A River So­journ

Wine & Dine - - TRAVELLER - —MY mekongk­ing­doms.com

Mekong King­doms, a Mekong River-fo­cused off­shoot of the Mi­nor Ho­tels Group, is tak­ing river cruis­ing to new heights with the launch of Gypsy. An ul­tra-ex­clu­sive two-cabin river cruiser, Gypsy will make lan­guid two- and three-night voy­ages be­tween the an­cient Laos cap­i­tal of Luang Pra­bang and Thailand’s Golden Tri­an­gle.

De­signed by Phuket-based ar­chi­tect Pas­cal Tra­han, the in­ti­mate cruiser is con­structed of lo­cal hard tim­ber and capped with thatched roofs in the tra­di­tional style of slow boats found in Luang Pra­bang. While its ex­te­rior may look de­cep­tively com­pact, the in­te­rior of this 41-me­tre boat is sur­pris­ingly spa­cious, boast­ing two fully air-con­di­tioned en-suite cab­ins, a mid-ship lounge, bar and din­ing room. De­signed by Ji­ra­parnn To­keeree from TOUCHABLE with the mod­ern trav­eller in mind, the spaces are stylishly out­fit­ted with a mix of con­tem­po­rary and tra­di­tional fin­ishes such as pol­ished tim­ber and carved wooden fur­ni­ture, along­side bam­boo daybeds, dark leather and Thai silk.

To keep trav­ellers en­ter­tained while the boat cruises the placid waters, there are a range of ac­tiv­i­ties of­fered on board, in­clud­ing yoga, folk danc­ing, Lao­tian lan­guage classes, weav­ing workshops and cook­ing classes. Daily shore ex­cur­sions are equally ex­cit­ing, of­fer­ing a mix of age-old cul­ture, lo­cal im­mer­sion and adren­a­line-charged ad­ven­ture such as guided jun­gle treks and moun­tain bik­ing in Ban Houy Pha­lam. Should you so choose, there are also op­tions to go fresh­wa­ter fish­ing, visit a tra­di­tional weav­ing workshop at Ban Baw, sam­ple Lao­tian whisky, visit an ele­phant camp in Pak Beng and ven­ture into the famed Pak Ou caves that are filled with thou­sands of gold lac­quered Bud­dha stat­ues of var­i­ous sizes.

Rates start from US$5,450 for a three-night, four-day cruise from Luang Pra­bang to the Golden Tri­an­gle; and from US$6,950 for a two-night, three-day cruise from the Golden Tri­an­gle to Luang Pra­bang. Rates are per boat for up to four guests and in­clude all on­board meals.

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