32 | AUDLEY TRAVELLER | www.audley.co.uk/southeast-asiaTAKE A LUANG SAY CRUISE, LAOSBy Mark HothamIf you have ever been to Laos, you will be familiar with the deligh ully slow pace of life there. So ying s aight in om busy Bangkok or your hec c life in the UK can mean that your rst taste of Laos comes with a bit of a jolt. is is where the wonderful Luang Say Cruise comes into its own. A two-day cruise down the Mekong om the border with northern ailand, the cruise sails lazily down through some of the most remote areas of northern Laos, nosing into Luang Prabang at the end of the second day. En route you stop overnight in a lodge that nestles into the banks of the Mekong in a stunning loca on, and can sit back on the terrace in the evening enjoying fantas c Lao cuisine and a cold beer as the stars come out over the surrounding mountains. e languid pace of this cruise, and the rela vely few calls on your energy, make it the perfect way to immerse yourself into the way of life in this charming land. SAIL ON THE ANANTARA SONG, THAILANDBy Alex RossWhen I think of Bangkok the rst image that springs to mind is of tuk-tuks whizzing around busy s eets - a exci ng and vibrant place to spend me, but when a break is needed, you do not need to look far. e Anantara Song is a lovely three-day cruise om Bangkok, the perfect way to take a break om the ci in s le and explore the Chao Phraya River. Cruising along in a 100-year-old rice barge is a novel way to avel. Coupled with classic ai hospitali , super food and some mesmerising sights, the Anantara Song o ers a uly unique experience. ere are some fascina ng historical sites en route too, with the old capital Ayu haya and sprawling Summer Palace topping the list. Of course, as with all river cruises, it is the scenery that makes it. Life on the river is never s ll, with longtail boats and giant barges constantly plying the waters, sa on-clad monks in monasteries on the riverbanks and oa ng markets alive with the cha er of bartering. With only four cabins, the Anantara Song is an in mate and relaxing way to explore the Chao Phraya River while enjoying the comfort of a lovely cabin and a very s lish boat. ci of hustle and bustle. Bangkok is an GET STARTEDAn 11 day tailor-made trip to Laos including the Luang Say Cruise starts from £2,335pp. For more information please call Mark or our Laos team on 01993 838 125.GET STARTEDA 12 day tailor-made trip to Thailand, including time in Bangkok, on the Anantara Song and a beach break, starts from £2,550pp. For more information please call Alex or our Thailand team on 01993 838 115.
AUDLEY TRAVELLER | 33NAVIGATE BURMA'S WATERWAYS IN STYLEBy Mark RobinsonDespite the in ux of visitors to Burma in recent months, the coun y s ll retains a charm and innocence that makes it unique. On my fourth ip, I was delighted that it had not lost any of its magic. One of the best ways to explore the coun y is on the magni cent waterways of the Irrawaddy and Chindwin. Orient Express's newest vessel, the Orcaella, sets sail this summer. It will sail four routes: two seven-night cruises between Rangoon and Pagan (and vice versa), and two eleven-night cruises - the 'Gorges of the Far North', exploring the upper Irrawaddy to Bhamo, and 'Discovering the Chindwin River', which meanders towards the India border.With a pool on the top deck, a spa room and just 25 cabins with wall-to-ceiling windows, it seems that Orient Express has raised the bar again for Burmese river journeys. e luxury of the boat, though, is of course second to the magni cent environment that you avel through and interact with - as a rela vely small boat the Orcaella is able to explore the rivers' more remote regions, and o ers superb on-shore excursions too. A standout highlight is a visit to the Pagan, a breathtaking array of over 4,000 Buddhist temples. However, as each day unfolds there is always something magical EXPLORE INDONESIA'S MANY ISLANDSBy Angela JordanIndonesia is one of the most fascina ng places on earth to cruise - thousands of beau ful islands make up Indonesia's 'Ring of most diverse marine life on the planet. Travelling here can be something of a complex journey. In equent ights mean that these remote, untouched areas remain just that, with only a handful of lucky visitors witnessing the beau and adi onal culture found here. Sea Trek has simpli ed this process, opera ng two beau ful Bugi schooners - the Ombak Pu h and the Katharina - which cruise the waters between Suma a in the west to Java, Bali, Komodo, Sulawesi and on to Papua New Guinea in the east. Both vessels are small, with just 12 and 7 cabins respec vely, all with en-suite facili es and air condi oning. Sun decks and outdoor communal dining are features of both ships, as is unlimited snorkelling in to the impossibly clear waters. is is adventure cruising - culturally s mula ng and hugely diverse. To get further o the beaten ack, throughout Indonesia's peak avel season (March to October), seven to nine-night cruises operate in the Lesser Sunda Isles between Bali and Flores, visi ng otherwise inaccessible regions. e cruises can be built into a larger touring i nerary of Indonesia, as a way to get further om the beaten ack and to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of this fascina ng coun y.to enjoy. Whether onboard or on-shore, the real highlight of the ip is mee ng the Burmese people.Fire', which is home to some of the GET STARTEDA 12 day tailor-made trip to Burma, including seven nights on the Orcaella (bookings are already being taken), starts from £4,850pp. For more information please call Mark or our Burma team on 01993 838 105. GET STARTEDA 13 day tailor-made trip to Indonesia, including a seven-night cruise with Sea Trek, starts from £4,730pp. For more information please call Angela or our Indonesia team on 01993 838 110.SOUTHEAST ASIA