The Ultimate Cruise Travel Guide: Asia & Indian Ocean


Asia is the fastest growing cruise region in the world, with the number of Asian cruise passengers breaking new records and all the major cruise lines sending prized ships to dock throughout the continent.

However, Asian and Indian Ocean splendour should not just be reserved for the locals, and a cruise around the continent is the best way to enjoy the eclectic and ever-interesting cultures.

From the relaxed beaches of Thailand to the futuristic city of Tokyo, it is possible to tick just about every holiday goal without ever leaving Asian waters. And with some of the world’s best-loved cruise ships currently sailing out of the continent, there has never been a better time to visit captivating Asia.

Fast Facts

beijing asia cruise travel guide

Countries: Bali, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor, UAE, Vietnam, Yemen,

Number of Port Cities: 182

Busiest Port: Singapore Cruise Centre – 950,000 Passengers/Year

Popular Ports: Singapore, Shanghai, Jeju Island, Hong Kong, Tianjin, Penang, Taipei, Phuket, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi

Regular Visitors: Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, Queen Mary 2, Voyager of the Seas, MSC Fantasia, MS Volendam, Queen Victoria, Sapphire Princess, P&O Arcadia, MSC Lirica

Must Visit Cities

traditional beef pho asia cruise travel guide

The capital of Japan, Tokyo is one of the world’s most enigmatic and enduringly charming cities. With cutting-edge technologies sewn into the very fabric of Tokyo life, exploring the city can seem akin to waking up in a dystopian, futuristic terrain. However, this progressive reach is always tempered by ancient temples and codes of ethics which are never far from the eye in Tokyo.

The largest city in the world, Shanghai has long fascinated explorers, artists and tourist alike. With hugely popular sites such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yu Garden; Shanghai and its towering skyscrapers is seen as the flagship of China’s booming economy. Despite this, there are still many picturesque historic areas which remain quintessentially Chinese.   

Commonly called Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a truly vibrant and intoxicating slice of Vietnam, and Asia at its most authentic. Life seems to career along at breakneck speed in Ho Chi Minh which was indelibly and beautifully shaped by its French colonial masters – with delightful renaissance-style boulevards wrapping themselves around the warming city.

The eponymous capital of Phuket Island, Phuket provides a slice of modern culture in this ultimately relaxed province of Asia. Even if you visit Phuket Island primarily for the beaches (and there is absolutely no shame in that), it is well worth visiting the city of Phuket for the fresh street markets, restaurants and stoic monks making their morning rounds.

Hidden Gems

sumatra indonesia cruise travel guide

Carrying a certain mystique, Koh Rong Sanloem is talked about in excited whispers by those on the Cambodian mainland. Home of Lazy Beach, an accurately named stretch of sand which helps you achieve absolutely nothing in picture-perfect surroundings.

Pronounced ‘see-paw’, Hsipaw is growing in popularity with travellers in the know. Avoiding the tourist-packed hill trails of Thailand, this Myanmar town invites visitors to explore the laid-back atmosphere and enjoy the relaxed welcome of the locals. Hsipaw is one of those places you have to visit before it grows too popular and the infrastructure becomes too tourism-focussed at the expense of its (for the time-being) boundless charm.

kuala lumpur skyline asia travel guide

The largest island which belongs entirely to Indonesia, Sumatra is made up of a rugged and entirely wild terrain. Known for the smouldering volcanoes dotted up and down the island and the varied wildlife including the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran elephant, Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran orang utan; the island is planet Earth at its wildest.   

Malaysia boasts hundreds of beautiful islands, but few offer the same amenities and comfort as Kapas Island. The tiny island never feels crowded thanks to the small number of visitors permitted on Kapas at any one time. Snorkelling, jungle trekking, or simply lounging around are the main activities enjoyed by visiting parties.


Feeling inspired? Take a look at our Asia cruise holiday deals here. Alternatively, call our friendly sales team on 0808 2746 777

The Ultimate Cruise Travel Guide: Asia & Indian Ocean
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The Ultimate Cruise Travel Guide: Asia & Indian Ocean
Our cruise travel guide to Asia and the Indian Ocean - explore Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Phuket and more...

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Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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