Journey from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh – with an overdramatic drag queen along for the ride.
We’re excited to bring back our Mekong Gay River Cruise in 2025 as part of our Limited Edition lineup. These tours aren’t always on the menu, but offer an opportunity to explore further afield. There will be ancient ruins, modern architecture, and multiple flamboyantly colourful performances from the one and only female delusionist extraordinaire, Miss Conception! Read on to see what we’re most excited about.
7. The Temples of Angkor
Things kick off with 4 days in Siem Reap (where we stay at one of the slickest hotels from all the tours we offer). This fast growing resort town is full of tantalizing restaurants with lively nightlife and a solid gay scene. We’ll even attend a circus performance where saucy Cambodian performers bring their tales to life. But most importantly, it’s the gateway to Angkor, one of the world’s most important archaeological sites. Spanning 400 km2/154 mi2 it was once the heart of the Khmer Kingdom. The area is laden with iconic temples including Angkor Wat, where you’ll be able to watch the sun rise for a legendary life experience.
6. A Night at The Circus
On our final night in Siem Reap we’ll attend a circus! The show is truly a privilege to experience, considering the Khmer Rouge decimated the educated and artistic classes in the late 1970s. It wasn’t until 1994 that the Phare Ponleu Selpak school was created exclusively to help disadvantaged youth find employment and a sense of culture. Each performer has survived significant hardship and abuse, but now thrives with saucy swagger. Their success in Cambodia and internationally is inspiring.
The show is fast paced and high flying with flips, tricks and some mind boggling contortion. It’s also imbued with subtle but smart social commentary. Marketing itself as a ‘Circus’ doesn’t do this experience justice.
5. Silk Island
The production of silk is a huge part of life on the Mekong in Cambodia. We’ll have a chance to see the entire production process, from the feeding of silkworms to the weaving of fabric. Not to mention a chance to pick up some silk wares (scarves are a popular souvenir).
4. Unorthodox Rides
Never mind the riverboat. This adventure features multiple unique modes of transportation.
While temple hunting in Siem Reap, we’ll clamber aboard remorks. They’re Cambodia’s take on tuk-tuks (motorized rickshaws found throughout the world). But rather than having an onboard motor, they’re attached to motorcycles (remorque is actually the French word for trailer).
Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycle taxis, and one of Cambodia’s oldest modes of transportation (going back to the time of French Indochina). We’ll use them to explore the capital. And our rides will support The Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh, a charity that provides basic welfare and medical services to their drivers.
Oxcarts await in Kampong Tralach, where those beautiful beasts will help us spend an afternoon explore the districts’s riverside temples, markets, and villages.
Once we cross the border into Vietnam, we’ll spend an afternoon exploring mangroves rich in bird life aboard some deftly handled gondolas.
Settle down, city folk. Some of the stops on this cruise are, to be blunt, RUSTIC. Don’t be surprised if you see our crew digging steps in the riverbank on certain stops. The upside is that you’ll get an authentic glimpse into rural living on the Mekong.
2. Palatial Residences
Along with the rural countryside, you’ll saunter through majestic palaces in Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City.
The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a walled complex of buildings including the Silver Pagoda and Throne Hall. While the walkable grounds are impressive they’re only half the property. The other half, closed to the public, is home to the king.
Vietnam’s Independence Palace was home to the republic’s president. Completed in 1966, it was designed by Ngô Viết Thụ, an architect who won the Grand Prix de Rome (the premier scholarship from the Beaux-Arts school in Paris). The president who commissioned the building, Ngô Đình Diệm, was assassinated in a coup d’état before he could move in. General Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, head of a military junta, ultimately commemorated the building and called it home.
On April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese Army tank crashed the front gates. That event, The Fall of Saigon, ended the Vietnam War. In November, following negotiations between the north and south, the palace was renamed Reunification Hall.
Today the palace is a popular tourist landmark.
1. Miss Conception
She’s not Cambodian. She’s not Vietnamese. She’s not even a woman! But we’re so excited to bring back Miss Conception – female delusionist extraordinaire – who will liven up otherwise mellow nights aboard the boat. She sings live. She does costume changes on stage. And there will be crowd participation whether you like it or not (spoiler alert: you’ll like it).