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Bangkok-based Cruise Asia Ltd. was created in 2003 for the sole purpose of providing upscale river cruise options on the inland waterways of Thailand. The company operates one vessel -- the 20-passenger RV River Kwai, which sails the Kwai Noi River west of Bangkok.

Cruise Asia Cruise Highlights

Why Go?

Excursions to Khmer ruins, temples, waterfalls, hot springs

Cruise the River Kwai in Thailand

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This is a simple vessel with elegant but basic accommodations and public spaces. The teak-lined cabins include air conditioning, safes and in-suite bathrooms with showers. All cabins are outside with outside entries, and all have twin-bed configurations. Dining is al fresco for all meals; the dining room is on the upper deck, which is covered with a collapsible awning (so the vessel can go under low bridges). The ship was built to resemble a colonial river cruiser in the style of the Irrawaddi Flotilla; by the 1920's, this Burmese company operated the largest fleet of privately-owned ships worldwide.

Meals are served buffet-style. All excursions and lectures are included in the fare, with the exception of the new "elephant driving" program, which has a surcharge of 1,900 Thai Baht ($55 USD, £37).

Fellow Passengers

Passengers onboard this vessel will not confuse the luxury of this atypical glimpse into Southeast Asian culture and history with that of a six-star resort. Those who are looking for soft adventure with a convivial atmosphere, a great learning environment and offbeat experiences will relish these trips. Expect an international and eclectic mix of latter-day Indiana Joneses, who know that you can't get "elephant driving" lessons at your typical Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons resort, who can leave their cell phones and laptops behind and who want to avoid CNBC and CNN for a week.

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