Filled with intricate and fascinating waterways, South-East Asia has become the next top destination for luxury river cruising. The region’s iconic Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers have provided eager travellers with opportunities to travel through Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar, to encounter life on the water from the comfort of a boutique vessel.
A river cruise will allow you to soak up the essence of the colourful culture, meet the friendly locals, learn about the way of life and history of the country and see World Heritage-listed sites as you meander along the river to your next destination.
From the moment you step on board Scenic Spirit, you’ll be surrounded by luxury. This five-star ship set sail on the Mekong River in 2016 and caters for just 68 guests. The ship has an almost 1:1 guest to staff ratio and with your own butler on board, what more could you want?
The luxurious ship features 34 one bedroom balcony suites, has four onboard dining options serving regional specialities and western-style meals, as well as a sun deck and resort-style pool to sit by while you enjoy your favourite cocktail. While on board you can also make use of the spa and wellness centre, gym and beauty salon.
Tonight, raise your glasses and toast to the start of an enchanting journey with new friends during a cocktail reception before settling into your balcony suite for a refreshing night's sleep.
Take in the sights of Cai Be, famous for its floating markets. Here you have the option to savour the refined atmosphere and discover Vietnam’s French-infused past with morning tea at a French colonial house. In the afternoon, take your time to explore the historic town of Sa Dec and visit the local bustling market. Here lies the house of Mr Huynh Thuy Le, who inspired the French writer Marguerite Duras’ novel L’Amant.
For nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers – or those travellers simply looking for a relaxing excursion, a journey through the endless waterways of Tra Su Bird Sanctuary is sure to delight. Travel by sampan through this ecological haven for fauna and flora, spanning an impressive 850 hectares. You’ll also have the option to walk through small villages and meet local farmers on Evergreen Island.
Arrive in style by Tuk Tuk to attend a special event at the luxurious Raffles, Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh. Here you will be taken on a guided tour where you’ll learn about the hotel’s history, before taking part in a luscious high tea prepared by the hotel’s chefs while sipping on a cocktail named in honour of Jackie Kennedy.
For those wanting to learn more about the history of Cambodia you can choose to take an emotional journey to the Killing Fields and visit the Museum of Genocidal Crimes which houses paintings and photos of the victims. In the evening take a trip to the magnificent Silver Pagoda, where you can witness the renowned Buddhist temple. While most of the silver tiles it is famous for are covered for protection, you can take a walk inside to see all of its shining glory.
Embrace the spiritual side of life in Oudong and observe the lifestyle of the resident monks and nuns at an impressive pagoda and monastery. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will see you receiving a blessing from a monk, taking part in a traditional ceremony.
No journey to South-East Asia is complete without a visit to the spectacular sites of Angkor Wat. Here you will marvel at the sunrise over the temple before enjoying a full champagne breakfast, overlooking the surrounding countryside. Afterwards you can choose to explore the intriguing Beng Mealea temples, which are adorned by trees growing throughout the structures, or if the weather is permitting, you can take a tethered balloon ride above the impressive city of temples. These are just some of the options you have on offer.
This evening, be enthralled during an exclusive gala dinner at Kravan Temple. Enjoy the flow of included beverages to complement your enticing dishes while you watch the local Apsara dancers and musicians perform in front of candlelit temple ruins.
There is something for everyone to enjoy in South-East Asia. If a luxurious cruise sounds like your ideal way to travel, book a five-star river cruise along the Mekong River with Scenic.
Learn more about Scenic’s diverse range of included sightseeing, activities and dining options for you to choose from. See the full itinerary here.