SILVER SHADOW to Southeast Asia, Part One

Peter Knego begins a voyage from Bangkok to Singapore aboard Silversea Cruises’ spacious, ultra-luxe SILVER SHADOW with a visit to the friendly, lush island of Ko Samui, Thailand.

Silversea Cruises

Keep up to date with Peter Knego on Twitter by clicking here

All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Rambutan versus Chao Praya.

After a long day’s flight from the U.S. and a very short night in Bangkok, we parted the curtains of our Shangri-La Hotel room for an impressive view of the bustling Chao Praya river. It was all a bit of a tease as there would be only enough time for breakfast before we boarded a coach that would take us to Klong Toey to board Silversea Cruises’ gorgeous SILVER SHADOW.

SHADOW glimpse.

It took some forty minutes of driving along an elevated expressway and then through Bangkok’s crowded streets, before we caught our first glimpse of “home” for the next nine nights.

SILVER SHADOW at Bangkok.

Check-in at the terminal was fast and effortless, getting us from the heat and humidity to the much-desired, cool comfort of our splendid ship.

SILVER plate.

The ultra-luxe, 610 by 81.8 foot SILVER SHADOW was built in Genoa in 2000 and carries a mere 382 guests in remarkably spacious trappings for a ship of 28,000 gross tons.

Smoke and SHADOW.

A small temple and incense fumes affirmed that we were far from home.

Champagne reception.

In the Deck 5 reception area, we were greeted with chilled towels and — better yet — chilled bubbly.

601 sitting area.

From there, it was a short walk up to our spectacular Grand Suite, number 601 on the forward/starboard side of Deck 6. Larger than a typical New York apartment, the cabin measures a jaw-dropping 1,090 square feet. The sitting area has a walk-in bar, a dining nook and a flat-screen television with DVD player.

601 bedroom.

The bedroom has a king-sized bed (or, if desired, two twins) with European linens and a pillow menu as well as its own flat screen television and DVD player. A row of angled windows overlooks the bow and there is a copious amount of drawer and cabinet storage space…

601 closet.

…and that’s not even including the walk-in closet, which is larger than some cabins I have occupied on other ships. Silversea provides comfy terry cloth robes and complimentary slippers.

Klong Toey line up.

As the ship began to fill, we documented what we could, unpacked, ate lunch and attended a very thorough boat drill.

Bow Thai-ed.

All-too-soon, our one day in Bangkok was nearing an end as SILVER SHADOW loosened her lines, blew her horn and pivoted into the murky green river for a winding transit past a long line-up of container ships. The down-river passage was rife with warehouses, factories and the occasional temple.

Thai towers.
Sunset tower.

We passed under two spire-topped, modern suspension spans before nearing the open sea.

SILVER SHADOW gym.

There was enough time for a renewing workout in the well-equipped gym on forward Deck 10. How nice to have a ceiling high enough to accommodate a tall man who fancies elliptical machines.

La Terrazza at night.

We booked dinner in the reservations-required-but-no-extra-charge La Terrazza Restaurant on aft Deck 7. La Terrazza has a fixed menu of Italian specialties and is limited each night to no more than 60 guests.

Al dente in La Terrazza.

Silversea provides excellent included-in-the-fare wines with dinner, so we sipped a marvelous Principe Palovicini Amarasco Cesanese to accompany a number of courses, including a spectacular al dente Bigoli ala Siciliana (Bigoli pasta with tomatoes, olives, capers and anchovies). No better incongruity than delicious Italian cuisine in the Gulf Of Thailand.

Light SHADOW.

Even with a mild breeze wafting, it was sweltering out on deck as SILVER SHADOW made her way on a southerly course to Ko Samui, a small island off the eastern Thai peninsula.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Observation Lounge, facing port.

Early to bed, early to rise — especially with jet lag! Shortly after dawn, I found myself in the Observation Lounge, its panorama of windows shuttered to keep out the glare and heat as SILVER SHADOW sailed through a rocky archipelago towards the Ko Samui anchorage. I settled into a comfortable chair and watched the scenery unfold, sipping a macchiato, custom-made by barista George.

Morning SHADOW at Ko Samui.

The first of several full-day tours we had booked on this trip (marking our first visit to this part of Southeast Asia) departed shortly after SILVER SHADOW dropped anchor. At 9:30, we were shuffling aboard a local tender for a 25-minute ride to shore that began by circling around our ship’s bow.

Wat Phraya buddha.

Our first stop was Wat Phra Yai (or The Big Buddha Temple), where a smiling buddha towers some 35 feet over a rocky mound. At its base, there are a number of small temples and several rows of shops, where we sought out the shade along with a few sleeping dogs.

Wat Plai Leam interior.

It was a short ride to the next attraction, the Wat Plai Leam Temple, where a series of temples jut out into a small bay. On and off with the shoes as we walked from one ornate shrine to another.

Wat Plai Leam exterior.

The various buddhas and gods were colorful and imposing but the highlight was the Goddess of Mercy with her multiple arms.

Nora Beach.

And then we enjoyed a lovely Thai lunch at the Nora Beach Hotel, within sight of a gorgeous beach that beckoned in the searing heat.

Young Elephant Safari.
Hulaphants.

Post lunch, we were then off to the Young Elephant at Island Safari, which is quite possibly Ko Samui’s most popular attraction. In addition to the short show we witnessed, the Safari provides elephant rides and also teaches visitors how elephants are trained.

Elephant massage.

Woe betide one who “volunteers” for an elephant show, magic act or any such entity. One rather good-natured SIlversea guest was whisked from the audience and given an “elephant massage”, which began with the gentle giant placing its foot on the man’s stomach…

Coconut monkey.

Our final stop was a visit to a local house on a coconut plantation where monkeys whisk up to the clusters of coconuts at the top of swaying palm trees and spin them with their feet until the fruits drop down to the ground.

Ko Samui home.

We were shown how the locals live in elevated houses to prevent dangerous snakes and other animals from slithering in. The elevation also helps protects the homes from getting damaged in heavy rains and the “underneath” space is where many people perform chores, such as sewing and cooking on hot days.

Evening SHADOW at Ko Samui.

All-in-all, the tour provided a fascinating look into Thai culture along with some spectacular scenery, delicious food and incredibly friendly people. On the way back to the ship, there was final opportunity for shots of the SILVER SHADOW before we joined friends for another Italian feast in La Terrazza.

“Signed, Sealed and Delivered” in the Athenian Lounge.

Afterwards, we watched the Artists of Silversea perform “Signed, Sealed and Delivered”, a Motown tribute, in the Athenian Lounge. We then “delivered” ourselves to a night of much-needed rest in Suite 601 as SILVER SHADOW made her exotic passage eastward across the Gulf Of Thailand towards Kompong Som, Cambodia.

End Of SILVER SHADOW To Southeast Asia Trek, Part One

Very Special thanks: Brad Ball, Martin Cox, Gina Finocchiario

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

Latest posts by Peter Knego (see all)

2 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

MENU
login