New Tours in Northeast Asia
Travelers can enjoy 15% off tours to Northeast Asia when booked by April 30, 2017.
Transport through the centuries in a place where ancient civilization and modern personalities unite. Northeast Asia has an incredible power to allow travelers to remember what it feels like to be truly delighted as they experience its spectacular synthesis of culture and time, nature and simplicity and sheer craftsmanship.
While the countries in this region may be home to the landscapes, flavors, artistry and natural beauty of fantasies, we can assure you they are real. See for yourself– Yampu Tours is now offering private, personalized tour itineraries to Japan, China and South Korea. Focus on whatever you like: pop culture, nature, food, tradition or try a little bit of everything and keep an eye out for tours in Taiwan and Hong Kong on our website which will be released by early April.
Here’s what we are most excited about in our new Northeast Asia Tours:
There are countless reasons why Japan is a magical place beyond the beautiful little Bambi resting in the photo above. While it is an ideal country to drink in natural beauty such as cherry blossoms, fawns, monkeys, mountains and valleys, there is so much else to look forward to!
Japan places a heavy emphasis on simplicity and perfection: mastering a skill or a trade to make it the very best. Did you know it would traditionally take at least ten years for an apprentice to become a sushi chef? While many of us have learned to associate the word “ramen” with those awful microwave noodles with two days’ worth of sodium that scientific studies have shown to not be fully digestible (okay, let’s face it…they’re kind of tasty), authentic, traditional ramen is a truly beautiful thing.
Dig into the light yet rich broth, soft slurp-able noodles, crisp fresh vegetables and tender meats. Becoming a ramen master in Japan is a serious commitment- there are academies dedicated to the art of making ramen and every region of the country has its own take. Don’t miss a chance to try this magical, delicious dish that balances flavors and textures with the utmost precision.
Combine this traditional artistry and culinary perfection with a sake tasting experience (not for the faint of heart!) and let the flavors of Japan come alive. Let our expert Japan tour consultant customize a tour for you with recommendations on culinary adventures that will give you an out-of-body experience!
If you’re looking to get inspired and learn more about Japanese cuisine, its rich history and perfectionism, check out these documentaries, you’ll be glad you did:
Home of Pikachu and countless famous characters, animated movies, and comic books a pop culture tour of Japan is a fantastic way to enjoy time abroad with the whole family. Learn about traditional and modern Japan with the Otaku Tour: Japanese Pop Culture Experience! Otaku is a word used to describe those who are devoted to their specific hobby such as Manga (Japanese Comic Books), or Anime, a popular style of animation favored by children and adults alike.
Become immersed in modern-day Japan and its eccentric interests from Harajuku Fashion and animated characters to historic traditions such as tea ceremonies and the intricate dress of Japan’s notorious geishas. Before exploring the famous Pokémon Center and being whisked away on a cat bus by Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli museum, learn about laido, a form of Japanese swordsmanship, and practice actual cutting techniques.
After exploring J-World and its popular Dragon Ball and One Piece Series, visit old temples and shrines stopping to peruse traditional shops selling Japanese paper crafts and sweets. Japan is a country where new and old converge, adapting to include one another. There are countless pop culture endeavors to embark upon in Japan!
History, Culture and Natural Beauty
Learn more about traditional Japan and its rich and ancient history. One of our favorite approaches to learning about historical Japan is The Golden Route of Japan. Explore the local hustle and bustle of the world’s largest fish market and learn more about the art of sushi. This is a wonderful way to gain firsthand insight on the lifestyle and diet of the Japanese people, who are well known for their long-lasting health.
One of our favorite ways to travel is by train- it is just so comfortable and you can watch the landscape around you unfurl with the time and leisure to take it all in. We recommend the train ride to Hakone, the gateway to Mt. Fuji and home to some of the most magnificent views. Hakone is also known for its natural hot springs, which offer beautiful rejuvenation during travel.
If travelers are really interested in getting to know what life is like in Japan, the best way to gain an authentic understanding is to make friends with the locals. We like our travelers to spend time with a local family and enjoy learning about traditional craftsmanship such as origami or calligraphy or
to indulge in a tea ceremony.
Castles and temples in Kyoto will transport you back in time to understand the old capital of Japan and make friends with the sika deer that roam around the grounds. Local mythology says that a deity arrived at the old capital of Japan on a white deer to act as its protector, leading to the creatures now being considered national treasures. Visitors can also enjoy a mystical walk through towering bamboo forests.
China stands out as one of the most distinguishable, bold and famous destinations in Asia for its iconic “must-sees” including the terra cotta warriors, the Great Wall of China and of course panda bears. And while these are “must-sees” for a very good reason, we have some other suggestions for how to achieve a well-rounded visit to China.
For the active adventurer, opportunity abounds in China! One of our favorite options for actively enjoying all there is to see and experience in the country is the bike tour option. Once revered as the “Kingdom of Bicycles” China has had a long and interesting history with the self-sufficient vehicles.
Before the people of China had an easier access to motorized vehicles, bicycles were known as one of the essential luxury’s each household desired. To avoid the once complicated public transportation, locals would get from place to place along the wide biking roads where parking was plentiful, and bicycles had the right of way.
Although motor vehicle transportation is now more accessible, one will be able to absorb all that this marvelous country has to offer through its extensive routes. See the assortments of bikes with their own distinct uses and eccentric decorations while exploring cities and villages from Beijing to Yangshuo. Ride along the Great Wall while passing fruitful gardens and quaint villages, cycle through Xingping’s Karst landscape, and explore around the village of Yangshuo while bamboo rafting on the Yulong river.
Along the way travelers can see local people farming on lush land and stop for a visit to a local family’s house to learn to cook local specialties. There is no better way to explore China than by leisurely riding past locals and monuments with this fun and environmentally-friendly method of transportation.
Adventure off the beaten path by assisting with feeding China’s most beloved creature, the giant panda, while visiting Chengdu’s Panda Breeding Center. Look for more wildlife while trekking through the rugged “Tiger Leaping Gorge” and enjoy the immense natural beauty as you cross acres of un-spoiled alpine forest and bright aqua-blue lakes in Jiuzhaigou. Escape from the traditional tourist destinations and become a part of China with immersive, active experiences.
China is known for its eight great culinary regions and flavors including sweet Cantonese food, hot and spicy Sichuan, Shandong seafood, Fujian soups and seafood, gourmet Jiangsu sweet and sour spareribs on other aromatic flavors, Zhejiang’s crispy raw dishes, hot and sour Hunan, usual and hearty Anhui cuisine using wild ingredients.
If travelers are more into eating, we can help plan the best dining experiences and culinary route of China. If we’re talking about the adventurous traveler who is ready to get their hands dirty, we highly recommend a priceless private cooking class with a 5-star Shanghai Chef!
Shanghai cuisine is quintessentially characterized by its use of alcohol. Fish, crab and chicken are usually drunken with spirits before being cooked briskly or even served raw. The use of sugar in combination with soy sauce is also common in Shanghai dishes as is most notable in Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs.
Landmarks and Highlights
Remember those “must-sees” we talked about? Well here they are!
A visit to China is not complete without visiting the terra cotta warriors. Thousands of individual and uniquely crafted clay warriors stand guarding the tomb of China’s first Emperor for all eternity. These detailed creations are believed to have been made to accompany Qin Shi Huang Di, the First Emperor of Qin, into the afterlife to provide protection along his journey. Take in the beauty and magnitude of their craftsmanship while exploring the city of Xi’an, just after taking on the momentous Chinese capital, Beijing. Both cities provide a deep sense of connection to the area’s historic roots as well as its potential in future developments.
Who goes to China without seeing at least part of it? Walk along Great Wall while admiring its fascinating engineering and ingenuity, just before indulging in some of the finest Chinese Cuisine, including the famous and succulent Peking Duck.
Travelers can shop the markets and streets of Shanghai, experiencing the spectacle and sights of the city’s most famous acrobatic show and natural
day-to-day life. Walking the remarkable Tian’an Men Square, one the world’s most impressive public plazas located in the center of Beijing, will truly tie travelers to history. Striking views of Kunming Lake from the Summer Palace are not to be missed.
There is a Bullet train from Beijing to the ancient capital of Shanghai, where travelers get to visit magnificent white jade Burmese Buddha statues along with the Yu Gardens. Located in the old city center, this sublime site is a wonderful example of classical design. It is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the enticing city with a half day city tour of Shanghai with its striking modernist architecture, while at the same time contrasting with the ornate colonial buildings of yesteryear.
Get even more ideas from our sample itinerary.
Located in the Southeast of China, Hong Kong was once a British colony but is now considered a sovereign territory. The city itself is well-known as a business and financial hub with impressive skyscrapers and great shopping for those with urban inclination.
For an incredible view, travelers must take the tram to the highest point of Hong Kong, the Peak. All in one place visitors can drink in views of Victoria Harbor, rolling green hills and some of the world’s most spectacular skyscrapers. The neighborhood around this area also features stunning colonial-style architecture that should not be missed. As you explore the city itself, bring back souvenirs from beautiful marketplaces or high end boutiques and designer shops.
Travelers can also enjoy the harbor with cultural immersion experiences in small fishing villages, by ferry, or with a ride on the observation wheel- a large gondola for relaxing and soaking in the scenery. At night you can catch a wild light show above the city. Coming soon to our website, keep an eye out for sample itineraries for culinary tours, pop culture excursions, historical exploration, cultural immersion and more that we can personalize for travelers in Hong Kong!
East of China, this small island nation has big personality. One of Asia’s most underrated destinations, Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, features incredible marketplaces and nightlife, architecture and traditional temples and imperial art.
Explore museums, bustling marketplaces, and a skyscraper shaped like bamboo as you get a taste of the city life or get away from it all with a natural hot springs retreat, zen meditation and coast exploration. Get a feel for Taiwan’s wildlife with a tour of Kenting National Park.
Experience cultural immersion with an exploration of the life of the Wulai Aboriginal village and get a feel for the customs and traditions of these distinctive island people or learn about woodcraft at the Miaoli Farm and Ranch.
The possibilities are endless on this island that unites the quaint and modern into one exceptional experience. Keep an eye out for sample itineraries in Taiwan on our website or contact us to start building a personalized adventure today.
Beautiful South Korea- the land of the morning calm. Beautiful beaches, hot springs, and countryside fuse with military history, exquisite cuisine and rich, exciting culture met with pure serenity.
The history behind the city of Seoul is fascinating for any visitor to the country. The capital of South Korea, today, is a city of lights, technology, and impressive contemporary architecture all synchronizing together creating a metropolis of the future filled with excitement and glamor.
While this extensive settlement has achieved many modern-day advancements, Seoul continues to take great pride in its rich history and culture, tending to the preservation of several extensive ancient palaces such as Gyeongbokgung as well as the Korean Folk Village. Walk amongst over 260 traditional houses reminiscent of the late Joseon Dynasty while gathering a broad understanding of Korean food, clothing, and housing style of the past.
Peek over at the neighboring country of North Korea while touring the Demilitarized zone, dividing the two oppositions since 1953, creating a type of buffer zone in agreement between the two sides. Historical Seoul is the perfect trip for those who wish to learn more about this city’s great development and gather an understanding of the unique culture that it takes pride in.
Outside of the bustling capital of South Korea, there is much to explore that simply should not be overlooked when planning your Korean adventure. Experience the country’s eccentricities with a stroll through Petite France, a small French cultural village and youth training facility. Just outside of Petite France is the lovely tree lined island of Nami whose gorgeous landscape has been well preserved with power lines virtually nonexistent as they have been constructed underground.
Continue westward to Seoraksan National Park, a gorgeous mountainous reserve that spans several counties with its massive mountain ranges. During the summer the rivers and streams expand greatly, and in autumn the colors of the foliage put on a delightful show of orange and red hues, a spectacular event not to be missed. No matter the season, South Korea offers a splendid natural experience.
In the port city of Busan, stop by the rare coastal temples of the area before heading off to Jeju Island. While on Jeju, explore both the East and West coasts of the island to gain a full experience of this unique landscape and its communities inspiring traditions. Continue back to the mainland to get a taste of how green tea leaves are grown and harvested while in the city of Boseong. Not too far from the plantation is the city of Damyang, home to over 800 traditional Korean ‘hanok’ houses.
For more ideas of the best experiences to have in South Korea visit this sample itinerary or contact us!