A River Sojourn
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.