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Setting sail from Singapore
Singapore is one of the world's richest cities, with a standard of living to match, and in recent years it has moved on from its image as a sterile, overly officious nanny state to become one of the most dynamic and exciting cities in the region. Singapore's heritage as an important trading post means that there is a real cultural mix, with four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. Step away from the gleaming towers and you'll find yourself transported into another world amongst the intoxicating streets of Chinatown and Little India.
There’s some serious green space in Singapore and it always feels as if the jungle is just waiting for us to turn our backs for a moment to take over. Seek out the parks and the gardens.
The once sleepy backwater of Kompong Som, renamed after the former king Norodom Sihanouk, is the rising star of the Cambodian coast’s burgeoning tourist industry. Here you’ll find beautiful sandy beaches and a string of laid back islands that are still largely undeveloped.
Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon, as it was known then, was the capital of the South during the Vietnam War, and American-style capitalism has been embraced more enthusiastically here than in the North, with a clutch of shining skyscrapers standing as testament to Vietnam’s surging economic growth.
Vietnam: Da Nang
Da Nang is the largest city in central Vietnam, and was the site of a major US airbase during the Vietnam War. The main point of interest in the city itself is the excellent Cham Museum, while nearby attractions include Hoi An, the Marble Mountains and the imperial citadel of Hue.
China is not usually associated with beach holidays, but the island of Hainan, billed as ‘China’s Hawaii’, aims to challenge those preconceptions. It’s fair to say that there’s still a fair way to go, but the beaches around Sanya are pleasant enough, and the rapidly developing skyline is a sight in itself.
Hong Kong SAR China: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a striking mix of ancient and modern, Chinese and British, and there is a lot more to the city than just skyscrapers and high finance. Its also a fantastic destination for foodies, a melting pot of culinary influences from around Asia and beyond.
Taiwan: Keelung (Taipei)
Keelung is a fairly unremarkable port city close to Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. The city is best known for its night market, where a mouthwatering array of food is on offer in an atmospheric setting. Otherwise, you are best off heading for Taipei if you want to prolong your stay on the island.
Japan: Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki is the most developed of the Yaeyama islands, an idyllic tropical archipelago located closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan. The offshore coral reefs make this a popular spot for diving and snorkelling, while the jungle interior offers some great hiking opportunities.
Booming Shanghai has long been China’s most outward-looking, cosmopolitan city, as evidenced by the fascinating mixture of European and Oriental architecture. The Bund, a riverfront promenade flanked by grand colonial era buildings, is the city's most famous thoroughfare, while the Pudong financial district lights up the city skyline at night with its futuristic towers.
Dalian is an eminently liveable city on the Yellow Sea coast, blessed with a pleasant climate, excellent beaches and a noticeable lack of pollution compared to many Chinese cities. At the centre of Dalian is the vast Xinghai Square, the biggest in the world at a mind boggling 1,760,000 square metres.
China: Beijing (Tianjin)
Home to 11 million people and an astonishing six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Beijing is an exhilarating introduction to China’s distinctive history, society and culture. Feast your eyes on the majestic Forbidden City and the Summer Palace, along with spectacular modern architecture such as the iconic Bird's Nest Stadium.
South Korea: Incheon (Seoul)
Incheon serves as a transport hub for Seoul, South Korea's captivating capital. Seoul is a dynamic metropolis where you can still find tea shops and temples amongst the skyscrapers and neon signs, and the culinary scene is superb, from street food to world class haute cuisine.
South Korea: Busan
Busan is South Korea’s second biggest city and one of the world’s busiest container ports, but it’s an easygoing place with a discernibly different character to Seoul. Haeundae beach is a popular summer holiday destination for Koreans, while the pungent Jagalchi market sells every type of fish and sea creature imaginable.
Osaka, Japan’s third largest city, is a pulsating commercial hub, famous for its food, and the cityscape rivals Tokyo for neon-lit futurism. If you need respite from the urban sprawl seek out Osaka Castle and the surrounding Nishinomaru Garden, a particularly pretty spot during the cherry blossom season.
On 6 August 1945 the world witnessed the terrifying power of nuclear weapons for the first time, unleashed on the unsuspecting Japanese city of Hiroshima. The modern city's sobering Peace Memorial Park commemorates that fateful day, which left more than 140,000 dead.
The laid back port city of Takamatsu sits on the north coast of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s major islands, and is home to the beautifully designed Ritsurin Koen, one of Japan’s most famous historical gardens.
Arriving in Kobe
Small in size and cosmopolitan in its outlook, Kobe is a thoroughly pleasant city with a long and distinguished history as one of Japan's main trading ports. Kobe's past as a commercial hub is reflected in its architecture, with a number of unusually European-looking houses, as well as a charming, if slightly touristy, Chinatown. Kobe is overlooked by Mount Rokko, and you can take a cable car to the top for marvellous views. The city is also an important centre for sake production, so it's a great place to sample Japan's most famous tipple.
Kobe’s nearby Rokko mountains mean it is easy to get up high for great views, with lots of cable cars and ropeways to choose from.
Your home from home
Any one of Seabourn's lovely little trio of spacious and elegant sisters is the perfect choice for a combination of contemporary style and traditional expert hospitality.
What we love
When Seabourn built Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, over a period of just three years, we were delighted. Not only because each one is beautiful, but also because their similarity means that they are interchangeable, enabling you to travel all over the world in a familiar environment.
|Crew||330 International Staff|
|Style||The contemporary décor appeals to a sophisticated and cosmopolitan crowd. With lots of outside space, you can enjoy an al fresco experience if you choose.|
|Odyssey 2009, Sojourn 2010, Quest 2011|
|Cruising Speed||19 knots|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Singapore
So many wonderful hotels. We like a lot of them, but our choice is the Fullerton.
Leave Singapore in style
If you’ve got time and the dates work, take the Eastern and Oriental Express train to Bangkok.
Where to stay in Kobe
We like Hotel La Suite right on the waterfront.
Go to the Sake breweries in the Nada district – much of the best sake comes from this region.