Discussions about Asian travel often center on that fashionable receptacle, the backpack. The notion of slinging out material troubles and travelling with room for nothing but experience is all well and good. But there’s also freedom in not having to hand-wash your underwear every 48 hours. It’s time to embrace new ways of travelling Asia, and in 2014, cruises are the way to go. With the largest continent on Earth so many extraordinary destinations lie scattered across the seas, just waiting for exploration. A cruise negates transfers, stopovers, and having to find your way back to your hotel room, meaning the real adventure can begin…
Guarded by a majestic bay littered with hundreds of islands, Hong Kong crackles with energy, from the bustling street traders to the panoramic, jagged skyline. You’ll be electrified from the moment you set foot on the shore of this busy harbour city. Grab some chopsticks and simmer down by sampling the local dim sum, imbibe a highly concentrated culture shock by strolling the shimmering street markets then ride the funicular to Victoria Peak and try to gulp down the view.
Glossy Singapore forms a sedate onward destination. With clean streets, low crime and an efficient attitude, there’s no better counterpoint to the ramshackle chaos of Hong Kong. Follow the heady scents to the National Orchid or the Botanic Gardens for a brush with paradise, or buckle up and fly a plane in one of the world’s best flight simulators. Make time for a trip to the night safari, a zoo which opens at 7:30 pm, when its nocturnal inhabitants are at their most active!
Its rich tapestry of culture makes Manila a must-see stop. With its colonial history, the city has a preponderance for Roman Catholicism and other chunks of European culture mixed in with its joyously diverse melting pot of global influences. Be brave and savour the staggering range of street foods, from the delectable deep-fried bananas to the alarming balut, a whole duck foetus, to be quaffed straight from the shell. After all this degustation, work it off with a walk to Manila Bay, where dramatic blood orange sunsets awe spectators every evening.
No Asian adventure would be complete without the mixed exhilaration and serenity of Bangkok, where chilled temple compounds are matched only by heated, rushing street life The city’s heart is one made of gold, so visit the Grand Palace, former home to Thai Royalty and current residence of the opulent Emerald Buddha. Then, for a truly intrepid shopping expedition, take a boat tour around one of the lively floating markets on the city’s canals and stock up on some souvenir treasure.
Catching a cruise allows you to visit these multiple destinations without having to worry about transport or accommodation – leaving you time to explore safe in the knowledge that you can clamber back on board for your next stop!
Manila Bay by elTrekero used under creative commons license