Jewels of Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River All-Gay Cruise Tour
January 315, 2019
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises R.V. Mekong Navigator
We invite you to join Brand g Vacations from January 3 – 15, 2019 for an all-inclusive, All-LGBT journey, featuring the Temples of Angkor Wat and the mighty Mekong River.
There can be no more striking cultural contrast than the one between bustling Vietnam and the tranquil Cambodia. From the diverse countryside of Cambodia to the Mekong Delta, so rich in human life and endeavor, you'll discover two countries, two cultures, and two ways of life linked by one river, the Mekong.
Join Brand g on a comprehensive 12-night journey through the heart of Vietnam and Cambodia featuring a seven-night cruise charter along the mighty Mekong River. Cruise aboard the all-suite, luxurious Mekong Navigator specially constructed to ply the Mekong River between Ho Chi Minh City and the fabled Siem Reap. Embracing an elegant French-colonial design similar to the many homes that once lined the streets of old Saigon, she boasts spacious suites from 258 square feet up to expansive 584 square feet in size. From here, you will enjoy all the wonders the Mekong has to offer in a sophisticated, yet comfortable style.
With never more than 22 guests per expert guide, you will enjoy enriching lectures, a comprehensive series of well-planned excursions, most meals and beverages! Also included is a three-night stay in Siem Reap including an in-depth visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, a two-night stay in bustling Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), and each featuring five-star, centrally located hotels.
As a traveler of Brand g Vacations, you'll also enjoy complimentary beverages and your choice of European cuisine and regional specialties infused with flavors from Asia's celebrated culinary tradition.
An optional post four-night extension is available, featuring Hanoi & the famed UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, including an overnight cruise aboard a traditional ‘junk’ boat. Also included is a two-night stay in historic Hanoi.
With just 34 custom-designed suites, space is limited, so book your holidays today!
Reminiscent in design of the French, colonial-era, manor homes that once lined the streets of old Saigon, the 34-suite/56-passenger Mekong Navigator lends a sophisticated, yet comfortable, ambiance while cruising the mighty Mekong River. Around every corner, guests will enjoy a blend of timeless elegance and modern luxuries as they experience the sights and sounds of a landscape that forever changes its visitors.
Le Marche Dining Room
A tribute to the incredibly flavorful cruising of Southeast Asia, Le Marche will take you on a gastronomic journey of the fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables that fill the local markets. Gests will also enjoy a variety of western dishes, thoughtfully prepared to provide an array of choices throughout their experience on board. This casually elegant venue will over signature dishes accompanies by complimentary wine in a single, open, dinner seating. Breakfasts and lunches offer sumptuous buffets with extensive choices.
Le Salon Lounge
The Lounge on the Sun Deck is a convivial place to join friends and compare notes and photos of the day's excursions in a spacious and inviting, climate-controlled atmosphere, while enjoying the complimentary local spirits, local beer, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and bottled water. (Premium spirits and wines are available for purchase in the Lounge and on the Sun Deck.)
Movies and documentaries related to the destination are shown in the afternoon, and local entertainment is provided on selected evenings.
Staying in contact with family and friends is easier on board the RV Mekong Navigator. Located on the Sun Deck, La Biblioteque Library and Internet Lounge is equipped with computers and WiFi, as well as a selection of books written by authors enchanted by their time in Indochina.
The Observation Deck on the Mekong Navigator is the perfect place to awaken with a fresh cup of coffee, relax with a good book, or watch the sun set with an evening cocktail. This area of the Sun Deck offers chaise lounges and comfortable, shaded, seating areas, where staff ar always available to offer a cool beverage.
La Vie Spa & Fitness Center
The fitness center on board the RV Mekong Navigator offers modern exercise equipment to guests who wish to work off the scrumptious desserts from last night's dinner.
La Vie Spa offers a variety of traditional massages, wraps, and aromatherapies, in two private, relaxing spa rooms on the Sun Deck.
Accommodations on board the Mekong Navigator provide all the comfort and convenience of a five-star hotel, without denying you the thrills of complete immersion in the Mekong River experience. Spacious, well-appointed suites offer individual climate control, daily housekeeping with turn-down service, the finest bed linens and duvets, luxuriously soft robes and slippers, all-natural, therapeutic bath amenities, and much more.
• Premium mattresses and pillow menu
• Luxurious, 500-thread-count linens and duvet
• Flat-screen satellite TV
• In-room electronic safe
• Generous closet space and under bed storage
• Daily housekeeping and turn-down service
• Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
• Complimentary wireless Internet in all public areas, when available
The Reverie Saigon Hotel – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam The Reverie Saigon has debuted as the most spectacularly extravagant hotel in Vietnam and as the one and only member property of The Leading Hotels of the World in all of Ho Chi Minh City.
Taking pride of place on the topmost floors of the landmark Times Square Building in prestigious District 1, the much-lauded hotel presents world-class hospitality with its impeccable service and its unique celebration of haute Italian design and inimitable luxury.
Transcending expectations of place to a modern day exploration of fanciful splendor, the sky-high Reverie Saigon offers an incomparable perspective on the city with its spectacular views.
Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa - Siem Reap, Cambodia
The five-star Victoria Angkor Resort & Spa provides a sense of serenity with the nostalgic comfort and elegant refinement of the French Art de Vivre in the heart of Siem Reap. Conveniently located in the heart of Siem Reap, in close proximity to the Angkor Archeological Area, the quaint Old Market, and the dynamic night markets, Victoria Angkor has been designed in total harmony with its natural surroundings. All accommodations have wooden floors, colonial style furnishings, and original artifacts, adding a warm touch of local culture, and open onto large balconies overlooking the saltwater pool set in lush, tropical gardens.
Sofitel Metropole Legend - Hanoi, Vietnam
The Hotel Metropole Hanoi is an award-winning French colonial-style hotel lying in the heart of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem Lake and the magnificent Opera House. Boasting a classical white façade, green shutters, original wrought iron detail, wood paneling and a lush courtyard lawn, the hotel is one of the region's few remaining hotels of its era. The property offers 364 rooms & suites, complemented by a choice of three restaurants (French, Vietnamese and Italian), three bars, seven function rooms, a heated swimming pool, health club, the luxurious Le Spa du Metropole, complimentary wifi and for hotel guests a daily tour of the recently opened war-time bomb shelter and Path of History guided by hotel's Ambassador of History.
FAQ - Preparations for the trip
Aboard the Mekong Navigator, attire is casual and comfortable during the day, with resort-style clothing, and comfortable, but sturdy, footwear for excursions. Evening wear consists of open-neck shirts, trousers, skirt, or similar attire. Footwear is always required in all public areas, and when navigating stairs on board.
Onboard Account & Currency
The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong. It is advisable to exchange at least a small amount of money into Vietnamese dong on arrival, especially for purchasing items from small, local merchants and restaurants, and for taxis, which typically do not accept other currencies. Some large merchants and restaurants will accept US dollars. ATMs in Vietnam only provide Vietnamese dong. The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian riel. However, most monetary transactions, including withdrawing cash from ATMs and banks may be in US dollars. Should you be due change in an amount less than US $1, you will be given riel; otherwise, US dollars are given.
Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in both countries by many merchants. You may find, however, that some are reluctant to take credit cards for small purchases because of the fees associated with the transaction. Therefore, we suggest that you carry some cash, whether local currency or US dollars. Aside from the international hotel chains, American Express is not widely accepted in this part
of the world.
You may exchange currency at banks, currency exchanges, or hotels, all with very similar rates. Please note that both currency exchanges and ATMs charge fees. You are advised to inquire as to the currency exchange fee before making the exchange; ATMs will require you to accept the charge before proceeding to dispense cash.
The official currency on board the Mekong Navigator is the US dollar. During the cruise, we operate on a cashless system, with all purchases billed to your onboard account. At the end of the cruise, bills may be settled in cash with US dollars or by credit card with Visa, MasterCard or American Express. The Mekong Navigator does not provide a currency exchange service, nor is there an ATM on board. It is advisable to bring crisp, new, undamaged bills, as tears and obvious wear may cause banks and local businesses to refuse them. In Phnom Penh, about halfway through the cruise, you will find multiple options for obtaining US dollars at both Cambodian and international banks, ATMs, and wire services. ATMs are widely available in Vietnam, as well, but will only provide Vietnamese dong.
Our culinary team will make every effort to accommodate special dietary requests. Please inform our office at least 60 days prior to departure of these requests.
The voltage in both Vietnam and Cambodia is officially 220/50Hz. To use any electrical product from the US that is not dual voltage, you will need an electrical converter. The Mekong Navigator has multi-configuration outlets, which accommodate most Western plugs. We recommend bringing an adapter for use in the hotels. Because the voltage may fluctuate at times, we also recommend unplugging your devices when not in use or when leaving them unattended.
While you can expect to encounter insects during your trip, most are relatively harmless. Switching off lights when exiting your room or suite, and ensuring that glass or screen doors or windows are closed at all times will minimize the number of insects allowed into your room. On the fast-moving river, mosquitoes are rarely seen while sailing. If planning to be outside in the early morning or evening hours, applying an insect repellent to exposed skin is recommended.
Excursions are led by expert guides, and guests are divided into groups. Electronic listening devices are complimentary to all guests in order to ensure that guests are able to hear their guides, without disturbing nearby wildlife.
The comfort and safety of our guests is our first priority. Smoking is not permitted in the suites or enclosed, public areas on board. There is a designated smoking area on the Sun Deck.
Visitors on Board/Security
Only guests who possess tickets for passage are allowed on board. Security services are provided on board to ensure everyone's safety throughout the journey.
Gratuities are customary expressions of appreciation for a job well done. It is our goal to ensure that the service you receive is as wonderful as the sites you visit. Gratuities for the included portions of this program have been pre-paid. At your own discretion you may choose to provide additional tips.
Please do not drink the tap water while on board or on shore, or use it for brushing your teeth. The ship's water supply comes from the river after passing through a sterilization process. This water is suitable for showers and baths, but should not be consumed. Complimentary bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth is provided on board, as well as during excursions. Ice on board the ship is also made from bottled water.
Many of the local customs in Vietnam and Cambodia differ greatly from Western culture. In many temples, and on the grounds of the National Palace in Phnom Penh, it is required that all guests cover their knees and shoulders when entering the grounds. Shoes will need to be removed when entering some buildings. Our itinerary takes us into areas where locals are simply living their daily lives. Should you wish to take a photo of locals, please request their permission first (simply pointing to your camera and allowing them to nod is sufficient). Monks wearing saffron robes will be encountered in numerous places in Cambodia.
Jewels of Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River All-Gay Cruise Tour Itinerary
• Visit the 12th century Angkorian temple complex of Wat Nokor Bachey.
• Glide in wooden sampans to the historic An Kiet House and gardens in Cai Be, Vietnam.
• Ride a Vietnamese tuk-tuk, or xe loi, to a family-owned mat weaving workshop.
• Take a cyclo tour of Phnom Penh, including the Royal Palace, Throne Hall, Moonlight Pavilion, and the National Museum collection of Angkorian artifacts.
• See Phnom Penh’s famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the diamond-encrusted Maitreya Buddha.
• Travel to Choeung Ek and see the Khmer Rouge Killing Fields, the memorial stupa, and Tuol Sleng (S-21 Prison).
• Tour a local school in the village of Wat Hanchey and receive a traditional Buddhist water blessing from the monks at the local monastery.
• See Kampong Cham’s Phnom Pros (Man Hill), Phnom Srei (Woman Hill), the 33-foot long reclining Buddha, and the 42-foot tall preaching Buddha.
Day 1 - Thursday, January 3, 2019 Siem Reap, Cambodia Arrive at the Siem Reap airport, where you will be greeted by a Brand g representative, who will transfer you to the elegant and serene Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa hotel. This evening is at your leisure to begin your exploration of Siem Reap.
Day 2 - Friday, January 4, 2019 Siem Reap - Angkor Wat You’ll begin your day at Angkor Wat, the most recognizable landmark in Cambodia, and the largest religious monument in the world, with the longest continuous bas-relief sculpture in existence. Enjoy lunch at a local Khmer restaurant. Tour the city center of Siem Reap by tuk tuk (motorcycle rickshaw), this afternoon for an introduction to Siem Reap’s many dining and shopping options, and a stop at a traditional artists’ workshop. This evening, guests will enjoy a private dinner with Apsara show at our hotel. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 3 - Saturday, January 5, 2019 Siem Reap - Banteay Srey This morning, you’ll visit Banteay Srey, considered to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement at Angkor, and Banteay Samré. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. This afternoon we enter through the south gate of Angkor Thom for a guided tour of Bayon (the temple with the faces), then walk around the back of Bauphoun, and along the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King. We continue to visit Ta Prohm, which has been overtaken by the jungle, with tentacle like tree roots spilling over centuries old walls and roofs, enveloping much of the structure. Enjoy this evening at your own leisure. Meals Included: B, L
Day 4 - Sunday, January 6, 2019 Siem Reap / Kampong Cham (Embarkation) This morning is yours to relax and enjoy the hotel property or do some last minute shopping. This afternoon we travel to Kampong Cham to embark the ship. Following the informative Welcome Briefing, and meeting with our friendly crew, a Cambodian theme dinner is served in the Le Marche Dining Room. Meals Included: B, Welcome Dinner
Day 5 - Monday, January 7, 2019 Wat Hanchey / Angkor Ban / Pnhom Penh This morning, you walk up the hill to the local monastery of Wat Hanchey and receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the resident monks. After enjoying a walk around the monastery and the amazing views of the Mekong River valley, you descend 303 steps and return to the ship.
*For gentle walkers, there is a coach provided bringing you up to the hill.
In the afternoon, we will visit the charming town of Angkor Ban. Here, you will have a glimpse into the lives of the local people, starting with a visit to a family’s home to see how the locals live, along with an opportunity to meet the family and discuss their lifestyle. Next, you will continue through the village to the local private school, where you will join the children in their classroom and experience what their typical school day is like. You will then walk back through the village to the ship, with an opportunity to take photos along the way, including a brief stop at the local monastery complex. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 6 - Tuesday, January 8, 2019 Phnom Penh, Cambodia After breakfast on board this morning, Tuk Tuk drivers meet you on the pier for an exciting morning tour of Phnom Penh. You are gently transported along the riverfront to the Royal Palace complex, where you enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds. After viewing Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion, you visit the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and the Maitreya Buddha, which is encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. Your Tuk Tuk is waiting outside to take you on the short ride to the open-air National Museum, housing the largest collection of Angkorian and pre-Angkorian artifacts excavated at the Angkor Temple complex at Siem Reap, as well as other areas around Cambodia.
After returning to the ship, enjoy a free afternoon in Phnom Penh—shopping, dining at one of the many wonderful restaurants, or exploring the city independently.
*There is a scheduled shuttle coach with your local guide provided from the port to the Central Market for your shopping time. Before dinner, local children entertain guests on our Sun Deck with a cultural performance including Apsara, Cambodia’s national dance, as well as traditional folk dances. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 7 - Wednesday, January 9, 2019 Phnom Penh, Cambodia In the morning, learn more about the darkest days of Cambodian history. After a scenic 45-minute drive from the ship, you arrive at the Choeung Ek killing fields, where you may walk through the fields, visit the small museum and Memorial Stupa, and learn more about the atrocities committed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Before returning to the ship, tour Tuol Sleng (also known as S-21), the former school converted to the main prison and torture headquarters of the Khmer Rouge. Departing Phnom Penh to sail downstream to the Cambodia-Vietnam border. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 8 - Thursday, January 10, 2019 Border Crossing / Tan Chau / Cu Lao Gieng This morning we sail downstream to Tan Chau, Vietnam. Experience vastly different ways of life along the Mekong Delta today when sampans sail to a temple of the Cao Dai religion, one of the unique amalgam religions founded in Vietnam in an effort to stop the fighting between various faiths. Enjoy a 15-minute ride on a xe loi (local Vietnamese tuk-tuk), to a family-owned mat weaving workshop, before returning to the sampans to visit a floating fish farm and to walk through a local village on Evergreen Island.
In the afternoon, your sampans will bring you Gieng Island with visit to a local village where hundreds of sampans and rowing boats are made daily. Experience a sampan cruise to untouched canal and finally visiting to the Gieng Cathedral built in 1879 right after the Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon in 1863. You will have a chance to interact with a local priest at the cathedral. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 9 - Friday, January 11, 2019 Sa Dec / Vinh Long Upon arrival to Sa Dec, your sampans return for a leisurely, scenic navigation of the narrow canals of the Mekong, where you will observe daily routines of the villagers en route to the historic town of Sa Dec. A stop at a local brick factory reveals the process of brick making by local men and women utilizing clay from the Mekong River. In the town of Sa Dec you visit the home of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, the inspiration of Marguerite Duras’ novel, L’Amant (The Lover), and walk through the town’s market, experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, and wonderful photo opportunities found in the colorful fresh produce, meat, and live fish and seafood for sale.
Upon arrival to Vinh Long, your sampans then travel to a traditional rice factory where workers produce rice paper, rice wine, popped rice, and many varieties of traditional candies. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 10 - Saturday, January 12, 2019 Cai Be / My Tho Following breakfast traditional sampans sail past the city’s beautiful French gothic cathedral to see the local floating market. You will experience a rowing boat through the natural canal under shades of water coconut trees. On your walking tour, visiting to a traditional handicraft village making rice paper and “banh khot” (a kind of Vietnamese pancakes), seeing how local people using water hyacinth to make the baskets and bags.
In the evening, you gather in the Sun Deck in front of the Le Salon Lounge for a Farewell Reception with the entire crew, before enjoying a Cambodian Farewell Dinner in Le March Dining Room. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 11 - Sunday, January 13, 2019 My Tho (Disembarkation) / Ho Chi Minh City After breakfast, bid farewell to the Mekong Navigator and enjoy a scenic drive to Ho Chi Minh City, where we begin our tour of the city’s incredible French Colonial architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office. Today’s lunch is at Hoi An restaurant. Created and designed in the architectural themes of the ancient towns of Hoi An and Imperial Hue, Hoi An restaurant specializes in the cuisine of the former imperial capital. Tonight is yours to enjoy at your leisure. Meals Included: B, L
Day 12 - Monday, January 14, 2019 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam After breakfast at the hotel this morning, enjoy a tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels to experience the system of underground passages. This evening we bid farewell, with dinner at the Ly Club. Taking their name from the Ly Dynasty, which set the benchmarks of Vietnamese culture centuries ago, Ly Club combines traditional Vietnamese, classical French cooking, and exotic touches from around the world. Meals Included: B, D
Day 13 - Tuesday, January 15, 2019 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam After breakfast say Good Bye! to your new Brand g friends, check out our deluxe, centrally located luxury The Reverie Saigon Hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Hotel check out is at Noon.
Meals Included: B
Post cruise add-on - Hanoi & Ha Long Bay
4 Nights Post Program Extension January 15 - 19, 2019
Begin your journey with an optional four-night pre program extension, featuring the famed UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, including two nights at the luxurious Sofitel Metripole Legend Hotel and two overnights aboard the Paradise Elegance ‘junk’ boat in beautiful Ha Long Bay.
• International airfare from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi (one way, economy class)
• 2-night hotel accommodations in at the Sofitel Metripole Legend, Hanoi, Vietnam, including buffet breakfast and porterage
• Ha Long Bay overnight cruise package including: 2 nights cabin accommodations on Paradise Elegance junk boat; lunch, dinner, brunch; excursions to Thien Canh Son cave and beach.
• Bottled water, coffee/tea, soft drinks with included meals
• Hanoi to Ha Long Bay round-trip transfer by coach
• Hanoi sightseeing
• Luggage assistance at airport, hotel and junk boat
• Arrival or departure assistance at airport
• Double occupancy pricing: $2,199 per person
• Single occupancy pricing: $3,099
Jewels of Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River All-Gay River Cruise Tour Prices
Rate Per Pers. USD $
Located forward on the Orchid Deck, these two suites offer the most luxurious environments on board. With 584 square feet, including balcony, Grande Suites enjoy panoramic views of the landscape through floor to ceiling glass windows, a private verandah with generous seating area, a fully stocked minibar, complimentary laundry service, daily butler service, and in-room dining options. Grande Suites are outfitted with one king bed.
Located mid-ship on the Orchid Deck, Prestige Suites provide guests with 387 square feet of living space, including private balcony. Thoughtfully designed for comfortable living, the Prestige Suite provides a spa bath with soaking tub and premium bath amenities, living area with sofa, private balcony, and daily butler service. Prestige Suites are outfitted with one king bed.
Located on the Orchid Deck, Signature Suites offer 291 square feet of living space, including private balcony, where guests may relax while enjoying the passing scenery. Signature Suites also offer the opportunity to enjoy dialing continental breakfast on the balcony. Signature Suites are outfitted with two twin beds or one queen bed, as requested.
Located on the Lotus Deck, Vista Suites provide guests with 276 square feet of living space, with French balcony, and a spacious seating area from which to enjoy the dramatic sunsets along the Mekong River. Vista Suites are outfitted with two twin beds or one queen bed, as requested.
Located on the Jasmine Deck, Superior Suites provide guests with 256 square feet of living space, with two oversized porthole-style windows, which provide a quiet sanctuary with plenty of room to relax. Superior Suites are outfitted with two twin beds or one queen bed, as requested.