All of Access Asia Tours’ tours place a major emphasis on cultural immersion, as it is our ultimate goal for our clients to experience and soak in the authentic culture(s) of the country or countries in which they visit while on tour with our company. Not only will you visit various destinations in Asia and witness the historical sites, natural beauty, and fascinating people, which makes your experience interesting and unique, but you will also become immersed in the cultural aspect of a particular society. We believe that in order to fully experience a new country and region of the world, one must not only see but do, by interactive hands-on experiences. These experiences will allow you to better understand and appreciate the country in which you are visiting and will leave you with life long memories. We achieve this by arranging special visits with locals, classes and courses, instructional lessons, guided scenic spots by local experts, the best and most unique regional cuisine, and much more.
In our Tailor-Made Private Trips and customized itineraries for individuals and group organizations, every tour will include a variety of local cultural experiences which can be tailored to your personal interests, preferences, time frame, and budget. We understand that everyone and each group has different interests and focuses, so it is our goal to provide you with the experience that best fits the needs and wants of you and/or your group. Therefore, we typically suggest the most appropriate, most rewarding, and simply the best hands-on cultural immersion experiences for your tour based on the destinations in which you are most interested in vising while in Asia. The following are a few themes for Asian cultural immersions that we regularly plan and arrange for our clients:
‘Cultural Culinary Experience’ – cooking classes have become extremely popular in recent years and they are a wonderful way to experience a local culture, as you will learn how to make famous local dishes and enjoy them with your fellow chefs. Learning about a particular country’s cuisine is one of the best ways to fully understand their culture, as cooking and dinning is a significant part of everyone’s daily lives. Our cooking courses are always arranged at local schools with the best reputations, top instructors, and consistent sanitary practices. Most cooking courses include a visit to the local market for a tour as well as to acquire the ingredients you will use for your dishes.
‘Home Visits’ are a wonderful way to meet with the local people as well as take a closer look into their daily lives. Whether you are visiting someone’s “hutong and courtyard” neighborhood home in Beijing, China, a villager’s traditional wooden home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, or an ultra-modern apartment in Hong Kong, each experience will be just as unique, interesting and memorable. We work with local residents who are willing to open up their homes to private groups in order to have a conversation with you (translated by your local tour guide) and show you how they live. Home visits are only available for private and small group tours, due to capacity limits, and some consist of fun and unique hands-on activities such as a dumpling making session and lunch in the residence.
‘Hands-on Learning and Crafts Making’ are favorable cultural immersion experiences for many of our clients. These typically consist of activities with local residents or experts such as a Tai Chi Lesson early in the morning on Shanghai’s Bund or at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, an Origami Making session in Kyoto, a Flower Arrangement course in one of Suzhou’s famous literati gardens, a Yoga Session in Mumbai, and many other interesting activities. We also offer many fun and child friendly activities such as a Kung Fu Show and lesson in Beijing, an arcade visit in Tokyo, or an art class at one of Asia’s top museums. If you tell us what excites and interests you about a particular culture, then we will do our best to suggest and arrange those activities which best suit your preferences and desire.
‘Active Activities’ are a unique way to experience a local culture and especially the natural surroundings in which a particular culture has evolved and developed. Half, full, and multi-day Great Wall of China trekking tours are quite popular and can properly be arranged, whereby you will stay in guesthouses in local villages along the way as you traverse various sections of the wall with your local tour guide. Mountain climbing is quite popular across Asia and we can arrange treks whereby you can summit famous peaks with local experts. Other activities, such as whitewater rafting, snorkeling, scuba diving, as well as others can easily be included in your tour itinerary, as these are wonderful eco-friendly activities that will allow you to fully experience the natural beauty in which a country has to offer.
‘Temple & Monastery Visit and/or Stay’ can be arranged for those interested in a more religious or spiritual immersion experience. These activities will allow for an in-depth learning experience about the common religions and/or spiritual practices in Asia. For example, Temple Stay Programs in Korea or Japan are a wonderful way to learn about Buddhism and will allow you to live like a monk and experience a day or more in their shoes. Also, retreats of various kinds, such as the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province for Kung Fu or one of India’s numerous ashrams for yoga and meditation are fantastic opportunities to fully experience and practice these activities. These programs are definitely not for everyone, but are ideal for those with sufficient time and who are extremely interested in and/or passionate about a particular thing.
For all the tours listed in this brochure, the published departures are guaranteed with as few as two registered travelers. Tours with 6 or more travelers will be escorted by a tour manager throughout the journey (with just a few exceptions). Therefore, travelers can be assured that when booking a trip with AAT, their long-planned dream vacation will never be canceled due to the so-called “insufficient booking”. We continually strive to achieve the highest quality of service regardless of the group size.
Besides guaranteed departure for smaller groups, we limit our tour size to a maximum of sixteen travelers. We do this for very important reasons.
First, with a small group our staff and guide can get acquainted with each and every traveler and serve them personally. Second, it allows you to get to know your fellow travelers and to make new friends. Third, unlike large groups, it is more likely for small groups to join unexpected local events for a special experience and to be flexible enough to adjust daily schedules. Last but not the least, our small group policy was established in consideration of preserving local character, local ecology, and local cultures, thus causing as little environmental impact as possible.
RELIABLE PRE-DEPARTURE SERVICE
With our head-office in Vancouver, marketing office in Denver and operations office in Beijing, AAT is dedicated to serving the North American market.
Simply dial our toll-free number and you will have all your questions answered by our knowledgeable and experienced consultants. We send our clients two information packets before trip departure, each containing important up-to-date tour information. Many clients have used one simple word to describe Access Asia Tours’ pre-departure service: “superb”.
CAREFULLY DESIGNED ITINERARIES
Access Asia Tours creates its own itineraries. What distinguishes AAT is the fact that our itineraries are unique, more meaningful, logistically sound, and well tested. We have tour development staff in the region to constantly check on service facilities, hotel proper- ties, sites, transport, and tour guide training. In this brochure, our ten luxury package tours cover a wide range of destinations and each tour has its own program focus.
ONE POINT CONTACT FOR ASSISTANCE
We don’t give our clients a long list of local contacts and numbers for assistance or emergencies on the road. We only provide one contact info of our Beijing office that you need call during the tour – be it adding services, changing your flights, issues with guides, meals, or drivers, or any issues that need to be addressed. Your tour coordinator will get the problems re-solved quickly and efficiently. You can reach this emergency contact 24/7.
UNMATCHED REGIONAL DINING
Included in the price of your tour programs are all breakfasts and most lunches and dinners. Breakfasts are generally Western buffets, lunches feature local cuisine, and dinners are in elite characteristic restaurants emphasizing regional specialties. Peking Duck Banquet, Imperial Cuisine Dinner, Sichuan Cooking, and Shanghai Cuisine Banquet are just some of AAT’s unique and character meals clients enjoy during their trip. One or two western dinners may be arranged in your elegant hotel restaurants.
FINEST TOUR MANAGERS & GUIDES
Our English-fluent tour managers and local tour guides are experienced professionals who truly love what they do. They enjoy helping our clients under- stand destination history, culture, and customs. We take great pride in our hard-working field staff. Clients’ encouraging feedback have strengthened our commitment to offering excellence in service.
NO LIMIT ON SOFT DRINKS & BEER
Access Asia Tours sets no limit on the number of soft drinks and local beer one can have during meals. When the weather is humid and the cuisine spicy, you will need more than one drink to cool off. This policy has removed another “hidden extra” that many tour operators charge clients.
MOST INCLUSIVE PRICES
When you see our “Land” prices, they include all Chinese domestic flights and airport taxes, costs for ground transport, luxury or best available accommodations, courier fees, all sightseeing admissions and excursions, cultural activities, and most of the meals. Almost everything is included in our tour prices. There are no hidden fees such as taxes or fuel surcharges.
AIRPORT TO AIRPORT SERVICE
When you fly from one city to another during tour, our local guide will help you check in, get the boarding pass, and see you off at the security check of the airport. You are always met by your guide in the next destination.
Access Asia Tours also specializes in Group Tours for Institutions and Organizations. We cater to a wide-variety of group sizes based on the needs of each organization, from the smaller groups between 10 and 20 travelers, to larger groups of 30 to 60 participants. Regardless of the group size, we strive to maintain a well-managed mechanism through planning that can efficiently help all tour participants travel together and from one place to the next. We will work with your group closely in order to custom design an Asia tour itinerary that best meets the needs, wants, and overall focus of your organization. By working one-on-one with your group organizer we can achieve your group’s travel goals whereby we will choose the destinations, sightseeing, and activities in which you are most interested in.
Customized private group tours are designed specifically for your group and its members. We help you create the itinerary that you want and assist you with marketing the tour to your group in order to fill the tour. Various groups have different reasons for planning, organizing, and selling an Asia tour to their members and therefore, we will work with the organizers to achieve their goals. Whether you are conducting an Asia tour to increase awareness of particular destinations and cultures, to fundraise for a specific cause, to offer incentive to outstanding members of your organization, or just to fulfill an annual international trip to another part of the world in which your group has yet to explore, we will make sure that this will be a truly unique and unforgettable experience for your tour participants.
The focus of your group’s Asia tour as well as the country or countries and particular destinations in which you would like to visit is completely up to you. We will guide you in the direction that best suits your needs by providing you with sample itineraries and then an actual tour itinerary proposal and price quote based on your parameters. We have served numerous institutions and organizations such as women’s only travel clubs, Asian art associations, art museums, sister cities programs, Asian chambers of commerce, high schools, universities, Asian language groups, travel clubs, churches and religious groups, Kung Fu and taekwondo gyms and clubs, zoos and animal lover groups, botanical gardens, professional associations, industrial delegations, sports teams, as well as others whom have traveled to Asia in order to take a tour that focuses on their particular groups’ shared interests, passions, and overall objectives.
Many of these organizations and institutions have traveled with us to Asia numerous times, as new and exciting experiences can be found in different countries as well as different regions of one country. We will customize your tour itinerary to focus on what is most important to your group, whether it be history, culture, art, architecture, education, academic lectures, hands-on learning experiences and activities, cooking demonstrations, wildlife viewing and interactions, Asian martial arts exhibitions and courses, sporting events, cultural and/or language exchange programs, as well as anything else that may be of interest to your organization.
We would love to work with your group in order to custom design an Asia tour that will excite your group and hopefully bring you all on a trip to Asia whereby you all can experience something together that is truly unique and memorable. Please contact us for more information and to speak with one of our tour consultants about how we can create an Asia tour specially designed for your organization.