How to See the World's Sacred Rivers

The Daily Telegraph, October 3, 2014

The Ganges

Transindus (0844 879 3960; ) has a seven-day (downstream) or a nine-day (upstream) cruise on colonial-style steamers, through Assam Bengal Navigation. Offering an insight into rural Bengal and neighbouring Bihar, the cruise allows travellers to explore ancient Buddhist sites at Nalanda and Bodh Gaya, the Mughal ruins at Rajmahal as well as the East India Company relics at Monghyr and Patna. Available during the winter months only. From £2,765 per person for the seven-day cruise (flights not included).

Explore (0844 499 0901; ) has a 16-day North India Explorer trip, taking in the Taj Mahal, Moghul heritage in Jaipur and the bustling capital of Delhi. Spend two days sailing on the sacred Ganges, passing rural landscapes and small villages to the holy city of Varanasi. Tours depart in October, November and December, as well as January, February and March next year and cost from £1,460 per person, including flights and accommodation on a bed-and-breakfast basis.

The Yangtze

Voyages Jules Verne (0845 166 7035; ) has an 18-night “Images of China” escorted tour featuring a Yangtze cruise from Shanghai, combining visits to China’s imperial capitals and panda sightseeing. There is an eight-night Yangtze cruise on board the MS Sophia, three nights in Shanghai, one night in Chengdu, two nights in Xian and three nights in Beijing (one night flying). Departing April, May, September and October 2015, from £2,495 per person including BA flights from Heathrow.

The Ultimate Travel Company (020 3582 1335; ) can tailor-make a trip along the Yangtze, including three nights at the Four Seasons Beijing, a four-day cruise downstream from Chongqing to Yichang and three nights at the Peninsula, Shanghai, from £3,555 including all flights and most meals.

The Nile

Undiscovered Destinations (0191 296 2674; ) offers a “Sudan – Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs” small-group tour, taking you to some of the least-visited areas of the Nile, including the confluence of the Blue and White Nile near Khartoum, and the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. There are magnificent views over the Nile from Jebel Barkal and visits to the ancient site of Old Dongla as well as to a Coptic Christian temple with marble columns and several churches on the river’s banks. From £1,850, not including flights.

Oasis Overland (01963 530113; ) doesn’t actually travel on the river, but its nine-week trip takes in many of the Nile’s great sights, including Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, Khartoum, Lake Nasser, where you take the overnight ferry from Wadi Halfa in Sudan to Aswan in Egypt, the option of a two- or three-day trip by felucca sail boat along the Nile to Edfu, followed by a few days in Luxor and finishing in Cairo. You can also do the trip in the opposite direction. There are three departures a year and the nine-week trip costs £1,450 plus US$775 local payment.

Read more

Nile river cruise guide

Yangtze river cruise guide

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