The Mekong River is a “lifeline” for many people in Southeast Asia, says Tripsavvy. The river is filled with cruise lines, which is understandable because “this part of the world is exotic and fascinating,” and there’s no better way to “explore life along the Mekong River” than on a river cruise.
Starting a cruise from Ho Chi Minh City, you “enter an alternative world,” says Brian Johnston at Traveller. “Motorbikes still swirl and concrete rises, but rice barges float on the canal, hauling cargo from the Mekong Delta,” and soon the countryside appears -- “a lotus farm, a bonsai nursery, ragged stands of bamboo.” After twenty kilometres, “yellow-tipped rice fields take over, presided over by ancestral tombs in jaunty candy colours.”
The best time to go is winter, advises Cruise Critic. Although Mekong River itineraries are offered for most of the year, the “optimum time to go” is from November through February -- “it's cooler then (although still plenty hot) and the rainy season, which runs from July through October, has passed.” But even during the rainy season, rains -- “while dramatic” -- typically last only 30 minutes or so.