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Sailing The Upper Mekong

One of Southeast Asia’s leading boutique cruise operators Heritage Line, is making progress on its sumptuous new ten-berth ship Anouvong, which will be the first luxury boat to ply the upper-Mekong river in Laos upon its launch later this year.

 

“We are well on course to complete Anouvong in good time,” said Andreas Schroetter, Heritage Line’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “It’s always a really exciting feeling watching the team at the shipyard guiding our boats to completion, and this is no exception. It makes it even more thrilling when you know that this particular ship will be such a game-changer when it comes to cruise journeys on the upper reaches of the Mekong River.”

 

One of the two Signature Suites on the cruise ship Anouvong.

 

Winding its way from the mysterious Golden Triangle at the Thailand-Laos border in the northwest, through the royal city of Luang Prabang and down to the Lao capital, Vientiane, the boat, with its eight spacious staterooms and two luxurious suites, will plot a course through some of the planet’s most spectacular riverine territory.

 

The cruise operator offers two journeys. The shorter jaunt sails from Luang Prabang to the town of Huay Xai on the Laos-Thailand border (or vice versa) over three days. A longer journey unfolds over seven or nine nights and charts a course between the Laos-Thailand border at Huay Xai and Vientiane.

 

A bird’s eye view of the royal city of Luang Prabang.

 

The shorter trip offers spectacular scenery, a trip to the village of Huay Palang to meet ethnic Khmu tribes and other highlights such as Pak Ou Caves, which is home to 4,000 sacred Buddhist statues.

 

The longer alternative embraces sightseeing along remote river areas and various activities such as kayaking through calm, shallow stretches and a gourmet banquet on a river sandbank. The longer journey is also inclusive of a full discovery of Luang Prabang at the mid-point of the journey.

 

It’s fair to say that the boat – which is named after the last Lao king – will be something of a pioneer. But then that’s nothing new for Heritage Line, an operator that is used to charting fresh horizons on Asia’s waterways and doing it in style.

 

An artist’s impression of the Signature Suite’s bathroom.

 

The use of small vessels offers a sense of intimacy unmatched by operators who use bigger boats. This exclusivity, meanwhile, is enhanced by an array of enticing extras. Each of Heritage Line’s boats has been crafted to the very highest specifications, with inimitable décor and outfitting ensuring the ultimate in onboard luxury for guests.

 

Anouvong stays true to this philosophy: its design aesthetic combines traditional Lao design with French colonial elegance. The Deluxe and Deluxe Executive rooms (20-sqm) feature French balconies and occupy both the main and upper (terrace) decks, with four rooms on each level. The two Signature Suites are located at the front of the main deck and each boast 30-sqm of floor space. Both Signature Suites have their own private balcony as well as a spacious bathroom with Jacuzzi.

 

The terrace deck is the highlight of the vessel’s public spaces and is also conveniently connected to the comfortable, laid-back and air-conditioned café-bar lounge. From the shaded sun beds, passengers have widescreen views of the passing river landscapes and local life onshore. In Anouvong’s Bodhi Spa, treatments for singles and couples are offered throughout the day. The exquisite De-Lagree Dining Hall, meanwhile, offers gourmet dining with local delicacies and international favourites in a venue flanked by expansive panels on both sides.

 

Laos has countless tourist attractions including the spectacular Kuang Si Falls, a short distance from Luang Prabang.

 

Anouvong is expected to begin sailings on 29th September 2020. It is now open for bookings over the next few months through any travel agents or directly with Heritage Line. For bookings made before 31st March, there is currently a 10% discount on the three-night journey.

 

Renowned as one of Asia’s most singular operators, Heritage Line has become legendary among cruise connoisseurs. Its reputation is founded on a range of factors. Whereas many other operators utilise bigger boats, Heritage Line’s collection of distinctive vessels are smaller in scale, ensuring an intimacy that helps to forge bonds, nourish friendships and create unforgettable moments.

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