x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The delights of South-east Asia

Whether it's sailing down the mighty Yangtze in China, snorkelling in Samui or a cruise to Hong Kong, South-east Asia has something for everyone, writes Christine Iyer

Dawn on the Dong Nai River in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnamm Exotissimo Travel is offering a three-day tour of the park's rainforests.
Dawn on the Dong Nai River in Cat Tien National Park, Vietnamm Exotissimo Travel is offering a three-day tour of the park's rainforests.

Whether it's sailing down the mighty Yangtze in China, snorkelling in Samui or a cruise to Hong Kong, South-east Asia has something for everyone, writes Christine Iyer Banyan Tree is offering special room rates this summer at all of its properties in Thailand, including the seaside cities of Samui and Phuket. Its limited-period "Unbeatable Thailand" promotion starts at Bt19,940 (Dh2,260) for a minimum two-night stay in a deluxe villa and includes taxes and breakfast daily for two. Guests will also receive hotel credits equivalent to the value of the second night's room rate to "spend" in restaurants, in-room dining, spa treatments and gift shop purchases. The offer is valid until September 29. Visit banyantree.com for further information and bookings.

Exotissimo Travel has put together a three-day tour of lovely Cat Tien National Park. Spread out over an area of 720 square kilometres, the park protects one of south Vietnam's largest areas of lowland tropical rainforests, and is home to a wide variety of fauna, not least indigenous species such as the Javan rhinoceros, the golden-cheeked gibbon and the endangered Siamese crocodile.

The first day of the tour is spent trekking through the forest and ends with a visit to an NGO-run bear rehabilitation centre. The second day of the tour is devoted to exploring the wildlife of the region, with a short trip to Crocodile Lake - which also provides the opportunity for a bit of birdwatching - and a boat trip down the Ben Su River, before finishing off with a night safari. The final day starts with a leisurely breakfast on the banks of the river and a trip to the Dao Tien Endangered Primate Species Centre, an organisation set up to rescue and rehabilitate endangered primates before they are released into the wild.

The tour costs from US$400 (Dh1,470) per person and includes luxury accommodation at Forest Floor Lodge. This newly opened resort lies within the park and comprises several converted traditional Vietnamese houses set in secluded spots overlooking the Ben Cu River and the surrounding jungle. The price includes all meals, boat rides and tours, transfers by private air-conditioned vehicles, the services of an English-speaking local guide and entrance fees to sites. The tour can be customised to suit clients' preferences. Visas and flights are not included. Visit http://vietnam.exotissimo.com for details and to book.

Bales Worldwide has organised an epic 15-day trip to China. The first three days of the Yangtze Splendour tour are spent in Beijing with visits to the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, followed by excursions to the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace, the remarkable Terracotta Army and the Hang Yan Ling tombs over the next four days. The tour also includes three nights on a cruise ship sailing down the mighty Yangtze river - the setting for the dramatic Three Gorges and the twelve Fairy Peaks of Wu Xia - and a two-night stop in Shanghai before flying to Guilin for the last three days. The tour ends with a cruise down the River Li.

The tour costs from £2,795 (Dh15,580) per person, including taxes, all meals in the itinerary, the services of English-speaking guides for all included sightseeing, private air-conditioned vehicles, sightseeing as detailed, including entrance fees, stays in hotels and first class accommodation onboard a cruise ship. The average group size is 18. The price does not include airfares and visa arrangements.Visit www.balesworldwide.com.

Treat yourself to a luxurious cruise around South-east Asia. Starting this October, Silversea's luxurious all-suite ship, the Silver Shadow, will embark on a number of voyages that last from eight to 15 days. Its Hong Kong round trip is an 11-day cruise departing on November 16 that berths in Xiamen and Shanghai in China, Okinawa in Japan, Keelung in Taiwan and Kaosiung in China and costs from $4,712 (Dh17,300) .

You can also visit Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore on a nine-day voyage that takes in Laem Chabang, Koh Samui, Kuching and Ho Chi Minh City. From $3858 (Dh14,170), departing from Thailand on October 29. All prices quoted are per person and include all-suite accommodation (each cabin promises sea and sky views), gourmet-style meals, complimentary wines and champagne, all gratuities, excursions and onboard activities. Visit www.silverseacruises.in for further information and details about other voyages.

ciyer@thenational.ae