Posted December 27th, 2006, 05:23 PM
We just returned from Seabourn's Singapore to Hong Kong cruise -- had a great time -- went to wondeful places, met many nice people and ate too much. We had a couple of rough sea days up off the coast of Vietnam and a little fire the Hong Kong Harbour patrol boat had to help put out as we docked in Hong Kong -- but other than that it was uneventful. We ran into a couple from Sydney we first met on Seabourn 5 years ago in the Med - it is a small Seabourn world!
Regrding tours, Sailor Boy and I usually pass on tours in the Med --we prefer to go off on our own. However, Asia was a different story and we ended up taking two tours -- the one to the Imperial City of Hue from Da Nang and the one to Hanoi from Cai Lan. Both were long 10 -12 hour tours but would have been hard to take on our own without risking missing the boat( something one couple almost did in Saigon, or HCMC as it is now known). We enjoyed both very much but it was alot of time in the bus -- two to three hours each way. The reward is that you get to see alot of the real Vietnam -- both rurual areas and villages that you miss if you stay in the port cities. In Saigon Seabourn provided a shuttle bus to take passengers the very short ride into downrown Saigon -- by the Rex Hotel. It is a great location to launch out and engage in major retail therapy -- prices are extremely low and quality is pretty high. For premier silk products head to Khai Silk -- for small gifts the road to the market is full of great little shops and the market is better than the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul ( which never did much for me). In Bangkok, the traffic is the worst I have ever seen. The shuttle bus took passengers a 20 minute bus ride to modern mutil level shopping mall not convenient to any of the major tourist spots. We then had to catch a cab to the main temple area -- it took over 30 minutes to get back to where the bus picked us up. We did not take the excursion to the Kwai River as did a number of passengers who enjoyed it ( and the elephant ride) but again it entailed 10 hours with many hours on the bus. One of the highlights of the trip was Seabourn's beach bbque on Ko Kood Island -- even better than when we did it with Seabourn in the Caribbean on Prickly Pear Island -- beautiful soft, white, fine sand and clear blue water at a perfect temperature. Life does not get better than that -- especially when you through in the champagne and caviar in the surf and bountiful buffet. We loved Hong Kong and though not as big a bargain as Vietnam there were great deals on custom fitted suits ( now Sailor Boy wants to dump all of his other suits) and luminous black pearls for moi. If you have time in HK take the MTR and KCR to Sha Tim to visit the 10,000 Buddha's -- very worthwhile excursion that is easy to do on your own.Enjoy!