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Asia River Cruises

Asia has several major rivers that offer wonderful river cruise experiences.

The best known among the navigable Asian rivers are probable the Yangtze in China, the Mekong in Cambodia, the Ganges in India, and the River Kwai in Thailand, but also the Irrawaddy in Myanmar and the Rajang River in Malaysian Borneo are great for river cruising. The river boats can vary in in size and style from luxury 5 star boats on the Yangtze that can carry up to 300 passengers to small river boats that carry between 20 and 60 people.

Yangtze River
is the largest river in Asia, and the third largest in the world after the Nile and the Amazon. It runs for about 6,350 km (3,970 mi) from the Tanggula Range in western China and pours into the East China Sea at Shanghai. Generally, people consider the Yangtze River a dividing line between North China and South China, and is historically, economically and cultural very important to the country. Yangtze cruises between Chongqing and Yichang/Wuhan/Shanghai are frequent chosen itineraries. During this cruise and the onshore excursions passengers will enjoy the spectacle of Fengdu Ghost City, the unique architecture of Shibaozhai and the wonder of the new Three Gorges Dam.

From the Tibetan Plateau, the Mekong River
runs through six countries: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam before emptying into the South China Sea, at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The most popular river boat cruise on the Mekong is between Siem Reap (Angkor) in Cambodia and My Tho, the port for Ho Chi Minh City. This cruise normally takes around 7 days and includes a visit to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, on the way. On the cruise passengers will encounter temples, fishing villages and floating markets untouched by time. The Mekong basin is one of the richest areas of bio diverse in the world. More than 1200 species of fish have been identified and fishing is a very important part of the economic activities in the area.

The Ganges River is one of the major rivers of the Indian subcontinent, flowing east from the western Himalayas through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh. Ganges is considered a holy river by Hindus, who come to the river to worship. Several of the cities along the Ganges are holy cities, among these Varanasi, where thousands of pilgrims arrive each day to dip in the Ganges. A Ganges River cruise will normally be for a duration of at least seven days, and will include a number of historic sites, visits to Kolkata (Calcutta) and Varanasi, as well as daily stops in smaller towns and villages handicrafts, rural life and a variety of local cultures that differs from region to region.

The Irrawaddy River is the life-line of Myanmar; it flows almost down the very center of the country for almost 2,000 km (1,250 mi). It feeds the farmlands of the dry central zone and allows easy transportation of good up and down the country. It empties though a nine armed delta into the Andaman Sea. In colonial times, before railways and autmobiles, the river was known as the "Road to Mandalay". A cruise on the Irrawaddy River will take you through ancient cities from past civilizations, plenty of pagodas and temples and towns like Mandalay and Pagan, an ancient Burmese capital, that was abandoned as capital seven hundred years ago. An Irrawaddy river cruise will normally last for around seven days.

The Rajang River is located in northwest of Borneo and has one of the most diverse eco systems on the planet. Its primary rain forest is home to a vast number of species of flora and fauna. There is little tourism here due to the river's remoteness and lack of facilities. The scenery is magnificent - a total jungle experience with the rain forest tumbling into the fast flowing river. The river flows some 560 km into the South China Sea, and is navigable for at least 250 km until the Pelagus Rapids, and further on its main tributary, the Baleh River. The biggest town on the river is Sibu, some 60 km upriver from its mouth. A typical Rajang River cruise will last for 8 days, and will give passengers a possibility to see how the Iban tribe lives along the river and to view their longhouse architecture.

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