Once-In-A-Lifetime Journey Down the Mekong River – Cambodia & Vietnam
Riverboat Cruise On The Mekong River; December 2016 with Kosher River Cruises
By Diane G – Passenger
We Let me first begin that I truly did not have an idea of what to expect prior to my departure no matter how informative the information and itineraries that were sent to me. I had taken a number of river cruises with Kosher Riverboat Cruise through Europe but the Mekong I have to say was something completely different and truly extraordinary. Yes the level of luxury accommodation and food (and not to mention ease of travel by riverboat – unpack once is my new favourite way to now travel) was what I have come to expect from a Kosher River Cruises tour program, but what made this cruise different was instead of the European cities and towns we had visited on our shore excursions through Europe, on the Mekong we got to not only see, but experience something most tourists to this region ever get a chance to truly experience; this is not only sightseeing but a true cultural interaction and understanding few can ever have with its local peoples. This is a holiday you will never forget!
My unforgettable trip started at the eponymous Raffles Hotel in Siem Reap, Cambodia. From the attentive staff to the whole ambience of the hotel, this really got my holiday off to a relaxing start. The peace and quiet was unbelievable, even in the beautiful swimming pool area where there was none of the shouting and screaming that often accompanies hotel pools. The journey to and from the hotel by tuk tuk was a fascinating, if hair-raising, experience. The people were so polite and nothing was too much trouble. Our tour to Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As your walk up the road towards Angkor Thom, nothing can prepare you for the sights inside. Then on to Angkor Wat, the highlight of the visit, and the chance to take the iconic photo of Angkor Wat reflected in the lake.
Boarding our riverboat, the Jayavarman, was as exciting as visiting these world-renown sites. With a crew to passenger ratio of almost 1 to 1, nothing was too much trouble. Our excursions were not just visiting tourist sites but going into the little villages and seeing how the general population lives day to day. Although very simple, they were so friendly and appreciative of any items purchased from their stalls. One of the special moments was visiting a village where the children are taught to speak English. It was baking hot in their makeshift classroom but they were all smiling and sitting quietly, ready to entertain us with their rendition of ‘Old McDonald Had a Farm in English. It was a very humbling experience to see them so cheerful with what little they had.
Another highlight was our visit to one of the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh and the nearby S1 prison. This highlighted mans inhumanity to man and it was unbelievable to learn of the atrocities perpetrated by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. On to Vietnam, one of our stops we where we were given a walking tour and interaction of at local village. We were entertained by one of the villagers in his house, shown how they live, then treated to a wonderful selection of tropical fruits all grown in the village. The highlight of this excursion was the Unicorn Dance performed by local teens – unbelievable acrobatics, agility and precision.
This unforgettable cruise culminated in a short stay in Saigon for us and nothing can prepare you for the experience of trying to cross the roads! All in all, a wonderful and memorable holiday that I highly recommend as a must on anyone’s travel list, and a river journey with Kosher River Cruises is the best and most comfortable way to experience this and any region.
Diane G Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River Cruise December 2016
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