An exotic new frontier in river cruising is being pioneered for wanderlusters along Southeast Asia’s most mysterious waterway with the launch of an inspired new fleet of five custom-designed river cruisers which are boldly exploring uncharted waters along the upper reaches of the mighty Mekong in northern Laos.With plucky new routes, bespoke itineraries and curated experiences, ‘Mekong Kingdoms’ promises “a journey of exotic nature and curated exploration, art and culture, where wonder and discovery know no bounds”.
Vessels range from an opulent 13 all-suite river cruiser celebrating the ‘Golden Age’ of travel with stately, snug cabins and huge picture windows to watch the timeless river world go by – to a lively ‘floating lounge’, for DJ parties and high-profile events, a 40-metre shuttle for day-time and sunset tours, a lavish two-cabin raft for romantic, free-spirited adventures into uncharted waterways, and a graceful ‘water taxi’ for sunset champagne cruises.
The diverse fleet enables a multitude of cruising options – from high-profile corporate and social events to weddings and romantic getaways.
Steeped in local mystique, this innovative new approach to the entire, formulaic cruising concept is delivering “impactful, off-the-beaten-path experiences” immersed in the Mekong’s captivating river lifestyle, rich natural beauty, fabled cultural heritage and colourful cuisine – with storytelling and tribal encounters along the way.
Mekong Kingdoms sets itself apart for the coolest and most aesthetic luxury cruising between the two ancient Buddhist kingdoms of Lanna and Lan Xang – from the historic Laos capital of Luang Prabang to Chiang Kong on the Thailand border, near Chiang Rai and the infamous ‘Golden Triangle’.
From its home-port in the fabled UNESCO World Heritage gem of Luang Prabang, Mekong Kingdoms (www.mekongkingdoms.com) is a self-proclaimed “maverick” introducing a variety of dynamic cruises that truly “stand out from the crowd”.
Targeting “connoisseurs, adventurers, artisans, daredevils and lovers”, the concept is the vision of co-founder Jean-Marc Huss, a French artist and entrepreneur who introduces an artistic flair to the onboard experience with an ever-changing gallery of beguiling artwork and captivating décor and design.
From artistic lighting and furnishing to charismatic fabrics and charming tableware, every aspect is designed to “stand out and impress”. The same attention to detail applies to the dining on board, curated by a celebrity chef bringing an “Iron Chef” twist to ethnic cuisine.
Eclectic onboard activities are also decidedly innovative – from cooking with chefs and yoga with yogis to learning local dances, jewelry making and fishing for river monsters!
“We’re pioneering a charismatic new way to celebrate the colours of Indochina and the soul of Asia along the ‘Amazon of Asia’ – whether for elegant meandering, lively parties and events, or intimate romantic adventures,” he said.
“These are sophisticated cruises with spirit and soul that dream big and take the waterways less travelled for modern-day pirates, smooth operators and thrill-seeking partygoers – the criminally cool and young at heart.”
Dedicated to innovation with a signature attitude, approach, style and service, a fleet of five distinctly different, custom-designed river craft, each with their own distinct personality, “bring the party to the Mekong” with diverse cruising and private charter options balancing refinement with revelry.
Mekong Kingdoms – The Fleet
Flagship of Mekong Kingdoms’ fleet is the 13-all-suite Bohème, launching in July 2017, accommodating up to 26 on two and three-night cruises between Luang Prabang (Laos) and Chiang Khong /Chiang Rai (Thailand), starting from US$1,300. With a Royal Suite and 12 immaculate deluxe suites (with air-con, en-suite bathroom & private balcony), an expansive sundeck, funky lounge, wine cellar and spa, this floating palace combines a sense of the artistic with the attitude of a passionate maverick.
Gypsy is a private, ultra-exclusive two-cabin cruiser accommodating up to 4 at an all-inclusive US$3,500 a night (or US$2,500 for 1-2) for discovering the secrets of the Upper Mekong in the most personalised way on overnight jaunts from Luang Prabang, stopping at villages and attractions according to your whims and wishes.
Monsoon is a sexy 40-metre shuttle sweeping past the splendour of Luang Prabang’s gilded temples through misty Mekong scenery to Pak Ou Caves, taking up to 25 passengers on a full-day tour with lunch on board, and a ‘sunset cruise’ in the early evening. Price from US$48 per person with cocktail canapés and non-alcoholic beverages.
Play, is a sophisticated lounge ship that can host half or full-day private excursions on the Mekong River, whether for a rowdy party for 15 or more, an intimate family adventure or even a lazy afternoon Mekong cruise for a couple … or two. With an open sundeck, lounge bar, TV and sound system and air-conditioned private room with well-stocked bar, this 42-metre water limo for hire makes the Mekong a personal playground, priced from US$750 for 15 passengers on a 4-hour trip.
Nomad, is a private exploration craft that offers intimate or romantic cruises for afternoon or quick show-around cruises for two, priced US$165 for a champagne sunset cruise,
For more information on Mekong Kingdoms, visit: www.mekongkingdoms.com [Holding Page is up]