AmaWaterways, APT Touring, Viking River Cruises – any river cruise line worth its salt is sending eager explorers along the Mekong River.

If you’ve always been keen to discover Vietnam and Cambodia but never quite managed that gap year, a river cruise can be the most comfortable of compromises. Whilst your time on the water is all about stress-free surroundings, fab food and great service, it’s all about authenticity when you venture ashore. When it comes to adventures in the farthest-flung corners of the world, who says we have to sling a backpack over our shoulders and head to the local hostels? There’s a new way to see the world now.

Worried you’ll never see Asia properly without quitting your job and packing up your house, dog and all your worldly belongings to chase that elusive ‘round the world’ dream? Don’t be – it’s perfectly possible to fit the best bits of a Southeast Asian adventure into a 14-night river cruise. Here are some of the highlights you’ll enjoy along the way.

Cu Chi Tunnels

Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and chat with some of the last remaining Viet Cong guerrillas who spent as long as 27 days straight enclosed within the tunnels during the Vietnamese War.

Photo Credits: David McKelvey

Tour Saigon

Tour the city of Saigon…on the back of a motorcycle! Hop on the back of your bike and weave your way through the streets of Saigon, before venturing into Ho Chi Minh City to see the city like a local.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum & Killing Fields

Visit the historic Killing Fields, where more than a million people were killed and buried under the brutal Khmer Regime. Afterwards, stop by the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, a former prison that now houses sobering reminders of the atrocities.

Siem Reap

Sample some local delicacies and find out if tarantula really does taste like chicken in Siem Reap. Enjoy an eight-legged entrée, followed by a course of crunchy crickets and a side of fermented fish paste.

Angkor Wat

Watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat with a glass of champagne in one hand and your camera in the other. Afterwards, take the opportunity to visit the Opportunities of Development through Art (ODA) centre, where underprivileged children wait to welcome you with the warmest of smiles.

Have we whet your appetite for a Mekong River cruise?