The Mekong and Irrawaddy Rivers are two of South East Asia’s most important and fascinating waterways. There are few more enjoyable ways to appreciate their sights, stories and flavours than by taking a voyage of discovery in a luxury floating hotel. From dinner amid the ancient temples of Angkor to a vintage Vespa ride through the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, a river cruise offers plenty of opportunities to absorb all the highlights of this vibrant part of the world.
The world’s twelfth-longest river, the Mekong, rises in Tibetan Plateau and flows through six countries before arriving at the South China Sea, more than four thousand kilometres from where it began its journey. The section of river between Vietnam’s My Tho and Cambodia’s Kampong Chang is one of the most popular for river cruises, thanks to its picturesque rural landscapes and villages and its proximity to Ho Chi Minh City and Siam Reap.
During your cruise you can explore the markets of Sa Dec, visit a family-owned fish farm or take an ox-cart ride through the fields, and receive a Buddhist blessing in Cambodia’s ancient capital of Oudong. In Ho Chi Minh City, a visit to the war-era tunnels of Cu Chi is a must, before rewarding your efforts with a foodie’s tour of the city. A candlelit dinner amid the ruined temples of Angkor is a magical way to end an amazing journey.
Sometimes referred to as “the Road to Mandalay”, the Irrawaddy flows for more than 2,000 kilometres through Myanmar, providing an ideal way to explore this fascinating country. You can ride through the ancient capital of Inwa by horse-drawn cart and marvel at the spectacular painted murals of Monywa’s sandstone grottoes, watch artisan craftsmen producing their distinctive pottery in Yandabo and pick up some bargains at the markets of Nyuang U.
For an unforgettable treat, take a hot air balloon flight over the incredible temples of Bagan, and conclude your time in this fascinating nation with a moving visit to the Taukkyan Allied War Cemetery near Yangon.
As you navigate these fascinating waterways, the ever-changing view will offer an insight into the beating heart of this dynamic region, but it’s the warmth of the people you will encounter that will make it memorable. It’s also well worth extending your time in South East Asia: perhaps for a cruise of Vietnam’s Halong Bay or a stay in World Heritage-listed Hoi An – please ask your personal travel manager for options.