The Nine Dragons River flows 2,700 miles from the snowy Tibetan Plateau through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam where it disappears into the South China Sea.
As one of Asia’s least developed waterways, the Mekong is abundant in wildlife, history and culture. With a biodiversity second only to the Amazon, this precious river is the lifeblood of South East Asia. It is also a place of stark contrasts; bustling cities and rural river towns, royalty and poverty, ancient sacred sites and POW camps.
Scenic cruises the Mekong river on the luxurious Scenic Spirit. The 13-day Treasures of the Mekong uncovers the best of Cambodia and Vietnam, taking guests to the spectacular ruins of 12th century Angkor Wat, the ancient hilltop monastery of Wat Hanchey where monks offer their blessing, the Royal Palace, the Killing Fields, lively local markets and Ho Chi Min City. Ox carts, rickshaws, sampans and tuk tuks take guests from place to place.
A Mekong river cruise is an adventure and experience to embark upon sooner rather than later. With China’s dam crisis, environmental concerns and inevitable economic development the Mekong is sure to change over time, perhaps losing some of its authenticity and charm along the way. A journey to this part of the world will likely present challenges for most visitors as local people still bear the scars of war despite their cheerful and welcoming faces. However, there are opportunities for visitors to support local communities and pay respect to their fascinating way of life.
The Scenic Spirit, introduced in 2016, is an ultra-luxurious ship with 34 balcony suites which, at the gentle press of a button, smoothly convert into a Scenic Sun Lounge by seamlessly sliding away the window glass.
Each suite has a personal butler and service follows a 1:1 guest-to-staff ratio. The ship itself is tasteful and in harmony with the Asian surroundings. Facilities include a pool, sauna, bar and open-air cinema.
Custom designed for the Mekong, the Scenic Spirit emulates the cruise line’s high standards in Europe, replicating the style and service they are known for. The all-inclusive fares are comprehensive with everything included – even port charges, bottled water for excursions, Wi-Fi and tips.
Photos courtesy of Scenic