Asia, Africa, and Australia

China

Immerse yourself in the rich history and traditions of mysterious China, one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Begin in Hong Kong with a stay at the luxurious Peninsula Hotel and an exploration of Stanley Market, lunch on Victoria Peak, and a visit to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Then to see the mysterious Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the breathtaking Great Wall of China during your stay at The Peninsula Beijing. Dine on classic Peking duck and visit Beijing’s historic Hutong neighborhood by pedicab.

Fly to Xian to see the famous Terra Cotta Warriors, then on to the Shangri-La Guilin with its views of the Li River. The next day cruise the Li River, where a magical landscape of formations awaits you, followed by a visit to the bustling market village of Yangshuo and a Chinese barbecue dinner.

The next morning fly to Chengdu for a stay at The Ritz Carlton with visits to the giant pandas, a Tai Chi demonstration and lesson, dinner at a local Sichuan Hot Pot restaurant, and the Sichuan Face-Changing Opera.

Then it’s off to the excitement of Shanghai! The Peninsula Shanghai on the Bund River and the waterfront district is the perfect base for exploring old Shanghai, the 300-year-old Yu Gardens, and the multitude of outdoor markets. And you mustn’t miss the Shanghai dumpling dinner and the famous Acrobat Show! Then Shanghai Disneyland where you’ll visit favorite attractions and end a fantastic trip with dinner and spectacular fireworks at the park!

Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is your first stop in this land of many contrasts where you’ll stay at the luxurious Park Hyatt Saigon. Prearranged excursions include a Mekong River Delta cruise, lunch at a river lodge, and a visit to the War Remnants Museum and the fascinating Cú Chi Tunnels. Then fly to Da Nang for a stay at the Sunrise Premium Resort & Spa, Hoi An with a visit to the ancient town of Hoi Ann, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you’ll learn to make a Chinese lantern in a special workshop and partake in a hands-on cooking class with fresh regional ingredients. The next day, after a visit to the pagoda temples, grottoes, and sanctuaries of the Marble Mountains, you’ll have the afternoon free to relax or perhaps an excursion into the Vietnamese countryside for a fishing tour or boat trip, ending with a barbecue dinner on the shores of the South China Sea.

Fly to Hanoi to stay at the historic Sofitel Legend Metropole. In this one-time French colonial city, experience the famous Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre, a sunrise tai chi class, a tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter visits to the Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house, VIP access to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum mausoleum, the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, and perhaps an optional visit to the Hoa Lo Prison, otherwise known as the “Hanoi Hilton.”

Next stop Laos and the ancient capital of Luang Prabang, a step back in time at this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your hotel is the beautiful Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao. Visit the Royal Palace Museum along with several of the town’s many gilded temples. Nothing is more fascinating than the sight of monks strolling the streets in their marigold robes, and the colorful and exciting night market with its local crafts (talk about bargains galore!) are sure to please. Dinner is traditional Laotian cuisine at Nagas restaurant that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rise early the next morning to witness, and even participate if you wish, in the traditional gathering of the morning alms by Luang Prabang’s monks. Then visit an organic community rice farm and try your hand at rice production before stopping at Kuang Si Falls, famous for its turquoise cascades.

End your vacation in Cambodia, one of the most remarkable spots on earth, where temples, temples, and more temples are on the agenda. After a gondola ride on the Siem Reap River and a night’s stay at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra, explore Angkor Wat in-depth. Enjoy a treasure hunt by tuk-tuk through several different temples as you work your way to Ta Prohm, a complex overgrown by thick, sinewy jungle tree trunks, then lunch at the Foreign Correspondents Club. End with a farewell dinner of Cambodian cuisine and dancing influenced by the asparas—half-women, half-goddesses—depicted on the walls of Angkor Wat temple.

Australia

If you love nature as well as history and are looking for a wide variety of experiences, then this is the vacation for you. Begin your adventure in Cairns for a stay at the beachside Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort and a welcome dinner at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure. The next morning brings a sailing trip on a catamaran for a glorious day on the water with a visit to the Great Barrier Reef, your chance to snorkel in the most extensive coral reef system in the world with the option of viewing the reef from a semi-submersible vessel. Back on land, visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park to learn of the traditions of the Aboriginals as well as play the didgeridoo, hurl a spear and paint a boomerang—and then learn how to throw it. Then take the Skyrail across Australia’s World Heritage-listed tropical rainforest canopy.

Off to Melbourne for a stay at the Park Hyatt and a look at the Cricket Ground and National Sports Museum. On your 2nd day here, enjoy the Eureka Skydeck with early access to walk the Plank and The Edge, followed by a fun walking tour of Melbourne. This afternoon kayak on the Yarra River with amazing views of the city. Finish your last day here with a trip to Ballarat Wildlife Park to see Australia’s native animals such as kangaroo, wombats, and penguins, lunch in the Victorian atmosphere of Charlie Napier Hotel, then ride down a genuine mine.

Time to take in the cosmopolitan city of Sydney where you’ll stay at the Shangri-La Hotel. Here you’ll visit the Royal Botanical Gardens, get your adrenaline pumping on a thrilling jet boat ride in Sydney Harbour, and go backstage on a tour of the famous Opera House followed by a portside dinner. The next day is a Southern Highlands tour with tea in the quaint village of Berrima, a canoe ride on the Wingcarribee River, a farm tour, and an indigenous cultural walkabout with an aboriginal guide to the magnificent Fitzroy Falls. Your last day in Sydney, visit the Tobruk Sheep Farm to watch a demonstration of a sheep shearing—and a try at directing sheepdogs to herd—before a farewell barbecue dinner featuring classic Australian dishes.

South Africa

Begin this trip of a lifetime with four nights in gorgeous Cape Town and Table Bay Hotel on the waterfront. Hop the aerial cableway up the landmark Table Mountain for breathtaking views and a nature walk through the indigenous fynbos, one of the world’s largest floral kingdoms. See the District Six Museum, which chronicles the injustice and racial intemperance during South Africa’s apartheid period, then embark on a city walking tour and craft shopping at Greenmarket Square. Tonight is a Celebration of Africa dinner accompanied by Malian puppeteers whose puppets, masks, and music tell African folk tales and dramatize the relationship human beings have with the spiritual world

Visit the Cape of Good Hope, all the way to Cape Point to ride the Flying Dutchman Funicular up the slope to the lighthouse at the top. Have lunch with a stunning seaside view, and see Boulders Beach for an encounter with a colony of African penguins. The day after, it’s on to Stellenbosch, the heart and soul of the Cape Winelands region, for a visit to Spier Wine Farm, one of South Africa’s oldest wineries. Lunch in the winelands is followed by time on your own to explore the delightful streets of Stellenbosch.

Fly to George for a two-night stay at Pezula Resort Hotel and trips to the sanctuaries of Monkeyland, the world’s first primate refuge, and Birds of Eden. Lunch is at the Bramon Wine Estate overlooking the vineyards. Next day ferry across the Knysna Lagoon to see the lush Featherbed Nature Reserve where lunch is under the shade of the Milkwood trees. That evening is dinner at Knysna Elephant Park, the first elephant orphanage in South Africa.

Fly to Kapama River Lodge near Kruger National Park. Your first evening at the Lodge includes a game drive in Big Five country, followed by dinner in the bush. Subsequent days include both morning and evening game safari drives, archery lessons, even a bushwalk. Your last game drive occurs at the crack of dawn on your final morning in South Africa before boarding a plane bound for home.

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