I have always wanted to visit both Cambodia and Vietnam so a Mekong river cruise seemed the perfect way of doing this.
Flying with Vietnam Airlines from London to Siem Reap, the holiday began with an overnight stay at the luxurious Angkor Wat Sofitel, lending opportunity to visit the magnificent Angkor Wat temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a place on my list of ‘must visits' - it didn't disappoint!
Due to the low water levels it was necessary to take a coach journey to join the ship at Prek Kdam. Not being the best of travellers I hadn't been looking forward to this journey, but it actually turned out to be a great way of seeing Cambodia as we travelled inland through the countryside.
The La Marguerite was fabulous and just the right size (only 90 passengers in total), small and relatively luxurious with all the necessary amenities. Cabins onboard are spacious, decorated in a Vietnamese style and the public areas are light, airy and cool - excellent for relaxing. The plunge pool was magnificent for cooling down after an excursion and the all-inclusive drinks onboard were a real bonus!
The food on the cruise was delicious and fresh (I saw it being delivered to the ship each morning!) and with an excellent variety. The mixture of passengers on board (Australians, Americans and British) and open seating dining meant there was always someone new to chat too - although there were some smaller tables and plenty of quiet areas on the ship too, for times were I was feeling a little less sociable.
The places seen on this itinerary were beyond all my expectations. Visiting a number of small Vietnamese and Cambodian towns and villages and getting a real feel for the countries cultures and way off life, with many places still barely touched my tourism.
Highlights of the trip for me included a visit to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penn, home to the Silver Pagoda and a tour to S21 and the Killing Fields made all the more meaningful with the information provided from the expert local guides. I also thoroughly enjoyed the time spent cruising onboard La Marguerite, where I could sit and admire the scenery as we cruised the Mekong passed magnificent stilt house and floating villages.
I would highly recommend this cruise and will hopefully do it again someday - perhaps including Ha Long Bay next time.