15 March 2016
1. Find the Beach that Inspired a Movie in Koh Samui
It was the idyllic beaches, bright blue waters and lush jungles of Thailand that inspired Alex Garland’s best-selling book The Beach, which was later made into the movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. On a cruise to Thailand you can find the specific area that Garland based the novel on at Ang Thong National Marine Park, just a short trip from the popular island of Koh Samui. Here lies a breathtakingly beautiful archipelago of 42 mini islands, topped with rainforests and often hiding pristine beaches.
2. Party on a Helipad in Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city, is the place for rooftop bars and restaurants. While there are a number of classy cocktail lounges with open air pools and 360 degree glass walls for fantastic views of the skyline, few are as daring as the Heli Lounge Bar. This bar is exactly what it sounds like - a helicopter landing pad by day and a bar at night. And did we mention it doesn’t have any rails or fences to stop you plummeting from the 36th floor right down to the ground? Take a cruise to Malaysia and see it for yourself!
3. Rock Climb Beside Monks and Monkeys in Mandalay
Adventure enthusiasts will love disembarking a cruise to Myanmar at Mandalay, the former royal capital. Not far out from the city you can go rock climbing at Yaedagon Taung, or Waterfall Hill, surrounded by wild monkeys and buddhist monks chanting from the monasteries perched on the cliffs. Get to the top and you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views in Mandalay.
4. Get Lost in Ho Chi Minh’s Hidden Underground Tunnel System
Ho Chi Minh city is well known for its exciting, bustling streets, but do you know what lies beneath them? Take a cruise to Vietnam and discover the complex network of underground tunnels under the Củ Chi District. The Củ Chi tunnels were used during the Vietnam War and are now partially open to the public, where you can learn about the army’s living conditions, military efforts and even see some booby traps!
5. Kayak Through Collapsed Caves in Phuket
On a Thailand cruise, head to Phang Nga Bay, famous for its emerald green water and collection of limestone islets. Take a kayak out to some of these towering forest-topped rocks, paddle through a cave and suddenly it will open up in a ‘hong’. This is an area where the roof has collapsed, opening up to the sky. You’ll find all sorts of birds, fish and monkeys that have taken up residence in these quiet little ecosystems.
6. Visit the Island on Stilts in Malaysia
Just a short ferry ride from Port Klang stands the precarious Pulau Ketam, which makes a great day trip once you disembark from a Malaysia cruise. This island stays balanced above the water line on stilts – just take a look beneath the houses, bridges and pathways! There are no cars allowed on the island, but it’s a great place to rent a bike to see the local fishermen at work.
7. Bag a Bangkok Bargain in Thailand’s Biggest Market
A Thailand cruise stops at Bangkok where you can find one of the world’s biggest markets – Chatuchak Markets. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Chatuchak then it probably doesn’t exist because there are over 8,000 stalls and 27 different sections including clothes, books, furniture, plants, pets, antiques and many more.
8. Sail Past 2,000 Islands in Halong Bay
In the bright green waters of Vietnam’s Halong Bay sit approximately 2,000 limestone towers and islands. Take a cruise on a traditional junk boat to see these rock formations up close, and you’ll find rainforests, caves and hidden beaches. Halong Bay is just a couple of hours north of Hanoi, where Vietnam cruises disembark.
9. Find Your Zen in a Phnom Penh Temple
Cambodia is a nation full of stunning religious sites, and at the centre of its capital city you’ll discover Wat Phnom. Once you disembark from your Cambodia cruise at Phnom Penh, walk up Wat Phnom’s many stairs to see its large bronze Buddha surrounded by statues, candles and flowers – all swathed in incense.
10. Wander a Creepy Abandoned Building in Yangon
Get your fix of old, abandoned buildings in Yangon, where Myanmar cruises stop. Downtown Yangon was once the British colonial capital and has all sorts of forgotten colonial-era buildings. The most impressive of them is the Ministers Building, which takes up an entire block of land and is where Aung San and 6 cabinet ministers were assassinated in 1947. Now the government opens up the building to the public, just once a year, on the anniversary of the assassinations.