From slow river cruises through the jungle to spotting rare dolphins and visiting cave temples, here are your top tips on how to navigate Asia’s greatest waterway – and where to stop along the way…
“Absorb the history of Kanchanaburi, Thailand and walk along the train tracks of the Thai-Burma (Death) Railway.
You'll cross the bridge over the River Kwai that was built by Allied POWs during the Second World War.”
- Michelle Coogan
“We took a passenger boat from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to Vung Tau in Vietnam, and went along the mouth of the Mekong and out into the South China Sea.
We spotted fishing boats of all sizes as well as lots of wildlife among the mangroves.”
- Erica Gilberthorpe
“A slow boat is a wonderful way to live and breathe the upper Mekong.
Visit Luang Prabang – the most beautiful city along the river – and enjoy the cascades at Kuang Si Falls.
In October, you can watch the boat racing festival, Boun Suang Heua, from a riverside restaurant while sampling fried river weed.”
- Howard Fancourt
“When taking the slow boat from Northern Thailand into Laos, disembark at a tiny village called Muang Ngoi.
It’s an idyllic slice of heaven. Five years ago, it was only accessible by boat – no roads or vehicle access.
Exploring nearby Tham Kang Cave was probably was one of our biggest highlights.”
- Emily Pinﬁeld-Sunderland
“Take a side trip to MandaLao, which is doing wonderful work in elephant conservation, providing a jungle sanctuary for abused animals.
Stroll the forest alongside these amazing, banana-loving creatures, who have been rescued from the logging trade.
It’s a great alternative to the ‘rides’ routinely offered to travellers, which are in fact very damaging to the elephants’ health and wellbeing.”
- Vik Loveday
“Stay on Don Khon in Laos’ 4,000 Islands (Si Phan Don) and take a morning boat trip to look for the almost extinct Irrawaddy dolphins on the Lao-Cambodian border before the backpackers arrive.
We stayed at The River Resort at Champasak, which had rooms overlooking the water – the perfect spot to see early morning fishermen at work.”
- Anne Burns
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