Day by day itinerary
There are two Bangkoks, the ancient soul of Thailand with its long and fascinating history and the frantic, modern metropolis that embraces the latest trends both Eastern and Western. The two blend together remarkably well—even the most jarring juxtapositions of old and new somehow make sense. Bangkok is not only the biggest city in Thailand, but also the most mesmerizing, with some of the country's most beautiful temples and shrines. The city's energy is palpable, especially at night, when traffic opens up a bit, its famous markets get going, and everything seems lit up—from its proudest monuments to its seediest streets. When Ayutthaya was besieged and pillaged by the Burmese in 1766, Thonburi became Thailand's capital. The Thais call Bangkok Krung Thep (City of Angels), and in 1782 King Rama I moved his capital here, just across the Chao Praya River. Laem Chabang is approximately 130 km (81 mi) from Bangkok.
Romantically referred to by the French as the Pearl of the Orient, Ho Chi Minh City today is a super-charged city of sensory overload. Motorbikes zoom day and night along the wide boulevards, through the narrow back alleys and past vendors pushing handcarts hawking goods of all descriptions. Still called Saigon by most residents, this is Vietnam's largest city and the engine driving the country's current economic resurgence, but despite its frenetic pace, it's a friendlier place than Hanoi and locals will tell you the food—simple, tasty, and incorporating many fresh herbs—is infinitely better than in the capital.This is a city full of surprises. The madness of the city's traffic—witness the oddball things that are transported on the back of motorcycles—is countered by tranquil pagodas, peaceful parks, quirky coffee shops, and whole neighborhoods hidden down tiny alleyways, although some of these quiet spots can be difficult to track down. Life in Ho Chi Minh City is lived in public: on the back of motorcycles, on the sidewalks, and in the parks. Even when its residents are at home, they're still on display. With many living rooms opening onto the street, grandmothers napping, babies being rocked, and food being prepared, are all in full view of passersby.Icons of the past endure in the midst of the city’s headlong rush into capitalism. The Hotel Continental, immortalized in Graham Greene's The Quiet American, continues to stand on the corner of old Indochina's most famous thoroughfare, the rue Catinat, known to American G.I.s during the Vietnam War as Tu Do (Freedom) Street and renamed Dong Khoi (Uprising) Street by the Communists. The city still has its ornate opera house and its old French city hall, the Hôtel de Ville. The broad colonial boulevards leading to the Saigon River and the gracious stucco villas are other remnants of the French colonial presence. Grisly reminders of the more recent past can be seen at the city's war-related museums. Residents, however, prefer to look forward rather than back and are often perplexed by tourists' fascination with a war that ended 40 years ago.The Chinese influence on the country is still very much in evidence in the Cholon district, the city's Chinatown, but the modern office towers and international hotels that mark the skyline symbolize Vietnam's fixation on the future.
The scattering of islands that make up Romblon Province are some of the Philippines’ most heavenly – and even better, the secret’s not yet out. White is a common theme here, whether it’s the polished sheen of pure white marble, sculpted by the region’s master craftsmen, or the sugar-white sands of the deserted, idyllic beaches that lie hidden on the province’s islands. Rent a habal-habal scooter to putter through jungle, discovering your own slices of idyllic sand, or take moonlit walks through forests that glitter with fireflies at night.
Spoken of with awed reverence in scuba-diving circles, Coron's dramatic rock protrusions, which jut from emerald seas and glorious sweeps of sand, make it a destination that you can't help but dive into. The perfect base for an adventure holiday, Coron's exquisite setting means you'll face taxing choices on a daily basis - to spend the day relaxing on the soft sand, or to pound through the jungle on horseback? Whether you choose relaxation or all-out-action, you're sure to fall head over heels for Coron's beauty.
MANILA, the capital city of the Philippines, was founded in, 1571 by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. It is one of the oldest cities in the country and was the seat of power for most of the colonial rules of the Philippines. It is situated on the eastern shore of Manila Bay and contains a multitude of landmarks, some of which date back to the 16th century. It is home to the baroque 16th-century San Agustin Church as well as Fort Santiago, a storied citadel and military prison. In the 19th century Manila became one of the most modern cities in Asia. Before the Spanish–American War, Manila saw the rise of the Philippine Revolution. Under the American rule following the Spanish-American War, the United States changed the official language from Spanish to English. Towards the end of World War II, during the Battle of Manila, most of the city was flattened by intensive aerial bombardment. Today, tourism is a vital industry in Manila. Major shopping malls and bazaars thrive around Manila.
Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s second largest city, its biggest seaport, and the world’s fourth largest container port. It entered the 21st century as a newly emerging international metropolis. In the forefront of Taiwan’s expansion and modernisation efforts are the China Steel Corporation and China Shipbuilding. They are perfect examples of what Taiwan’s export-oriented economy is all about. The Love River, which has seen some recent landscaping, adds to the beauty of the city. Coffee shops along its banks offer good opportunities to view the river’s activities and enjoy a nice breeze. A 495-feet (150 metres)-long urban corridor of light, known as Urban Spotlight, was designed by local artists who wanted to make light and shadows the theme of the hall. The result is an urban space in the Central Park area teeming with artistic vision. A very important event in Taiwan’s recent history occurred here in 1979, and is known as the Kaohsiung Incident. It was the day of the first major human rights celebration on the island. Until that time, the authorities had never allowed any expression of discontent. When the day came, however, the celebration ended in chaos when police encircled the peaceful crowd and started using teargas, and pro-government instigators incited violence. Kuomintang (KMT) authorities used this as an excuse to round up all well-known opposition leaders and imprison them. Although it was hardly noticed internationally, it is recognised locally as an important turning point in the island’s transition to democracy, and it galvanised the Taiwanese people into action.
With the glittering lights of Taipei - a futuristic metropolis of culture and ideas - sparkling nearby, Keelung is the first calling point for many visitors arriving in Taiwan. While this port city essentially serves as Taipei's ocean gateway, you shouldn’t be too hasty in dashing off to Taipei's neon-lit magic – first it’s well worth spending some time exploring the famous glowing night market, which hums with life each evening and is famous for its local seafood.
Silver Spirit was launched in December 2009, and features more verandas, dining choices and amenities than the earlier Silversea ships.