We just found the perfect way to travel – a river cruise.
Why is this perfect?
Read on, and we will give you all the reasons why we found this to be a perfect family vacation.
Over the past few weeks, something incredible has happened. Many of you know that I have fallen in love with so much of Vietnam, and now Vietnam and the Vietnamese people have won me over.
My dream was to sail the Mekong River through the Delta region up through Cambodia, but we just ran out of time, so instead, we headed by bus to Cambodia.
Here we met a man who used to manage one of the cruise vessels, and over a drink, he shared with me how wonderful these smaller riverboats are.
The more we talked about it, the more I wanted us to experience a river cruise. By the time I reached Siem Reap, ‘the ball was rolling’ and emails were darting back and forth to G Adventures.
G Adventures were amazing, and at very short notice, they fitted us onto a 28 person riverboat cruise.
This wooden ship was heading back to Vietnam and we were booked on it. YAY !!!
Perfect – Service
With little time to spare, G Adventures assisted us in every way to ensure we could ensure our travel was ‘trouble-free’. With is both needing a new Vietnam Visa, their staff went the extra mile in ensuring we had the right information, and that this was received within the limited time-frame.
We joined the tour one day late – most of the passengers had stayed in a lovely hotel and visited Angkor Wat, but considering we had done this alone the day before, it didn’t matter one bit.
Perfect – Mix Of Passengers
Meeting all the fellow passengers at the Royal Angkor Resort on our first official day of the G Adventures cruise was a little nerve-wracking. Would they like us? Would we like them? Would it be only old-age pensioners?
The myriad of questions ran through our minds, but we were pleased to find a friendly bunch of 19 people from the USA, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and assorted countries.
We also found a mix of singles, couples, and older families – as well as the young, the old, and those in between.
Perfect – Coach Transfer
With the waters currently emptying from the Tonlé Sap Lake, our riverboat, the ‘Toum Tiou II’, was unable to sail into Siem Reap port, and so instead we took a lovely coach to the area where the floating villages and houses on stilts awaited us.
Perfect – No Dragging Our Luggage Around Each Day
Here locals ($1 US tip per bag) assisted us with our luggage onto a wooden boat. This was fine by me as I was not able to carry them all myself. The bags were loaded onto the railed roof storage area and we were off on our adventure.
Perfect – Knowledgeable Guide
Our guide was from Cambodia, and he was friendly and knowledgeable.
He explained to us that the itinerary was there for us to enjoy, but G Adventures philosophy is ‘freedom of choice’, and if we wanted to do something different where it was within limits, we were free to do or not do activities. This was a welcome relief to me as a mother, as some activities might be a bit boring (or too adult for an older child).
We could choose.
We have never had this option before, and I thought it was wonderful!
Perfect – G Adventures Phone App.
Each passenger creates their own account on the G Adventure website, and this allowed us to log in and see our activities without carrying ‘bits of paper’. I downloaded the App. on my phone, and sat and read what our cruise had in store for us.
Within half an hour, the ‘Toum Tiou II’ came into view, and with the aid of the welcoming staff, we boarded and headed straight to the covered rooftop deck where a refreshing cool towel and welcome drink awaited us. Here our cabin numbers were assigned before we headed down to where we would call ‘home’ for the next week or so.
Perfect – No Daily Packing And Unpacking
One fabulous reason for selecting a river cruise when you travel with older children is the relaxation factor. Our bags are unpacked, and from then on, little effort is required. No need for ‘rising at the crack of dawn’ to pack suitcases etc.
Once unpacked, parents can feel safe to let their pre-teens and teens find their own space, or relax in the cabin on their own. I found my son wants ‘his’ time more and more, and I respect this.
We find ourselves motoring on the vast Tonlé Sap Lake with water as far as the eye and see. In fact, it almost feels like the sea, except the water is tranquil and still, and the odd fishing boat passes us by.
Perfect – Money is Locked Away As We Run A Bar Tab
Adults enjoy a cocktail at the bar as the sun sets to the rear of the ship, and I meet a few other single ladies.
Our money is safely locked away in our cabin safe, so we can relax without having to watch our valuables.
Perfect – There is WiFi
Explorason settles in down into a sun-lounge with his laptop and is watching his favorite YouTube Video and ‘Skyping’ his friends.
Having WiFi on board that is included free of charge is definitely a bonus, and not usually free on large cruise ships.
Definitely a perk of this cruise!
Perfect – Meals Are Included
Before we know it, the ‘dinner gong’ was struck, and we are heading down to the air-conditioned restaurant for our first meal together.
A meeting precludes the serving of food and includes explaining the safety on board, and our itinerary.
Then, our happy chef announcing his creation for a wonderful four-course feast he had created for our enjoyment.
There were great healthy choices, and a few exotics treats as well. I loved trying the pickled lime.
Perfect – Unlimited Hot Water For Showers
We retreated to our cabin for a lovely hot shower and tucked ourselves into our lovely clean quilted beds.
Thankfully we could adjust our air-conditioning, as it became quite cool in the early hours of the morning.
I think I was a little bit excited, because by 4:00 a.m. my body clock was ready to start the day!
Perfect – Vantage Point For Photographs
I dressed quietly and headed upstairs and watched as the sun rose at the perfect time – just as a lone wooden boat passed by on his way for a day of fishing.
The sundeck was a perfect vantage point to take photographs, without having to leave the comforts of the ship.
Perfect – Unlimited Brewed Coffee, Tea and Cookies
Two huge urns are set up on the sundeck. These are filled with steaming hot brewed coffee and hot water for tea, and also a canister of chocolate chip cookies.
So no matter what time of day, it was there for passengers to enjoy.
I loved that at 5:00 a.m. I could enjoy a coffee alone and enjoy the serene surroundings.
Perfect – Unlimited Buffet And Cooked Breakfast
At 7:30 a.m. the ‘gong’ once again sounded, but this time for breakfast.
It was a great hearty breakfast, and considering the next activity we chose would be an active one, we needed the food for fuel.
Perfect – Relax Or Get Physical
Our next activity was a choice. With 10 new mountain bikes on board, we had the option to cycle or ride in the comfort of the air-conditioned Mercedes Van.
My eleven-year-old wanted to cycle, and it was a great way to see the countryside.
Perfect for kids.
Perfect – Less Touristic Towns To Visit
The town and villages we cycled through were very local and not on the main tourist strip. This allowed us a more authentic feel of local life.
Perfect – Meet The Locals
I loved that we met the locals.
We talked with them, laughed with them, and learned about their lives.
This was not staged tourism but we could genuinely hear their story, and see it – a perfect way to educate my son on Cambodia.
Perfect – Time To Relax
Kids need time to relax, and as the riverboat moved from town to town, my son was able to have time relaxing. Tours can be quite hectic, but this agenda was really perfect for our needs.
Perfect – Evening Stroll
As we dropped anchor for the night, we were able to safely stroll through the local town. We visited and talked with monks, school teachers, students, and locals in the village.
Some passengers needed personal supplies from local vendors.
The village folks were all so very friendly, and we could wander back to the ship at our own pace.
Perfect – Safety
I felt very safe as I walked through this village.
Explorason chose to stay in the safety of our cabin, and the staff was ‘on hand’ should he need them. He was able to have his own time, and so was I as I went on my evening stroll.
Yes. This Cruise Is Perfect!
This is only the end of Day Two. So much more awaits us, and we are loving every minute!
(Our cruise will continue for over a week so watch for our next article)
Phone: +1 720 506 4317
Website: G Adventures Mekong Cruise
Facebook: G Adventures