Crystal Cruises Takes You to These Wonders of Ancient Culture and Modern History
There are unexpected delights along the journey. Treasures that simply astound you with beauty and fascinating stories that you did not anticipate as you embarked on your day’s explorations. These are not those treasures. The sites featured in this selection of places for your must-see list are universally acclaimed and prized for their representation of creative genius, testament to cultural traditions or civilizations, significance in architectural and/or human history and a host of other criteria put forth by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Such status is not assigned lightly, so opportunities to explore these icons of culture, nature and history, are not to be missed.
Of the 878 designated World Heritage Sites around the world, more than 100 are located in Asia, where Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will explore in 2020 and 2021. Here are just a few that should feature on your must-see travel lists…
Ayutthaya (Crystal Overland from Bangkok)
It was once one of the world’s largest centers of global diplomacy and commerce. Today, remnants of its past greatness can be seen in the prang, or reliquary spired towers of what used to be the capital city of Siam. Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 and thrived in power and innovation for more than 400 years until it was burned to the ground by the Burmese. Now a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site, it stands as an icon of Buddhist and past political influence.
Singapore Botanic Gardens
Mother Nature rarely shares such extravagant displays of color and lush greenery in sky-high cosmopolitan cities, which makes this National Park particular stunning, set in Singapore’s towering heart. The gardens are not only spectacularly beautiful, but are also treasured for their chronicling of history and scientific developments, which have enticed researchers and botanists since 1859.
Imperial City of Hue (from Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City)
The Perfume River that flows through the Complex of Hué Monuments evokes romance, but this was once the Imperial City, the capital of unified Vietnam from 1802 to 1945. It comprises the Inner City, the Forbidden Purple City (which does resemble Beijing’s Forbidden City) and once the epicenter of feudal power.
Ha Long Bay (from Hanoi/Hongai)
Legend holds that the “Bay of the Descending Dragon” is the site at which jewel- and jade-spewing dragons were sent by the gods to defend the land from invaders. The precious stone that the dragons fired then formed the more than 1,600 islands of Ha Long Bay, and while myth and legend don’t earn this breathtaking landscape its UNESCO clout, its outstanding scenic beauty and biologic interest do.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)
Strength. Survival. Power. The power of peace. These are the overwhelming senses that wash over visitors to the only structure left standing where the Atomic bomb hit in August of 1945. The memorial that stands there now does so almost in defiance of the travesty that struck at the end of World War II – a stark mark in the recent history of a city that is otherwise steeped in a heritage of cosmopolitan charm, lush greenery and a friendly character.
Explore these sites and dozens of other pivotal places that shaped centuries of history during Crystal Cruises’ 2020 & 2021 voyages through China, Japan and Southeast Asia.