The world’s oceans, lakes and rivers – and the wildlife they contain – are being inundated by over 300 million tonnes of discarded plastic. Each year, this is increasing by an unprecedented eight-million metric tonnes.
That’s the equivalent of one garbage truck filled with plastic being dumped into the ocean every minute, which threatens not only marine life but local industry, water quality and the health of the oceans which is ultimately, the health of our planet.
Plastic water bottles, in particular, are a significant contributor to the problem, especially in countries where drinking water is not always safe. There are certain industries and responsible companies doing their part to help address this issue, with efforts large and small. Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours is making a dedicated effort in South East Asia.
Scenic offers river cruises in South East Asia along the mighty Irrawaddy in Myanmar, and the Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia on board Scenic Aura and Scenic Spirit. Throughout their journey, guests can purchase a re-usable water bottle to help reduce the number of single-use containers and all funds derived from the initiative is channelled directly into community projects.
“Asia has potentially one of the biggest issues in terms of plastic waste anywhere in the world,” said Phil Jordan, Scenic General Manager, Asia. “However, with the support of our guests and other partners in the tourism sector, Scenic is taking steps to be part of the solution. Although on a small scale, our programs in Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia are already seeing results.
“We provide filling stations throughout the ships and work with our local partners to ensure there are water filling stations at all of our onshore stops so guests can refill their water bottles as they need to.”
Since the inception of the reusable bottle program, Scenic has fully-funded the cost of two projects in South East Asia – the provision of clean running water to the Chiro Community in Kampong Cham in Cambodia and the construction of new sanitation blocks in Yandabo Village in Myanmar.
“As an industry that is so reliant on healthy waterways, it is essential that we are actively involved in our local regions in a meaningful way as opposed to just ticking the boxes.
“In addition to the re-usable bottles, we are implementing a paper straw policy and we will also be moving away from the small plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles commonly used throughout the tourism industry. Small steps but every little bit helps,” said Mr Jordan.
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About Scenic Spirit
Purpose-built in 2016 for the Mekong River, this 68-guest, 5-star ‘floating hotel’ is designed to impress with its unrivalled amenities and cutting-edge features including a sleek pool, wellness area, bar and guest laundry.
Introducing a new world to river cruising in South East Asia, the elegantly-appointed Scenic Spirit combines tradition with innovation.
As with all Scenic river cruises, Scenic Spirit pricing is all-inclusive. Wi-Fi, gratuities, all meals, and beverages including premium spirits and cocktails are all included.
Treasures of the Mekong on board Scenic Spirit
Your journey begins in southern Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City. With its vibrant lifestyle, scenic lakes and parks, historic temples and wartime landmarks, Ho Chi Minh City is a rich starting point for this journey along the Mekong.
Over seven luxurious nights, Scenic Spirit makes its way up the fabled Mekong River. Suites feature a spacious bedroom with separate living area. And with a guest to staff ratio of almost 1:1, you know you’ll be well looked after.
In Kampong Cham, you’ll farewell Scenic Spirit to transfer to Siem Reap for the last three nights of your journey. It is from here, you’ll begin your journey to the amazing 12th century World Heritage-listed temple, Angkor Wat. You’ll also enjoy a Scenic Enrich event – a magical themed gala dinner at Kravan Temple with Apsara dancers.
- 5-star ship with luxurious one-bedroom balcony suites
- 5 exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences
- 20 Scenic Freechoice activities
- 2 memorable Scenic Special Stays
- 33 meals – 12 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 dinners
Day 1 – Siem Reap
Highlights: Welcome dinner
Day 2 – Siem Reap
Highlights: Angkor Temple Discovery, Enrich – Phare Circus
Day 3 – Siem Reap
Enrich – Marvel at sunrise over the magnificent Angkor Wat before moving to a special location for a champagne breakfast with food prepared by an NGO supported local bakery school.
Freechoice – Discover the temple of Banteay Srei and visit the Landmine Museum or explore Beng Mealea temples and the Artisans D’Angkor Handicraft Centre. Alternatively, cruise on Tonle Sap (seasonal) to view the floating villages or take a tethered balloon ride (weather dependent) to experience the spectacular aerial view above Angkor Wat.
Enrich – Be wowed by a magical themed gala dinner at an Angkor temple, with included free flow drinks and a show featuring Apsara dancers in front of candlelit temple ruins.
Day 4 – Siem Reap > Mekong Cruise
Day 5 – Wat Hanchey > Kampong Cham
Freechoice – Learn about the history of the area with a visit to Phnom Pros (Man Hill) and then Wat Nokor. Alternatively, explore the ecotourism village of Cheung Kok or spend your time visiting a rubber plantation factory and beetle nut village.
Day 6 – Kampong Tralach > Oudong > Kho Chen
Enrich – Receive a blessing from a monk and learn how to pray in a Buddhist pagoda before partaking in a ceremony, which contributes to the daily meal of the resident nuns and monks.
Day 7 – Phnom Penh
Freechoice – Journey to the Killing Fields and tour Tuol Sleng, or join a hands-on Khmer cooking demonstration. Alternatively, by Tuk Tuk explore Phnom Penh’s colonial buildings and Central Market.
Enrich – Immerse yourself in the historically celebrated luxury of Raffles, Hotel Le Royal. Enjoy a guided history tour followed by an indulgent high tea prepared in front of you by the hotel’s chefs, all whilst sipping on your signature cocktail named in honour of Jacqueline Kennedy. Choose to retire to the Elephant Bar for happy hour before returning to the ship viewing the floodlit Independence Monument en-route.
Day 8 – Phnom Penh > Tan Chau
Royal Palace, Border crossing
Day 9 – Tan Chau
Freechoice – Visit the farmers on Evergreen Island and enjoy a ride in a Xe Loi. Alternatively, visit the Tay An temple located at the foot of Sam mountain and visit a family-operated fish farm or visit Tra Su Bird Sanctuary.
Day 10 – Sa Dec > Cai Be
Freechoice – Visit Cai Be before stopping at local cottage industries and a traditional house in the area. Alternatively, savour afternoon tea at a French colonial house or choose to stay on board for your special Freechoice activity.
Day 11 – Mekong Cruise > Ho Chi Minh City
Freechoice Dining – Enjoy a Vespa foodie tour of Saigon by night or enjoy a meal in the surroundings of an old French colonial house. Alternatively dine at Restaurant Nineteen, Square One or Di Mai Restaurant.
Day 12 – Ho Chi Minh City
Cu Chi Tunnels, War Museum
Day 13 – Ho Chi Minh City
ARE YOU READY TO SAIL THE MEKONG?
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