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All Things KOREAN – 28th April

From the mysterious North to the exciting South, the Korean Peninsula is a fascinating part of Asia.  Thousands of years of history, culture and architecture, along with arguably the healthiest cuisine in the world.  Greg and Gary today took you on a journey through the Korean Peninsula, and through the countries of North and South Korea.

There are no cruises that visit North Korea (and we are many years away from that ever happening), however Travel Masters are the only Travel company in Australia with a history of operating fully escorted tours of ‘The Hermit Kingdom’.  We have been visiting North Korea since 2012 and it is a very popular tour for those looking for something completely different.  If you would like to learn more about next years tour of North Korea, please click here

In the meantime, lets talk cruising, and South Korea is very much on a cruise map, so here is this weeks Cruise Deal of the Week, which features a day in Busan amongst some fascinating Japanese ports, and even a call into Russia…

You will begin your journey by flying to Tokyo, the Capital City of Japan on the 20th August 2018.  Transfers are provided from the airport to your downtown hotel for a two night stay, which includes daily breakfast.  We will also take you on a tour to Mount Fuji and the Spa City of Hakone, all by the famous Shinkansen bullet train.

We will then transfer you to the port city of Yokohama, where the Diamond Princess is ready and waiting for you.  Diamond Princess is perfectly at home in Japan…in fact she was built in Nagasaki, Japan back in 2004.  One of the most spectacular ships in the Princess Cruises fleet she will amazing you with the choice of 14 dining options, 9 bars and a myriad of entertainment activities.  Your cruise onboard Diamond Princess is a 13 night cruise around Japan, featuring some of the most culturally rich ports in Asia.

Diamond Princess

First up is a couple of scenic days at sea, cruising through the Kanmon Straits that separate the major Japanese islands of Honshu and Kyushu and crossing the Sea of Japan.  You arrive in your first port of call – Busan in South Korea.  Busan is situated on the most southeastern portion of the Korean peninsula and is Korea’s second largest city and the number one trading port. Shopping in this port city has also become quite popular. The summer months offer an array of festivals on almost every beach, while in the fall, the Jagalchi Fish market holds a cultural festival for foreign tourists.

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, Busan

Another sea day sailing back through the Kunman Straits and you arrive in Yokkaichi, the port for the Japanese city of Nagoya.  Perched on the shores of Ise Bay, Yokkaichi serves as the gateway to the city of Nagoya and its rich and honored past. Walk across the moat of a cherished castle, pray for peace at a sacred shrine, shop for mementos at a 400-year-old shopping district and walk in the footsteps of the samurai. Yet Nagoya’s sky-scraping architecture, bustling streets, Toyota Museum, theme parks with flower gardens and shopping are hallmarks of a multi-faceted 21st century city.

Calling back into Yokohama gives you the opportunity to make a second trip into Tokyo.  Contemporary Tokyo may be the most astonishing city on earth. It’s a paradoxical mix of ancient tradition and postmodern culture. The Ginza – an international shopping mecca – stands near the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace, and the hyper-speed of 21st century consumerism is mysteriously reconciled with the elegance and serenity of traditional culture. Tokyo provides the traveler with a dizzying experience.  With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, the “Eastern Capital,” to distinguish it from the old imperial capital at Kyoto, the “Western Capital.”


Kushiro which is well known as the “town of mist”, is situated in the southeastern part of Hokkaido, facing the Pacific Ocean. Kushiro plays a leading role in the politics, economics and culture of eastern Hokkaido. The marine products industry of Kushiro has flourished since the early 20th century port town.   Break out your binoculars for close-up views of the rare and graceful Japanese cranes at Tancho Nature Park. And if you’re an architecture enthusiast, you’ll be fascinated by the unusual structure of the Kushiro City Museum of Art, which resembles the shape of a Japanese crane spreading its wings.

Just 45 kilometres separate Northern Japan and the southern tip of Russia’s Sakhalin Island, so Princess Cruises provides you with an opportunity to add a different flavour to your cruise.  Founded in 1853 as Sakhalin’s first Russian military post, Korsakov would later serve as a penal colony. Ruled by Japan between 1905 and 1945, and later reclaimed by the Soviet Union, Korsakov is the place where Japan and Korea left imprint of their sojourn here on Russian culture. Though its tumultuous history includes power struggles and forced labour, the town is the perfect picture of tranquillity today.  Being the south sea gateway of Sakhalin, Korsakov leads you to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the island’s administrative capital and popular tourist destination.  Due to Sakhalin’s significant natural resources the city is surging with prosperity. Here, you can see a fascinating mix of modern buildings, museums and executive offices sitting comfortably with Russian and Japanese structures.

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia

Next up is Otaru – a small harbour city, which once served as a major trade and fishing port. Many old warehouses and former office buildings by shipping and trade companies give Otaru’s city centre a special character reminiscent of past decades.  Today, international travellers have flocked to experience Otaru’s charms – including the scenic beauty of Hokkaido’s rugged west coast and its nearby national parks.

Your last port of call is Hakodate, the first Japanese port to open up to Western trading back in 1859.  Foreigners soon flocked to Hakodate, and today visitors wandering the cobblestone streets of the city’s Motomachi District can view their Western-style frame houses. Hakodate, once a fishing port famed for its high quality fish and shellfish, quickly became Hokkaido’s largest city, one of Japan’s most important ports and home to some of the best Sushi in the world!


Finally you cruise back into Yokohama ready for your transfer to the airport and your flight back to Australia.

What a cruise, what an itinerary….and what a price to go with it!  This 15 night Fly, Cruise and Stay package, includes your flights from Australia, 2 nights in Tokyo (with daily breakfast & Mt Fuji tour), all transfers and the 13 night cruise onboard Diamond Princess is amazing value from just $3,799 PER PERSON!!!

Don’t wait – call Travel Masters on 1800 672 988 to grab that cabin!