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Set so firmly in tradition in so many aspects of life, yet always reaching towards the future, Japan manages at once to conform to your expectations, subvert them, and surpass them, surprising you at every corner. The most diverse activities can be considered typically Japanese, from soaking in a countryside onsen to testing your skills at multi-story video arcades, tasting delicacies at Michelin-starred restaurants or cheap street eats, Noh theater, pachinko parlors and karaoke. With endlessly fascinating cities, spectacular natural beauty and a unique cultural landscape, Japan makes for unforgettable travel.
China is a vast land, with a climate ranging from tropical to subarctic. It is a demographic behemoth, with the world’s largest population and a staggering diversity of cultures and languages. It is the world’s oldest continuous civilization, with a rich history spanning millennia and endless potential for the future. It is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, and a traveler’s dream with some of humanity’s most recognisable and beloved landmarks (the Great Wall of China, of course, topping the list). With short-term visa-free stays available in a growing number of cities (for up to 144 hours in some cases), there has never been a better time to visit and try to tame the indomitable Red Dragon.
There are two sides to the kaleidoscope of cultures that is Malaysia: the uncharted jungle of Malaysian Borneo is home to amusing monkeys and wild orangutans, along with some of the world’s finest diving spots, whereas mainland Malaysia is marked by lively cities – not least the surprisingly futuristic capital of Kuala Lumpur – along with colonial architecture, lush forests and tea plantations, and calm islands not far off the coast.
Prized cuisine, sandy beaches, gleaming Buddhist temples and paradisiacal islands all make up Thailand, the quintessential Southeast Asian destination for travelers of the most contrasting passions. Those seeking seclusion and relaxation will relish the spas and resorts, nature-lovers – gawk at steep, lush cliffs of Andaman sea islands, sports enthusiasts will try out surfing and kite-boarding, and absolutely anyone will take pleasure in visiting Chiang Mai, the country’s spiritual capital.