Intrepid travel meets a sense of history and no shortage of luxurious touches aboard the charming Jayavarman river cruise ship, a wonderful option to explore the scenery connecting Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh on either a four, five or eight-day adventure.
This throwback boutique vessel not only looks reminiscent of a bygone age – with its vintage chandeliers, dark wood furnishings and 1930s themed lounge bar – but was even named after a real-life Buddhist king from the 12th century, no less.
Jayavarman is certainly a class act, as the cabins are both comfortable and delightfully decorated in locally-inspired designs, while up on deck you’ll find sun loungers, a pool with Jacuzzi jets and fantastic restaurant too.
Back in your private quarters, however, it is worth mentioning that every room comes with a furnished balcony, en suite bathroom and either twin, double or king-size bed, depending on which category you choose.
As you then wander further around the Jayavarman, its enchanting theme of turn-of-the-century exploration can be seen throughout. Not only in the aptly titled Club 1930 (its onboard bar), but also the Henry Mouhot Lounge, a refined reading room of antique armchairs and artefacts that fully set the scene, though a small spa and treatment room plus the boat’s more modern restaurant do add a little 21st-century comfort to proceedings.
While travelling the Mekong River aboard Jayavarman you’ll pass remote settlements, stunning rural landscapes and deep jungle alike. There’ll be chances to meet locals, visit villages and schools, enjoy cultural performances, temple tours and wildlife walks, all in the company of the expert Jayavarman team and their guides. And since this is an all-inclusive luxury cruise, everything is taken care of, from your meals and drinks to complimentary binoculars and slippers in your room.
- Gym / Fitness Centre
- Spa / Wellness
1/12 - Exterior of Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
2/12 - Stateroom Superior Suite 'Bao Dai' at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
3/12 - Dining Hall at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
4/12 - Deluxe Stateroom at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
5/12 - Club 1930 at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
6/12 - Spa at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
7/12 - Pool Deck at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
8/12 - Superior Stateroom at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
9/12 - Deluxe Stateroom at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
10/12 - Club 1930 at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
11/12 - Stateroom Superior Suite 'Bao Dai' at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
12/12 - Lobby Lounge at Jayavarman Cruise, Vietnam and Cambodia
The Jayavarman’s 27 cabins are split into three luxury categories, though all feature their own take on Cambodian interior design, some being fully traditional while others a little more contemporary. The same high standard can be found throughout, so too the in-cabin amenities such as a furnished balcony for every room, complimentary binoculars, sandals, a sun hat and hand fan. You’ll also get a minibar, bathrobes, air-conditioning and a beautifully styled en suite bathroom as standard, with one or two extras creeping into the higher-level Signature Suite, if looking to book the best.
Indochine Dining Hall
An elegantly adorned onboard restaurant of white tablecloths, silver serving platters and dark wood furnishings, full of light too thanks to a wall of windows on either side. The menu at Indochine Dining Hall is changeable depending on the season, though more often than not features a reliable mix of Cambodian-inspired cuisine and a few more familiar favourites, both buffet-style and a la carte, to cater for everyone’s tastes.
‘Club 1930’ Funnel Bar & Lounge
A fittingly elegant, semi-open-air lounge bar justifies its evocative name: Club 1930 certainly looks the part. The décor here is akin to the early days of exploration, all vintage gold lamps, candlelit lanterns and a dark wood polished square bar topped with vases full of wildflowers, all wrapped in pretty white curtains. Club 1930 is open all day and evening too, so you can admire the views with a cup of tea during the afternoon and laze away each night with a good glass of wine here, cosied up in your deep-sink armchair or perched at the bar.
Activities and Entertainment
Onboard the Jayavarman there will be cultural workshops, cooking classes and live dance performances to keep you entertained, between exciting excursions and sightseeing from the boat itself, that is. The scenery is spellbinding as you sail, from rural farmland to thick jungle. You’ll pass and visit small villages, temples such as the 7th century Wat Hanchey and Wat Nokor, as well as natural wonders including Tonle Sap (the largest freshwater lake in Asia). Take wildlife walks with your guide, enjoy onshore activities and more besides, with a mix of everything available depending on whether you embark on the four, five or eight-day cruise option.
Though the main highlight of any luxury Mekong River cruise is often simply sitting back on your observation deck and watching the scenic world go by, the Jayavarman goes one extra and adds in a good selection of creature comforts too. There is a small spa area which offers relaxing massage therapies, plus a sophisticated reading room – the Henry Mouhot Lounge – which is great for quiet time during the day. The ship’s sundeck is also a joy, not least thanks to a small pool complete with Jacuzzi jets, and a line of loungers for those easy afternoons; not to be missed.
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