Mekong River cruise to Angkor Wat, Cambodia

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Departure information

This trip is only for tailor made departures throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Mekong River cruise to Angkor Wat, Cambodia


You will cruise the Mekong river aboard a refurbished colonial-style 20 passenger ship which has been refitted by workers using material from Cambodia, helping to contribute to the local economy. The operator that we work with takes several steps to try to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. One of the largest sources of potential pollution and Co2 emissions is the fuel used to run the boat, so they aim to be as efficient as possible. This includes a full strip-down of the engine each season and buying the most up to date and fuel efficient motors available internationally. They take care to reuse plastic containers and recycle all onboard waste at each stop by selling it to scrap collectors. They ensure that all airconditioning, which is energy-intensive, is turned off when guests are not onboard (for example, during excursions). Food is sourced from stops along the route to be as fresh as possible and eliminate transport emissions. They have also looked into the viability of running the boat on solar energy but found that they would need to cover the entire boat with solar panels to make it work!


Our Mekong cruise incorporates stops at villages along the route, aiming to create economic benefits for the people that live in them. For example, you can buy food, souvenirs and activities like taking a ride in a traditional horse cart. It is important that these stops do not become tourist traps, so we have chosen villages that are not accessible by the larger cruise boats and work with them consistently to help small local businesses grow. Where possible, we have also chosen places like Cochen, where your purchases help support a once-thriving silver industry, rather than encouraging tourist trinkets.

Direct one-off donations are discouraged as it can foster dependency, so instead the boat operator buys equipment needed by the villagers collectively. However, many passengers choose to sponsor local children on a longer-term basis. Buying supplies along the way also helps local farmers with additional income.

The cruise company we work with employs a majority Cambodian crew during the voyage as well as Cambodian workers for annual refits, along with some Vietnamese pilots because most skilled Cambodians were killed or fled during the Khmer Rouge years. We both believe that it is generally better in the long term to create decent employment than to work exclusively through donations to charities and non-governmental organisations.

Reviews of Mekong River cruise to Angkor Wat, Cambodia

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 21 Aug 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The temples of Angkor, but particularly visiting Ta Som in the rain, beautiful and atmospheric, and Banteay Srei with its intricate carvings and idyllic setting. Later our cycling tour of the silk island near Phnom Penh, particularly thanks to our lovely guide, Nara, who took the time to show us so many aspects of traditional Cambodian life on this peaceful island, including the silk weaving, tofu making, and sampling local food as well as sharing her knowledge of the local flora. The visit to Toul Sleng and the killing fields made a lasting impact on us, especially so because of the expanded context given by our guide, Nara. After those harrowing but essential visits to hear the story of the genocide, the Lotus Blanc restaurant and Pour Sourir l'Enfant school was truly inspiring and uplifting. Our seaside experience at La Flamboyant resort in Kep was lovely and ideal for families, while the sailing club is a must for dinner, watching the sunset, and the Kep National Park is wonderful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Phnom Penh was an interesting place to visit, and the Blue Lime hotel was lovely, but I would not spend too long in the city when there are so many beautiful places to see in the rest of the country. Being vegetarian, we thought we may struggle to find good food, but it was not difficult at all, with lots of lovely Khmer curries and stir fries, and the Chamkar in Siem Reap was truly outstanding with its unique and gorgeous menu, and in Phnom Penh, the Friends restaurant and the Vegetarian were both excellent in very different ways. Visit the Institute of Khmer Traditional Textiles, in Siem Reap, to see how the unique traditional skills are being revived using natural dyes and Cambodian techniques.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Thanks to Dave at the holiday provider, we not only supported some great projects providing training and employment to those in need, as well as traditional crafts, (of which we bought some lovely examples) but we were so moved that we will continue to support one of the projects. Given the lack of public transport its hard to travel around in an environmentally friendly way, and I wish we could find an alternative to the need for plastic-bottled water! There is a pressing need for conservation of the remaining natural environments in Cambodia, and hopefully the right kind of tourism brings an economic incentive for this?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

A real experience, with such lovely people and places, we will never forget! Everything went very smoothly and to plan over three different locations, which is quite an achievement too!

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you so much for your review! We really love the countries we visit and we pride ourselves on finding just the right experiences for each of our customers, so itís wonderful to hear that you have so many great memories from your trip.

Moreover, making a positive impact through tourism - for example by supporting local businesses and projects like Lotus Blanc - is the reason why we started this business, so we really appreciate your enthusiasm and encouragement. Hope we can help again soon!

Reviewed on 22 Nov 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We completed the whole cruise from Siem Reap to Saigon and the whole trip was lovely with interesting excursions each day by boat or on land. The food on board the boat was delicious.
We chose the cruise as my 84yr old father was travelling with us and it was ideal for him.
The tour that was organised for us around Angor Wat was also memorable. The guide was good and the temples are amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Talk with Dave or Simon about your requirements listen to their suggestions.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, the employees of the hotel that we stayed in in Siem Reap now have a 51% share in the hotel. Only local people are employed and the hotel invests in their training and further education.
The cruise boat we took employs mainly Cambodian staff with some Vietnamese crew. They support initiatives in various villages that we visited. Food was bought locally as we travelled.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Overall it was a great holiday

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