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 the mysterious Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the breathtaking Great Wall of China during your stay at the Rosewood Beijing. Dine on Peking duck, visit Beijing’s historic neighborhoods by pedicab, and try your hand at traditional crafts and family interactive games (kids love attempting the Chinese yo-yo). Then it’s off to the Ritz Carlton Chengdu with visits to the giant pandas and the Sichuan Face-Changing Opera.
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.
Begin your morning with a lesson in Tai Chi by a local master before boarding a flight 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. Then Shanghai Disneyland where you’ll visit favorite attractions and end an amazing trip with dinner and spectacular fireworks at the park!
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 off to Da Nang for a stay at the Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort with a visit to the ancient town of Hoi Ann, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll learn to make a Chinese lantern in a special workshop and partake in a hands-on cooking class with regional fresh 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. Here 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. 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 fascinating spots on earth, where temples, temples, and more temples are on the agenda. After a night’s stay at the Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra, explore Ankor Wat in depth, then enjoy a treasure hunt by tuk-tuk through several different temples as you work your way to Ta Prohm, a complex literally overgrown by thick, sinewy jungle tree trunks. 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.
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 in the cosmopolitan city of Sydney where you’ll visit backstage on a tour of the famous Opera House, take a Harbour lunch cruise, and a ferry to the Taronga Zoo. There’s even time to take in the Sydney Bridge Climb, where you’ll reach the top of this iconic bridge and enjoy spectacular views of one of the world’s great harbors! Your last day in Sydney visit the Tobruk Sheep Farm to watch a demonstration of a sheep being sheared—and a try at directing sheep dogs to herd sheep—before a barbecue dinner featuring classic Australian dishes.
Then off to the outback to explore the spectacular Uluru, otherwise know as Ayers Rock, in the heart of the outback. Your hotel is Sails in the Desert where, considering this is one of the premier places in the world for star watching, you’ll have the chance to stargaze. Visit the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Center, take a sunrise camel ride, and a guided walking tour of Kata Tjuta—the “sister rock” to Uluru, a geologic wonder consisting of 36 monoliths similar to Uluru, all of which have rich sandstone textures that change colors as the day progresses.
A flight to Cairns for a stay at the beachside Otel Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort brings a sail trip on a catamaran for a glorious day on the water with a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Accompanied by a marine biologist, it’s your chance to snorkel in the largest 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 a didgeridoo, hurl a spear, and paint your own boomerang—and then learn how to throw it. Towards evening head to a crocodile adventure park ending the day with a traditional Australian “barbie” dinner.
Fly to the Gold Coast and the Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast Hotel, a combination of exciting city life and world-famous surfing beaches. Here enjoy private kayaking in Byron Bay, stop at a lighthouse, and visit the tropical rainforest on a half-day experience at Mt. Tamborine where you’ll ride in a 4WD vehicle looking for native wildlife. End with a visit to a farewell dinner poolside at your resort.
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.
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 at a private dining room inside the historic Manor House at the Boschendal Farm 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 held 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 are filled with both morning and evening game safari drives, archery lessons, even a bush walk. Your last game drive occurs at the crack of dawn on your final morning in South Africa before boarding a plane bound for home.