Asia, a Blend of Tradition and Modernity (Haiphong - Osaka)
14 days with Ponant Rating:
DAY 1 – HAIPHONG
Departure at 18H00.
On the banks of the Red River Delta, Haiphong is one of Vietnam's three major ports. Contemporary and outward-looking, the city also has a rich past. One stunning example of its old colonial town is the Du Hang pagoda, the gateway to Hanoi, the county's capital and a symbol of its anti-colonial struggle. Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam's independence here in 1945, where his body rests in the middle of the Ba Dinh square in his mausoleum. A few hundred metres away is the wrought-iron fence that surrounds the Presidential Palace and the delicate One Pillar Pagoda. Further south, kick back in the peace and quiet of the Confucian Temple of Literature.
DAY 2 – HA LONG BAY
Located 170 kilometres east of Hanoi, in the gulf of Tonkin, Halong bay is a marvel of marvels. A must for all who wish to soak up the spirit of Vietnam, at once peaceful and mysterious. You’ll sail into the heart of this legendary natural beauty, not surprisingly listed as UNESCO World Heritage. Over approximately 1,500 square kilometres, the famous bay offers an infinite quasi supernatural and ghostly spectacle of limestone pillars rising from the sea in all shapes and sizes, sculpted by nature for centuries. This exceptional scenic beauty of this site includes myriad creeks, caves and other interior lakes to feast your eyes on.
DAY 3 – AT SEA
During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This day without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the PONANT photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observe marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.
DAYS 4-5 – HONG KONG
Hong Kong, known as the “Fragrant harbour”, bordered by the South China Sea, is a heady place attracting tourists from the world over. This former British colony today combines ultramodern shopping malls and authentic markets like the Ladie’s Market or the night market on Temple Street. At first sight, you’ll be overwhelmed by the city’s architecture which, because of lack of ground space, reaches skywards, with its 1,250 skyscrapers and other towers. Believing is seeing, so if you go up to Victoria Peak, the highest point on the island, you’ll see a dizzying and unforgettable view of the bay.
DAYS 6-7 – AT SEA
DAYS 8-9 – SHANGHAI
Set in the most amazing geographic location, Shanghai has fast become the largest economic and commercial hub in China. Although this futuristic megalopolis is the capital of excess, it still has soul. See for yourself as you stroll around the Bund district, emblematic of old Shanghai. From here, you can reach People's Square, a must-see vast and luminous space bordered by historical monuments. In the former French concession, you'll be able to appreciate the charm of the most Westernised of Chinese cities: a haven of peace in the heart of an urban jungle!
DAY 10 – NAGASAKI
Located on the north-west coast of Kyushu, Nagasaki will impress you by its rich heritage. Despite the destruction in 1945, you can visit several ancient sites, including the beautiful 19th-century Catholic Church of Oura and its garden, the sanctuary of Suwa Shrine or several Buddhist temples. A visit to the Atomic Bomb Museum gives you insight into the extent of the damage caused by the nuclear attack. Close by, a walk in the Memorial Peace Park leads you to a collection of objets d'art offered as a gift from Japan to the world.
DAY 11 – KARATSU
Karatsu Bay is edged with long sandy beaches and a huge pine forest that was planted over 350 years ago to protect the coast from the winds and tides of the Genkai Sea. From the top of the donjon of Karatsu Castle or Mount Kagami, you will be able to admire magnificent panoramas. In the north of the Higashi-Matsuura Peninsula, the waves have eroded the lava plateau and carved a magnificent natural site, the seven Nanatsugama Caves, out of the basalt. The city of Karatsu is famous for the quality of its pottery, which is influenced by the craftsmanship of nearby Korea. Very fine pieces are displayed in the city’s galleries and at Karatsu Castle, alongside magnificent samurai armour.
DAY 12 – HIROSHIMA, MIYAJIMA ISLAND
Visiting Hiroshima is a moving experience. The town spreads along Honshu Island, along the inside coasts of Seto. While firmly focused on the future, Hiroshima doesn't forget its past, and a visit to the Peace Memorial Park and Genbaku Dome is a must. You'll enjoy the city's modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere and effervescent nightlife just as much as the peaceful stillness of its natural parkland areas such as splendid Shukkei-en, the town's historic garden.
At the heart of the Inland Sea, Miyajima, the “island sanctuary” will reveal its treasures. In the background you will see the Shinto Grand Sanctuary, whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermillion “Torii“. Considered to be one of the most beautiful sites in the Japanese islands, you will be transported by the unique character and the serenity of this sacred site.
DAY 13 – TAKAMATSU
A former fortified city, ruled over by the Matsudaira clan from the Tamamo castle with its seawater moats, the city is home to one of the most beautiful classic gardens in Japan, the Ritsurin. It was created by the barons of the city at the start of the Edo period, during which time gardening became a profession in its own right. Its landscape incorporates Mount Shiun in the background, an example of what is known as the shakkei technique, which uses the surrounding landscapes to increase the beauty of the gardens.
DAY 14 – OSAKA
Disembarkation at 07H00.
Like its big sister Tokyo, Osaka is the product of ancestral traditions and amazing technological innovations. And despite its size, its location on the Pacific Ocean give it a sense of serenity. The main historic landmark is the 16th-century Osaka Castle, which stands proud in the midst of majestic skyscrapers. The lively streets of Dotomburi and the bizarre Shinsekai district attract thousands of locals and visitors. A multitude of restaurants offer menus full of regional specialities: takoyaki, made with octopus, and other succulent dishes such as kushikatsu kebabs.
All This Included
Set off to encounter age-old civilisations during a 15-day cruise in Asia aboard Le Lapérouse. A PONANT itinerary taking you from Vietnam to Japan via China.
From Haiphong, you’ll discover the Bay of Ha Long, a real jewel of Vietnam. Sailing among the limestone pillars, grottos and arches of this site with its surreal atmosphere will undoubtedly be the defining moment of your cruise.
A former British colony, Hong Kong is unlike any other city. Hiding behind the crowds and the neons are temples and markets, a strange mix of modernity and tradition.
Le Lapérouse will then set sail for Shanghai, a futuristic city with a thousand faces. In this Chinese megalopolis with contrasting architecture, the spirit of the 1930s still seems to reign over certain streets, particularly in the Bund waterfront area.
In Nagasaki, don’t miss out on the visit of the Peace Memorial, built in tribute to the victims of the atomic bomb in 1945.
We will call at Hiroshima, the gateway to the Miyajima, home to the majestic Shinto Shrine, whose entrance is guarded by a magnificent vermilion torii.
You will disembark in Osaka, a modern, forward-looking city, in the heart of the Japanese archipelago.
Cruising: Standard cabin onboard Le Laperouse
Terms and Conditions
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.