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Top Southeast Asia Shore Excursions

Top Southeast Asia Shore Excursions

By CindyUpdated Oct. 27, 2022

Indulge in the exotic essence of Southeast Asia, on a popular voyage starting from Hong Kong and ending in Singapore, or vice-versa. Whether you choose to explore the Old Quarter of Hanoi, visit the ancient town of Hoi An, sample street food and local markets in Bangkok, or just relax on a picturesque beach on Phuket Island, you’ll be fascinated by the region’s diverse mystique.

Travelers have been attracted here for centuries and a shore excursion allows you to experience the highlights of various well-traveled destinations. The following outline introduces you to some of the possible classic shore excursions on your voyage.


There are three main ports in Vietnam: Cai Lan (30 minutes to Halong Bay, 3 to 4 hours to central Hanoi), Chan May (90 minutes to Hue, 1 hour to Da Nang and 95 minutes to Hoi An), and Phu My (1 hour and 20 minutes to downtown Ho Chi Minh, 2 hours and 40 minutes to Cu Chi Tunnels, 2 hours and 20 minutes to the Mekong Delta).

Halong Bay/Hanoi (Cai Lan Port)

Highlights: Glide through the placid waters of Halong Bay and explore the inner workings of a cave. Weave through the Old Quarter of Hanoi and sample street food there.

A visit to the north is not complete without a trip to Halong Bay, where thousands of limestone islets and karst caves stand dramatically on the emerald waters. Embark on a traditional private boat to discover some of the world’s outstanding natural wonders. You will have the chance to disembark on some tiny islands and to go into a cave for further exploration.

We offer either a 4-hour or an 8-hour boat trip for you to discover Halong Bay. If time allows, drive directly to the center of Hanoi to start your journey. You will see Hanoi at its authentic best when you walk through the Old Quarter’s narrow streets and look for the hidden street food. It’s nice for convenience to stay overnight in Hanoi, if your cruise departs the next morning.

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Hue/ Hoi An (Chan May Port)

Highlights: Explore the royal grandeur of the palace and ancient tombs, before a picturesque boat trip on the Perfume River in Hue. Visit the well-preserved ancient town of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hue was recognized by UNESCO as a world cultural heritage site. During a visit to some landmarks in Hue, you’ll explore the former grandeur of royalty and learn about some ancient culture. See the Imperial City, which was modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing. Visit the Thien Mu Pagoda and tombs of the emperors. Take a scenic cruise on the Perfume River, to delight in its quaint scenery.

Spend the day in Hoi An, a well-preserved ancient town, like Hue also a UNESCO world heritage site. Learn about its history and delve into its diverse cultural background, while wandering round the winding lanes, past ancient assembly halls, temples and handicraft workshops in the old town. Stop at the bustling market to savor a traditional Vietnamese meal.

Ho Chi Minh City/Cu Chi Tunnels/Mekong Delta (Phu My Port)

Highlights: Experience a blend of ancient and modern culture in Ho Chi Minh City. Explore the underground Cu Chi Tunnels and learn about their history. Discover the bustling waterways and the lifestyles in local villages.

Your journey begins with an introduction to a vibrant southern metropolis, repository of a wide variety of historical and modern-day sights. You’ll explore several of Saigon’s many attractions, such as the Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral, Reunification Palace, the War Remnants Museum, Thien Hau Temple and Saigon Opera House.

Explore an underground network of tunnels where Viet Cong fighters lived during the war. The Cu Chi tunnels served as a safe haven for soldiers to remain undetected and allowed Viet Cong to control a vital area of South Vietnam. Learn about the use of dioramas, about the network of tunnels, guerrilla tools and weapons. Visit meeting areas, store rooms, living quarters and much more.

The Mekong Delta is a flourishing region interlaced with countless waterways serving local traffic. Following a drive through some villages, you’ll arrive at the pier to board a wooden boat for an interesting cruise past villages and floating markets. The trip offers a vivid impression of life along the canals. You’ll have a chance to visit a local farm to sample some fresh tropical fruit.

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Sihanoukville port is the only deep-water port in Cambodia. The town center is about a 15-minute drive inland and the beaches are also easily accessible. When you finish visiting this small town, you’ll be transferred to Sihanoukville airport to catch your flight to Siem Reap. The flight takes about an hour.

Sihanoukville Town/Siem Reap (Sihanoukville Port)

Highlights: The white sandy beaches are the most prominent natural feature of Sihanoukville town. The enormous temple complex at Angkor is one of the most impressive religious sites on earth.

Spanning most of the surrounding coastline, beaches are definitely the area’s main draw. Your cruise passes by villages, pagodas, and white sandy beaches, en route to relaxing and unwinding at the idyllic seaside, with impressive views over the ocean.

Leave your ship for up to two nights and take a flight to Siem Reap to see the Angkor temples — the sacred ruins of the vast political and religious center of the ancient Khmer empire.

You’ll visit Angkor Wat — the national symbol of Cambodia. Originally built as an earthly representation of Mt Meru, the center of the physical and metaphysical universes of Hindu faith, Angkor Wat was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple construction represents the ultimate expression of Khmer genius.

Be surrounded by hundreds of giant stone-carved Buddha faces, with peaceful smiles, at Bayon temple. Walk into the scene of the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, to see tree branches and roots encase the ruins of Ta Prohm temple. Appreciate the fine elaborate stone carvings in Banteay Srei. Enjoy breathtaking sunset moments from the top of Pre Rup temple. You’ll have such memorable and timeless experiences here.

A Southeast Asia Overview for a Shorter Vacation


There are three main ports in Thailand: Laem Chabang (2 hours from downtown Bangkok), Phuket and Koh Samui.

Bangkok (Laem Chabang Port)

Highlights: Visit the Grand Palace, which is the symbol of Thailand and the former royal residence. Take a journey down the legendary Chao Phraya River.

Bangkok is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in Asia, with a blend of ancient and modern. The Grand Palace is a must-see attraction, with a priceless emerald Buddha. It’s the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. You’ll see the Reception Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Throne Hall, Wat Phra Kaew and more.

Continue the cruise along the scenic Chao Phraya River, regarded as the principal water artery of the Thai nation; much of Thai history can be traced along the river. A boat trip gives you a fresh perspective on the city, along with opportunities to visit some attractive spots. Save some time to explore local eateries and sample the famous Thai cuisine.


Highlights: Discover the natural beauty and historic landmarks of Thailand’s largest island.

Splendid beaches, dramatic coastlines and beautiful bays are the main attractions in Phuket. You’ll drive through Phuket town alongside pristine beaches before reaching the “Three Beaches” viewpoint, to take in the stunning view. This will be followed by a leisurely drive around Phuket town, to see historic local buildings, and a stroll around the local markets. Finally, after visiting the best-known local monastery, drive to the sunset viewpoint.

Koh Samui

Highlights: Take in the coastal beauty and scenic highlights. Watch a demonstration of monkeys picking coconuts.

Relax and unwind at Chaweng Beach, the most popular beach in Koh Samui. Continue to Lamai Beach to observe Grand Parent Rocks, a natural wonder. After visits to an elephant camp and a traditional fishing village, you’ll arrive at a coconut plantation. Koh Samui is an island of coconuts and harvesting this commodity requires special skill. You’ll watch an entertaining performance by some of the monkeys employed in the coconut-harvesting industry.

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Thilawa port is a deep river port at the south of Yangon. It takes about an hour to get from Thilawa to downtown Yangon.

Yangon (Thilawa Port)

Highlights: Embrace the many highlights of Yangon, such as the most glittering pagoda — Shwedagon pagoda.

Walk around the colonial district to discover the unique culture and history of Yangon. Continue to Chauktat Gyi pagoda, to catch a glimpse of the most revered reclining Buddha. Proceed to the National Museum to see a varied collection of statues, carvings and Buddha images and to learn about the past.

Finally, stand in front of the most sacred Shwedagon pagoda, to experience the unique atmosphere there. Watch the worship of many pilgrims and explore the subsidiary shrines.


Designed as an architectural icon, the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, Singapore, serves as a marine gateway to the city. It only takes about 15 minutes to reach downtown and 20 minutes to the Changi International Airport, via convenient public transportation.

Singapore (Marina Bay Cruise Centre)

Highlights: Filled with modern skyscrapers, Singapore has a dynamic mix of cultures. Step into different districts to experience the distinct charm.

There are so many things to see here, from exotic sights to landmark structures. It’s a good idea to explore the city by neighborhood; Marina Bay, Little India, Chinatown and Sentasa Island, for example. First-time visitors may find it hard to know where to start.

For guests with flights departing at night, we provide a half-day excursion and a transfer to the airport. If you want to extend your vacation here, just tell us your preferences and we’ll customize your Singapore tour based on these.

Continue to read:

Top Cruise Ports in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia Shore Excursions FAQ

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Our travel advisors are very glad to give you suggestions on shore excursions. They can tailor-make your trip according to your preference and make good connections among different countries.

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