Travel Guide: Cruisin' On The River
For most of us, thinking of cruises means huge ferries and island hopping in the Caribbean or Mediterranean. That’s because you haven’t come across the latest in the world of cruises: rivers. Yes, once reserved for fishing the world over, river cruising has more recently become a new way of seeing the world.
Whilst river travelling was historically primarily used to search for better living conditions, food and safety, it has now become one of the best ways to see and experience the world. You get the comfort of a hotel; amazing views and you get to experience multiple cities at once without spending thousands of dollars. Culinary tours, exotic views, wine & dine experience – there’s a river cruise for anyone’s taste.
Below are 3 top-rated river cruises that include visits of some of our world’s most stunning locations.
This brown-colored river (known to locals as The Mighty Dragon) runs through 6 countries - China, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. It’s one of the best ways to experience the Asian culture.
Feel the spiritual Burmese lifestyle in the centuries-old temples of Bagan or look at the history of the Buddhists at the Kuthodaw Pagoda stupa in Mandalay. One of the stops also includes the biggest religious monument in the world – the Buddhist temple complex Angkor Wat, originally built by Hindus as a gift for their god Vishnu.
Colorful markets filled with the scent of traditional sweets, cheerful traditional singers and dancers will welcome you in Cambodia and Vietnam, while the endless, breathtaking rice terraces of China and Thailand will be the ideal picturesque sunsets. Along the way, you will also find many historical reminders of gruesome rulers that will send chills down your spine.
Any destinations you pick on the Mekong River offers a view of an entirely different world. The best time to cruise this river is between November and February, during the dry and cool season.
While cruising with a large luxurious boat you get large windows where you can watch your surroundings from an airconditioned room, smaller cruise ships can go further upriver to many underdeveloped areas.
The abundance of natural plants, versatile cultures and animal life you will find cruising on the Amazon is something that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It’s the perfect river to experience the raw wildlife and see anacondas, jaguars, and caimans in their natural habitat. Activities include birdwatching, kayaking, fishing, and tree climbing. You can stop by at the legendary Pacaya-Samiria Reserve, home to the “Mirrored Forest” and a vast array of flora and fauna, see the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the citadel of Machu Pichu and many other natural and historical monuments. Every one of the sights will create a lifelong memory of an incredible adventure.
The wet season lasting from May to December rises the river’s water level, creating perfect conditions to get closer to the trees and find more plants and wildlife.
From classy vineyards to medieval castles, Rhine brings you closer to every aspect of the European lifestyle. Cycle in the streets of Amsterdam. Enjoy a delicious meal with a Basler Leckerli spiced cookie in Basel. Stare at the ancient Romanesque architecture in Mainz. Be inspired by the stories of Notre Dame in Strasbourg.
Along the river bank, you will find hundreds of museums, home to thousands of monuments that will tell you stories of a different time: Anne Frank's House, Gutenberg Museum, Cathedrale de Notre Dame, Van Gogh Museum, the Dom and many other.
But history is not the only thing you can experience. You can enjoy a wine & dine experience in lush vineyards and colorful villages. Drink one of the best Rudesheim coffee. Eat the best traditional schnitzels. There is something for everyone on the Rhine.
Boats rove the river all year long, but the best time to cruise it is during spring and autumn in order to avoid the summer crowds.