39 days in East Asia Itinerary

39 days in East Asia Itinerary

Created using Inspirock Asia trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Seoul, South Korea
— 4 nights
Fly
2
Beijing, China
— 5 nights
Fly
3
Lijiang, China
— 3 nights
Fly
4
Sanya, China
— 2 nights
Fly
5
Hong Kong, China
— 6 nights
Fly
6
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
— 2 nights
Fly
7
Shanghai, China
— 4 nights
Fly
8
Nagasaki, Japan
— 2 nights
Fly
9
Kyoto, Japan
— 5 nights
Drive
10
Takayama, Japan
— 2 nights
Train to Chūbu Centrair, Fly to Hakodate
11
Hakodate, Japan
— 2 nights
Fly

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Seoul, South Korea

— 4 nights
One of east Asia's major cultural and financial centers, Seoul boasts five World Heritage Sites and a huge selection of museums, temples, shrines, palaces, parks, gardens, and glass-and-steel skyscrapers.
Get some historical perspective at Gyeongbokgung Palace and Deoksugung. Step off the beaten path and head to The War Memorial of Korea and Cheonggyecheon Stream. There's still lots to do: pause for some serene contemplation at Myeong-dong Cathedral, admire the masterpieces at Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, take in panoramic vistas at N Seoul Tower, and examine the collection at National Folk Museum of Korea.

To see photos, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Seoul trip planning site.

Dallas, USA to Seoul is an approximately 15.5-hour flight. Traveling from Dallas to Seoul, you'll lose 15 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Dallas in December, you will find days in Seoul are colder (38°F), and nights are slightly colder (24°F). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can catch the flight to Beijing.

Things to do in Seoul

Historic Sites · Museums · Neighborhoods · Parks

Beijing, China

— 5 nights
As the political and cultural capital of China, Beijing stands at the heart of Chinese history, buzzing with the energy of its high population density and centuries of importance.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and National Museum Of China. Get some historical perspective at Mutianyu Great Wall and Bell and Drum Towers. And it doesn't end there: browse the exhibits of The Palace Museum, take some stellar pictures from Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang), get to know the fascinating history of Summer Palace (Yiheyuan), and get a sense of history and politics at Temple of Heaven.

To see other places to visit, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Beijing road trip planning tool.

You can fly from Seoul to Beijing in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of subway, ferry, and train; or do a combination of bus and ferry. Traveling from Seoul to Beijing, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Beijing when traveling from Seoul in December, with lows around 19°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can catch the flight to Lijiang.

Things to do in Beijing

Historic Sites · Museums · Parks · Outdoors

Lijiang, China

— 3 nights

Suzhou on the Plateau

The cultural capital of the Naxi people, one of the 55 minority ethnic groups in the country, Lijang traces its history back over 800 years, with the city developing from a trading post on the ancient Southern Silk Road.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain and Shuhe Ancient Town. Get some cultural insight at Mufu Palace and Old Town of Lijiang - China. Take a break from Lijiang with a short trip to Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) in Shangri-La County, about 1h 20 min away.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Lijiang trip builder site.

Traveling by flight from Beijing to Lijiang takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Sat) so you can catch the flight to Sanya.

Things to do in Lijiang

Historic Sites · Parks · Nature

Side Trips

Sanya, China

— 2 nights

Gateway to the South

The climate and coastline bring visitors from far and wide on vacations to Sanya, with its 40 km (25 mi) of shoreline almost entirely devoted to tourism.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Sun): contemplate the waterfront views at Yalong Bay and then admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. On the 3rd (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: observe the fascinating underwater world at Dolphin Cay and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Nanshan Temple.

For photos, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Sanya travel planning tool.

You can fly from Lijiang to Sanya in 6.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of car and ferry; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 79°F in January, and nighttime lows around 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to fly to Hong Kong.

Things to do in Sanya

Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Historic Sites · Outdoors
Highlights from your trip

Hong Kong, China

— 6 nights

Pearl of the Orient

Witness the vibrant skyline of Hong Kong, an impressive urban territory on the southern coast of China.
Popular historic sites such as Po Lin Monastery and Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Sze) are in your itinerary. Explore hidden gems such as Hong Kong Museum of History and Dragon's Back. There's still lots to do: wander the streets of Sai Wan Pavilion, walk around Nan Lian Garden, let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour, and stop by Soho.

To see maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Hong Kong holiday website.

Traveling by flight from Sanya to Hong Kong takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or take a train. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from Sanya in January: highs in Hong Kong hover around 68°F, while lows dip to 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) early enough to fly to Kaohsiung.

Things to do in Hong Kong

Neighborhoods · Parks · Museums · Historic Sites

Kaohsiung, Taiwan

— 2 nights

Harbor City

A small trading town in the 17th century, Kaohsiung now stands as a sprawling metropolis, its harbor representing the largest on the island.
On the 10th (Mon), get engrossed in the history at Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum and then see the interesting displays at Chimei Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the exciting artwork at The Pier-2 Art Centre, take in panoramic vistas at Kaohsiung Main Public Library, and then step off the mainland to explore Cijin Island.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Kaohsiung journey planning tool.

Traveling by flight from Hong Kong to Kaohsiung takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry. When traveling from Hong Kong in January, plan for a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Kaohsiung: temperatures range from 77°F by day to 61°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Tue) early enough to fly to Shanghai.

Things to do in Kaohsiung

Museums · Historic Sites · Shopping · Parks

Side Trip

Shanghai, China

— 4 nights

Pearl of the Orient

With a nickname like the "Pearl of the Orient," it's not surprising Shanghai offers some of the most rewarding attractions and activities in the Far East.
Get a sense of the local culture at Tian Zi Fang and Shanghai Development Exhibition Hall. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like The Bund (Wai Tan) and Zhujiajiao Ancient Town. Next up on the itinerary: see the interesting displays at Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan), visit Maoming Road, wander the streets of Former French Concession, and enjoy breathtaking views from Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu).

To find more things to do, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Shanghai trip itinerary builder.

Traveling by flight from Kaohsiung to Shanghai takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and ferry. Expect much colder temperatures when traveling from Kaohsiung in January; daily highs in Shanghai reach 49°F and lows reach 37°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sat) so you can catch the flight to Nagasaki.

Things to do in Shanghai

Historic Sites · Neighborhoods · Museums · Shopping

Nagasaki, Japan

— 2 nights

City of Peace

The hilly port city of Nagasaki has become known internationally as one of the two Japanese cities to be destroyed by an atomic bomb towards the close of World War II. This history, of course, remains important to the city, its inhabitants, and to the wider world, and should not be forgotten.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Sun): take in nature's colorful creations at Glover Garden, then stroll around Nagasaki Peace Park, then take an in-depth tour of Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, and finally examine the collection at Nagasaki Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. On the 17th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: appreciate the history behind Hypocenter of Atomic Bombing, then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mt. Inasa, and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Sōfuku-ji Temple.

For ratings, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Nagasaki tour planner.

Traveling by flight from Shanghai to Nagasaki takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of ferry and train. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from Shanghai to Nagasaki. In January, plan for daily highs up to 50°F, and evening lows to 39°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) to allow enough time to fly to Kyoto.

Things to do in Nagasaki

Historic Sites · Parks · Museums · Nature

Kyoto, Japan

— 5 nights
The national capital for over a thousand years, Kyoto retains much of the charm of old Japan, boasting numerous temples and shrines that seem completely untouched by the modern world.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine and Ginkakuji Temple. Explore hidden gems such as Kodai-ji Temple and Spas. Go for a jaunt from Kyoto to Dotombori to see Dotombori District about 1h 10 min away. There's still lots to do: make a trip to Kiyomizu-dera Temple, contemplate the long history of Sanjusangendo Temple, appreciate the extensive heritage of Katsura Imperial Villa, and wander the streets of Gion.

To see other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Kyoto trip maker website.

Fly from Nagasaki to Kyoto in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. Plan for a bit cooler nights when traveling from Nagasaki in January since evenings lows in Kyoto dip to 34°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) early enough to drive to Takayama.

Things to do in Kyoto

Historic Sites · Neighborhoods · Shopping · Parks

Side Trip

Takayama, Japan

— 2 nights
Hidden high up in the Japanese Alps, Takayama remained largely cut off from the rest of Japan for centuries, allowing the local culture to grow in relative isolation.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Sun): take an in-depth tour of Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen, appreciate the extensive heritage of The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses, then contemplate the long history of Wada House, and finally take some stellar pictures from Ogimachi Castle Old Site Observatory. Keep things going the next day: learn more about the world around you at Hida Minzoka Mura Folk Village (Hida no Sato), then admire the striking features of Takayama Jinya, and then stop by Sanmachi Suji.

To find photos, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, go to the Takayama trip maker.

Getting from Kyoto to Takayama by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Kyoto in January, expect nights in Takayama to be about the same, around 32°F, while days are slightly colder, around 41°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Hakodate.

Things to do in Takayama

Historic Sites · Museums · Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Hakodate, Japan

— 2 nights

City of Lights

A gateway to the island, Hakodate has gained a reputation for its waterfront attractions, its proximity to some of the island's most popular natural sites, and its seafood.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Tue): boost your wellbeing at a local thermal spa, take in panoramic vistas at Goryokaku Tower, and then admire the landmark architecture of Goryokaku Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Hakodate, then visit Motomachi, and then make a trip to Hachimanzaka.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Hakodate trip planner.

Traveling by combination of train and flight from Takayama to Hakodate takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train, bus, and ferry. Traveling from Takayama in January, things will get a bit cooler in Hakodate: highs are around 32°F and lows about 22°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Hakodate

Historic Sites · Parks · Spas · Museums

South Korea travel guide

4.2
Shopping · History Museums · Parks
Land of the Morning Calm
Though it boasts a history spanning thousands of years, South Korea ranks among the world's most urbanized and modernized countries, with nearly half of its population living in high-rises concentrated in the national capital. In this land of pristine mountain scenery, many South Korea vacations involve some form of winter sports--not surprising for the country that won the bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Curious travelers wishing to get to know South Korea's heart and soul spend only a small part of their holiday in big cities like Busan and Seoul, devoting much of their attention to the tranquil countryside that seems largely untouched by the 21st century.

China travel guide

4.4
Landmarks · Observation Decks · History Museums
With well over 1.3 billion residents, China represents the most populous country in the world, considered by many the cradle of civilization thanks to its history spanning many millennia. While a single trip to China rarely satisfies curious travelers, a well-organized tour reveals a land of awe-inspiring natural scenery, ancient monuments, and giant cities, where the diverse population includes almost 60 different ethnic groups speaking dozens of distinct languages. While many Westerners may know China mostly for its centuries-old tradition of martial arts, discerning travelers visit this vast nation for its outstanding cuisine, pristine landscapes, epic train journeys, and small towns of hardworking and genuinely hospitable people.

Taiwan travel guide

4.2
Landmarks · Gift & Specialty Shops · Shopping Malls
Heart of Asia
A sliver of land just off China's east coastline, Taiwan represents one of the world's most densely populated countries--and one of Asia's most powerful economies. History buffs on a tour of Taiwan will discover ancient artifacts stored at outstanding national museums narrating nearly 10,000 years of Asia's history. Those interested in more active pursuits can organize a Taiwan itinerary around its modern mountain resorts, well-developed beaches, and protected forests sheltering hundreds of species of native plant and animal life. Begin your visit in Taipei, a vibrant capital city with a thriving entertainment scene, relatively inexpensive accommodations, and an eclectic culinary scene.

Japan travel guide

4.3
Sacred & Religious Sites · Landmarks · Historic Sites
Land of the Rising Sun
Part of a volcanic archipelago that encompasses over 6,800 islands, Japan remains one of Asia's most fascinating tourist destinations, where a blend of modernity and tradition creates a look and feel completely different from any other place in the world. A tour of Japan lets you discover big cities filled with ancient temples and innovative skyscrapers, as well as quiet country landscapes dotted with castles, perfectly manicured gardens, cherry orchards, and primeval forests seemingly untouched by the hand of mass tourism. Many tourists on vacation in Japan devote lots of time to the country's unique cuisine, prepared with painstaking attention to detail and a genius for simple yet effective presentation.