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Massimo Capra Asia Culinary Adventure 3 nights Bangkok, 7 Night River Cruise on the Mekong with optional discounted rate to Myanmar on Strand Cruise

Join Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra as his guests on a Culinary Discovery of South East Asia. Massimo will match his skills in a fun showdown with Celebrity Chef Naroor from the world Famous Blue Elephant in Bangkok as they both cook together.

We start our journey in Bangkok, Thailand. One of my favourite cities and a true foodie paradise. Bangkok is home to many of the top restaurants in Asia and 5 of the worlds 50 best restaurants. There is even a street food vendor with a Michelin Star! We visit two of the worlds best restaurants as well as the street food vendor and find out for ourselves what all the fuss is about.

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.

In anyone’s book Jay Fai is a living legend in Bangkok, and this month became only the third street food restaurant in the world to win a Michelin star. Impeccably made up and bejewelled, the 70-year-old dons her oversized goggles and ski cap and demonstrates deft control of her charcoal-fired woks like a maestro taking command of her orchestra, well into the night. Generous chunks of sweet crab cooked with curry and scrambled eggs, over the more popular, crab omelette. Take your pick but its a must 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.

After three acton packed nights/ 4 days in Bangkok we fly to Ho Chi Minh City to board our Luxury AMA Waterways cruise for the next nights.

Charms of The Mekong River Cruise by AMAWaterways

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.

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.

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.

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.

Experience Phnom Penh via an authentic Tuk Tuk ride and be enchanted by the city's French Colonial architecture and tree-lined boulevards set amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Alternatively, you may wish to shop for unique treasures at the bustling yellow-colored Central Market. Later in the morning, set sail for Oknhatey Village. Oknhatey is “Silk Island,” located on the lush banks of the Mekong River and known for its rich tradition of silk weaving. While here, you’ll visit a local elementary school and observe the traditional silk weaving of handicrafts. Afterwards, the ship set sail to Kampong Chhnang

A local motorboat takes you into the lakeside wetlands that form the mouth of Tonle Sap River. Enjoy the stunning variety of bird life here as well as tranquil floating villages and its busy market. Later in the day, the ship sails to Kampong Tralach.

In Kampong Tralach, you’ll have a truly authentic excursion – an oxcart ride through a local village along the river bank. Afterwards, you’ll 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. During the afternoon, take a leisurely walk through Koh Chen and visit home workshops specializing in silver- and copper-smithing. You’ll get an up-close view of how local artisans make ornamental items often used in traditional ceremonies.

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 Chiang Rai and experience the Elephant Foundation Camp at the Golden Triangle or travel to Myanmar to experience the River Iyerawaddy.

Pricing Information for 3 nights/4 days in Bangkok followed by 7 night River Cruise along the Mekong.

  • 11 days with Luxury Riverview room in Bangkok and Cabin Category with Balcony CB $5985 inc Tax and port charges and international flight Bangkok to Vietnam
  • 11 days with Luxury Riverview room in Bangkok and Cabin Category B - Double balcony $6584 inc Tax and port charges and international flight Bangkok to Vietnam
  • 11 days with Luxury Riverview room in Bangkok and Suite on the cruise $7244 inc Tax and port charges and international flight Bangkok to Vietnam

Current Airfare prices I have found but are subject to availability.

Air Canada and Asiana Airlines with one stop at $1143 from Toronto shortest time. Short Layovers. Economy Premium Economy from $2700 Business class from $4500

Delta Airlines one stop in Seul $898 , longer duration with longer layovers.

Optional Add on Myanmar.

I recently had the pleasure of experiencing the Strand Cruise and Hotel in Myanmar and wow I was just blown away. The Strand Cruise makes you feel like royalty in a floating Luxury boat as you visit beautiful sights and villages lost in time. The food on board was some of the best I have ever experienced anywhere in the world.

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.

The ship casts off on day two for a relaxing cruise upstream towards Mandalay to enjoy the passing landscapes and villages along the river bank, with scenes reminiscent of the days of Rudyard Kipling and other intrepid explorers who have visited this rugged landscape over the centuries.

After a leisurely breakfast, day three brings a visit to Ava, the ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese Kingdoms from the 14th to 19th centuries. Horse carts await the ship to transport guests for a delightful ride through the naturally preserved Ava landscape and key landmarks.

Day four sees The Strand Cruise arrive in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second- largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar. Our passengers first stop is the U-Bein Bridge, a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura, before visiting the Mahamui Buddha temple and the Shwe In Bin monastery. Following lunch back on board as we cruise, the ship stops in Mingun, one of the country’s former capitals. Guests will visit the unfinished pagoda, as well as the Hsinbyume pagoda and Mingun bell. Our final night is spent at an exclusive mooring overnight close to a temple in Ava, while guests say farewell to their fellow passengers with a gastronomic dinner.

This fabulous once in a lifetime is at special rates

  • Deluxe room 17 sq m $1050 US$ per person. Price does not include flight to Myanmar. (under $200CA$)
  • Strand Cabin $1600 US$ per person
  • Strand Suite $2100 US$ per person.
Deluxe cabin $1050
Strand Cabin $1600
Strand Suite $2100

Cruise Rates Include

  • Accommodation on a per person basis
  • 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.

You fly from Siem Reep to Mandalay with a short stop in Bangkok. Both flight duration just over 1 hour. each and transfer from Mandalay Airport by private transfer.

Return from Nyaung U to Bangkok with flying time roughly 1 hour. Each leg costs roughly $200 Canadian or less and is best booked individually to save money. Private transfer included.

Total price for the add on including flights is roughly $1600 US$ all in which works out at a cost breakdown of $400 per day all inclusive of flights, accommodation and meals.

The Strand Cruise was custom built in 2015 in a shipyard in Yangon with a shallow 1.4m draft, designed to successfully navigate the shallow rivers of Myanmar. The 61m ship carries up to 50 passengers in 25 cabins along the mystical waterways of the Ayeyarwady River. Named and styled after its sister property, the luxury heritage hotel, The Strand Yangon, The Strand Cruise offers all the features passengers would expect from a Strand product, from flawless service and gourmet a la carte cuisine, to signature elements celebrating the golden age of the Strand as a meeting place for explorers and raconteurs.

The Strand Cruise’s interior design takes as its inspiration the fascinating and changing landscape of the Ayeyarwady River, from ancient temples and civilisations, to the daily life of the communities living at the water's edge. Every aspect of The Strand Cruise was designed to echo this, with floor to ceiling windows in every cabin suite offering views of the riverbanks. The natural beauty of the waterways is reflected in the colour palette of leafy greens, warm teak wood and traditional gold leaf, creating a cultural link to Myanmar as South East Asia’s Golden Land.

Featuring design that evokes the character of the Strand in its heyday as a meeting place for explorers and raconteurs, together with the latest technology and creature comforts, The Strand Cruise is a reinvention of the legendary style and unique personality of its sister hotel, The Strand Yangon within a contemporary river cruise experience.

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.

Credits:

Created with images by chosang - "market market introduction oden fishcake street food"

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