Introduction to river cruising

 

Rivers are the lifeblood of Asia and a river cruise for a few days on one of the region’s great waterways offers an interesting alternative for discovering a country. Many cruises are very inclusive, providing a means of transportation, your accommodation and your sightseeing arrangements. Other cruises are of shorter duration allowing you to sample life along the river whilst still providing you with the option of adding your own independent travel arrangements.

 

Asia Travel Centre has carefully hand-picked a number of riverboats with the discerning guest in mind. Mostly they are smaller, boutique vessels carrying fewer people. This allows for a more personal experience both on-board and during shore excursions. Our boats have been chosen for their comfort, quality services and first class dining experiences. Many are hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen, offering both character and charm.

 

Asia Travel Centre can offer you a fully inclusive river cruise program or we can tailor-make your own personal itinerary that includes a cruise portion. Our riverboats have a wide selection of cruise itineraries of varying durations. Please contact one of our travel specialists to discuss your plans in more detail.

Asia River Cruising Map

RIVERS

OVERVIEW:
Mekong Vang Vieng Laos

The Mekong River rises in Southwest China and flows for over 4000km to southern Vietnam where it empties into the South China Sea. Flowing through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam the river forms a natural border between four of these countries. Not only is the waterway crucial for supporting the small agricultural communities that line its banks but it is also a vital means of transportation in the region. The rich silt deposited in the Mekong Delta produces for Vietnam more than half of the country’s total agricultural output.

 

Riverboat cruises operate along the Mekong, particularly in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. They provide a great opportunity to visit the communities that depend so much on this great waterway.

OVERVIEW:
Irrawaddy River sunset

The Irrawaddy River, also known locally as the Ayeyarwady, is Myanmar’s longest river. It has its beginnings in the glaciers of the high Himalaya and empties out into the Andaman Sea some 2170km away. Navigable for much of its length it remains today a crucial transport artery, particularly given the poor state of Myanmar’s roads.

 

A cruise on the Irrawaddy will introduce you to life along the riverbank. Farmers working their fields with their ox ploughs, bullock carts hauling produce to market and thatched homes on stilts clustered together in small villages while lining the landscape are the tiered pagodas set atop rambling teak monasteries.

OVERVIEW:
River Myanmar

The Chindwin River is the largest tributary of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) river. It has its origins in the Hukawng Valley of Kachin State, the northern most state of Myanmar. The river flows for 1200 km before it joins up with the Ayeyarwady River half way between the old royal capitals of Mandalay and Bagan.

 

There are fewer riverboats cruising on this important waterway so the Chindwin offers a more remote experience. Cruise boats must navigate carefully and only those with shallow drafts can travel to the river’s upper reaches during the wet season. Few roads exist in the area and most communities are connected by the river. A cruise along the Chindwin is one of the few ways to travel this remote countryside.

SAMPLE RIVER BOATS

R.V. Aqua Mekong

The R.V. Aqua Mekong is one of the most luxurious riverboats plying the waters of the Mekong River. This stunning vessel has large guestrooms and the ceiling to floor windows in every guestroom offer sensational views of the passing scenery. On-board amenities include a fully equipped gym, a screening room, outdoor cinema, observation deck and an upper-deck pool.

Aqua Mekong External 850x500

Luxury River Boat

Mekong River, Cambodia and Laos

R.V. Mekong Pandaw

The R.V. Mekong Pandaw is a beautifully crafted river boat, hand finished in brass and teak by traditional craftsmen. The boat’s colonial character and friendly atmosphere are obvious as soon as you step on-board and the beautifully appointed cabins, fine dining restaurant and spacious observation decks ensure river travel at its best.

RV Mekong Pandaw 850x500

First Class River Boat

Mekong River, Cambodia and Laos

R.V. Belmond Orcaella

The Belmond Orcaella is a beautiful, modern riverboat used on the waters of Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River and its major tributary the Chindwin River. It is an intimate vessel capable of carrying up to 50 people in absolute comfort. The beautiful cabins boast large panoramic windows from where you can observe the dramatic scenery and life along these two great waterways.

Belmond Ocaella Berthed

Luxury River Boat

Irrawaddy & Chindwin Rivers, Myanmar

R.V. Kindat Pandaw

A simple, yet elegant boutique river cruiser that has been hand crafted especially for cruising the Irrawaddy River. Whilst luxury and comfort are discreetly present, it is the colonial character and friendly atmosphere that predominate. Her ultra-light design combines one of the shallowest drafts on the river, with one of the highest passenger space ratios afloat.

Boarding Kindat Pandaw 850x500

Tourist Superior Class River Boat

Irrawaddy River, Myanmar

R.V. Paukan 2012

Paukan 2012 is a beautiful, boutique vessel. She is a compact and yet elegant vessel built of teak wood with a marine steel hull. The walls and floors are of timber with each plank carefully chosen to highlight the beautiful timber grain. The décor is modern chic, with a touch of Myanmar culture in the form of traditional motifs, wooden carvings, fabrics and paintings.

RV Paukan 2012 Myanmar

First Class River Boat

Irrawaddy River, Myanmar

We also offer many other cruising options in Asia as well as land accommodation and transfers before and after your cruise.  To book a cruise or for more information on what we offer, please contact us at contact@asiatravelcentre.com or call 1300 323 194

WHEN TO GO

The best time for river cruising on the Mekong

The weather along the Mekong is generally warm all year round, though the Rainy Season and Dry Season affect the level of the water in the Mekong. Climate-wise, November through to March is considered the best time of the year to travel. High Water cruise itineraries normally operate between August to November while Low Water are between December to August.


Dry Season  – November to March

There is little rain between November and May, the so-called dry season. The weather is cool and often windy.  From November to March the climate is mild enough to explore the temples in comfort but warm enough to sunbathe by the coast.

 

Rainy Season – April to October

April and May are very hot and dry with temperatures edging close to 40 C. September and October are hot and wet with torrential downpours. The water level of the Mekong increases during these months.

 

Visiting the Mekong during the rainy season from June to October can present certain practical challenges, but it is also a fascinating time to see the country as it transforms into a waterlogged expanse of tropical green under the daily monsoon downpours and there is the advantage of fewer tourists present at popular sites. It also allows cruise boats access to more remote parts of the river.

 

Cambodia
The best time for river cruising on the Irrawaddy

Myanmar has a tropical climate, with the southwest monsoon bringing rain from May to October. Climate wise November to February is considered the best time to visit most of Myanmar when temperatures are relatively manageable.

 

Cruises on the Irrawaddy between Yangon–Bagan–Mandalay are most popular between September and March.
High Season – December to February
From October onwards the rains subside and the temperature moderates. During the high season it is important to book accommodation and transport well ahead in order to not be disappointed.

 

Shoulder Season – October and November plus March and April
From March to May in Yangon temperatures can reach 36 C whilst around Bagan and Mandalay it can be even warmer. The hill towns of the Shan State are somewhat cooler. All forms of transport book out solid during the Thingyan Water Festival in April so early bookings are essential if you are considering travelling at festival time.

 

Low Season – May to September
The southwest monsoon starts in mid-May and peaks from July to September. The dry zone between Mandalay and Pyay gets the least rain. During the Monsoon roads can become impassable especially in the delta region and particularly from July to September.

 

Myanmar
The best time for river cruising on the Chindwin River

Myanmar has a tropical climate, with the southwest monsoon bringing rain from May to October. Climate wise November to February is considered the best time to visit most of Myanmar when temperatures are relatively manageable.

 

The Chindwin River is navigable generally between July to September although vessels with very shallow drafts are able to operate outside these months on slightly revised itineraries.

 

High Season – December to February
From October onwards the rains subside and the temperature moderates. During the high season it is important to book accommodation and transport well ahead in order to not be disappointed.

 

Shoulder Season – October and November plus March and April
From March to May in Yangon temperatures can reach 36 C whilst around Bagan and Mandalay it can be even warmer. The hill towns of the Shan State are somewhat cooler. All forms of transport book out solid during the Thingyan Water Festival in April so early bookings are essential if you are considering travelling at festival time.

 

Low Season – May to September
The southwest monsoon starts in mid-May and peaks from July to September. The dry zone between Mandalay and Pyay gets the least rain. During the Monsoon roads can become impassable especially in the delta region and particularly from July to September.

 

Myanmar

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.

START CREATING MY ITINERARY

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STEP 1: WHICH COUNTRIES >
Please tick the country or countries you wish to discover
Punakha Dzong Bhutan

 BHUTAN

Temple Angkor Wat Cambodia

Hindu Temple Kapaleeshwarar Chennai India

Rice Fields 4000 Islands Laos

Myanmar Bagan Temple Complex

Halong-Bay-Vietnam-850x500

Distant View Sigiriya Lion Fortress

STEP 2: ACCOMMODATION >

ACCOMMODATION

The Strand Luxury Yangon Myanmar 850x500

Tientsin Bungalow Nuwara Eliya 850x500

SatriHouse First Class Luang Prabang 850x500

Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya Tourist Sup

Blue Lime Hotel Phnom Penh

OTHER

STEP 3: YOUR INTERESTS >
Bayon Castle Angkor Thom Cambodia

RV Paukan 2012 Myanmar

 RIVER

Elephant Procession Kandy

LOCAL CULTURE &

Elephants Sri Lanka

WILDERNESS & WILDLIFE

Peacock Sri Lanaka

 BIRD WATCHING

Photographer Angkor Wat Cambodia

Wall Painting Sigiriya

Yoga Image 850x500

Laos Cuisine

Asian Gastronomy Image

Campsite Chomolhari Base Camp 850x500

snorkelling Image 850x500

STEP 4: YOUR DETAILS
Contact Details
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