Travellers with a proclivity toward exploration will be well catered for on a cruise holiday to Asia. Steeped in evocative heritage and home to more natural wonders than any other place on earth, this beautiful region is nirvana-found for the discerning cruise-goer.
From the vibrant cities of Singapore and Hong Kong to the tranquillity of Halong Bay and the dreamscape paradise of Ko Koot – Asia is awash with attractions that will bewitch even the most disparaging of cruise passengers. If you’re daydreaming of a trip to Asia, we can help you plan your perfect cruise holiday with our comprehensive cruise guide; which includes information on popular ports, must-see destinations and general advice on travelling in Asia.
Asian ports are among the busiest and most hectic harbours on the planet, with thousands upon thousands of container and leisure ships negotiating the chaos each day. Once you finally disembark however, a bustling, vibrant metropolis awaits. Here, we look at three of South East Asia’s most popular cruise ports, to offer a taste of what to expect when your cruise ship comes ashore.
Claiming the accolade for the fifth busiest port in the world, Singapore is a flourishing city whose people are vehemently proud of their culture and heritage. Despite its vertical scale, Singapore is easy to navigate and features no-end of green spaces where visitors can relax and enjoy the surroundings. One of the main appeals of the city is its food – so be sure to sample the exotic culinary offering during your visit. Should you stay in Singapore overnight, the evening laser lightshows that take place throughout the city are a must – as are the views offered across Marina Bay Sands from The Merlion.
Hong Kong is in many ways a city where the past meets the present. At once a towering metropolis whose vertigo inducing towers can be somewhat overwhelming; the city is also home to charming Chinese traditions and many historic visitor attractions. If you’re feeling peckish, treat yourself to some Dim Sum from a street vendor before climbing to the top of Victoria Peak to enjoy panoramic views across the city below, or take a ride through the Western District via the world’s longest escalator system and settle in a traditional bistro for an oriental feast.
Despite being one of the youngest capital cities in South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur is a visually stunning city whose economy is one of the fastest growing in the region. From its glistening skyline to its parks, waterways and beloved Hindu temples, this is a city alive with the past, present and future. If your cruise ship calls at Kuala Lumpur, you’ll be struck by the height of the place. The city is home to the Petronas Twin Towers, which were the tallest buildings in the world from 1998-2004 – both of which are well worth a visit during your trip. Other attractions no to be missed in Kuala Lumpur include the Batu Caves – a hindu temple and shrine marked by an imposing gold deity.
Whether you want to bask on a chalk white, sandy shore or explore the depths of a bustling city, Asia isn’t lacking in destinations in which to keep every tourist content. To find out what not to miss on your Asian cruise holiday, here are five of the continent’s must-see destinations.
Typified by its turquoise lagoons and sheer cliff isles, Halong Bay is an aquatic labyrinth where it’s possible to get lost and fall in love all at once. Described by most visitors as magical and enchanting, Halong Bay comprises over 2,000 limestone islands that rise steeply out of calm, emerald waters. The entire site is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the only way to explore it by boat – or Junk as they’re known in Vietnam.
Don’t Miss: If your itinerary allows it, book an overnight luxury junk cruise to experience Halong Bay like never before.
From giant gilt-Buddhas to towering skyscrapers, Bangkok is an eclectic, colourful city and a favourite destination among younger travellers. As the capital city of Thailand, Bangkok is a bustling hub whose culture and heritage is still evident – despite the modern, capitalist architecture. During your visit, travel by tuk-tuk for the authentic Bangkok experience, and be sure to stop-by one of the city’s flower markets to purchase a bouquet of exotic blooms. The city is also famed for its Buddhist temples, the largest of which is the Temple of Reclining Buddha.
Don’t Miss: A visit to the Temple of Reclining Buddha – which is home to the world’s largest reclining Buddha.
Think of Bali, and you likely picture paradise white beaches lapped by turquoise waters; lush, tree-lined mountainsides topped with sacred temples; and terraced rice paddies as far as the eye can see. If so, you’re not far wrong. Bali has long been a popular tourist destination thanks to its gob-smacking beauty and pockets of complete tranquillity, and now, the popularity of Bali as a cruise destination is on the rise too. During your visit, book an excursion to Uluwatu Temple before laying your beach towel on Kuta Beach, where it’s possible to eat, drink and party the night away with like-minded holidaymakers.
Don’t Miss: Travel to the Bukit Peninsula and lay your beach towel on the sands of Balangan Beach.
Located at the centre of the Indonesian archipelago, the Komodo National Park was established in 1980 in a bid to conserve the depleted population of native Komodo Dragons. What remains is a deserted paradise of wild grasslands skirted by white, sandy beaches – without a town, bazaar or skyscraper in sight. Guided tours of parts of the island are available for visiting tourists, and these provide an excellent opportunity to spot a wild Dragon in its natural habitat.
Don’t Miss: Spot dolphin, stingray and other aquatic life on a Komodo Island diving experience.
As the only inhabited island of Malaysia’s northern archipelago, Langkawi is a popular port of call for passing cruise ships – not to mention a haven for holidaymakers seeking a little exotic luxury as part of their sailing. With soft, white beaches aplenty and a well-developed tourist infrastructure, it’s possible to spend a day or more exploring this bite-sized Malaysian island. One of the island’s favoured beauty spots is Telega Tujuh; a series of small pools connected by a fresh mountain stream, surrounded by lush, tropical flora.
Don’t Miss: Go off the beaten path by hiring a bike and exploring Langkawi’s countryside on two wheels.
Asia is home to many rich cultures, and its people are immeasurably proud of their heritage and customs. To help you enjoy a hassle-free visit to Asia, here are a couple of general points to aware of before you book a cruise to the continent.
Crime: Sadly, crime such as pickpocket and thievery is rife throughout Asia, with tourists being the primary target for would-be thieves. When exploring beyond the safety of your cruise ship, be aware of you surroundings; don’t draw attention to yourself and store purses, wallets and expensive gadgets and equipment in a zipped pocket at all times.
Bathroom Facilities: Toilet facilities vary throughout Asia – particularly when travelling from a city to a smaller town or village. Public toilets are often nothing more than drop-pits, whilst cubicles will feature a squat-latrine only. Though this isn’t likely to put you off travelling to Asia, it’s something to bear in mind when you’re caught short during your trip.
Excursions: During your visit to Asia, chances are you’ll want to see as much as the country as possible. To do so will require you to book trips and excursions through your tour operator, as private daytrips will simply be too difficult to organise. Most cruise ships take at least two hours to dock in certain harbours, so most ports of call will last one or two full days – which should give you plenty of time to explore a a particular destination.
Cruise1st Australia Holidays
At Cruise1st Australia, our fantastic cruise deals make it easy to plan your dream trip to Asia. We feature many affordable Asian cruise deals to some truly unique destinations – here are three of our favourite upcoming cruise holidays to Asia.
Thailand & Vietnam
Discover the natural wonders and rich cultures of Thailand and Vietnam with this 8-night cruise getaway.
Departing: 28th October 2015, Singapore Harbour Front
Price: From AUS$1149pp
Spice of Asia
From the towering skyscrapers of Singapore to the tranquil beaches of Phuket, enjoy an unforgettable trip to Asia with this 8-night cruise holiday.
Departing: 21st October 2015, Singapore Harbour Front
Price: From AUS$1268pp
Singapore to Sydney
Experience the contrasting cultures of Asia and Australia with this extraordinary 16-night cruise break.
Departing: 20th October 2015, Singapore Harbour Front
Price: From AUS$1549pp
To view our complete range of cruise holidays in Asia, or to find out more about booking a holiday with Cruise1st Australia, visit our website or contact our team on 1300 857 345.
Image sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: BNK Travel, Mike Behnken, IQRemix, Lawrence Murray, Joan Campderrós-i-Canas, Yusmar Yahaya, Jakub Michankow