Princess Cruises have compiled a list of 50 essential experiences that every traveller should add to their bucket list. Here are the top spots across Asia and Africa that made the list;
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
It’s impossible to think of Ho Chi Minh City without thinking of the fall of Saigon, and it’s understandable that many of the main attractions here are based upon Vietnam’s turbulent past. The first stop on many travellers’ agendas is Reunification Palace, which retains the history and past of Saigon, whilst the rest of the city moves forward. If you’ve never visited Ho Chi Minh City before, the Saigon Sky deck gives beautiful views across the city, and across the smaller cruise ships that dock along the Saigon River. If you’re travelling as a family and are staying overnight in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s well worth making the trip up to ??i Nam V?n Hi?n, which includes artificial seas, mountains, and even safari trips!
Where you’ll dock: Smaller ships can dock along the Saigon River, right in the heart of the city. Larger ships dock along the South China Sea.
Looking at the ruins of the lost city of Petra, it is hard to believe the city was once anything more than a tourist attraction, yet remarkably, Petra was one of the most important cities in the world in terms of commercial trade until the area was devastated by an earthquake around the year 660. Since architects first started renovating the site in the early 1900s, Petra has been a major draw for travellers from all over the world. The carvings along the Siq, the Roman theatre (which is still structured enough to be used), and the intricately styled monastery are just some of the must-see areas of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t come away without a decorative sand bottle, containing authentic Petra grains.
Where you’ll dock: Aqaba, about 80 miles south of Petra.
Male is a bit different to the stereotypical Maldives that you hear and read about, but it’s no less a fascinating destination. Male is a very busy and bustling island but it’s situated in one of the most beautiful and natural areas of the world. The surrounding Laccadive Sea is the perfect place for viewing vibrant and colourful fish (take a Whale Submarine trip beneath the surface for the best views), and the Male Market is stunning, with vendors selling the freshest and most appetising fruits you can imagine, particularly bananas and melons. One of the most popular activities on this tiny island is simply chilling out and enjoying the fine weather and the small beach on the eastern coastline is perfect for soaking up some rays.
Where you’ll dock: On the northern shore of the island but all attractions are easily accessible by foot.
Tokyo is one of the most bizarre cities in the world. On the one hand, the city is very modern with technology that you simply couldn’t imagine being a part of everyday life in the west, but on the other hand, it’s also very traditional, with specific rules, regulations and beliefs that date back thousands of years. You could easily spend weeks in Tokyo and not get bored, but if you have limited time, you absolutely must stroll through Shinjuku, gazing at the bright lights, visit the technology stores in Akihabara, and walk across the complex road crossing in Shibuya (or enjoy a coffee in Starbucks for amazing views of the masses walking to and from the train station). Yokohama, where cruise passengers will arrive, is interesting in itself. It has the largest Chinatown in all of Japan, and one of the largest outdoor clocks in the world. Be sure to stop by Coco’s for some authentic Japanese curry.
Where you’ll Dock: Yokohama – it’s just a 30 minute train ride into the heart of Tokyo.
Arriving in Bangkok, it becomes clear that this large, bustling city is paradise for those who like the nightlife – it’s bright, vibrant, and there’s always something going on. Despite, this, Bangkok is deeply rooted in history and tradition, thus the city is a wonderful blend of old and new. Although they lie alongside each other, the districts of Siam Square and Rattanakosin, for example, could not be more different. While Siam Square is very modern and home to the 5* resorts and fancy restaurants, Rattanakosin retains the historic element of Bangkok, and boasts the Grand Palace – a former royal residence – and the famous Emerald Buddha. Bangkok is a wonderful destination for all, regardless of tastes and interests.
Where you’ll dock: Laem Chabang, about 70 miles south along the coastline from Bangkok.
Just north of Beijing lies Badaling and it’s here that many tourists to Beijing flock to, as its home to a very walkable section of the Great Wall. Admittedly, this part of the wall has undergone numerous restoration attempts as now retains very little of its original structure, but this makes it far safer and far more accessible than many other parts of the wall. Despite being quite crowded on some days, you simply don’t notice others, mesmerised by the miles and miles of pathway winding around the beautiful mountainous terrain. If you’re travelling as a couple, there’s nowhere in China more romantic than the Great Wall. Before embarking on the stroll, check out the Great Wall museum in Badaling, it has lots of information that you’ll find invaluable during your trip.
Where you’ll dock: The port in Tianjin is roughly 85 miles from Beijing, and it’s an additional 45 miles to Badaling.
New Delhi, India
Many travellers to New Delhi flock to the Red Fort – a place that was once the epitome of grandeur, but is today a mere shadow of its former self. Despite this, what remains is architecturally fascinating, and there are some great photo opportunities. Always make sure to stop by the bazaar out front – you can buy all sorts of unique gifts and trinkets here which will be a wonderful reminder of your cruise and your time in India. Gandhi Smriti, a museum dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, is also well worth a visit. Gandhi spent his final days at this site, and visitors can view a number of artifacts related to both his life and his death. Somewhat morbidly, you can also visit the exact spot where he was shot in 1948.
Where you’ll dock: River boats are able to dock along the Yamuna River, and will also visit Agra and Jaipur.
Cairo & Giza, Egypt
Although a part of Cairo, Giza has gained fame in its own right for being home to the famous Egyptian pyramids. The Great Pyramid, standing at an impressive 450 feet tall, and the Sphinx, are two of the most popular of the structures, and a trip to view them up close is a must-do. Many travellers opt to take a camel ride to the pyramids, which is a very traditional and authentic way to travel. Of course, Cairo and Giza aren’t just about the pyramids, and buying branded goods and perfumes is very common here – check out the Legends & Legacies bazaar – there’s no haggling here, so it’s considered a safe and smart option for tourists, especially first-timers.
Where you’ll dock: Port Said, around 135 miles north of Cairo.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park is one of the best places in Africa to go on safari, and it’s one of the only places you can see all of the ‘Big Five’ – the lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, and elephant. Heading out into the wilderness and viewing these majestic animals in their natural habitat, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and shouldn’t be missed. Travellers who are short on time, such as cruise passengers, can opt for the self-drive option, while those staying in South Africa for a little longer can choose guided tours, heading deeper into the environment and staying in one of 16 camps and lodges on the grounds. Kids will love the park, and there are a number of family-friendly itineraries you can choose which maximise adventure and limit driving time, keeping the little ones entertained.
Where you’ll dock: Maputo, Mozambique, roughly 200 miles from the National Park.
Hong Kong is a truly fascinating place, full of bright lights and a wonderful mix of Asian and British culture and influence, but if there’s one aspect where Hong Kong really stands out, it’s in terms of cuisine. Hong Kong cuisine is very much focused on the basics of Cantonese cooking, and stinky tofu is one of the most bizarre, yet tasty, offerings you’ll find here. Fermentation is very popular in Asian cooking (Korean Kimchi is a prime example), and, in this case, tofu is fermented to produce a very strong and delicious flavour, but also a very intense smell that certainly takes some time to get used to. You can find stinky tofu at many vendor carts, along with fried fish balls – a classic Hong Kong street food.
Where you’ll dock: Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, right in Kowloon Bay.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The Temple of Angkor Wat is remarkably familiar, whether you’ve heard of it or not. The beehive-style turrets are some of the most recognised structures in the world, as one of the most important religious sites in Asia. Many travellers choose to arrive to the temple via Tuk-Tuk for amazing views of the surrounding moat, and it’s always best to arrive just before sunrise, as the hazy light appearing over the top of the building really is a sight to behold. Angkor Wat is one of the busiest attractions in Cambodia, yet you’ll find your visit to be surprisingly spacious. That’s because the size of the complex is massive – it’s actually hard to comprehend. It’s recommended that you opt for a guided tour, as there is so much history inside these walls that it’s impossible to take everything in on a self-guided tour.
Where you’ll dock: Sihanoukville Port, approximately 335 miles from Angkor Wat. If you have the time, make a stopover in Phnom Penh.