Southeast Asia is a melting pot of cultures and experiences – where time seems to be on fast forward in certain cities, and in a seeming standstill in some others.
Whether you’re craving to sink your feet into sandy beaches, aching to see exotic sights, or looking forward to take on new adventures, this Asian region has something to offer to all cruise newbies and enthusiasts. Haven’t gone on a Southeast Asian cruise yet? Here are four destinations you must definitely set your sights on next:
Prepare yourself for an extraordinary cruise experience when you head to this region in Southeast Asia.
One stop you most likely have heard of already – Bali. Bali is a small island that is part of the Coral Triangle, which promises a diverse marine life, beautiful golden beaches, and a culture so rich you’ll want to linger for days. The most popular town among tourists is Kuta, where you’ll find a long stretch of white sand – perfect escape for those who just want to kick up their shoes and soak up the tropical sun. Surfing is also a must-try in this area.
If you want a more ‘flavorful’ taste of the local scenery, don’t miss out in visiting one of its 10,000 temples, a classic mark of the local’s revered religion – Hinduism. The majestic Ulun Danu temple and Pura Taman Ayun are just two of the places to put on your list.
The stretches of green in this country also invites you to witness the lush flora and fauna, along with the interesting wildlife. From exotic birds, to leopards, to occasionally the Asian palm civet, Indonesia assures you of an Asian adventure for the books. Before you leave, make sure to get a hold of the colorful fine arts and crafts like jewelry and batiks being sold in the surrounding villages, something to take home and remind you of your exotic adventures in Indonesia.
What is there to witness in this Asian cruise destination? Well there’s definitely plenty to see and enjoy in Vietnam! For starters, there’s the magical Halong Bay. It’s situated about 165 kilometers from the capital of Ha Noi, and regales cruisers with naturally-formed limestone pillars and islands, rising thousands of feet from the emerald-green waters.
The lovely medley of rock, greens, and sand make for a romantic and relaxing backdrop for those on a cruise. But if you’re planning to see more of Halong Bay, you’d want to try one of the day-trip boats which will take you to quick excursions to Halong City and into limestone caves in the area. You can also go kayaking.
If you’d like to experience more of Vietnam on land, Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) is one must-visit city. Known for its rich history, Ho Chi Minh’s most popular stops include the Presidential Palace, the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, and the Reunification Palace.
Don’t skip going around for some shopping though! Get some fresh fruit or vegetables at Cho Ben Thanh. You can also sample the infamous Vietnamese coffee at one of the shops – iced or hot, the Trung Nguyen (a local brand) is a must-try brew. There are also plenty of souvenir stalls in the area.
You’d want to make Dong Khoi one of your stops too. This stretch of street comes alive with its elegant storefronts and cafes, with the grand colonial facades of Ho Chi Minh’s historic buildings for their backdrop.
Singapore has always been a busy port, but it has also now redefined itself as a must-visit stop for tourists and cruise goers alike.
Your cruise ship may offer you more than just your creature comforts, along with a spread of mouth-watering eats. But, Singapore promises to deliver the dreamiest of Oriental luxuries and buffets. Skyscrapers dot the breathtaking Singaporean horizon, and you can admire all that while you’re taking a leisurely stroll at the country’s peaceful Botanic Gardens. The Gardens span 74 hectares of lush greens and lakes, including 300 species of vegetation.
You will definitely not be short of shopping destinations in this mesmerizing place. Orchard Road in itself has twenty shopping centers – with a wide variety of clothing, electronics, jewelry, and luxury retail stores. Tiong Bahru is another hip stop for those who want to soak in more of Singapore’s retail wonders. Don’t forget to visit one of their specialty coffee shops like 40 Hands Coffee.
If you’ve had enough of the cruise grub and you want to sample authentic local food fare, do drop by one of Singapore’s hawker centers. They are mostly open-air venues that offer local and foreign delicacies. Lau Pa Sat will thrill you with their Singaporean cuisine, Maxwell Food Centre will satisfy your Chinese food cravings, and Tekka Centre for your Indian food wants.
There’s no cruise escape much like Cambodia, which showcases the exquisite beauty of Asian culture and heritage in a spell-binding way. The beauty of Cambodia takes you to a time when it was the mighty Khmer empire. The main attraction of this cruise destination is no less than a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Angkor Wat Temple complex.
The complex spans 162.6 hectares, and proudly showcases majestic ancient structures of sandstone. More than its towers and levels, the amount of detail found in the temples are what draws awe from tourists. Many have large stone carvings depicting epic scenes involving Hindu gods.
Although luxury is not what Cambodia offers those who are on a cruise stop, it delivers plenty in terms of charming attractions. Pay a visit to the country’s capital Phnom Penh to immerse yourself in Cambodia’s social scene. Fusion restaurants and cafes are growing in number, and its shopping hubs Central Market and the artsy Psar Thmei are definitely worth spending some leisurely time in.
Experience Me Chrey, a village where the entire population’s life revolves around its waters – and where their wooden houses float too. Streets are traversed through boats, and even stores are boat-bound too!
The Cardamom Mountains of Cambodia is home to the country’s protected forests and eco-resorts. While a trip up this exquisite part of the country is not always an option for cruisers, it does serve as a picture-perfect backdrop for those who visit the surrounding villages. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a cruise that stops by these Southeast Asian destinations – it’s going to be more than worth it.