Fall Into Travel Planning: Winter Escapes to Eastern Delights

Dear Traveller,

Welcome to September – a journey into new beginnings! This first month of Fall brings us all a sense of renewal and anticipation. With the grandkids heading back to school and the air turning crisper, September marks a delightful juncture between the warmth of summer memories and the promise of autumn adventures. As the seasons shift, we find ourselves inspired by the changing landscapes, just as we look ahead to the new travel voyages that await us.

In this edition, we’re thrilled to present you with enticing winter tours that will sweep you away to the captivating East. What better way to stave off the chilly winds than to embark on a voyage to a warm exotic place? With one brand-new 2024 tour and one much-loved gem returning, we invite you to indulge your wanderlust and weave new tales into your personal travel narrative.

Join us in exploring the exotic destinations of IndonesiaJapan and South Korea. Imagine your footsteps on faraway shores and embrace the thrill of discovering the unknown. The East beckons – and your adventure begins right here.

Happy reading and may your travel dreams take flight!

Beautiful Bali: Indonesia’s Enchanted Paradise

It’s been called, The Island of the Gods, and deservedly so. Few places in the world can rival this utopia so rich in unspoiled shorelines and sun-kissed pleasures. Bali is a soul-stirring place where spirituality and nature intertwine like vines in a tropical rainforest.

Beyond the white sands of its big surf beaches, you can discover Bali’s rugged landscapes with emerald jungles and mighty volcanoes that rise as if to touch the sky. Waterfalls cascade in graceful arcs, and the scenic greenery of the Balinese rice terraces is a wondrous sight to behold. Feast your eyes and your soul.

Bali’s true magic lies in its ability to lift the spirit. Bali’s ancient temples are mystical wonders erected for the worship of Hindu Gods – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Be sure to take time to explore the wonderful stories etched into their walls.  You can also experience the vibrant Balinese festivals with their flowers, percussive Gamelan music, and Kecak fire dances. Throughout the streets, shrines and squares, aromas of musky temple incense and sweet jasmine, fill your senses.

Interesting Facts About Bali: Mick Jagger was married in Bali… and David Bowie loved this place so much he wanted his ashes scattered there!

Here are three wonderful things you could experience in Bali next winter:

1. Goa Lawah: A Sacred Cave Temple
One of nine sacred temples in Bali, the cave temple known as Pura Goa Lawah, is home to thousands of bats. According to local legends, it also hides a river of healing waters and a titanic snake wearing a crown. It is believed that Goa Lawah was created around AD 1007 by an Indonesian saint, one of the early priests who laid the foundations of Hinduism on the island. Its name is inspired by the thousands of bats that cling to the ceiling and walls of the natural chasm – “Goa” meaning “cave” and “Lawah” meaning “bat.”

This has traditionally been a holy place for deep meditation, despite the constant bat chirping amplified by the hollow opening of the cave. Many Balinese believe that the constant high-pitched bat calls aid in focusing their thoughts. For all these reasons and more, it is a wonderful temple to explore, encounter the bats, and seek serenity amidst the squeals!

2. Arts, Culture, and Fabulous Spas
Bali not only boasts stunning nature but is also a thriving creative centre. It has been a haven for artistic Europeans since the 1930s and hippies have been drawn to the island since the earliest backpacking days. The traditional crafts of the island include batik, ikat (a traditional decorative technique in which warp or weft threads, or both, are tie-dyed before weaving), wood carving, silver jewellery that displays stunning granulation, and tile making. Meander through the many lively craft markets and art galleries while you are there.

When all the nature, temples, and crafts become overwhelming, it’s nice to know that Bali is also renowned for its spas. Flower baths, hot stone therapy, eco retreats, holistic deep tissue massage – whatever treatment you desire, you can find it at one of Bali’s hundreds of spas.

3. Long-tailed Macaques: Crafty Balinese Monkeys
You will encounter these cute and clever critters everywhere. Macaques eat crabs and pretty much everything else – so hold on to your snacks, sunglasses, and flip-flops!  Many of these macaques live at the Uluwatu Temple, a gorgeous site perched on a cliffside above the Indian Ocean. These fearless little creatures act as temple guardians while another 800+ reside in the famous Ubud Monkey Forest. Also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal, this natural sanctuary has paved pathways through a leafy nutmeg forest as well as several ancient temples under dense foliage. It’s a popular wildlife reserve in Bali and one very much worth visiting.  Interestingly, macaques are considered sacred animals in Bali, believed to be the earthly manifestation of the revered monkey god, Hanuman, from the Hindu tale ‘Ramayana’. You can read more about Bali’s long-tailed macaques and enjoy some great photos here.

Introducing our Beautiful Bali 2-Centre Holiday

Escape the Canadian winter next year to discover paradise in Bali! This coming February, join us for our new 17-day Beautiful Bali 2-Centre Holiday that explores two of its most famous areas. Immerse yourself in the lush rainforests, temples, and palaces of the Ubud district. Then, bask in the beauty of the Nusa Dua Peninsula’s pristine seaside at a deluxe beach resort and spa. Learn more here.

Japan & South Korea: Explore the Far East During Cherry Blossom Season

Embark on a life-changing tour to the alluring countries of Japan and South Korea. Picture yourself journeying from Tokyo’s neon-lit streets and through ancient Kyoto with its centuries-old wonders, wooden houses, and narrow cobbled alleyways. Then, venture up Mount Fuji, one of the world’s most iconic mountains.

Next, embark on a jet ferry to Busan, a scenic port city in mountainous South Korea where you’ll find gorgeous beaches. Explore stunning coastlines and fresh fish markets — and don’t forget to visit the oldest astronomical observatory in the world. Of course, a great way to end this two-country tour is in the bustling urban heart of the country, Seoul, its thriving capital.

Live Longer and Prosper in Japan
Did you know that the Japanese have the highest life expectancy at birth among the G7 countries? This is due to fewer deaths from ischemic heart disease and cancer (especially breast and prostate). The reason? A low rate of obesity and a unique diet, characterized by a low consumption of red meat and a high consumption of fish and plant foods may be part of it. Read more about Japan’s longevity secrets here.

Seokguram Grotto: A South Korea Must-Visit Site
Seokguram Grotto is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only artificial stone cave in the world. It was built in AD 751 by Prime Minister Kim Daeseong and was originally called Seokbulsa, the Stone Buddha Temple. The beauty of the granite Shakyamuni Buddha draws thousands of tourists each year. It is amazing how the ancient masters built this artificial stone cave on the ground under which a stream runs.

The fascinating countries of Japan and South Korea are resplendent with ancient shrines, serene Zen gardens, and lush scenery. You can lose yourself in the rich and intoxicating Asian traditions or simply marvel at the cutting-edge futuristic innovations such as space-age toilets, robot waiters, and super-fast bullet trains that are everywhere in these countries. They combine beautifully, as wonderful countries to explore as part of the same trip, ideally in the early Spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Japan and South Korea are calling!
Embark on a 17-day journey with us and explore the beauty of Japan and South Korea during cherry blossom season, March 25-April 10, 2024.

From Tokyo’s vibrant streets to Gyeongju, South Korea’s ancient city called “a museum without walls,” you’ll experience a blend of ancient traditions and modern wonders. Discover historic landmarks, towering mountain peaks, and sacred shrines all framed by enchanting cherry trees covered in spring blossoms. This captivating adventure is a great way to explore two rich and exotic destinations. Learn more about this tour here.

May Your September Be Splendid!

As September unfolds, so does the promise of remarkable journeys ahead.  Whether you’re drawn to the tropical allure of Bali or the captivating fusion of Japan and South Korea, our curated holidays next February and March beckon. Where shall you winter next year? Wherever that may be, we hope we can take you there!

As we bid farewell to the warmth of summer and embrace the changing seasons, let the anticipation of winter getaways in exotic lands ignite your wanderlust. We invite you to dream, plan, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of travel. Perhaps, even grab your spot on one of these wonderful adventures?

Until next month, may your days be filled with inspiration and anticipation. Happy travels!


Danny Shay
President, Senior Discovery Tours

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