MEKONG River Cruise - Vietnam & Cambodia 2020

LGBT Vegan Departure With Special Guest and Group Leader Sean O’Callaghan (aka Fat Gay Vegan)!

 

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Vegan Culinary Cruises is proud to present the world’s first fully-vegan LGBT focused cruise.

Curated and hosted by vegan blogger, writer, and event planner Sean O’Callaghan (Fat Gay Vegan), our Mekong cruise has been designed to be a relaxed, inclusive, and safe adventure for LGBT travelers as well as their friends and families.

Sean says, “As a gay person, I have often longed for an LGBT-friendly vegan vacation opportunity. I know what it is like to put a lot of effort into planning and paying for a holiday and I want to know that every part of my trip celebrates who I am. My partner and I want to feel safe and relaxed whether we are in our cabin, sharing cocktails in the bar, or dining together at night. Vegan Culinary Cruises helped me turn this dream into a reality for me and my LGBT community”.

Even though our gorgeous Mekong adventure is focused on celebrating LGBT community members, the cruise is also welcoming to non-LGBT friends and family members. We have worked hard to create an experience in which everyone can celebrate our diverse communities.

Our luxury Mekong river cruise combines places rarely visited with opulent world heritage sites exploring the wonders and culture of Vietnam and Cambodia

“The Only All LGBT – All Vegan Cruise Experience” – all are welcome

Only 25 Cabins – Exclusive Cruising For Only 50 Guests

All Inclusive: Cruise, Delicious Vegan Cuisine, Open Bar, Tours & So Much More!

For 2020 Vegan Culinary Cruises brings to you our luxury-all-inclusive Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River Expedition. The ultimate, most in-depth and relaxing way of experiencing this part of the world!

The Tour

In a world where so much history is confined to books, they are inspired by a place where history, tradition and culture live, breathe and prosper. This is not to say these nations are not developing, on the contrary, Vietnam, in particular, is thought by many as a sleeping giant with the potential to emulate a global economic presence. No, these nations have much to offer the world, however they are doing so with grace and absolute respect to their ancestors. There is a definitive Buddhist influence in this region, and you can feel the history, respect and teachings of the past playing a vital role in developing the future.

Vietnam and Cambodia play the role of muse to any artist. There is so much to inspire. Perhaps it’s the steam and aroma wafting from a street stall, while an elderly woman in a conical hat slowly stirs her magical elixir. Or perhaps it’s the intimidating presence of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, a monument to man’s imagination and engineering feats. This is a region rich in history and lore.

Mention Cambodia and the name Angkor Wat usually is the first thing associated with the country. However, it is Cambodia’s rich cultural history, glorious civilization and turbulent modern times are but some of the reasons that draw curious travelers to this land. Through it all, the one constant is the Khmer people – ever calm, polite and warm, always smiling and dignified. Contemporary Cambodia is the successor state to the mighty Khmer empire, which, during the Angkorian period, ruled much of what is now Southeast Asia. The once great Khmer Civilization had declined over five centuries ago, but we still see its evidence today in the form of the sprawling Angkor temple complex, wide roads and ancient edifices.

This region is a storyteller’s dream that Vegan Culinary Cruises looks forward to sharing this unique part of the world with you!

The Journey

Vegan Culinary Cruises Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong river cruise is one of our most exotic and unforgettable journeys. Marvel at ancient temples, mist-covered mountains and colorful floating markets along the Mekong River as you travel by luxury river cruise through two of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries. Along the way, visit ancient temples & monasteries, royal palaces and pagodas, rural villages and experience first-hand everyday life in this unique part of the world. Our deluxe river cruise ship features delicious regionally-inspired vegan cuisine, spa treatments and a pool on the sun deck so our guests can return to luxury after each exotic adventure.

Our all-inclusive program includes delicious vegan cuisine, thought-provoking lectures, entertainment, and fabulous on-board programming, along with local tours at each locale we visit.

Picture yourself watching the river flow from the window of your cabin or one of the decks as it takes you to new places and reveals storybook landscapes as you relax in total comfort. The sublime ambiance and personal service aboard your Vegan Culinary Cruise ship creates an oasis of relaxation that is simply unexcelled. Each one of the bright, airy cabins has unrestricted views of the scenery through panoramic, glass windows with private balcony that spans the cabin’s width. Experience travel like you never have before with the sheer ease of river transport.

Pricing from: $5790pp/dbl

Dates: 7/2/20 to 7/11/20 

Optional Siem Reap Cambodia Pre-Tour

    • Day 1 – Thursday July 2 – Siem Reap – Arrive transfer to hotel
    • Day 2 – Friday July 3 – Siem Reap area tour
    • Day 3 – Saturday July 4 – Siem Reap morning area tour, afternoon transfer to ship at Kampong Cham

Cruise

      • Day 1 – Saturday July 4 –Afternoon transfer Siem Reap to ship at Kampong Cham
      • Day 2 – Sunday July 5 – Kampong Cham, Angkor Ban, Wat Hanchey – Cambodia
      • Day 3 – Monday July 6 – Kampong Tralach, Kampong Chhnang – Cambodia
      • Day 4 – Tuesday July 7 – Phnom Penh – Cambodia
      • Day 5 – Wednesday July 8 – Tan-Chau, My An Hung – Border crossing Vietnam
      • Day 6 – Thursday July 9 – Sa Dec, Binh Thanh Island – Vietnam
      • Day 7 – Friday July 10 –- Cai Be, My Tho – Vietnam
      • Day 8 – Saturday July 11: Ho Chi Min City / Saigon – Vietnam – Disembark
* Please note mooring and casting off times are only guidelines. We reserve the right to make changes to the itineraries and excursion programs. If due to low or high water or a defective ship a section of the river is closed to travel, the ship-owner reserves the right to transport guests along this section by bus, accommodate them in hotels and /or change the course of this part of the journey. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to transfer to another ship.  These situations are rare but do happen from time to time and are all part of riverboat vacations. There’s nothing anyone can do to control mother nature.

Sample Itinerary

Siem Reap Pre-Tour

Day 1 (Thursday): Siem Reap

Arrive Siem Reap with complimentary airport meet and great and transfer to the world famous Raffels Hotel for check-in and refreshments.  Our program and orientation begin with dinner then a guided tour of the night market.  For those guests arriving on the late evening flights, you will be met and transferred directly to the hotel.

Day 2 (Friday): Siem Reap – Angkor Wat & Ta Prohm

Today we begin our tour with the visit to Angkor Wat, one of the modern wonders of the world. Be amazed by the sheer size of the temple and learn how the Khmer Empire prospered between the 9th and 13th centuries, around the time when Angkor Wat was built. Stroll through the intricately carved hallways that show hundreds of fine carvings and discover small shrines still in use today by the local people.

12:00 back to the hotel for lunch and relax before going back out at 13:30 to visit the world-famous masterpieces that are Ta Prohm. Enter Ta Prohm by the west gate and be amazed by its detailed and refined bas-reliefs along with the presence of giant trees and roots that are slowly taking over the stones. Return to hotel by 17:00

After dinner we will depart for the famous Phare Circus 19:45. Phare Circus works mainly with disadvantaged young people. They learn circus skills, theatre performance, music and a range of visual arts. It combines local traditions with new creative and innovative genres. Daring athleticism is combined with stories that speak powerfully to Cambodia’s not-too-distant history; for example, escape from tyranny is depicted through tightrope walking. The dark subject of a young girl trying to deal with memories of atrocities, is depicted by breathtaking acrobatics in which seemingly impossible goals are achieved. More than simply a circus, Phare is an amazing blend of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and contortion beautifully choreographed and performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. Return to our hotel 21:00

Day 3 (Saturday) Angkor Thom tour, transfer to ship at Kampong Cham

This morning we explore the ancient walled city of Angkor Thom, the former great capital of the Khmer Empire from late 12th century until its ultimate decline in the 15th century. Inside the compound, you will be able to visit some of the most mysterious and fascinating structures of the Angkor complex. Start this morning entering the city by the impressive 23-meter-high South Gate and head to Bayon temple. With its 37 towers and enigmatic smiling faces, it is one of the most emblematic temples. Once your guide has shared with you its knowledge and secrets, continue to Baphuon and learn more about the gigantic project of conservation it has undergone to get back at its monumental appearance. Then join the Terrace of Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King via Phimeanakas, a small yet wonderful temple hidden in a multi-century old forest behind the terraces.

Late morning, we will meet back at our hotel those guests just arriving and travel overland south to the town of Kampong Cham where our ship awaits us. The transfer through the local countryside takes about 4 hours; box lunch, snacks and beverages are provided during the trip. Upon arrival you check in to your well-prepared staterooms then make yourself familiar with all facilities onboard and take some rest before dinner and orientation.

After dinner we learn more about the education of the young Cambodian generation (NGO project). The children join us on board, always excited to show their skills in music and art. Be sure to be bathed in smiles upon your applause. Late evening our lounge cinema features selected classic movies (every night).

Day 4 (Sunday) Kampong Cham - Oknha Tey - Kampong Chhnang

Every morning, our Tai Chi class on the sun deck will give you energy for the day ahead. Breakfast is served in the dining hall. This morning we tour the rural Angkor Ban village where time stands still. We are transported back a hundred years into an era unsullied by modernity. The houses here are truly rustic, made by hand and without any concrete. But most of all, we feel overwhelmed by the unbridled warmth of the villagers. Back on board a Monks’ blessing ceremony will deliver spirits and wishes for health and prosperity for all.

Enjoy your lunch as we set sail downstream the Mekong. In the afternoon a High Tea is offered, and our staff is keen to show you the variety of traditional Khmer fashion. We arrive at the Island of Koh Oknha Tey. This spot in the middle of the Mekong owns its fame for manufacturing linen products. By tuk tuk we explore the island with its workshops and learn how top-quality local original Cambodian linens are produced. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase some of these authentic products before we get back onboard. After some additional cruising time, we pass the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Rivers as the boat anchors near Kampong Chhnang. Have a fresh drink before dinner and marvel at the amazing marshlands of this beautiful region.

Day 5 (Monday) Kampong Chhnang - Kamp. Tralach - Phnom Penh

Wake up early to witness this spectacular scenery at the break of dawn. Our morning Tai Chi class offers the perfect scenery today. Breakfast buffet is served in the dining hall. We are now
in Kampong Chhnang, Cambodia’s “water world”, where everything is on sticks balanced on water rich soil. We take a local boat to the shore then by mini buses we head to a rural village for our walking tour. Our guides introduce you to the village specialties – Khmer style pottery and the making of palm sugar. Before returning to the boat, we explore the floating villages and wetlands of the region then back on board for lunch while the cruise continues with a languid meander along the Tonle River which glides through leafy swaths of the Southeast Asian jungle before reaching Kampong Tralach.

At Kampong Tralach we are greeted by cacophonous sounds of children who wave enthusiastically from the rivers edge as they bring their livestock for a bath in the River. Our afternoon excursion begins with a visit to the local schoolhouse and talk with the kids; they are very eager to practice their English. 

After some additional cruising time the boat arrives at the pier of Phnom Penh. Feel free to have your first exploration by yourself after dinner. Stroll along the river promenade and watch the locals chit-chatting, selling odds and ends or have a drink in one of the numerous bars (kindly inform our crew once you are leaving the ship on your own).

Day 6 (Tuesday) Phnom Penh

Welcome to Phnom Penh – the once called Paris of the East. Despite its rapid development, it has retained a lot of its rustic charm and elegance. It is an amazing town with centuries of incredible history and culture which can still be felt at many street corners. We start with a full sight-seeing tour right after breakfast. By bus we visit the Killing Fields at the outside of the city and afterwards the centrally located prison “S21”. Both historic sites display the sad and cruel chapter of Khmer history when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country with terror and suppression. Those places have not changed much since this horrific time back in the early seventies and it can be quite heartbreaking. Alternatively, you can explore the city in the morning by your own before re-joining the group for lunch on-board.

Our exploration of Phnom Penh continues with a fascinating cultural heritage program. The golden edifice of the Royal Palace with its Silver Pagoda and the exceptional Khmer crafts at the National Museum are our afternoon highlights. The day trip ends with a “cyclo” ride back to the ship through the bustling streets of downtown Phnom Penh.

Take some rest in your spacious cabin or join other fellow passengers at the bar for refreshing drinks before our captivating evening activities start.

The dinner on the sun deck is accompanied with an Apsara dance performance. You have to witness the brilliance and richness of this dance along with the soothing sounds of Cambodia’s traditional music. As the evening unwinds, enjoy dinner with a good glass of wine and marvel at the skyline of Phnom Penh, and the calming flow of the Tonle River.

Day 7 (Wednesday) Phnom Penh - Border Crossing - Tan Chau

Early morning, we cast off as we make our way down river to the Vietnam border. After breakfast we gather at the lounge for a captivating lecture about Cambodian modern history, held by a professor of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. The rest of the morning is at leisure to sit back and relax in cruise mode experiencing the therapeutic influence that this mighty river radiates. It is time for massages, relax on a sun bed by the pool, or your own private balcony, watching the wonders and daily life along the mighty Mekong.

After lunch our vegan culinary class is offered, then in the afternoon our guides lead a class to sharpen your knowledge and skills about the local cuisine, language and fashion.

We reach the border and finally arrive in Vietnam. From here it is just a short distance to Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced border town with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and Khmer community. We moor near the city with views on the riverbanks. Dinner will be served then join our evening cinema for another selected classic movie.

Day 8 (Thursday) Tan Chau - My An Hung - Sa Dec

Welcome to the fish sanctuary of Vietnam. Begin your day with a hearty breakfast at the dining hall or in the quiet privacy of your balcony. Brace yourself for a tour around Tan Chau, a pleasant, slow-paced town near the Cambodian border with a sizeable Chinese, Kinh and
Khmer community. Once on-shore we hop on “xelois” to explore Tan Chau. A “xeloi” is a local vehicle which is still used as a taxi in this region. We slowly move around the streets to see all the workshops, houses and domiciles. Get to feel the laid- back vibes of this off-the-beaten-path region. We stop at the colorful, local market near one of the town’s temples. This is the best time to interact with the vendors of this friendly town and try your hand at bargaining. Next, we board our local boats and cruise among the floating houses of this region.

Back on board before lunch is served. You may like to pamper yourself with a spa treatment or take a dip into the pool on the sun deck. Our expert guides offer a presentation on the “Life on the Mekong Delta” as the ship continues to My An Hung near the Sa Dec province.

This afternoon we will set off for the My An Hung Village. At the village we receive wonderful insights into the private household of a local Vietnamese family. We are allowed to visit their vegetable garden and access the seasonal vegetable fields via crossing a monkey bridge. We are invited to their house for a Vietnamese tea and exotic local fruit tasting. Next a local dance troop performs for us a typical traditional dragon dance unique to this area.

As the sun sets and the light bathes everything golden, we settle on a riverbank gathering with cocktails and river side dance party. Back on the ship we cruise downstream, refresh yourself and get ready for dinner. The ship moors mid-river near Sa Dec.

Day 9 (Friday) Binh Thanh Island - Cai Be - My Tho

In the morning we arrive at the island of Binh Thanh. After breakfast we embark on a local boat for a visit of the Island. Binh Thanh is one of the larger islands in the vast stream of the Mekong. Some communities have settled here and make their living by growing water hyacinths. We explore this area off-the-beaten-path by wandering through a local village to get a true understanding of the area’s native life. Everyday life here includes the entire process of their traditional mat making. Try some weaving yourself with some instruction from the locals. We will also meet an older local couple who will share their story of life on this island from childhood, to memories of the war, to today’s globalization of Vietnam and its effect on local life. Back on-board lunch is served, then an early afternoon at leisure as we cruise along the Mekong. In the early afternoon we arrive in Cai Be, a charming town which is famous for its Catholic French church and their manufacturing of traditional crafts and food products. The floating market of Cai Be is getting smaller every year, since trading on the water is shifting more and more to the modern central markets. We can still see some boat to boat trading of local goods, such as fruits and agricultural products. Our guide will explain all the particulars of this long-lasting trading culture. Each boat has a special marker that lets buyers know what goods they are selling. Afterwards we go on-shore to visit a workshop where we learn how rice paste, rice paper, rice cookies and rice wine is manufactured. Cai Be and its surrounding areas are covered by coconut trees and hence the region is also famous for the production of coconut candies. The city is crisscrossed by many water canals. By local boat we will explore the lush and green canal network and observe the farmers working in the fields. As the sun sets, our crew invites you to a farewell event. Before dinner, enjoy a dance party and music together with the crew. After dinner we have our closing ceremony and presentation as the ship moors at My Tho.

Day 10 (Saturday) My Tho – Saigon

Enjoy your last breakfast aboard then at 9:00 we will disembark the ship with a bus transfer from My Tho to the drop off point in Saigon. It is only around 70 kilometers on the highway. You will arrive in Saigon by mid-morning where taxis can be arranged to your local hotels or have the option to be transfer directly to the airport.

* Please note mooring and casting off times are only guidelines. We reserve the right to make changes to the itineraries and excursion programs. If due to low or high water or a defective ship a section of the river is closed to travel, the ship-owner reserves the right to transport guests along this section by bus, accommodate them in hotels and /or change the course of this part of the journey. In certain circumstances it may be necessary to transfer to another ship.  These situations are rare but do happen from time to time and are all part of riverboat vacations. There’s nothing anyone can do to control mother nature.

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Call Us: USA +1 206-971-1114

Office hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm PST

E-mail: info@veganculinarycruises.com

Web: veganculinarycruises.com

 

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