Whether you are looking to try unique cuisines, want to shop to your heart's content, marvel at nature's beauty, or live the adventure you've always dreamed of, East Asia should be your next travel destination. East Asia consists of China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. This region has some of the oldest stories to tell but at the same time it is industrialised and urbanised. The people are very warm and welcoming. They would make sure that you have a pleasant stay while you are in their homeland.
Natural Beauty. Hospitality. Shopping.
Earthquakes and Typhoons. Some areas are polluted.
China has made its name for a variety of reasons. Their architeture, food, and cheap electronic products are just some of the things the country is known for. It is home to one of the seven wonders of the world: The Great Wall of China. Japan steals away the glamour with its geographical and historical architecture, its scenic beauty, and its unique cuisine. Taiwan has some of the best landscapes and mountains through which people can bike, hike, and raft. South Korea is a highly industriaized country admired for its mountains, lakes, rivers, temples, palaces, and monuments.
A wide range of accomodation options are available in Central Asia. One would find various B&B's , luxury hotels, hostels, guest houses all throughout the region. Although, hotels in East Asia are quite expensive. You can also opt for a home stay which will give you the traditiona East Asian experience.
East Asians are very respectful when it comes to greetings and social gatherings. They bow their head out of respect while greeting each other. Most languages of East Asia are derived from some form of Chinese. The religions of East Asia include Buddhism and Taoism. These countries also share social and moral philosophies derived from Confucianism.
East Asian food is very different from what one would find in the rest of the world. Hence, their cuisine is a must try. The major staple of East Asian cuisine is rice, bread, and wheat noodles. These are accompanied with various vegetables and soy dishes. Pork, chicken, and sea food are the favoured meats in this region. Even though the ingredients used in this region are similar, the style of preparation varies. The Koreans and Chinese like to spice up their food while Japanese food is simple and delicate. Tea is a popular drink in East Asia which is prepared in many different ways. It is consumed quite frequently and is a necessity at social gatherings.
Carry your passport and a photocopy of your documents at all times. Drink only bottled water. Bring clothes according to the season you're travelling in.
East Asia has a vibrant nighlife most of which can be found in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei. From cheap western pubs to classy tapas bars and lounges, East Asia has it all. These places play a fine selection of local as well as English music. You would also find many live performances at the bars.
There are numerous momentos travellers can take back with them from East Asia. Some of the most sought out souvenirs include traditional handicrafts, silk items, carpets, jade and lacqer products, figurines, vases, bamboo items, ceramics, leather goods, embroideries, antiques, brassware, jewellery, art pieces, and electronics. There are many department stores and markets selling these items. Bargaining is acceptable in small shops.
Your trip to East Asia would be incomplete if you didn't get the chance to participate in one of East Asia's festivals. East Asian festivals are a scintillating blend of cuture, jubilation, and uniqueness. The Mountain Trout Ice Festival celebrated in Hwacheon (South Korea) is a festival filled with exciting activities like ice fishing, snow sleding, building ice sculptures etc. Another popular festival of South Korea is the Boryeong Mud Festival. There are a series of events like mud wrestling, mud king contests, mud slides, and firework displays. If you're an art lover who doesn't mind getting your hands dirty, then try making some ceramic objects at the Incheon Ceramic Festival. There are also exhibitions, sales, and performances held. Some of the famous festivals or Matsuris of Japan include The Yuki Matsuri (Snow Festival) in Sopparo, where people make gigantic and magnificent snow sculptures. Another site worth watching is Aomori's Nebuta Matsuri in which there are many lanterns depicting human figures accompanied by dancers parading the streets. Boat racing in Taiwan's Dragon Boat Festival, or eating Barbeque and Moon cake while listening to stories about the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in The Legends of Moon festival, are some of the events you could attend in Taiwan. If you are an audacious soul, then camel racing and polo competitions at Mangolia's Gobi Camel Festival would be a treat for you. The Nadaam Festival is the right place to watch a few performances of archery, wrestling, and horse racing. If you're just looking to enjoy a few concerts and watch fireworks decorate the night sky, you should catch a glimpse of The National Day of China.
With the excption of some places in China and Mongolia, East Asia is quite clean. However, it is recommended that you drink bottled water only and carry hand sanitiser with you at all times. Make sure to be up-to-date on routine vaccines including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Besides that, make sure you're vaccinated for Typhoid, Malaria, Rabies, and Japanese Encephalitis.
East Asians are very respectful, especially towards the elderly. They bow to greet each other and less eye contact is maintained. It is better to address people by their titles. Don't pour a drink for yourself ; let your host/ companion do it for you. Also fill their glass if it's empty. Tipping is not practiced in East Asian countries. In some places it is even frowned upon. However, you would be expected to tip your independent guide and driver at the end of your trip.