Organizing a group to Asia? Here are some of our most popular choices for our top two Asia Group destinations – China and India.
Learn to Paint With the Locals
In the small farming village of Huxian, on the outskirts of Xian, your group will meet one of the local painters for an informative and fun lesson on the famous Huxian painting style. The Huxian style is instantly recognizable with its portrayal of almost every aspect of peasant daily life: feeding livestock, children playing, local operas, village traditions, ducks swimming, elders playing Chinese chess, and so on.
By using bright colours and fantastic style, peasants vividly record their everyday life, the beautiful landscape, the great harvests, and the busy festivals. Some paintings are bold and unconstrained, some are strong and impassioned, and others are ornate and elegant. All of them have a naive charm, evoking the feeling of folk life. Your group will get inspired by the local talent, and once they’ve finished their own paintings, can take their masterpiece home with them!
Get Up Close with the Warriors
At the Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum in Xian, your group can go down to the museum’s normally off-limits lower level, and have a closer look at the Terracotta soldiers. An experienced guide will take time to explain some of the unique features of the artifacts, as well as give some insights as to their purpose, along with the engineering and sculpturing expertise needed to create this historic national treasure. Due to the fragility and age of the sculptures, the visit at the lower terrace of the pit is permitted for a maximum of 30 minutes per group.
Bonsai with a Master
Discover the fascinating art of Bonsai with a Chinese Master Gardener at Tiger Hill in Suzhou. Your travel group will be taught not only about the art of creating and designing Bonsai plants, but also about the history of the technique as well as how to plant and care for Bonsais in the garden – all under the guiding hand of the master gardener. The whole workshop lasts around one hour.
Up Close With a Gentle Elephant!
Drive out from the city of Jaipur for an experience of a lifetime. Today you will build up a rapport with a gentle gigantic beast – a magnificent elephant!
Your experience begins with your first step into the elephant’s world – the building of an unbreakable bond! Gaze into their loving eyes as you stroke and talk to them, let the elephant feel your energy and spirit. There is an old saying, “The best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” Well, elephants are no exception, and as you feed them choice treats you will gain their love and trust.
After a simple lunch you re-connect with your newly acquired friend. For the adventurous, a bareback ride will give you an even closer experience. If you like you could also decorate the elephant – with natural paints, of course. The bonding is sealed as you ride down to Elephant Lake and lead your friend into the water, where you can wash and scrub these huge beasts, and perhaps even swim with them!
Your group’s adventure culminates with a sunset jungle safari. Around 5 pm, they can enjoy a relaxing one hour ride through the nearby forest. Though the forest does not have many animals, they may see a wolf or hyena, and if they’re really lucky, may get a glimpse of a leopard. Numerous birds inhabit this forest as well, including an Indian golden oriole, an Asian paradise flycatcher, the black-shouldered kite, or the fabulous peacock.
Dinner at Samode Palace
A unique way to enjoy Jaipur is with a trip to Samode Palace for dinner. The guests are transported by road to Samode after one hour of driving through the countryside of Rajasthan. The history of Samode Palace goes back four hundred and fifty years to the time of the illustrious Prithvi Singhji of Amber, the seventeenth prince of the Kacchawaha Rajputs. The nearby Samode Bagh, is an exotic Mughal-style garden paradise, featuring 24 acres of gardens, surrounded by high walls.
Upon arrival in Samode Palace, elegant Indian ladies dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire perform an Aarti ceremony, by rotating an oil lamp and applying the holy mark of vermilion on the forehead. Guests will be garlanded with fresh, brilliantly-hued, fragrant flowers and served a cool welcome drink. A special dinner is set up in the Durbar Hall of the Palace. The Durbar Hall is magnificently decorated with mirrors, chandeliers, and 300 year-old wall paintings. While the guests dine on a sumptuous meal of traditional Indian cuisine, a troupe of Rajasthani dancers perform local dances. A spirited extravaganza of dazzling fireworks lights up the night sky, as the evening draws to a close.
Participate in An Indian Wedding
An Indian wedding is no small matter. Preparations go on for months, and the wedding process itself lasts for days. During the seasons deemed auspicious, there are wedding processions nightly and specially erected tented venues everywhere. This is a tradition no visitor to India should miss. The bride and groom are dressed in traditional costumes for the evening. Participants are encouraged to dress in Indian attire, as they partake in their roles as wedding guests. The guests are divided into two families, one for the bride and one for the groom. As is customary, the groom’s family and friends gather for a procession to the bride’s residence. In this case it’s at the portico of the hotel. The groom mounts his horse, and the group proceeds amidst much excitement through the gardens and on to the wedding venue – dancing along to the accompaniment of a band. The pathway is lit with flaming torches, and there are decorations of fairy lights and flowers.
Once there, sari-clad women receive guests with showers of rose petals and the traditional Aarti and Tikka welcome ceremony. Those playing the bride’s parents greet the arriving guests with a traditional welcome of “namaste”. The groom will alight from the horse and be garlanded here, all of this to the accompaniment of a traditional instrument called a shehnai, considered an auspicious sound, especially for marriages. The groom will be walked to the stage to greet his bride, and will take a seat alongside her. There will be a traditional exchange of garlands called the jaimala. Then the ceremony begins on an elevated stage, illuminated by brightly coloured lamps. Amidst the chanting of the holy verses, a priest will perform the marriage rites. Guests will be seated around the stage and able to see clearly. After the ceremony, guests will continue on to cocktails and dinner, enjoyed to the strains of sitar music.
Not commonly found on tour itineraries, these fabulous, unique excursions for groups open the travellers’ eyes to an incredible experience, not otherwise imagined, and a further appreciation of the destination being visited.
For more information on our GroupsOnly Division, go to www.goway.com.