Diving into the cultural highlights found along the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia is an experience like no other. Embrace the warmth and smiles from local families, learn about how they go about their day-to-day lives, visit ancient sites and try new flavours.
Wat Hanchey, Cambodia
This hilltop temple has origins dating back to the eighth century. With one of the best views of the Mekong River, Wat Hanchey is a special place for locals. We adore the bright colours that adorn the temple and buildings in this complex, complete with monks going about their daily rituals.
Kampong Luong, Cambodia
Kampong Luong is a well-regarded silversmith village. Blocks of silver are flattened by hammer and machine to create thin, malleable sheets. Watch on as talented craftsmen use age-old techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation to create works of art. These make the perfect souvenirs and gifts, from intricately decorated trinket boxes to beautiful jewellery.
Cu Lao Gieng, Vietnam
She may be small, but she is mighty. One of the Mekong River’s many small islands, don’t let the size of Cu Lao Gieng fool you. Cu Lao Gieng is home to several pagados and churches, including one of Vietnam’s oldest Catholic churches – Cu Lao Gieng Church. There are also many industrious local families on the island: visit the home of a family who makes traditional non la (the conical hats) from palm leaves and bamboo. Mainly used as sun protection, its use is two-fold as it can be flipped and used as a basket to transport goods from the market.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh has a storied history, seeing through many struggles including the infamous capture of the city by the Khmer Rouge in 1975. Just outside of the city is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. While incredible sombre, these are two places of cultural and historical significance to Cambodia. Both can show travellers a small glimpse into the atrocities inflicted on Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge regime.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s business and financial hub. Despite this, there is still plenty of culture for you to soak up as you explore this walkable city centre. From the brightly coloured Saigon Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral to Ben Thanh Market and the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City is a must-visit when exploring the Mekong River.
An Avalon Waterways cruise is one of the best ways to experience cultural highlights found along the Mekong River. Take a look at our Mekong river cruises today.