Chef Massimo Capra is no stranger to television being the host of his own show Gourmet Escapes and is a regular guest expert on the long running City TV Cityline, chef host on the hit series Restaurant Makeover on the Food Network and now Massimo is a judge on the hit show Chopped Canada.
Bangkok’s street food culture is a tourist attraction in and of itself. On almost every corner, masterful chefs sell fresh, made-to-order food, spiced and flavored to personal taste. There are so many options it can be impossible to decide what to choose from and where. Luckily, we’ve got you covered. We will take you only to the best for you to try.
Craving something a little more sophisticated then on our third night we take a river cruise and have a delicious Thai Dinner on the boat while taking in the sights of the Chao Phraya River. A moonlight dinner cruise down the mighty Chao Phraya River is the most leisurely and romantic way to view the sights of old-time Bangkok that line the banks on either side. The Grand Palace, Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) and many other Chinese inspired temples are brightly lit and make an amazing backdrop. Anantara’s Manohra Cruise adds a touch of luxury to the proceedings with a sit-down banquet and traditional, warm Thai service on board one of three restored antique rice barges.
Cooking Class and Culinary Showdown at The Blue Elephant
Master Chef Nooror Somany Steppe has always enjoyed a deep link with the culinary world. Her passion for Thai cooking was inspired by her mother, an established cook and well-known for her delicious homemade curries. Chef Nooror creates new Thai dishes using the Royal Project products and ingredients, and travels worldwide with the pride of showcasing Thailand in her capacity as not only one of the country's foremost Thai women chefs but also an ambassador who plays a significant role in promoting Thai cuisine and culture globally.
We will enjoy dinner at one of my all time favourite restaurants and top 50 restaurants in the world. Issaya Siamese Club, is the flagship home for internationally renown Chef Ian Kittichai and incorporates Chef Kittichai’s Thai cuisine and style in a relaxed atmosphere of dining and lounge with a hip garden party vibe – all in an historical 100-year-old Thai villa and its tropical gardens in central Bangkok. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 Issaya Siamese Club was honored to be included in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Aqua Panna.
Craving a bit of the cultural sightseeing? Don't worry we have that covered too. Visit three famous temples in Bangkok on a tour with our own private guide. Take in the golden wonders of Wat Pho, the Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit), and the Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit).
Our guide shows you highlights, including the Golden Buddha statue, the reclining Buddha, and Bangkok’s Chinatown. Learn about Thai Buddhism and cultural traditions from our wonderful guide, Sara, who speaks excellent English.
You will have a choice of the Grand Palace tour or a half day excursion of the Famous Floating Market. You can do both if you like but it will make for a very long day!
On April 1st we fly to Ho Chi Minh City to board our Luxury AMA Waterways cruise for the next 7 nights.
On our way we will be taken on a sightseeing tour of Ho Chi Minh City and after a light lunch we will embark the cruise.
The lively city of Ho Chi Minh City provides the perfect start to your incredible journey through Vietnam and Cambodia. Cruise along the mighty Mekong, visiting rural villages, historic pagodas, local markets and a Buddhist monastery where you’ll be treated to a special blessing by Monks. Get a glimpse into another era; one where people still happily honor the timeless traditions passed down through the centuries from their ancestors.
HO CHI MINH CITY – EMBARKATIONBoard the AmaDara at My Tho Port. Meet your fellow travelers at a Welcome Dinner as the ship cruises to Cai Be. (B,L,D) Note: We recommend that you fly into Ho Chi Minh at least one day prior to embarkation; please inquire about important arrival arrangements prior to your cruise.
Day 2 - Take a local boat to Cai Be. You will have an opportunity to visit candy and rice paper making workshops and the historic Kiet Old House. Later in the day, journey to Sa Dec, a sprawling town on the Mekong Delta, where French writer Marguerite Duras spent part of her youth. You will visit the local market, Cao Dai Temple and the house of Mr. Huynh Thuy Le, Duras’ Chinese paramour, which her prize-winning novel, “The Lover,” is said to be based on.
Day 3 - Enjoy a visit to Tan Chau, a small Mekong River town unspoiled by tourism. You will have the opportunity to take a traditional “xe-loi” (trishaw) ride around the town, with stops at silk-making and rattan mat workshops, followed by a boat ride through the narrow channels of the Mekong River to “Evergreen Island.” Alternatively, simply take the boat ride to Evergreen Island and return to Tan Chau, where you will visit a rattan mat workshop. Later in the day, cruise from Vietnam to the Cambodian border en route to Phnom Penh.
Day 4 -PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
This morning’s excursion takes you to Cambodia’s infamous Killing Fields and the Khmer Rouge’s grim Tuol Sleng S21 detention center (Genocide Museum) just outside the city. After lunch on board, you’ll explore the highlights of the city, followed by a visit to the Royal Palace, the spectacular Silver Pagoda and the National Museum, which has an outstanding collection of Khmer crafts. After returning to the ship, enjoy Khmer folk dancing performed by local children in the Saigon Lounge. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - KAMPONG TRALACH – OUDONG – PHNOM PENH.
In Kampong Tralach, you will have a truly authentic excursion – an oxcart ride through a local village along the river bank. Afterwards, you will go to Oudong, Cambodia’s former royal capital from the early 17th century until 1866. Today, Oudong is a place of pilgrimage for Cambodians. While here, be treated to a memorable Buddhist Blessing Ceremony at a monastery. You may also take a walking tour of Oudong. Later in the day, experience Phnom Penh via a tuk tuk ride and be enchanted by the city's French Colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards set amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. (B,L,D)
DAY 6. - OKNHATEY VILLAGE. In the morning, set sail for Oknhatey Village. Oknhatey is the “Silk Island,” located on the lush banks of the Mekong River and known for its rich tradition of silk weaving. While here, you will visit a local elementary school and observe the silk weaving of handicrafts. Later in the day, set sail to Angkor Ban. (B,L,D)
DAY 7 - ANGKOR BAN – KAMPONG CHAM - Angkor Ban is the only village that was not destroyed during the Khmer Rouge regime. Take a morning walking tour of the village to see some of the stilted houses, some dating back nearly 100 years, and witness this slice of rural life, which has barely changed for centuries. Then set sail for Kampong Cham and travel by motorcoach to the 12th-century Angkorian temple of Wat Nokor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple has been “fused” with a modern Wat. Continue by motorcoach to the Twin Mountain, known as Phnom Pros and Phnom Srei (male and female mountains). In the annals of Khmer legend, the twin mountains were formed as the result of a competition between the men and women of an ancient Cambodian kingdom to resolve which gender would be responsible for wedding proposals. As the story goes, the women lit a fire at night, which made the men believe the sun was rising. As a result, the men stopped working and the women won the competition. Thus, men still need to ask the women's parents for permission and Phnom Srei is higher than Phnom Pros. (B,L,D)
Your cruise comes to an end as you disembark at Prek Kdam, a small village on the Tonle River. From here you have a choice to travel to Myanmar to experience the River Iyerawaddy on the Strand cruise.
This country is as you would imagine most South East Asian countries to have been like hundreds of years ago before tourism became the currency of choice. It has the look of old Asia that has been preserved by its harshly imposed self-isolation.
Todays Yangon appears lost in time and you almost feel like you have been given an early entry pass to an amazing place that will soon be overrun with tourists. Here life seems to have gone on largely unchanged for the past 2,500 years: peasants, oxcarts, the same kinds of food and clothes yet they are surrounded by beautiful gold pagodas and shrines everywhere you look.
The Strand’s four-night cruise from Bagan to Mandalay begins with breakfast in the tranquil gardens of the oldest lacquerware house in Bagan, before passengers visit the nearby Shwezigon Pagoda, famous for its gold leaf décor, and the Ananda temple, one of most exquisite temples in Myanmar. After enjoying lunch on board, passengers continue their exploration of the Bagan Heritage Trail, including the beautiful Sulamani and Gubyaukgyi temples.
This fabulous once in a lifetime is at special rates
- Deluxe room including ground transportation plus cruise in 17 sq m $1650 US$ per person. Price does not include flight to Myanmar.
- Strand Cabin $2400 US$ per person
- Strand Suite $2700 US$ per person.
- Fully escorted by your concierge from Canada Lorraine and also Massimo Capra and Rosa
- Accommodation on a per person basis double occupancy
- Ground Transportation
- Cruise - Three meals during full sailing days, breakfast on day of disembarkation
- All sightseeing as stated in set itineraries
- Soft drinks & local beer.
- House wine during meals
- Transfer from Point of embarking/disembarking to airport or hotel in either Bagan or Mandalay
- Port charges
- English speaking guide. Alternative language guides can be provided on request and subject to availability (additional cost may apply)
- Wi-Fi available in all cabins and public areas with satellite internet connection. Due to the current environment and its infrastructure, the internet connection might be unstable.
- Complimentary International daily newspapers.
The Strand Cruise has all the features passengers would expect from a luxury river cruise experience, from flawless service standards to insightful guides and exceptional levels of comfort throughout the ship. Passengers can choose to spend their time on board on the Upper Deck, relaxing by the pool or on the shaded sofas of the Sun Deck, or relaxing in one of our 25 beautifully appointed cabins, spread across two lower decks.