Cruise the Islands of Southeast Asia
Exotic and diverse, the islands of Southeast Asia present a mix of landscapes, cultures and people that make the region a fascinating cruise destination. Some of Southeast Asia’s islands have a colonial past; some have modern cities; some have indigenous people and a traditional way of life; others, covered by ancient rainforest, are largely undisturbed by mankind.
In general, maritime Southeast Asia includes the island nations north of Australia and south of mainland Asia. The tropical climate makes it a warm destination any time of year (though it can be rainy from November to March). The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia are some of the nations that welcome cruise ships to their ports.
The Philippines’ capital, Manila, was once part of Imperial Spain, and you can stroll cobbled streets around historic buildings in Intramuros, the old walled city. Manila’s American Cemetery and Memorial is the resting place for more than 16,000 Americans who lost their lives in World War II. Beyond the city are the hiking trails, natural springs and waterfalls of beautiful Mount Banahaw and Mount Makiling.
Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, with hundreds of native ethnic groups contributing to a rich cultural melange. In the capital of Jakarta on the island of Java, you can explore the region’s 16 centuries of history at the National Museum of Indonesia. Don’t miss the colonial buildings in Kota, Jakarta’s old town. You can also peruse the city’s lively markets, or tour the surrounding countryside’s mountains and plains.
The lovely island of Bali, just west of Java, is Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the traditional arts of Bali, including dance, weaving and batik printing; visit historic Hindu temples; or take a thrilling whitewater raft trip on the Ayung River.
Malaysia is divided in half by the South China Sea: the western half is on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, and the eastern half occupies part of the island of Borneo. In the capital of Kuala Lumpur, the minarets and towers of traditional mosques and temples contrast with the modern magnificence of the Petronas Twin Towers, one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Just outside the city, the Batu Caves are a revered Hindu shrine accessible by climbing 272 steps up a limestone outcropping. Some cruise ships also call on Langkawi Island, a UNESCO World Geopark with expanses of forest-covered mountains and sandy beaches.
For more information on exploring the exotic islands of Southeast Asia via cruise ship, talk with your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.