All inclusive cruise deals are no longer a privilege of senior travellers. With the travel market expanding rapidly, competition has grown to its maximum offering great adventures for all ages. We had our first cruise experience in South East Asia with Tui - a 14 night long cruise with flights included.
We tend to book last minute travel with my husband; this holiday was no different and we got a great offer. But price wasn't the only thing that we enjoyed so much, we loved that we can cruise around the world and see lots of places and learn many new things.
It gives you good options to choose from for your future adventures should you fall in love with one of the destinations included in your itinerary.
Penang, in northwest Malaysia is made up of the mainland Seberang and Penang Island and it is a popular stop with all inclusive cruise deals. The island has a rich and diverse history with a fusion of cultures from European to Chinese, and Malay.
The capital of George Town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique buildings and priceless heritage. With a nickname like ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ it is not difficult to see why when this little island packs so much into a small space.
Simply strolling around George Town would keep you amused for hours, gazing at the splendor of the colonial style buildings and the artwork splashed across the walls. Like the old man looking down from a terracotta building, the lines in his face intricately captured as good as any photograph.
Stop by the food carts or Kopitiam (small cafes) for Laksa (spicy noodle soup) or a steamed bum. The eclectic mix of cultures from Chinese, Indian, and British give a unique take on the dishes.
If you don’t fancy walking, there are many bus tours which visit the highlights of the city, usually within half a day which leaves the rest of the time to explore places that interest you. Or take the traditional mode of transport and take a Trishaw.
Fort Cornwallis is hard to miss, its bronze cannons pointed towards the glittering sea. The ten-foot-high walls were once built from wood but now are concrete, shaped in a star. Stroll through the complex and visit the 17th Century chapel and prison cells, imaging life there centuries ago, now a far cry from the busy city surrounding it.
Visiting at least one of the religious buildings is a must. The mix of religious houses show the mix of cultures in this vibrant city.
The highlights are Kapitan Keling Mosque which stands impressively, its white façade and intricately decorated archways rising to the traditional dome on top.
Or visit the Goddess of Mercy Temple. This quaint temple from 1728 with its sloping red roofs have dragons frolicking along the top.
St George’s church is the oldest Anglican Church in Southeast Asia. Built in a neoclassical, Georgian, and English Palladian architectural style. Its rows of white pillars supporting the spire rising to a point against the blue sky.
The streets are teeming with flea markets packed with rows upon rows of brightly colored stalls. In George Town the Cecil Street Market is a warehouse filled with vendors.
A seller stands with a wok over a fire, the amber sparks burst out and flit like fireflies. There are tables to sit and eat bowls of noodles and seafood swimming in soup and sprinkled with green onions.
The Little Penang Street market is another popular spot. Crystals glint in the sun, wooden crafts are stacked in rows, food hangs from bags above the vendors heads, clothes are displayed with intricate patterns in all colors. Pots filled with liquids give off steam rising through the crowds and fill the air with mouth-watering aromas.
The night markets like Penang Heritage Night Market, are just as varied, lights zig zag overhead lighting up the narrow laneways. Music fills the air from the live music creating a lively atmosphere.
If markets aren’t your thing, there are many impressive shopping malls. The Gurney Paragon sits on the seafront and is nine stories high. Its curved edges lined with glass; the roof is illuminated as it perches on pillars. The structure merges around St Joseph’s Novitiate chapel. Hungry? There are thirty restaurants to choose from.
The First Avenue Mall in George Town is seven stories, and you could spend all day here. It houses big brands like H and M, a theatre, bowling alley, karaoke center, snooker bar, and escape room.
The KOMTAR can be seen for miles, standing above any other building, the mountains rising behind it. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, you won’t find it anywhere since it has 65 stories.
There is a mix of boutiques and bargains including the electronic stores to get your electronics fixed. Even if you are not interested in shopping, it is worth a visit to the 58th floor where there is a viewing deck.
Jutting out like a horseshoe this glass platform is suspended above the city and at night it is lit up in a multitude of colors. The clouds seem within reaching distance and city sparkles below. Mountains loom in the distance and the sea stretches out to the horizon to create a memorable experience.
There are many places to enjoy the views and Penang Hill is another. Situated 821 meters above sea level, a funicular glides towards the top, the greenery encroaching on either side like a maze.
The half an hour ride leaves you at the top to enjoy the views and an assortment of religious buildings, including a Hindu temple, church, and mosque.
Port Klang is the largest port in Malaysia. As it is a busy seaport there isn’t much to see but you could visit Pulau Ketam (Crab Island), off the coast of Port Klang.
Crab Island is a village built on stilts over mudflats. Electricity was added recently as was a school, and police station. The only ways to get around the village are by walking, boating, or cycling along the boardwalks.
The crab temple sits in an array of color. Its orange pillars are adorned with red Chinese writing. Waves curl around the roof and a green crab sits in the center above the door.
Seafood is obviously a staple of the diet here and Oyster Omelet is a popular dish that can be bought at the shops lining the boardwalks.
While there is not a lot to do at Port Klang, Kuala Lumpur is 38 kilometers from the port.
Kuala Lumpur is the bustling capital of Malaysia. A mix of old and new merge, from the traditional, exquisitely sculpted temples to the flashy new structures such as the Petronas Twin Towers. Decent all inclusive cruise deals definitely include the city on their destination list, it's an absolute must see.
The Petronas Twin Towers are easy to spot as they are the tallest twin buildings in the world at 451 meters tall and 88 stories high. The towers rise in a circular form in steel and glass, finishing in a dome a little like the Chrysler building in NYC.
They are fond of their sky bridges in this part of the world as the towers have one and an observation deck. You may want to bring a sweater with you as you stand overlooking the sprawling city. Most other towers a long way down, patches of green growing amongst the buildings, and the mountains rising and falling in the distance.
It is even more impressive at night as it shines against the night sky, the fountains in front, like something from the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Water spraying high into the air illuminated in all colors as music plays.
While you’re there, shop at Suria KLCC, the towers six story shopping center with cinema, supermarket, and food courts.
If the view from the Petronas Twin Towers wasn’t enough, the Menara Kuala Lumpur rises to 335 meters and also has an observation deck which is the highest point in the city open to the public. Similar to structures in a lot of cities, including the Berlin Television Tower.
The building begins as a long column with a cone on top that lights up at night in shades of pink, purple, and green. Standing on the glass floor of the observation deck, you can look down at the drop to the park and the city like a miniature train set below your feet.
If traditional is more your style, the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple is the oldest functioning Hindu Temple dating back to 1873. While the newer buildings are certainly flashy, the older buildings have extraordinary detail.
The gopuram (monumental tower) of the temple is covered in carved statues as it rises level after level, 75 feet high. There are a total of 228 deities all painted in bright blues, reds, and greens. Inside is just as extravagant with gold pillars and more statues.
Apart from the mesmerizing range of buildings, Kuala Lumpur offers many other activities from the bird park that is over 20 acres and one of the largest public aviaries in the world, to museums and the Aquaria KLCC with a 300 foot tunnel to immerse yourself under water with an array of sea life.
Singapore is a most impressive city, with innovative buildings, shopping, and Resorts World - the best all inclusive cruise deals have it on their itinerary.
The city has buildings rising high into the sky interspersed with green spaces to relax, including the UNESCO heritage site of Singapore Botanic Gardens. You could spend so much time here and still see something new.
There is a huge variety of shopping from local produce to mega malls.
A popular spot is Orchard Road which has a mix of local and international department stores, and mega malls. From budget buys to high end labels, this shopping spot is sure to have whatever you are looking for.
For somewhere quainter, visit Haji Lane. Boutiques line the narrow street with open shop fronts showing off brightly colored wares. The buildings themselves are quirky and traditional.
Flea markets are also a popular shopping destination, like the one on Bugis Street, between Little India and Marina Bay. It is the cheapest market in the country to buy souvenirs, clothes, houseware, and electronics.
Vintage and retro items can also be found at Tanglin Mall Bazaar for those wanting unique items.
Marina Bay Sands is an architectural feat. Three large towers with a fourth across the top stand impressively at the waterfront. Not only is it a hotel, casino with a museum and observation deck but it has an impressive shopping mall.
There are high end and offbeat items, local brands, and international. The mall itself is worth visiting with a river running through the middle of the shops and little boats along it, making for a unique shopping experience.
One of the most impressive features in Singapore is Resorts World. An integrated resort on the island of Sentosa on the southern coast of Singapore. It has two casinos, a Universal Studios theme park, water park, six hotels, and spa.
Universal Studio offers rides shows, street entertainment, dining, and shopping. Spend your day packing in the adrenalin on Battlestar Galactica, the world’s tallest dueling roller coasters. Or take the Jurassic Park Rapids and bounce down the rapids in a river raft.
Take a break from the rides to watch one of their spectacular shows, one is even hosted by Steven Spielberg and features amazing sets. Watch a hurricane unfold in New York, including fire blazing on the surface of the water right on stage.
The variety of food will have something for everyone. There is international food and a Michelin restaurant to dine in style.
For something a little more laid back, visit the spa and have a massage overlooking the sea. Regain energy in the vitality pools, rock saunas, and crystal steam rooms.
So much time could be spent exploring this city and yet you could still find something new.
Koh Samui is Thailand’s second largest island with rainforests, resorts, and beaches.
Chaweng beach is one of the biggest features on the island. The main strip is nearly three kilometers long, packed with hotels, restaurants, and bars.
The beach is a five-kilometer crescent with offshore reef. The beach has beautiful white sand, with mountains rising at the far side, undulating hills covered in lush greenery, and waves washing calmly upon the sands.
Enjoy relaxing to the sound of the waves, swim, or partake in water sports in the azure waters. There is even massage available on the beach, which I highly recommend.;)
When darkness comes, enjoy sitting cross legged on a rug on the beach, the lights giving off a romantic glow.
The beach is just one attraction here, there is also Ang Thong National Marine Park with limestone mountains, jungles, and coves. There are temples and shrines, including Big Buddha Shrine with a 12-meter high golden Buddha that can be seen for miles around.
An Asian cruise offers an opportunity to get a feel for so many unique and varied places throughout Asia. The only issue you will have is having to decide what to do when there is so much to choose from.
Read about the first part of this journey here.