I’ve just returned from a fabulous cruise with Silversea, a luxury cruise company, in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore. As many of you will know I also have a cruise blog, Emma On Board, and I’ll be sharing a full and detailed report of the entire cruise on there soon but here I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos from my trip.
The trip began with me flying to Hong Kong, one of the most densely populated places in the entire world. This was the incredible view of the city from my Verandah Suite on board Silver Shadow.
We left Hong Kong behind after too brief a visit and sailed on to Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay around 36 hours later. Unfortunately the visibility wasn’t too great (it was pretty grey, a lot like Scotland!) but it was still absolutely beautiful to see all 1969 limestone rock formations rising up out of the water.
The greyness served to give an eerie atmosphere as we quietly sailed around the islands, dwarfed by them in our little junk boat.
In Ha Long we also visited the local part of town where there are very few tourists. We wandered through a local market and were greeted by some of the friendliest people who were just going about their daily lives. I loved just watching these women at work in the market, so simple but so interesting.
After we left Ha Long Bay behind our next destination was Nha Trang, a beautiful beach destination in Vietnam. Our first stop in Nha Trang was Long Son Pagoda, which is especially famous for it’s giant Buddha statue which sits at the top of a hill overlooking the city.
From there we went to visit the Po Nagar Towers which date as far back as the 8th century and are dedicated to Yan Po Nagar, the goddess of the country.
After getting our culture and history fix we headed for the i-Resort (Suối khoáng nóng Nh Trang) where we found the most wonderful resort with mud baths, pools, waterfalls and hot and cold springs. We splashed out (pun most definitely intended) on the VIP experience where we enjoyed a mud bath, mineral pool, lunch, fruit platter and full body massages all in the privacy of our own little miniature spa. Perfect!
My favourite place I visited during my cruise with Silversea was definitely Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. It’s a city with a fascinating and turbulent history. Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony and later of the independent republic of South Vietnam from 1955–75. South Vietnam was a capitalist and anti-communist state which fought against the communist North Vietnamese and Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. On 30 April 1975, Saigon fell and the war ended with a Communist victory. On 2 July 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Định Province and was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
Today Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling city with a growing economy and population. This can be seen in the mixture of ultra-modern new buildings in sleek contemporary designs sitting side by side with older buildings, many of which have French architectural influences due Saigon’s history as a French colony.
Ho Chi Minh City has a great market, Ben Thanh Market, which I loved wandering around. They sell everything you could ever want – clothes, shoes, kitchenware, delicious food, fresh coconuts and all sorts of random quirky items. Fancy drinking some rum with a cobra and a scorpion inside the bottle? Nope, me neither…
And just like that the sun set on my cruise with Silversea and my time in Asia. It was far too brief but it definitely gave me a small insight into Vietnam and the culture there. It has certainly made me want to return to Vietnam, I just need to figure out when. Time to get planning!