Adventures in the East: City Sights and Cultural Delights in Asia

Often the best part of solo travel is being able to enjoy such a variety of different experiences on holiday, and best of it all it's all on your terms.

Stepping outside your comfort zone of familiar pastimes and interests to enjoy something a little different can also be one of the most rewarding feelings too.

So, why not travel east with us to intoxicating Asia, a fantastic continent to enjoy, well, a little bit of everything! Allow us to shine the spotlight on Borneo, Kuala Lumpur and Japan, the perfect destinations to indulge in wildlife and the great outdoors, history and heritage, phenomenal cuisine, unique shopping finds, fascinating culture, and lots more besides...

Big city life

You may well be familiar with that 'buzz' of big city life, as any spontaneous trip to London or one of the UK's big cities will reveal. 

But in Asia's iconic cities, it feels incredibly different. Here you can revel in the awakening of all your senses: the energy of locals chatting and going about their daily life, the pleasant aromas of dishes being prepared by local street food vendors, the impressive sights of huge skyscrapers towering above you, interspersed by lush green parks that would seem out of place anywhere else in the world.

As part of the Wild Borneo with Kuala Lumpur add-on, you have the delight of enjoying the city sights of both Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur.

Kota Kinabalu

You'll spend a few nights based in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, known locally as KK. As well as enjoying days out on excursions, there's time to enjoy the city sights too, including the local night market.

There are a number of vibrant night markets in KK where you can pick up food, handicrafts, clothing, fashion accessories, and so much more. Even if shopping isn't your thing, just wandering around the market is a wonderful insight into local culture and traditions.

During your time in the city, you'll also get different perspectives on KK, including a sunset boat cruise to see the city come alive as the dazzling lights emerge in all their twinkling glory, transforming the night sky.

Kuala Lumpur

And with the rest of your time in Borneo spent getting to know the local communities and enjoying encounters with wildlife, you may want to get more of a taste of city life, by adding on three nights in Kuala Lumpur.

With your hotel based in the city centre, it gives you more time to get out and see the city's most iconic places. Enjoy exploring KL with two guided tours which will give you that contrasting perspective of the city.

During the day you'll discover the past and present of the metropolis and its key landmarks including the King's Palace and many monuments and temples. And after dark, there's nothing more captivating than observing the likes of the Petronas Towers and the Lake Symphony Show bursting into light and colour.

And with a day at leisure to make your own discoveries too, you'll leave with your own unique impressions of this evocative city.


They say there's nowhere like home, but there's nowhere like Tokyo either! As part of our Japan Revealed solo tour, you enjoy your first few days discovering the dazzling cityscapes of Tokyo. A place where temples, shrines and gardens rub shoulders with designer shopping malls and sleek skyscrapers, your tour of the city will orient you with just how vast and varied it really is here.

And of course, this couldn't be as well encapsulated than with a visit to the Observation Deck of Tokyo Tower. As you stand over 1,000 feet above the city, on a clear day you can see the majestic form of Mount Fuji - a reminder that there's enough room in this world for big cities and the great outdoors!

You'll also visit the Imperial Palace - residence of the Emperor of Japan, and with its stone walls and meticulously maintained gardens (115 hectares no less!), it's a bit of a step change from the city's steel and glass fronted buildings.

As Tokyo's most colourful and popular Buddhist temple, a visit to Asakusa Sensoji Temple is essential. Legend has it that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, from the river. 

Even though they returned the icon back to its rightful place, just like a boomerang, it kept coming back to them. So they resolved to build Sensoji for the goddess and it was completed in the year 645 - making it Tokyo's oldest temple.

Regardless of whether you consider it fact or fiction, there's no denying its vibrant beauty, and it attracts a phenomenal 30 million worshippers every year.

And what better way to end your Tokyo travels that with a thrilling rickshaw ride through the city!


You'd be forgiven for believing that having seen one temple, you've seen them all in Japan. It couldn't be further from the truth as you'll discover when you move onto the enchanting city of Kyoto - aptly named 'the city of ten thousand shrines'!

The Golden Pavilion, decked in pure gold leaf, is a stunning vision to behold. As you discover a number of different temples during your time in your city, you'll find something uniquely beautiful about each and every one, that seems to top the last one!

Whether it's the World Heritage Site, Kiyomizu Temple and its unique location built into the side of a mountain (and with a waterfall inside!), or Todaiji Temple's 15-metre tall bronze Buddha statue, and free-roaming deer, there's always something interesting to surprise and delight every visitor.

Cultural Delights

The opportunity to be given even just a small glimpse of a country's cultural practices and traditions should never be turned down. Which is why on all Just You tours there you'll always have time to learn a little of the local culture. Here's our top three cultural delights to make the most of every minute.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

A traditional Uji Japanese Tea Ceremony experience will teach you the fine art of serving tea in Japan. You'll visit a traditional teahouse and listen to your host who will share the proper etiquette of brewing and serving tea, as well as some of the history behind it.

This ceremony is rooted in Zen philosophy and designed to act as a bonding experience between host and their guest, while the considered and measured pace of serving is said to bring about an inner peace and harmony, while enjoying a break from the outside world. 

Encounters with the Dusan and Rungus Tribes

Borneo is incredibly rich in culture and natives are passionate about preserving their ancestry, and so on your Wild Borneo adventure, you'll have the opportunity to spend time with two of the five main tribes in Sabah.

After enjoying a scenic walk through Bornean countryside, a visit to Dusan House in Tombung village is the perfect place for a rest, and the chance to learn about the life of the Kadazan-Dusan, the largest tribe in Borneo. 

Following a warm welcome from your host, you will be invited to their farm to experience rubber tapping and its process, and well as sharing life stories and authentic local delicacies.

You'll also learn some of the culture and customs of the Rungus tribes who are mostly artisans, creating intricate beadwork and basketry. As part of your visit, you'll see inside one of their traditional homes: bamboo longhouses constructed on stilts, that rest alongside rivers and streams.

Offering a real insight into how indigenous communities thrive and survive in Borneo, you'll be enthralled by it all, and hopefully, changed for the better by these experiences.

On the history trail

With Japan considered one of the oldest countries in the world, it would be remiss not to see some its historical sights, and even some of the harrowing wartime events which have shaped some of the landmarks you see today.

A visit to Hiroshima to see the Peace Memorial Park is a poignant encounter. Dedicated to the WWII nuclear bombing, the park was built on an open field which was created by the explosion. There's also the skeletal remains of the former Industrial Promotion Hall. Left completely untouched following the event, it's a chilling reminder of the need for peace.

Elsewhere on the history trail, something a little more sedate, is a visit to Fushimi - Kyoto's sake brewing district. Sake has been brewed in Japan for thousands of centuries. Using a technique used in China over 2,500 years ago, the fermenting and brewing process in Japan has sought to preserve tradition.

The drink is thought to be important in the bringing together of people, and can be witnessed in many scenes depicted throughout history and culture. After learning more about its significance in Japan, you'll enjoy a tasting of the fermented concoction before visiting Fushimi Inari - a tribute to the gods of rice and sake.

Wildlife that wows

If there's one thing that Japan, Kuala Lumpur and Borneo have in common, it's their stunning landscapes and opportunities to spot wildlife you've never laid eyes on before.

Orangutans and out of the ordinary in Borneo

Of course, the rare orangutan is now automatically synonymous with Borneo. The careful and considered work of the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is one of the highlights on the wildlife front, and as you wander around the lowland forests here, you'll undoubtedly feel overwhelmed by the thought that this is just one of two places in the whole world where the endangered orangutan still lives in the wild.

At the Sun Bear Conservation Centre, guests will get to see the endearing honey bears from special viewing platforms, and discover more about the challenges of deforestation and poaching which threaten their survival. These endearing creatures are also the world's smallest species of bear, and this is a great visit to learn more about their live, habitat and behaviour.

And there's so much more nature to discover here. As you enjoy boat cruises along rivers and past lush forest and mangroves, you'll have to keep your eyes and ears peeled for sightings of exotic birds, orangutans and pygmy elephants. And there's just as many special wildlife encounters after dark too, with a night-time cruise to see fireflies lighting up the night sky.

It's a completely different world that will make you wow and gasp at every conceivable moment!

Japan's Mighty Mount Fuji

There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a taste of the best of Japan's great outdoors, especially during Cherry Blossom season!

But, it has to be said, that your first glimpse of the iconic Mount Fuji is perhaps one of the most magical memorable moments on this 12-day tour.

Indeed, some of our Holiday Directors who have lead this very tour, have said that one of their favourite bits from this tour, is seeing the look on the group's faces the moment it comes into view for the first time.

And with a number of different opportunities to see the sacred mountain, including a cruise on Lake Ashi, all we rely on is a clear day to see it in all its glory - that's nature for you after all - unpredictable!

Kuala Lumpur

While KL may not immediately spring to mind as a haven for wildlife and the great outdoors, it is there if you want to seek it out.

With all your city sights ticked off the list as part of your included excursions, there's a whole host of highlights in the wild to fill up your free time.

Just a twenty-minute drive from the city centre, the limestone grottos of Batu Caves have to be seen to be believed. Guarded by a statue of the Hindu deity, Lord Murugan, the caves are a national treasure.

The 272 rainbow steps up to the main temple and shrines is quite the workout, but worth it to see the grandeur of stalagtites and other limestone formations dating back over 400 million years.

And of course there are the resident, playful macaque monkeys to watch out for too during your visit. Allow at least half a day for your visit, and consider making an early start to avoid the midday heat.


Eastern promise

However and wherever you choose to explore these wondrous parts of Asia, it's chock full of adventures, from history to culture, foodie finds to iconic landmarks - just make sure to save enough room on your camera for capturing every minute!


  1. Borneo Orangutan

    Wild Borneo

    Borneo's natural haven beckons as you venture into lush rainforests, discover remarkable flora and fauna, and cherish the moment of your first glimpse of the rare orangutan.

    • Return flights
    • 9 nights in 3 & 4-star hotels and lodges, 2 nights in flight
    • 22 included meals: 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners

    12 days from
    was £4,299
  2. Just Landed

    Wild Borneo with Kuala Lumpur Add-on

    Borneo is a paradise for nature-lovers, and this adventure takes you into tropical rainforests to discover incredible flora and fauna, including the endangered orangutan. Before travelling home spend an extra 3 nights in the city of Kuala Lumpur to discover the vibrant spirit of Malaysia.

    • Return flights
    • 12 nights in 3 & 4-star hotels and lodges, 2 nights in flight
    • 26 included meals: 12 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

    15 days from
    was £5,148
  3. Pagoda overlooking Mount Fuji, Japan

    Japan Revealed

    From the natural beauty of Mount Fuji to the spectacular skyline of Tokyo, enigmatic Japan offers a unique holiday experience. Discover ancient temples, scenic landscapes and travel on the famous Bullet Train.

    • Return flights
    • 9 nights in 4-star hotels, 2 nights in flight
    • 17 meals: 9 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners

    12 days from
    was £6,599