China, Japan, the ’Stans. Step out into modern cities, or step back in time. The contrasts are stark in this part of the world. Some of the world’s largest, most modern cities, and some of the densest concentrations of humanity all lie alongside some of the most peaceful and serene escapes on Earth. From centuries old traditions and customs to the most advanced technologies of the 21st century, this region contains a rich and diverse mix of cultures, wildlife, sights, sounds, and of course, food.
- The Great Wall of China
- Tokyo, Japan
- Hong Kong
- The Silk Road
Authentic and Undiscovered
- The South Caucasus – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia
- Chengdu – heart of Sichuan culture
- Yunnan Province, China
- Authentic Ryokans, Japan
Two sides of China…
1. The China Bucket List
China is a vast and diverse nation. From glacial mountain passes to tranquil backwater villages and a multi-coloured patchwork of cultures in between, there is so much to see and do in China! It’s challenging to narrow it down, but here are a few key bucket list items, in our opinion.
Visit the classic historic sites such as the world famous Terracotta Warriors, and of course the Great Wall. In Beijing, visit the impressive Chinese Imperial Palace – The Forbidden City – With 999.5 rooms, it is said to be the world’s largest existing palace complex. From here, wander through the Hutongs, the small lanes and former courtyard houses of Old Beijing. Spend some time in Chengdu, at the heart of China’s Sichuan culture and take a day trip to see the protected and sacred Panda Bear population. Don’t miss Shanghai – the picture of Chinese modernity – where you can witness the stark contrast of old versus new in a microcosm at The Bund. As you pick off your bucket list, be sure to sample your fair share of traditional Chinese food and activities! Enjoy a meal of Peking duck, the famous dish that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now one of China’s national foods. Immerse yourself in local culture: sip tea, learn to play mahjong, and get up early in the morning to practice Taichi.
Two sides of China…
2. Active China
For those looking for a destination that will quench their thirst for thrills, China is the answer. Branching out into the perimeters of China, and awaiting the more adventurous travelers are snow-capped peaks and unique minority cultures. In the southwestern province of Yunnan embark on a trek through Tiger Leaping Gorge, the famous canyon on the Yangtze River. In China’s deep south why not make the most of some of the best hiking and biking routes in the world, through the stunning Guilin Mountains – incredible karst limestone formations and scenery that the term ‘picture postcard’ does not even begin to do justice to!
Japan’s sushi, sumo, shopping and so much more!
Japan offers an incredible combination of modern cities and traditional villages, beautiful mountains and relaxing hot springs, rich history and fascinating culture. Tokyo, alone, has so much to offer – Watch a sumo-wrestling match, visit the largest fish market in the world, shop in trendy malls, and experience the crossing at the famous intersection outside Shibuya Station. Not too far from Tokyo, immerse yourself in natural beauty while hiking Mt. Fuji, and then relax your muscles in a nearby hot spring. Get to know more about Japan’s history with a visit to Hiroshima, the first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon. Finally, experience Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan. Visit Kyoto’s temples and gardens, spot women walking the streets in kimonos, and observe a Japanese tea ceremony. As you wind your way through Japan, be sure to stay in a traditional Ryokan along the way – a unique Japanese experience that is not to be missed.
Discover the “Stans”! You’ll find it all – culture, nature, history and architecture.
Travel to the heart of Central Asia and find yourself immersed in the beauty and culture of the “Stans”, where you can experience the exotic splendour of Uzbekistan, the plateaus of Kazakhstan, and the jagged mountainous landscape of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In Uzbekistan, experience their piercingly blue skies, shimmering mosaic domes and desert backdrop that will make you feel as though you are an extra on the set of 1001 nights. Known for their exquisite textile traditions, and stunning architecture, Uzbekistan has been immortalized as being one of the most important countries on the ancient Silk Road between Beijing and Istanbul. Kazakhstan, or the “Land of the Free Spirited”, embodies a rich blend of cultural influences and has produced some of the world’s finest musicians and athletes, including world famous violinist, Marat Bissengaliyev. Uncover the secrets of this ancient land and explore its dramatic landscape. Experience the beautiful, rugged side of Central Asia in Tajikistan. Popular with climbers, trekkers and adventure travelers, Tajikistan has breathtaking lakes and natural wonders, like Wakhan Valley, amazing photo-ops and warm hospitality. Explore Kyrgyzstan’s gorgeous landscape during their summer season, when you can take to their beautiful beaches or stay in a Yurt to experience the local shepherd culture. Whether you travel through the whole of the “Stans” or simply choose one destination, you are sure to leave with awe-inspiring photos, new friendships and magnificent memories to last a lifetime.
China Culture and History (15 days)
China's diversity, not only regarding geography, but also culture is what defines this vast nation. In this 15-day itinerary, get to know the country's culture and history, visiting many of its famous sites - the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, and many more! In addition, we make sure to provide many opportunities for genuine interaction with the Chinese people to leave you with a lasting positive impression.
Cultural and Historical Exploration of Japan (9 days)
On this 9-day, private-guided tour of Japan you will have the opportunity to learn about Japan's culture and history, while visiting Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima - Watch a Sumo Wrestler practice, participate in a tea ceremony donning a Kimono, learn Samurai techniques, and many more activities! You will also have a chance to get active on a hike up Mt. Fiji.
Trekking in Yunnan, China (10 days)
This 10-day itinerary takes you on an adventure through the Yunnan province in China. You will explore the amazing city of Dali, the historic Old Town of Shaxi, the cobblestone streets of Lijiang, pottery-making in Tacheng, and the lovely city of Shangri-la. The highlight of this trip is the 2-day trek through the most beautiful area of the Yunnan Province - Tiger Leaping Gorge - to experience local hospitality, natural wonders and phenomenal scenery.
Villages of Southwest China (11 days)
On this 11-day journey, you will be immersed into the rustic, rural and authentic villages and cultures of China. You will hike against the backdrop of some of southern China’s most gorgeous scenery, interact with different minority cultures in remote areas of rural China, stay with local families for a hands-on immersion experience into the region’s rustic lifestyle, and try your hand at local crafts for the chance to make your own keepsake. Your experiences on this trip will truly move you, and the memories will stick with you forever.
Japan’s Well-Kept Secrets (11 days)
This 11-day trip through some of Japan’s best-kept secrets gives you a deep and authentic immersion into Japan’s history and culture. First visit the beautiful city of Kyoto, one of the most culturally rich cities in Asia. Here you can meet a Geisha and gain a deep understanding of the geisha world. From Kyoto, go to the countryside village of Miyama and visit a typical house, a kayabuki thatched-room farmhouse, not known to most tourists. Next, head to Okayama, where you can take a sake brewery tour or visit a sword museum. Then on to Naoshima, Japan’s famous “Art Island”, where you will visit a unique public bathhouse which is also an art installation itself, and stay at an art gallery which is also a luxury hotel! From here, head to the beautiful, medieval city of Matsue, where you will visit Izumo Taisha, widely considered to be Japan’s oldest and one of its most important shrines. Finally, finish off the trip with a night in Osaka where you can sample some of Japan’s famous cuisines.
China Multi-Sport Adventure (14 days)
China is an incredibly diverse country. This 14-day active trip provides an amazing opportunity to explore China from a wide range of perspectives. Get your blood pumping on this epic Multi-Sport trip through China!