The Far East ... 2015 brochure
Curious about travel in Far East? Discover all about what this exciting part of the world has to offer with our new brochure.
The Gobi Desert, Mongolia
We're excited to announce the release of our new Far East brochure, which is packed with new tours and even a whole new destination for Cox & Kings. To give you an inside view of what's on offer, we spoke to our very own Neill Prothero, who provided his insights into the brochure – including what's new and tips on the best-value destinations.
At a glance: What's new
"For the first time, Cox & Kings will be selling the Philippines, an exciting destination with lots to explore".
This brochure is awash with exciting new additions, which include the following tours:
- China in Style by Rail: This fantastic new itinerary takes advantage of China's new high-speed rail network, which Neill noted are being built at a phenomenal rate, as well as at an extremely high quality. What these trains and, indeed, this tour allows people to do is visit places that would often be missed off a normal itinerary, like Wuhan and Nanjing, but that have a lot of historical interest as well.
Neill highlighted that rail travel like this not only gives you the opportunity to travel China – to both main cities and lesser-known destinations – but that it also is a very comfortable way to travel, and offers an alternative to multiple domestic flights.
Shanghai skyline and the Huangpu river, China
- The Spirit of Mongolia: This itinerary will lead travellers through the highlights of Mongolia, including Ulan Bator, the Gobi Desert and a community camp where you meet the nomads and see how they live and work, what they eat and how they live their life. "Normally travel in Mongolia involves long-distance driving to get anywhere between places, but in this itinerary you use a domestic flight to travel to the Gobi Desert, cutting out long driving distances," Neill commented, adding that “this itinerary also uses the upscale Three Camel Lodge in the Gobi Desert, which has a few more creature comforts than a tradition ger camp.”
- River cruising: "Cruising is becoming a popular way to explore
- Northern Thailand Explorer: This brand new private travel itinerary for Thailand gives you the chance to visit the northern hill tribes and jungle areas around the border with Thailand and Burma. "This itinerary ventures into the jungle, where you stay in locally-run lodges operated by the tribal groups, and where you visit small villages to meet some of the local people. It's a fascinating way to explore Thailand."
- Indonesian Wildlife Adventure: Taking advantage of the fact that there are so many diverse islands, unique ecosystems and wildlife in Indonesia is the new Indonesian Wildlife Adventure, which is perfect for nature lovers. As part of this itinerary you can visit Komodo National Park and see the famous Komodo dragons, take a boat cruise to Mount Krakatoa, and visit Indonesian Borneo to come face to face with orangutans.
- The Philippines: A brand new destination for Cox & Kings! The Island Hopping itinerary will help you discover the archipelago's scenery, culture, heritage and beaches, including the Spanish heritage of Manila, spot whales, dolphins and tiny primates called tarsiers, and relax on the spectacular beaches of Boracay and Cebu.
What we're most excited about
"The Philippines, because it's an entirely new destination for us."
It's no surprise that Neill named the Philippines as the brochure addition he's most excited about, with it being totally new to Cox & Kings. He was keen to highlight that this destination has far more to offer than its beaches, for which perhaps it is most famous. Indeed, he stressed that there is much natural and artistic heritage, as well as colonial history, interesting architecture and, of course, the Banaue rice terraces, which are a Unesco World Heritage Site.
He also noted that there are now direct flights available with Philippine Airlines, although Cathay Pacific are still a great option with a change of flight in Hong Kong.
Rice terraces, Philippines
Brochure highlights for first-time visitors to the Far East
"The Grand Tour of Indochina is the perfect introduction to the far east for the first time visitor."
Of course, the Far East is a vast area and what you can see in each country varies considerably. But, Neill suggested that travellers who want to get a broad view of the region join the 21-day Grand Tour of Indochina itinerary, which will introduce the highlights of Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. "This tour offers a fantastic overview of those three countries, including everything the Far East is famous for: temples, history, food, natural scenery and cities."
For those with less time to spare, he recommended the 14-day Spirit of Vietnam tour, which travels along the country north to south and gives you a chance to enjoy a river cruise on Halong Bay, as well as visit cities like Hanoi and Hue.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Brochure highlights for return visitors
"I would point them towards Indonesia."
If you have travelled extensively in the Far East, it's easy to think you have seen it all. Should this sound familiar, you might want to follow Neill's suggestion of visiting Indonesia, which he was quick to stress offers far more than the famous beaches of Bali.
Indeed, he said that, for the more adventurous traveller and the holidaymaker with more time, this destination can be incredibly rewarding – there are just so many off the beaten track islands to visit.
Mount Bromo, Indonesia
Off the beaten track
"When people are thinking of the Far East, I don't think North Korea is somewhere that comes up on their radar at all."
If you are keen to really get off the beaten track, Neill recommends North Korea, which he notes is a place that many people don't even realise they can visit, let alone think to go there.
It is a fascinating and unique destination, in which there are so many unusual sites – such as a captured US warship harboured in the capital, as well as International Friendship Exhibition Hall, which is a museum of gifts that have been given to the dictators over the years. This is home to all kinds of odd artefacts, including a tank given to them by East Germany and carriages bestowed by Stalin. "So for someone who thinks they've seen everything in the Far East, I think this would be something that would be really very different."
Pyongyang, North Korea
Brochure highlights: Value
"If we're talking good value... I'd say Japan."
Historically, Japan has been a very expensive destination to visit, and while it still is by no means cheap, going into 2015 it will be very good value indeed. Over the past couple of years, the exchange rate has really come down in favour of the pound, meaning superb value tours are now available. Neill also highlighted just how amazing the country is, with its unique culture untouched by colonisation, fantastic quality of food and hotels, and world-class cultural sites.
Mount Fuji, Japan
Cox & Kings' favourite
"Cruising is a fantastic way to see the main sights of a country, as well as some of the smaller off the beaten track villages and temples."
When asked about his personal favourite in this new brochure, Neill enthused about cruising in Asia, noting that it is a fantastic way to see a good balance of famous and lesser-known attractions – including places that you would not be able to reach by any other means.
He also pointed out that cruising is a wonderful way to travel – expect excellent food and service, a wonderful ambience, fabulous itineraries and relaxation.
Cruising the Irrawaddy near Mingun, Burma
Neill's inside tips
Neill also had a few useful tips for those looking to travel in the Far East. For those struggling to choose a tour, for example, he recommended selecting somewhere that interests you in as broad a way as possible, so that when you're not out exploring the key tourist attractions, there is still plenty to hold your attention.
Additionally, he reminded travellers that all the Cox & Kings' group tour itineraries are also available for private travel – and that these can be tailor made to suit your personal interests and preferences too. So, talk to a consultant to make your trip utterly unique.
Order your own copy of the brochure, or call 020 7873 5000 to speak to a Cox & Kings Far East expert.
- Tags: Cambodia, China, Cox & Kings Staff, Far East, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam