Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River All-Gay Cruise Tour 2022
November 1830, 2022
Lotus Cruises R.V. Mekong Jewel
We invite you to join Brand g Vacations from November 18 – 30, 2022 for an all-inclusive, 13-day All-LGBT journey, exploring the highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia, 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 13-day journey through the heart of Vietnam and Cambodia featuring a seven-night cruise charter along the mighty Mekong River. Cruise aboard the new, all-suite, luxurious Mekong Jewel, specially built to ply the Mekong River from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Siem Reap, Cambodia. 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 an expansive 584 square feet in size. From here, you will enjoy all the wonders the Mekong has to offer in 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, and 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, and a two-night stay in bustling Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), each featuring five-star, centrally-located hotels.
As a traveler of Brand g Vacations, you'll also enjoy complimentary beverages, locally-produced beer, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks as well as house wines with dinner. Dine on European cuisine and regional specialties infused with flavors from Asia’s celebrated culinary tradition.
An optional pre-program four-night extension is available, featuring a two-night cruise on the famed UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay. Also included is two nights and touring in historic Hanoi.
With just 34 custom-designed suites, space is limited, so contact your travel professional or Brand g Vacations today!
Reminiscent in design of the French, colonial-era, manor homes that once lined the streets of old Saigon, the 34-suite/68-passenger Mekong Jewel 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.
Debuting on January 3, 2020, the Mekong Jewel is the newest and most luxurious ship on the Mekong river. This all-suite ship will include two dining venues: one main restaurant and an al fresco eatery on the upper deck. The Mekong Jewel replace the Mekong Navigator and is constructed with sustainable, eco-friendly materials, and will feature a swimming pool, spa, sauna and steam room, gym, hair salon, nail bar, two lounges and a library.
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 Jewel. 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 Jewel 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 Jewel 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 Jewel 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
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.
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.
InterContinental Hanoi Westlake - Hanoi, Vietnam
The InterContinental Hanoi Westlake is located on the peaceful waters of the largest lake in the city, just minutes from the Old Quarter, the hotel offers a welcome haven from the bustling city center. Each Lotus Suite features a private balcony with a superb view of West Lake. Spacious air-conditioned rooms feature contemporary Vietnamese decor and flat-screen TVs. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. Benefits also include dedicated check-in and check-out service at the Club InterContinental® Lounge and twilight canapés and cocktails from 05:00PM - 07:00PM and complimentary late check-out till 4:00 PM.
FAQ - Preparations for the trip
Aboard the Mekong Jewel, 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 Jewel 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 Jewel 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 Jewel 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.
What are the passport and visa requirements?
A passport, which is valid for six months after your last date of travel, is required for this trip.
Visa Requirements – citizens of almost every country require tourist visas to enter Vietnam and Cambodia. You’ll need to obtain your Cambodian and Vietnam visas in advance.
When should I schedule my flights? Arrival:
If you are confirmed for the Hanoi and Halong Bay pre-program extension, you should schedule your flights to arrive to Hanoi (HAN) by November 14, 2022. The first scheduled activity will be an informal meet and greet on the evening of November 14th. The first tour takes place on the morning of November 15th.
If you are on the main program only with no pre-trip extension, you should schedule your flights to arrive in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) by November 18, 2022. The first scheduled activity will be an informal meet and greet on the evening of November 18th. The first tour takes place on the morning of November 19th.
Departure: you should plan to fly home from Siem Reap, Cambodia (REP) at anytime on November 30, 2022. Hotel check out on the 30th is at Noon.
Jewels of Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River All-Gay Cruise Tour Itinerary
• 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
• From Phnom Pehn 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
• Visit the 12th century Angkorian temple complex of Wat Nokor Bachey
Day 1 - Friday, November 18, 2022 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Arrive at the Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) airport (SGN), where you will be greeted by a Brand g representative, who will transfer you to the exquisite The Reverie Saigon Hotel.
There will be an informal meet and greet around 5:30 for those who have arrived.
Day 2 - Saturday, November 19, 2022 Ho Chi Minh City / Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam After breakfast at the hotel this morning, enjoy a tour to the town of Cu Chi, where the local Vietnamese lived underground during the Vietnam war. This incredible complex features underground homes and tunnels, as well as examples of the traps used to maim and kill soldiers. This evening, we enjoy a special welcome dinner. Meals Included: B, D
Day 3 - Sunday, November 20, 2022 Ho Chi Minh City / My Tho (Embarkation) After breakfast, we begin our tour of the Ho Chi Minh City’s incredible French Colonial architecture, including the Notre Dame Cathedral and Central Post Office. After lunch at a local restaurant, we travel to the city of My Tho (about 1.5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City) to embark the luxurious Mekong Jewel and settle into your elegant suite. As your upstream journey begins towards Cai Be, enjoy the ship's cordial hospitality at a welcome reception on the Sun Deck and meet the Jewel's friendly and professional crew. In the evening a “Mekong Delta” themed dinner offers a cultural and innovative introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 4 - Monday, November 21, 2022 Cai Be / Sa Dec, Vietnam This morning, your English-speaking guide will accompany you on the tapestry of waterways by sampan, passing a colorful collection of local boats from the delta provinces, larger boats selling their goods and the characterful stilted houses of Cai Be. Continuing into the narrower canals of Cai Be, a stop is made to visit Ba Duc House, a traditional Vietnamese home and garden. Back onboard the sampans, it’s a short paddle through the canals to reach a traditional rice factory where industrious artisans produce rice paper, rice wine and popped rice. There’s a selection of postcards, souvenirs, and beautiful oil paintings on sale. On return to the ship an elegant buffet lunch is served while sailing upstream through tranquil riverine scenery towards Sa Dec.
On arrival at Sa Dec port the traditional sampan is again used to navigate the tapestry of Mekong canals, giving guests the opportunity to observe traditional village life before arriving at the historic town of Sa Dec. A visit here would not be complete without a visit to the former home of Mr. Hyunh Thuy Le, who was the inspiration for Marguerite Duras’ famous novel, L’Amant (The Lover), as well as the Chinese Temple called Kien An Cung,built in honor of the Huynh Thuy Le Family. Guests return to the ship on foot through the town's market which is a bustling, extraordinary and colourful experience, providing many wonderful photo opportunities of the fresh and unusual produce of meat, live fish and seafood for sale. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 5 - Tuesday, November 22, 2022 Cu Lao Gieng / Long Khanh Island This morning, your sampans will bring you to Gieng Island, for a visit to a local village where hundreds of sampans and rowing boats are made daily.
Mid-afternoon your sampans take you to the local island village of Hong Ngu in the Mekong Delta, close to the Vietnam-Cambodia border. Here, a large number of traditional Khmer scarves are woven in many village homes and exported to Cambodia. Guests have the opportunity to observe the weaving process passed down many generations. Some villagers are also embroidery artists and display their art for visitors to enjoy. The inhabitants of this rural area have only recently become familiar with western travellers and always offer a friendly welcome. Before returning to the sampans guests can enjoy a walk around the beautiful evergreen island, stopping for a visit at the home of a local war veteran. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 6 - Wednesday, November 23, 2022 Border Crossing / Phnom Penh, Cambodia After border formalities, relax and enjoy leisure time on the sundeck, in the lounge, library or wonderful La Vie spa until mooring close to the city of Phnom Penh late evening. Guests observe a fascinating transformation in the riverfront architecture. Exciting cultural activities will take place on board.
Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 7 - Thursday, November 24, 2022 Phnom Penh, Cambodia This 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. After returning to the ship, enjoy a free afternoon in Phnom Penh – shopping, dining at one of the many wonderful restaurants, participating in an optional cooking class, or exploring the city independently. Pre-dinner cultural entertainment is provided on the Sun Deck as guests enjoy a performance by local children of Aspara, the Khmer national dance and other traditional folk dances.
Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 8 - Friday, November 25, 2022 Phnom Penh, Cambodia After breakfast on board this morning, meet your cyclo/Tuk Tuk driver for an exciting morning city tour of Phnom Penh. You are gently transported by your driver along the riverfront to the Royal Palace complex. Here, enjoy a leisurely walk through the grounds, viewing Throne Hall and Moonlight Pavilion, before visiting the famous Silver Pagoda, home of Cambodia’s Emerald Buddha and Maitreya Buddha, encrusted with more than 9,000 diamonds. Return to your Cyclo for the short ride to the National Museum, ending the morning with a comprehensive tour of the many Angkorian-period artifacts excavated at the Angkor Temple complex at Siem Reap. Enjoy another free afternoon in Phnom Penh with a variety of optional excursions from which to choose, or simply enjoy your time independently shopping or dining at one of the many wonderful restaurants and pubs nearby. This evening after dinner we’ll have an optional excursion visiting the local gay bars of Phnom Pehn.
Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 9 - Saturday, November 26, 2022 Angkor Ban / Wat Hanchey / Kampong Cham The morning begins with a visit to the rural and charming village of Angkor Ban, with its stilted houses and grazing Brahim cows seeking the shade of a banana tree. Guests feel a sense of timelessness here, witnessing the rhythm of rural life. A visit is made to the home of a local family who discuss their lifestyle, then onto the local school to join children in their classroom and glimpse a typical school day. A leisurely stroll through the village back to the ship offers an opportunity to take photos of this place that time forgot. This walking route includes a brief stop at the local monastery before returning to the ship to sail further upstream to Wat Hanchey.
Guests begin the afternoon with a walk up the hill to Wat Hanchey a thriving religious complex of both Hindu and Buddhist temples with breath-taking panoramic views over the Mekong. There is the option to receive a traditional Buddhist Water Blessing from the monastery’s resident monks. There are many outstanding stupas, temples, pagodas and statues worth exploring before descending all 303 steps when returning to the ship. For gentle walkers, there is a small coach provided for ascent and descent of the hill.
Before dinner guests gather on the Sun Deck for a farewell reception with all the crew followed by a Cambodian Farewell Dinner in Le Marche Dining Room. Meals Included: B, L, D
Day 10 - Sunday, November 27, 2022 Disembarkation / Kampong Cham / Siem Reap This morning say we bid farewell to the crew of the Mekong Jewel and we travel from Kampong Cham to Siem Reap, with lunch en route. Upon arrival we'll check in to our beautiful home for the next three nights, the elegant and serene Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa hotel. Meals Included: B, L
Day 11 - Monday, November 28, 2022 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. This afternoon, tour the city center of Siem Reap by tuk tuk (motorcycle rickshaw) for an introduction to Siem Reap’s many dining and shopping options, and a stop at a traditional artists’ workshop. Enjoy this evening at your own leisure.
Meals Included: B, L
Day 12 - Tuesday, November 15, 2022 Siem Reap - Angkor Thom This morning, 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. Then enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. This afternoon, you’ll visit Banteay Srey, considered to be the pinnacle of artistic achievement at Angkor, and Banteay Samré. This evening, we enjoy a private farewell dinner with Apsara show at our hotel. Meals Included: B, L, Farewell Dinner
Day 13 - Wednesday, November 30, 2022 Siem Reap, Cambodia / Departure Transfer to the Siem Reap airport (REP) for your flight home. Hotel check out is at Noon. Meals Included: B
Pre cruise add-on - Hanoi & Ha Long Bay
4 Nights Pre Program Extension November 14 - 18, 2022
Begin your journey with an optional four-night pre-program extension, featuring three nights in historic Hanoi and one night aboard the Paradise Elegance ‘junk’ boat on the famed UNESCO World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay.
• 3-night hotel accommodations at the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake, Hanoi, Vietnam, including buffet breakfast and luggage porterage. Accommodation in Lotus Suites, which include Club Lounge access, dedicated check-in, afternoon tea, twilight canapes and cocktails from 5-7pm, refreshments throughout the day, and complimentary pressing of two pieces per stay.
• Hanoi sightseeing
• Ha Long Bay one night cruise package including: meals and excursions
• Bottled water, coffee/tea and choice of 2 beverages with included meals (soft drinks, beer or wine)
• Hanoi to Ha Long Bay round-trip transfer by coach
• Luggage assistance at airport, hotel and junk boat
• Arrival and departure assistance at airport
• 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners
• Flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City
• Double occupancy pricing: $2,699 per person
• Single occupancy pricing: $3,699
Jewels of Vietnam & Cambodia Mekong River All-Gay River Cruise Tour 2022 Prices
Rate Per Pers. USD $
Located forward on the Sun Deck, these two very private suites not only offer the most luxurious and spacious environment on board but on the entire Mekong River, measuring 915 square feet (85 square metres), featuring: fixed king beds, complimentary laundry, full French doors onto a private panoramic terrace where complimentary canapés are served at sundown as part of Lotus butler service.
Located mid-ship on the Sun Deck, the Prestige Suite offers guests a wonderful combination of space and comfort measuring 548 square feet (51 square metres), featuring a fixed king bed, and incorporating a private balcony where complimentary canapés are served at sundown as part of Lotus butler service.
Located on the Orchid Deck (Upper Deck), the Signature Suite provides guests with 333 square feet (31 square metres) of living space including French doors opening onto a private balcony for guests to enjoy the breath-taking scenery and the option of continental breakfast in a private and relaxing environment. Suite is equipped with two twin beds that can be converted to one queen bed.
Located on the Lotus Deck (Upper Deck), the Vista Suite provides guests with 323 square feet (30 square metres) of living space with French doors onto a small balcony, and a spacious seating area from which to enjoy the dramatic sunsets along the Mekong River. Suite is equipped with two twin beds that can be converted to one queen bed.