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The natural beauty of Japan, China and Thailand are must-see destinations for travelers seeking snow-covered peaks, serene rivers and lush rainforests. To help clients explore these natural wonders, Asia tour operator specialists, such as Pan Pacific Journeys, Abercrombie & Kent and Remote Lands, have prepared tours that give travelers an authentic immersion into these destinations and their natural landscapes.
Pan Pacific Journeys in JapanPan Pacific Journeys connects the natural delights of Japan by road with its nine-day A Memorable Journey to Japan tour. The journey begins in Tokyo where travelers visit the UNESCO World Heritage region of Nikko, home to the Kegon Waterfall, a 97-foot plunge surrounded by cascades and greenery.
Next, travelers will visit Hakone. Here, they have the chance to see Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and take an aerial cableway to Mount Komagatake for a panoramic view of the countryside.
Before the week goes by, travelers will also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawago, which is famous for its uniquely built farmhouses. Also, at the UNESCO World Heritage village of Gokayama, travelers can learn how to make traditional Japanese paper.
From Gokayama, the tour moves on to Kanazawa where travelers can take in Kenroku-en Garden. Known as one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, it contains the oldest fountain in Japan, the iconic Kotoji Lantern, and the Flying Geese Bridge, which was designed to imitate the formation of birds in flight.
The trip ends in Kyoto, where travelers visit Nijo Castle and its several gardens and groves of cherry and Japanese plum trees. In the afternoon, travelers visit the Kiyomizu-dera temple, a revered part of Kyoto life with a view over Kyoto
Rates for the tour begin at $4,490 per person and include hotel properties such as Keio Plaza Hotel in Tokyo, Hakone Hotel Kowakien, and the New Miyako Hotel in Kyoto. www.panpacificjourneys.com
Abercrombie and Kent in ChinaAbercrombie & Kent takes clients on a Yangtze River cruise with to experience some of the best of China’s natural beauty, as well as its diverse lifestyles shaped by the country’s dynamic geography. The cruise downstream lasts three nights from Chongqing to Yichang, and four nights upstream from Yichang to Chongqing.
Travelers can board their cruise ship at several different points: Chongqing, the world’s largest urban municipality with 33 million people; the Xiling Gorge; or Yichang, a city reputable for its tea and oranges. As the cruise ship travels up the river, travelers will stop at the river town of Fengdu, a rural village that reveals a unique style of life in the countryside of China.
The greatest natural wonders of the Yangtze River are the Three Gorges: the Qutang Gorge, the Wu Gorge and the Xiling Gorge. Qutang is the most famous of the three gorges and also the narrowest. It is commonly considered the most beautiful. One of its distinguishing features is the Chalk Wall, a white-cliff face identifiable by the nearly 1,000 Chinese characters carved into the rock, the oldest of which date to the Song Dynasty between 960-1270 A.D. The Wu Gorge is known for its soaring mountains covered with forests, and the Xiling Gorge is the longest of the gorges, being composed of four separate, smaller gorges.
The cruise also takes clients to the Shennong Stream. Travelers can take a trip along this stream on a traditional sampan (boat) in order to take in the waters, forests and gorges in an authentic manner.
Abercrombie & Kent’s cruise ship, the Sanctuary MS Yangzi Explorer, has flexible departures and starting points. The cruise is part of Abercrombie and Kent’s 12-day Classic China tour. www.abercrombiekent.com
Remote Lands Visits ThailandRemote Lands uses multiple modes of travel to allow clients to get a well-rounded tour in Thailand. The tour operator takes travelers to visit Kanchanaburi, a town surrounded by mountains and filled with waterfalls and national parks. Activities include rafting on the famous River Kwai, kayaking, trekking on elephants and hiking to wonders such as the Erawan Waterfall and the Tharn Pratat Cave, famous for its stalactites and stalagmites.
In Chiang Mai, travelers can walk through forests where tea and coffee are grown, hike beside the Mae Gompong Falls, and drive up to the village of Ban Mae Kompong that harnesses energy from its streams and waterfalls.
At Koh Samui, clients can expect sandy beaches lining warm waters along the Gulf of Siam. Adventurers can engage in sailing and snorkeling in the water or hiking through the rainforest.
If rock-climbing and canoeing is preferred, clients can visit Krabi on Thailand’s Adaman coast to climb the limestone cliffs and canoe into the caves and interiors of Krabi’s limestone formations. Tours are customizable upon request. Special services include ensuring phone service at all times; a photography album of clients’ experiences throughout the trip; fitness; and numerous other accommodation services. www.remotelands.com