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A Two-Week Journey to Thailand and Vietnam
This 14-night sailing takes guests to two of Asia’s most fascinating countries, while beginning and ending in two legendary ports. You’ll board your ship in Singapore—ideally after a pre-cruise extension so you’ll have time to visit its colonial sites and colorful neighborhoods. You’ll then head to Thailand, with a day to experience the tropical island paradise of Ko Samui, before spending three nights in Bangkok, with its Grand Palace, countless temples, and exciting energy and bustle.           

Next, five nights in Vietnam will introduce you to three very different destinations. You’ll start in the dynamic metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the south. In Hue, sitting on the banks of the Perfume River, you’ll get a glimpse of historic Vietnam. The country’s capital for almost 150 years, its citadels and palaces have earned Hue a place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Finally in Hanoi, the country’s capital today, French colonial neighborhoods and spectacular natural attractions are waiting to be explored.           

You’ll end your cruise in Hong Kong, a fabled east-meets-west city that captivates almost every visitor. With its skyscrapers rising above the harbor and backed by lush mountain peaks, plus a fantastic variety of shops and restaurants, you will likely find yourself dazzled at every turn. Fortunately Azamara can arrange for a post-cruise extension, giving you time to explore the city in more depth.
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    Day 1
    Your ship will depart Singapore at 5 p.m., giving you a day to explore the temples and jewelry shops of Little India, the markets of Chinatown, and some of the colonial-era sites; Top among them the Raffles Hotel, where you can try a Singapore Sling at the bar where it was first invented. Other popular attractions include the National Museum and the National Gallery; Orchard Road, one of the world’s prime shopping strips; and the new Marina Bay Sands development that has become one of the city-state’s most photographed landmarks. If all that sounds like too much to see in one day, Azamara can help arrange additional hotel nights on a pre-cruise extension, giving you more time in this unique city.
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    Day 2
    Day at Sea
    A day at sea is a welcome opportunity to enjoy the amenities aboard Azamara ships. You might indulge in a treatment at the Sanctum Spa, a lecture by a featured speaker, or a leisurely meal that incorporates the local flavors of the regions you are visiting—a key element of Azamara’s Destination Immersion program. With only 690 guests aboard each Azamara ship, you won’t face long lines however you choose to spend your day. But perhaps you’d rather bask in the comfort of the ships’ staterooms, all of which have been redesigned to offer guests a boutique hotel experience. We won’t judge if you spend the morning in a plush robe with a book, or taking advantage of the upgraded onboard WiFi.
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    Day 3
    Ko Samui
    You’ll have the morning to explore Thailand’s Ko Samui. The country’s second largest island enjoys a warm sunny climate year round, and has miles of beaches fringed with coconut palms. The Ko Samui Highlights excursion includes the Big Buddha Temple, named after the 39-foot-tall golden statue of the Buddha, located on a small island just offshore. The nearby Plai Leam Temple was only built in 2004, but its art reflects age-old craft traditions. Also on the itinerary is the enormous statue of the Goddess of Mercy on Chaweng, Ko Samui’s most popular beach. The tour concludes at a coconut plantation. Coconuts were long the principal source of local income, before it was displaced by tourism as word got out about Ko Samui’s beauty and perfect climate.
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    Day 4
    You’ll arrive first thing in Bangkok, rife with temples, palaces, and bustling markets. Home to over six million people, it can feel chaotic, but offers up a genuine welcome, justifying the country’s nickname as the Land of Smiles.

    The Grand Palace and Venice of the East excursion is an ideal way to get acquainted. You’ll begin at the sprawling palace, actually a collection of pavilions, halls, and temples. The most famous is dedicated to the Emerald Buddha, a 26-inch tall statue carved from a single piece of jade. You’ll also visit the Temple of the Dawn—with its 260-foot-tall spire, it has become a symbol of Thailand. Afterwards you’ll have an opportunity to shop for gifts made from silk and other handicrafts.

    Later in the day, the AzAmazing Evening—Discovering Bangkok’s Ancient City will take you to the Ancient City, a vast park with recreations of typical Thai villages and landmarks. The highlight is a reenactment of Loi Krathong, or the Festival of Lights, when thousands of candles on lotus-shaped baskets are placed on the lake here, creating a breathtaking scene.

    Alternatively, if you want to visit one of Southeast Asia’s most important and unforgettable archaeological sites, you can join the Angkor Wat UNESCO Overnight Adventure. On this two-day, one-night excursion, you will travel to Cambodia and spend a night in Siem Reap before visiting Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmers, and Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world. These two 12th-century splendid works of architecture and sculpture are covered with representations of the Buddha and scenes from both Khmer legends and daily life.
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    Photo By Marketa
    Day 5
    Discover Bangkok
    If you haven’t opted for the Angkor Wat overnight adventure, you’ll have a second day to explore Bangkok, perhaps with the “Discovery Bangkok” excursion. It starts at Wat Trimitr, whose solid gold Buddha stands 10 feet tall and weighs more than five tons. You’ll have lunch on a Chao Phraya river cruise and then head to Vimanmek Palace, built of teakwood following traditional Thai methods without a single nail being used in its construction. Take a rest in the afternoon before you join the Nights and Cool Places excursion. You’ll start with a cocktail at sunset at the Red Sky Bar, with panoramic views of Bangkok. Next you’ll get to watch a Thai boxing match, a unique style of boxing in which competitors use not only their fists but also their feet, legs, and elbows to defeat their opponent. En route, you’ll swing by the Pat Pong Night Market, where some 100 bars are busy till late in the night.
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    Photo By shankar s.
    Day 6
    Another Morning in Bangkok
    You’ll depart from Bangkok at 2 p.m., which means you still have a final morning to check out some sights. The Thai Heritage Museum is a collection of five traditional houses, including a lacquer pavilion, and surrounded by landscaped gardens. Inside, you’ll find a collection of Asian antiques and wood carvings. Next up is the house of Jim Thompson, who is credited with establishing the Thai silk industry. Now a museum, the house contains artifacts from Thompson’s life and his Asian art collection. Afterwards, you will return to the ship and set sail for Vietnam.
  • Day 7
    At Sea
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    Photo By Aleksandr Zykov
    Day 8
    Ho Chi Minh City
    You’ll arrive at Ho Chi Minh City at noon. Known as Saigon until 1975, when it was renamed after the North Vietnamese leader. Ho Chi Minh City is the country’s largest city, with more than 10 million people, and buzzes with the energy of entrepreneurs planning new ventures large and small.

    The Highlights of Ho Chi Minh City excursion takes in many notable sites. You’ll admire colonial-era buildings like the Hotel de Ville, the city hall, and the Rex Hotel (countless bakeries selling baguettes are another reminder of former French rule). The former Presidential Palace is now Unification Hall, commemorating the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Next, the History Museum provides an introduction to the full saga of the country’s past, including the Cham and Khmer cultures. While you are there you will watch a water puppetry performance.

    After a photo-op at the 19th-century Notre Dame Cathedral, you’ll enter Cholon, the city’s Chinatown with its markets and colorful pagodas. Before returning to your ship, you’ll visit the Thien Hau Temple, dedicated to the patron goddess of sailors, and a lacquer workshop.

    This evening, you can join the Cruise Global, Nights Local excursion to the Ao Dai Museum for a fashion show. Ao dai are traditional Vietnamese dresses, tightly fitted and made from colorful fabrics. The works of the country’s premier contemporary ao dai designer, Si Hoang, will be presented in a fashion show at the museum, whose grounds feature bamboo bridges and lotus ponds.
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    Day 9
    Explore Ho Chi Minh City
    History buffs may want to dive deeper into the French chapter of Ho Chi Minh City’s past, and the Walking Colonial Experience provides an opportunity to do so. This tour begins at the Hotel Majestic, before passing other colonial-era landmarks on Dong Khoi Street like the Central Opera House, the City Square, and the neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral. The Central Post Office is another elegant legacy of the French colonial era. The tour leaves time for shopping at the Ben Thanh market and concludes with cake and juice at the Hotel Rex, which dates from 1927.
  • Day 10
    On the South China Sea
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    Day 11
    You will arrive to your next destination, Hue, early in the morning and can watch the city that sits on the Perfume River come to life. From 1802 to 1945, Hue was the capital of Vietnam, and its abundance of landmarks earned it a place on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. You can visit many of them while you are in Hue (your ship won’t depart until 6 p.m.) or venture further afield and farther into the past on the My Son—Hoi An: World Heritage Sites excursion.

    If you opt for the excursion, you’ll drive through the countryside and the My Son mountain range, long a sacred land of the Champa Kingdom, which thrived from the 7th to the 14th centuries. Your destination for the afternoon is the coastal and multicultural city of Hoi An. You’ll visit Phuoc Kien Temple, dedicated to the Chinese goddess of the sea, and the Japanese Bridge, constructed at the end of the 16th century to connect the city’s Japanese and Chinese communities.

    The Japanese Bridge is also included in the Cooking Class and Hoi An City excursion, though first you will get an immersive introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. You’ll visit Hoi An market and learn about typical ingredients before rolling up your sleeves to make some classic Vietnamese dishes: fresh summer rolls, grilled chicken with lime leaf, banana flower salad, and soup with cabbage wrapped shrimp. Take a post-lunch stroll to explore Hoi An’s historic landmarks.
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    Day 12
    Halong Bay
    After you arrive in Hanoi at around 1:30 p.m., you can set out to visit one of Asia’s most dazzling seascapes on the Halong Bay by Boat excursion. This bay is punctuated by hundreds of limestone karst pillars that rise dramatically from the sea. These geological formations have long inspired painters and poets, as illustrated by their fanciful names like Heavenly Gate, Tortoise Rock, and the Isle of Wonders. You’ll explore them aboard a traditional junk, with bat-winged sails, and also take in Thien Cung Cave, with its beautiful lagoon.
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    Day 13
    You’ve got another day devoted to Hanoi, as your ship won’t sail until 7 p.m. The Hanoi in a Day excursion lets you make the most of your time by hitting all the highlights of this city—despite being the capital, it has a more relaxed pace than Ho Chi Minh City. An abundance of French colonial buildings still stand, while the 36 Streets District, where each street is named after the tradesmen who could be found there, is a glimpse of Old Hanoi. The Temple of Literature is another remnant of the pre-colonial city; built in 1070, it has five walled courtyards. After your tour, the drive back to your ship delivers bucolic views of the rural countryside.
  • Day 14
    Sail to Hong Kong
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    Day 15
    Hong Kong
    Your final port of call is Hong Kong, one of the world’s most intriguing cities. The Hong Kong Island Highlights Tour provides a comprehensive introduction. You’ll begin with a tram ride up Victoria Peak, where you’ll have panoramic views of the city, harbor, and islands from the summit. You’ll travel on past Repulse Bay to Stanley, where the outdoor market is a favorite destination of shoppers in search of everything from crafts to designer goods. In the picturesque village of Aberdeen, you’ll board a sampan for a sail around the harbor.

    If you are departing Hong Kong this same day, you will be transported directly to the airport at the conclusion of your tour.