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Far East Asia Discovery 23 Days (dep. June-Oct. 2018)

$5,999.00 $4,999.00

Seoul, Andong, Daegu, Gyeongju, Busan, Osaka, Nara, Kyoto, Nagoya, Hakone, Mount Fuji, Tokyo, Taipei, Sun Moon Lake, Fo Guang Shan, Kaohsiung, Kenting, Taitung, Hualien, Taroko

Immerse yourself in an incredible journey covering three fascinating countries, South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. Discover South Korea’s capital city, Seoul. Seoul is Korea’s financial, political, commercial and cultural centre with over 600 years of history. Travellers can explore the many archaeological sites and temples before enjoying the beautiful natural landscapes this country has to offer. After an enchanting tour of South Korea, you will explore one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Japan. Uncover a new level of cool with a journey through cherry blossoms, mountains, bustling cities and ultimately, history. Then discover the many sides of Taiwan, from picturesque towns and villages in the stunning countryside to modernist skyscrapers in the vibrant metropolis Taipei. The combination of places visited in these three countries will provide you with an unforgettable life-time experience. Start packing already!

South Korea
Synonymous for many with the global phenomenon Gangnam Style, South Korea is a dream destination for many travellers. The capital, Seoul, is a fast-paced cosmopolitan centre with an appetite for fashion, pop culture and the latest in high-tech gadgets. Yet just an hour away from the cityscape, travellers can find themselves enjoying the peace and tranquillity of the various national parks encompassing gorgeous hiking trails and dense mountain landscapes, and with the ancient cultural traditions retaining a strong presence throughout the country, travellers seeking a cultural experience are also sure to be satisfied.

Friendly people, delicious food and delightful contrasts between the modern and the traditional, ensure that the indomitable spirit of South Korea will absorb and inspire travellers from all walks.

Japan
We would love for our customers to experience Japanese culture & history. We will spend few nights of the tour in a traditional Japanese hotel, sleeping on rice straw mats called tatami. You will also visit restaurants on this tour where it is customary to remove your shoes and be seated at low tables called kotatsu. It’s all part of the Japanese experience!

From the end of March through early April, when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, people gather in parks in a Japanese tradition known as hanami (flower viewing).

From the end of October through early November is the best season of the year for viewing the vibrant crimson maple leaves in Japan. You can feel the fragile beauty of the changing seasons from observing nature. The fiery red is a true spectacle.

NOTE: Cherry blossoms and crimson autumn leaves are highly seasonal and subject to climatic conditions. These are historically the best times to view the blooms, but we can’t guarantee they will flower on these dates.

Taiwan
A country of stunning beauty and jaw-dropping natural landscapes, and one of the most diverse destinations in Asia, Taiwan has increasingly been attracting travellers from all over the world, showcasing not only it’s spectacular scenic landscapes, but also a thriving folk culture, museums bursting with treasures – including the best of imperial China, its bustling night markets – famous for their delicious xiaochi (literally 'small eats'), and the latest in high-tech gadgets.

Highlights:
  • In Korea
    • Stroll through the Changdeokgung Palace grounds
    • Gaze into North Korean territory at the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ)
    • Immerse yourself in the bustling crowds of Myeongdong
    • Explore the ancient capital of the Silla Kingdom, Gyeongju
    • Explore Busan, and discover the gorgeous seaside Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
  • In Japan
    • Pray for your fortunes at beautiful Heian Jingu Shrine
    • Feed the gentle sika deer of Nara Park
    • Visit several World Heritage sites and relax overnight in Kyoto
    • Race to Kyoto on a high speed Shinkansen bullet train
    • Drink from clear springs at the foothills of Mount Fuji
  • In Taiwan
    • Explore Taiwan's National Palace Museum and see the world’s best collection of Chinese art
    • Enjoy delicious 'small eats' in Taiwan's bustling street-food markets
    • Visit Kenting National Park and stand at the southern tip of Taiwan
    • See Taroko national Park, and take in its diverse scenic attractions

Testimonial:

We have returned home from our wonderful great and unbelievable Nexus organised tour to South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The best organisation, programs and tour leaders, helping us in airports, and accommodations.

We had one of the best and unforgettable (experiences) travelling with kindly guide and good accommodation and transport in 21 days around those countries.

Me and my wife are very pleased and happy to have another trip in future with Nexus holiday Sydney. Thanks again for your support.

(Manoochehr Aria, April 28, 2017 at 11:42 am)

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Guaranteed Departures

2018 Package Price Per Person Single Supplement
Jun 19** Aug 13 Oct 03* From $5,999 $4,999
Limited time!
$1,800
Jul 11* Sep 11 Oct 31*
* Shoulder Season Surcharge: $500
** Peak Season Surcharge: $900

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne flying a full-service Chinese carrier (e.g China Southern or China Eastern Airlines, subject to availability)
  • Internal flights (operated by local carriers)
    Note: Baggage allowance for the flight between Seoul and Osaka is 1 piece max weight 15kg
  • 20 nights hotel accommodation (twin-share)
  • 20 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L) & 8 dinners (D)
  • Internal flights (operated by local carriers)
  • Coach transportation & transfers
  • Bullet train fee from Osaka to Kyoto
  • Entrance fees to scenic attractions (unless otherwise indicated)
  • English-speaking tour guide(s)

Package Exclusions:

  • Tipping prepaid in Australia: $290
  • Optional Taipei 101 Observatory Fee: From $25 payable to the guide
  • Optional recommended programs
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended)
  • Personal expenditure and anything not stated

Japan Tour Optional Programs

Kobe & Sake Brewery Walking Day Tour

Kobe & Sake Brewery Walking Day Tour
$230

Kobe is one of the biggest cities in Japan, with a beautiful port tha first opened to foreign trade in 1868. This tour will take you to Kitano-Ijinkan district to see the elegant European-style mansions where traders once lived. Also visit Meriken Park and relax at the waterfront park beside Kobe Port. The last stop is Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum. Hakutsuru has a long history of brewing sake since 1743. Explore and get a feel of how sake is made and its importance to Japanese tradition and culture today. Lunch and return train tickets between Osaka Station and Sannomiya Station are included (your tour guide will meet you and send you off at Sannomiya Station, you will need to make your own way to/from Osaka station.) Note: Only available for 12 Aug, 28 Aug and 23 Sep departures.

Himeji Castle and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Walking Day Tour

Himeji Castle
$250

Himeji Castle is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is well-known for its elegant white decorations and magnificent appearance. Unlike many other Japanese castles, this early 17th century castle is an original; never damaged by war, earthquakes or fires. Its complex structure was designed as an advanced defence mechanism and continues to draw in many visitors today. After lunch, walk on the world’s longest suspension bridge – Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, which is almost 4 kilometres long. Walk along the Maiko Marine Promenade underneath the bridge, which is 50m above the water.*Lunch and return train tickets between Osaka Station and Sannomiya Station are included (your guide will meet you and send you off at Himeji Station, you will need to make your own way to/from Osaka station). Note: Only available for 9 May, 20 Jun, 18 Jul, 10 Sep and 8 Oct departures.
Nikko Day Tour with Japanese-style Lunch

Nikko Toshugu
$250

Nikko is a major centre for Buddhism and the Shinto religion. It is located in a valley and surrounded by beautiful deciduous forests and majestic waterfalls. This optional tour will take you to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Nikko Toshogu. This area is well known for its distinctive architecture made up of a large number of wood carvings and gold leaf decorations on the buildings. This design is unique and not seen elsewhere in Japan. You will also visit Kegon Waterfall (around 100m high) which is the main natural attraction in Nikko. This is the best spot to view maple leaves during autumn.

Not available on the following Japan departure dates:
2017: 17 Oct
Tokyo Disneyland Day Ticket

Tokyo Disneyland
$120

Tokyo Disneyland is a 115-acre (47 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, near Tokyo. Its main gate is directly adjacent to both Maihama Station and Tokyo Disneyland Station. It was the first Disney park to be built outside the United States, and it opened on 15 April 1983. The park has seven themed areas: the World Bazaar; the four classic Disneylands: Adventureland, Westernland, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland; and two mini-lands: Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown. Many of the games and rides in these areas mirror those in the original Disneyland as they are based on American Disney films and fantasies. Fantasyland includes Peter Pan’s Flight, Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Dumbo the Flying Elephant and more based on classic Disney films and characters.
Tokyo DisneySea Day Ticket

Tokyo DisneySea
$120

Tokyo DisneySea is a 176-acre (71.22 ha) theme park at the Tokyo Disney Resort located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, just outside Tokyo. It opened on September 4, 2001. Tokyo DisneySea attracted an estimated 14 million visitors in 2013, making it the fourth-most-visited theme park in the world. In 2002 Tokyo DisneySea won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for the concept, design, and construction of the theme park. Tokyo DisneySea also won the 2012-2015 Theme Park Insider Awards “Best theme park”. There are seven uniquely themed areas or “ports of call”. The entrance to the park is Mediterranean Harbour, which opens up to six additional nautically-themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island.
Sumo Wrestling

Sumo Wrestling
$65*

Sumo is a traditional Japanese style of wrestling and Japan’s national sport. The rules of the game are simple. Two wrestlers compete to force one another outside of the circular ring or to touch the floor with any part of the body other than the soles of the feet. The art of sumo wrestling dates back to ancient times as form of entertainment for Shinto deities. Ceremonial rituals in accordance with Shinto beliefs are still practiced today before a match, such as purifying the ring with salt and extravagant stomps made by the sumo wrestlers to drive away evil spirits. There is no weight classifiation in sumo wrestling and the sheer size of many of the wrestlers is a sight to behold. *Only available on 9 May and 12 Sep. Please contact us for detailed information.
Robot Restaurant

Robot Restaurant Japan
$100

Not just any restaurant and bar, Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant is most famous for its late night robot-themed dancing and battle shows. Behold an outrageous and electrifying live spectacle featuring Japanese taiko drum performances as well as mock battles between bikini-clad dancing girls, giant robotic dinosaurs, cyborgs, ninjas and a host of other bizarre characters, staged in a theatrical LED-fitted room bursting with kaleidoscopic neon-lit laser beams, virtual fieworks, explosions and energetic techno music. This sensory overload is Japanese pop culture at its wackiest and is exclusive to Japan. Please choose from the times below: 17:55, 19:50 or 21:45~ $100/person for show tickets. Please enquire if you wish to add a meal package. (* Please be there at least 30 minutes before the show)
Tea Ceremony (30 minutes)

Tea Ceremony
$55

The Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional ritual influenced by the principles of Zen Buddhism, in which powdered green tea, or matcha, is prepared and served to a small group in a quiet setting. Traditional Japanese confectionary is often served to balance out the bitter taste of the green tea.
Highlights:

  • Learn the process of the Japanese tea ceremony from a qualified tea instructor
  • Learn which utensils to use to prepare green tea in a traditional Japanese room (tatami)
  • Discover the customs, culture and hospitality of the Japanese people

Physical considerations: The tea ceremony is performed in a kneeling position (seiza) on the floor. This puts pressure on your knees and ankles. Please be cautious of joining this optional program if you have a condition that prevents you from kneeling on the floor for a short period of time.

Optional: Wear traditional Japanese garment (kimono) and experience a tea ceremony
Pottery Making Experience (60 minutes)

Pottery Making
$99

Pottery is the oldest art form in Japan, and earthenware traditions in Japan are believed to have started around 12,000 years ago. Today, there are thousands of potters who make a living out of producing pottery-wares across the country. The pottery produced in each region varies in design because of the type of clay found there.

Highlights:

  • Try your hand at making your own cup or bowl by using a spinning wheel and clay.
  • Receive a pre-made sake cup made by the instructors as a souvenir.
Golden Joinery (60 minutes)

Golden Joinery
$109

Learn the art of golden joinery (kintsugi or kintsukuroi), a technique of repairing broken cups, bowls, or plates using lacquer resin laced with gold powder. As a philosophy the mended flaws become part of the object’s design. The result is that the object looks more beautiful than the original after being broken and repaired.

Highlights:

  • Mend broken cups, bowls or plates using powdered gold.
  • Take home the object you repaired as a unique souvenir.
Kimono Photo Shoot (60 minutes)

Kimono Photo Shoot
$120

The kimono is the traditional dress of Japan and is representative of its culture and heritage. The dress consists of a long robe with wide sleeves and is usually made of various materials and patterns. Today the kimono is only worn sparingly, on formal occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies or other special events. Take part in a memorable photo shoot at a studio where you can dress up in a kimono of your choice. You can take photos with your own camera or you may choose to purchase a photo package plan from the photographers.

Highlights:

  • Dress up in a kimono of your choice for the photo shoot.
  • Have your photos taken for free with your own camera or purchase the photos from the professional photographers.
Cooking Class (120-180 minutes)

Cooking Class
$129 Popular!

Japanese cuisine (washoku) is well known for its refined taste and elegant presentation. Take part in a Japanese cooking experience and learn from one of Tokyo’s most popular cooking instructors, whose book has been published in English. Bring home with you a set of new cooking skills and culinary techniques that will leave your friends and family impressed.

Highlights:

  • Learn to cook different types of Japanese food, such as sushi, soup, and various side dishes.
  • Learn the ingredients, culinary techniques and methods used in creating home-made Japanese dishes.
  • Enjoy your own cooked dish for lunch.

Note:

  • Transportation is not included. However, optional program venues are located in the easily accessible Tokyo CBD.
  • You may join up to 2 programs per day (exception: Nikko Day Tour).
  • Optional programs are subject to availability and must be booked more than 1 month before departure.

Hotel Accommodation

Seoul The Palace Hotel Seoul local rating or similar
Daegu Daegu Grand Hotel local rating or similar
Gyeongju Gyeongju Commodore Hotel local rating or similar
Busan Crown Harbour local rating or similar
Osaka Kansai Airport Washington Hotel local rating or similar
Osaka Osaka Daiichi Hotel local rating or similar
Nagoya Tokyu Rei Hotel local rating or similar
Mount Fuji Yamanakako Sun Plaza Hotel local rating or similar
Tokyo Tokyo Dome Hotel local rating or similar
Taipei Capital Hotel Arena or similar
Nantou Nantou Cheng Pao Hotel or similar
Kaohsiung Kaohsiung Hotel Sunshine or similar
Taitung Taitung Hoya Resort Hotel or similar
Hualien Hualien Charming City Hotel or similar
New Taipei City Amain Boutique Motel Tucheng or similar
Fly to Seoul via a connecting city. Note: some flights may depart the next day
On arrival in Seoul, 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.
Daegu
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 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.
Haedong Yonggungsa
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.
Changdeokgung Palace
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, and the Exhibition Hall houses old tanks and planes from the Korean War. 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, board a direct flight operated by a local carrier to Osaka. Your friendly tour guide will be waiting at the airport to transfer you to airport hotel. Note: Baggage allowance for this sector is 1 piece max weight 15kg per person
Osaka City
This morning, travel to Nara and 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 to Osaka. Visit Osaka Castle, which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the the Azuchi-Momoyama period in the sixteenth century, before being dropped off at Dōtonbori, which exemplifies Osaka’s vibrant food culture.
Osaka Castle
Spend today free at your own leisure. You may visit one of the most spectacular Japanese aquariums, Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, or take a day trip to Hyogo to visit Himeji Castle, a unique, white, enormous Japanese castle. An optional day tour is available for some departure dates. Please check the list of optional program for information
Himeji Castle
This morning, travel to Kyoto by bullet train to visit Heian Jingu Shinto Shrine. Next, visit Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold, and incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai, and Zen. Travel to Nagoya to visit Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. Here you will learn about the history of Toyota as a textile machinery manufacturer and how it became a successful mass exporter and manufacturer of automotive technology, including robots.
Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion
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 Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, and from there on to Hakone Shrine. Standing at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi, the shrine buildings are hidden in dense forest.
In the morning, visit Meiji Shrine, dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Later, stroll through the Asakusa Kannon Temple, one of Tokyo’s most colourful and popular temples, and browse for souvenirs at Nakamise Shopping Street. Your last stop today is Tokyo Tower, to enjoy a panoramic view of enormous Tokyo city.
Tokyo Tower
Spend today free leisure. You may spend a day in Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea (admission $120) or you can join the Nikko Day Tour ($250). Alternatively, you can join our wide range of optional programs (tea ceremony, pottery-making experience, golden joinery, kimono photo shoot, cooking class). Activities are not guided and transportation is self-arranged.
Tokyo Disneyland
Board a flight to Taipei. Upon arrival, you will be greeted warmly at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel (standard check in time: 3pm).
Taipei
Today’s highlight is a visit to the Presidential Building (outside) and Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Explore the National Palace Museum which has the world’s largest Chinese art and antique collection, followed by a Taiwanese handicraft centre where you can purchase souvenirs. This afternoon we visit Tamsui, a laidback waterfront town on the northern part of Taipei city. Enjoy lunch today at Tamsui Old Street, where you can feast on many famous Taiwanese snacks. In the evening, explore the bustling night life of Taipei. Have a traditional local dinner after visiting the oldest temple in Taiwan – Longshan Temple. Then proceed to the most colourful night market in Taiwan – Huahsi Night Market.
This morning travel to Sun Moon Lake, situated 762 meters above sea level in the lofty mountains of central Taiwan. Stop at the famous Wenwu Temple (Literature Warrior Temple – dedicated to Confucius – the Master of the Pen, and Kuan Ti – the Master of the Sword). Then head to the pier and gently cruise on a boat over Sun Moon Lake for a view of Xuanguang Temple & Lalu Island as you relax on its tranquil waters. Note: Your tour guide may adjust the activities for this day subject to weather and other limitations.
After breakfast, we will head south towards Kaohsiung and arrive at Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial Centre (BMC). Completed in 2011, BMC has enshrined a relic of the Buddha given by Tibetan Lama Kunga Dorje Rinpoche, since the beginning of contstruction in 2001. We will be spending most of our day at this place to enjoy the serene atmosphere and explore the entire area at our leisure. Later we will enter Kaohsiung City and explore one of the local night markets.
Fo Guang Shan
The highlight today is a visit to Kenting National Park, Taiwan’s first nationally recognised park and undoubtedly one of the most spectacular landscapes you will see. Be awestruck by the vastness of the natural reserve and stand on the southernmost tip of the island at Maopitou and Eluanbi Lighthouse, also known as ‘The Light of East Asia’ as its light is one of the most powerful along the Taiwan coast. This afternoon, head to Kenting Main Street in the heart of Kenting, an area bustling with locals, tourists and vendors. Spend lunch time discovering the numerous stalls and restaurants offering a variety of local snacks and cuisines. Travel up the scenic Southern Link Highway to Taitung Country.
The highlight today is a visit the East Coast National Scenic Area, known as ‘Taiwan’s last unspoiled land’, stretching 170 kilometres down the east coast of Taiwan. Weathering and erosion have produced a wide range of breathtaking landforms here which can only be appreciated first-hand. Stop at Siao-ye-liou (Little Wild Willow), San-sien-tai (Three Immortals Island), Shi-ti-ping (Stone Steps) and take in the spectacular views. Proceed to Hualien this afternoon.
Today’s highlight is a visit to Taroko National Park. Just 15km north of Hualien lies Taroko Gorge, a place that has to be seen to be believed, and Taiwan’s top tourist destination. The park covers over 120,000 hectares and rises from sea level in the east to over 3700m further west. The aquamarine Liwu River cuts through the centre, forging deep slit valleys before joining the sea. Visit the Eternal Spring Shrine, Swallow Grotto, Shakadong Trail, Marble Bridge and the Marble Factory before returning to Taipei City. Experience soaring heights at the tallest building in Taiwan, Taipei 101 (admission fee at your own expense, payable to the guide).
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home via a connecting city.
Arrive home this morning.