Heading Away To Asia In The Fall
We arrived back in Toronto after our spring trip to Central Europe. It felt like a long summer. I took a contract gig for most of the summer and struggled to keep up on blogging and social media. Travel planning took priority. But we finally hit September and were on our way to Asia in the fall! It will be a great chance to explore China with Viking Cruises and then Japan with Windstar Cruises.
It was a muggy summer in Toronto. We did not get out as much as we wanted to. A short trip to Philadelphia for July 4th gave us an escape. A week in Nassau at my best friend’s place let us have a relaxation break. We did get out to enjoy a little of the summer Toronto festivals. And finished the summer with the traditional visit to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).
But fall always sees us pack our bags and head off for the next adventure. This year our fall travels to Asia in the fall take us to China and Japan for 8 weeks. It is an exciting trip that gets us to many new spots. And many once in a lifetime experiences.
Starting In China With Viking Cruises
The first stop on our trip to Asia in the fall is China for over 4 weeks. Our Air Canada flight gets us to Shanghai after almost 15 hours in the air. Yes, I booked us in business class! This princess can’t imagine doing that flight without the ability to easily stretch and try to sleep. We have a week in Shanghai to recover from travel and jet lag. We planned to take it easy but we have an expanding list of things to see on this first stop.
A big part of our time in China will be taking the “Undiscovered China” trip with Viking Cruises. We heard so many great reviews of this trip that it made its way to the top of our travel wish list. It is a great mix of land travel and a 6 day cruise of the Yangtze River. After the river cruise we get to see several Chinese cities – Lijiang, Chongqing, Chengdu and Xian. The main part of this trip then finishes up with a few day in Beijing. Along the way we will see so many iconic Chinese sites – Dazu Stone Carvings, Panda Bears, the Terra Cotta Warriors and the Great Wall of China.
After the main part of the trip, we added on an extension that will take us to Guilin and finish in Hong Kong. We added a few extra days in Hong Kong.
Travel around China will be a mixture of planes, trains, buses and our river cruise. It will be a great way to see China on our trip to Asia in the fall!
The Next Stop Is Japan
When we first started to plan our trip to Asia in the fall, we finished up in Hong Kong. It is a long way to travel from Toronto and the flight costs are high. So we looked at options to extend the trip a little. We considered heading south to somewhere like Malaysia or the Philippines for some beach and scuba diving time. But really would need another full set of travel gear for that. Then we looked north and Japan drew our attention. So many people had raved about Japan!
We fly from Hong Kong to Tokyo. We have a full week on our own in Tokyo to explore the city and surrounding areas. Then we board our Windstar Cruises small cruise ship for their “Pop Kings Of Asia” trip to see more of Tokyo.
We were excited to see how many stops that this trip took in Japan. It would give us a great taste test of Mt Fuji, Osaka, Kyoto, Tamano, Hiroshima, Miyajima Island and finally Karatsu.We already know we will want to go back!
After Japan we have two days in South Korea. One of the days we are taking a high speed train to spend the day in Seoul. The ship then heads back to China.
After a few days for a return visit to Beijing we head back to Toronto. Our adventures in Asia in the fall will be over.
Great Hotels For The Whole Trip
We are going entirely first class for our hotels on our trip to Asia in the fall. All of the hotels for the land portion of our Viking Cruises trip are booked by them. And oh what a treat they are:
– Four Seasons Shanghai
– Intercontiental Lijiang
– Westin Chongqing
– St Regis Chengdu
– Wyndham Gran Xian
– Ritz-Carlton Financial Street Beijing
– Shangri La Guilin
– Shangri La Kowloon
There were still a lot of hotels to book on our own. We mixed it up a bit to maximize our hotel reward loyalty value. Several of the hotels are classic Intercontinental Hotels in Hong Kong and Tokyo. We are trying to maintain our IHG Rewards status at Spire Ambassador for one more year. In previous years we have had nothing but exemplary service at Intercontinental hotels.
On this trip, we will also continue to build our Marriott Rewards points. We are excited to stay at the Westin Bund in Singapore with its views out over the river. We had such great success finishing up our visit to Geneva with an excellent experience at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix. So we are finishing up our trip to Asia in the fall with a visit to Ritz-Carlton Beijing. This let us experience the exceptional service at both of the Ritz-Carlton hotels in Beijing. As Platinum Premium Elite members we are excited to experience what our status will get us for upgrades, breakfast, views and more!
We are delighted to try new hotel brands and return to well-liked five star hotels on our trip to Asia in the fall!
Planning And Packing Considerations
We often travel for months on our own and have to do all the travel planning. For our trip to Asia in the fall, a large part of the planning was done by Viking Cruises and Windstar Cruises.
There are several flights within China on this trip. And it appears that there are quite restricted weight limits on the flights. So even though we could take advantage of business class weight limits on our Air Canada flight, we need to pack for the intra-China flights. I have a smaller European wheeled bag for my carry-on but even empty it weighs a lot. I am not sure how I will get my electronics in and stay under the limits. Packing for very hot temperatures in China and then for the much cooler fall season in Japan will made keeping my checked bag under 20 kg a challenge.
The other planning consideration we had related to staying in touch. The international SIM and hot spot I travel with both support China and Japan. So I would have the ability to connect to the internet. But then I realized how many sites are blocked in China! The VPN I normally use clearly stated that there was no guaranteed service in China. So I did more research and found a VPN that says it works in China. It is loaded on all of our devices. And we will see. But if we are strangely silent on social media for 5 weeks, don’t worry. We will find light again when we hit Japan! One way or another we will find a way to let family know we are safe through China.
Travelling to Asia in the fall gave us a few new planning challenges! But with our devices loaded with our favourite travel apps and our bags finally packed, we are ready to go!
We Are Excited To Be Heading To Asia In The Fall
There is no doubt that we are excited to head to Asia in the fall! We will see so many new interesting spots. And we will travel in class. We get a chance to try our first Viking Cruises experience. Our first experience with Windstar Cruises was in the Caribbean. This trip we add a second Windstar Cruises trip to our adventures.
Follow along as we travel!
Have you visited Asia in the fall? Any special tips for us?
Your trip sounds really exciting and I look forward to following your journey.
I must admit to being a bit confused about the “fall” references. Being Australian we don’t use that term so I’m imagining you mean you will be traveling during October/November when it will be the North American fall/autumn months.
Back in 2012 Dave and I traveled with Dave’s then 82yo dad Sam through parts of China, with Intrepid Travel for around a month. We were there through October/November and we found the weather to be very comfortable until Beijing when it was getting quite cold. Your China itinerary looks to be very similar to our trip though in a different order. It will be wonderful, there are so many highlights.
On the Yangtze cruise both Sam and I got very sick from the air pollution so if you suffer from respiratory issues I strongly recommend not doing the early morning Tai Chi classes, or wear a good face mask.
We still marvel at our wonderful China trip and wish you great travel experiences. Japan to top it all off will be a real treat. We’ve not yet been to Japan but it is certainly on our travel radar.
Back then, WIFI was available in hotels and I didn’t use Facebook so much, mostly emails with no problem. I’ll be interested to see how your VPN works.
I actually started my blog to journal our epic trip and if you search back to the earliest posts you’ll see our entire trip laid out, if you’d like to have a look it is: http://www.whereverarewe.com.
The buildup to a trip like you have planned is part of the excitement, so enjoy the waiting.
Sue, I forget sometimes that other parts of the world use “autumn” 🙂 We are travelling in September and October. I am glad you had a great time on a similar China trip. Since we had come all this way, it made sense to add in Japan. So far the VPN has been working ok to give me access to both my blog editor and social media. Slows down access a bit but usually ok. Only one small issue so far with Apple Photos synching on my Mac. We brought face masks with us and will use them when the skies look off. So far Shanghai has been ok. I have flagged your website to add to my blog feeder. Thanks for following. Linda