Asia | Classic Journeys Blog
  • 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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  • 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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  • Thai people dressed in cultural outfits, Thailand

    The Ultimate Thailand Itinerary

    <b>To get Thailand right, listen to the people.</b><br><br>The young monk who sat with us in the shade of a sacred ficus tree at Wat Suan Dok had the softest, wisest smile. He spoke of joining the monastery and asked about our lives at home. He couldn’t have known it; but that conversation changed the way we saw <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand/" target="_blank">Thailand</a> … and how we share it with you on our deeply personal visit to the country.<br> <br>Thailand’s vibrant public face boasts showy gold temples and Instagram-worthy beaches. You want to see it, and we’ll make sure you do. You’ll start, for instance, at an exclusive boutique beach resort hidden on a private cove in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/phuket-thailand-tour-extension/" target="_blank">Phuket</a>. But the real secret to <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand/" target="_blank">Thailand</a> is that if you shift your focus a few degrees to the right or left of the marquee attraction, real life is right there. So we boat out to islands in the Andaman Sea that are uninhabited except for the Moken, a tribe of sea nomads. They live on wooden boats and houses stilted over the waters. Even the children dive deep in the clear water to gather clams and sea cucumbers.<br><br><span style="color: #212121;"><span style="font-family: calibri,sans-serif;"><img alt="Beach in Phuket,Thailand" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnZO&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgmK" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></span></span><br> <br>In the Chiang Mai region, our local guide Oomi pulls strings with her friends at a small village school so that you get right into a classroom and meet the kids. Shy they’re not. Ask the universal question about what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll get an interesting earful. Oomi is also your inside track to understanding and participating in the daily alms ceremony. Before dawn, Buddhist monks pad barefoot along the streets carrying alms bowls into which their neighbors place boiled rice. It’s an ancient ceremony, not a folkloric show, and you’re invited to participate in a way that the local people appreciate deeply.<br><br><span style="color: #212121;"><span style="font-family: calibri,sans-serif;"><img alt="Alms Ceremony" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnZO&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgmF" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></span></span><br> <br>At Classic Journeys, we are devout believers in responsible, culturally sensitive travel — an approach that pays dividends for you in <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand/" target="_blank">Thailand</a>. Near Chiang Rai, we’ve established relationships with the Lahu and Akha hill tribes who invite our small groups to spend time in their villages. The villagers welcome us into their daily lives unlike the “authentic tribes people” who are on display and outnumbered by tourists in commercialized sites. Nearby, you’ll also have a chance to spend some time with the mahouts of Dara Camp. Committed to conservation of local elephants, the mahouts are the pachyderms’ companions. They’ll even invite you to join the elephants for a trek through the forest.<br><br><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-family: calibri,sans-serif;"><img alt="Guests with elephants" src="/servlet/rtaImage?eid=a2Y50000001bnZO&amp;feoid=00N50000008QRzC&amp;refid=0EM50000000jgmP" style="height: 355px; width: 500px;"></img></span></span><br> <br>All along the way, we make sure you get a taste of Thai culture in all its forms. You’ll have a chance to shop a local market and get a cooking instruction from a respected chef. You’ll zip up the Mekong River on a long-tailed speed boat, take in the awesome views from Mount Doi Tung, snorkel on sparkling waters at Pak-Kard Bay, shop in local crafts markets, and even take a Thai boxing class if you like!<br> <br>But in our hearts, it all comes back to the diverse people you meet. The unguarded insights you get into their lives will reveal <a href="https://www.classicjourneys.com/thailand/" target="_blank">Thailand</a> to you in more ways than you ever expected.

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