The Vietnamese call the river Song Cuu Long, the Nine Dragons River, for the nine branches of the Mekong Delta.
Rising in southeastern China and flowing through or past Tibet, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, the Mekong, at approximately 2,700 miles in length, is the longest river in Southeast Asia, the 7th longest in Asia, and the 12th longest in the world.
In spite of its size and importance to six different countries, the river remains one of Asia’s least-developed waterways; in fact, the Mekong’s biodiversity is second only to that of the Amazon, with thousands of species of plants and a wealth of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Extraordinary natural beauty, like the UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay, is just one facet of this magical country — you’ll also discover golden temples, floating markets, ancient villages, bustling cities, tuk tuk and elephant rides, puppet shows, and gracious, friendly people.
All the major river cruise lines offer Mekong trips in Vietnam and Cambodia, including AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Pandaw, Uniworld, Viking Cruises, and CroisiEurope. Although itineraries are offered for most of the year, the best time to go is during the winter months, November through February.