"Monkey Business & Island of the Gods"

Best of Japan with Bali’s Beaches, Snow Monkeys, Sunsets and Elephants 2018 All New!

Jan 31 - Feb 11, 2018

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Memories are made from extraordinary experiences and this dual destination is an epic AFS vacation! In Japan and Bali, enjoy the Yin and Yang of 2 different worlds with a wallop of fun packed along the way. You’ll love our easy non-stops on Singapore Airlines, the world’s best for unmatched service and comfort.

Overview

Memories are made from extraordinary experiences and this dual destination is an epic AFS vacation! In Japan and Bali, enjoy the Yin and Yang of 2 different worlds with a wallop of fun packed along the way. You’ll love our easy non-stops on Singapore Airlines, the world’s best for unmatched service and comfort.

In Japan, smiles await you in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’. Discover this land of noodles, Ninjas, Sumos and kimonos with 3,000 years of imperial history. We begin by touring trendy Tokyo from ancient shrines and temples to the sensational nightlife. Then grab a Bento Box and ride the thrilling Bullet Train to Nagano, called ‘Japan’s Rooftop’ for its alps or ‘Snow Monkey Country’.

Check into a real ‘ryokan’, traditional Japanese Inn with robes and tatami mats, set in beautiful snow-capped mountains. Soak in the onsite ‘onsens’. These are outdoor steamy hot spring baths and ‘Nature Spa’ that draws the monkeys. Be entertained by the hundreds of Japanese macaques that flock here in February. Wildly popular, photographers from around the world also flock here to get their cute ‘monkey selfies’ against a backdrop of stunning landscape. So unique for your Bucket List, you won’t want to leave!

We then fly south to immerse ourselves in tropical Bali with unparalleled scenic beauty. It’s a masterpiece of nature that is so lush, you’ll think you entered paradise. This tiny Hindu island is the centerpiece of Indonesia’s 17,000 chain of islands. We’ll introduce you to elaborate Balinese culture on our Arts and Crafts Tour in awesome Ubud. Swim the pristine beaches and photograph the temples at sunset. Shop colorful markets, dip in the Fountain of Youth and enjoy a full day Elephant Safari. We’ll meet more friendly monkeys as we stroll through Bali’s famous and wonderfully wild ‘Monkey Forest’.

At AFS, it’s the ‘Year of the Monkey’ and there’s no business like snow monkeys. Come to Japan for an experience others can only dream about. Come to Bali to ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. Two countries that our past groups loved with endless discovery and all at an amazing price! This could be our best Asian Affair ever. Yosoko!..Let the memories begin.

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Our Glorious Itinerary

Jan 31 - Feb 1 Departure

Depart from Los Angeles for Narita, Tokyo on award-winning Singapore Airlines. Experience comfort & luxury on SQ, voted World’s Best Airline for 9 consecutive years! More space, more comfort, inspired cuisines and 1,000 impressive entertainment options on board.  Lose a day crossing the international dateline, but will gain back on return.


Feb 2 - Tokyo

Upon arrival at Narita Airport, transfer to hotel in Tokyo for 2 nights at the fabulous Prince Hotel.
The Prince is in the Skyscraper District of Minato next to the iconic Tokyo Tower and subway. It’s an ideal hub with spacious rooms. There is free Wifi, a shopping arcade, full Spa, pool, fitness center. Free area shuttle. 3 bars & 6 restaurants. (More hotel info under Air & & Fun stuff Tab)

No other country is as efficient, elegant and graceful as Japan. There is a friendly saying here that represents the hospitality – “Ichigo Ichie” which means ‘treasure every encounter with whom you meet, it may only occur once in a lifetime’.

Overnight: Prince Hotel

 


Feb 3 - Tokyo

With such dazzling culture, it’s no wonder Tokyo took first place of the World’s Best City’s by Conde Nasts Reader’s Choice last year. There’s ancient history, traditional culture and an extreme passion for everything new! Discover a stunning City Scape, the cool Pop Culture and the best place to Eat Your Heart Out with more Michelin stars than any other city. Slurp yummy noodle bowls by day and do Karaoke bars by night. You’ll get a taste of Tokyo’s best appetizers on our city tour here.

The first site is the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market. Tsukiji Market is fun to explore and get a glimpse of the Tokyo that has not changed for decades. (Fish auction at 4 AM is not included unless you make your own arrangements). There are two parts to the market, the outer market of Harumi Dori has numerous small shops selling traditional Japanese ceramic dishes and other bargain finds. Or wander through the inner market with its chaotic narrow paths and stalls selling everything from sea urchin, priceless tuna to whale meat! There are also numerous small eateries serving the freshest seafood which our groups loved.     Sushi for breakfast, anyone?

We drive onto the Imperial Palace and walk around the Niju-Bashi Bridge area for a great photo op of the Palace grounds. The Imperial Palace East Gardens are part of the inner palace area. They are the former site of Edo Castle, the residence of the Tokugawa Shogun. The bridges on the main approach to the palace – the stone bridge and the second iron bridge forming the main entrance – are popularly called Niju-bashi, or “Double Bridge”. The Imperial family still resides in the palace which is only open to the public twice a year to offer congratulations to the Emporerr on Jan. 2 and on his birthday.

Next visit is to the Meiji Shrine near Harajuku area. Dedicated to the Emporer Meiji is one of the holiest pilgrimage centers in Japan. The Shinto Shrine, built to commemorate the illustrious achievement of Emporer Meiji, was characterized by dignified simplicity. The large Torii gates are made Japanese cypress wood over 1,700 years old. There is also the Treasure House where many articles of Emporerr Meiji are kept and the beautiful Iris Garden. Many Japanese people come to pray for success in business, university entrance exams as well as good marriage and health.

After visiting Meiji Shrine, you will be dropped off at the fun Harajuku area to explore on your own.
Harajuku is the center of Japan’s most extreme teenage pop cultures and fashion styles, made famous by the so-called “Harajuku Girls”… a term used to describe women and teenage girls who wear outlandish fashion in a street culture style. Especially on the weekend, see people dressed in styles of Gothic Lolita, Cyber Fashion or second-hand fashion. They love to have you take photos with them! The focal point of Harajuku’s is Takeshita Dori (Street) and the side streets, lined with trendy shops, fashion boutiques, cool used clothes stores and fast food outlets. Harajuku also has lots to offer for the adult fashion shoppers.

The near-by tree-lined Omotesando Street is often called the Champs Elysees with many name brand stores, new Tokyo designers’ boutiques, antiques shops, trendy cafes and Western restaurants. Also, not to be missed is one of Tokyo’s largest Daiso Harajuku – 100 Yen shop, which offers a wide array of goods, including clothing, kitchenware, food and stationery- great place to pick up affordable and unique souvenirs. Check out the new Ginza Six all with ‘Living Wall’ and incredible food court.

Overnight: Prince Hotel (B)


Feb 4 - Biyu No Yado

Pack only a carry-on bag for the trip to Snow Monkey Country. (Other bags will be stowed). Wear warm clothing for winter. Bring boots or waterproof shoes for the hike into Snow Monkey Park.

This morning, after breakfast, we walk to the nearby Shinagawa train Station to board train to Nagano station. The bullet train takes about 2 hours at 340 mph! It’s customary for Japanese travelers to buy a fresh bento box at the train platform to carry on the train for lunch. There are many varieties of beautifully prepared box lunches, including chicken rice, sushi or beef bowls.

Upon arrival at Nagano Station, we board a coach to drive towards Snow Monkey Park near Yudanaka.

Welcome to mountain ringed Nagano! It’s been a place of spiritual pilgrimage in century’s past to 1998 as home of the Winter Olympics. There’s a laid back feel to the town yet it draws 4 million visitors each year for the ski resorts, great restaurants and unique accommodations. (We had to book your ryokan a year ahead for space!)

En-route, visit the unique Tanaka Family Museum at Suzaka town. The Tanaka family is from a long line of descendants that made their wealth in growing grain, soy sauce AND sake starting in 1733. They have preserved many of their precious heirlooms, such as wedding kimonos, calligraphy scrolls, paintings, folding screens, Japanese Hina dolls and priceless ceramic dishes used to entertain the feudal lords. Many are now displayed in the galleries. There is also a beautiful garden year-round.

The next town of Obuse is famous for the Hokusai Museum and chestnuts. Hokusai is probably the most well-known Japanese artist, renowned for his ukiyo-e, woodblock prints, such as the Thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji. Like you, he loved traveling too. He loved painting to capture places he longed to visit one day. felt that painting was in a way just like taking trips to new places.

After a short visit to the Hokusai museum, we stop for lunch at a local restaurant. You also have some time to explore the small town of Obuse with many narrow streets and traditional homes. Obuse is famous for ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ and along the “souvenir” street, you can sample chestnut ice cream, traditional Japanese cakes as well as fresh apple pies! The province of Nagano produces the sweetest fragrant Fuji apples.

Continue on to Yudanaka Hot Springs area and check into your traditional Japanese Inn:
Ryokan Biyu no Yado, near the best known hot springs, are located at the base of the Shiga Kogen ski area. Check in your hotel with Japanese style Tatami Rooms for a uniquely Japanese experience and change into your “yukata” robes and enjoy a hot springs soak before dinner.

Our ryokan made it in the Top 25 B&B’s of Japan. Guests love soaking in the large communal bath or open baths. Try a relaxing massage. The royakan features free wifi, a Japanese taiko drum show at the lobby, karaoke bar and gift shop. Japanese style rooms with Tatami floors and futons. All have flat screen tvs, refrigerators and coffee. Staying in a ryokan is a unique and fun experience with a perfect blend of Japanese hospitality and English-speaking staff. The manager always dresses in a kimono. She was a flight attendant in the US for years and she will tell you the “how to” here -like when to remove your shoes, donning special bathrobes & slippers. They can also dress you in kimonos for a great photo op at dinner.

The staff will guide you on the onsen etiquette for both men & women. Both sexes can enjoy the roof top onsen at night - more to come in our trip tips. Dining at Ryokan Biyu no Yado is a treat – you will partake at a traditional Japanese “kaiseki” cuisine, with many dishes of vegetables, seafood and meats based on seasonal offerings.

It’s a 5-minute walk to the statue Goddess for Peace and short drive to Snow Monkey Park. Meanwhile your rooms will be prepared with “futons” (Japanese mattresses) and you will enjoy the best sleep ever.

Overnight: Biyu No Yado – Japanese Inn (B, L, D)


Feb 5 - No Monkeys Like Snow Monkeys!

The Jigokudani Monkey Park offers visitors the unique experience of seeing wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. The park is inhabited by Japanese Macaques, which are also known as Snow Monkeys. It is located in the monkey’s natural habitat in the forests of the Jigokudani valley.

The park has a man-made pool where monkeys gather, located a short uphill walk from the park entrance. Visitors may encounter monkeys along the path to the pool. The monkeys live in large social groups and are so entertaining to watch their interactions. Accustomed to humans, they can be observed very close and completely ignore their guests.

You’ll learn about the alpha male system of the monkey troupes and see portraits of the parks present and former macaques dating back dozens of years. The bathing monkeys are particularly photogenic when the area is covered in snow. Best timing is in February. Jigokudani means ‘Hell Valley’ and is a common name for Japanese valleys with volcanic activity creating steaming hot springs.

This is what you come all this way for! After a Japanese style breakfast, dress up for the cold and venture to the Jigokudani Yaen Park, established in 1964 to protect the Japanese Macaques. With the philosophy of humans and monkeys co-existing in harmony, the goal is to allow people to view the monkeys in their natural habitat. Here the wild monkeys enter the hot spring pond built for them and they behave normally in the presence of humans. They are the best-behaved monkeys which are not afraid of humans and do not attack. Baby monkeys clinging to their mother’s backs, males that close their eyes and relax in the hot springs. It is difficult to tire of these picturesque scenes where the monkeys dip into the 100 degrees spring water to warm themselves.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6028.html

Upon return to the hotel, check out and take the train back to Tokyo.

Overnight: Prince Hotel (B)

 


Feb 6 - Free day in Tokyo!

Your guide will provide you plenty of suggestions of fun options. For now, see www.GoTokyo.com

Late this evening, fly to Bali via Singapore.


Feb 8 - Arts & Crafts of Enchanting Ubud

Ubud is Bali’s cultural heart located in the lush mountains with a flourishing art community. It’s well known as the artist village of the painters, where you are also have an opportunity to explore the beautiful countryside. You will visit 3 villages now renowned for their craftsmanship in silver, woodcarving and paintings.
In CELUK, you will see skilled artisans creating silver jewelry and ornaments out of fine filigree strand. In MAS, you can watch fine carvers work on ebony, jackfruit and coconut wood. Famous Balinese style paintings are to be found in their thousands at UBUD, where artists have collected for over 50 years. Also, it’s a great place to stroll the colorful markets for beautiful textiles and endless souvenirs.

Overnight: Marriott Courtyard Seminyak Resort (B)

Click to read about Bali   http://www.bali-indonesia.com/attractions/top-ten.htm


Feb 9 - Free Day in Bali!

 know many of you will Google your own places and discover the endless uber-fun options to do here. We’ll offer two optional activities if we have enough participants.

Optional: Full Day Elephant Safari
Without a doubt, the Elephant Safari Park in Taro is a MUST for visitors to Bali, and truly unique. Get up close and personal with these incredible animals in a beautiful tropical park setting. Elephants can be seen immersing themselves in the park lake, in between riding, and other activities. Hand feed them, ride them, touch them, take photos with them.
There is an Information Center to learn about the pachyderms, museum, gift shop with elephant themed products and a large garden restaurant. The internationally acclaimed Elephant Safari Park is not only a sanctuary for this protected and endangered species, but is a total elephant experience that is not duplicated anywhere else in the world. All the elephants at the park were rescued from deforestation in Central & Southern Sumatra. $TBA

Optional: White Water rafting adventure in Ubud
Inclusions: Transfers, Gourmet Buffet Lunch, Hot Shower, Change Rooms, Insurance

Bali Adventure Rafting is the only Bali rafting company that offers '5 star' service from the start to finish. Established in 1989 and renowned as Bali's safest family rafting company, offers a fully computerized reception centre coupled with fast walk-through equipment outfitting and easy access to the river via safe, engineered steps, complete with hand rails and scenic viewing platforms. Grab your oars and get ready to rage with this exhilarating rafting adventure on the spectacular Ayung River. Whether you are a natural or a novice, our white water rafting in Bali ride is safe, fun and a breathtaking experience to be enjoyed by all.

The action starts as you launch into an 9.6 km river stretch, navigating through 33 class II and III rapids set to a backdrop of unspoiled rain forest, towering gorges and magnificent rice paddy terraces. Professionally trained, experienced guides pilot safety-equipped Avon rafts through the best river runs, dramatic drops and spectacular waterfalls making your Bali rafting ride a fun and awesome experience. End the action packed 2-hour (approx) journey with hot showers, clean towels and changing rooms followed by a hot gourmet buffet feast at our private terrace overlooking majestic mountains and rice fields. $85

Overnight: Marriott Courtyard Seminyak Resort (B)


Feb 10 - Free Fun Time in Bali

After breakfast, make the most of your last day in paradise! Your local guide or GTL will discuss the possibilities of getting a ‘Day room’ to freshen up before your flight home.

Here’s my favorites:
Uluwatu Temple on cliff, Tegallalong Rice Terraces, Catamaran cruise to outer islands, Bali Safari & Marine Park

Evening departure 9:00 pm to USA


Feb 11: Arrive LAX 6:15AM

Arrive LAX 6:15AM


Activity Level:

2. I have no trouble walking and if necessary, can walk for 3+ miles. Uneven surfaces are not a problem. I do not need a cane or walking device.

Pricing

$500 deposit will secure your reservation.  Limited to 30 participants. Detailed Trip Tips later.

Includes 8 nights first class accommodation, daily guided tours with entrance fees, licensed English speaking guides, private coach, meals as stated, AFS GTL.

Land Cost:  $1995

Group Air:  $1099 with taxes  

Singapore Airlines  18 seats reserved

  • Feb 1 LAX-NRT  9AM - 145AM (Feb 2)
  • Feb 6  HND-SIN  1050PM-525AM (next day Feb 3)
  • Feb 7  SIN-BPS  820AM - 11AM
  • Feb 10  DPS-SIN  950PM-1220AM (Feb 11)
  • Feb 11  SIN-LAX  245AM - 6AM (same day Feb 11)

 NRT - Tokyo, Japan, HND - Japan, DPS - Bali, SIN - Singapore

Options

Name
Description
Price
Full Day Elephant Safari
Optional: Full Day Elephant Safari Without a doubt, the Elephant Safari Park in Taro is a MUST for visitors to Bali, and truly unique. Get up close and personal with these incredible animals in a beautiful tropical park setting. Elephants can be seen immersing themselves in the park lake, in between riding, and other activities. Hand feed them, ride them, touch them, take photos with them. There is an Information Center to learn about the pachyderms, museum, gift shop with elephant themed products and a large garden restaurant. The internationally acclaimed Elephant Safari Park is not only a sanctuary for this protected and endangered species, but is a total elephant experience that is not duplicated anywhere else in the world. All the elephants at the park were rescued from deforestation in Central & Southern Sumatra. $TBA
$80.00
White Water rafting adventure in Ubud
Optional: White Water rafting adventure in Ubud Inclusions: Transfers, Gourmet Buffet Lunch, Hot Shower, Change Rooms, Insurance Bali Adventure Rafting is the only Bali rafting company that offers ‘5 star’ service from the start to finish. Established in 1989 and renowned as Bali’s safest family rafting company, offers a fully computerized reception centre coupled with fast walk-through equipment outfitting and easy access to the river via safe, engineered steps, complete with hand rails and scenic viewing platforms. Grab your oars and get ready to rage with this exhilarating rafting adventure on the spectacular Ayung River. Whether you are a natural or a novice, our white water rafting in Bali ride is safe, fun and a breathtaking experience to be enjoyed by all. The action starts as you launch into an 9.6 km river stretch, navigating through 33 class II and III rapids set to a backdrop of unspoiled rain forest, towering gorges and magnificent rice paddy terraces. Professionally trained, experienced guides pilot safety-equipped Avon rafts through the best river runs, dramatic drops and spectacular waterfalls making your Bali rafting ride a fun and awesome experience. End the action packed 2-hour (approx) journey with hot showers, clean towels and changing rooms followed by a hot gourmet buffet feast at our private terrace overlooking majestic mountains and rice fields.
$85.00
Group Air w/ taxes
Singapore Airlines Feb 1 LAX-NRT 9AM - 145AM (Feb 2) Feb 6 HND-SIN 1050PM-525AM (next day Feb 3) Feb 7 SIN-BPS 820AM - 11AM Feb 10 DPS-SIN 950PM-1220AM (Feb 11) Feb 11 SIN-LAX 245AM - 6AM (same day Feb 11)
$1099.00
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Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS. Group air - Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and are ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until we either group air is set or we advise - dates can change! Itineraries are prepared often a year in advance. Though not likely, AFS and our suppliers reserve the right to change or modify such to meet local conditions. Although rare, hotels can change – all hotel rooms are run of the house. Our prices are based on current taxation structures. In case any revision in taxes, sudden fluctuation in currency levels, change in Visa fees or increase in fuel charges, we will amend our prices and inform you accordingly. Land price is based on minimum number of trip participants.