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Beauty and the east

09/01/2014

The enthralling destinations visited on our Exotic Fly Cruises will unleash the hidden explorer in us all, finds Lorraine Wilson

Bustling Bangkok, the capital of Thailand

Bustling Bangkok, the capital of Thailand

Kuala Lumpur

Home of the dramatic Petronas Towers, the Malaysian capital is one of the world’s most rapidly developing metropolises. Visit the enormous Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Mosque or the extensive Batu Caves, with an imposing Hindu shrine at the top of 272 steps. There’s also a heady mix of shopping, sightseeing and street food to be sampled, or you can opt for a traditional meal served on a banana leaf.

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Hong Kong

Here, 5,000 years of history meets the buzz of modern life. Experience the dynamic tourist area of Hong Kong Island, where floating restaurants dominate the Aberdeen Harbour. Then cross to the city of Kowloon, a shopper’s paradise with galleries, museums and the Avenue of Stars, modelled on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. For temples and wide, open spaces, head north to the New Territories.

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Singapore

The year-round tropical climate means that this island city-state has plentiful parks and wildlife, including the architecturally stunning Gardens by the Bay at the Marina area, with its canopy walkways, conservatory domes and the towering Supertrees structures. Shopping is plentiful here too, with tax-free prices available to the majority of cruise guests. Then you can relax with a Singapore Sling at the iconic Raffles Hotel.

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Bangkok

Disembark at Laem Chabang and bustling Bangkok is just 90 minutes away. The vibrancy of this city never dips, with some markets operating around the clock – the colourful blooms and chatter from vendors offering a glimpse into Thai life. There's also floating markets just outside the city. Don’t miss the Grand Palace and grounds, where you’ll find the Emerald Buddha, carved from a single block of jade, inside Wat Phra Kaew temple.

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Mumbai

In recent years, Mumbai has become India’s glamour city, home to the increasingly sophisticated Bollywood film industry and the centre of shopping and fashion. Explore the city’s many markets, such as the atmospheric Chor Bazaar, or take a cooling stroll along Marine Drive, away from the bustle of the business district at Nariman Point and towards the greenery and upmarket residences at Malabar Hill.

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Manila

Here, step back in time to Intramuros to see the historic heart of Manila. Built during Spanish colonial rule, this district is still being slowly reconstructed following a battle to recapture the city from the Japanese during World War II. Close by is Rizal Park, with its expansive lawns, woodland walks and monuments. And if your legs need a rest, call on a ‘jeepney’, one of the customised US military jeeps used as buses.

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Colombo

Sri Lanka’s largest city, Colombo is an intoxicating mix of every nation and religion that has shaped its character. Lively and vibrant, the colonial architecture alongside Muslim mosques, Christian churches, and Hindu and Buddhist temples makes the city a favourite with photographers. But nowhere is it more colourful and chaotic than at the Pettah bazaars, with tiny streets of crowded stalls. For peace and quiet, head to Cinnamon Gardens or take tea (Ceylon, of course) in the terrace gardens at Galle Face Hotel.

 

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