Enjoy the facilities of the cruise ship while sailing to your next port of call.
Thailand’s capital is south-east Asia’s most enigmatic city, a head-on clash between tradition and modernity. First-time visitors may be a little taken aback by the concrete canyons and futuristic, billboard-covered skyscrapers, but take a few steps away from the main roads into one of the city’s countless alleys and traditional Thai culture is everywhere – an urban cornucopia of smells, tastes, sounds and sights that one is unlikely to forget.
Sophisticated galleries, subtropical beaches, cool-climate vineyards: the greater Brisbane region delivers gasp-inducing contrasts. The region's star is Brisbane itself. Traditional home of the Jagera people, Queensland's capital has a flourishing restaurant, bar and cultural scene. Lapping at its eastern fringe is Moreton Bay, where low-lying sandy isles beckon with turquoise waves and passing parade of whales, turtles and dolphins.
Nature is well and truly part of Darwin's backyard: the famous national parks of Kakadu and Litchfield are only a few hours' drive distant, and the unique Tiwi Islands are a boat ride away. For locals the perfect weekend is going fishing for barra (barramundi) in a tinny (small boat) with an esky (cooler) full of beer.
Ho Chi Minh City
Located on the banks of the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant city full of contrasts. Visit the National History Museum filled with ancient ceramics, traditional costumes and relics crafted in stone and bronze. Watch a short performance of the uniquely Vietnamese water puppetry. Ho Chi Minh City is home to many colourful pagodas, cathedrals and palaces, including one of the city's oldest, Giac Lam Pagoda, dating back to1744.
Lombok is an Indonesian island east of Bali and west of Sumbawa, part of the Lesser Sunda Island chain. It's known for beaches and surfing spots, particularly at Kuta and Banko Banko (in south Lombok). The motor-vehicle-free Gili Islands (Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno), off Lombok’s west coast, offer more beaches, reefs for diving and snorkeling, and a sea turtle hatchery.
The tropical town of Port Douglas, roughly an hour drive north from Cairns, has it all: the aquamarine waters of the Great Barrier Reef, the breathtaking canopy of the Daintree Rain Forest, the crystal creeks of Mossman Gorge. and the palm fringed golden sands of Four Mile Beach. It is the only place on Earth where two World Heritage-listed sites – the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rain-forest.
Singapore to see the real Singapore, veer off the beaten path to Tiong Bahru. Start with local breakfast of mee pok (flat egg noodles) at Hua Bee a 70-year-old stall. Then, on to Tiong Bahru market to see how Singaporeans do their morning grocery shopping. Break for coffee at 40 Hands, pop into the hipster bookstore, “Books Actually”, and if feeling a little peckish, head back to the market for wallet-friendly hawker fare. If you’re in this area in the evening and want to splash on a good meal, head back to Hua Bee. By night, the coffee shop morphs into Bincho, a modern yakitori joint.