Asia Cruise and Far East Cruises
Think of Asia as a pack of playing cards; spread across a table that pack would surely be the most colourful, alluring and diverse display ever arranged for your personal perusal. Pick a card- any card- and you unlock a treasure chest of mind blowing wonders.
Hong Kong mixes ancient and modern with seamless serenity. Chinese junks chug asthmatically upstream against a backdrop of state of the art skyscrapers and laser light displays. The Star Ferry beetles across to Kowloon, dodging super tankers and cruise liners as it does so. Ancient festivals such as the Chinese New Year contrast with cutting edge clubs and nightlife. Did we mention that the shopping is fantastic?
Singapore contrasts the old world civility of Raffles Hotel with the buzz of fashionable Boat Quay and the jungle shrouded wonderland of Sentosa Island. The imperious Merlion remains the timeless symbol of this sea state.
Bangkok enjoys a matchless riverside setting, and displays the serene emerald Buddha against a riot of bustling traffic and street stalls, together with world class hotels. By contrast, Phuket is a dreamy sweep of powder white sand, shelving gently into the sparkling blue carpet of the Pacific.
Of course, the Far East is far more than any of this. The fantastic temple complex of Angkor Wat is shrouded almost equally in jungle and ancient legend, and is breathtaking in both scale and beauty; an impassive colossus turning black against a blood red sunset that seems to hang in the air for hours.
The Andaman Islands are spread out like stepping stones in the vast splay of the Pacific. Legendary Phi Phi has enormous, towering monoliths that loom like jagged tombstones out of the sea, shrouded in mist and capped by vast swathes of dense greenery. Koh Samui is the beach of dreams; rickety wooden furniture strung out along swathes of blinding white sand, sprinkled with hammocks and rustic local bars and restaurants. The whole area is a paradise for divers, free spirits and lovers of sublime, mellow sunsets.
Indonesia has incredible, tiered rice paddy fields and a gentle, almost otherworldly vibe that has made it the stuff of legends for centuries. Often overlooked since its turbulent war years, Saigon has re-emerged with more than a hint of its raffish French colonial splendour intact, with a fabulous riverfront setting and many links to the war, including the heart stopping tunnels of Cu-Chi.
This vast region is almost as impossible to take in as it is to forget. Ancient legends and modern skylines are underpinned by a surreal, slower way of life in regions where technology is often merely an interesting concept. Tiger economies lay at ease with ancient pagodas and Buddhist temples. Food markets and modern malls co-exist within yards of each other. The sights, smells, and all the colours of the rainbow unfold in this fantastic, three dimensional panorama of endless possibilities all year round.