What You Need to Pack for A Cruise on Mekong River in 2024?

Packing for a river cruise can be daunting and tricky especially when you’re on a journey in Southeast Asia where the weather changes from region to region. How to pack for all events happening during the trip from beach days, on-shore excursions or walking tours? Fret not! Here are some of our best packing tips for a river cruise that make sure you don’t show up over packed or under prepared.

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1. Quick-Drying Clothing

"What clothes should I pack for cruises in Vietnam and Cambodia?" is one of the most common questions Top Mekong Cruises received recently. As you’re traveling on a multi-day journey on new lands, make sure to pack enough clothes for these days. For a Mekong river cruise, packing lightweight and loose-fitting clothing is highly recommended. Lightweight clothing is not enough when you travel to countries like Vietnam and Cambodia. Natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen would be ideal. You should pack a few quick-drying, moisture-wicking tops and pants for your journey into Southeast Asia.

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What to wear on a Vietnam river cruise?

When visiting temples in Vietnam and Cambodia, remember to wear properly and respectfully. Make sure to pack one or two long pants or dresses that cover your knees and shoulders. A light shawl could be a good option in this case which also helps you to protect from the sun. 

The climate in Southeast Asia is changeable all year round. Depending on the time of the year you’re traveling, there could be short rain showers or drizzle, so a light raincoat or an umbrella will come in handy. Do not miss out great time onboard by the ship’s comfortable pool. One or two pairs of bathing suits are advised to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

2. Sunscreen, sunglasses and wide-brimmed hat 

Don’t skip this item if you want to enjoy your vacation in the sun. When deciding what to pack for a river cruise, make sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a  wide-brimmed hat with you to save your skin during on-shore excursions and even on board. A bottle of sunscreen can be bought on board but it could be three times more expensive than one bought before embarking. As you will spend one week or more soaking in the sun, so it must be a necessary item to bring along.

>> Searching for a suitable Mekong River Cruise? See our huge collection of luxury vessels here:

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3. Necessary Medications

This could be overlooked by many travelers but it’s necessary especially for those who are on medications. If you find it’s hard to adjust to life at sea, it’s smart to bring along your own seasick medicine.

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4. Your passport and important documentary

Do not forget to bring your important travel documents such as your passport, visa or travel insurance. Your local travel agent will help you with your visa if you wish. If you don’t have a passport or it’s expired, check with your cruise line for an alternative identification.

>> Consider our Vietnam River Cruises 2020 for more extraordinary Mekong Delta experiences <<

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5. Waterproof insect repellent

When you’re planning what to pack for a river cruise, remember to bring waterproof insect repellent as the hot and humid during your cruises from Vietnam to Cambodia may come with Mekong river mosquitoes and insects. Mosquitoes repellent with Deet will protect you from insect bites. You are also recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts or blouses when exploring humid regions.

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6. A waterproof watch 

You may think it’s a silly and unnecessary item when packing for a river cruise, but it could make or break your holiday. A waterproof watch should be on your side to avoid any mishaps and make sure you’re always on time for the next journeys on board. Your smartphone sometimes doesn’t work out due to the different time zone, so a watch, in this case, is a wise choice.

Suggested Read: The Best Mekong River Cruises in Laos, from Budget to Luxury

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7. Comfortable walking shoes

During the cruise, there are plenty of opportunities for easy walking tours or excursions to take part in. So, consider bringing your comfortable walking shoes and a pair easy to slip on and off when visiting temples or getting on and off the ship.

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8. Camera with charger, extra batteries, and memory cards

It is for sure that you don’t want to miss out on any amazing photos of people and landscapes during your trip. Make sure to prepare your camera, extra batteries and memory cards to save all these unforgettable moments.

>> Suggested Read: 5 Reasons Why You Should Cruise on Mekong River

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9. A small bag

A small bag or a rucksack will come in handy in case you want to put all your hand luggage for shore excursions. You won’t want to take a huge backpack along with you all the time. So, don’t forget to bring this important item.


1. Only pack what you really need

It is for sure that you never want to bring along massive bags with some things you even barely touched. So when deciding what to pack for a river cruise, think more about what not to pack. 

Don’t bring along too much clothing as you can have clothes for an entire week for less than 20 USD at markets in Vietnam and Cambodia. In big cities like Ho Chi Minh or Phnom Penh, you can buy anything you want.

>> Suggested Read: A Brief Guide of Best Things to Buy in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

2. Don’t skip on toiletries 

The personal toiletries including shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and other essentials is a must, especially for those who are prone to allergies. Although most of the cruise ships come with these items, they may not be your favorites. Your makeup and hair products should be added to your list of what to pack for a river cruise.

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3. Know how to mix and match

If you know how to mix and match your clothing, you won’t be hit with extra bags. You can easily combine your shirts and pants for different events onboard and excursions as well. 

4. Keep all the important documents with you

Make sure you bring your necessary IDs and cruise documents or a passport with you for border crossing formalities. Never pack them in checked luggage.

>> Suggested Read: Best Time of the Year to Cruise on Mekong River

5. Go Casual with Accessories

It is recommended that you don’t wear jewelry or valuables or carry a purse when traveling in big cities. Keep in simple, you don’t need much more in the way of accessories.

what to pack for mekong river cruise 11Everything's ready? Let's go!!!

Whenever you’re planning for a river cruise in Southeast Asia, remember these recommendations of things to pack for your Mekong river cruise for a hassle-free trip. For more useful tips and cruising ideas, don't forget to check out our Mekong Cruise Tips!

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