Luxury Gay Mekong River Cruise
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
August 21-28, 2020 sailing on the Aqua Mekong from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Are you ready to experience a bucket list journey on one of Asia's most legendary rivers?
Culture and civilizations have flourished around great rivers throughout history, and the Mekong is no exception. The opportunity to discover rich heritage and traditions enriched by 2,000 years of human history is what makes the Mekong river cruise one of Asia’s most epic and worthwhile journeys on water.
A traveler cruising the Mekong is in close pursuit of a glorious past, retracing significant human accomplishments and cultural highs. From the flourishing of the Khmer empire from the 9th to 15th century from to the prominence of Theravada Buddhism in present-day Cambodia and Vietnam, this is one of the few cultural destinations on Earth that’s best explored on a river voyage.
Take this journey of a lifetime aboard the award-winning Aqua Mekong river cruise ship with a fun group of gay passengers for a truly immersive, meaningful and personalized luxury experience in this culture-rich landscape.
The Aqua Mekong offers excursion and activity options that run concurrently, so guests get to choose between an active outing or a more laid-back option according to their preferences.
Guests can also do something more active in the morning, and something more relaxed in the afternoon, or vice versa. With groups no larger than 10, excursions are also more insightful and intimate for each guest. A fleet of ergonomically-designed, low-emission sheltered launch boats — the only privately-owned fleet of skiffs on the Mekong — takes guests to shore from the Aqua Mekong, ensuring efficiency, comfort and utmost safety.
Aside from riding in tuk-tuks, the undulating elevation of the Mekong countryside is perfect for cycling. On the Aqua Mekong, guided cycling excursions are available from Day 2 of the cruise to the penultimate day.Top-of-the-line, all-terrain Cannondale bicycles sail with the Aqua Mekong, able to tackle any terrain in comfort and safety. No two cycling excursions in an itinerary are the same, so guests get to experience a different slice of Mekong life and culture with every ride.
In Cambodia, guests aboard the Aqua Mekong also have the opportunity to kayak, with the ship carrying eight double-kayaks for excursions on the Mekong’s waterways. At Koh Oknha Tey, guests can paddle their way to local silk-weavers. Meanwhile, the Moat Khla floating village on the Tonle Sap lake and the Kampong Chhnang’s waterways offer the chance to “do as the Cambodians do”, engaging in daily life with just a boat and paddle!
No matter your travel style, the Aqua Mekong offers most flexible river cruise itineraries with activity options for every type of traveler.
As the premier river cruise line sailing the Mekong river, Aqua Expeditions is committed to delivering best-in-class personalized luxury hospitality on the 20-suite Aqua Mekong. On-board, guests savour a world-class menu crafted by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson, which showcases the best of the region’s myriad flavours. Drinks are also the focus, with an indoor/outdoor bar and an exciting drinks menu designed by cocktail artisans Proof & Co.
When it’s time to rest and relax, enjoy Aqua Mekong’s many “big ship” amenities, such as a plunge pool (strategically poised at the bow of the vessel), expansive outdoor lounge area, and a gym that offers a panoramic vistas of the Mekong make spending time on board memorable and worthwhile. Or retreat to the spa, home theatre, or stylishly-appointed suites that offer twice the space compared to other Mekong river cruises. Feel free to lounge in plush daybeds and observe life on the Mekong through floor-to-ceiling windows.
The tropical climate of Cambodia and Vietnam means temperatures are warm year-round, generally fluctuate between 78°F and 86°F. Temperatures aboard Mekong river cruise ships can be 3 to 5°F lower. This is because the Mekong’s waters flow from the icy Tibetan Plateau and the cool Laotian highlands, which takes the edge off the equatorial swelter and make river cruising the ideal way to travel. In the meantime, the Aqua Mekong brings temperatures down further with state-of-the-art central cooling and an award-winning design that maximizes ventilation.
Rain-wise, rainfall in the lower Mekong basin peaks during August to October each year. Even during the wettest times of the year, rainfall comes in the form of brief showers typically lasting 30 minutes to an hour, thanks to Mekong’s inland position and savannah-like climate. So, travellers have it good: not only are itineraries and excursions unaffected by these brief showers, these showers also cool off the tropical countryside and bring sweet relief, usually in the afternoons when it’s most needed. After the afternoon showers, grey skies tend to disappear as quickly as they come, setting the stage for Mekong’s iconic multicolour sunsets.
With a mild annual monsoon lasting five to six months from May onwards, the brief showers also turn the already-beautiful Mekong countrysides into endless fields of vibrant green — a truly mesmerizing sight. Coinciding with the US and Europe summer holidays from June to August is Mekong’s picture-perfect ‘green season’, when the rice fields are at their most verdant.
Joining forces Dean Nelson - departures X dean and Vincent Jones - Citizen Jones Travel team up to host this extraordinary all-gay sailing in the exotic South East Asian countries of Cambodia and Vietnam.
Vincent Jones is passionate about connecting unique travellers to curated experiences around the world.
Dean Nelson also passionate in connecting people to authentic experiences while championing LGBTQ causes and visibility. Dean has over thirty years of travel experience and leading groups in 100+ countries. Best known as the founder of the 2010 Olympic Pride House and executive producer of the annual Whistler Pride and Ski Festival. Nelson has moved on from Whistler and is now focusing his efforts in sharing his love of travel and bringing the community to some incredible destinations locally and abroad. This is one sailing you will want to be a part of. Sign up today, with only twenty cabins this sailing will sell out quickly.
Day 1 - Siem Reap, CAMBODIA
Gather at our Siem Reap meeting point then board our air-conditioned bus for the scenic 45-minute countryside ride to the dock on the Tonle Sap Lake for check-in to your 3-story, five star Mekong abode. Settle into your floating retreat, with its window wall conferring an endlessly captivating panorama. Enjoy these private Mekong moments on your California king bed, terrace or daybed.
Day 2 - Prek Toal - Moat Khla, CAMBODIA
Set off by skiff into the 22,000-hectare Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve, one of the largest freshwater bodies in Asia and the last refuge in Southeast Asia for large waterbirds like the spot-billed pelicans, milky stork, black-headed ibis and the elusive masked finfoot. After lunch, we visit the floating village of Moat Khla, accessible only by water, and attend a Buddhist blessing ceremony in this isolated community.
Day 3 - Chhnok Tru - Kampong Chhnang, CAMBODIA
Explore remote villages around the Tonle Sap Lake, designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. In Chhnok Tru, we “slide” into an ice factory and learn from locals what it’s like to live in a town where schools, churches, pagodas, and even the karaoke bar and police station all float. We continue learning about Khmer riverside life in Kampong Chhnang, the 'Port of Pottery' so called because archaeological findings here date to the 6th century.
Day 4 - Koh Chen - Koh Oknha Tey, CAMBODIA
This morning, we visit Koh Chen, a silversmith village known for its fine craftsmanship. Keep an eye out for their famous silver bowls, regularly chosen by Cambodia's king as gifts for visiting dignitaries. In the afternoon, we set off for the Mekong's 'silk islands' where renowned weavers allow us to wander freely, admiring their intricate craftsmanship. Biking is optional for those who wish to explore deeper into the island.
Day 5 - Phnom Penh, CAMBODIA
We show off the Cambodian capital to our passengers by motorized tuk-tuk, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the National Museum of Cambodia, home to the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. For those who wish, we visit the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide and the Killing Field or shopping at Russian Market. We bid farewell to 4-night guests who are disembarking in Phnom Penh.
Return to welcome our 3-night passengers over custom sundowners like the Salted Watermelon Crush with Thai basil. Together we celebrate the onward journey towards the heart of this mighty river with a Khmer Apsara performance, an indigenous tradition memorialized on the temple walls at Angkor Wat.
Day 6 - Ka ́om Samnor-vinh Xuong Border Crossing – Chau Doc - My An Hung, VIETNAM
Say ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ while we cross the border and sail towards Tan Chau, a vibrant border town where we take the local rickshaw called xe loi for a trip around town or pedal 18 kilometers on the peaceful island of Long Khanh. In the afternoon, we visit a typical Mekong Delta village called My An Hung where we will walk through verdant plantations. We will be invited to a local's home to taste local fruits while hearing traditional folk songs performed by villagers, followed by a unique Unicorn dance. Biking option is also available for those who wish to explore on wheels.
Day 7 - Binh Thanh/sa Dec - Cai Be, VIETNAM
Begin the day at Binh Thanh mat weaving village or opt to visit Sa Dec where we will peruse the vibrant market and see the famous house of Marguerite Duras' legendary lover, Mr. Huynh Thuy Le. We continue downstream for Cai Be, zigzagging in our sampan past lone fishermen on their long tail boats. Later, our skiffs moor at a wooden pier. Here in Cai Be, walk or bike ride among high-roofed open courtyard houses, some dating back more than 100 years, and currently inhabited by gracious locals who will invite us to glimpse their property.
Day 8 - My Tho - Ho Chi Minh, VIETNAM
Disembarkation. En route to Ho Chi Minh, we stop at Vinh Trang Pagoda, one of the largest Mahayana Buddhist temple in the region. You will notice the mixed architectural style and see three large buddha statues plus an impressive collection of bonsai trees.
Lodging in luxury suites
All meals on-board designed by Michelin-starred chef David Thompson
Non-Alcoholic beverages, premium wines, and national beer
All excursions and bike use
Internet with intermittent connection
Group transfers in Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City
All air tickets
Incidentals, tips and gratuities
Visas for Vietnam and Cambodia
Some alcoholic beverages
Aqua Mekong Riverview Suite:
Luxurious 322 square foot design suite with choice of California King-size bed or twin beds and a sofa that converts to a single bed. Stunning floor to ceiling panoramic windows that open. Other features of the suite include air conditioning climate control, large double closet, chest of drawers with in-room safe. Pampering organic natural hair and bath amenities, en suite bathroom with walk-in shower and rainforest shower head, professional hairdryer.
US$5,850* per person for Riverview suite - reserve now
Aqua Mekong Balcony Suite:
Luxurious 322 square foot design suite with choice of California King-size bed or twin beds. Stunning floor to ceiling panoramic windows, sliding glass door to your own private balcony with an exterior daybed. Other features of the suite include air conditioning climate control, large double closet, chest of drawers with in-room safe. Pampering organic natural hair and bath amenities, en suite bathroom with walk-in shower and rainforest shower head, professional hairdryer.
US$6,250* per person for Balcony suite - reserve now (*based on double occupancy)
Non-refundable deposit required to secure space. Second deposit due on or before February 10, 2020. Final payment due on or before May 10, 2020.
departures X dean an independent agent of Personal Travel Management (BC Reg: #2806)