Combining Angkor Wat and the Mekong River
| Mekong River
Dreaming of travelling Southeast Asia? Read below to see how you can combine two of the most special landmarks in this vast land of ancient history and culture - Angkor Wat and the miraculous Mekong River.
This exceptional temple complex in Siem Reap, Cambodia, tells the fascinating tale of an extraordinary civilization. One that valued architectural technique, aesthetic prowess and artistic mastery above all else. Built in the early 12th century during the Khmer Empire and under the reign of Suryavarman II, it was initially a series of Hindu temples, later becoming Buddhist. Angkor Wat is but one of the temples of the vast Angkor site, of which there are over 1000! Angkor Wat is now one of the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia, cementing its reputation as one of the largest, most important religious monuments in the world.
No trip to Southeast Asia would be complete without a visit to the spectacular temples of Angkor. From afar, its five majestic towers and structural grandeur will stop you in your tracks, but it's when you step amongst the ruins and get close to the exquisitely ornate walls, lined with carved illustrations of mythical creatures, ornamented dancers and elephant-riding warriors – Hindu devatas - that your heart will truly be stolen.
Sunrise over Angkor Wat is sensational, and watching its blushing hues in the Lotus Pond's reflection is an iconic experience. For a more unique visit however, consider one of the lesser-known temples, each with its unique beauty and mystery, as your sunrise spot to avoid the crowds.
One of the most remarkable rivers in the world is the Mekong River. The longest in Southeast Asia, unfurls in the Tibetan Plateau, and winds through the Three Parallel Rivers of China's Yunnan Province, then south east through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, eventually meeting the South China Sea via the intricate Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
While Angkor Wat bears witness to a fascinating past, the Mekong River's appeal is in its thriving present. Its banks see all of life's bustling throes; Children play and paddle in the shallows, fishermen cast their nets, farmers reap from their rice barges, women sit cross-legged weaving reed mats and baskets, artisans hawk their wares and boats comically laden with produce populate the colorful floating markets. With over 60 million people living around the river, its rich cultural diversity can't be matched - ranging from small villages and farms to some of Southeast Asia's largest cities. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam is one example. Another is Phnom Penh in Cambodia where the river shares its life-force with the fertile Tonle Sap Lake.
There is no better way to witness this life-carrying artery of Southeast Asia than by the water itself and Rainforest Cruises offer plenty of choices for a unique trip. From the decks of one of our enchanting boats you will get unparalleled views of this verdant and mighty ecosystem, witnessing one of the world's most incredible arrays of wildlife and natural phenomenons, which is surpassed in biodiversity only by the Amazon River. With luck, you might spot giant soft-shell turtles, fishing cats, smooth-coated otters, stingrays... or even the elusive and exceptionally rare Irrawaddy Dolphin!
How To Achieve an Angkor Wat Mekong Cruise
If you want to fit both of these stunning places into your itinerary, we at Rainforest Cruises have got you covered! To explore the Mekong River we'll help you choose the perfect luxurious river cruise based on your travel date and budget. We take away all the hassle of organization by giving you the option of adding an extension to your cruise to Siem Reap where you can visit the spectacular towers of Angkor Wat. We'll cover your hotel accommodation, select meals, airport or ship transfers, sightseeing, domestic airfare, English speaking guides, and even entrance fees. You can choose to add this extension before or after your cruise boat tour and we'll do the rest for you, letting you leave stress and logistics at home and fully enjoy this rich and culturally vibrant part of the world, making for an unforgettable trip.
Due to its tropical monsoon climate, the cool and dry period (between November and mid February) is the best time to visit the Mekong River and Angkor Wat. However, to avoid other tourists and save some money, choose cruising the Mekong during the wet season between mid April to October (with July and August being the rainiest months). Get in touch if you want to chat about this - you can send us an enquiry or call 1-888-215-35558 to start planning your bespoke adventure today!