While Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River serves as a main artery through the bustling city, you won’t find many—if any—truly five-star vessels or experiences among the dinner cruises and party boats that regularly navigate the waterway. That changed with the August 10 launch of the Loy River Song, an intimate river cruise ship that takes its cues from a bygone era of travel. Offering one- to three-night itineraries that take you out to places like the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the ship cocoons guests in an elegant décor, gourmet dining and white-glove hospitality as they glide away from the urban sprawl.
Operated by luxury cruise company Loy Pela Voyages, the new ship is one of two historic teak rice barges that the company has impeccable restored (the second, the smaller Loy Dream, has just two berths and is only available for private bookings.) The four spacious staterooms are outfitted with antiques, vintage Thai silks, Jim Thompson fabrics, reading nooks and either King or Queen beds, while the en-suite bathrooms have double-vanities and dressing tables. Among the shared spaces are areas for wellness and cultural activities (like sunrise yoga, traditional dance performances or Muay Thai demos), an elegant main salon (featuring hand-painted wallpaper and silk-upholstered furniture) and a dining room with seating for eight. A butler, chef and resident tour guide keep things going smoothly.
Choose between a two-day, one-night and four-day, three-night itinerary, or buy-out the ship to customize your journey; all trips will sail along the “River of Kings,” departing from and returning to the pier at the Anantara Riverside Bangkok. Off-shore highlights might include bike tours along the canals of lush Bang Kachao island, a tuk-tuk ride around royal palaces, walks around the UNESCO World Heritage Site ancient town of Ayutthaya and visits to temples like Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat Worawihan. Back aboard the ship, guests can indulge in afternoon tea, sunset cocktails, decadent brunches and wine-pairing dinners—with many of the meals based on menus by noted Thai chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajohn, of the Michelin-starred Le Du. Rates start at $6,696 per cabin for a two-night itinerary; contact firstname.lastname@example.org.