Our Japan group tours reveal a country that is a complex mix of ancient traditions, and ultra modern, where glass-clad skyscrapers might have a room full of tatami mats, ready to host a tea ceremony, accessed by a wooden door.
The bullet train is a great way to get around Japan quickly, as it reaches speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour! In the background you see Mount Fuji, one of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains. This dormant volcano last erupted in 1708.
Inhabited for thousands of years, Japan’s early history is probably best known for the samurai culture which developed there. The rivalries in the noble classes were fought with samurai. For 265 years the Tokugawa Shogunate was housed inside the Edo-jo Castle, where many battles took place. Continue reading
Our South Korea tours typically start in Seoul, a modern metropolis that has spilled over its 600-year-old city walls and grown to a population of 25 million. Its residents are part of a progressive Asian culture with deep respect for its past and traditions.
The beautiful Jeju Island is one of South Korea’s most popular vacation spots, whether for simple vacations or for honeymooners. It is home to a dormant volcano (South Korea’s tallest mountain) and the world’s longest lava tube (Manjang Cave).
Illustrating the juxtaposition of past and present is Gyeongbokgung Palace, the Joseon Dynasty’s sprawling residence, which had been the seat of Korea’s government for almost 500 years. Now, the tranquil setting of the Palace is set against Seoul’s tall skyline and frenetic pace. Continue reading
A traditional ger (Mongolian) or yurt (from the Turkic languages) is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia.
A Mongolian yurt, known locally as a ger, is a strong, portable tent-like structure that has been home to the nomads of Mongolia for at least three thousand years, and is able to withstand the harsh winters of this region.
The Mongolian Ger
The structure comprises an angled assembly or latticework of pieces of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs, and a wheel (crown, compression ring), possibly steam-bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting, but large gers may have interior posts supporting the crown. The top of the wall of self-supporting gers is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. Modern gers may be permanently built on a wooden platform; they may use modern materials such as steam-bent wooden framing or metal framing, canvas or tarpaulin, plexiglas dome, wire rope, or radiant insulation. Continue reading
Discovered in 1974 by a local farmer who was digging for a water well, the Terracotta Army and museum are undeniably one of China’s most awe-inspiring collections and, without a doubt, one of the highlights of a trip to China. In a space roughly the size of a football field, it is estimated over 8000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and 520 horses were buried.
In the more than 2,000 years since these sculptures were created, much of the area they’re located in has been covered with up to five metres of sandy, reddish soil. This photo is from our China tour including the Terracotta Army.
Photo credit: Tour Leader Rachel Kristensen
China is the third largest country in the world and has some of the most diverse landscapes, bustling cities and quiet villages to explore. From the sandy dunes of the Gobi Desert, to the deep gorges cut by the Yangtze River and the karst mountains of Guilin.
The iconic mountains around Yangshuo are karst mountains, formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks, typically gypsum, dolomite or limestone. Water dissolved the stone, leaving these magnificent forms on the landscape!
Photo credit: Rachel Kristensen @meandertheworld