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Home > Member Reviews > honolulu traveler's Port Reviews of Singapore, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hong Kong, Nagasaki, Beijing

honolulu traveler's Port Reviews of Singapore, Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hong Kong, Nagasaki, Beijing
Diamond Princess cruise in March 2012
Member Name: honolulu traveler
Cruise Date: March 2012
Embarkation: Singapore
Destination: Asia
Member Review: honolulu traveler's Diamond Princess Review
Port Rating: 5.0 out of 5+
Singapore was worth visiting; we'd like to return. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, which is a beautiful and very comfortable hotel with a fabulous buffet breakfast. Although there 2 nights, we had only 1 full day, and we opted for the Hop On Hop Off Bus. That was a less than stellar experience since it wasn't always easy to find the bus stops, and we were very uncomfortable in the heat and rain. We included the river cruise in the HOHO package, and it allowed us to see a lot in relative comfort. We also walked in the evening to the Sands Casino, a very different experience from casinos in the US because it is nearly all machine-based and very impersonal. The light show at night outside the casino complex was wonderful to watch.

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Bangkok (Laem Chabang)
Grand Palace Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
It's such a long drive to Bangkok from port that I'd not do it again. It was so hot and so crowded that it was hard to enjoy. The places we visited were amazing and worth seeing but once was enough.

Wat Po (Reclining Buddha Temple) Rating: 3.0 out of 5+
Amazing to see the size of this buddha.

River Cruise Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
Too long. Our guide wanted to be clear about the devastation of the flooding earlier in the year, which was interesting but we would have appreciated seeing less river and more historical sites.

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Hong Kong
Port Rating: 2.0 out of 5+
We didn't much care for Hong Kong when we were there 30 years ago and still didn't. After being shuttled into Hong Kong from the container port, we'd planned to follow two of the Trip Advisor's walking tours, but immediately got lost. Once we found our way thru the underground (with the help of a kind young stranger), we found a starting point and wandered thru various shopping areas (worse than going to our local swap meet). The city must have a lot to offer but we didn't find it and ended up taking the shuttle back to the ship in the early evening. We were in port until nearly midnight and might have gone out again after dark, but needing to travel first by shuttle made that very impractical.

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City Tour Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
Visited Shimabara Castle and the nearby Samurai Village. The trip was about 90 minutes from port but it was a welcome and quiet excursion. The feudal castle hosted a museum of the city's history, and the Samurai village included a visit to 3 restored houses, a pleasant introduction to a very different way of life. We also had an excellent lunch with a nice variety of Japanese food.

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Port Rating: 4.0 out of 5+
We disembarked in Beijing, prearranging for a tour company to pick us up along with 2 other couples. It's a 2 hour drive into the City, which we traveled through on our way to the Great Wall at Mutianyu. It wasn't very crowded at this location on the wall. We took the cable car to the top of the wall and walked as far as allowed (about one hour). Our guide was very informative. The next day the same tour company picked us up at our hotel for a trip to the Summer Palace (well worth seeing), the Temple of Heaven, and Tiananmen Square. We were supposed to also go into the Forbidden City but ran out of time so just walked along outside, poor planning by our guide who should have skipped the obligatory stop at the Silk Factory and hurried us through Tiananmen Square more quickly.

We stayed in the Hutongs in old Beijing and enjoyed wandering the alleyways at night, shopping and eating in less touristy locations.

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