Far East: An Overview

As with so many things - regions are subject to the whims of fashion. While Africa remains a perennial favourite, the likes of Latin America are now appearing far more on the travel radar, and competing with the Far East for travellers' affections.

Miranda and Katie are here to help give you the inside track.

Why we think you’ll love it

  • Did we mention the food?

Our guide to holidays in Far East

Well, as far as we at Original Travel are concerned the Far East (comprising South East Asia, China and Japan) is somewhere particularly special. For the most part it represents extremely good value for money (OK, maybe not Japan), is filled to the brim with spectacular land- and city-scapes, and boasts heritage galore and food to die for. Finally, there's that great clincher - excellent service.

So, where to start? We're big on Borneo at present thanks to its combination of abundant wildlife, indigenous tribes, excellent hotels and great diving. It works perfectly for honeymooners and families alike, and certainly fits the 'original' bill. At the far end of the spectrum both mentally and stylistically, Japan is somewhere to wallow in a culture that feels completely 'other', and using a tour operator who knows the lie of the land (like us, for instance) is highly recommended.


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Top picks for Far East

Japanese Parasol

Japan

Far East

Quite possibly the most 'other' destination on Earth, and in our humble opinion a must for everyone's bucket list.

Where to go

Tamarind Suite at Tamarind Village, Chiang Mai

Tamarind Village

Chiang Mai & The Golden Triangle

This serene boutique hotel in Chiang Mai's old town, accessed down a bamboo-lined entrance, is set up around a series of quiet courtyards, the main one of which is home to a 200-year old tamarind tree.

Where to stay

The Surin beach

The Surin, Phuket

West Coast Thai Beaches

Slip off the sandals and put your feet in the sand - The Surin Phuket brings a new level of luxury to Pansea Beach. This elegant resort is set on the shores of the Andaman Sea, with Phi Phi Island and Phang Nga Bay just around the corner.

Where to stay

Halong Bay

Halong Bay

Hanoi & Halong Bay

Combine Hanoi with a trip to Halong Bay, on the Gulf of Tonkin.

What to do

Balloons and Pagodas in Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma)

Far East

Myanmar (Burma) is a country of history, culture, and incredibly beautiful landscapes, and we are delighted to be offering holidays there

Where to go

Laos

Laos

Far East

Laos is the oft-ignored backwater of what was once French Indochina, and as a fortuitous result retains much of the traditional charm and feel of a bygone era.

Where to go

Motorbike Traffic

Vietnam

Far East

The 20th century saw Vietnam successively fighting off the French, the Americans and the Chinese, and it is now one of the most appealing destinations in South-East Asia, welcoming a new invasion – tourists, this time – with open arms.

Where to go

Tonle Sap Lake Trip

Tonle Sap Lake Trip

Siem Reap & Angkor Wat

As a day trip from Siem Reap a visit to Tonle Sap Lake is highly recommended.

What to do

Sail the Mergui Archipelago

Sail the Mergui Archipelago

Mergui (Myeik) Archipelago

With only a handful of the 800 islands being (sparsely) populated, Mergui is a region where you can sail for days and not meet another soul, except perhaps a passing fisherman in his dugout canoe. And sailing is exactly how you should explore one of the planet’s most unspoilt destinations.

What to do

Hue by Bicycle

Hue by Bicycle

Hoi An & Hue

Discover the hidden backroads of Hue by bicycle on a day trip spent meandering along country roads past craft villages, shrines, tombs and pagodas and taking a local ferryboat across the Perfume River with the locals. The route starts with a visit to Dong Ba food market, then along the northern bank of the Perfume River to the old town of Bao Vinh and to the famous Citadel and Imperial Museum to learn about the lifestyle of the royal family and aristocrats of the Nguyen Dynasty. Next up is one of the finest examples of garden houses of Hue, the An Hien garden and finally the Heavenly Lady Pagoda, one of the oldest Buddhist pagodas in Vietnam.

What to do

Alexa

Alexa

Indonesia

The fad for phinisi liveaboard boats in the waters off Indonesia’s islands shows no signs of running out of steam (or sail), and the arrival of the Alexa only ups the ante higher.

Where to stay

A horse wandering through the Gobi desert

Mongolia

Far East

At 603,908 square miles, Mongolia is one big country, and one that's mostly empty. Even more startling than the country's size is the population - or lack of it. Mongolia is home to a mere three million people, making this the sovereign state with the lowest population density in the world. The stats keep coming - 30% of the population are nomadic and 8% of Mongolian men are direct descendants of Genghis Khan, now immortalised in a 120ft tall equine statue just outside of the capital Ulaanbaatar from where the great Mongol warrior glares down on his people.

Where to go

Silolona

Silolona

Indonesia

If you want the ultimate in luxury yachts then look no further than Silolona. Sailing the seven seas (or any sea, for that matter) really doesn’t get much better.

Where to stay

Indonesia

Indonesia

Far East

The Indonesian archipelago consists of a sprawling chain of tropical volcanic islands comprising one of the most diverse and exotic nations on Earth.

Where to go

Soneva Kiri

Soneva Kiri

East Coast Thai Beaches

The beautiful Soneva Kiri is set amidst lush tropical rainforest on Koh Kood island, just a short and scenic seaplane flight from Bangkok, but feeling a world away from the bustle.

Where to stay

Silhouette of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

Cambodia

Far East

Cambodia is sandwiched between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam in the very heart of South-East Asia, and ideally explored in combination with some of its neighbours.

Where to go

Yuyunan Gardens

China

Far East

Modern China contains striking contemporary metropolises such as Shanghai and Hong Kong, and rural areas where life has changed little for centuries.

Where to go

City Tour of Hanoi

City Tour of Hanoi

Hanoi & Halong Bay

Take a private guided tour of the city’s main sights, including temples, museums of the country’s recent and ancient history, traditional old quarters and more recent tree-lined boulevards with their French colonial architecture.

What to do

Nakhon Ratchasima

Thailand

Far East

Thailand is a vibrant blend of cultures and breathtaking natural scenery and, understandably, the most popular destination in South East Asia.

Where to go

Si Datu Bua

Si Datu Bua

Indonesia

Silolona's little sister boat is every bit as impressive and luxurious as our favourite yacht, and the perfect vessel from which to experience some of the most unspoilt islands on earth and best diving spots.

Where to stay

Hotel by the Red Canal

Hotel by the Red Canal

Mandalay

The Hotel by the Red Canal is – in our humble opinion - the best boutique hotel in Mandalay.

Where to stay

Irrawaddy & Chindwin River Cruises

Irrawaddy & Chindwin River Cruises

Myanmar (Burma)

Cruising the Irrawaddy and Chindwin Rivers is a sublime way to see the sights and sounds of Burma.

What to do

Tiger Blue

Tiger Blue

Indonesia

Tiger Blue liveaboard is an immaculate and newly built 100ft traditional phinisi sailing boat, and as a new build, she is one of the faster boats under power, an important consideration when you visit destinations like Raja Ampat where the distances from north to south are not inconsiderable. As well as Raja Ampat,Tiger Blue operates in the Banda Islands and Komodo/Flores and is available for both private charter and set-date departures throughout the year.

Where to stay

Explore Indonesia by Luxury Yacht

Explore Indonesia by Luxury Yacht

Indonesia

Indonesia is an increasingly popular destination, with attention turning beyond Bali to the fascinating islands of Java and Lombok and further afield still to Sumba and Komodo. But there’s more - much much more - to see in this beguiling destination. Introducing Raja Ampat, in the very bullseye of the Coral Triangle, the so-called 'epicentre of marine biodiversity'.

What to do

Boat Trip on the Perfume River (Hue)

Boat Trip on the Perfume River (Hue)

Hoi An & Hue

Original Travel can organise a private guided boat trip on the Perfume River to visit the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Imperial Citadel.

What to do

Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Hotel @ Tharabar Gate

Bagan

The stylish Hotel @ Tharabar Gate is situated next to the eponymous 10th century gates of Old Bagan - the perfect base from which to explore the amazing ancient temples.

Where to stay

Coral Reef - Philippines

Philippines

Far East

The Philippines consists of an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, with a combined shoreline longer than the US.

Where to go

Adopt an Elephant

Adopt an Elephant

Thailand

Children can become a zookeeper for the day and adopt their very own elephant.

What to do

Skiing in Japan

Skiing in Japan

Japan

Japan is just starting to appear on European skiers’ radars, and with very good reason. The powder is reliable, the resorts run like clockwork, there are hot springs to dip in to and volcanoes to ski on and what’s not to like about après-ski sushi? Even better, there are a mere 600 resorts to choose from on the main island of Honshu and the northerly Hokkaido island, so there’s likely to be somewhere to suit every type of skier. This being Japan there are no particularly budget options, granted, but if you want super original, and Original, skiing, Japan is the place to head.

What to do

Belmond Napasai

Belmond Napasai

Thailand

The Belmond Napasai sits on Koh Samui’s north shore, overlooking the gulf of Thailand, and is surrounded by 17 acres of lush tropical gardens making it the perfect secluded hideout. Whether you’re a lazy lounger who doesn’t want to flex a muscle all day or an avid adventurer ready to get stuck in, the shores of Koh Samui cater to all.

Where to stay

We have been blown away by our first holiday with Original Travel in every sense and will be back in touch very soon to start organising our next trip!

Jo

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