, and very little of it is served, the portions of the main entrees are far from being satisfactory and desserts are old or just simply boring. which is most disappointing. The strange thing about this cruise is that for 7 nights the ships goes nowhere, really to speak of. . The river is too shallow (in low tide season), and therefore the boat sits still for days and hours at a time. The days go by just chilling on the boat where most of the guests gather by the bar on the top deck, or just lay back on the sundeck chairs and read or simply socialize over a cup of coffee ( served by a urn).. The pool is a joke , really. It is really just a large tub but still good for a just staying cool if you wish to only float.

The most positive part of this experience is what is gained by visiting the remote villages along the river . These villages can only be accessed by the river and therefore the cruise sheds some light and excitement on this otherwise boring 7 nights sailing. Once the boat stops( which is 80% of the time) we did organize special excursions to visit the villages and experience their way of life.We went right into the hart of the villages where weaving, carving and many other artifacts are made .. It all seemed to remain still, as if time had never passed by a true natural treasure.

As we sailed and toured along the Mekong/Delta river I realized that although the ship and the length of the sailing may feel boring , it is a most mysterious and unique experience as the villages are the highlight of what is still a remote area. As we ended our cruise , we arrived in Siem Reap where we continued to experience more wonders for the additional 2 nights although we experienced them in luxury , this particular trip made me decide that perhaps some good tours should be put together to sell to anyone interested in finding culture, nature and mystical wonders in thsi most magnificent and exotic destination. A must see for all.

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