3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About

3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
The Travel Tester takes you on a creative travel journey through Central and East Asia!

Are you looking for a inspirational list of hands-on travel experiences in Central and East Asia? Then you’ve come to the right place! 

Over the past years, there has been a big trend in tourism where travellers no longer want to participate in just the standard sightseeing tours and attend so-called ‘cultural shows’, but really feel the need to get involved in experiences that are characteristic to the destination that they are visiting. This is called Creative Travel.

In this article, you can find some of the best creative travel experiences in Central and East Asia: Korea and Kyrgyzstan. Keep coming back, because this list will keep growing!  



3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester

Creative Travel Definition

According to the Creative Tourism Network, creative travel is considered “a new generation of tourism”, that offers visitors the opportunity to “develop their creative potential through active participation in courses and learning experiences, which are characteristic of the holiday destination where they are taken”.

From volunteer travel programs and language immersion programs to cultural immersion travel experiences and real community immersion, Creative Tourism is a way of travel that really is for everyone.

Whether you travel alone, as a couple or with a family or group of friends, there are many activities around the world where that offer educational courses and workshops, creative experiences where you get to learn different art forms or even adventure activities where you interact with the local nature and people in a fun, yet authentic way.

Complete Hands-on Travel in Central and East Asia List


Make Korean Makgeolli

The traditional alcoholic drinks in South Korea are quite different from other countries. Yes, South Koreans drink beer, but the consummation of soju and makgeolli is more popular.

TIP BY: Marie Boes, bemariekorea.com (<< read all about makgeolli on her blog)

“Soju is a clear liquor similar to sake from Japan and makgeolli is a milky white rice wine. It is sweet and sparkling with an alcohol percentage of 6 to 8 percent.  It is made in big traditional pots and is served in a bowl instead of a glass. Makgeolli is best drank together with Korean snacks like pancakes, fish, fruits or other nibbles.

When visiting Korea trying makgeolli is a must! You can easily find it in any convenience store, but the best makgeolli is served in restaurants where they home brew it. Instead of just trying different makgeolli, why not take a class and learn how to make it yourself.

The Sool Gallery in Seoul runs 2 hour workshops that teach you how to make your own makgeolli at home. You learn what rice and ingredients to use and at the end of the lesson you can take your own makgeolli home.”



3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: bemariekorea.com


The Travel Tester loves to review tours and activities all around the world to help you decide if it will be great for your next adventure.

From the main tourist attractions to bucket list experiences and from guided walks or drives to self-guided visits of historical places, interactive museums, viewpoints, local events and much more. If it looks interesting to us, we’ll test it!
No matter where you are going, with our reviews you’ll know exactly where to find a memorable activity to participate in.


Stay in a Buddhist Temple

You rarely get the chance to see the inner workings of temples or shrines when you’re travelling, but with a temple stay you can get a real hands on experience of life as a Buddhist monk.

TIP BY: Joel Marrinan, joelstraveltips.com (<< read all about his travels!)

“One of my favourite experiences in South Korea has got to be a Korean Buddhist temple stay. It’s so good, I’ve done it several times now. You can join temples across Korea and programs run for one day or overnight.

A temple stay experience lets you stay overnight in the temple and join the monks in their daily rituals. You’ll get to join in meditation and worship ceremonies (starting at 4 am!), make your own prayer beads, follow the same vegan diet as the monks, join them in their meals, and lots more.

My favourite part was taking part in traditional tea ceremonies whilst having an open discussion with a monk. I could ask questions freely and got some shocking answers in return. It’s a truly wonderful and unique hands on experience to enjoy in Korea. If you want to disconnect from the world and find some spiritual calm, check it out.


3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: joelstraveltips.com


Join the walnut harvest in Arslanbob

The small Uzbek town of Arslanbob is one of the most cultural places to visit in Kyrgyzstan. It would be an ordinary rural village if it wasn’t surrounded by some of the largest walnut forests in the world.

TIP BY: Ellis Veen, backpackadventures.org (<< read all about her visit to Arslanbob!)

“Life in Arslanbob revolves around this precious nut and the village comes to life in autumn when the walnut harvest takes place. With the backdrop of the spectacular Baba Atash mountains tourists soon found their way to this beautiful place when Kyrgyzstan started its visa free regime for most nationalities in 2014. Nowadays the community based tourism organization has a network of friendly homestays where you can get a taste of rural life and hospitality in Kyrgyzstan.

The best time to visit Arslanbob is without doubt October. This is when the walnut harvest is in full swing and you can join the locals to the walnut forests to help out picking up the nuts. Wherever you walk around in the village you will see people that are busy with the harvest. Families are drying the nuts in the sun in their gardens and at the markets walnuts are sold in big bags.

Walking through the walnut forests and helping out with the harvest is absolutely free. For a small charge you can also visit the local walnut oil factory. It includes a small tasting of local fresh bread with cheese and walnut oil.”

3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester
Photo Credit: Canva (left) and backpackadventures.org (top and bottom right)

Do You Travel to Discover Hands-On Experiences?

Let us know in the comments below what your favourite activity in this list is – and if you have any great additions to share with us. We are always adding to this page, so keep your suggestions coming! Look below for more information about creative travel and where else in the world you can have great hands-on experiences:


There is so much to explore in the world, how do you decide where to go next?

The Travel Tester is all about mindful travel and we love matching your passions to destinations on the planet. So whether your travel for food, nature, family, creativity, history, culture, innovation, adrenaline, wellness, good karma or personal growth, we’ll have something for you to experience wherever you go. Click the button below to find out more:



Coronavirus / COVID-19

There are currently travel restrictions all over the world. For the current advice, see the website of the World Health Organization. Be sensible and don’t travel if you don’t really need to!

Creative Tourism Network

If you are looking for more creative tourism examples, then make sure to head over to the website of the Creative Tourism Network, as they are a fantastic source of information and inspiration for your upcoming travels. 

The Creative Tourism Network is the international organization for the Creative Tourism development worldwide. They offer consulting and training to tourism professionals and also host the Creative Tourism Awards to reward projects, companies and destinations that foster the new generation of tourism with the active participation of tourists in creative activities.


Map of Central and East Asia Creative Travel and Tours

Creative Traveller’s Handbook

My travel blogger friend Elena wrote a wonderful book about creative travel that I can highly recommend reading. In this inspiring handbook, she answers not only the question who creative travel is for, but she gives practical tips on how to be creative on your own travels and how to plan your next creative trip down to all the details.

Read my full review of the Creative Traveller’s Handbook >>

The Creative Traveler's Handbook Review: How and Why You Travel is as Important as Where | Book Review by The Travel Tester

Creative Travel Around the World

Read our other articles:


3 Hands-on Travel Experiences in Central and East Asia You Need to Know About || The Travel Tester



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