The Mekong River is among the largest in the world and flows all the way from the Tibetan Plateau through Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It is a vital resource for those who live along with it and it provides access to some of the region’s remotest communities. Here at Rainforest Cruises, we offer river cruises along this mighty waterway. From the unique vantage point of the water, you will see Southeast Asia in a whole new light. Forget about dusty, gridlocked roads and enjoy the unmitigated tranquility of the Mekong River.
There are a few things you should know before you go ahead and start booking. The first and most important bit of information every potential Mekong cruiser should be aware of is when is the best time to travel. Our Mekong River cruises navigate through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, so in this article, we will discuss the weather patterns in these countries so you can decide which season best suits your travel needs.
As the countries are side by side, they have similar climates, yet the weather varies between regions. Planning your holiday in Southeast Asia, bear that in mind and plan well.
The best time to go to the Mekong is between November and April. This is the dry season, during which time temperatures and rainfall both drop and travelers can enjoy warm dry days and cool evenings. The weather is perfect for enjoying the beaches and exploring the region’s beautiful nature. From your cruise ship, you will be able to soak up endless sunshine on the sundeck as you take in the scenery that drifts by.
However, this period also tends to be the most expensive time to travel as it is considered the peak season. It can also get a little chilly in the highlands, so you will need to pack with that in mind if you intend to travel into the mountains after your cruise.
The alternative to traveling during the dry season is to take a chance and head to the Mekong during the wet season, which runs from May to October. The number one benefit of traveling during the rainy months is that the landscape is at its most lush as the plants are fully hydrated from the intermittent monsoons. There are fewer tourists during this season as well so you won’t need to jostle for space at famous landmarks. Also bear in mind that the cruise itineraries might vary a bit between wet and dry seasons as the water level in the Mekong and Tonle rivers change, with access to some areas only available in the wet season.
It is important to remember that it does not rain constantly during the wet season. Instead, you will witness short bursts of very heavy rain. In between these showers, the sun comes out in full force and temperatures and humidity are high. That being said, it can become uncomfortably hot at times and there is always a risk your plans will be delayed or even canceled because of flooding. However, if you need to escape the heat, the highlands offer some respite as does your blissfully air-conditioned cabin aboard your cruise vessel.
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