Sailing from Thailand
Setting sail from Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
Thailand's sprawling capital is an assault on the senses, an invigorating blend of tradition and modernity. Soaring skyscrapers, air-conditioned shopping malls and an efficient public transport system combine with shimmering golden temples, ancient palaces, floating markets and at times gridlocked rush hour traffic. Bangkok is also a real culinary treat; perching at a street food stall tucking into a bowl of noodles by the roadside is a great way to take the pulse of the city, and you'll find regional cuisines from all over Thailand. The nightlife here is also legendary, though is perhaps not for the faint-hearted!
Most tourist sights and markets are open 7 days a week, so be cautious if you’re told otherwise, a common trick from a minority of disreputable taxi drivers. We recommend organising excursions in advance or through a reputable hotel.
Thailand: Koh Samui
Attracting everyone from budget backpackers to ostentatious oligarchs, Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands. It’s no surprise, given the truly stunning beaches, but the more developed areas such as Chaweng have lost a lot of their charm, so head for the quieter south and west if you can.
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.
28 February - 1 March
Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan (Muara)
Muara is the main port of Brunei Darussalam, a tiny Islamic sultanate on the northern coast of Borneo. The sultan’s wealth is legendary, as is his sprawling 300-acre palace, although the capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, is a surprisingly understated and likeable place, with an intriguing mix of Malay, Chinese and indigenous cultures.
Malaysia: Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to the Malaysian state of Sabah and makes for an excellent base, whether you’re planning on scaling the commanding heights of Mount Kinabalu, exploring the islands and turquoise waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, or embarking on a trip into the jungle to encounter Borneo’s fantastic wildlife.
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: Chan May
Wander along the perfumed streets of Hanoi’s atmospheric Old Quarter and you could almost forgive yourself for thinking you’d travelled back in time, were it not for the beeping, buzzing morass of motorcycles zipping past.
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.
Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second largest city and one of the world’s largest container ports, situated on the south west coast of the island. Formerly a rather grim industrial centre, the city has been transformed in recent years, with new parks, cafés, galleries and museums popping up all over the place.
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.
Naha is the capital of Okinawa prefecture, a subtropical region of southern Japan with its own distinct culture. The city is a bustling commercial centre despite being flattened during the Second World War, and the architectural highlight is the elegant Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Three days after Hiroshima was flattened by an atomic bomb, Nagasaki suffered the same horrifying fate. The reconstruction of both cities has been quite extraordinary; Nagasaki today is a vibrant, cosmopolitan place, with a fascinating history that goes back a lot further than 1945.
South Korea: Jeju
The semi-tropical island of Jeju is one of South Korea’s best kept secrets, a popular holiday destination for domestic travellers but little known outside of Asia. The craggy volcanic landscape, tangerine groves and beautiful beaches make this a lovely place to spend some time exploring.
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.
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.
Arriving in Shanghai
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. Shanghai's restaurant scene is thriving like never before, with a number of Michelin-starred chefs setting up shop here, while Nanjing Road is the place to head for a spot of retail therapy, with its shiny shopping malls and luxury boutiques.
Walking along the Bund as the sun rises, watching the locals practise Tai Chi. Magic.
Your home from home
When luxury goes exploring, you are on a Regent ship. The first-ever all suite, all veranda ship, Seven Seas Mariner is the perfect balance of wonderfully luxurious yet delightfully laid-back.
What we love
Just 700 guests enjoy the perfect balance of space and intimacy. With plenty of comfort and great value for money, the Mariner offers everything you could wish for: spacious accommodation, a relaxed and unpretentious style and loads of good dining choices. The most all-inclusive of all luxury lines.
|Crew||445 International Staff|
Regent Seven Seas offers luxury without pretensions - not too dressy, and with lots of focus on the itineraries. So - with their excellent all-inclusive offer - you might get off the ship without having to pay a single further penny!
Tailor-make your trip
Where to stay in Bangkok
The Shangri-La Bangkok sits on the banks of the river, allowing for easy sightseeing by river boat and provides a luxury sanctuary from the bustle of the city whilst maintaining a distinctly Asian feel.
Excursions from Bangkok
Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, is known for spectacular temples. About 50 miles north of the Bangkok it makes a fascinating day tour.
Where to stay in Shanghai
So many fabulous hotels to choose from, but we would go for the Peninsula on the Bund.
Another side to Shanghai
Wander the Yuyuan Gardens with its serene fish ponds, pretty pagodas and enjoy a rest from the crowds at the Mid-Lake Pavilion Teahouse, reached by a zigzag causeway designed to stop evil spirits.