Last month my husband and I experienced a unique perspective on one of the most exotic regions of the world--the legendary Mekong River Delta with Avalon Waterways. It was an unforgettable intermingling of ancient temples, colorful markets, authentic cultural encounters, and the warm, welcoming spirit of both the onboard staff and Vietnamese and Cambodian people.
Our northbound cruise-tour began in Ho Chi Minh City, still known as Saigon to many. Our stunning hotel, The Reverie Saigon, was our home for the first three nights of the journey.
After a restful night in our spacious hotel room with its spectacular view of the Saigon River and memorable breakfast our group of 25 set off for a classic walking tour entitled Motorbikes, Monuments, and Mouthwatering Cuisine.
We passed historic landmarks and stopped at the Rex Hotel for a restorative drink at the rooftop bar where the U.S. Military held the infamous "Five O'clock Follies" during the Viet Nam conflict. From there, we visited the poignant War Remnants Museum and the vibrant Ben Thanh Market.
Next, for lunch we participated in a hands-on Vietnamese cooking class held at Mai Home, the Saigon culinary art center.
That evening, we got to know other passengers at a welcome dinner held at Ly Club Saigon considered one of the 10 best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. Our group had its own private section in a stylish atmosphere. The food meal focused on local ingredients, beautifully presented by gracious servers.
After another lavish breakfast on day three, our group set off for a guided visit of the Cu Chi Tunnels. It's an astonishing complex of tunnels consisting of over 120 miles in length used by the Viet Cong as hideaways during the war. We were allowed to crawl through several tunnels to experience the claustrophobic network for ourselves.
We spent a relaxing morning on day four after a leisurely breakfast, packing and setting our luggage outside of our room for pickup. At noon, we took a short ride to the port on the Saigon River for embarkation. It was a relaxing afternoon to get acquainted with the crew and ship before a welcome reception in the Panorama Lounge followed by a lovely dinner including wine, beer or soft drinks in the dining room.
Appealing? Want to plan a Mekong River cruise for 2020 or 2021? I would love to make this happen for you. Click the Learn More button so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.
Share the knowledge
Scooter Tessari, MCC, owns The Cruise Center, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and operates the website Tasteful Journeys devoted to enrichment vacations with a culinary accent and featuring cruises, tours, and custom designed vacation packages.