Highlights of your cruise include:
The island of Singapore is situated off the southern extremity of the Malay Peninsula, to which a causeway carrying a road, railway and waterpipe joins it. Singapore City was founded in 1819 by Sir Stamford Raffles of the British East India Company, who recommended that different areas of the town be set aside for the various ethnic groups. The best way to experience the remarkable diversity of the city is on foot: the traditional architecture, customs and cuisine of the various ethnic areas form a fascinating contrast with the lavish, space-age shopping centres of Orchard Road and Raffles City.
Thailand’s third largest island has been attracting international travelers for less than half a century. Before then, this island in the Gulf of Thailand was noted for its coconut plantations and rubber production. Today, Ko Samui’s premier charms are its powdery white beaches, its Buddhist temples or wats, and its crystalline waters. Despite the island’s increasing popularity, it retains a casual and unspoiled air that offers a bracing tonic to the experienced traveler.
The majority of the island’s population resides in Nathorn, Ko Samui’s capital. The island’s first settlers were a mix of Hainanese coconut farmers and Malay fishermen.
Nathorn is an anchorage port. Passengers transfer to shore via ship’s tenders.
Laem Chabang is your gateway to Bangkok. This enchanting city on the Chao Phraya River is a magical place where graceful dancers perform in shimmering silk gowns, temples with gold-leaf spires harbor priceless Buddhas and riverboats cruise a maze of canals. The only nation in Southeast Asia to escape colonial rule, Thailand offers a rich and ancient culture that flowered unhindered by Western influence. Proud and strongly nationalistic, the Thai people call their nation Muang Thai – “Land of the Free.”
Founded in 1782 by King Rama I, Bangkok is home to more than eight million people. The capital’s proper name is Krung Thep – the “City of Angels.”
Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My)
Over three decades have passed since the Vietnam War ended with the fall of Saigon. Today, the name of this bustling metropolis on the Mekong River is Ho Chi Minh City. Yet, the essence of the city, a major trading center since the 18th century, remains unchanged. The air is filled with the cries of street hawkers and honking horns. Bicycles, motorbikes and automobiles fly down the boulevards at dizzying speeds. And everywhere, friendly faces and warm greetings meet you.
The port of Phu My (pronounced “Foo Me”) is your gateway to Ho Chi Minh City and the seaside resort of Vung Tau.
Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia
From a lawless huddle of kampongs in the trackless jungle, Kuala Lumpur, the capital city has grown into a fascinating metropolis. Steel and glass towers stand side by side with graceful stone colonial buildings and mosques adorned with slender minarets. The commercial, financial, economic and cultural heart of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (better known as KL), is a melting pot. Its population of 1.6 million is comprised of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and a mix of different cultures including Eurasians and others.
Kuala Lumpur is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers. The city was founded in the 1850s as a tin mining outpos
In 1786 Francis Light persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede Pulau Pinang – the “Isle of Betel nut” – to the English crown. Legend has it that Light persuaded his men to clear the overgrown island of Penang by firing a cannon filled with gold coins into the jungle as an incentive. The island was renamed Prince of Wales Island, and its major town was christened Georgetown after King George III. Whether the story is true or not, Penang quickly became a major trading port for tea, spices, china and cloth. Here European, Malaysian, Hindu, Arabic and Chinese cultures met, melded and flourished. Today George Town is a cosmopolitan city that has preserved its unique heritage and its exotic blend of cultures.
George Town is perhaps the best-preserved city in Southeast Asia. It boasts a European-style esplanade and a wealth of temples, mosques and Chinese clan houses. Listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2008, this virgin paradise has no shortage of cultural sights and natural scenery.
Hailed as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea,” this island off Thailand’s long southern coast boasts a colorful history. A crossroads for trade, Phuket has been a melting pot of Thai, Malay, Chinese and Western influences. Its importance over the past 500 years stemmed from the island’s natural resources, which include tin, hardwoods and rubber. In the past half-century, Phuket has enjoyed wide popularity as one of the premier travel destinations in Southeast Asia. Travelers are drawn to the island’s beaches, crystalline waters, and dramatic, forested hills.