Holidays to the eastern hemisphere: the essential destinations

01 May 2015

The East offers much in terms of sophistication, adventure and culture for over-60s travellers. Here are our top eastern picks for travel with a difference.

Finalising work and entering retirement is one of the most exciting periods of your life where new possibilities open up for you. With the responsibility of the day-to-day office life left behind, it’s time to concentrate on the things that make you happy. In the past your holidays might have meant two weeks in a car travelling around the UK, or a trip to a beachside resort, visiting waterparks with the kids. Or maybe holidays meant short city breaks, and little time to travel or explore.

Make this year a little different, and celebrate your retirement by booking a 50+ holiday with Saga. The East offers much in terms of sophistication, adventure and culture for over 60s travellers.

Here are our top eastern picks for travel with a difference:

Holidays in Japan

If you’re after sophistication, then there is no better place to find it than Japan, a land of contrasts, with ancient and tiny temples nestling in between large skyscrapers. In Kyoto you can see the spectacular royal palaces, or catch a glimpse of the beautiful and enigmatic Geisha and their apprentice Maiko. In Tokyo, you can see rising buildings and famous crosswalk of Shinjuku, and pockets of serenity in the form of the National Garden and the Meiji Jingo, the Shinto Shrine. Read the many wishes of people from all nationalities have placed on the Wishing Tree, including hopes for their children, parents, the planet and their next phase of life

If you love seafood, you will be at home in the land of the rising sun, but don’t worry if sushi has never really appealed to you, Japanese cuisine is extremely varied and you can find chicken, beef and pork make appearances on most menus. If you’re a vegetarian, a great resource is The Happy Cow which links to vegetarian restaurants all over the world.

Our recommended holiday: Japan: Land of the Rising Sun

Russian holidays

The largest country on earth has seen rapid growth in tourism since the Soviet Union was dissolved, and Russia opened its doors to the world. This is a vast nation with a long history and will tantalise its visitors with the indomitable Russian spirit.

Stand before the Kremlin, the most iconic building in Russia, then walk along the Moskva River and explore the history of this fascinating capital. From its earliest days in the middle ages when the city was founded, to Napoleon’s attempted invasion, to World War II and the subsequent rise and fall of the Soviet Union, Moscow has always bore the many changes time has wrought with stoicism.

Then see the city forged from one man’s vision and labour beyond telling; St. Petersburg. Once the home of the Tsars, before the fateful Russian revolution, this city is the jewel of Russia. With landmarks like the Winter Palace, and the beautiful Smolny Cathedral, this is the cultural capital of the country, and will leave its indelible mark on your heart.

Our recommended holiday: Russia: Moscow to St Petersburg

Trips to Tibet

If you’ve always fancied a little bit of adventure, then travelling to mainland China and then Tibet, the roof of the world, is one of the most exhilarating trips you can do. The Tibetan plateau is vast, and because of the altitude, the land is arid, punctuated by soaring mountains, glaciers and turquoise lakes that reflect the sky. The city of Lhasa was the home of the Dalai Llama and is considered by many Buddhists to be a place of pilgrimage. The Potala Palace is the centre piece of the city, surging up out of the rock face, surrounded by distant mountains and a deep blue sky. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a museum, founded in the 7th century.

Travelling to this part of the world is a life changing experience. The landscapes here are dramatically different from anything you will find in Europe and the rich tapestry of different cultures offers a refreshing new experience to explore.

Our recommended holiday: China: The Lhasa Express

The call of The East has lured millions of people to tread the Silk Road. Now, the world has become smaller, but the magic of this part of the world has never dissipated. Embrace your retirement by injecting a little eastern wonder into your life.

If you are interested in a trip to any of these places, or would like to discuss other over 60s holidays, contact Saga, and we can help you organise the trip of a lifetime.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.