Travelling to an exotic destination such as Southeast Asia can raise many questions, from visa requirements to getting around to cuisine. Please find answers to our most frequently asked questions below.
Are transfers to and from the ship included?
For all cruises, airport or hotel transfers to/from the ship embarkation/disembarkation point are not included.
Destination specific information:
- Halong Bay and Lan Ha Bay: Guests will need to arrange transportation to and from Tuan Chau Marina in Halong. Transfer time is approximately 2.5 hours from Hanoi or 1 hour from Haiphong. Our reservation agents will be able to assist you with arranging private or shuttle bus transportation.
- Ayeyarwady & Chindwin (Myanmar): Ship embarkation/disembarkation points are located in the center of Mandalay and Bagan.
- Lower Mekong (Vietnam & Cambodia)
- Saigon (7- and 3-night cruises): We provide a 2-hour transfer via shuttle bus to and from the ship docking point in My Tho and the Renaissance Riverside Hotel, located in the heart of Saigon in District 1.
- Phnom Penh (3- and 4-night cruises): The embarkation/disembarkation point is located in the city center.
- Siem Reap (7- and 4-night cruises)
- Low water cruises (mid-November to late August): We provide shuttle bus transportation (4.5 hours) to/from the ship mooring point in Kampong Cham to Victoria Angkor Hotel & Spa in central Siem Reap.
- High water cruises (late August to mid-November): Passengers will need to arrange a private transfer from the Siem Reap Pier to the city (45 minutes) or airport (1 hour). Our reservation agents can assist you with arranging transportation.
- Upper Mekong (Laos)
- Luang Prabang (3-night cruises): Ship mooring point is located in the city center.
- Vientiane (7- and 9-night cruises): Ship mooring point is located in the city center.
- Huay Xai (7- and 9-night cruises): Shuttle bus transfer and assistance through the immigration process is provided to/from the ship mooring point in Huay Xai (Laos) and the Thai Immigration Office in Chiang Hhong (Thailand). Guests will need to arrange transportation to/from the nearest city with international airport, Chiang Rai (2 hours). Our reservation agents can assist you with arranging transportation.
For more details, please see our Embarkation Guide.
Are there extra fees for solo travelers?
Rates listed in our Rates & Departures section are in USD per adult, based on double sharing occupancy. For solo travelers, there is a surcharge of 45% to 70% on the adult rate, subject to room category.
Heritage Line offers a Solo Traveller promotion with no added fees on selected departures. Please see offer details for specific travel dates.
What is the difference between high water and low water cruises on the lower Mekong? (Vietnam & Cambodia)
Water levels on the Tonle Sap Lake and River vary greatly depending on time of year – ranging from a depth of 1 meter to an astounding 10 meters!
Therefore, our lower Mekong ships, Heritage Line The Jahan and Jayavarman, are only able to make a lake crossing during the height of the rainy season and dock directly at the pier in Siem Reap for passenger embarkation and disembarkation. High water season is from late August to mid-November (dates vary each year, depending on rainfall).
During low water season (mid-November to late August), the ship moors at Kampong Cham, and we provide shuttle bus transportation (4.5 hours) to/from Siem Reap for our guests.
Please note that only the Cambodia portion of our lower Mekong cruise itinerary (Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and vice versa) is affected by water levels. On-shore excursions remain the same on both low- and high-water itineraries (albeit in a different order).
The Vietnam portion (Phnom Penh to Saigon and vice versa) of our lower Mekong cruises is unaffected by water levels.
Are the ships safe?
The answer is a clear and definite ‘yes’. All our ships are maintained within strict governmental and maritime requirements annually and must be certified by such agencies to operate. We have equipped all vessels with modern navigational equipment, fully integrated fire prevention and control systems – including smoke and fire detection in cabins and public areas, ship to shore and emergency communications systems as well as emergency public address systems.
We offer a comprehensive safety briefing to all passengers right upon boarding. Beyond that, all crews do regularly trainings of emergency situations and procedures and our ships are outfitted with life-saving equipment to aid in emergencies, including man overboard and abandoning ship.
Will I encounter sea sickness?
Generally speaking, the rivers we are cruising on in Southeast Asia are very calm and there is hardly any motion on any of our ships. A bit of motion can occur during monsoon rains with stormy winds, but the amount of motion is much less than one would feel during bad weather on the open ocean.
Sea cruises as we offer in Halong Bay or Lan Ha Bay can sometimes encounter heavier waters and ship motion, although this happens very rarely and port authorities will most likely not allow sailing under any such circumstances anyway.
If you are new to cruising or prone to motion sickness, it does not hurt to bring along some motion sickness medication. Drinking a nice hot fresh ginger tea is a natural remedy and tasty alternative our staff is always happy to make for you.
What about my valuable items on board?
All our cabins have a built in personal safe in which you should store valuable items. Please read our Terms and Conditions carefully regarding this topic.
Is it safe on the ship when mooring or docking?
It is very safe to be on board at any time, day or night. Our ships have always standing guards on duty whenever the ship is docked or moored, especially overnight. Of course, as you would also do at home, you should always keep your cabin and balcony doors locked when you leave the room or at night as well as keep your valuable items locked within your cabin’s safe.
What should I wear during on-shore excursions?
We recommend wearing loose and comfortable clothing made of cotton or modern material that can readily cool off sweat and body hear. The type of shoes will depend on the excursion types so best to have both light, open toed shoes as well as good walking/hiking shoes with you. A sun hat is always a good idea to bring along.
Southern Vietnam and Cambodia are warm all year-round, but our other cruise destinations can get chilly during the winter months (Laos, Myanmar or northern Vietnam). Therefore, it is always recommended to bring a pullover or a warm jacket with you during this period.
Many of our cruises include visits to local temples or pagodas. When visiting these holy sites, make sure to wear appropriate clothing which covers your shoulders and knees.
In case of emergency – what first aid is available onboard?
All crew are trained and certified in life saving techniques (CPR) and first aid procedures. All crews also have regular training in emergency medical procedures. Each of our ships have first aid kits and the most essential medications on board. All ships cruising in remote areas (lower Mekong, Ayeyarwady, Chindwin, Upper Mekong) have an automated external defibrillator on board.
Are there any foods that I should avoid during my cruise (on- & off-shore)?
All food and beverage on board is completely safe to eat and enjoy, including the ice cubes you enjoy in your chilled drinks. We do not recommend drinking water straight from the tap anywhere, including onboard. We provide you with complimentary clean drinking water throughout your cruise.
You may want to be bit careful with local dishes as they can be spicier than you are used to from home. Approach new dishes slowly and carefully. If you have a sensitive stomach, then you may like to double check with our chef or onboard managers about specific dishes or meals.
On excursions, it may be a good idea to avoid local foods and snacks unless offered by our tour guides. Besides the above, in general we recommend the following motto for your pre- and post-cruise travelling in the Southeast Asian tropics: boil it, peel it, cook it, wash it or forget it!
Are there any health risks that I should be aware of?
The most effective protection from personal contamination is ensuring strict attention to personal hygiene and in particular, frequent and thorough hand washing with soap and water and refraining from hand-to-mouth contact. Colds and other viruses can spread quickly in an enclosed area such as a ship. Continue to practice common-sense hygiene and respiratory courtesy. Wash your hands often and cover your coughs and sneeze. It is recommended that passengers carry anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, which does not require rinsing with water. Use sanitizer frequently and throughout the day, particularly after shore excursions and prior to meals. If you have any questions regarding your health or safety, please do not hesitate to ask your cruise director.
Motion sickness can be a problem for some people when cruising, flying or travelling on coaches and trains and it is a good idea to take precautionary measures. Over-the-counter drugs for treating motion sickness can be purchased at pharmacies in most countries, though a side effect can by drowsiness. Alternatives such as ginger tablets and acupressure wristbands are also available and work well for some people.
What are the visa requirements for Laos?
Laos visas are easily obtained for most travelers. Note that passports must have a validity of at least 6 months after your last date of travel in Laos.
- Visa Exemption: Holders of passports from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam do not require a visa and may stay in the country for up to 30 days. In addition, citizens of Japan, Luxembourg and Switzerland may stay visa-free for up to 15 days while those from Brunei and Myanmar for 14 days.
- Visa on Arrival: Visitors from most countries may apply for a visa on arrival when flying into any international airport or at various land border crossings. Visas on arrival are valid for up to 30 days and do not require arrangements beforehand.
- E-Visa: Newly launched in 2019, citizens from most countries are also eligible to apply for a visa online. It takes three business days to process and is valid for 30 days from date of entry. Note that e-Visa is only eligible for those coming in through Luang Prabang or Wattay (Vientiane) International Airports and the land border between Vientiane and Nong Khai, Thailand.
Because travel restrictions across Southeast Asia are constantly changing, we recommend checking with the Laos embassy/consulate in your home country for the latest information.
For guests cruising with us on the upper Mekong River in Laos, you will also need a Thai visa at the Huay Xai (Laos)/Chiang Kong (Thailand) border checkpoint. Travelers from most western countries and Southeast Asia are visa-exempt and may travel in Thailand for a period of up to 30 days. Click here for Thailand visa details.
What are the visa requirements for Myanmar?
Myanmar visas can be obtained via several methods. Note that passports must have a validity of at least 6 months after your last date of travel in Myanmar.
- Visa Exemption: Travelers with passports from member ASEAN countries do not require a visa to enter the country and can stay up to 14 days (Vietnam and Singapore up to 30 days). Holders of passports from Japan, South Korea, Macao and Hong Kong also do not require visas and may stay up to 30 days.
- Visa on Arrival: Foreign nationals from Australia, Austria, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Russia, Spain and Switzerland are eligible for a 30-day visa on arrival at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International airports. The fee is $50 USD (2020) and no arrangements are required beforehand.
- E-Visa: Travelers from most other countries may apply for an E-Visa at least 3 days prior to arrival at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International airports in addition to a few select land border checkpoints. Tourist visas cost $50 USD and are valid for 28 days.
Because travel restrictions across Southeast Asia are constantly changing, we recommend checking with the Myanmar embassy/consulate in your home country for the latest information.
What are the visa requirements for Cambodia?
Cambodia visas are easily obtained for most travelers. Note that passports must have a validity of at least 6 months after your last date of travel in Cambodia.
- Visa Exemption: Travelers with passports from member ASEAN countries do not require a visa to enter the country. Those from Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam may stay for up to 30 days, while Thailand and Brunei for up to 14 days.
- Visa on Arrival: This is the easiest method for most travelers and requires no advance arrangements prior to arrival in Cambodia by air or land (including river). A 30-day visa currently costs $30-$35 USD (2020) and must be paid in US dollars. ATM machines dispensing USD can usually be found nearby. Note that citizens of Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, or Sudan are not eligible for visa on arrival and must arrange a visa with the Cambodian consulate in their own country.
- E-Visa: Travelers from any country (other than Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Sudan) may apply for a visa online. E-Visas are valid for 30 days and are only eligible for individuals arriving in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville International airports and select land crossings.
- You may also apply for a visa directly from the Cambodia Embassy or Consulate in your home country. This method often takes a few weeks to process. Please check with your embassy or consulate for more information.
Because travel restrictions across Southeast Asia are constantly changing, we recommend checking with the Cambodia embassy/consulate in your home country for the latest information.
What are the visa requirements for Vietnam?
With the exception of visa exemptions, all travelers must arrange their visa prior to arrival in Vietnam. Passports must also have a validity of at least 6 months after your last date of travel in Vietnam.
- Visa Exemption: Travelers with passports from 24 countries (ASEAN, Europe, Japan, South Korea) do not require visas to enter Vietnam, and depending on country of origin can stay between 14 and 30 days.
- E-Visa: Citizens from 81 different countries can apply for an e-Visa online via the Vietnam Immigration Department’s website. A fee of $25 USD (2020) applies for a 30-day, single entry visa. Visitors may arrive by land, air or sea ports of entry.
- Visa on Arrival: Passport holders of all nationalities can apply for a visa on arrival before coming to Vietnam. Visas on arrival are applicable only for travelers arriving via Saigon, Hanoi and Danang International airports. Fees vary according to duration (1-3 months) and whether single or multiply entry. Please note that for our lower Mekong cruises departing from Siem Reap/Phnom Penh to Saigon, visas on arrival are not accepted at the border crossing – our reservation agent can assist you with arranging an appropriate visa.
- Embassy or Consulate: You may also apply for a visa directly from the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in your home country (your local travel agent may also assist you with this). This method often takes a few weeks to process. Please check with your embassy or consulate for more information.
Because travel restrictions across Southeast Asia are constantly changing, we recommend checking with the Vietnam embassy/consulate in your home country for the latest information.
Do I need to get any vaccines prior to my trip to Southeast Asia?
According to both the World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when travelling to Southeast Asia the most essential vaccinations include:
- Hepatitis A (at least two weeks before date of travel)
- Hepatitis B (three injections over the course of six months prior to travel)
- Typhoid (one month before)
Other recommended routine vaccinations are Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) and Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (TDaP).
What is the time difference with Southeast Asia?
To give an idea of the times in Southeast Asia versus regions across the world, let’s say it is 12:00 PM noon in our cruising destinations of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (Myanmar is half an hour behind).
Please note that most Asian countries do not observe Daylight Saving, thus there is no time change between winter and summer. Times listed below are for summer in the northern hemisphere.
Location Time Offset Time Vietnam
UTC +7 12:00
Myanmar UTC +6:30 11:30 Sydney, Australia
(Australian Eastern Standard Time)
UTC +10 15:00 New Zealand UTC +12 17:00 British Summer Time
Central European Time
UTC +1 06:00 New York, USA
(Eastern Daylight Time)
UTC -4 1:00 Los Angeles, USA
(Pacific Daylight Time)
UTC -7 22:00
Is there a luggage restriction on your cruises?
Passengers are encouraged to bring minimal necessary luggage as cabin storage is limited. We are able to store extra luggage onboard and outside your cabin on a limited basis only. Therefore, we kindly ask passengers travelling with excessive or oversized baggage to inform us prior to your cruise departure to get an official clearance. Otherwise, Heritage Line may refuse to store excessive baggage. You shall be responsible for supervising any luggage you do not deposit with us for carriage. Please read our Terms and Conditions hereto.
Do I need insurance? If so, which ones are recommended?
We recommend at least purchasing travel health insurance which covers both in- & outpatient visits and medical repatriation. Buying additional trip cancellation and interruption coverage may also be beneficial in case you have to cancel your travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances.
Do I need to bring electrical adapters?
We always recommend bringing a travel adapter as a standard item in your travel kit. You can borrow an adapter on board, but these may be limited.