Cooking Class in Beijing (Half Day)

For those keen on discovering the intricacies of authentic Chinese cuisine, this half-day experience offers some practical insight. Heading down one of Beijing’s iconic hutongs (traditional alleys), take part in a hands-on course learning to either prepare traditional dumplings from scratch or how to prepare dishes unique to three different regions.

Under the guidance of a local chef, ball, knead and roll out dough, learn how to make natural dyes from fresh vegetables and discover just how this delicacy became one of China’s most prized foods. Alternatively, learn about the differences between China’s regional cuisine and discover what makes each region’s offerings so flavourful and unique. After the course, enjoy eating the day’s creations.

An additional benefit to this experience is its location. Being based in Beijing’s hutongs, guests can enjoy the unique feeling of being in one of the city’s last traditional areas. Either before or after the course, enjoy wandering these narrow neighbourhoods for a veritable walk through Beijing’s history.

For further information, get in touch with one of our expert travel consultants at [email protected] or view the full itinerary here.

Source: www.exotravel.com

EXO Active: Classic touring with an adventurous twist

A growing number of travellers are in search of holidays that involve more than just checking off a list of highlights or lounging by a pool. EXO Active tours are specialised travel experiences designed for travellers who want to feel the pulse of a destination while filling their lungs with its air.

By walking, hiking, biking and multi-sporting through destinations, EXO Active brings travellers straight to the soul of a destination while reserving plenty of time to check out highlights and relax along the way. We supply the equipment, expertise, ground support and logistics, travellers supply the passion for adventure, and Asia supplies the gorgeous backdrops and charming local cultures.

Thailand: The Magic of Muay Thai

Thailand’s ancient martial art of Muay Thai presents the perfect opportunity to showcase what EXO Active adventures are all about. While undeniably physical in nature, Muay Thai is steeped in ancient traditions which date back hundreds of years. Under the guidance of a professional Muay Thai trainer, guests are introduced to the history, traditions and rituals of Muay Thai before being baptised in the sport, learning fundamental moves and manoeuvres.

They’re then treated to a series of exclusive encounters starting with a backstage visit at the world-famous Rajadamnern Boxing Stadium. Here they’ll have a chance to witness a side of the sport few outsiders get to see: the intense focus and preparation that takes place before a fight. They then grab a ringside seat to witness all the things they learned throughout the day put into action. Afterwards, they meet the winner of the main event for an unforgettable photo opportunity before being presented with a pair of authentic Muay Thai boxing shorts as a perfect memento

See the experience here

Vietnam: From Farming to Fishing

One of the reasons Vietnam is such a joy to travel in is its ability to seemingly transport travellers to a bygone era. The deep connection that Vietnamese people have with their past and the speed at which bustling cities seem to fade into sleepy rural landscapes make it a study of contrasts and the perfect place to embark on an active outdoors experience. Our Farm to Fishing tour in the historic town of Hoi An is a perfect example of the type of Active adventures that are in store for travellers in Vietnam.

Pedalling past rice paddies and villages, guests meander through winding back-country roads to arrive at a picture-perfect village far off the beaten path. After meeting with some of the friendly local fishermen, they board a traditional ‘basket boat’ and drift onto the water. While learning how to operate these classic round boats, guests are then taught how to cast a fishing net the traditional way– a tricky task that the local fishermen happily assist with. Afterwards, they take a leisurely cruise up the river back to Hoi An Ancient City, taking in great views of the surrounding area along the way.

Read through the full itinerary here

Cambodia: Angkor Thom Scavenger Hunt

The mysterious ancient city of Angkor is among the world’s most iconic and rewarding travel destinations. The challenge in presenting Angkor to guests isn’t in impressing them, as the temples effortlessly do that on their own. The challenge is in finding a way to reveal the ancient city’s wonders in a uniquely memorable way.

In keeping with the spirit of Active adventures, the Angkor Thom Scavenger Hunt turns a standard sightseeing tour on its head by imploring guests to actively participate in discovering the city’s fascinating past. After receiving a map and a set of clues, guests set off into the sprawling temple complex of Angkor Thom on a quest to capture eleven unique photos. By analysing statues and following the leads of answers revealed by them, guests are progressively led into the heart of the temple complex, learning fascinating and easy-to-miss tidbits of its history along the way.

Discover the experience

Indonesia: Leisurely Cycle from Kaliadem to Prambanan

As adventurous destinations go, Indonesia is gifted beyond imagination. Its volcano-studded landscapes, varied cultures, verdant rainforests and over 54,000km of coastline provide travellers options in spades. The key to EXO Active in Indonesia is balancing its abundance of options while maintaining a delicate balance of comfort and accessibility.

A great example of this is our featured Kaliadem to Prambanan cycling tour. Departing from the cultural heart of Indonesia, Yogyakarta, guests head to a village overlooking the billowing active volcano of Gunung Merapi. From there they cycle, mostly downhill, through dramatic volcanic scenery, stopping by charming rural villages along the way. The cycling tour concludes at the UNESCO-listed temple complex of Prambanan where guests take part in an insightful tour of its fascinating sites and learn about its history.

Check out the trip here

Laos: Walking with Giants

As the least densely populated nation in Southeast Asia, Laos is a nature lover’s dream destination. EXO Active’s offerings in Laos help travellers get in touch with the natural side of the country that makes it such a special travel destination. In a feel-good nod to both nature and the spirit of adventure, this engaging tour perfectly balances active exploration with pristine stretches of jungle and an unforgettable, close-up encounter with elephants.

Unlike other tours which often exploit these majestic icons of Asia, this experience allows travellers to become intimately acquainted with them by earning their trust, bathing them, then joining them rather than riding them on a trek through the surrounding rainforest. It’s an exclusive experience unlike any other that those with a penchant for adventure and a love of nature will not soon forget.

Read more

Malaysia: Rural Cycling in Penang

Despite having one of the region’s richest offerings of natural and cultural attractions, Malaysia is often thought of more as a foodie destination than anything. Chief among foodie destinations within Malaysia is, without a doubt, the island of Penang whose culinary tradition has reached global notoriety.

EXO Active re-envisions the classic Penang tour by combining culinary highlights such as food sampling and visiting a buzzing local market with a cycling adventure through the island’s little-seen and stunningly beautiful countryside. To top things off, guests then cycle to Kek Lok Si Temple for a look at Malaysia’s largest and most fascinating Buddhist temple.

Contact our specialist for more information

Japan: Tokyo Street Photography Tour

The Japanese word ‘kaizen’ accurately reflects not only the mentality of its people, but also the country. Simply put, kaizen is the continuous quest for perfection. This can be seen in the way people approach the work that they do and the things they are passionate about, as well as the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Fuji and the architecture of Kyoto.

Japan’s ceaseless motion and elegance beckons travellers to get out, explore and to adopt this mentality of kaizen.

Built around the principles of kaizen, this Tokyo Street Photography tour helps travellers do just that. Rather than simply taking in sights of the city’s highlights, travellers are taught the fundamentals of photography and learn to perfect their skills in the art. From hidden corners to some of the city’s biggest attractions, guests not only see Tokyo at its best, but take amazing images of it as well. It’s the perfect Japan experience and a nod to the culture that makes it such a special place.

See the full itinerary

China: Shek-O’s Dragon’s Back and Beaches Tour

When travellers envision Hong Kong, the first images to come to mind are towering modern skyscrapers and a buzzing metropolitan city. What many don’t know is that Hong Kong is a veritable paradise for those who love being in the outdoors. Just a short ride outside the city centre exposes guests to an entirely different side of the island– one of rich emerald landscapes, towering mountains and gorgeous coastal scenery.

Our Shek-o’s Dragon’s Back and Beaches tour is the perfect way to shatter preconceptions about Hong Kong. Starting from the 200- year-old village of Shek O, guests set out by taking a look at the roots of Hong Kong’s heritage. From there they head on an amazing 8km trek across the ‘Dragon’s Back’ for jaw-dropping views of lush natural scenery culminating in a panoramic view of Clear Water Bay and Stanley Beach. After taking in transformative views they then head to one of Hong Kong’s most pristine beaches for some rest and relaxation.

Discover the full itinerary here

Source: www.exotravel.com

Introducing Our Newest MICE Destination: EXO Singapore

Since opening its doors in 1993, EXO Travel has maintained a steady trajectory of growth. From humble roots as the first foreign-owned company to be granted a tourism license in Vietnam, we’ve become one of the largest and most- trusted DMCs in Asia. Every few years this presence grows with the addition of new countries to our area of operations.

Despite this growth, we have always maintained a steadfast grip on our roots as approachable, in-destination experts who, with the addition of each destination, maintain the same commitment to product innovation, operational efficiency and fail-proof guest services that paved the path to success in the beginning.



Continuing in this tradition, this year we took another step in our journey by adding Singapore into the fold. With EXO Events already launched and plans to open to the FIT market by the end of the year, we can hardly contain our excitement.



Why is Singapore So Exciting?

Singapore is just a business and transport hub, right?

Not quite.

Recent trends in travel in the region indicate otherwise. In addition to its convenient geographic location, making it an easy stopover for travellers to Southeast Asia, Singapore has increasingly gained traction as a holiday destination on its own. In 2015, it topped Lonely Planet’s list of must-visit destinations. The secret is out: Singapore has far more to offer than just business and convenience. Travellers from around the world are lining up to go there.



Natural Offerings

Naturally, Singapore has two things going for it. First, it’s a quintessential tropical nation. Being just over 140km from the equator, there is very little seasonal variation in weather, with only a vaguely defined ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ season. For the most part, Singapore is open to tourism year-round. This equatorial geography contributes directly to the second natural asset: despite being heavily developed, it’s still incredibly lush. In fact, it’s one of only two major cities in the world to contain a bona fide rainforest within its city limits, bringing entirely new meaning to the phrase ‘concrete jungle’.



Less than a hundred years ago, Singapore was carpeted by one of the most biodiverse rainforests on earth –they even had an endemic species of tiger! Singapore’s name, which comes from the phrase ‘Singa Pura’ or ‘Lion City’, is rooted in a legend of the island’s discovery and subsequent sighting of ‘lions’ on its shores. Even today, despite being one of the world’s most futuristic cities, one can easily get away from it all on a short day trip to explore shadowy jungle interiors crawling with exotic wildlife such as monkeys, giant monitor lizards and other-worldly colugos –Singapore’s very own flying lemur.

Colugo, Bukit Timah, Singapore

Colugo, Bukit Timah, Singapore





Anything Else?

Beyond these attributes, Singapore’s natural offerings thin out. The island’s highest point is Bukit Timah Hill, which stands just 164 metres in elevation. Although the island once had abundant coral reefs surrounding it, most of these areas have disappeared due to the surge of industry and Singapore’s claim to having one of the world’s busiest ports. In recognition of these shortcomings, and as a product of Singapore’s staggering financial successes, huge investments have been made to the country’s tourism infrastructure which are now beginning to pay off.



Take Gardens by the Bay, for example. Located just next to Marina Bay, already one of Asia’s most stunning cityscapes, it combines two ultra-futuristic conservatories with a grove of ‘supertrees’ to make one feel almost as though they are surrounded by an advanced alien civilisation. It’s nothing short of magical! If that isn’t reason enough to feel confident in sending travellers to Singapore, there is a slew of other world-topping investments the country has made to bolster its tourism as well.



Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, the Singapore Botanical Gardens, is lauded for both natural and cultural heritage. The man-made island of Sentosa has literally been created from the ground up to offer locals and visitors the ultimate range of activities and attractions; from Universal Studios to artificial beaches packed with imported fine Malaysian sand. Add to that the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and Night Safari, all easily among the world’s finest and most professionally operated animal parks, the world’s tallest observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer, and a slew of other attractions. Filling an itinerary with exciting things to see and do in Singapore is a breeze.

Singapore's 'supertrees' put a whole new spin on sustainable attractions within the city

Singapore’s ‘supertrees’ put a whole new spin on sustainable attractions within the city



But Wait, There’s More!

Those who are ‘in the know’ realise that the real reason to visit Singapore isn’t its ultra-modern infrastructure, amazing attractions or tropical surroundings –it’s the food and culture!

Singapore is the most diverse nation in Southeast Asia. With four official languages, one for each of its substantial ethnic populations: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil and English, Singapore is a cultural amalgamation that represents the very best of each influence.



Charming ethnic enclaves such as Chinatown, Arab Street, Little India and Kampong Glam are veritable paradises for culture vultures looking to dive headlong into local experiences. At nearly every corner, incredible food offerings await; some are local takes on traditional ethnic dishes and others are entirely unique to Singapore, but nearly all are memorable.



Icing on the Cake

Singapore also boasts some of the world’s most efficient and comfortable transportation. As they say, first impressions are often the most lasting, and that’s an area that Singapore rarely fails to impress. Changi Airport has won the title of best airport in the world 4 years in a row. It’s so impressive that it’s nearly its own tourist attraction!



Even public transportation in Singapore is a pleasure to use. Between its network of trains, buses and reliable government-operated taxis, one can easily access all the major points of interest in Singapore within a very short space of time. This comfort and efficiency makes Singapore an incredibly smooth place to operate tours in.



Who is Singapore For?



Because of its world-class facilities, positive business environment, professional services, widely spoken English and generous offering of hotels, Singapore is one of Asia’s most ideal destinations for MICE programs. It’s one of the few places in Southeast Asia where one can rest assured that high-value bookings will be brought to fruition without delay, complication or inconvenience.



In addition to its efficiency, professionalism and contemporary appeals, Singapore’s central location within Southeast Asia makes it easily accessible for all travellers and a perfect addition to multi-country itineraries. Through our Malaysia and Indonesia-based offices, we can arrange any number of multi-country itineraries with Singapore as a supplementary destination.



What’s Next?



EXO is poised to take MICE programs to the next level in Singapore. Combining the country’s cultural and natural allures with its world-class accommodation, venues and flawless transport, we believe Singapore adds a whole new array of choice to our already comprehensive offerings in Asia. With plans of opening EXO Singapore to the FIT market by the end of the year, the bar is set high for our tenth destination.

Source: www.exotravel.com

Family Fun in Asia

Despite its headlong rush into the future, Asia remains deeply rooted in traditional values. This contrast is a major part of what makes Asia such a magical place for travellers. As traditional values go, nothing is more vital to the ethos of Asian society than family.

Nearly everything of cultural importance stems from this fundamental base. Consequently, families on vacation in Asia find a culture and people uniquely receptive to them. Those with young ones will often find themselves the subject of admiring looks from friendly and curious locals. Kids will be dazzled by the huge number of activities that are in store for them on thoughtfully created tours that put their interests at their heart while keeping the rest of the family entertained as well.

Trips like our Family Cycling in Hue and Hoi An Tour combine historical highlights of the Imperial City of Hue, which will be sure to enchant older members of the family, with jaunts through the surrounding countryside where kids can release their energy while exploring green-washed fields still ploughed by ox-carts. The tour winds down on the wind-swept beaches in Hoi An where kids can build sand castles next to traditional basket boats or, just a short distance away, float lanterns on the Thu Bon River in Hoi An’s charming Ancient Town.

Our Japan Family Holiday offers a similar balance of activities, but with a slightly more modern twist. While getting in touch with Japan’s legendary hospitality and alluring culture, families experience the full range of activities that this nation of islands has to offer. From the futuristic streets of Tokyo to the traditional alleys and pagodas of Kyoto and the tree-lined boulevards of Hiroshima and Kanazawa, the entire family will be left in awe and wonder of Japan’s stunning beauty and cultural delights.

Families looking to experience the raw beauty and historical riches of China will find its vastness to be streamlined on ourChina Family Trip, which leaves no stone unturned. From rock climbing on the stunning karst formations of Yangshuo to experiencing the glittering wonders of Hong Kong and the meeting of cuddly pandas in Chengdu, this is China at its best for families in search of an enchanting adventure without complication.

Bali is an exotic destination with no shortage of unique experiences for the whole family. Our Ubud Family Day Trippertour takes the mystical wonders of Bali, and its unique cultural vibes, and condenses it into a fun-packed day that everyone will love. Taking an active role in traditional ceremonies, visiting vibrant local markets to sample fresh goods, and a soft trekking adventure through the jungles of the island’s interior before swimming in a sacred spring are just some of the activities that are in store.

In Cambodia, our Angkor Family Holiday allows the entire family to travel back in time with visits to the mysterious jungle-shrouded temples of Angkor Archeological Park. While exploring this ancient hidden wonder, kids learn about the history of Cambodia’s storied past while reserving plenty of time for active activities such as cycling through the rural countryside and taking part in fun optional activities.

Source: www.exotravel.com