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My Favorite Boat Trips from Around the World

My Favorite Boat Trips from Around the World

Having grown up about as far from the ocean as one can (and near a river so murky and fast-moving that I wouldn’t dare go near it), I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to go boating before I started traveling.

Even after I did, however, it took me a few years to take the plunge. Or, not take the plunge—boats keep you dry, not wet.

It’s taken me quite a while, to be sure, to assemble this list of the coolest boat trips in the world. But I hope you’ll appreciate just how diverse the list is, even if it obviously isn’t comprehensive. 

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How I Came to Love Boat Trips

A long time passed between the first time I set sail, and when I had enough experience under my belt to be able to name the best boat trips in the world. Initially, if I’m honest, I was pretty ambiguous. If I remember correctly, the first time I rode a boat purely for leisure was to Australia’s Whitsunday Islands (a destination that, while beautifully, was actually pretty underwhelming if you ask me).

Back then, of course, you didn’t have YACHTZOO or other websites that could make it easy to browse and book boat trips, let alone to get inspired. No, it took me repeatedly riding boats in different countries and under a variety of circumstances to realize just how much I enjoyed this way of traveling. Note that the list below isn’t comprehensive—it’s just the boat trips that stick out most in my mind.

My Favorite Boating Destinations Around the World

Nile River, Egypt


The first time a boat ride really left me speechless was in late 2011, when I rode a traditional felucca boat from Aswan to Luxor, along the Nile River in southern Egypt. At the time, the country was experiencing extreme political instability; the peaceful silence of the river at nighttime (not to mention, our slow glide over the water’s surface) was the perfect antidote to that.

Mergui Archipelago, Myanmar


This might just be the coolest boat trip in the world, as far as I’m concerned. Imagine a collection of virtually uninhabited paradise islands in the Andaman Sea (think Koh Phi Phi, but 50 years ago). Then imagine seeing them at a leisurely pace onboard a luxury yacht with just a few other people! While travel to Myanmar is currently difficult due to the political situation, I highly recommend heading to the Mergui Archipelago ASAP.

West coast fjords, Norway


I’d wanted to visit Norway‘s fjords for a decade by the time I finally got there. The bad news? Because I had little money at the time, I spent only a very short time onboard the boat, and primarily cruised through the famous Hardangerfjord. The good news? When combined with the rest of my time in the country (namely, the cities of Oslo and Bergen), the trip on the whole was absolutely unforgettable.

Mekong River, Laos/Thailand


Among the unique boat trips around the world I’ve listed here, this one is probably the least touristic. That’s because dozens of local per day use extremely spartan “slow” boats to travel along the Mekong River (usually not from Luang Prabang, Laos all the way to Thailand, but to secondary waypoints), and the experience is really geared toward them.

TIP: If you have the money and aren’t set on something “authentic,” splurge on one of the higher-end options available!

Kerala backwaters, India


On the whole, the southern Indian state of Kerala wasn’t my favorite place in the world—it didn’t live up to the hype. One place in Kerala that did, however, was the so-called “backwaters” of Alappuzha, also known as Alleppey. Beyond their raw beauty, the relaxing experience of sleeping on a houseboat and enjoying home-cooked Keralan thali sets combined to make one of my favorite travel experiences ever.

Boat Trips I Still Need to Take

I’ve seen a fair bit of the world by boat, but there are still plenty of boat trips left to enjoy. Here are a few near the top of my bucket list:

  • Amazon jungle cruise: While I’ve been to the Amazon, I’ve never experienced the river itself in such an intimate way.
  • Croatian or Greek yachting: These trips are practically cliché now, but were new when I first became a travel blogger. I’ve seen these islands, but never in style like this!
  • Antarctica: The only realistic way to see Antarctica, after all, is by boat from Ushuaia, Argentina. I might try to do this for my 40th birthday next year, but we’ll see.
  • European river cruise: Speaking of my 40s, I think that will be the more appropriate decade for taking this sort of trip.

Certainly, I hope you will stay tuned to this blog. I do plan to add more amazing boat trips around the world to this post, just as soon as I take them!

Other FAQ About the World’s Best Boat Trips

Is a felucca ride worth it?

Even more than a decade on, the felucca ride I took along the Nile River from Aswan to Luxor is one of my most memorable travel experiences. If I ever visit Upper Egypt again, I will definitely seek to re-create it. All of which is to say that yes, it’s worth it!

How do I get to the fjords in Norway?

The best way to start a fjord trip in Norway is to make your way to the city of Bergen, be it by train from Oslo or by plane from elsewhere in Europe. From there, you have various options for reaching the fjords, the easiest of which is the semi-organized “Norway in a Nutshell” package.

Is the slow boat to Luang Prabang worth it?

The slow boat to Luang Prabang is…well, it’s an experience. Do note that there are two versions of this boat: One that locals take, which is more “authentic”; and one that caters to tourists and has a much higher standard of comfort. I’m glad I did the former, but if I had to do it again, I’d pay more and spring for luxury.

The Bottom Line

These aren’t all the coolest boat trips in the world, but they are some of the most unforgettable ones I’ve personally taken. Traveling by boat covers all the travel emotions—some journeys are relaxing. others are exhilarating; sometimes you can’t wait for it to be over, other times you wish it would never end. No matter where in the world you travel, including a boat trip is an interesting way to break up any trip, particular one that’s starting to feel long or stale. Want personalized help incorporating a boat trip into your next travel itinerary? Consider hiring me as your Travel Coach!


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