Steeped in beauty and history, cuisine and culture, the continents of Australia and Asia offer an array of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Aboard Seven Seas Mariner’s new Down Under & Far East Grandeur grand voyage, you can see it all on a 52-Night cruise from Sydney to Hong Kong followed by a FREE 15-Night Post-Cruise Land and River Experience ending in Shanghai. Experience complete immersion in the best that these two regions have to offer, and, as an added bonus, visits to 26 ports of call include access to 24 UNESCO World Heritage sites that complete any travel bucket list.
Below, we highlight a few extraordinary experiences that await.
Embarking on January 20, 2019, your first stop is Australia’s vibrant city of Sydney where a must-see visit to the Sydney Opera House awaits. Designed by Danish Architect Jørn Utzon and deemed the Land Down Under’s most famous landmark, the building’s yacht sail design makes it unarguably one of the 20th century’s most unique structures. The Sydney Opera House showcases a variety of performances in opera, theatre and symphony and is best experienced through a one- hour tour.
Cairns, Australia (pronounced “cans”) features a look at Australia’s Far North Queensland resplendent landscape with a journey to the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Boasting some of the most unique marine life and colorful coral reefs unseen anywhere else in the world, it is filled with over 6,000 species of flora and fauna, 400 types of coral reef and 1,500 kinds of fish. And a sighting of the occasional Humpback whales and Green Sea turtles are well worth the visit.
Next stop is exotic Singapore which is on everyone’s must-see list of Asian destinations. While fine dining and shopping in this cosmopolitan city are popular pastimes, be sure to see the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Dating back to 1859, the 74-hectare gardens offers a wide array of orchids, palms and various tropical flora (10,000 varieties of plants) and the only one of its kind to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the National Orchid Garden which explains why the country is a major exporter of these beloved flowers.
With its famous shrines and infamous parks, Indonesia is a unique study of contrasts. Bali’s Taman Ayan temple in the village of Mengwi (also known as the Royal Family Temple) and Tanah Lot (a.k.a. Sunset Temple) features exquisite black lava towers and magnificent gardens filled with lotus and fish ponds. And not to be missed is the Komodo National Park where the famed Komodo dragons (5,700 giant lizards in all) reside and exist nowhere else in the world. For a tamer up close and personal animal experience, the sacred Ubud Monkey Forest is home to some 700 Balinese monkeys.
Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, Koa Kinabalu’s Kinabalu Park boasts one of the world’s most important biological centers. Home to one of the rarest orchid species and 90 lowland mammals, the main attraction is South East Asia’s highest mountain Mount Kinabalu. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy hiking or biking up the summit’s two trails.
A sojourn to Bangkok will result in palaces, parks, temples, and the architectural ruins of days gone by in the ancient Siam capital of Ayutthaya from 1350 to 1767. Anchored by three rivers, the Ayutthaya Historical Park is the 715-acre home of Thailand’s largest enshrined Buddha, magnificent Prang towers and one of the more intriguing photo-worthy sights, a Buddha head wrapped inside the roots of a Bodhi tree.
Seeing the varied topography of Northeast Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay will not disappoint. Rainforests, emerald green waters, lush jungle greenery, black limestone formations and stalactite-laden caves depict Mother Nature at her finest. For some of the best views, be sure to visit Cat Ba, one of Ha Long Bay’s largest islands. Travel by boat and explore by foot or bicycle and discover grottoes, waterfalls and lakes along the way.
And last but not least, the Great Wall of China is on everyone’s top ten bucket list. One of the world’s most impressive architectural and engineering feats, it dates back more than 2,000 years and an easy day trip from Beijing. Whether you see it on foot or by bicycle, helicopter, cable car or even a toboggan ride, it’s a fitting end to a magical excursion.
Which UNESCO World Heritage Sites do you look forward to exploring most? Witness the excitement of first-hand encounters with locals and their fascinating traditions in the world’s most intriguing destinations. Learn more about our extraordinary new grand voyage.