Boudicca, Cultural Treasures of the Far East ex Cairns to Colombo
From Cairns To Dubai - 42 Nights
- Departing from:
- 42 Nights
- Travel Dates:
- 09/01/2020 to 20/02/2020
Price per person
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42 Night Cruise sailing from Cairns to Colombo aboard Boudicca.
After immersing yourself in Papua New Guinea’s authentic culture and fascinating history, you’re in for an unforgettable insight into Asia’s remarkable diversity as Boudicca guides you on an epic adventure featuring a collection of contrasting destinations, from the gorgeous islands of Indonesia to stunning Singapore and energetic Indian cities.
Your time in Papua New Guinea will include a chance to experience Alotau’s Cultural Festival, with its live performances of traditional tribal music, dance and chanting that are not-to-be-missed. There’s opportunities to go in search of war ‘relics’, including Japanese World War II tunnels and caves, during calls at Wewak and Madang too. Then Indonesia’s magical island scenes will provide a memorable welcome to Asia. You’ll visit Ambon Island, where gently mountainous landscapes and picturesque bays are yours to explore; stop at Komodo Island to encounter Komodo Dragons, the world’s largest lizard; and visit beautiful Bali for the verdant Ubus rice terraces and inviting, sun-soaked beaches. Stopping overnight in Singapore, boasting soaring skyscrapers and vibrant city life, makes for an interesting contrast, before Phuket provides yet another taste of island paradise. Don’t miss the chance to ride a speedboat to iconic Phang Nga Bay and ‘James Bond Island’. Sailing on to Myanmar, Thilawa is your stopping point for taking in the wonders of this extraordinary country. The awe-inspiring golden and gem-laden spires of the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites, awaits your discovery in nearby Yangon, while the spiritual city of Bagan is also within reach on tour.
Then, after visiting Colombo, the Sri Lankan capital, an immersive Indian exploration begins in Kochi. During your overnight stay of Kerala State’s picturesque coast, you can see the famous Chinese cantilever fishing nets and the British Commonwealth’s oldest synagogue, or even opt for an overland tour to the iconic Taj Mahal. Goa is a treat to savour next, with another overnight stay affording time to explore Old Goa and the Latin Quarter or relax at postcard-perfect beaches, before continuing on to magnificent Mumbai for an enthralling mix of old and modern India. Take chances visit the UNESCO-listed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Railway Station, Dhobi Ghat – the world’s largest open-air laundry district – and more. You’re sure to spot busy Dabbawallas delivering lunches across the city as you explore. For a memorable end to your time in India, it’s on to Porbandar, the birthplace of Gandhi. Be sure to visit Kirti Mandir – Gandhi’s childhood home – and the Sudama Temple, a Hindu pilgrimage site dedicated to the devotee of Lord Krishna, to capture Porbandar’s spiritual importance.
Highlights of this cruise:
Cairns is the gateway to Queensland’s tropical north, and is a stylish city renowned for its sultry climate and laid back ambience.The city used to be popular with visitors who came in search of gold, but now they visit to discover something even more precious: the Great Barrier Reef. The unmissable coral reef is easily accessible via boat trips from the city.
Cairns is also home to the beautiful Wet Tropics Rainforest. The best way to see this natural wonder is to take the Kuranda Scenic Railway – it goes north from the city, over bridges and through tunnels carved from the cliff-face and to the village of Kuranda. From there, the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway goes on a 7.5km trip, carrying passengers in glass-sided gondolas above the rainforest canopy, with a couple of stops en route to explore the forest floor.
The focal point of Cairns itself is the Esplanade, a two kilometre boulevard along the shore with cafés, bars, piazzas, fine historic buildings and a swimming lagoon that makes up for the lack of beach. The Tanks Art Centre and nearby Flecker Botanical Gardens are worth uncovering, while the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park recounts stories of indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait people through music and dance.
Alotau, Papua New Guinea
Spread out across the hillsides and beautiful northern shores of Papua New Guinea’s picturesque Milne Bay, Alotau assumes a rarely visited, undiscovered feel. Visitors to Alotau can connect with nature amongst the town’s scenic surroundings and fauna-rich waters; unwind at the untrodden volcanic black sand beaches; and immerse themselves in authentic local culture. Alotau natives are proud of Papua New Guinea’s age-old heritage and traditions, which are celebrated at the not-to-be-missed Alotau Cultural Festival – an extravaganza of tribal music, dance and chanting. Also worth visiting for a taste of traditional life is Alotau’s bustling town market.
Although Alotau is relaxed and laid back today, it was an entirely different place just a few decades ago. In World War II, Alotau was on many occasions at the centre of fierce and bloody battles between Australian Allied soldiers and Japanese troops. It was here where the Japanese suffered its first decisive defeat in the Pacific Theatre. The Australian War Memorial offers a detailed description of the Battle of Milne Bay, while the Turnbull Memorial – a short distance from Alotau – commemorates the death of Australian Squadron Leader Peter St George Turnbull, who was killed during the battle.
The Indonesian island of Komodo, is a combination of rusty-red volcanic hills, savannah and forests, and is the rugged habitat of the 3m-long Komodo dragon monitor lizard. Komodo National Park covers this entire region and is home to more than 4,000 dragons. The surrounding seas have extensive coral reefs, mangrove swamps and sea-grass beds, and are occupied by a variety of sharks, dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and whales. The park was established to protect the unique Komodo Dragon and the local ecosystem. Visits to the island are strictly controlled and only a limited number of organised tours can gain access.
The rain-forested, mountainous island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea, has some of Thailand’s most spectacular beaches situated along the clear blue waters of its western shore. This idyllic high-end island resort contrasts nicely with the culturally-rich capital, Phuket Town, which offers busy markets and fabulous food.
Thailand’s largest island, Phuket, is connected to the southern tip of the country by a couple of short road bridges. The island has wonderful soft white beaches, fringed by shady palm trees and grass huts. Just offshore, many uninhabited outcrops of tall limestone crags rise straight out of the sea and cry out to be explored. Phuket is the ideal spot to truly relax and unwind with incredible views of the surrounding bays.
In Phuket Town, the Thalang National Museum has fascinating displays about the island’s indigenous culture. There are a couple of Hindu Temples on the island, as well as a number of Buddhist shrines, including the Wat Chalong Temple, which is the centre for worship on Phuket. High in the Nakkerd Hills, northwest of Chalong Circle, the 45m-high Big Buddha sits in imposing fashion on the island’s finest viewpoint.
Yangon has earned the nickname ‘The Garden City of the East’ due its lush green trees, shaded parkland and beautiful lakes. But Yangon (formerly Rangoon) is also the commercial and increasingly cosmopolitan capital of Myanmar.
From the port Thilawa, a visit to Yangon reveals a mix of British colonial architecture, modern high-rises and gilded Buddhist pagodas that define its eclectic skyline. The downtown pavements are one huge open-air market, and feature some of the most impressive colonial architecture in Southeast Asia, alongside a swathe of new shops, restaurants and bars.
The city has barely changed at all, and the Shwedagon Paya, a glistening, awe-inspiring golden Buddhist monument is seemingly the centre of everything. An eye-catching wealth of colour and pigments on its 326ft-high curved exterior gives way to the top of the Pagoda’s crown which is encrusted with diamonds, rubies and other gemstones. Locals and monarchs often donate gold to ensure this incredible structure maintains its beauty.
The city’s other notable religious sites include the Botataung and Sule Pagodas, both containing Buddhist relics.
Colombo, Sri Lanka
The port city of Colombo on Sri Lanka’s Western coast is rich with colonial heritage, religions, races and cultures. With a population of over 4.5 million people, Colombo is a bustling, fascinating and noisy city. It combines Dutch and British colonial buildings, with Buddhist temples, Islamic mosques, Christian churches, and modern gleaming skyscrapers. The impressive Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, is worth uncovering and it borders the sprawling Viharamahadevi Park, home to a giant Buddha.
The narrow cobbled streets of Pettah, the main bazaar district, are full of shops and street markets selling an amazing array of goods at bargain prices. There are plenty of places to eat, from small shops selling pancakes to coffee shops and upmarket restaurants.
A more rustic, slow-paced Sri Lankan experience can be found in nearby Negombo, with its quaint village streets and lively fish market. Alternatively, sun seekers can venture to the private beach of Mt. Lavinia, located on the breath-taking Golden Mile beachfront; a living legacy to the secret love story between the British Governor General of Ceylon, Sir Thomas Maitland, and the mestizo dancer, Lovina.
Mormugão is the main port of the tiny State of Goa, renowned for superb beaches and a colonial history that combines the best of Indian and Portuguese culture.
Known as the ‘Pearl of the Orient’, Goa showcases a mix of scenic beauty and architectural delights, from golden beaches and spice plantations to striking temples and bustling markets.
The Arch of the Viceroys was built in 1597 to commemorate Vasco da Gama’s arrival in India, while the nearby Church of St. Cajetan is modelled on St. Peter’s in Rome. Opposite the magnificent Se Cathedral at Old Goa – one of the largest churches in Asia, is the Basilica of Bom. Here the remains of Francis Xavier, a founder of the Jesuit order and patron saint of Goa, lie in a silver casket next to the altar.
Yoga is king in Goa, and the crop of spiritual activities available to visitors grows each year. T’ai chi sessions, Reiki healing courses, meditation, and most forms of spiritual exploration are all practised freely. The scents, spices and flavours of Goa’s cuisine is the area’s other main attraction, and the Indo-Portuguese influence will surprise and tantalise even seasoned travellers.
Once a cluster of seven islands covered with coconut palms, Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is a sprawling, vibrant city on India’s west coast. It is a busy, densely-populated city, home to India’s most prolific film industry, Bollywood, and the largest tropical forest in an urban zone.
Mumbai can prove to be a surprising introduction to India. On its harbour waterfront stands the iconic Gateway of India stone arch; through it is India’s centre for finance and fashion, and a fervent religious crossroads. As such the city’s furious energy – and often heavy air pollution – can make it a totally different experience for visitors.
But once in Mumbai’s heart, some of the most imposing colonial-era architecture on earth is on view, as are its secret bazaars, hidden temples, and India’s top restaurants and intense nightlife.
The cultural mix is extraordinary: religious sites like the Jain Temple and the closely guarded Parsi Towers of Silence all exist happily next to the Victoria Railway Terminus, the Royal Bombay Yacht Club and the Ghandi Memorial Museum. The unique and popular bazaars offer souvenir trinkets, traditional shawls and shoes all ready to be bartered over.
Venturing beyond Mumbai, the elusive and lesser known Elephanta Caves are captivating. Set in attractive surroundings of lush green vegetation, vines and towering trees, Elephanta Island offers a stark contrast from the bustling inner city of Mumbai. The eerie Buddhist and Hindu caves, and their honeycomb of halls, shrines and pillars, are a must-see.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
To the south of the Arabian Peninsula, Dubai uniquely blends traditional Arabia with the lure of an ultramodern city. The emirate is a relatively new tourist destination that has gained popularity through its luxury shopping and stunning architecture. It is a world of sharp contrasts: from the contemporary malls, hotels and theme parks to the historic culture of Dubai’s Shindagha and Bastakiya districts.
Experience the soaring Burj Khalifa Tower, the world’s tallest building, visit the man-made Atlantis Palm Island or take a drive through the Arabian Desert, where the sand dunes display a spectacular sight at sunrise. The beaches stretch as far as the eye can see – the water sports on Kite Beach are a particular attraction – and limitless culinary delights await in award-winning Michelin star restaurants. The city is alive 24/7, and the nightlife is famously upbeat. Some tranquillity, however, can be found at the Al-Mamzar Park.
Dynamic Dubai is constantly developing and evolving, including what can be picked up in the traditional Souks. From the usual spices and delicious local treats to more extravagant items including gold, silver, precious stones and perfumes, the atmospheric lanes of old Dubai are piled high with aromatic and glittering surprises.