Unravel the ancient traditions of Japan from the tangle of cutting-edge contemporary culture as you travel by high-speed trains through neon-edged cities to Shinto shrines, Samurai villages, and treasured sacred gardens. Understand the intricacies of Japanese arts by attending a private Kabuki theater performance, meeting with national living treasures as they perform their creative magic, and enjoying the company of geishas as they describe their lives and time-honored educations. Try your hand under the guidance of masters at indigo dying, papermaking, and flower arranging as you learn a new definition of perfection. Dine with Buddhist monks in their private temple garden in Kyoto.
Ponder the compelling imagination of the ancient Chinese while following in the footsteps of Emperors along China’s Great Wall. Stand in awe overlooking the 2,200-year-old terracotta warriors in Xi’an as an archaeological expert discusses Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s remarkable vision. Marvel at the treasures created during China’s golden age by artists, sculptors, writers, and craftspeople in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum as a curator describes the philosophical underpinnings of these creations. In Shanghai, be among the first to appreciate China's rising contemporary art stars during private receptions in galleries, studios, and collectors’ houses. In Beijing, join the empress dowager’s chef for a regal lunch in your honor inside his historic home. Experience the extremes of China’s ecological and anthropological diversity by journeying from icy Manchuria to the steamy jungles along the Burmese border.
Find yourself in the company of literary spirits—the likes of Conrad, Maugham, and Coward—during a private high tea in one of Bangkok’s historic hotels. Search the countryside of Northern Thailand for wild elephants and precious orchids, while taking in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding hills. Circumnavigate the walled city of Sukhothai, encountering Si Satchanalai’s evocative Khmer ruins. At sunset in Chiang Mai, stand in silence before the mountaintop temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep before visiting the cacophonous Night Bazaar. In sun-kissed Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand, meet a prominent Thai horticulturalist for a personal tour of his superlative garden—450 acres of palms, tropical plants, and exotic blossoms.
Visit remote craft centers in Laos or the Vietnamese hill country, where the rhythm of life continues to be measured by the weaver’s loom or the storyteller’s tale. Make the acquaintance of major Vietnamese historians, chefs, and artists in their homes, markets, and studios. Encounter Cambodia’s Angkor Watt—undisputed jewel of Southeast Asia—joined by the international scholars and lifelong experts specializing in the World Heritage Site. Experience cultural and archaeological wonders of East Asia on a custom-designed educational travel program.