If history isn’t really your thing and you’re more interested in the future, there are many cities around the world that are leaps and bounds ahead of others. From impeccable infrastructures to the world’s largest buildings, there are many places that feel as though they've been lifted straight out of a sci-fi film. Here, we take a look at the cruise destinations that will make you feel as though you’re travelling to the future:
Futuristic cruise destinations
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong’s iconic skyline and enchanting neighbourhoods find an exciting mix between the past and the future, often looking like they belong in a dystopian world. As you arrive in the city, you’ll see the glass and steel buildings towering over you but it’s what lies below that’s most interesting. The dynamic city is home to an incredible mixture of cultures and is a mecca to travellers, often drawing people back in with its irresistible charm.
Hop on the Star Ferry
Hong Kong is cut in half by Kowloon Bay. Thanks to this, one of the most incredible and unique views of the city comes from the bay itself. The Star Ferry is a free service that will take you from one side of the city to the other, all the while giving you a spectacular photo opportunity. As you glide across the water you’ll be surrounded by towering skyscrapers and the buzz of this unique city.
Marvel at Hong Kong’s skyline
The number one thing to do in Hong Kong is to admire its incredible skyline. The sky-high buildings are one of the reasons people cannot get enough of this city. We’d recommend simply spending some time exploring Hong Kong to take it all in, some of the city’s sights have to be seen to be believed.
When one thinks of futuristic cities, Tokyo immediately springs to mind. With its sci-fi, cyberpunk aesthetic, it’s almost impossible to believe the city is real and not something created for a film set. The glow of signs that fill the night-time streets with colour, the incredible technology and the infrastructure are all features that make Tokyo a step above the rest when it comes to its advancements.
“As someone who’s lived in Tokyo, I can wholeheartedly and faithfully say that I still get the rush of excitement every time I alight from the train onto the platforms that millions of others pass on every day,” Medhi from Asian Wanderlust told us. “When you’re amongst a crowd so vast, within a city dominated by colossal skyscrapers, flashing neon sign boards and endless rainbow advertisements while experiencing a warped amalgamation of tradition and innovation, it’s no longer hard to see why many cyberpunk and dystopian films and novels borrow lengthy characteristics from Tokyo to form their futuristic worlds.
“But that’s the reality of Tokyo and when you step foot into this city, be prepared for an attack on all your senses because it’s like stepping into a whole new world.”
Shibuya Crossing is one of the most recognisable parts of Tokyo - and that’s with good reason! This crossing, which is in the hub of the city, can see over 100 people using it at one time during peak hours. Surrounding the crossing is Shibuya district, which is filled with Tokyo’s main shopping areas and crowds. If you only go to one area when in Tokyo, it should be Shibuya.
Go shopping at Akihabara
Akihabara is a fantastic place to do a spot of shopping - especially if you’re into anime, manga and video games. “All neighbourhoods in Tokyo are striking in their own way but Akihabara, aptly nicknamed ‘the geek capital of the world,’ is a real feast for your eyes,” Medhi told us. “Hosting an impressive number of stores specialising in the latest and greatest electronics, as well as stores concentrated on anime and manga products, Akiba is not for the faint-hearted. On every high-rise building, you’ll see enormous colourful advertisements featuring popular anime characters.”
Singapore, Republic of Singapore
With towering buildings and an incredible skyline intertwined with natural areas and surrounded by water, Singapore is one place everyone should cruise to. “From the moment you land in Singapore, it feels like you’re entering the future,” Michelle from Full Time Explorer told us. “The architecture looks like a futuristic movie. Everything about this little country has been well thought out with long-term goals. They’re famous for their green movement with sustainable designs that put other countries to shame. They even have moss-covered air filtration systems that reduce the amount of pollution in the air. Visiting Singapore feels like you’ve just stepped ten years into the future.”
Explore Gardens by the Bay
Although they may look like something from a different planet, the incredible structures at Gardens by the Bay are towering vertical gardens, showing some of the world’s best examples of architecture inspired by organic forms. Walk around the OCBC Skywalk, which weaves through the top of the artificial, solar-powered supertrees to see an incredible example of nature and design combining to create something phenomenal.
“Gardens by the Bay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been,” Michelle exclaimed. “Besides the fact that it’s insanely cool to see, it’s also a great place to learn about sustainability. Not only do these buildings offer greenery for tourists and locals living in the city, they also create their own little ecosystem. The buildings work together to collect rainwater, grow plants and vent out hot air. Whether you want to see pretty flowers, learn about sustainability or are interested in architecture, there’s something for everyone.
Hop on the Singapore Flyer
There’s only one way to see Singapore’s skyline and that’s from the Singapore Flyer. This big wheel takes around half an hour to rotate, giving you plenty of time to absorb the sites around you. With a fantastic location perched right on the waterfront, on one side you’ll be able to see the incredible city and from the other, you’ll be able to look out over the water. This is certainly a unique way to see the city and an unforgettable experience too.
Scandinavia is an emblem of the future. With Swedish brand IKEA being the world leader in home furnishings and the modern cultural practices that Scandinavia has in place, it’s a fantastic place to travel. Stockholm is arguably the most modern of all Scandinavian cities. Despite its more traditional appearance at first, it is still excelling below the surface.
We chatted to Invest Stockholm who told us, “Innovation has, historically, always been part of our DNA - dating back to the days before Alfred Nobel. We are extremely open to new ideas, enabled by the security and freedoms we enjoy.”
Walk through the Stockholm Metro
When most people think of the underground, they imagine dingy, hot stations. It certainly wouldn’t be a top tourist point in most cities, that’s for sure. In Stockholm, however, it’s a very different case. The Stockholm subway system is thought to be the world’s longest art exhibit. Over 90 of the 100 stations have been decorated with sculptures, paintings, installations, mosaics and more. “The Stockholm subway is colourful and the stations are very different to each other,” the team from Invest Stockholm told us. “Many are also very detailed so even if you travel every day, you can always find something new that you haven’t paid attention to before.”
Visit Hammarby Sjöstad
Hammarby Sjöstad has, historically, been an underdog. But in recent years, the area is shaking its underdog title and becoming a city hotspot. It’s recently undergone a massive urban renovation and will soon be one of the world’s most sustainable urban eco-districts. This has been achieved through incredible energy conservation which aims to reduce heat consumption by 50% and use electricity more efficiently than the Swedish average. If that isn’t thinking of the future, we don’t know what is!
The capital city of Taiwan, Taipei is another leader in futuristic advancements and although its skyline might lack the familiarity of places like Dubai or Hong Kong, it is certainly one that invokes feelings of what is to come. For many, Taipei is a stop on a cruise they don’t know too much about and aren’t expecting a lot from but its rich heritage and welcoming culture will reward anyone who visits.
Climb the Taipei 101
The Taipei 101 was once the world’s tallest building and although it’s been knocked off the top spot by Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, it is still an incredible sight. The peculiarly designed building towers above the city like a metallic bamboo stalk and is an icon of the city. The first five floors feature incredible shopping opportunities and you can buy a ticket to whizz up to the observation deck on the 88th and 89th floors.
Go shopping at Guang Hua Digital Plaza
If electronics are your calling and you want to see the future of technology then Taiwan is the perfect place to go. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of electronics, you know you are in safe hands. In Taipei, journey to Guang Hua Digital Plaza to find a six-story technological and electronics market that dreams are made of. As well as five floors of retailers, one floor also features an electronics exhibition, perfect for those who just want to have a good look at what’s on offer.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is widely regarded as one of the richest cities in the world. Because of this, it excels in many areas and is constantly trying to push the boundaries and achieve more. From the towering Burj Khalifa to the infrastructure and economy on the ground, the whole city is steps ahead of many other places in the world.
Kacie from The Rare Welsh Bit has always dreamed of visiting Dubai. We asked her what draws her to the city, “Dubai is a very futuristic place and I bet visiting feels like taking a trip into the future. The transport system is so sleek and efficient, while all the buildings look so elaborate and grand, especially the shopping malls.”
Explore Burj Khalifa
As the world’s tallest building, how could we not include Burj Khalifa on our list? The building towers over Dubai and is known around the world as a pillar of luxury, as well as architectural prowess. If you know one of your cruise stops will be in Dubai, and you’re not too scared of heights, we recommend making sure you have the opportunity to visit the Burj Khalifa and experience one of the world’s most incredible views.
Visit the Dubai Mall
Dubai certainly doesn’t do things by halves. As well as boasting the world’s tallest building, it’s also home to the world’s largest shopping mall. The Dubai Mall welcomes more than 80 million visitors annually to over 1,300 retail outlets and over 200 food and beverage outlets. As well as that, the mall has a VR Park, cinemas, an ice rink, an aquarium, an underwater zoo and much, much more.
Los Angeles, United States of America
The home of Hollywood is also quickly becoming an incredibly futuristic city. Although you may think of Los Angeles as a laidback place, filled with palm trees and coasted by long sandy beaches, the city has one of the world’s hardest-working ethics and is home to a lot of Western pop culture. With Hollywood, the Walk of Fame and Beverley Hills, La La Land is home to many of the world’s biggest stars. This exclusivity draws people to it and means it’s advanced at a phenomenal rate.
See Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park may not be somewhere you imagine going on your cruise but LA locals know that not only does it offer one of the best views of the city but it also offers incredible exhibitions and learning opportunities. Construction started in 1933, so this long-standing monument has been bringing scientific advancements for a long time and now, as well as being a functioning observatory, it also has an extensive array of space and science-related displays.
Walk along the Walk of Fame
It’s interesting because although the Hollywood Walk of Fame lists some of the greatest names in showbiz from the past, it also paves the way for stars of the future. A trip here will not only make you reflect on what once was but think of the now and what else is to come. The future of pop culture in the west lies in Los Angeles and as the city becomes more saturated with people in the limelight, more are relocating to the city of stars. It’s a town for people who are made and for those who want to make it one day.
Fun fact: There are over 2,600 stars on the Walk of Fame, so bring your walking boots if you want to see them all.