Singapore and Phuket — The Tip of Southeast Asia
Around the World: 107 Days, 40 Ports, 30 Countries, 12 Seas
Camilia Guendel | Feb 6, 2012, 12:36 p.m.
In mid-April, day 78 of our world cruise, we entered the busy port of Singapore (Lion City), the southernmost part of Southeast Asia. Lying only one degree north of the equator, Singapore is an island city/state of 48 million ethnically diverse people noted for its cleanliness, harmony and prosperity.
We entered through an immense, pristine and uncrowded shopping mall, learned the complicated Metro system thanks to a very friendly person and found our way to an area knows as Little India and then on to another area known as Chinatown, providing us with the sights, sounds and aromas of Asia’s two largest cultures in one tiny country.
After another day at sea, we arrived at the island of Phuket [foo-KET]at the tip of Thailand. We hired a taxi for the 45 minute drive to Patong Beach, site of a disastrous 2004 tsunami. Now rebuilt, the town is a bustling place filled with colorful buildings, tiny shops, scooters and friendly locals eager to chat and laugh with the multitude of travelers who pass through.
We rented beach equipment and swam in the clean warm water under clear skies and a blazing sun. Later, as Neal strolled thje main avenue directly behind the beach, I went with a group of fellow female travelers to a hair salon across the way and down a back street, We left our sandals at the door, and entered a pleasant little salon with a pair of rabbits slipping and sliding around the tile floor as laughing young women tended to the patrons. One of our group sat for an hour while three girls gave her a manicure, pedicure and massage all at the same time! Meanwhile I had my hair done in a back room where a basin and ladle served in place of a sink. My hair turned out just fine!
When we returned to the beach, we were tempted to accept an offer of a massage by two cheerful ladies, but time was passing and our ship was waiting to sail to the next port. Neal returned with a brand new suitcase purchased from a street vendor, and we drove back to the Pacific Princess with happy memories that have still not faded.
Next stop: Mumbai, India. Stay tuned!