China: Savour the beauty of China’s ancient history, rich culture, delicate cuisine, thriving industries, and modern architecture. Walk along the Great Wall and unfold the mystery of the Forbidden City in China’s capital Beijing, discover the exquisite southeastern cities Wuxi, Suzhou, and Hangzhou – long known for their natural beauty, and immerse yourself in dynamic, cosmopolitan Shanghai.
South Korea: Asia’s third-largest economy, South Korea is a high-tech, trend-setting nation with a reverent, old soul. With tranquil national parks boasting picturesque landscapes, a rich cultural history, delicious local cuisine, a bounty of the latest technological advances, fashions and more, a visit to ‘the Land of Morning Calm’ should be on every traveller’s list. Friendly people, delicious food, and delightful contrasts between the modern and the traditional ensure that the indomitable spirit of South Korea will enchant and inspire travellers from all walks.
Japan: Starting your tour of Japan in Osaka, you’ll visit Kyoto and Nara – famous for their well-preserved ancient castles, temples, and monuments. In Nagoya, visit Inuyama Castle, and explore the 1200 shops and restaurants of Osu Shopping Street. Japan’s stunning natural endowments are on the itinerary too, in the form of sacred Mount Fuji and the surrounding region. Your trip wraps up with time free in Tokyo, for sightseeing, shopping, or your choice of a diverse range of optional activities.
In South Korea
Special offer – Book ALL optional programs for a $50pp discount!
These special programs can be prepaid in Australia more than 30 days before departure. Note: If certain activities or shows are unavailable, a similar alternative will be provided.
|Beijing||Forbidden City Tour||$80|
|Beijing||Peking Duck Dinner||$40|
|Beijing||The Golden Mask Dynasty||$75|
|Beijing||Hutong Life & Panda House Tour||$80|
|Beijing||Chinese Kung Fu Show||$75|
|Wuxi||Grand Canal Cruise||$35|
|Wuxi||Jiangnan Dumpling Lunch||$25|
|Suzhou||Western Buffet Dinner||$40|
|Hangzhou||Impression West Lake or similar||$80|
|Shanghai||Chinese Acrobatic Show||$75|
|Shanghai||Jin Mao Tower, Xintiandi & Maglev Train Tour||$70|
|Shanghai||Huangpu River Cruise||$40|
|Shanghai||Shanghai Disneyland Package||$199|
Tokyo Day Tour $250
This tour will take you to visit Asakusa, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Harajuku, Shibuya, Tokyo Tower and experience a Tokyo bay cruise.
Japan’s capital, Tokyo, is packed with so much to see and do. First stop on this tour is Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples. Afterwards visit Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified sprits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Proceed to the fashion district Harajuku and Shibuya, an affluent and trendy shopping hotspot. Then proceed to Tokyo Tower, where you will observe the amazing city of Tokyo from up above. Then, relax on a Tokyo bay cruise en route to the beautiful and serene landscaped Hamarikyu Garden beside Tokyo Bay.
Note: this tour is subject to minimum numbers
Osaka Day Tour $250
This optional tour will take you to Osaka Castle which was built in 1583 as the intended capital of Japan, before the capital was moved to Edo (now known as Tokyo). Walk through the majestic castle while learning from the exhibit detailing life in old Osaka. From there, walk to the nearby river boat dock to board the Osaka River Cruise for a cruise around Nakanoshima. Explore Shinsaibashi and Dotonbori, the vast restaurant districts, with eateries offering a variety of Japan’s most famous street foods.Then travel down to Umeda Skybuilding, where you will get a sweeping view of Osaka. Tour finishes in Osaka.
Note: this tour is subject to minimum numbers.
Fly to Beijing via connecting cities and transfer to the hotel. Note: Some flights may depart the night before. Beijing, China’s massive capital, has a history stretching back three millennia, and since the 2008 Olympic Games, it has been known for its modern architecture as well as grand ancient sites such as the Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Please note: Some flights may depart the night before.
After breakfast, visit Tiananmen Square, the second-largest public square in the world! Tiananmen Square is named after the Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) located to the north of the square, separating it from the Forbidden City. The square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao Zedong, and holds great cultural significance as it was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
Optional Program: Forbidden City Tour – Continue on to the incredible Forbidden City, a true architectural masterpiece, and the imperial palace from the Ming to the Qing dynasty (1420 to 1912). The complex is home to the National Palace Museum, and consists of 980 buildings covering 72 ha (over 180 acres). The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world!
Optional Program: Peking Duck Dinner – Tonight, head out for a Beijing speciality which is one of the most famous Chinese dishes, Peking Duck.
Today’s highlight is an excursion to the majestic Great Wall of China at Juyong Pass. This is one of the three most famous passes along the Wall, together with Jiayuguan and Shanhaiguan. Just 60 km from downtown Beijing, Juyong Pass was the northern route to Beijing in ancient times. Once here, there is plenty of time to learn about the wall’s construction and you’ll have the chance to climb a portion of this 6,000 km marvel.
On the way back to Beijing, we stop at one of the largest jade exhibitions in Asia. Then, after lunch, see skilled artisans at work at a cloisonné factory. Cloisonné is a famous traditional enamel ware, known as the ‘Blue of Jingtai’ in China, with a history of over 500 years. It was so called because blue was the colour typically used for enamelling, and Jingtai was the reign title of the 7th Ming Emperor.
Optional Program: The Golden Mask Dynasty – This phenomenal show incorporates dancing, acrobatics, magnificent costumes and lot of surprises. Seen by an estimated 1.1 million people, it is one of Beijing’s must-see shows.
Enjoy a tour to the Summer Palace, the largest preserved ancient garden in China and a former summer resort for Emperors followed by a visit to a Chinese Herbal Medicine Institute to learn about traditional Chinese medicine, which has existed for thousands of years, as you enjoy a rejuvenating foot massage.
Optional Program: Hutong Life & Panda House Tour w/Lunch – A rickshaw will take you around the intricate winding hutongs to admire these old courtyard dwellings, built during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty. Even today, when many have been developed into upscale restaurants, tea houses, and boutiques, many residents are reluctant to move from their beloved hutongs. On this tour, you are invited to visit a local family’s house to experience authentic ‘old Beijing’ life. Next, visit the Panda House in Beijing Zoo to see China’s adorable national treasure – the Giant Panda.
Optional Program: Chinese Kung Fu Show – This show is an energetic mix of traditional Chinese martial arts, dance and high-flying acrobatics set in a modern theatre. Combined with an excellent storyline, exceptional stage design and professional actors this show is not to be missed for kung-fu enthusiasts or those seeking a thrilling performance.
Take a high speed train to Wuxi, an ancient city, richly endowed with natural attractions due to its pleasantly warm and moist climate. Wuxi boasts a reputation of being the ‘Land of Fish and Rice’. Enjoy the scenery as we pass by Lake Tai, the third-largest freshwater lake in China. This evening, we will stroll along the trendy yet traditional Nanchang Street, composed of both ancient and modern architecture, and juxtaposed with the peaceful atmosphere of the waterside town and fashionable life of Wuxi.
Optional Program: Jiangnan Dumpling Lunch – Enjoy a traditional lunch that includes the famous xiao long bao, a Chinese steamed bun filled with minced pork and tasty soup, prepared in a small bamboo steaming basket (xiao long).
This morning, visit one of the largest freshwater pearl exhibitions in the country. After lunch, travel by coach to Suzhou, an elegant city with canals, stone bridges, and meticulously designed gardens. Suzhou has been referred to as ‘Paradise on Earth’ by Chinese poets and writers since ancient times. As a large area of the city is covered by water, including a vast number of ponds and streams, Suzhou is also known as ‘Venice of the East’. It is also known as the ‘Garden City’ due to its many classical gardens, renowned for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction. Visit the Lingering Garden, which is among the finest in China.
Optional Program: Grand Canal Cruise – Take a cruise along the UNESCO World Heritage listed Grand Canal of over a thousand years to view life along what was known as ‘China’s golden waterway’ in its heyday.
Optional Program: Western Buffet Dinner – Enjoy a sumptuous western style buffet dinner with at your hotel, a relaxing way to wind down the day.
This morning visit a silk spinning mill, and learn how silk is created from mulberry-munching silkworms to produce the finest thread and cloth. After lunch, travel by coach to Hangzhou, described by Marco Polo as ‘the most beautiful and magnificent city in the world’. Upon arrival, take a boat ride on the serene West Lake, the most renowned feature of Hangzhou, and noted for its scenic beauty which blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites.
Optional Program: Impression West Lake – This evening, enjoy an open-air performance, a masterpiece created by Zhang Yimou, acclaimed film and theatre director, and architect of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games Opening Ceremony.
Experience tea-tasting at the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Then travel by coach to Shanghai, a vibrant metropolis and the commercial centre of China. Upon arrival, walk along the famous Bund, a mile-long stretch along the Huangpu River. Lined with colonial architecture of European design, it is the best place to capture the Western influences of the old days. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure strolling along the bustling shopping district, Nanjing Road. Afterwards, you may join an optional Huangpu River Cruise (at your own expense).
Optional Program: Huangpu River Cruise – As you cruise along the Huangpu River, you will get a glimpse of the history and spectacular view of cosmopolitan Shanghai. On one side of the river, there is The Bund, a landmark of Shanghai. Lining the boulevard of the waterfront are grandiose solid buildings of Western style dating back to the early 19th century. On the other side is the charming image of modern Shanghai.
This morning, visit the Shanghai Museum to see ancient Chinese art, furniture and jade. The rest of the afternoon is at your own leisure, or you may join our optional programs.
Optional Program A: Jin Mao Tower, Xintiandi & Maglev Train Tour – Visit the Jin Mao Tower Observation Deck (88th floor) for a panoramic view of the Huangpu River and the Bund. Then explore the affluent Xintiandi (New Heaven and Earth) area which holds the historical and cultural legacies of the city. Xintiandi was the site of the first congress of the Communist party of China, and is now the most expensive place to live in China. Next, experience the world’s fastest commercially operating train, running between the city and Shanghai airport with a top speed of 431km/h. Note: This program cannot be combined with Shanghai Disneyland Package.
Optional Program: Chinese Acrobatic Show – Tonight you can watch a stunning Chinese acrobatic show combining Chinese performing arts and modern technology, comparable to the tradition of the Broadway Musical. Note: This program cannot be combined with Shanghai Disneyland Package.
Optional Program B: Shanghai Disneyland Package. Newly opened in June 2016, Shanghai Disneyland showcases a never-before-seen world of wonder where you can ignite the magical dream within your heart and experience fun, adventure and thrills for guests of all ages! Includes standard Shanghai Disneyland admission and one transfer in each direction. Note: Departure transfer is at a set time. If you prefer to stay behind at the resort, you must make your own way back to the hotel. This package cannot be combined with other optional programs on this day.
Enjoy today free at leisure to further explore Shanghai or enjoy our optional programs, depending on availability.
Fly from Shanghai to Seoul. On arrival, you will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel.
Visit the traditional village, Andong, which features traditional houses of the Joseon Dynasty period (1392-1897). In Daegu, take a stroll in Dongseongno Shopping District, a major fashion retail district. The streets are packed with hundreds of stores full of personality that reflect the city’s fast-paced fashion trends. Enjoy magnificent views by taking a cable car to Palgongsan Natural Park.
Today we explore the many archaeological sites and temples, royal tombs, and monuments of Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom (57 BC – 935 AD). Visit Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory, Royal Tumuli Park, Gyeongju National Museum, Bulguksa Temple, and Seokguram Grotto Temple.
In Busan, we visit Haedong Yonggungsa (East Sea Dragon Palace Temple), situated on the coast of the north-eastern portion of the city and overlooking the ocean. Afterwards, you will have an opportunity to view the waves while looking down through the transparent floor of the 15 metre high Oryukdo Skywalk, which is set over a 35 meter-high coastal cliff. Travel to Gamcheon Culture Village situated on the foothills of a coastal mountain and nicknamed ‘Machu Picchu of Busan’. You will be thrilled by the many alleys cutting through this village, vibrantly decorated with murals and sculptures created by the local residents. Stop at one of Korea’s largest markets, Nampo Dong Gukje Market for a wide variety of goods at affordable prices. Then visit Nurimaru APEC House, a memorial hall and prestigious international conference hall located near Haeundae Beach, offering visitors spectacular views of the nearby natural landscape.
This morning, visit Changdeokgung Palace, one of the ‘Five Grand Palaces’ built by the Kings of the Jeoson Dynasty, and Insadong, a street full of traditional Korean antique and art shops, restaurants and tea houses. Continue to Cheonggyecheon Stream and admire this urban oasis before visiting Myeongdong, one of Seoul’s main commercial districts.
Visit North Korea’s 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, located within the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ), a 44 km drive northwest of Seoul. In the event of an invasion from the North, an entire infantry division could have move through the tunnel in an hour. View North Korean territory, including the Propaganda Village, People’s School, and Gaeseong City – the old capital city of the Goryeo Kingdom – from the Dora Observation Platform. Also visit Freedom Park, dedicated to the 5 million people who left their families and homes in North Korea. North Hall contains displays of North Korean lifestyle. Later, try on a hanbok, the traditional attire of the Korean people at Namsan Hanbok Culture Experience Centre before experiencing the city’s best night view at Namsan Tower.
After breakfast, transfer to Incheon International Airport for your flight to Osaka, Japan. On arrival, your friendly tour guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to the airport hotel.
This morning, travel to Kyoto and visit Fushimi Inari Shrine and Nijo Castle before heading to Nara. Visit Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple), with its Great Buddha Hall – the world’s largest wooden building. This impressive building houses the world’s largest (15m) bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. Wander through Nara Park, where over 1,200 wild sika deer roam free, before travelling back to Osaka.
Spend today free at your own leisure. You may spend the day visiting one of the most spectacular Japanese aquariums, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan; or taking a day trip to Hyogo to visit Himeji Castle (pictured), an enormous and unique castle decorated in white. An optional day tour is available for some departure dates. Please see optional programs for more information.
This morning, head to Nagoya and visit Inuyama Castle. Then, head to Atsuta Shinto Shrine (covering 200,000 square meters and established almost 2000 years ago) before enjoying some time for shopping it the Osu Kannon Shopping Quarter. Transfer to your hotel in the evening.
Today, visit Oshino Hakkai. Known as the springs of Mount Fuji, the eight ponds are fed by melting snow filtering down from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji, through porous layers of lava, resulting in very clear spring water that is revered by locals. Afterwards, visit Hakone Shinto Shrine. Standing at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi, the shrine buildings are hidden in dense forest. Finally, visit Owakudani – ‘Great Boiling Valley’, formed by the explosion of Hakone volcano more than 300 years ago, which contains hot springs and steaming sulphur vents. Visitors usually eat eggs cooked in the boiling, sulphurous waters. At the end of the day we head to Tokyo.
Spend today free at leisure. You may wish to visit Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea (admission $120) or join the Nikko Day Tour or Tokyo Day Tour ($250). Alternatively, you can join our wide range of optional programs; tea ceremony, kimono photo shoot, robot restaurant. NOTE: All activities are not guided and transportation is self-arranged.
Spend today free at leisure as time permits before transferring to the airport for your flight home.
Arrive home today.