Far East Asia Discovery 24 Days

$5,999.00

Immerse yourself on 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 picturesque towns and villages to modernised skyscrapers in vibrant metropolis Taiwan. The combination of places visited in these two countries will provide you with an unforgettable life-time experience. Make sure you are packing already!

South Korea
Synonymous 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 here 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 also 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 encapsulate 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 mattresses called “Tatami Mats”. You will also visit restaurants on this tour where it is customary to remove 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”.

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.

Cherry blossoms and crimson autumn leaves are highly seasonal and subject to climate 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, Taiwan was the chosen location for the filming of the 2013 Oscar winning blockbuster, “Life of Pi”, directed by Ang Lee.

As one of the most diverse destinations in Asia, Taiwan has been increasingly 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:
  • 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
  • Experience the serenity of Seokguram Grotto
  • Pray for your fortunes at beautiful Kiyomizu-dera
  • Feed the gentle Sika deer of Nara
  • Visit several World Heritage sites and relax overnight in Kyoto
  • Race to Mount Fuji on a high speed Shinkansen bullet train
  • Drink from clear springs at the foothills of Mount Fuji

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Guaranteed Departures

2016 Package Price Per Person Single Supplement
07 Mar 16 May* 05 Sep* From $5,999 $1,800
04 Apr** 13 Jun* 17 Oct*
11 Apr** 25 Jul* 31 Oct*
18 Apr** 08 Aug 07 Nov*
2017
08 Mar* 31 May 06 Sep
15 Mar** 14 Jun* 20 Sep**
22 Mar** 28 Jun** 04 Oct*
29 Mar** 12 Jul* 18 Oct
12 Apr** 26 Jul* 01 Nov*
03 May 09 Aug
17 May 23 Aug*

Package Inclusions:

  • Economy class international airfares, taxes and fuel surcharges departing Sydney or Melbourne flying China Southern Airlines^, China Eastern Airlines^ or China Airlines^ (subject to availability)
  • Internal flights (operated by local carriers)
  • 21 nights hotel accommodation (twin/double occupancy)
  • Coach transportation
  • Bullet train fee from Kyoto to Mount Fuji (including same day coach luggage transfer service from hotel to hotel)
  • Round trip airport and hotel transfers
  • Entrance fees to scenic attractions
  • English speaking tour guides

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

Tokyo Optional Programs

Nikko Day Tour with Japanese-style Lunch

Nikko Toshugu
$250

Nikko is the centre for Buddhism and Shinto religion. It is located in the 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 decorated onto the building. This design is unique and not seen elsewhere in Japan. You will also visit Kegon Waterfall (around 100m tall) 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:
2016: 23 Oct
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. The award was presented at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA. The winners of the 2012-2015 Theme Park Insider Awards “Best theme park” is Tokyo DisneySea. There are seven uniquely themed areas or “ports of call”. The entrance to the park is Mediterranean Harbour, which opens up to six more nautically themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island.
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. Often traditional Japanese confectionary is 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 hospitability of the Japanese people.

Physical considerations: 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: $130 – Wear traditional Japanese garment (kimono) and experience tea ceremony
Pottery Making Experience (60 minutes)

Pottery Making
$99

Pottery is the oldest art form and earthenware traditions in Japan 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 the 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 plate using lacquer resin laced with gold powder. As a philosophy the mended aws 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
Male $100, Female $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 that 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 foods, 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
Mount Seorak Inje Speedium Hotel & Resort local rating or similar
Osaka Kansai Airport Washington Hotel local rating or similar
Osaka Osaka Daiichi Hotel local rating or similar
Kyoto Kyoto Shin Hankyu Hotel (off peak only) local rating or similar
Mount Fuji Yamanakako Sun Plaza Hotel local rating or similar
Atami Atami New Fujiya Hotel local rating or similar
Tokyo Tokyo Dome Hotel local rating or similar
Tokyo Marroad International Hotel Narita 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.
Arrive in Seoul, you will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel.
Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Preservation District in 1982 due to the many rare species found in the national park, Mt Seoraksan National Park is Korea’s most famous national park. This morning, tour Shinheungsa Temple and take the cable car to Gwonkeumseong Fortress to experience the beautiful natural landscapes on offer. Continue to Sokcho fishing village this afternoon.
This morning visit the traditional village of Andong, with its well preserved traditional houses and unique mask dancing performance. Later, travel to Gatbawi Shrine.
Today, explore the many archaeological sites and temples, royal tombs and monuments of Gyeongju, the capital of the ancient Shilla Kingdom. Visit Cheomseongdae Astronomical Observatory, Royal Tumuli Park, Gyeongju National Museum, Bulguksa Temple, and Seokguram Grotto Temple.
This morning, heading to Changdeokgung Palace, one of the “Five Grand Palaces” built by the Kings of the Jeoson Dynasty and Insadong, a street full of traditional Korean antiques and tea houses. Continue to Cheonggyecheon Stream and admire its unique beauty, before visiting Myeongdong, one of Seoul’s main commercial districts. Then visit a Korean Ginseng Centre to learn about Ginseng, which has existed for thousands of years to improve people’s overall health. Later, experience the city’s best night view at Namsan Tower.
Visit North Korea’s 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, located within the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) a 44 km drive northwest of Seoul. An entire infantry division can 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.
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.
Visit one of Osaka’s most famous landmarks, Osaka Castle, which played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period, and explore Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Japan with a purely Japanese style design, before being dropped off at Dōtonbori a street known to exemplify Osaka’s vibrant night life.
This morning, travel to Nara and visit Todaiji Temple, one of Japan’s most famous temples, with its Great Buddha Hall housing the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. Wander through Nara Park, where over 1,200 wild sika deer roam free before heading onwards to Kyoto, one of the country’s oldest cities. Visit Nishijin Textile Centre and see weaving demonstrations by master craftspeople working by hand and by loom. Later, visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple UNESCO World Heritage site, and drink to your fortune from the streams of the Otowa Waterfall.
This morning, visit Nijo Castle, the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate and Kinkakuji: Golden Pavilion, a Zen temple and World Heritage site with two floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture incorporating three distinct styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen. Also visit Togetsu Bridge, the landmark of Western Kyoto’s Arashiyama District for over four hundred years, before travelling onwards to Mount Fuji by bullet train (maximum speed 320km/h).
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 the locals. Later, visit Gotemba Peace Park to capture a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji, before taking a cruise on Lake Ashi, and savour the numerous delights of nature. Visit Owakudani Valley, an active volcanic zone with hot springs and hot spring rivers. Also visit Hakone Shrine. Standing at the foot of Mount Hakone along the shores of Lake Ashi, the shrine buildings are hidden in dense forest, its location given away only by the temple’s huge torii gates.
This morning, visit Odawara Castle. Then travel to Kamakura and visit Daibutsu, the Great Buddha which is the second tallest bronze Buddha statue in Japan, surpassed only by the statue in Nara’s Todaiji Temple. Then head back to Tokyo this afternoon to visit Yokohama China Town, the largest Chinatown in Asia.
Spend today free at your own leisure. You may spend a day in Tokyo Disneyland or DisneySea (admission $120). Or alternatively, you can join our wide range of optional programs (Tea Ceremony,Pottery-making Experience, Golden Joinery, Kimono Photo Shoot, Cooking Class). All activities are not guided and transportation is self-arranged.
Visit Meiji Shrine in the morning, 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. Relax on a Sumida River Cruise. Your last stop today is Tokyo Tower, before heading to a hotel near Narita Airport.
Board a flight to Taipei. Upon arrival, you will be warmly greeted at the airport by your tour guide and transferred to your hotel (standard check in time: 3pm).
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 antiques collection, followed by a Taiwanese Handicraft Centre where you can purchase Taiwanese souvenirs. This afternoon, 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 Taiwanese 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, located in the middle of Taiwan , and 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 Pen and Kuan Ti, the Master of 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 been enshrining the Buddha’s relic, given by Tibetan Lama Kunga Dorje Rinpoche since the beginning of contraction in 2001. We will be spending most of our day at this place to enjoy the serene atmosphere and leisurely explore the entire area. Later we will be entering into Kaohsiung City and explore one of the local night markets.
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 intensity 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 experience first-hand. Stop at Siao-ye-liou, 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, 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. Take in the majestic scenery of the Taroko Gorge, a place that has to be seen to be believed. 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.