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The World's Best River Cruises For Superyachts

The World's Best River Cruises For Superyachts

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The Mekong

Cambodia and Vietnam

Snaking its way from China to Vietnam – passing through Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia along the way – this 4,350-kilometre river is the lifeblood of South East Asia. (In Lao, the name Mekong translates to “mother of waters”.)

“Along the Mekong you will explore a thousand years of human history, and guests are able to enjoy excursions away from the crowds,” says Benjamin Seelos of Aqua Expeditions, which runs a fleet of river-cruising yachts in Asia and South America. One of the fleet, 62.4-metre Aqua Mekong, is permanently based here, offering cruises in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The landscape along the Mekong morphs from low-lying, lush greenery to steep cliffs framing the passage. The views are incredible, but it is time spent off the mothership, whether on the water or on shore, that really brings a Mekong visit to life. Cycle through small villages and rice fields, where children run out to wave and cheer you on; kayak through the floating villages along the river; or take a skiff to visit the silversmith village of Koh Chen. You won’t find any cities or industrial zones here; it is still quite off the beaten track, which is exactly the charm of travelling here. “Much of Thailand is now a hotspot for yachts and tourists, making them overcrowded, but with Cambodia you’re still in relatively uncharted waters,” says Frances Edgeworth, a charter broker with Fraser who ventured into the country on board Aqua Mekong. “Cambodia is rich with history and culture and the food is outstanding. There’s nowhere else left to cruise like the Mekong River.”

Aqua Mekong can be booked on a per-cabin basis or chartered as a whole with Camper & Nicholsons. “It’s an incredible luxury experience and the yacht offers a variety of amenities and itineraries,” says Edgeworth. “The crew on board are all local and incredibly well connected. They know everyone along the river and the chef seems to be best friends with everyone in the market.”

When to go: August to November is high-water season, which allows yachts to get deeper into the waterway and cruise to Tonle Sap lake, which is too shallow to visit in dry season.

What to know: Private yachts can cruise the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia, but the red tape can be thick as permission is needed from both countries, and each has its own set of stringent requirements.

Who to contact: Aqua Expeditions, aquaexpeditions.com; Asia Pacific Superyachts, cambodia@asia-pacific-superyachts.com; Camper & Nicholsons for charter bookings.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.

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