Steeped in tradition, customs and superstition, Asia and the Orient unfolds before you on your Far East cruise. Soaring skyscrapers and serene paddy fields present a collage of contrasting cultures, whilst life in the many picturesque rural villages continues unchanged as it has done for centuries.
- Hong Kong
After tourism being boycotted for 15 years and a brutally oppressive regime coming to an end, Burma has transformed into a country of people eager to introduce you to their country and culture. Gaze in awe at Burma’s glittering golden stupas and enigmatic ruined temples. Whilst being surrounded by rice fields and scenic mountain views.
The Temples of Angkor is just one of the many highlights of this beautiful and intoxicating country. There really is something for all tastes here, from the hubbub of Siem Reap and Phnom Penh to the tropical islands of the south coast. You can explore the agricultural charm Cambodia holds with its rice paddies and sugar palms or soak up the history and culture as you walk around royal palaces and regard the local monks.
The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Beijing, Shanghai, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are only a handful of sights this vast country has to offer. China is traditional and modern in equal measure. You can awe at Pŭdōng’s futuristic skyline or discover the thousands of terracotta soldier and horses that have stood silently for more than two millennia protecting Qin Shi Huang, China’s first unifier, the choice is yours.
Experience the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong by visiting the Temple Street Night Market or have your fortune read at the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon, all whilst being surrounded by spectacular skyscrapers. And if it all gets too much you can take the 125-year-old Peak Tram to Victoria Peak or a ferry ride from Kowloon too Central and appreciate this region from afar.
With approximately 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the world’s largest island nation. Islands such as New Guinea, Borneo, Sumatra and Java are home to some of nature’s most beautiful sights. From jungles rolling down to the sea, spectacular white sand beaches, towering volcanoes and an abundance of wildlife like the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest lizard.
The home of Sushi, temples, sumo wrestlers, neon lights, karaoke, Samurai warriors and geishas. Japan is a world where the modern and traditional fuse together to create an explosion of iconic imagery. Not to mention its dramatic scenery, Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, looks over the city of Tokyo and is one of Japans “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Haku and Mount Tate. All of which have been the inspiration behind some of Japan’s most famed artwork.
Stroll along the streets of Kuala Lumpur and taste the sizzling street food that this vibrant city has to offer. If you prefer a slower pace and want to explorer the landscape of Malaysia why not visit Penang National Park and follow jungle trails down to quiet, white sandy beaches where you could enjoy a picnic on the beach. After enjoying all that get a lovely cup of tea in Cameron Highlands where tea plantations fill the rolling hills.
To the west, you have the South China Sea and to the east, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. The Philippines is a southern hemisphere paradise made up of more than 7,000 Islands. Negros has a lively atmosphere and cool mountain resorts, whilst the popular tourist destination of Boracay with its white sandy beach is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun. Not to mention the friendly and warm welcome you will get from the locals.
Just off southern Malaysia the multicultural island city state of Singapore is another top destination for your bucket list. This is a place full of contrasts like modern skyscrapers surrounded by traditional temples. Explore ancient rainforests searching for monkeys or shade under the high-tech Supertrees of Singapore’s 21st-century botanic garden. Visit Singapore’s shopping malls for the latest designer fashions or get lost in one of the local markets.
For many of us the name Taiwan will conjure up a place with factories and businesses busy building many of the worlds products, ‘Made in Taiwan’. But this island off the coast of China has many treasures. The breath-taking Taroko Gorge and Kenting National Park one of the settings for Ang Lee’s hit movie Life of Pi in 2012 are some of the natural wonders that Taiwan has to offer. Fancy sampling some street food then head down to Miaokou Taiwan’s most famous night market.
Around every corner of Thailand there is something to satisfy every taste. With tropical beaches surrounding two coastlines, golden Buddhist temples, vibrant night’s out in Bangkok, it won’t just be the exquisite Thai food that wins you over. Find yourself by joining a meditation retreat in Chiang Mai or find your wild side by kiteboarding in Hua Hin. After which you may want to soak up Thai culture in Phuket.
Snaking around the west coast of the South China Sea Vietnam boards with Cambodia, Laos and China. Like its neighbouring country of Cambodia, it has many stunning Buddhist temples to explore. That is if you can peel your eye’s away from the spectacular scenery, from the islands that scatter Halong Bay to the farming terraces of the Ha Giang Province. Ho Chi Minh City formerly Saigon contrast the serenity of the countryside with it vibrant energy.