Looking to dive a little bit deeper during your exploration of Asia? In each of our ports, our destination experts bring you unique experiences designed for seasoned travelers seeking an authentic slice of the local culture. Below are our top 4 Asia shore excursions for getting an inside look at the continent.
Enjoy an inside look at a tea plantation in the lush region of Ingiriya to discover how one of Sri Lanka’s most important crops is cultivated. Considered one of the finest teas in the world, Ceylon tea has been produced in Sri Lanka since the crop was first introduced in 1867. The production of tea is essential to the economy of western Sri Lanka, and you will witness how it is processed, from field to brewing. Much like wine grapes, tea leaves reflect the climate and soil conditions in which it was grown. Watch the tea being plucked from the plant, dried, fermented and graded. Then complete the experience by sampling the distinct flavors of a cup of freshly brewed Ceylon tea.
Perfect for those who like to travel off the beaten path, this tour takes you into the verdant Vietnamese countryside for a look at Zen Buddhism and life in a local village. You’ll first visit Yen Tu Buddhist Zen monastery, situated high atop Yen Tu Mountain, where you’ll learn about the history of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism and monks will show you meditation essentials and Zen techniques. Afterward, you’ll visit a small village, where you’ll have time to stroll the streets and soak up the atmosphere of this traditional Vietnamese community. To crown the day, you’ll stop in at the home of a local farmer to learn about how he grows his crops and his life on the farm.
Experience the vibrant flavors of Thailand during this unique guided visit to a local market paired with an exclusive Thai cooking class. Your guide will point out the essentials of a traditional Thai meal, exotic fruits and vegetables, and other local specialties. At the luxurious Nora Beach Resort & Spa, you’ll discover all about traditional Thai cooking techniques as the chef prepares your meal. During the cooking demonstration, you’ll be invited to help prepare the meal, which typically includes an aromatic Thai soup, a traditional noodle dish with seafood, and a refreshing dessert such as coconut ice cream.
Immerse yourself in one of the most sacred of Buddhist traditions by attending a novitiation ceremony at a Yangon monastery perched on the second highest hill in Yangon. One of the most important events in a Buddhist’s life, the ceremony reflects Buddha’s own journey as he renounced his life as a prince in his search for enlightenment. The monks here spend their lives studying and practicing the teachings of Buddha, but before doing so they must undergo a novitiation ceremony. This unforgettable experience allows you the rare opportunity to be a part of one of the most joyous and significant ceremonies in a young Buddhist’s life.