Destination Immersion

Land Program Highlights: Asia and Australia

Friday, October 18, 2019
By Azamara

Our recently announced exciting new Land Program combines land and sea travel in a way that promises authentic, enriching experiences for explorers across the globe. Going beyond the beautiful ports of the world, our new Land Program will immerse you in the cultures and traditions of cities, countries, and continents—forging deep connections with locals and embracing all the thrills of travel along the way.

To celebrate, we’re highlighting some of our favorite all-new experiences that will take you off the beaten path and onto the road (and waters) less traveled when you explore the world with us. We can’t wait to share these new moments with you. Next up, Asia and Australia.

Alluring Asia

Chinese traditional tower illuminated at night

There's a juxtaposition that comes with traveling through Asia—a continent where you'll find cities seemingly conjured up from science fiction alongside millennia of tradition. It's East meets West, old meets new, skyscrapers and ancient temples blending together amongst some of the most thrilling natural beauty you'll ever see. And it's all waiting for you.

Join us in Asia, and here are a few of the highlights you can expect.

Meeting the Pandas (and People) of Chengdu, China

The Anshun Bridge in Chengdu, Sichuan, China

As UNESCO's first-ever City of Gastronomy, you might say Chengdu has a reputation as a foodie favorite. And it's well-earned. After all, this is a city where iconic tea houses such as Hè Míng have been serving the same brews to locals, expats, and travelers for well over a century. You'll be immersed in the city's foodie culture when you travel here as part of our AzAmazing® Journey, Pandas & Local Life of Chengdu.

This three-night journey kicks off with an in-depth tour of the city, where you'll visit the Wuhou Shrine, the People's Garden, and take a stroll down Jinli Street, known as the "First Street of the Shu Kingdom." Venture outside the city to explore the Sanxingdui Museum, where relics of the Shu kingdom dating back to 1200 BC are on display, and Leshan, home of a 71-meter tall stone Buddha statue carved out of a cliff face.

We'll visit two street markets—one during the hustle and bustle of the day, the other when the sun goes down and this vibrant city comes to life. You'll also meet a local family for a cultural showcase, as well as a Hot Pot cooking demonstration. Local food is known for its heat, so if you like it hot, you're in for a treat!

Giant panda bear playing on a tree in Chengdu, China

Beyond food, Chengdu is also well known for giant pandas. You'll become well-acquainted with these majestic animals when we visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. While the base also works with other rare animals, the conservation of giant pandas is the main focus. Founded in 1987, the base began with six rescued giant pandas. Through the dedication of the keepers, this population has grown to 176 (as of 2017). Catch a first-hand glimpse of the vital work the keepers do when you participate as a Keeper's Assistant for the day. And yes, you'll have the chance to snap plenty of photos of these amazing animals at a special panda photo session.

Colorful neon signs light up a street in Hong kong

From here, you'll bid farewell to Chengdu and make your way to Hong Kong, a city that for many is a culinary capital of the East. Your foodie fascination can run wild here, with a tour of the legendary Temple Street Night Market. The sprawling market covers multiple city blocks and is known as a place where you can find anything. We love walking Woo Sung Street and breathing in the smells coming out of the endless open-air kitchens that line the walkways. Stop in for a bite and toast to your incredible adventure (as well as what's coming next!).

Ride the Rails Through Iconic India

Spend 11 nights traveling through India—including seven nights of absolute luxury aboard the country's classic Deccan Odyssey train—on this unforgettable rail and sail AzAmazing® Journey.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) in Mumbai, India

We begin with two nights in the beautiful city of Mumbai before boarding The Deccan Odyssey, where you'll receive the royal treatment as you ride the rails to delightful New Delhi. Making your way along the railroad, you'll experience vibrant vistas and breathtaking lakes, ancient kingdoms, unmistakable landmarks, wild reserves, and more.

Heritage gate of Rajmahal (Laxmi Vilas Palace) in Vadodara, Gujarat at night

In Vadodara, often referred to as the Sanskari Nagari (cultural city), visit monuments such as the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Nyay Mandir (the Temple of Justice), Mandvi Gate, and more. Then there's Udaipur, once dubbed "the most romantic spot on the continent of India" by a political agent of the East India Company. This marble masterpiece dotted with palaces and temples nestled on the shores of Lake Pichola is brimming with natural charms.

Mehrangarh Fort in The Blue City, Jodhpur. Rajasthan, India

Don't let the name fool you, the “Blue City” of Jodhpur is sure to put a smile on your face. Stroll the city's famed Old Market, taking in the smells and sounds of India, and sampling some delicious barbecue dishes along the way. Then it's off to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, the majestic marble mausoleum that has become synonymous with the country of India. Take a seat on the Diana Bench and bask in the beauty of this iconic structure before returning to the Deccan Odyssey for the next leg of your journey.

Wild tiger in a pool of water in Ranthambore National Park

It's an early arrival in Sawai Madhopur where you'll disembark and head out on a morning safari adventure through Ranthambore National Park. Keep your eyes peeled for macaques, mongoose, sloth bears, leopards, striped hyenas, Sambar deer, Indian flying foxes, snub nosed marsh crocodiles, and the park's most famous residents—diurnal tigers. You'll also spend some time with families who call Ranthambore home and are more than happy to share its secrets with you.

Hawa Mahal palace (Palace of the Winds) in Jaipur, Rajasthan. India

Next, it's off to the colorful city of Jaipur. Known as "Pink City," Jaipur earned its nickname after Maharaja Ram Singh had all of its monuments—including the City Palace—painted in a stucco pink. This was originally done as a sign of hospitality for the visiting Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII), but the look proved popular and, ultimately, "stucco." In addition to City Palace, you can also visit Hawa Mahal (a 200-year old palace constructed of red and pink sandstone) and Amer Fort on Cheel ka Teela (the Hill of Eagles).

The Red Fort (Lal Qila) in Delhi with the flag of India flying from the roof

Once the Deccan Odyssey arrives in New Delhi, it's time for an overnight adventure in India's capital city. Explore the landmark Red Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is rumored to have the bodies of prisoners built into its foundation (interestingly enough, for good luck). Then make your way to Chandni Chowk, the old bazaar, where shopkeepers barter for everything from street food to jewelry. Stay out late for a song and a drink at the Piano Man Jazz Club where you can dance the night away before starting the next leg of your journey in the morning.

Come Face to Face With the Wildlife of Borneo

Baby orangutan playing in the trees.

The third-largest island in the world, Borneo is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Of course, humans aren't the only ones to call Borneo home, something you'll discover when you join us on the In Search of Orangutans in Borneo AzAmazing® Journey.

This four-night adventure begins with an overnight in Singapore before we make our way to Kota Kinabalu, a bustling modern city that clings tightly to the old-world charm that makes it so unique. While we're here, explore the history of Borneo's indigenous cultures on a Mari Mari culture tour, when locals will share their knowledge of the traditions of Borneo with you, as well as a delicious authentic dinner.

We'll trek even further into Borneo to Sukau Rainforest Lodge, where you'll venture out on misty morning jungle tours, embark on river cruises in search of local wildlife, and learn about the region from expert guides on walkabouts. The Lodge also serves as a jumping off point for a special visit to both the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

Young Orangutan sitting on the tree

First opened in 1964, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre rescues orangutans from dangerous situations and trains them to survive again in the wild. It may surprise you to learn that a baby orangutan will typically stay with its mother for seven to 10 years. During this time, the mother teaches her babies how to find food, build nests, and climb—essential survival tools. For baby orangutans who have lost their mother, the keepers at the Centre take on that role, helping them grow, develop, and thrive—and you'll have an inside look at the entire process when you visit them with us. The Centre boasts a success rate of over 80% in teaching orangutans to be self-reliant in the rainforest, and today, approximately 80 orangutans call it home.

Sun Bear is resting on the rock

Neighboring the Rehabilitation Centre is the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. This wildlife conservation and research centre's mission is to raise awareness and protect the welfare of the vulnerable Malayan sun bear. These are the smallest bears in the world, with full grown adults typically weighing between 60 and 170 pounds. Since opening in 2008, 61 sun bears have been rescued and brought to the Centre, with seven having been successfully re-released into the wild. Today, some 43 bears call the Centre home, where they roam large forest enclosures learning the skills they need to survive. When you catch a glimpse of these bears on their journey, it's certain to leave a lasting impression on you.

Authentic Australia

Australian man looks into the Outback on a warm day

As wild and rugged as it is charming and inviting, Australia is a continent that is sure to stir any adventurous soul. From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, the iconic Sydney Opera House to the beautiful beaches and deep blue waters, there's enough waiting for you in Australia to ensure each day is a g'day. And we can't wait to show you everything we love about the Land Down Under.

If you want to see Australia from every angle, there's no better way than with us. You'll find yourself in the sky, under the sea, riding down the tracks, and trekking into the heart of Australia's famous Outback. You'll soar above rainforests and swim clear blue waters, dine in local eateries and discover thousands of years of cultural traditions.

The Barron Falls

On the Reef and Rainforest adventure, ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway along the towering peaks of the Great Dividing Range, making a special stop to take in the impressive natural beauty of the Barron Falls. As we make our way along this railroad, we'll cross 37 bridges and pass through 15 thrilling tunnels while taking a deep dive into the history of the region. This journey will also take you snorkeling through the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, rumbling through the rainforest in an army duck to get up close and personal with koalas and crocodiles, and traveling back in time to experience 40,000 years of Aboriginal heritage at Tjapukai Cultural Park.

Ngilgi Cave is situated in the Southwest of Western Australia

Ready to get back on the rails? Join us on the Rail and Sail Australia: Indian Pacific AzAmazing® Journey for a continent-crossing adventure from Perth to Sydney aboard the Indian Pacific Train (where you'll experience the privileges of Platinum Status along every mile of the track). This journey takes you to parts of Australia that are only accessible by train, including the ghost town of Cook, once a thriving railway hub, now an eerie relic of Australia's past. On this adventure, you'll also explore the fascinating Ngilgi Cave, pass the beautiful Blue Mountains, and sip your way through Margaret River Wine Country—with stops at several local vineyards.

Australia outback landscape with blue sky.

If you've always wanted to experience the thrill of Australia's Outback, the Uluru: Ayers Rock at Longitude 131 AzAmazing® Journey is for you. The expedition starts with an evening in Sydney before setting off to "The Red Centre" for early morning hikes alongside expert guides who will bring you further into the mysterious central region of Australia. You'll visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, dine on the dunes under a star-filled sky, and spend two nights at the luxurious eco-sensitive wilderness camp, Longitude 131°.

The Zest of New Zealand

Panoramic view nature landscape in south island New Zealand

Not far from Australia is New Zealand (though, if you ask any locals, they'll be quick to say it's a world away). Thanks to the Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand has developed a reputation for being almost otherworldly in its beauty. While we can't say that's not well earned, we'll let you be the ultimate judge when you travel here with us.

Early sunlight over Waimakariri River

On New Zealand's South Island, join the Alpine Rail & Mount Cook Land Journey, where you'll spend four nights exploring the country's momentous natural beauty by rail and helicopter. Not only does this journey take you off the beaten path, it allows you to forge one of your very own. You'll travel 139 miles from Christchurch to Greymouth aboard the South Island Train, taking in the Southern Alps and the shores of the Waimakariri River as you dine on traditional cuisine.

Tasman Glacier Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

From the train, you'll take to the skies and fly over Tasman Glacier—New Zealand's longest glacier—as well as The Franz Josef and Fox glaciers. And in perhaps the most thrilling experience of all, your helicopter will land in the snow-covered heart of Mount Cook National Park. Take it all in (and take a few photos while you're at it), because this truly is the middle of nowhere else like it.

Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand at golden hour

Prefer an adventure that's a little more laid back? Explore the Fjords & Wines of New Zealand on a Land Journey that takes you along the New Zealand Wine Trail for a sensory immersion wine tour that engages all five senses. Then, the skies await for a sightseeing flight above Milford Sound where you can see the beauty of Fjordland National Park from above.

Join Us Somewhere Beyond the Sea

Now more than ever, you can check those bucket list experiences off with us. Find the perfect adventure for you today.

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