The Pulse of the Mekong River

From its spring-fed source in China’s Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River flows through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea. While the upper half of the Mekong navigates rugged terrain, the river’s pace and landscapes in Cambodia and Vietnam lend well to travel and exploration by boat.

Often called the “rice bowl” of Southeast Asia, the Mekong River delta provides rich soil for agriculture, sustaining the local economy. This river basin is a trove for wildlife and vegetation as well, ranked just behind the Amazon as the most biodiverse river basin in the world.

On the southern end of the Mekong, travelers can feel the pulse of the river basin firsthand on an overnight yacht and discover how the river is intricately wound into the history of Vietnam and Cambodia.


The Mekong River is an important life source for the communities on its banks, and the inhabitants of the river basin travel its waterways, fish its waters for livelihood and farm on its rich banks.

Here, travelers can immerse themselves into the region’s culture by learning about traditional mat weaving, strolling through a local plantation to taste its fruits or visiting a floating market. A day on the Aqua Mekong might include traveling to visit a hilltop community of monks, taking a tuk-tuk ride through Cambodian capital Phnom Penh or biking through the idyllic countryside in Vietnam.


The Mekong basin ranks second after the Amazon for the most biodiverse river basin in the world, home to large waterbirds, soft-shelled turtles, endangered freshwater Irrawaddy dolphins and more. Excursions like a visit to the Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve in Cambodia allow travelers views of spot-billed pelicans and painted storks, among other species that reside in the 54,000-acre park.


Dianna Upton, our product manager for Southeast Asia, often recommends adding on an luxury yacht voyage in the Mekong delta to clients visiting Vietnam or Cambodia.

“A voyage on the Mekong River gives travelers an in-depth look at the local countryside of the Mekong Delta, while allowing them to retire to luxury each night,” explains Dianna.

One of Dianna’s favorite partners in the region is Aqua Expeditions, which offers 3-night, 4-night and 7-night cruises on the Mekong with varied itineraries, depending on water level and season (higher water levels are found August to November).

The Aqua Mekong’s twenty outward facing suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing guests excellent views from the comfort of their room while traveling. The ship showcases modern architecture and interiors by renowned architect Noor Design, providing travelers with an unforgettable experience while traveling. Onboard, guests can relax between activities with full access to the infinity pool, spacious private lounges and onboard spa facilities. Foodies will particularly enjoy the local flavors and dining experience crafted by Michelin-starred consulting chef David Thompson. Aqua Expeditions owns and operates the only private fleet of launch boats on the Mekong river, allowing for an additional focus on safety, comfort and exclusivity.

Twice-daily activities range from visiting local markets and stilted villages, touring temples and meeting monks, taking an onboard cooking class with local fare, or exploring via bike, kayak and speedboat. With activities and visits in both thriving urban areas and peaceful rural landscapes, the journey on the Mekong gives travelers a taste of Southeast Asia’s most vital and celebrated natural resource.


Looking to visit Southeast Asia and the Mekong River delta? Contact us for more information!