Landmark of Marble Temple of Bangkok during sunrise in the morning, Thailand

An exotic Southeast Asia voyage offers a whole new experience in cruising, and you are spoilt for choice with Iglu Cruise’s range of Far East itineraries. With breathtaking landscapes, cultures that evoke age-old traditions and some of the world’s most modern cities, it’s little wonder this region is quickly becoming a hot destination for cruisers. Here we round up the top five unmissable cities in Southeast Asia.

1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

One of the popular calls on many cruise line’s Southeast Asia itinerary is Ho Chi Minh City. Formerly known as Saigon (it was renamed in 1976 after revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh), this southern metropolis bustles with street traders, rickshaw drivers and pedestrians against a backdrop of colonial French architecture. Make sure to visit the Mekong Delta, a vast myriad of streams and waterways that are home to an abundance of floating houses and markets selling fish, fruit and coconuts. Here you can get a taste of rural life in a lively city that retains much of its fascinating traditions. Itineraries such as the Thailand & Vietnam with Singapore stay, departing on 7 March 2017, feature Ho Chi Minh City as one of its ports of call.

2. Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan

Renowned for its night markets and street food scene, Taipei is a foodie’s dream. The Taiwanese capital is the nerve centre of the country’s commercial and parliamentary district and its skyline is breathtaking at night, with the iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper punctuating the crowded cityscape. To understand more about the country’s history, visit the National Palace Museum, which houses the world’s largest collection of imperial Chinese art and artefacts. At nearby Keelung, where ships dock to allow you to visit Taipei, there is the Miaokou Night Market, which offers a huge selection of local delicacies. Accessible by foot, follow it through intriguing alleyways as it spills through the downtown area surrounding the impressive Dianji Temple, the city’s largest place of worship. The China & South Korea cruise, which departs on 10 March 2017, calls at Keelung for Taipei.

3. Tokyo, Japan

For a dynamic and thrilling city experience, opt for an itinerary such as the Southern Japan, Mt. Fuji & The Ryuku Islands cruise, departing 20 June 2017, that calls at Tokyo. Popular attractions include the Tokyo Imperial Palace, where the Japanese emperor resides, Meiji Shrine and Tokyo’s equivalent of New York’s Fifth Avenue, Ginza district. It is a city where East and West collide and where slick modern streets full of bars, cafés and restaurants line luscious green parks. From Tokyo, there the chance to take an excursion to go to Hakone, the gateway to the iconic Mount Fuji. Soak up the scenery of rural Japan on the drive there, then marvel at the rugged nature of the volcanic Hakone Mountains as you’re taken on an exciting tour through this incredible part of Japan.

4. Beijing, China

A cruise-and-stay itinerary such as the China Land Tour plus Southeast Asia & Japan Cruise, departing 15 june 2017, allows you to spend three nights in China’s ancient capital, Beijing. Uncover the country’s imperial past as you take a tour through Tiananmen Square then on to the magnificence of the Forbidden City, which boasts the world’s largest palatial building. Other impressive sites include the Great Wall of China. On this itinerary, you can admire stunning panoramic views from the famous attraction, which crosses 10 provinces and stretches more than 10,000 miles from Jiayuguan Pass in the west to Hushan Mountain in the east. As well as historical delights, Beijing offers a wealth of insights into an intriguing and fascinating culture.

5. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

For something slightly off the beaten track, Bandar Seri Begawan (or simply BSB or Bandar) is the place to explore as part of an incredible Southeast Asian cruise. The Malay Archipelago Mystique itinerary, departing 23 February 2017, calls at this understated and surprisingly serene capital city, which has a population of 140,000. One of the most majestic buildings is the Jame’Asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque, exuding opulence that hints at the country’s oil riches. Its impressive architecture and regal grounds will blow you away. Despite the splendour of some of its mosques, Dubai this city is not. There is the chance to learn about Brunei’s sultanate history at the Royal Regalia Museum, which exhibits a very fine collection of gifts to the Sultan from other heads of states, and includes the crown and the royal chariot.

You can get a copy of the Asia brochure at iglucruise.com to discover more itineraries.