Far East is exotic Asia – from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in the south through the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China to Korea and Japan in the north. This is a vast area that remains undeveloped in cruising terms and yet a cruise ship provides the comfort and security of a base from which to explore the wide cultural and scenic diversity on offer. Exotic destinations like Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Beijing and Tokyo can all be reached. The Far East is almost always included on world cruises and there will be quite a few that pass through and offer these destinations and less frequently visited places like Brunei, the East coast of Malaysia and Manila.
West Coast Malaysia and Thailand
There is only one all year round cruise line in the area and that is Star Cruises and most of their seven day cruises are based on Singapore or Kuala Lumpur and cruise the western coast of Malaysia and the offshore islands of Malaysia and Thailand. Phuket is also becoming popular as a seasonal cruise base with Star Clippers and other lines.
Thailand and Vietnam
Some lines appear in the area for a short season of cruises and the Singapore to Hong Kong and return exploration of Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam provides a fantastic mix of great beaches and ancient temples.
China and Japan
Many cruises are now visiting China and Japan – calling at Shanghai, Taiwan, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo.
WHEN TO CRUISE?
South East Asia has a hot and humid tropical climate and subject to monsoon rains mainly from July to October.
November to February is drier and this is when the seasonal cruises along the western Malaysian coast to Phuket take place. The Eastern coast of Malaysia and Vietnam are wet at this time and drier thereafter.
Further north once past Hong Kong the climate becomes more temperate. Star Cruises sail year round but most short season and world cruises in the Far East sail during the northern hemisphere Winter or Spring ie from November to March.