Singapore to Cochin
17 days with Silversea Rating:
Day 1 Singapore
Departure 5:00 PM
Advanced, airy and elevated, Singapore is a spectacular, futuristic vision of utopian city life. A healthy population of almost six million call it home, but this is a city designed with space to breathe, and gorgeous outdoor parks, massive indoor greenhouses and beautiful recreational spaces spread between the City of Gardens' skyscrapers and soaring structures. Once a quiet fishing village, now a glistening island city-state and an international beacon of science, education and technology. Singapore is almost intimidatingly clean - and the hyper-efficient public transport system whips residents and visitors across the city's neighbourhoods in a heartbeat. Glorious fountains and audacious skyscrapers loom up - nodding to traditional feng shui beliefs - and putting on dazzling illuminated displays after dark. The lush green botanical gardens are a spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering 52 hectares and decorated with impressive colourful orchids. Or breathe in more of the freshest air by heading up to wander the canopy strung bridges of MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Head for the iconic Marina Bay - a landmark of the city crowned by three interconnected towers, which watch out over island sprinkled waters. Jaunt between Little India and the atmospheric Chinatown in minutes, where beautiful temples - like the Chinese Thian Hock Keng Temple and Hindu Sri Mariamman Temple add rich cultural intrigue. Singapore's cuisine is a mouthwatering fusion of its Indian, Chinese, Indonesian, and Malay influences, taking and enhancing the best of each. Enjoy dishes in towering restaurants, or toast the glowing skyline with the city's eponymous gin-soaked cocktail - a Singapore Sling.
Day 2 Day At Sea
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.
Day 3 Anak Krakatoa
In the Sunda Strait of Indonesia lies an area that in 1883 was witness to one of the most devastating volcanic eruptions in historical times. Anak Krakatoa ("the child of Krakatoa" in Bahasa Indonesia) is a volcano that first emerged from the sea in the same spot in 1930 and has grown continuously since the 1950s. The active nature of the volcano is the ultimate decider of whether or not a landing can be made on the black sand beaches of the island. Krakatoa’s active fumaroles, lava flows, beautifully colored rocks and the volcano itself are all stunning.
Day 4 Ujung Kulon National Park
Found at the western tip of Java in Banten Province, the Ujung Kulon National Park –a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991- includes the Ujung Kulon Peninsula and several neighboring islands. The park not only has the most extensive lowland semi-evergreen rainforest on Java, a result of the evacuation of the area after Krakatoa’s eruption and tsunami in 1883, it also includes the Krakatau Nature Reserve to the north. The special interest of this park is the on-going evolution of geological and biological processes since Krakatoa’s eruption in the late 19th century. The park is the last remaining viable natural refuge for the endemic, critically endangered and rarely seen single-horned Javan rhinoceros. Several species of cats and civets, the endemic Javan gibbon and Javan leaf monkey and three types of deer can also be found in the park. During rainforest walks some of the more than 220 bird species recorded can be seen. Ujung Kulon’s marine areas were reported to have some of the richest fish fauna in Indonesia.
Day 5 Day At Sea
Day 6 Padang (Sumatra) Gateway For Cupek
Padang is part old port town, and part modern capital of West Sumatra. Dutch colonialists traded coffee and spices from the harbor starting in the 17th century. Driving out from Padang one can reach Cupek, a Minangkabau village in Sumatra’s interior. The ancestral homelands of the Minangkabau are centered in West Sumatra’s lush highlands and stretch as far as the seashore. They claim the world’s largest matrilineal society and ownership of a family’s property—their homes, rice paddies and the like—passes from mother to daughter. Crops like rice, cabbage, beans and the all-important chilies grow in abundance, and the Minangnese are known for their spicy, sumptuous cuisine.
Day 7 Bawemataluwo
The local village of Bawomataluo is found in the Nias Islands where the islanders were once said to be fierce. Traditionally, passing through various stages of growth for a child or juvenile required that animals be slaughtered or enemies killed. Therefore young men prepared to become warriors at an early age. One of the preparations was stone jumping, a ritual where youngsters jumped over 1.5 to 2-meter (5 to 6.5 feet) high stone towers. Once a boy could jump over the stone tower, it signified that he was ready to assume the responsibilities of a man. Still today, Nias boys start preparing for their stone jump at the age of ten. In addition to the fascinating culture of Bawomataluo, there are birds to look for here including the resplendent Stork-billed Kingfisher.
Day 8 Day At Sea
Days 9-10 Belawan For Gunung Leuser National Park
To call North Sumatra’s Gunung Leuser National Park big is an understatement. It’s vast. It’s epic. At over 3,000 square miles, its behemoth. The park is named after Mount Leuser (10,230 feet) and straddles the border of North Sumatra and Aceh provinces. The range pf ecosystems in the park is astonishing; tropical rain forest, lowland forest, mountainous terrain, freshwater lakes and rivers and alpine meadows are just the beginning. This glorious diversity has earnt the park its place as a UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere Reserve site. Over 120 mammals, 350 species of birds and 4000 plant species are found in the park, including the exponentially rare Sumatran elephant, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran rhinoceros, sambar deer and leopard cat. Wildlife sightings are guaranteed. By following your experienced guide’s advice, trek in silence, wait and listen. You’ll be greeted with a cacophony of squawks and squeals and sightings that will go down in your personal history. Don’t be surprised if you hear the distinct kissing mating calls of orang-utan. The Bohorok Orangutan Sanctuary of Bukit Lawang is located on the eastern side of the park and is one of the world’s leaders for orang-utan observation. From its inception in 1973 to its temporary closing after a flash flood destroyed it in 2002, the rehabilitation centre cared for and released captive orang-utans to the wild. Thanks to several international aid agencies, the centre was rebuilt in 2004 and continues to do exceptionally fine work.
Days 11-13 Day At Sea
Day 14 Galle
Galle is an ancient Muslim port where different political influences from Europe have merged. In fact, the Galle Fort was occupied by the Portuguese, Dutch and British until the late 19th century. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, it is surrounded by the sea on three sides. The surviving Dutch-colonial architecture and narrow streets exude the historic atmosphere of this living fort. The 18th century Dutch church has a splendid wooden memorial to one of the commanders of Galle, while the Arab quarter has a distinctly Moorish touch.
Day 15 Colombo
Perfumed flower garlands, colonial roots, and lavish afternoon teas welcome you to the former garden city of Colombo. Sri Lanka’s easy breezy city is certainly intoxicating, with its cinnamon dusted air, steaming cups of delicate ceylon, and sassy seaside charm. A place of full sensory immersion, explore tangled streets to sidestep frantic tuk-tuks and gaze in awe at grand colonial buildings turned heritage hotels. Cute cafes usher you inside for sweet lassi, and the walls are made for a pleasantly laxidasical pace of walking. They're perhaps most impressive on stormy days, when you can watch bruised clouds tumble and roil across the sea from this perfect vantage point. Back in the capital, stroll the ornate halls of the National Museum where gilded swords, studded masks, and rare artefacts from the ancient world and colonial times are gathered. Visit the Gangaramaya Temple, to walk among the orange-robed monks who glide between flora-strewn alters, or plunge into the chaos of Pettah - where market cries reach orchestral heights. An incredible gathering of carved Hindu gods decorate the colourful pyramid of the Captain’s Garden Kovil temple - the oldest Hindu temple in the city, which rises majestically from the surrounding railway tracks. Forever the dish of the day, crab is a must in Colombo. Sit down, tuck in your bib and use your hands to crack, scoop and suck out the soft white meat – especially delicious when smothered in lashings of garlic and fiery chilli.
Days 16-17 Cochin
Arrive 11:00 AM (Day 16)
A hodgepodge of cultures collide on the banks of the estuary where Cochin carves out her home. Chinese fishing nets the size of skyscrapers, boxy Dutch architecture and pretty Portuguese palaces point to the blend of influence here, while the Raj era remnants, soaring spires of old-world mosques, and near-abandoned synagogues all add to the dense, varied tapestry of inspirations and imprints. Founded by a prince in the 15th century, Cochin immediately became a favoured anchorage for sailors and traders from every far-flung corner - even taking nearby Kerala’s crown as the world's first global port city. Now, fragrant spice markets cut the hot air with cardamom and clove, while antique stores groan beneath the weight of singing copper. Hit the backstreets of Fort Kochi for a deep and dreamy Ayurvedic massage, marvel at the Krishna murals that adorn the bedchamber walls of the Mattancherry Palace, or admire India’s one of the oldest European-built Christian churches - as you duck into the cool hues of St Francis. A day can easily meander past on a backwater cruise, spreading south from Cochin, and gliding down a lacy network of creeks, lagoons, lakes and rivers. Surrounded by swaying palms and rice paddies – you’ll experience rural India in her best dress. When daylight dwindles, taste the soft spicy kick of dal roti, followed by Firni – almonds, apricots, and sweet milk crushed with pastel green pistachios for a silky light finish.
All This Included
Spiritual, emotional and profound, South East Asia is much more than a sum of its parts. Starting with the pristine beaches of Java, travel on to experience the raw force of nature in Krakatoa. Catch your breath with a patchwork of authentic villages and days at sea, before meeting the “forest people” – or Orangutans – of Gunung Leuser National Park. Two days in India’s teardrop – Sri Lanka - will offer a colourful cacophony of cultures.
Cruising: Cabin onboard Silver Cloud
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