• Halong Bay Vietnam

    10 Best Experiences To Have While Traveling in Indochina

    Most tourists never see <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Halong Bay</a> in the morning. They miss the fishing junks sliding past limestone spires that thrust from the turquoise water. They can&#39;t imagine how the scent of fresh coffee hangs in the air as eagles float overhead. While in Indochina,  don&#39;t just visit the great cities... stop at the simple homestead of a rice farmer; meet the enormous residents of a Laotian elephant preserve; wander the temples of Angkor; stay in Indochina’s finest hotels and resorts. Along the way, wend your way through exotic markets, eat truly remarkable local specialties, and experience the traditional cultures you only find if you approach the region like a traveler, rather than a tourist.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#1 Bike Through Mekong Delta</b></a><br>Enjoy an ultra-leisurely bike ride along flat and empty roads into the heart of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Mekong Delta</a>. Follow narrow country roads that curve over tiny canals and past fruit gardens and sleepy villages all while taking in the lush, tropical landscape, carpeted with rice fields.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Women on a bike in Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7UG" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#2 Visit Saigon by Rickshaw</b></a><br>A rickshaw is a great way to see, hear and soak up the action, and it’s an efficient way to get to key sites like City Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral and Dong Khoi Street, the city’s premier shopping district for custom-made silk garments, embroidery and more.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Vegetable Vendor in Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Uu" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#3 Visit the scenic Rice Fields outside Danang</b></a><br>Depending on the season you can see the fields being plowed by buffalo, rice planted by women, or harvested by the men. Visit a mill to see how the rice is dried and husked. This unique glimpse into the rural lives of the villagers is a sight very few visitors see and will be one of the highlights of our time in Vietnam<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Rice Farmers in Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7VE" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#4 Hindu Monuments at My Son (Danang)</b></a><br>This beautiful region is known for its cluster of Hindu temples, some of which date back to the 7th Century. Get a haunting look into the region’s rich cultural past.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Hindu Monuments at My Son (Danang), Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7UL" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#5 Hanoi and Northern Vietnam Countryside</b></a><br>Beginning at <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Phuong Pagoda</a>, famous for its vast display of finely carved wooden statues of 18th-century monks, take a scenic walk among rice fields and through bamboo groves to a local village.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Phuong Pagoda, Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7V9" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">#6 See Halong Bay from a Luxury Junk Boat</a></b><br>After boarding our luxury Junk Boat,cruise on the emerald green waters of the bay which offers a chance to visit and explore many islands and caves<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Halong Bay, Vietnam" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7UQ" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">#7 Laos</a></b><br>Explore <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Luang Prabang’s</a> night market, known especially for fine handicrafts from ethnic villagers.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Luang Prabang&#39;s night market, Laos" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Uz" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#8 Elephant Sanctuary in Luang Prabang</b></a><br>Enjoy a visit to a 2,000-acre elephant sanctuary in the beautiful and unspoiled Nam Khan River valley. Meet the mahouts that train and care for the elephants and get a chance to play and bathe them firsthand.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Women feeding Elephant" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Ua" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#9 Guided tour of Angkor Thom </b></a><br>Taking time to visit Ta Prohm is an incredible experience. Unlike many of the region’s temples, this one still looks much as it did when it was discovered – surrounded by jungle with great trees growing from the ruins.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="Interior of Angkor Thom" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Uk" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><b>#10 Angkor Wat</b></a><br>It&#39;s well worth it to get up early to be able to see <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank">Angkor Wat</a> at sunrise. Its the largest temple in the world, and worth every bit of exploration. <br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/vietnam/" target="_blank"><img alt="User-added image" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002ATJm&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000f7Uf" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>If you&#39;d like to do all these activities, plus a little more, without the hassle of logistics—join a <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/indochina-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys Culture + Walking or Family trip to Vietnam, Laos, &amp; Cambodia</a>. You&#39;ll have the trip of a lifetime!

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  • Social distancing

    ROMEOS and Social Distancing

    They call themselves ROMEOS—Retired Old Men Eating Out Sometimes—and one of them is actually the father of our Guest Services Manager here at Classic Journeys. Unable to go out for their weekly breakfast together, they took matters in their own hands and decided to find a way to still get together safely, using tape measures to literally ensure safe social distancing.<br><br>A neighbor spotted them, took a photo and posted it. And it became a viral sensation, gathering tens of thousands of likes.  <br><br><img alt="ROMEOS retired old men eating during social distancing" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVJp" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img><br><br>That got us thinking that social distancing means something different to every person in our country and around the world. Because we are talking with our local guides around the world every day, we decided to make today’s conversation:<br><br><i>“What is social distancing like for you?” </i><br><br>From <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/iceland/" target="_blank">Iceland</a> to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/italy/" target="_blank">Italy</a>, <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/portugal/" target="_blank">Portugal</a> to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/japan/" target="_blank">Japan</a>, and <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/morocco/" target="_blank">Morocco</a> to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/blog/tag/montenegro/" target="_blank">Montenegro</a>, guides shared their insightful and often very funny commentary. <br><br><b>From Kommi in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/iceland-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Iceland</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Kommi in Iceland" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVQ2" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“Because we have only about 340,000 people in Iceland and we are about the same size as the state of New York with 19 million people, social distancing means something very different to us. When our government told us to keep 6 feet apart, that seemed like we would be too close to one another!”<br><br><b>From Susana in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/portugal-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Portugal</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Susana in Portugal" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVQ7" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“Portuguese people are very tactile. We love to touch. We greet each other with a couple of kisses on the cheeks (men to woman, woman to men, woman to woman), hand shake (man to man) or hug each other (closer friends and family). Social distancing has changed not just how physically close to one another we are, but also our core beliefs on how to connect with one another.”<br><br><b>From Yumiko in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Japan</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Yumiko in Japan" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVQR" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>’Japan is not famous for being a warm culture. Instead of hugs and kisses, we greet each other with bows. So, in a way, social distancing is the norm for Japanese people. That said, spring is the one time of the year when we gather in big crowds to enjoy the cherry blossoms with family and friends. For that fleeting moment, we are much closer with one another. This year, unfortunately, may be the exception.’’<br><br><b>From Saida in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/morocco-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Morocco</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Saida in Morocco" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVQW" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“In Morocco, social distancing is like torture to us. We love to be together and hug each other all the time, even if we don’t know each other. When walking with a friend, we are close to each other a lot, to the extent sometimes, we hold hands with each other like lovers, even when we are not.” <br><br><b>From Ulisse in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/italy/" target="_blank"><b>Italy</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Ulisse in Italy" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVQb" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“We Italians are adjusting to something completely new. It is depriving us (temporarily I hope) of a big part of what defines Italians and makes us loved all around the world—the friendliness of a handshake, two kisses on the cheeks to greet a good friend or a warm hug that says: ‘I am happy to see you’. It is a sacrifice for all. On the happy side of things, all around Italy people are leaning out of their balconies to sing. We can’t help it... it’s in our blood... we have to sing all the time. Not even Coronavirus can keep Italians from serenading!”<br><br><b>From Rosemary in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/canada/" target="_blank"><b>Canada</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Rosemary in Canada" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVQl" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“My friends and I no longer share thermoses of coffee but we share a lot more jokes to keep each other’s spirits going.  I think that we have become a lot more aware and considerate of each other.  I keep my physical distance from you but at the same time I offer to get something at the store for you.  We are all a lot more aware of the risks and stresses that each other are under so we are constantly checking in with one another in tiny ways.”<br><br><b>From Vibeke in </b><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/norway-tours/" target="_blank"><b>Norway</b><br><img alt="Classic Journeys guide Vibeke in Norway" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002FmDa&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000001lVR5" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>“Our prime minister said it so well (it sounds actually better in Norwegian), ‘Take care of each other by not touching each other’. And I feel we are closer than before, taking care and giving each other tons of ‘verbal hugs’.  I think we will come out if this as a more caring nation, as we will not take our well-being for granted anymore.”<br> 

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  • Best Places in Japan Yasaka Shrine

    Best Places to Visit in Japan

    <p>From its ultra-modern cities to stunning snow-capped mountains to tranquil Shinto temples hidden away in dense green forests, Japan is a vast treasure trove of experiences. With so much to offer, it’s hard to believe that the entire country is about half the size of Texas. For travelers, this makes it an excellent destination - and the country’s famed Bullet Trains certainly make it easier to explore! If you’re thinking about taking a trip to The Land of The Rising Sun, here’s our list of the <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank">best places to visit in Japan</a>.<br><br><b>Tokyo:</b><br><br>Of course, no visit to Japan is complete without a stop in one of the world’s greatest cities.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Tokyo markets" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6a0" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>You could easily spend a week or two in Tokyo and still not take in everything that the city has to offer. Despite its high-tech sheen, the centuries-old heart of Japan still shines through; Sensō-ji, Tokyo’s oldest temple, was founded in 645 AD and still retains its elegant beauty. Tokyo’s marketplaces are thrumming with activity; there’s no better place to shop (and slurp down a bowl of udon noodles) than the Ameyoko-cho market. The city’s nightlife is legendary; you’ll have a blast hopping up onstage during a late-night karaoke session in the famed Roppongi district.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-cherry-blossoms-tour/" target="_blank"><img alt="Cherry blossoms in Tokyo" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6bS" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br> And if you visit Tokyo in the springtime, you’ll get an added bonus: the gorgeous <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-cherry-blossoms-tour/" target="_blank">cherry blossoms</a> will be in bloom.<br><br><b>Hakone:</b><br><br>Venture out of Tokyo and you’ll see an entirely different side of Japan. Nowhere is that more evident than in the mountain town of Hakone.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Hakone Shrine" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6bX" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Here you can take in views of Mount Fuji, reflected in the beautiful Lake Ashi. Tucked away in the forest is the beautiful Hakone Shrine, a Shinto temple that dates back to 757 AD. And Hakone is known for its hot springs, giving you the perfect opportunity for a relaxing soak after a day of exploring.<br><br><b>Gotemba:</b><br><br>The small city of Gotemba lies on the southeastern flank of Mount Fuji.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hiroshima-japan-tour-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="Mount Fuji from Gotemba" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6bh" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Considered one of the gateways to the mountain, you can easily access Mount Fuji’s hiking trails from here. <br><br><b>Kyoto:</b><br><br>Kyoto provides travelers with the quintessential Old Japan experience.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Bamboo forest in Kyoto" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6bd" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Serving as the country’s capital for over a thousand years, the city’s ancient temples, palaces and gardens will make you believe you’ve stepped back in time. Chief among these wonders is the Tenryu-ji Zen temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-see, featuring a beautiful  - and enormous - Zen garden and pond.<br><br><b>Wazuka:</b><br><br>Tea ceremonies, also known as the “Way of Tea,” are a Japanese tradition steeped in culture and history. The small town of Wazuka is one of the country’s tea cultivation epicenters.</p> <p><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Tea ceremony in Wazuka" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6bm" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>With a population of just under 4,000 people, it’s home to some 300 tea-growing families and is the spot where tea was first grown after being brought to Japan from China. Sipping a steaming cup of Matcha here is an experience unlike any other.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Woman harvesting tea leaves" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6cB" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br><b>Hiroshima:</b><br><br>It’s impossible to come away from Hiroshima unmoved.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="Hiroshima city" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6d4" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br><br>Emerging from unspeakable destruction, the city has become a thriving metropolis and a living testimony to the powers of resilience and peace. Ground zero of the atomic explosion is now Peace Memorial Park, a place of sadness, beauty and hope.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/hiroshima-japan-tour-extension/" target="_blank"><img alt="Great Torii Gate" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6cf" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br>Miyajima Island, featuring the massive and partially submerged Great Torii Gate, has been officially designated as one of Japan’s Top 3 Most Beautiful Views by the Japanese government. Another beautiful view awaits you at Shukkeien Garden, built in 1620 for the samurai Asano Nagaakira.<br> <br><b>Let us show you Japan:</b><br>If you’re ready to explore the best places to visit in Japan, we’re ready to help. <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank">Classic Journeys Japan tours</a> are led by local guides, who’ll take you to these spots – and offer you exclusive sights and interactions that very few visitors will get to experience.<br><br><a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/japan-luxury-tours/" target="_blank"><img alt="See Japan Tours CTA" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y1T000002L6HN&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM1T000000r6gX" style="height: 177px; width: 500px;"></img></a><br> </p>

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