Watch Next

Francesco Galli Zugaro’s guide to the Aqua Mekong Cruise

We set sail on the ultra luxurious Aqua Mekong, a five-star floating retreat on Cambodia's wildest river…

The sun is rising over the Mekong — a 2,703 mile long body of water that weaves its way from the empty plateaus of Tibet, through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and finally Vietnam.

It’s a river that can quickly change pace, humming with life and trade one minute; serene, quiet and peaceful the next.

Right now, as we sip our morning coffee onboard the Aqua Mekong – an incredible, ultra-luxurious vessel made for the upmarket adventurer – it’s firmly the latter. Gentleman’s Journal took a leisurely five day cruise down the river, video camera in-hand, to take in the culture, the cuisine, and some very fine wine along the way.

Here are the seven top reasons to book your ticket and jump on board…

Francesco Galli Zugaro’s guide to the Aqua Mekong Cruise
The 20-cabin luxury river cruiser Aqua Mekong

It’s incredibly eco-friendly

One of the most important facets of modern day luxury tourism, Aqua Mekong is a champion of eco-friendly sailing. The vessel is stocked with environmentally-friendly products, has a water filtration system on board and harnesses the latest tech to minimise water and noise pollution, ensuring that you experience the mighty river as traditionally and naturally as is possible.

The boat offers luxury like no other

We all enjoy the chance to kick back and experience a whole new culture – if you can that in unparalleled luxury all the better. On the Aqua Mekong you can while your days away in the spa, curl up in the screening room or — if being on water has got you in the swimming mood — take a dip in the amazing outdoor pool on the Observation Deck.

Francesco Galli Zugaro’s guide to the Aqua Mekong Cruise
The cabins are simply but beautifully furnished

The food is second-to-none

On our trip we were treated to the indigenous culinary delights of Consulting Chef David Thompson. Designed to match and occasionally distract from the stunning surroundings, Thompson’s dishes incorporate the timeless flavours and ancient sustainable ingredients of the Mekong’s many cultures and fertile fields — expect everything from grilled river prawns with peanut relish, to minced Vietnamese catfish.

The design of the Aqua Mekong is something to behold

Thanks to its clean lines and fresh interiors, you can experience the local architecture from the comfort of your cabin. The Aqua Mekong incorporates artisanal touches of the river’s multifaceted cultures, making use of local sustainable materials and techniques to both pay homage to Cambodia and up the authenticity of your stay.

Francesco Galli Zugaro’s guide to the Aqua Mekong Cruise
Select cabins come with their own terraces

The cabin is like your very own private floating apartment

The importance of integrity when it comes to tourism can’t be understated. You want an authentic experience, and this is the place to get it. Daily excursions on the vessel’s skiffs are available, on bikes or in an ox cart to remote stilted villages. Or, if it’s tranquility you’re chasing, head to the rice paddies and lounge among the lotuses.

No-one does excursions like Aqua Mekong

With everything you could want from accommodation, Aqua Mekong throws in several more hints of luxury for good measure. Complimentary drinking water means you don’t have to worry about local supplies, an ensuite bathroom gives you the privacy you want, and all huge, full-wall windows give you the chance to enjoy and explore from the moment you wake to when you call it a night.

Francesco Galli Zugaro’s guide to the Aqua Mekong Cruise
Colourful floating village and boats on the Mekong

No one cruise is the same

Like the explorers and adventurers on board, not one of the Mekong expeditions is the same. Each experience is a new journey, with a patchwork of different food, companions and excursions. In our experience, it is by far the most peaceful and intimate way to travel to such a unique land.

Francesco Galli Zugaro’s guide to the Aqua Mekong Cruise

Aqua Mekong

Learn More

Further Reading