*** SPECIAL OFFER! *** Enjoy a 7 night exploration of the coastlines and islands of Malaysia and Thailand. In addition to visiting some of Asia’s major centres, Orion’s expeditions provide the opportunity to experience both traditional and modern Asia from a different perspective, often far away from the crowds. There is a balance of history, culture and relaxation on sublime islands and beaches, among the finest in South-East Asia.
Discounts subject to availability. Must be booked by 30th November 2011
Siam Explorer - Up to 50% off! itinerary:
Day 1 - Bangkok
Bangkok boasts some of the country's most visited historical venues such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Orion II will be berthed in the city centre.
This morning/afternoon, you will visit the Grand Palace, an architectural wonder of golden stupas, walls and pillars encrusted in shining and colourful mosaics, all gleaming under the tropical sun. Previously the residence of the Kings of Thailand, here you will see Palaces which were used for different occasions; the Reception Hall, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House and the beautiful Wat Phra Kaew which houses the Emerald Buddha. No trip to Bangkok is complete without exploring the wonders of the famous and highly revered Grand Palace. Then we will travel by long-tailed boat through the klongs to see the family homes, temples and way of life, which gives this city the name “Venice of the East”. Stop at the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) whose 79m spire has become a symbol Bangkok. There will be time for taking photos.
This event will be offered the evening before disembarkation or the evening of embarkation depending on direction for Thailand Temples and Mekong Expeditions only.
Day 2 - Koh Kut
Ko Kut, whilst officially part of Thailand, sits right on the maritime border with Cambodia. What draws visitors and many locals to come to this island is its completely pristine nature, both inland and underwater. The rugged hills inland are home to several waterfalls and fast flowing streams whilst the coast has the white sand beaches and surrounding reef life one would expect of such a pristine island. The original inhabitants were Thais and Cambodians who fled to the Thai territory when the French took over the city of Padjantakiri in 1904. Many of the local residents still make a living out of planting rubber trees, coconut trees and from basic fisheries, just as they always have. The island is a well known shelter for fisherman from all around the region.
Our Zodiacs will take you on an exploration into the interior of Ko Kut following a meandering mangrove river all the way to a small waterfall. Some walking is required to get to the base of the falls over potentially slippery ground. After returning from the falls the ship will relocate to a small offshore coral island, just of the coast of Ko Kut, where a beach BBQ is planned. Snorkelling and swimming over the fringing reef is possible here. Our expedition team will conduct snorkelling tours here this afternoon (weather/conditions permitting).
Day 3 - Ang Thong Marine Park
Ang Thong National Marine Park is made up of 42 islands featuring lime stone massifs, tropical rainforests and deserted beaches. This fascinating group of islands, within sight of Ko Samui to the north and west, is geographically different from the other islands in the region. The Ang Thong islands rise from the sea as dramatic walls of rock soaring hundreds of metres high. Besides the many small coves and beautiful beaches, erosion has shaped some interesting formations.
Orion will anchor just outside the Marine Park and our Zodiac fleet will allow us to explore the reefs and islands for the day. There are walks to be had in the Marine Park and ample opportunities for snorkelling.
Day 4 - Koh Samui
Surrounded by sixty other islands in the Gulf of Thailand, Ko Samui is Thailand's third largest island. Appearing on maps since the time of the Ming Dynasty the island was probably first settled by Malay fisherman and people from Southern China. Historically Ko Samui and its people survived in a subsistence style but that has steadily changed since the 1980's as tourism took over as the predominate industry on the island. Despite the dominance of tourism Ko Samui has not lost its charm, there are still undeveloped quiet beaches (as well as the more well known busier ones) the people are friendly and the villages welcoming.
We will Zodiac ashore and land on the less populated side of Ko Samui. From here you can explore the beaches, take a swim, snorkel or wander through the beach side village with its small restaurants and cafes. Take the inclusive shuttle to Chaweng Beach the main tourist strip on the other side of the island for shopping if that takes your fancy.
Day 5 - At Sea
Relax aboard the Orion II as we it makes its way to the next destination.
Day 6 - Kuala Terrangganu
At the mouth of the Terengganu River, this city of 350,000, is surrounded by the South China Sea on three sides. Despite it's size, the pace of life here seems unhurried. the Waterfront of Kuala Terengganu is a must sea and you will be in awe of and fascinated by the hustle and bustle of activities taking place there. Stroll down the waterfront and watch fishmongers haggling for the price of fish and other seafood. The local market is another must see, locally known as Pasar Payang and located by the Terengganu River, it is one of the most popular tourist spots in Kuala Terengganu. Housed in a modern building complete with a shopping arcade, it offers visitors a variety of traditional handicrafts such as batik, silk, songket, brocade and brassware, along with other fresh produce such as fruits, vegetables and 'Keropok Lekor', which is a special local delicacy made from a mixture of fish and sago. Visitors to this market will have a delightful experience shopping in local fares at reasonable prices.
Our planned landing site is right in the middle of the city, beside the famous market and a short walk from the historic buildings of China Town. You will easily be able to access this hustling market city throughout the day.
Day 7 - Tioman Island
Lying only 30 odd nautical miles off Malaysia's east coast, Tioman Island (or Pulau Tioman) has everything one would expect from a tropical island paradise; mile after mile of coconut palm lined white sand beaches, crystal clear water teeming with marine life, friendly villages and smiling people. In local folklore Tioman is said to be the resting place of a dragon princess. Whilst flying from China to Singapore the dragon princess was lured by the charms of the crystal clear water of the South China Sea, upon entering the water she decided it was so good she would discontinue her journey and stay in the sea. Taking the form of an island she promised to offer shelter and comfort to passing travellers for eternity. The interior is not without its own natural splendour either. Part of the island is covered in thick forest and is home to much wildlife. There are several protected species of mammal on the island, including the Binturong, Long-Tailed Macaque, Slow Loris, Black Giant Squirrel, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Mouse Deer, Brush Tailed Porcupine and the Common Palm Civet, from a total of 45 species of mammals and 138 species of birds. Moreover, Tioman has species that are endemic to its shores, such as the soft-shelled turtle and the Tioman walking catfish.
It should be noted the Tioman was the setting for the filming of Bali Hai in 1958 and as early as the 1970's TIME magazine selected Tioman as one of the worlds most beautiful islands.
Explore the island of Tioman with your expedition team. Several walks are available into the interior of the island, or simply sit back and enjoy the beautiful beach. The expedition team will run snorkel tours and our sea kayak fleet will be available (weather/conditions permitting). Depending on conditions we have several landing sites to choose from today.
Day 8 - Singapore
The British East India Company established a strategic trading post on the island of Singapore in 1819, which was to become an important post along the Spice Route. Although a thriving and modern metropolis, remnants of these early colonial days can be enjoyed in many traditional pursuits such as a rickshaw ride and Singapore Sling at the famous Raffles Hotel. A compact and efficient city, Singapore offers easy access from most international airports.
Orion II is a private yacht-like expedition cruise ship built by Cantieri Navale Ferrari of Italy. After a number of years as a private yacht, Orion II was relaunched in 2009 following an extensive technical refit. Little expense was spared with this stylish, Italian built, all-suite Mega Yacht. Orion II now offers the finest standards in small-ship cruise travel. She also has an ice-strengthened hull for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic and is fitted with stabilisers.
The expedition equipment includes Zodiacs and fast tender to deliver the Orion expedition experience. Combining luxury and service will require staffing by 68 offices and crew to serve Orion II’s capacity of 100 guests. Excellence of design, craftsmanship and quality materials combined with Orion II’s spaciousness and intimate ambience make her ideal for distinctive cultural and expedition voyages.
Length: 88 metres
Beam: 15.3 metres
Draft: 4.5 metres
Hull: Ice- strengthened hull for voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic
Gross Tonnage: 4,077
Engines: MAN B&W Diesel 2 x 2520 KW
Speed: 14 knots. Cruise speed 13.5 knots
Stabilisers: Retractable fin stabilisers
Manoeuvrability: Bow thrusters
Built: January 1991. Refitted 2009
Builder: Cantieri Navale Ferrari (Italy)
Guest Capacity: 100 (twin occupancy).
Regulations: Orion II is built according to the latest international safety regulations, including those of the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health, Canadian Arctic Shipping, and St. Lawrence Seaway.
Additional Craft: 6 Zodiac Heavy Duty MK5, 1x36 passenger tender
Communications: Direct-dial satellite telephones; fax; e-mail; Internet access; internal telephone system.