Sara Macefield is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

Varanasi, India © iStock
Varanasi, India © iStock

Q. My wife and I are seasoned river cruisers in Europe, but now we’d like to cruise in the Far East. Where do you recommend we go?

A. Asia is the rising star of the river cruising world that shows no sign of losing its sheen. Sailings along the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Siem Reap in Cambodia offer a fascinating insight into this region’s turbulent past, while cruises along the Upper Mekong take you more off the beaten track into Laos.

For a cultural contrast try voyages along India’s holy Ganges River and the Brahmaputra River, which open up the huge cultural and natural appeal of this vast nation. But my favourite has to be Myanmar (formerly Burma), which only opened up to the outside world relatively recently with cruises along the Irrawaddy River to beautiful Bagan with its 2,000-plus temples scattered across a vast plain.

If you prefer a remote experience, cruise along the Chindwin from Monywa, north of Mandalay, to Homalin on the Indian border. You will meet curious villagers and possibly even descendants of Naga tribes who were head-hunters.