Encounter great feats of creativity and innovation on an expedition that spotlights human ingenuity—past, present, and future. From the startups of Silicon Valley and Barcelona to the pristine beaches of the Seychelles, join scientists, editors, and other thought leaders to discover how new technologies are changing the landscape in conservation, communication, transportation, and economics—and shaping the future of our planet.
Discover a futuristic fusion of technology and nature at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, and wander among its soaring, solar-powered “supertrees.”
Explore Jaipur, India alongside WSJ India Bureau Chief Bill Spindle, and gain insights into Indian society and its economic evolution.
Join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala in the Seychelles and discover how satellite imaging and new techniques in habitat restoration are helping protect these pristine islands.
Observe Rwanda’s gorillas in the wild, and meet WSJ science writer Robert Lee Holtz and two National Geographic Emerging Explorers to learn about new technologies that are improving the lives of both people and wildlife in Africa.
Itinerary - 19 Days
Days 1 & 2 — Silicon Valley, California
Arrive in San Francisco by early afternoon on an independent flight, and transfer to our hotel for check in. We begin our journey in the technology hub of Silicon Valley, where groundbreaking innovations like the microchip, personal computer, and smartphone were developed. During a panel presentation, examine the
region’s diverse tech ecosystem, home to some of the world’s leading companies
and a vibrant community of start-ups.
At a welcome reception
and dinner, meet National Geographic magazine Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg,
The Wall Street Journal Editor in Chief Gerard Baker, and tech industry thought
leaders, along with fellow travelers and staff. Depart for Japan the next day, and
lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
Rosewood Sand Hill (D)
Days 3 & 4 — Kyoto or Nara, Japan
After landing in Osaka, we travel
to Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan for more than 1,000 years. The city’s
Buddhist temples, colorful shrines, and serene gardens vividly recall the glory
of the Japanese empire and have been collectively designated a UNESCO World
Heritage site. Today, Kyoto is also a center of innovation, where companies such
as Kyocera and Murata Manufacturing are pushing the frontiers of electronics
with the production of microscopic parts for digital gadgets.
Yumiko Ono, The Wall Street Journal’s digital editor for Asia, will join us as we
explore Kyoto, sharing her insights on the past, present, and future. Visit the
iconic Kinkaku-ji golden pavilion and marvel at the temple’s gold-leaf facade
shimmering in its reflecting pond. Inside the temple of Sanjusangendo, admire
the 1,001 statues honoring Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. While in Kyoto, we’ll also meet engineer, architect, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Arthur Huang, who turns discarded plastics into everything from Nike Store interiors to sailboats and skyscrapers, converting trash into “high performance materials” via his company, Miniwiz. Learn how Miniwiz has become a global leader in post-consumer recycling technology through innovative architectural projects throughout Asia and elsewhere around the world.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto (B, L, D daily)
Alternative: You may also opt to visit Nara, which served as Japan’s imperial
capital for the greater part of the eighth century. Visit the Todai-ji Temple, the
world’s largest wooden building; and walk through the Shosoin, a treasure house
holding more than 9,000 ancient artifacts from Japan, China, Persia, Korea,
and beyond. Before returning to Kyoto, stroll the grounds of the Kasuga Grand
Shrine, passing some of its more than 3,000 stone and bronze lanterns.
Days 5 & 6 — Singapore
Cosmopolitan Singapore is a former
British colony that has transformed over a half-century into one of the world’s
leading financial centers. This island city-state, which boasts impressive
skyscrapers, an expansive port, and lush green spaces, has found innovative
ways to balance urban development with sustainable ecological conservation.
National Geographic Traveler Editor in Chief George Stone and The Wall Street
Journal Southeast Asia Bureau Chief Patrick McDowell join us here for a
firsthand look at the technologies defining the cities of tomorrow, as well as
Singapore’s role in global trade, a critical component of the economic ecosystem. National Geographic explorer, scientist, and best-selling author Jared Diamond also joins us here to share his insights into the development of human societies.
Board a private tram car to
experience the extraordinary Gardens by the Bay, a botanical oasis featuring a
unique fusion of technology and nature. Built on reclaimed land in the heart of
Singapore, this 250-acre park is home to the world’s largest glass greenhouse,
thousands of plants, and a grove of solar-powered “supertrees”—vertical
structures up to 164 feet tall that capture rainwater and filter exhaust.
This afternoon, choose from several options: Explore this vibrant city-state on
your own; visit the Sri Mariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore;
or immerse yourself in the tropical setting of the Singapore Zoo.
Next, learn about Singapore’s ambitious Smart Nation program, a data collecting
initiative designed to monitor everything from traffic to public health that is being watched by cities globally. Innovation there also focuses on something as basic as water; despite being surrounded by water, Singapore has limited drinking-water resources. Take in panoramic views of the
city’s futuristic skyline—including the whimsical creations of the Gardens by the
Bay—as we enjoy cocktails at the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Singapore. Then
venture into a lively night market to experience the city’s multi-ethnic culture,
which blends Chinese, Malay, and Indian traditions.
The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore (B, L, D daily)
Days 7 & 8 — Jaipur, India
Arrive in the “pink city” of Jaipur,
named for the distinctive rose color of its buildings. The capital of Rajasthan
is the perfect setting to discover how India’s vibrant history has paved the way
to the present-day and the future. The Wall Street Journal India Bureau Chief Bill Spindle, who has extensive experience covering India and has worked throughout Asia, joins us here to share firsthand insights into India’s society and its
Begin our exploration at Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), where the delicate
latticework and honeycombed windows were originally designed to allow women of the royal court to watch life on the streets below. Visit the City Palace, a vast complex
incorporating European, Rajput, and Mughal architectural styles, and examine
fascinating artwork and artifacts at the palace museum. Then venture inside
the Jantar Mantar, an 18th-century royal observatory known for innovations
in architecture and instrumentation that were far ahead of its time. See its
enormous sculptural astronomical tools, including the world’s largest sundial. Or
opt to explore the stunning Amber Fort, a 16th-century complex of well-preserved
palaces, temples, and gardens.
At the end of the day, relax at Rambagh Palace, a stunning combination of Rajput and
Mughal styles of architecture that reflect Rajasthan’s royal
heritage. Surrounded by elaborate gardens, the majestic palace was built in 1835
for the queen’s favorite handmaiden, and then transformed into a royal residence
in 1925. It remained the home of the last maharaja of Jaipur until the mid-20th
century, when it was converted into a hotel. Cap off our visit with a gala dinner
accompanied by traditional entertainment.
Rambagh Palace (B, L, D daily)
Days 9 & 10 — The Seychelles
Scattered across the azure waters of
the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles archipelago boasts an exceptionally diverse
ecosystem with many endemic species. Internationally recognized as a pioneer in
conservation, the country has extended protected status to half the land surface
area of its 115 islands.
Arrive on the island of Mahe, a palm-fringed paradise of ivory beaches
and lush mountains. Here, we dive into ongoing conservation efforts with
oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala, who
led a 2015 expedition to the Seychelles as part of the Society’s Pristine Seas
project. Explore how innovations in satellite imaging, habitat restoration, and
species reintroduction—as well as a strong commitment to protecting marine
ecosystems—have helped to preserve this remote archipelago. Then witness the
breathtaking biodiversity of the Seychelles for yourself while snorkeling amid
coral reefs teeming with marine life.
The following day, choose from the following excursions: Take a guided tour of
Praslin’s Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, a World Heritage site where all six of the
Seychelles’ native palm species, including the giant coco de mer, can be found.
Or travel by boat to La Digue, where granite boulders tower over the blush-pink
sands of Anse Source d’Argent—named by National Geographic magazine’s "The 10
Best of Everything" as the world’s best beach. Soak up the island’s colorful fusion
of Asian, African, and European heritages, and sample the local creole cuisine.
Banyan Tree Seychelles (B, L, D daily)
Days 11, 12, & 13 — Kigali and Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Our private jet takes
us next to Rwanda, a land of rolling green hills; majestic volcanoes; and lush, grassy
lowlands. The bamboo forests of the Virunga volcanic mountain range are home
to roughly half of the approximately 880 mountain gorillas left in the wild.
Upon arrival in the capital of Kigali, travel overland to Volcanoes National Park,
where the late Dian Fossey famously studied these majestic animals with support
from National Geographic. Here, meet The Wall Street Journal science writer
Robert Lee Hotz to discuss creative solutions to some of the social and political
challenges confronting our own species.
In Volcanoes National Park, embark on an unforgettable trek with local guides
in search of endangered mountain gorillas. These highly social creatures can be
found in communities of up to 40 individuals, each led by an older, dominant male
known as a silverback for the silver sheen of his fur. Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime
chance to observe gorilla families up close in their natural habitat. Visit the
Karisoke Research Center, a living tribute to Dian Fossey’s research on mountain
gorillas and their threatened ecosystem. Thanks to the center’s conservation
program, mountain gorillas are the only great ape species that have increased
their numbers after decades of decline due to war, poaching, and habitat loss.
We return to Kigali, where charming boulevards and vibrant markets set
the backdrop for a cosmopolitan scene. Visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a
meaningful tribute to those who perished in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. You
will have an opportunity to hear survivors’ stories and learn how the country is
reconciling its turbulent past with its bright future through unity and peace.
Watch as National Geographic Emerging Explorers Paula Kahumbu and T.H. Culhane demonstrate technologies that are solving problems and
bringing hope to the developing world.
Kigali Serena Hotel and Mountain Gorilla
View Lodge (B, L, D daily)
Days 14, 15, & 16 — Jerusalem, Israel
Fly to Tel Aviv and continue overland to Jerusalem, a holy city revered by many faiths. Join National Geographic Emerging Explorer Aziz Abu Sarah for a United Nations-commended tour of Jerusalem that combines insights into the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian perspectives of the city. Discuss creative approaches that are helping to bridge long-standing cultural conflicts. Yaroslav Trofimov, columnist and senior correspondent at The Wall Street Journal, also joins us to discuss Israel’s emergence as a world leader in conceiving and producing technology. Explore the forces that are driving innovation and the efforts that are underway to tap new parts of Israel's population to contribute.
Delve into the Old City of Jerusalem, a World Heritage site. Stroll through the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Armenian quarters, passing ancient synagogues, churches, and bustling bazaars. On the Mount of Olives, view the holy site where Jesus is said to have addressed his disciples the night before he was crucified. Visit the Western Wall, the most sacred Jewish site. See the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, where Prophet Muhammad is believed to have ascended into heaven.
After lunch in the Old City, choose from several options: Opt to spend time at the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum, home to original artifacts and survivor testimonies; discover the region's rich history and culture at the Israel Museum; or travel with a guide to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity—revered as the birthplace of Jesus.
King David Hotel (B, L, D daily)
Days 17, 18, & 19 — Barcelona, Spain
The Wall Street Journal Europe,
Middle East, and Africa Editor Thorold Barker and National Geographic magazine
Deputy Editor in Chief Jamie Shreeve greet us in Barcelona, the vibrant and
beautiful capital of Catalonia, perched on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Explore the coexistence of Barcelona’s palpable history with its standing as one
of the world’s most wired cities. Learn how the city’s technology startup culture
is diversifying its economy and offering new paths for its workforce.
at the city’s architectural gems, including Antoni Gaudí’s iconic masterpiece,
the Sagrada Família church, which rests on the ancient Roman city of Barcino.
Delve into the life and works of Gaudí on a tour of his masterpieces, including
the famous garden complex of Parc Güell and Casa Milà (La Pedrera). Or you may
choose to discover the city’s epicurean delights with a chef who will introduce
you to the celebrated Mercat de la Boqueria and the region’s finest olive oils,
chocolates, nuts, and other products.
On our last evening, enjoy a gala
farewell dinner to celebrate our epic expedition. During dinner we’ll be treated
to a special performance by local castellers, who will demonstrate the popular
Catalan tradition of riveting acrobatics. The next morning, transfer to the airport
to connect with your commercial flight home.
El Palace Hotel, Barcelona (B, L, D; B)
National Geographic Expeditions and The Wall Street
Journal are proud to partner for the first time ever on this
extraordinary expedition. For more than 125 years, The Wall
Street Journal has been at the forefront of journalism, and
National Geographic has investigated the world through
exploration, science, and storytelling. Gain a unique
perspective on the exciting changes underway in each
destination with insights from Journal editors and writers
and National Geographic experts who are witnessing these
developments firsthand. See how the world is learning from
the past to shape our future.
A world-class team of experts will accompany this expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. The expert featured below will be part of the expedition team on this trip.
Ken Banks devotes himself to the application of mobile technology for positive social and environmental change in the developing world. An Ashoka and PopTech Fellow and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Ken is the founder of kiwanja.net and creator of messaging platform FrontlineSMS. He has lived and worked across the African continent. In late 2015, he was appointed CARE International’s first Entrepreneur in Residence. He is the author of the book The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator. Ken will accompany the entire expedition.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $7,950. Transportation by private Boeing 757 jet and other conveyance, as noted in the itinerary, is included in the expedition cost. Airfare to California and from Spain is not included in the expedition cost.
Our specially outfitted Boeing 757 is ideally suited for this extraordinary expedition. Its long-range capabilities and ability to land in smaller airports afford us unmatched flexibility. We set our own schedules, flying direct and avoiding layovers, which allows us the freedom to make the most of our adventures on land. Instead of the standard 233 seats, the jet’s interior has been customized and refitted to accommodate just 75 passengers in two-by-two, VIP-style leather seating.
For your protection, all payments are secured in a bank escrow account. See special terms and conditions for these expeditions.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.