I have a dream… to set sail from Fremantle, Australia and cruise to some of Asia’s finest treasures. Having been on a Mediterranean cruise with Holland America once before, I know just how wonderful and relaxing a cruise can be and I look forward to the day when I can cross off this item off my bucket list.
To being this adventure I would be flying from Toronto to Perth. Once I arrive I can unpack, relax and enjoy my dream holiday. The voyage starts out from Fremantle and calls into 12 ports in 7 countries before returning to Fremantle.
The ideal itinerary would look something like this:
Lying at the mouth of the Swan River, historic Fremantle – founded in 1829 – is the gateway to Perth, the capital of Western Australia. Situated on the banks of the Swan River some 15 miles upriver from Fremantle, Perth is a bustling city where soaring high-rises co-exist with elegant sandstone buildings from the colonial era. It’s said that life here moves at a slower pace, so during my visit I would relax and savor the bounties of Western Australia.
Lembar is a port in Tawun Harbour on the island of Lombok located 100 km E of Bali in Indonesia. The island has been promoted as “an unspoiled Bali” for some time, with beautiful beaches and the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani. At the local markets you can buy Lombok souvenirs of carvings and even see the artisans at work. Just south of the port you can rent a motorised boat for a trip along Gili Nanggu Beach, which provides a picture of the life-style on the island, with the pleasant bungalows built on pillars.
Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia
From a lawless huddle of kampongs in the trackless jungle, Kuala Lumpur, the capital city has grown into a fascinating metropolis. Steel and glass towers stand side by side with graceful stone colonial buildings and mosques adorned with slender minarets. The commercial, financial, economic and cultural heart of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur (better known as KL), is a melting pot. Its population of 1.6 million is composed of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and a mix of different cultures including Eurasians and others.
In 1786 Francis Light persuaded the Sultan of Kedah to cede Pulau Pinang – the “Isle of Betel nut” – to the English crown. Legend has it that Light persuaded his men to clear the overgrown island of Penang by firing a cannon filled with gold coins into the jungle as an incentive. The island was renamed Prince of Wales Island, and its major town was christened Georgetown after King George III. Whether the story is true or not, Penang quickly became a major trading port for tea, spices, china and cloth. Today George Town is a cosmopolitan city that has preserved its unique heritage and its exotic blend of cultures. The stuff that dreams are made of.
Langkawi comprises a group of 99 tropical islands lying off the northwestern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The main island is known as Pulau Langkawi. The islands are shrouded with an intriguing heritage of myths and legends that feature ogres and gigantic birds, warriors and fairy princesses, battles and romance. Langkawi has been accorded the Geopark status by UNESCO, for its beautiful geological heritage of stunning landscapes, karsts, caves, sea-arches, stacks, glacial dropstones and fossils.
Hailed as the “Pearl of the Andaman Sea,” this island off Thailand’s long southern coast boasts a colorful history. A crossroads for trade, Phuket has been a melting pot of Thai, Malay, Chinese and Western influences. Its importance over the past 500 years stemmed from the island’s natural resources, which include tin, hardwoods and rubber.
Singapore is an island nation at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. It lies 137 km N of the Equator, just south of the Malaysian state of Johor. One of the few remaining city-states in the world, Singapore is a thriving cosmopolitan city that is brimming with diversity and has a multiplicity of culture, language, arts and architecture and a world-famous variety of cuisine.
Phu My, Vietnam
The port of Phu My in the Mekong delta is one of several gateways to Ho Chi Minh City and the seaside resort of Vung Tau. I would explore the National History Museum and Reunification Hall. Browse the shops on Dong Khoi Street and immerse myself in the myriad of colors, aromas and sights that make up this energetic and enterprising city.
Sihanoukville is a port city in southern Cambodia on the Gulf of Thailand, 185 km SW of the capital Phnom Penh. Historically, it was the site of the last official battle of the U.S. Army in the war, and two shipwrecks 40 m down, off one of its islands, are of interest to divers. It is the only deep water port in the country, and one of the main centres of economic growth in Cambodia.
Bangkok (Laem Chabang), Thailand
Bangkok, the capital, largest urban area and primary city of Thailand, is about a two-hour trip from Laem Chabang Port. The city is situated at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. It is a place where the past, present, and future live harmoniously together, as reflected by the luxury hotels and gleaming skyscrapers that grace the skyline alongside dazzling, historical temples.
Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui is an island off the E coast of the Kra Isthmus in Thailand, about 35 km NE of Surat Thani town. It is Thailand’s third largest island, the central part of which is a uninhabitable mountainous jungle. The various lowland areas are connected by a single road that circumnavigates the island.
Denpasar (Bali), Indonesia
Bali is an Indonesian island at the western-most of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east. It is one of the country’s 33 provinces, with the provincial capital at Denpasar towards the south of the island. The island is home to the majority of Indonesia’s small Hindu minority, and it is also the largest tourist destination in the country.
This itinerary would be perfect for me as it would expose me to an array of global cultures and world wonders that is truly spectacular in scope.
Sound appealing? Well, this dream vacation can become a reality for me. I have the time – now all I need is the money. The truth is regardless of our destination and style, travel requires money. There’s no way to avoid that. But I can start to set some money aside for my dream trip by investing through a low-cost option, such as Wealthsimple.
While saving, you can have your money grow a bit more by putting it in a Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA). I’ve done this since the time when I was preparing to go away on my first trip and I netted a good amount of money. TFSAs are a great way to save for both short and long-term goals. The interest you earn in a TFSA is not taxed – making it easier than ever to save for that dream trip.
A 26-day cruise with Princess Cruises, with an interior cabin, costs about $7,300 CAD. A round-trip flight from Toronto to Perth will cost me about $2,700. To make my dream vacation a reality I would need around $10,000 CAD.
If I were to put $200 a month in a TFSA account with Wealthsimple and invest that money at a rate of return of 8%, in less than 4 years I would be able to pay for my cruise and flights, with a bit of pocket-money to bring home souvenirs! Isn’t that amazing?
Cutting your daily expenses, being more frugal, and downgrading to a simpler way of living will also help you save money for your ideal trip without having to find extra sources of income. I know this saving strategy works because I have and continue using them. Putting money aside in an investment account will help save you thousands of dollars that will suddenly make your dream trip seem like less of a dream and more like a reality.
What’s your #10KTRIP?
This post was brought to you by Wealthsimple. Wealthsimple is Canada’s fastest growing online investment manager. Our mission is to make smart investing easy for everyone. We help you build a globally diversified ETF portfolio and include on-demand financial advisory services, all for one of the lowest fees in Canada – just 0.35 to 0.5%. Find out more here.