Cruise Into The Exotic Countries Of Southeast Asia
The South China Sea is being added to more and more cruise itineraries and for very good reason. There’s plenty to see and do and it offers a great opportunity to explore this exotic part of the world. From the rain forests of Borneo, the temples of Bangkok and amazing beach resorts in Thailand and the Philippines, this region has much to offer.
Singapore is the most popular and the largest embarkation port and it is an incredible city to spend time in. It is an ultra modern city with magnificent skyscrapers, amazing botanical gardens, beautiful beaches, a number of ethnic neighborhoods and a very efficient mass transit system. It also boasts probably the largest collection of five star restaurants anywhere in the world. The official language is English with 15 Singapore Dollars equal to about 10 U. S. Dollars. A taxi ride from the Singapore International Airport to your cruise ship will cost about US$25. More on Singapore HERE.
Thailand – Most cruise itineraries will make a stop in the port serving Bangkok and while it is over an hours drive away, don’t pass up an opportunity to spend time in city. The city is home to Royal Palaces, temples and markets. Many itineraries will also make a port call on one of Thailand’s famous beach resorts.
Vietnam – This country has made a lot of progress over the past few decades and is attracting visitors from around the world. Its developing economy makes it a great place to shop for bargains from clothes to arts and crafts (they gladly accept US Dollars). Most cruises will visit Ho Chi Minh City (originally Saigon) with its historic sites and amazing markets, but it is a bit distant from the cruise port, so add that into your planning. Two other popular cruise stops are the beach resort of Na Trang and the modern beach front city of Da Nang.
Hong Kong – While the geo-politics have recently changed it is still a world class city sitting on one of the worlds largest natural harbors. Hong Kong boasts a clean, inexpensive and efficient subway system along with numerous bus routes and a moderately priced taxi service. The city has a number of historic sites along with some incredible gardens and any visit should include a trip to Victoria Peak, a hill on the western half of Hong Kong Island. With an elevation of 1,811 feet, it is the highest hill on Hong Kong Island. It is a major tourist destination offering commanding views of Central Hong Kong, Victoria Harbor, Lamma Island and the surrounding islands.
Manila the Philippines – It’s a sprawling city of contrasts with a historic area, only a few blocks from the port entrance. Intramuros is the old historic walled city of Manila and comprises a centuries-old historic district, entirely surrounded by fortifications. The Mall of Asia is a shopping mall in Bay City, Pasay, Philippines, near the SM Central Business Park, the Manila Bay, and the southern end of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue. It is a major shopping destination with a gross floor area of over 3.5 million square feet.
Brunei – One of Asia’s wealthiest countries with one of its highest standards of living Brunei is a beautiful place noted for its friendly people. Home to the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, one of the world’s most beautiful mosques. The Sultanate of Brunei Brunei, is an independent Islamic sultanate on the northern coast of the island of Borneo.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia – Also on the island of Borneo, the area is most famous for its access to the nearby mountains and rain forests and features some beautiful beaches with some excellent diving and snorkeling.
In addition to itineraries around the South China Sea, Singapore also provides a departure port for itineraries that sail to Japan, Taiwan and South Korea as well as cruises heading west to India and the Middle East.