Hubert Burda Media

Travel Plans: River Cruising in Asia and Europe

Pandaw Expeditions

The RV Kalaw Pandaw

Founded by Scotsman Paul Strachan in 1995, Pandaw Expeditions offers unique cruising experiences on some of Southeast Asia’s least-explored rivers including the Irrawady River in Burma and the iconic Mekong River. Its ships are restored 

If you had to choose one route, opt for what we reckon is its most adventurous route – a 14-day journey that starts from the city of Vientiane in Laos before lazily making its way northward to the Yunnan province in China. You’ll pass numerous villages, jungles untouched by the hands of globalisation and even the infamous Golden Triangle, a beautiful forested area that used to be the hotbed of opium production.

As this is a new route, the folks at Pandaw warned us that there might be border formalities and other possible difficulties along the way. Don’t let that put you off though; such trouble only adds to the adventure.

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The Belmond Pivoine bedroom

If Asian rivers aren’t your cup of tea and you want to venture further to Europe, you can consider Belmond’s two new offerings, launching in 2017.

The first, named Belmond Lilas, plies the Alsace region and plies you with wine almost every day as you make your way to Strasbourg. The barge stops at numerous breweries, where you get to sample their alcoholic offerings. But in the event that you don’t drink alcohol, there is still enough along the way to keep you entertained including a visit to the medieval ruins of Lutzelbourg Castle.

If you’re feeling even more extravagant the new Belmond Pivoine with its marble bathrooms and embroidered Parisian bed covers is right up your alley. You’ll be cruising between Meaux and Chalons-en-Champagne, past beautiful vineyards and enchanting villages. We’re not sure if you’ll feel compelled enough to leave the barge though.

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