Sri Lanka is known as the “”Pearl of Indian Ocean” for its golden beaches, inclusive cultural sites and lush tea plantations so it’s no wonder the country is being taunted as one of the next big ‘hot spot’ destination. With endless beaches, timeless ruins, welcoming people, amazing wildlife, rolling surf and famous tea has made Sri Lanka irresistible to the cultural seeking traveller. However, its the sensational food coming from the island that is making the headlines. Sri Lanka is also known as the Spice Island and the huge variety of spices exported from the island has influenced cuisines all over the globe.
This weeks Cruise Deal takes us to three Sri Lankan ports, while also giving you the convenience of sailing from Singapore. Our voyage this week is on board the Maasdam of Holland America Lines.
After flying from Australia on the 24th September, you will have two nights in a downtown Singapore hotel to soak in the sights and sounds, foods and fashions of Singapore, before making your way to the cruise ship terminal and up the gangway to the Maasdam. The cruise begins with an overnight stay at the culturally diverse city-state of Singapore, before sailing to the UNESCO World Heritage site Malacca, Malaysia. While at Malacca you will see the city’s history as a meeting place of east and west with Malaysia’s oldest church, St. Paul’s, constructed by the Portuguese; the country’s oldest Chinatown; and Stadthuys, the one-time city hall and the oldest Dutch building in Southeast Asia.
Continuing with the Malaysian theme with a call at Penang. Penang is divided by the Strait of Malacca into Penang Island and on the Malay Peninsula, Seberang Perai. It’s easy to relax the day away in George Town on Penang Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with ornate historic houses, charming streets and delicious culinary options such as spicy Laksa (coconut-curry soup) and Kopi Peng (iced coffee with condensed milk).
Onwards to Phuket, Thailand where you must see the city’s Big Buddha, which sits high on a mountain with knockout views of the coastline. After Phuket, the cruise enters the Indian Ocean for three sea days before reaching Sri Lankan shores.
After a day at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, the cruise will arrive at Hambantota, the main port on the island’s southern coast. Guests will be treated to a relatively undiscovered part of Sri Lanka since this area was off-limits during the country’s civil war. But this is a laid-back city is ready to be explored. Along with its seemingly endless golden-sand beaches fringed by coconut palms, guests should look no further than a tour to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s second-largest nature reserve, for a sight of one of the elusive leopards that prowl among its jungles.
The ship then makes way to Malé, Maldives. The capital of the Maldives, Malé is located on the Kaafu Atolland is encircled by sea walls where guests can get a taste of Maldivian culture. While in Malé, guests should visit the National Museum, which has collections of relics from the foregone pre-Islamic period era, thrones, royal sunshades and furniture, costumes and shoes, coins, ornaments, arms and armour.
Heading north you will arrive at Uligamu, Maldives, one of the northernmost Maldivian islands, before re-entering the Laccadive Sea and arriving at Colombo, Sri Lanka. Colombo is relatively new to modern-day tourism, but what it lacks in touristic history it makes up for in many other ways — as Sri Lanka’s capital city has been a crucial trading post for more than 2,000 years. While in Colombo, many visitors head for the pristine beaches or head up the mountains to explore Sri Lanka’s tea country. Guests can also head to the bustling markets that are coupled with ancient Buddhist temples ready to be visited.
From Colombo, Maasdam makes an eastward turn for three sea days before arriving at Porto Malai, Langkawi, Malaysia. While some 99 islands make up the Malaysian archipelago of Langkawi, Pulau Langkawi, the largest island, is the destination where cruise ships call at Porto Malai. At Langkawi, scuba enthusiasts can dive into the Andaman Sea that surrounds the island for the perfect opportunity to see colourful coral reefs. From Porto Malai, the voyage heads to Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur at Port Kelang. “KL” — as it’s often called — has been determined to become one of the world’s great and modern cities, which is best sensed with the imposing Petronas Towers. But for guests who prefer to see historic Kuala Lumpur, the city also has preserved some rich historic architecture, including the cheerful Art Deco Central Market, the Mughal-style Old Railway Station and the Tudor Revival Royal Selangor Club. The journey reaches its end back at the equally modern city-state of Singapore, and your return flight to Australia awaits
So, don’t miss out on this amazing cruise, and this 22 night Fly, Cruise and Stay package is priced at a sensational low fare of just $5,499 per person!!! Plus, if you say you heard this on the Cruise & Travel Show, we’ll throw in your shipboard gratuities!
Call the guys at Travel Masters on 1800 672 988 to grab that cabin!!