Published on November 1st, 2018 | by Daniel Nikulin0
Fare of the Month – Asia Highlights
Hong Kong, Manila & Tokyo with Air Canada
Have we got a fare for you! Tour the Asian Pacific with our brilliant Fare of the Month, taking in three thrilling destinations on a dazzling circle trip with Air Canada.
Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo are giants – timeless, tested and true, big on culture and adventure, with nature never far away. See, taste and tour each magical stop before moving on to the next on this value-packed itinerary showcasing Asia Highlights you will love.
Asia, here you come!
Take a modern metropolis with Chinese roots, add a colonial British past and a western outlook and you get one of Asia’s most intricate cities, the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong. Its unique mixture of influences makes it a cosmopolitan, safe, and delicious destination for any lucky visitor at any time of the year.
If you have an even remote interest in shopping, and even if you don’t, it isn’t hard to get sucked into Hong Kong’s endless consumer options. Antique collectors and gadget geeks know Hong Kong well, but it doesn’t end there; modern malls, rustic markets, luxury fashion outlets, burgeoning local designer stores, teaware, fabrics, and smartly, luggage stores, are all a dime a dozen here, with bargains often just as good.
Boasting the most restaurants per capita in all of Asia says a lot. In Hong Kong, it isn’t just quantity though, as the quality of its impressive eateries is also second to none. Chew on a dynamic range of restaurants, from underground fish markets and non-descript noodle joints to hip gastropubs and a slew of Michelin-starred establishments. Street food, dim sum and celebrity chefs? Yep – got those too.
Don’t leave without trying the bubble waffles!
Any proper tour of Hong Kong should leave you speechless as it takes you out from the towering mega-city to humble floating villages, sprawling city parks and atop the island’s highest peak (known as, well, The Peak), all almost unimaginable when you’re in the thick of it all downtown. Getting around is easy with a network of ferries and buses, but if you want the full experience, pre-book an escorted tour.
Urban Adventures by Intrepid Travel offers various escorted day tours run by locals, taking in Hong Kong’s amazing markets, cuisine, history, nature, and more.
If you like your cities bustling, Manila is your jam. If you don’t, simply use it as a gateway to some of the world’s prettiest island getaways instead. Look past the capital’s tireless traffic though, and you’re in for a treat, especially if Spanish colonial architecture, engaging contemporary art and tricked-out jeepneys are your thing. Look it up.
The small, beautiful Philippine island of Boracay has been closed due to over-tourism for the past six months, having just reopened to visitors in October. While it will surely again make many ‘Best Beach’ lists, Boracay’s nature may need more time to recover, and taking your action elsewhere isn’t a bad idea for the time being. Good thing the Philippines are studded with heaps of idyllic islands to explore, like Palawan, Panglao and the otherworldly Chocolate Hills of Bohol.
Adventurous street food, classic comfort dishes and maybe the next superfood are all on the menu in Manila.
Skewered and grilled animal innards, yam ice cream in a hamburger bun and sweet spaghetti all seem absurd until you taste them, while the soothing national dish, pork sisig, tastes more familiar until you realize you’re eating a pig’s face. Oh! Have you heard about the health benefits of pili nuts? You will.
The Philippines were made for island-hopping, and as fun as it is, you’d be short-changed if all you saw was Manila. If your sailboat’s in the shop you should consider booking a tour, leaving a few weeks to explore if possible. Tour pristine rice terraces in the north before making your way down to some of the world’s best dive sites in Cebu and Palawan.
For an all-encompassing adventure, check out Canadian adventure tour operator G Adventures, and their Northern Philippines & Islands on a Shoestring 17-day tour.
Tokyo’s passion for tomorrow never ceases to amaze. Still, even the twisting, futuristic design of the Tokyo Sky Tree, the world’s tallest tower, draws on ancient building techniques. It’s this medley of old and very new that pushes Japan’s capital forward, adding dimensions to its complexity like a perfect miso ramen broth.
Like all big cities, Tokyo is defined by its neighbourhoods, none more interesting than Yanaka in Yanesen. It’s one of the few spots today where visitors can see the Tokyo of old – and a zillion (rough estimate) friendly stray cats, attracted to the area’s many trees and temples. In ‘Cat Town’ there are cat-themed desserts in bakeries and cat souvenirs and trinkets everywhere. Spot the Seven Lucky Cats wooden statues and you’ve found it!
If you could frame and hang a meal, you’ll want to do it here. Eating around Tokyo is often as visually pleasing as it is satisfying, whether you’re in the warm lantern light of a yakitori stand or dropping big Yen on Michelin-starred sushi. Ever hear of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list? Japan’s cuisine is on it.
Pair your winter visit with a steaming bowl of ramen or a sizzling Shabu Shabu hot pot and you’re set.
Naturally, the amount of time you have will determine what you’ll have a chance to see. With only a few days on your first visit to Japan, keep it in Tokyo. Hop a train on the iconic Yamanote line and do the full 29-station loop for the best of the city. Explore each stop and its self-contained neighbourhood, like Shibuya, Ueno, and popular Shinjuku and Akihabara.
If you have more than a couple of days, leave the bright lights behind for a peacefully invigorating onsen or the powder-perfect ski hills of Hokkaido. Or, hop on a tour!
If summer is your season, Trafalgar Tours offers an in-depth 13-day tour, highlighting Hiroshima and the Splendours of Japan, taking in the Takayama Summer Festival, too.
Asia Highlights with Air Canada
Enjoy these three destinations on a single ticket with award-winning Air Canada. Flying a multi-year recipient of the ‘Best International Airline in North America’ award means travelling with the best, and Air Canada truly shines on their service to Asia.
North America’s only Four Star airline offers daily service, three cabin classes to choose from and Aeroplan points throughout, adding attentive service and onboard amenities to make your journey as pleasant as possible, not to mention, a heck of a deal. Go east with our fabulous Fare of the Month today!