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Anyone familiar with The Dragon Trip Llc tours? - Japan Forum

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Lots of reviews are available

: https://www.tourradar.com/o/the-dragon-trip

dragon trip reviews

Are you looking at 13-day Budget Japan Tour? Note that most accommodations are in hostel dorm rooms (and one night in a capsule hotel), although upgrades to private rooms (might not have en suite bath) are available. Nothing wrong with that if it suits you, just be aware.

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Have you found out about The Dragon Trip? Legit?

dragon trip reviews

If you want to sleep in a room with random people of the same and opposite sex, then go ahead. There is apparently a small statement that discloses the possibility of being placed in a room with people of the opposite sex whom you do not know. We didn't notice it but ended up in an awkward situation. I would warn you to prepare to have ro book alternate accommodations.

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dragon trip reviews

The Dragon Trip 31 Day SE Asia Tour Review

The Dragon Trip Review: 31 Day South East Asia Backpacking Group Tour

This post – The Dragon Trip Review – is in collaboration with The Dragon Trip. This piece of content is produced in exchange for, and based on my experience in joining one of their tours. 

The Dragon Trip Review

I spent May touring the well-trodden backpacker route across South East Asia with The Dragon Trip. We visited Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia across 31 Day.

Before joining the tour I had my apprehensions. In fact, when I was initially invited my gut instinct was to decline. I’m an experienced traveller, very independent and I like doing things my own way. On second thought, I realised this was exactly why I should go; to embrace a new challenge, to meet new people and to – for once – allow someone else to take the reigns.

What I learnt on the Dragon Trip is that tours are not all about hand-holding. Yes, everything is organised for you which makes life very easy, but the real benefit is having a large group of people with different interests and opinions to share the experience with.

There were things I loved about The Dragon Trip and things I really, really didn’t. My feelings fluctuated as the weeks went on, often dictated by the extreme tiredness that hit at points. Whilst it wasn’t perfect, amongst the highs and lows friendships formed and I think – alongside the incredible travel experiences – this is one of the greatest takeaways from joining a group tour. Read on for my The Dragon Trip Review!

The Dragon Trip Review: 31 Day South East Asia Backpacking Group Tour

Things I Loved:

Not having to think about anything; where I was going to sleep or how I’d get from A-B. Taking part in activities I may not have arranged myself, with a highlight being the Chiang Mai cooking class . Being encouraged to visit incredibly important sites such as the Vietnam Tunnels and Cambodian Killing Fields;   I may have overlooked their significance in my own. Never feeling lonely. Making friends and sharing new experiences with others. The insight of the country-specific guides.

Things I Didn’t Love:

Having to wake up at a designated time (at one point, I saw 4am four times in a week and I felt savage). A lot of time spent on buses. Not being in control of how much time was given to each city or destination; sometimes they got it right, like in Chiang Mai . Other times they didn’t, like in Laos. The quality of the local guides was variable.


On the whole, accommodation was really good. This is very much a backpacker trip and all accommodation is hostel based. I’d say it’s definitely worth considering the upgrade to a private room if you like your own space and don’t fancy having your sleep quality dictated by a dorm full of potentially loud, drunk people!

A couple of places in particular were brilliant, notably Lub D in Siem Reap, Cambodia, and a few were disastrous, like the awful ‘no windows, smells like dead people’ place we stayed on the Thai border.

Overall accommodation was a positive experience, choices were usually well located and had a nice atmosphere. Lots of places had free beer hours and when breakfast was included it was a perk.

Largely, you feed yourself on The Dragon Trip which personally I’m a big fan of. For me, delving into the street food in Asia is a real joy ( read my big Vietnam street food guide here! ) and I’d have been sad to have had every meal arranged.

Occasionally a group meal is arranged by the guide (you still pay your way, they just take you to a restaurant) which is a nice experience but could be a whole lot better if they used the opportunity to introduce a hidden gem! I found the suggestions always played it very safe with westernised, pricier restaurants that locals definitely wouldn’t eat at.

At points meals are included which is always a nice bonus, if not mind-blowing food. If you’re a real foodie like me, don’t worry, you’ll have lots of chance to explore. If you’re less bothered that’s fine too because on the whole there were lots of western options available.

Vietnam Street Food Guide: What, Where and How to Eat Bun Cha Hanoi

I’m just going to put it out there, I’m very much opposed to organised fun. This is where The Dragon Trip really suited me because, although there are lots of arranged activities, lots are optional too.

There was never any upselling or pressure to get involved. You knew what was included and what wasn’t and it was entirely up to you if you wanted to do everything or nothing.

Organised highlights included the Chiang Mai elephant sanctuary visit, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam and Angkor Wat at sunrise in Cambodia.

I opted to join the Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai which was one of my highlights of the whole trip. I also followed suggestions to visit all of the major historical, cultural sites like the Vietnam War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (incredible and incredibly heartbreaking).

Generally there was also enough free time – or activities to opt out of – to enjoy exploring on your own accord. In doing so I discovered some gems in Chiang Mai (all here), ate my way around Vietnam and some of us even arranged our own cycle beer tour of Siem Reap, Cambodia.

In all honesty, when The Dragon Trip ended I never wanted to see another coach again in my life. I appreciated the economical, eco-friendly choices which were also in keeping with creating a backpacker experience, but at times it was total overkill with seemingly day’s whiling away through a bus window. By the end, half the group chose to purchase a flight back to Bangkok from Siem Reap rather than sit on another coach all day.

I’d say this was probably my low point of the trip; it’s hard to feel too enthusiastic when you’re knackered and uncomfortable. However, we’d then arrive in another amazing city and all would be forgiven!

There are a couple of short flights too and I have The Dragon Trip to thank for introducing me to the joy that is the Thai sleeper trains; we took one from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and I loved it!

As part of The Dragon Trip we also took the slow boat from Thailand to Laos. An experience I’d never have opted to do myself, but I’m glad I’ve done nonetheless. Read my full thought on that here!

dragon trip reviews

The 31 Day South East Asia tour costs £1,499 (or £1,349 with my discount code – see below) which I think is incredibly reasonable for all accommodation, transport and some activities and meals.

You’ll need to make your own way to and from Bangkok and arrange your first and last night there.

The cost of the additional activities en route vary but are clearly laid out on the itinerary beforehand. Some are quite pricey, but fundamentally it’s optional.

You’re in south east Asia, your food and beer money will stretch as far as you’d like it to. Muck in with the locals and eat for £1.50 a meal!

I never felt as though The Dragon Trip were just in it to profit. There was never any pressure to join activities and everything felt very fair.

Could you do a bit cheaper yourself? Yes, but then there’s a hassle factor too.  

Who is it best suited to?

The Dragon Trip welcomes trippers aged between 18-35. I can only speak for my particular tour as I know others will vary and other destinations may attract a different crowd.

A 31 Day South East Asia tour is very gap yaaah-centric and largely, this is the crowd it drew. Many had booked through a popular gap year planning agent and as such the average age was pretty low. Is that a problem? No, not at all, but I’m not sure all of my friends in their late twenties/thirties would have felt they fitted in.

I recommend this particular tour to first time travellers, gap year students and university students mainly. However, that doesn’t mean if you’re 25 and fancy getting on the backpacker groove you won’t have a blast too.

dragon trip reviews

Group Dynamic

My particular tour was very large at 16 people, the one before had been a group of 8. This is something you could definitely chat to The Dragon Trip about as I imagine they could advise on which are the most popular dates and what booking numbers are looking like.

The group I was with were very boozy which had its pros and cons; it was a fun, confident and vibrant group. There were definitely a few dramatic nights out and a bit of a ‘what happens on tour…’ vibe. However, the group before were described as very chilled and tight knit so it really does depend!

If you’re looking for a great introduction to travelling, don’t want to go solo and are looking to do so on a budget then this is the trip for you. I guarantee you’ll see some incredible places and do some incredible things. Is it perfect? No. However the nature of backpacking is that it can often be a bit of a slog and usually it makes for the best stories! Hopefully this The Dragon Trip review gives you a well-rounded understanding of what it’s all about!

You can book the 31 Day SE Asia Tour here and see all the other destinations here .

The Dragon Trip Discount Code: Use ‘ bethsandland/TDT19′ at checkout for 10% off any trip*!

*This is an affiliate link; you save 10% and I earn 10%.

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The Dragon Trip Review: 31 Day South East Asia Backpacking Group Tour, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos

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One response.

This looks amazing Beth!



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Review | The Ultimate Backpacking China Experience with The Dragon Trip!

Categories Asia , China , Reviews

Considering how big China is it really isn’t a popular destination to visit, and especially not for backpackers. Not like the likes of South East Asia , India , or even Japan which is becoming more and more popular for backpackers to visit despite the cost.

Comments I’ve heard about travelling China independently and backpacking China alone is that it’s pretty lonely because of the lack of other travellers and it can be difficult to get around because of the lack of English in China.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can travel around China independently and plenty of ex-pats who live and work in China do travel around the country on weekends and holidays by themselves and get around just fine but I’m sure it helps when you already know the Culture and some phrases in Mandarin which you would if you lived in China as an ex-pat.

I’d wanted to visit China for a few years and go on a backpacking China trip, and despite knowing I could travel there alone it’s never been on my radar to visit independently. I’ve always wanted to do an organised tour around China , mainly because of the communication issues I anticipated would be present.

My friend Charlie from Pocket Trailblazer went on a Tour of China a few years ago with a company called The Dragon Trip . Charlie makes awesome YouTube Documentary-style videos ( which you can watch here! ). I saw her see the Panda’s, Camp on the Great Wall, go rafting along with so many other activities, and best of all she was doing all of this in a group in a backpacking way, I was sold!

This is the way I wanted to backpack China! So Cue The Dragon Trip!

Backpacking China

backpacking China

Who Are The Dragon Trip?

The Dragon Trip was created in 2010, after visiting China many times over a few years before deciding to settle there, the Founder- Ramsay Kerr became quickly aware that if you wanted an affordable trip to China but your Mandarin wasn’t up to scratch you were basically out of luck. He could see that people were backpacking South East Asia, South America, Central America, but not Backpacking China, and no company had created China backpacking Tours.

After a few months on a whirlwind adventure around China researching the best routes, expeditions, activities and itineraries, the first Dragon Trip set out on it’s 25 Day adventure in August 2011 with the idea of backpacking China.

backpacking China, the dragon trip

The Dragon Trip were happy to have me on board their 25 Day Backpacking China Loop Tour so I could review it and feedback my experience to you via this blog post, a YouTube series ( which you can watch here ), and on Instagram ( this is my Instagram account and I have 2 sets of highlights with all my stories from China).

They also gave me a 10% discount code which you can use on any of their tours- use ‘wanderingquinn/TDT19’ when you go to pay for your tour directly on their website because I really recommend you do a backpacking China trip with them!

backpacking China, tour fujian

The Dragon Trip 25 Day China Loop Tour

Along with knowing for the last few years that I wanted to do an organised tour around China, I also knew I wanted to do a fairly long trip and see a lot of the Country. After going to the hassle of getting and paying for a visa for China and flying all the way there I didn’t want to do just a one or two week trip to China, so 25 Days sounded like the perfect length of time and it was, not too short but not too long for backpacking China.

Related Post: How I Got a Visa for China in Hong Kong!

The 25 Day China Loop covers a whole lot of China! I’ll let the map below do the talking but essentially we visited 10 places in total starting and ending in Hong Kong.

backpacking China, The Dragon Trip 25 Day China Loop Map

My Highlights of the Trip  were:

  • Rafting Down a River on a Bamboo Raft
  • Taking a Chinese Cooking Class
  • Seeing Panda’s at a Panda Research Centre
  • Visiting a Giant Buddha carved into the Rock Face
  • Doing a Kung Fu Class
  • Camping on the Great Wall of China
  • Seeing an Acrobatics show in Beijing
  • Taking a River Cruise in Shanghai
  • Seeing Ancient China in Fujian

backpacking China, Chengdu Panda Research Centre

The Dragon Trip China Tour Review

– the group.

The 25 Day Loop is the main tour around China that The Dragon Trip offer, they also offer shorter China backpacking routes and trips, for example, a 15 Day Hong Kong to Beijing Tour . Out of our group of 13 half of the people were on this shorter trip as they work full time and this trip works perfectly for 2 weeks annual leave. This meant I had quite a few people leave my trip just over halfway through and 2 people join at different points along the trip. This wasn’t an issue though and it was nice to have a changing group.

The Dragon Trip doesn’t aim their tours at a particular age group as they want to embrace the feeling of backpacking in which age doesn’t matter, however they say that usually, the ages of people on their tours are 18-35.

We had a range of ages on our tour, mainly from 19-30 however one couple were in their 60’s.

The Brits dominated our group with most of us being British but we also had 3 Irish and 2 German’s, however, all nationalities are welcome.

backpacking China, the dragon trip backpacking china tour mud baths in yangshou cave china

– The Guides

What is really unique about how The Dragon Trip runs their tours is that each location has a different Adventure Leader aka Guide. There isn’t one guide that goes around with the group from start to finish which is usually what happens and I really liked this, this made it feel more like we were backpacking China alone!

It meant we got a local adventure leader in each place and it was their home City/Town we were visiting. We also got to see and hear 10 different perspectives and insights into life in China which I found very interesting. Also, I can only assume that doing it this way keeps the costs down which feeds into the low price point of the tour.

backpacking China, the dragon trip tour Kung Fu in Shaolin

– The Price

The Dragon Trip specialises in Backpacking Trips and this is what makes them stand out from many other organised tour companies. Backpacking means budget and The Dragon Trip offer the cheapest tour around China that there is!

The 25 Day Tour that I did is offered from £1479.00 with a 15 Day Tour offered from £989.00 directly on their website. Remember you can get 10% off this price with my discount code ‘wanderingquinn/TDT19’!

A few people on my tour booked their trip through external agents like STA Travel and some paid more than what the trip costs directly on their site so be sure not to use them in this instance!

the dragon trip backpacking china tour camping on the great wall of china

The result of this being a backpacking budget trip is that the accommodation is mainly hostels in dorm rooms and the overnight trains are a lower class. However, apart from the accommodation arrangements, there were no other signs that we were travelling on a budget in China, to be honest.

We travelled by high-speed bullet trains a lot of the time between Cities which are really high quality and there was an activity included in the price of the trip in each place which was in no way a budget activity.

The main thing to be aware of when thinking about your backpacking China budget for this trip is that all meals are additional and there are many optional activities.

the dragon trip backpacking china tour yangshuo river bamboo rafting

On average I spent 100 RMB / £11.30 / $14.50 USD per day on meals, snacks, drinks etc. Some days I spent less but others were higher when I paid for laundry, bought a few souvenirs and went crazy drinking Bubble Tea or Starbucks Coffee which soon adds up! Although you could do it cheaper this is a good average daily spend to go by as I was conscious not to buy food etc that was too expensive but I certainly didn’t hold back either. 

the dragon trip backpacking china tour food in china cost

In terms of the optional activities, although they have been designed as optional and there’s no way you could do every single one, most of the group did most of the activities as not doing them means you have a free day with nothing planned, you’ll miss out on an experience and get some serious FOMO.  

I didn’t do all activities but I did most of them and the total of my optional activities came to 1210 RMB / £136.00 / $175.00 which is really not that expensive for all that I did.

I’ll also add here that this tour is very active and many of the optional activities are active including pretty sweat-inducing hikes so do keep this in mind!

the dragon trip backpacking china tour Leshan Giant Buddha

My Overall Review of Backpacking China with The Dragon Tour

So now you know all about the trip let me share with you my honest thoughts – the good and the bad so you can make your mind up on whether you want to do this backpacking through China tour with The Dragon Trip!

The Negatives

I really only had a few issues whilst on this tour and considering it’s a long tour and a budget tour, that really isn’t bad. 

– Dormitory Style Rooms mainly relating to the 2 occasions we had to share with people who were not on our trip.

– One of our overnight trains was pretty fancy and we were all together in a 6 so it was a really good experience. The other two were older trains- open, loud, smelly and overall not as nice meaning we didn’t get a good sleep and it wasn’t a nice experience.

– Generally, all of our Tour Guides were great but a few of them were quite hard to understand and we had some language barriers. They got us around ok but it meant we missed out on learning more. 

(I fed all of the above comments back to The Dragon Trip during and after the tour in the feedback form so hopefully, any of my issues can be resolved for you!)

The Positives

I’ve mentioned many of the positives in the post above already but here is a recap with some more:

– The vast amount of China we saw on The Dragon Trip’s China backpacking route.

– The amazing people on my trip! They were the best!

– The Day Bullet Trains were so comfy and nice to travel around China on.

– Having a different adventure leader in each place.

– We did so many activities that I could not have done had I gone to China alone! For example staying in a Roundhouse in Fujian, having a Kung Fu Class in Shaolin, camping on The Great Wall of China!

– I was worried about being Vegetarian in China but with our adventure leaders help, I found it so easy and ate amazing vegetarian food in China. I would have struggled alone with the language barrier though.

– The ease of travel. I really had no worries and no stress throughout the 25 days!

– I was also totally surprised by China in such a good way, it offers even more than I thought it did!

the dragon trip backpacking china tour camping on the great wall of china

Overall I hope you can tell that I really recommend China as a destination to backpack around but I really recommend you go with The Dragon Trip! So check out their tours on their website here and remember you can get 10% off any tour with my discount code ‘wanderingquinn/TDT19’ !

  • For more of my China posts see:
  • Camping on The Great Wall of China – What it’s Like & How You Can Do it!
  • Applying For a China Visa in Hong Kong Before My Tour Around China!

Please note – I was hosted by The Dragon Trip on this tour however all opinions and thoughts are my own and I would only ever tell you the truth. This post contains affiliate links but at no extra cost to you.

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The Dragon Trip: 25-day China Loop – REVIEW

So, usually when people turn 18, they want to have a big party and get drunk. But I, I wanted to go to China . China has always fascinated me and it’s always been a dream of mine to visit but due to my life-long anxiety disorder, it’s something I never thought would’ve been possible. I spoke to my therapists at the time about how I’d been really inspired by my friend, Becky, who’d just been backpacking and how I wanted to do something similar and ‘discover myself’. And to be honest, they laughed at me. They said things like “Lana, you’re so scared of xyz that you throw up, how do you think you’ll be able to do this?”, and they basically just shat on my whole idea. But then, (thanks to social media being able to hear everything we say), an advert came up about a travel site called GAP360, and that, is when I discovered The Dragon Trip . Never would I ever have thought that this company were about to change my life. But they did.

dragon trip reviews

Check out the full itinerary and inclusions on the Dragon Trip’s website  here . ​

My highlights.

  • Cruising down the Yulong River on bamboo rafts 
  • Seeing baby pandas at the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Centre
  • Spending a night in a traditional Hakka Minority Roundhouse
  • Camping on a part of the Great Wall of China 
  • Kung Fu lesson at a local Kung Fu Children’s Home
  • Sipping cocktails in a hot tub overlooking Shanghai
  • Mandarin and calligraphy lessons 
  • Completing the world’s largest bungee jump

The Accommodation

The accommodation used on this tour is awesome. It’s a good mix of local homestays, budget hostels and places with a bit more of a party vibe and let’s not forget that night spent camping on the Great Wall! All of the hotels that I stayed in on my tour, had very lovely staff, some kind of laundry service, working A/C and some great food on offer. ​My favourite place we stayed has to be the guesthouse in Shaolin, what an experience!!

Considering the amount of travel, high standard accommodation and awesome activities included in this tour, it’s a very good cost at just £1,479. Obviously you’ll have to think about bringing money for food, alcohol and souvenirs. I’d recommend bringing at least £500 with you just to be on the safe side. I spent a lot more as when I did this tour there was the option to go to Macau and do the highest bungy jump in the world – which I did (I know – I really went all out)!!! & Of course remember that you’ll need to some money for onward travel as the tour​ finishes in Hong Kong.

dragon trip reviews

Our guides were brilliant. I had the pleasure to be-friend and travel with Rosanna in Hong Kong, Lucy in Yangshuo, Kid in Chengdu, Leilei in Xi’An, Vicky in Shaolin, Susie in Beijing, Cassie in Moganhsan (we went to Moganshan instead of Hangzhou) and Shanghai, Damon in Fujian and Rosanna again when we got to Macau (no longer in the tour at time of writing) and for our last day in Hong Kong too. All of the guides that I met were incredible. They all made sure we were safe, that we were having fun and that no one was singled out. And they all loved to spend time with us and party a little. All of the guides were more than happy to answer any questions that we had and gave us any onward travel advice that they could.

Responsible Travel

The Dragon Trip is a very travel responsible aware company, and shows it in many of the blogs on their website. Here are some of the ways they already contribute to responsible travel:

  • We provide employment and leadership opportunities for local people in the destinations where we run tours – both for our Adventure Leaders (tour guides) and in our offices.
  • As a sign of respect, we think that it is important for travellers to learn a few key words or phrases in the native language, so we offer language lessons in China, India and South Korea and a written language guide in Japan.
  • All of our customers’ interactions are with local suppliers, and we promote integration between travellers and local people through our “unmissable” included activities and our optional activities, and opportunities for authentic cultural immersion.
  • We consider the environment by sending all of our pre-departure booking packs by email instead of through the post. For our “Little Books” – our on-the-trip companion guides for customers – we have stopped printing physical copies, everywhere apart from China, in favour of electronic PDF files. We use public transport, or walking, wherever possible on our tours – and overnight trains or buses rather than internal flights.
  • In 2019, we partnered with One Tree Planted. For every customer who books with us to travel in Vietnam, India or Indonesia, we donate for the cost of planting one new tree in those countries. Trees and forests are the most effective and the cheapest means to reduce excessive carbon from the atmosphere.
  • They are also working on creating “branded reusable items, to help our customers to avoid single-use plastics” as well as “providing an eco-friendly packing list”. 

dragon trip reviews

In terms of nightlife, I felt that there wasn’t that many opportunities (in 2017). I’m pretty sure wee had the option to go on a party bus but I can’t find this on the website. A lot of my tour went out in Beijing & Shanghai. I think those two are definitely the best places to party (as well as Hong Kong obviously). To be honest, I think it depends on what kind of group you have… On nights we didn’t hit the bars, the evenings were spent either hanging out as a group playing games, group meals or just having some relax time back at the hotel. There was absolutely no pressure to do anything which I thought was awesome and I felt safe enough to go explore by myself as well 🙂

The food was really good. Loads of the restaurants we ate at as a group were organised by the guides and the food was great!! I liked how we had a lot of group meals as it’s the easiest way to break the ice with your group. Breakfast was included in the rate at a lot of the hotels we stayed at and if it wasn’t, there was always an opportunity to get something either the night before or in the morning. 

There was a good mix of detailed itinerary with the group and free time. I was able to explore some cities with members of the group which was awesome! 

In terms of nationalities, the majority of this group tour were British, we had 2 Americans, 2 Dutch girls and 2 German boys. Everyone was between 18-50 but The Dragon Trip allow people from 18 – 60 to join so there’s a lot of variety!!

dragon trip reviews

Rounding Up

Although this can be quite an expensive tour, I think it’s totally worth it. Especially if you’re a new or nervous traveler. This is also great for travellers who don’t have a lot of time. Although, personally I’d loved to have had more time in Hong Kong, but you can easily explore Hong Kong without the need of a guide – so that’s my own fault as a nervous traveler (at the time). 

There is a wide range of optional activities which you can ask the dragon trip about. You visit all of the bigs tourist attractions and if there’s anything else you’re interested in seeing the guides will be more than happy to help you. Obviously, you can do this trip for less money if you organise it by yourself but I love this was of travelling and so do a lot of people. I think it’s such an awesome start of finish to a gap year as you can just relax and not have to stress over what you’re doing. 

Not only all of the above, but this trip was great for me on a different level. For someone who has anxiety, I need to have organisation and a routine in order to feel safe – and this tour gave me that. This tour also forced me to socialise with a range of people and really helped me in the long term. Without The Dragon Trip, I wouldn’t be who I am today and I certainly wouldn’t be running a travel blog. 

Overall, I loved this tour. The guides really made it and the tour was great value for money. I’d be more than happy to go on another tour with the Dragon Trip  in the future. 

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Dragon's Dogma 2 review: an action RPG anecdote generator

It's like the first one, but better

You know when you remember a game really fondly and instead of ageing alongside you, it becomes more modern in memory? The Dragon's Dogma 2 experience is, essentially, how I remember its predecessor Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen . To me, DD2 feels like a remaster of the first, except it looks nicer, is more expansive, and features some rejigs to things like your AI pals.

Not that any of this is a bad thing! In fact, DD2's closeness to the original makes it just as much of a joy as the first, where your grand adventure isn't only grander, it's still at the whims of a world governed by chaotic physics and the passage of time. Quirks remain, for good and bad, but ultimately this is an RPG where you make travel plans and the game does it best to dash them. It never gets old.

Rescuing a soldier and his party from a dank cave in Dragon's Dogma 2.

Set in a parallel universe, the story of Dragon's Dogma 2 fulfils the pseudo-remaster criteria, too. Like before, you're a regular Joe whose heart is plucked out by a godlike dragon, granting you semi-immortality, a long bout of amnesia, and the title of Arisen. But where DD was more about taking back your heart from the big bad, DD2 is more focused on how folks rule the land and your role within it all. For instance, you wake up from your draconic open heart surgery to find a fake Arisen has seized control of the pawn army, and a queen is very unhappy you've arrived to derail whatever plans they cooked up together.

All in all, I'm into the wider geopolitics of the fake Arisen plot, especially as you'll encounter different factions like the Elves and the Beastren who all hold differing beliefs on what the Arisen's awakening means for the world; the TLDR is that they aren't all fans of your appearance. While I wouldn't say the story grants you deep connections with characters, or that conversations hold the same weight as peak Game Of Thrones wine sips, I do think it does enough to keep you motoring forwards with a raised eyebrow.

A warrior sets us a quest in Dragon's Dogma 2.

And when it really comes down to it, dogma of the dragons or not, the story's key players set you on a journey that genuinely feels like an adventure. DD2 eschews the convenience of anytime, anywhere fast travel for a system that's reliant on you setting up your own makeshift network with Port Crystals and valuable Ferrystones. You can't hammer along without a care in the world, oh no. Prolonged time on the road will slowly eat away at your maximum health, and nightfall means barely being able to see ahead of you. So, you need to make camp at regular intervals. Travel while the sun's out. Keep your lantern oil topped up. Survey the landscape. Know when to run from a big ogre that's just come bursting out of a forest with a literal tree in its fist.

Those light survival elements aren't ever a faff, though, they're more like manageable things you've got to be aware of before you depart. And they lend travel what I reckon is DD2's greatest strength: a sense of responsibility. Whether you're exploring grassy plains or, later, Battahl's dusty crags, it captures the sense of being on a calculated foray into the unknown, where you're running on the supplies in your packs and the confidence you'll find somewhere to pitch up afterwards.

For the most part, exploration is driven by quests either given out by a primary person or folks who'll wander up to you as you visit towns. Rarely will you ever seek them out, though, as it's a bit like wading through an NPC lottery, where 90% of them will hit you with dismissive one-liners. Many of the quests you're given by townsfolk are often like, "Can you find me this person who's gone missing?", and they'll see you question some people before heading off to a predetermined area on the map (granted, you've got to search for yourself once you've reached the destination). The main story stuff is a bit more elaborate, where you sneak into royal grounds in the dead of night and attending a masquerade, for instance.

Again, what's neat about these quests isn't so much the task at hand, but how you're able to reach their conclusions in interesting ways. If you take too long to find a missing lad and it might result in him succumbing to illness - but if you've got a Wakestone you might be able to revive him there and then! Or if not, you could visit the local morgue later and try again. And when you sneak into the masquerade, you might need a suitably fancy outfit to dupe the guards. You could visit a local shop, but fancy clobber might set you back thousands of gold you don't have. But maybe those fancy looking houses might have the goods inside them...

A vista that shows Battahl in the distance and a griffin soaring overhead in Dragon's Dogma 2.

Otherwise, if you've not got a quest on the go, you can feel little lost while out and about exploring the world in DD2, as you're unlikely to encounter rich side stories from randos on the road. There are a lot of caves, little outposts, a town that's a bit empty because you've clearly not progressed the main story enough yet, and beautiful bits where you might fight a big monster. For the most part, exploration for the sake of exploration is driven by a desire to crack open chests and beat everything that stands in your way senseless.

While this might sound a bit tedious, repetition is immediately forgiven when you've got a world that grants you such a sense of place. Sure, people's faces and lip movements are a bit post-2018 Simon Cowell, but you're regularly blown away by vistas that melt those silicone worries - like when the city of Vernworth rises up in the distance and reminds you of just how far you've come, or when you first make the descent into Battahl, as the terrain gradually reddens and the mountain path winds down into a bowl of jagged rocks and dust. Even the smallest details, like country paths that arch around farmers tending to their fields of wheat, are a lovely rendition of realism among what's largely a very Capcom-ass video game.

By that I mean that DD2 has many Capcom-isms - besides the chests and obsession with healing herbs - where it contains very video gamey things that'll compliment or derail those calculated travel plans. One being the return of the pawn system, where everyone creates an AI pal who they'll travel alongside, and who is also popped into an online pool (the Rift) for others to recruit (offline players won't be able to access this pool, but can recruit Capcom-official pawns).

Recruiting a pawn who looks like Elden Ring's Melina in Dragon's Dogma 2.

As you level up, you'll regularly recruit up to two pawns, swapping them out as you outgrow them. What's neat is the ability to send them back into the Rift with a parting gift for their owner, alongside a rating that'll determine their place in a global leaderboard. I sent one back with some rotten meat once and I still feel bad about it.

Pawns can get a bit confused sometimes, but for the most part they're programmed with just the right amount of intelligence, and are easy to command with button presses like "Go!" and "To me!". On top of the strategic element of choosing a combination of pawns with vocations (classes) that suit your setup, their behaviours often delight. They can catch you if you've fallen from a great height, high-five after a battle, or lead you to a treasure they'd discovered previously while out exploring with their actual creator. There really isn't anything else quite like it, and I cherish my pawn Bronco, with his friar tuck haircut and World Of Warcraft default human energy.

Other Capcom-isms mean a sort of physicality to combat and exploration, both adding slapstick to encounters and lending your adventures some extra grit. You're able to grab barrels and fling them at foes, or grab goblins and fling them into pits. Heck, you can fling your own pawns if you'd like. There's a lot of clambering onto things and leaping across gorges, or latching onto enemies and jabbing your sword into their eyes. What's neat is the ability to destroy dams or bridges, sending Ogres toppling into water or a pack of hobgoblins into the abyss.

The city of Vernworth rises in the distance in Dragon's Dogma 2.

Early fights are perhaps a bit samey, though, with little room to breathe as you're attacked by the gazillionth goblin or troll. Yet again , DD2 gets away with it because combat itself is weighty and approachable, and creates moments where you suddenly overachieve. I've mainly been playing as a warrior, which has strong echoes of Monster Hunter in its long wind-ups that unleash enormous blade arcs that can send even the densest Chimera crashing to the ground. I love how Bronco compliments me, with an ability that flings out a rope that pulls on monsters I've bashed off balance, felling them for an extra beatdown.

And much like the game's unfussy survival elements, vocations are equally as easy to get to grips with as there's no tricky button combos to memorise, but a wheel of easily executable attacks governed by your stamina and your ability to push a shoulder button (I wouldn't play this on keyboard and mouse). Experimentation is encouraged, too, as the barrier to entry is low - advanced vocations are harder to unlock, mind - for vocation swaps and ability unlocks.

When Dragon's Dogma 2 truly shines is when the hefty combat, your pawn pals, and your current travel plans all collide. Or rather, in my case, a griffin who I'd fought roughly an hour earlier splintered the Oxcart I was riding into pieces, and then we tussled until the sun set, totally throwing off my camping plans. Or that time when I wandered past some graves as night fell, only for a skeletal mage to erupt from the earth, rain down electric orbs, and throw my evening's stroll into disarray. Somehow I found a way to survive.

"Finding a way" sums up Dragon's Dogma 2 pretty nicely, I think. The game's an anecdote generator, where all of its AI and combat and day-night-cycle systems coalesce into bouts of chaos that'll test your improvisation skills but never your patience. And while it retains some of the original game's aged quest design and open world repetition, they simply aren't a problem at all, because the act of discovery is just so, so involved.

P.S. Bronco would love to go on adventures with you all. He's very sweet and good at killing! Great at killing!

This review was based on a review build of the game provided by developers Capcom.

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Why ‘dragon’s dogma 2’ reviews didn’t mention the microtransactions.

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Dragon's Dogma 2

There is a storm raging online between many potential Dragon’s Dogma 2 players, Capcom and the journalists and YouTubers who reviewed the game. All of this is based around the fact that at launch, Dragon’s Dogma 2 has a long list of microtransactions on Steam, some of which are useful game features like fast travel points, character resurrection or cosmetic re-customization.

While many are annoyed with Capcom for implementing these in the first place, other fans have now turned their ire toward the hugely positive reviews for the game, hounding reviewers, leaving YouTube comments that they failed to mention the now-controversial microtransactions, despite knowing about them beforehand.

So, what happened here?

Yes, it’s true that reviewers did know about these microtransactions beforehand. I’ve seen the review guide, and there is a linked section about the microtransactions which gives you a PDF. All microtransactions are listed there. All prices are listed. The max number of purchases you can make for each item are listed. It’s all there.

But…relevance. Most of these reviewers have played the game from anywhere from 50 to 100 hours to make their full judgement, and even getting a short ways into the game, you can see just how easy it is to ignore the extremely limited quantities of what’s being sold here.

Extra Dragon's Dogma content

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There seems to be at least some level of misinformation about what’s even being sold in terms of the scope. Fast travel or character re-customization as a general concept does not exclusively cost IRL money in the game. Far from it. The microtransaction list lets you buy a single custom fast travel point for $3. A single character cosmetic editor for $2. And these are items that, while rare, are indeed found in multiples in the game itself through playing. You can both argue that say, fast travel should be more prevalent or character re-dos should be free, and that these microtransactions should probably just should not exist in the first place, but their actual, tangible impact in the game is simply inconsequential once you understand how it actually plays.

I can understand why reviewers, with a limited amount of article or script space, would either glance at this list and ignore it completely (there is nothing in the game herding you into the store while actively playing, ever), or why they would not feel the need to include it over much more relevant information.

It remains at least somewhat baffling why Capcom would pick and choose these small items here and there to sell, given the limited quantities which does in fact imply it’s an annoying way to buy power, and could be abused in larger numbers. But again, this is something they do in other games like this. Players, meanwhile are:

A) Sick of any microtransactions in any full-priced, especially single-player game

B) Do not like non-cosmetic microtransactions

C) Will point to games like Baldur’s Gate 3 or Elden Ring in a similar genre that don’t sell things like this at all

However, I don’t think reviewers were trying to trick anyone by not mentioning these microtransctions, and at this point, I think the whole thing has become a bit overblown once the full context of the purchases are laid bare. No, the game shouldn’t have them. But also no, they will really not factor into anyone’s play session in a significant way, and I don’t think you can harangue reviewers for failing to mention you can buy one $2 character re-do one time when there are much more important aspects of the game to discuss. It’s Capcom’s fault this discourse exists, but if they keep doing these weird little microtransactions in game’s like this, maybe they continue to think it’s worth it.

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Dragon’s Dogma 2 Launches With ‘Mostly Negative’ Reviews on Steam; Here’s Why

You can spend real money to fast travel..

Dragon’s Dogma 2 Launches With ‘Mostly Negative’ Reviews on Steam - IGNdia

Dragon’s Dogma 2, the latest RPG title from Capcom, has been released but the reception on Steam is not what the publisher would have hoped for. Dragon’s Dogma 2 arrived with a ‘Mostly Negative’ review score on the major PC games platform due to the various PC performance issues, and the microtransactions available in the in-game store.

PC performance issues

The game was released today on March 22, 2024, and it did not have the kind of start that Capcom would have expected it to. The game has various optimisation issues, and players on PC are struggling with the performance that Dragon’s Dogma 2 currently has to offer. Capcom even acknowledged the issue and said that they are “looking into ways to improve performance in the future.” While the acknowledgement is a good sign, the uncertainty of when a fix is going to arrive and an official statement this early into the release about still figuring out a solution has also left a bitter taste among players who have splashed out a premium price for the game.

Moreover, players have even decided to take matters into their own hands now. Capcom said in their statement that the issue is occurring due to the amount of CPU workload required by the game’s NPC. With a variety of weapons at their disposal, players have already decided that the best thing to do is on a slaughter run and tear down as many NPC as they can come across. No NPC, no problem, I guess?


While performance issues are not that uncommon at launch, what has players even more frustrated is the surprise addition of microtransactions prevalent in the game’s store. Players have to spend real money on several basic gameplay features such as fast travel and changing the character’s appearance, which are aspects of gameplay that are otherwise free in many other games.

What comes across as most surprising is that this is not a free-to-play title but a premium game release, and it is also a single-player game, which makes it all the more disappointing for players. It is key to note that the ability to fast travel or change appearance is free as well through in-game items (Portcrystals for fast travel and Art of Metamorphosis for changing appearance) but they are extremely hard to find naturally in the game.

This is also a rather peculiar situation due to the comments by Dragon's Dogma 2 director ahead of the game's release. Director Hideaki Itsuno told IGN earlier this year his views on fast travel and how Dragon's Dogma 2 has been designed to make travel fun and to encourage exploration. Hideaki had also said that there are games which rely on fast travel because they're "boring." Dragon's Dogma 2 creating a microtransaction around fast travel somewhat undermines the development logic behind fun and exploration that Hideaki had referred to.

While the game started off with a ‘Mostly Negative’ review rating, it stands at a ‘Mixed’ rating at the time of writing, and that is partially due to the impressive combat mechanics that Dragon’s Dogma 2 offers.

However, for this situation to turn around, it remains to be seen when and how soon PC optimisation comes into play from Capcom to retain its current player base and attract more players to their newly released RPG title.

Capcom is the highest-rated publisher on Metacritic for 2023

While Capcom finds itself somewhat in the wrong side of public opinion at the moment, the publisher interestingly was named the best publisher of 2023 by Metacritic recently. Review aggregation website Metacritic revealed its 14th annual Game Publisher Rankings for 2023 where Capcom topped the list as the highest-rated publisher of the year. Capcom achieved this feat by releasing the Resident Evil 4 Remake, Street Fighter 6, and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective last year.

It remains to be seen how Capcom plans on winning some hearts back after the troubled launch of Dragon’s Dogma 2.

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Dragon’s Dogma 2 Breaks Capcom Steam Records Amid Microtransactions Furore

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Dragon’s Dogma 2 has enjoyed a huge day-one on PC, but it has also sparked a vociferous debate about microtransactions.

The fantasy action adventure game has 21 separate microtransactions available day-one, ranging in price from $0.99 to $4.99. Offerings include an Explorer’s Camping Kit for $2.99, a $0.99 gaol key that lets you escape from gaol but breaks after a single use, a Portcrystal warp location marker that costs $2.99, and $0.99 Wakestones that restore the dead to life.

Dragon's Dogma 2 day-one microtransactions.

These microtransactions have sparked a controversy not just for the sheer number available day-one, but because they make parts of the game deliberately designed to challenge players in certain ways either easier, less frustrating, or quicker. Players have already pointed out that these microtransactions help with fast-travel, which in Dragon's Dogma 2 is restricted. Players require expensive and rare Ferrystones to teleport to designated Portcrystals. A Portcrystal, which costs $2.99 as a microtransaction, can be set at a destination of your choice. You then use a Ferrystone to instantly transport your party to the Portcrystal's location. (For more, here's How Fast Travel Works and How to Get Ferrystones .)

Ahead of the game’s release, director Hideaki Itsuno told IGN why the development team wanted players to travel normally and experience the world around them. “Just give it a try. Travel is boring? That's not true. It's only an issue because your game is boring. All you have to do is make travel fun,” Itsuno said.

“That's why you place things in the right location for players to discover, or come up with enemy appearance methods that create different experiences each time, or force players into blind situations where they don't know whether it's safe or not ten meters in front of them.”

“We've put a lot of work into designing a game where you can stumble across someone and something will happen, so while it's fine if it does have fast travel, we decided to design the map in a way that the journey [itself] could be enjoyed. In the same kind of way [in real life] that you may deliberately choose to go by bike or on foot when traveling [instead of taking faster options].”

The Explorer’s Camping Kit microtransaction has also raised eyebrows. In Dragon’s Dogma 2, camping kits are used to make camp while out exploring, and offer you and your party brief respite from combat to recover and prepare. Elsewhere, the $1.99 Art of Metamorphosis lets players edit their character’s appearance or the appearance of a pawn. It can be used only once when visiting a barberie. You can edit character appearance in Dragon’s Dogma 2 without buying this microtransaction, but it costs a sizeable chunk of in-game currency.

Exacerbating matters is the fact Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a $70 single-player RPG ( it’s Capcom’s first $70 game ), with some questioning whether it should have microtransactions such as these at all.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 has launched with a ‘mixed’ user review rating on Steam after an initial 'mostly negative' rating, with most of the negative reviews hitting out at the monetisation. However, there are players defending the microtransactions, explaining that the items you can buy are available to obtain in the game itself through gameplay. It’s also worth pointing out that each microtransaction is limited to one purchase only. Here's a snippet of the reaction:

dragon's dogma? more like drags on my wallet jesus fucking christ capcom (refunded at 118 minutes god this sucks) paying for fast travel? paying for character editing? paying for revive stones? BRO IT'S A 100 DOLLAR GAME WHAT THE FUCK pic.twitter.com/7Y7eqQJqZq — Rimmy (@Rimmy_Downunder) March 22, 2024
WHY DRAGONS DOGMA WHYYYYY pic.twitter.com/EYdCuXUfBs — Rock solid (@ShitpostRock) March 22, 2024
Saw some gameplay of Dragon's Dogma 2 and thought it looked really cool. Then I check the steam page and wtf is this? Isn't this a single-player game?? So many microtransactions lol pic.twitter.com/GNBvFcwlys — The Act Man (@TheActMan_YT) March 22, 2024

Despite the row over microtransactions, Dragon’s Dogma 2 has launched big on PC (console player stats are unavailable). According to official figures, Dragon's Dogma 2 hit a peak of 184,724 concurrent players on Steam on launch day, breaking Capcom’s highest concurrent user peak record for a single-player game and beating out both Resident Evil 4 and Village. That number will no-doubt increase over the weekend as more people log in to play.

PC players are also reporting performance issues, even on powerful rigs. Capcom told IGN that performance issues with the PC version of Dragon’s Dogma 2 may be linked to the heavy amount of CPU demanded from NPCs in the game. In response, some fans planned an NPC murder spree in a bid to boost the game’s frame-rate .

If you’re getting stuck in to Dragon’s Dogma 2, be sure to check out Which Vocation to Choose , Things to Do First , Things Dragon's Dogma 2 Doesn't Tell You , and our Walkthrough hub.

Wesley is the UK News Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter at @wyp100. You can reach Wesley at [email protected] or confidentially at [email protected].

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Dragon's Dogma II

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Dragon’s Dogma 2 Makes You Take Your Time, And That’s Great

Capcom’s action rpg, alongside two of this year’s best anime, revives the beautiful mundanity of adventure.

Heroes stand on a hill looking out over a large city on a cliff

One of the first quests you undertake in Dragon’s Dogma 2 , Capcom’s new action RPG, has you traveling from the town of Melve to the capital city of Vernworth. It’s a slow journey that starts and stops several times along the winding roads leading to your final destination. You need to dispatch goblins making the road dangerous, rest at a campsite to replenish your health, and when you eventually do get access to an oxcart that will let you sit and rest while you travel, things don’t go much quicker unless you completely doze off to pass the time. Most of this quest is a quiet story of walking from one place to the other.

Order Dragon’s Dogma 2:   Amazon | Best Buy | Humble Bundle

When you finally do get to Vernworth, you’ll likely soon be tasked with returning to Melve, at which point you have to do the long trek all over again. Much like the iconic promise of Skyrim , Dragon’s Dogma 2 presents you with a sprawling open world in which you actually can climb any mountain you can see. But in this game, you’ll have to climb back down that mountain eventually. It means that most of your time in the game is spent walking, and it’s in those seemingly mundane moments that Dragon’s Dogma 2 is at its best.

The road less traveled

Dragon’s Dogma 2 doesn’t entirely lack ways to fast travel , but they’re far from the super-convenient, endlessly reusable options present in so many other games, which has generated a great deal of conversation in the days since the game’s release. Some have criticized the game’s approach as adding too much friction, being unfriendly to players, or just plain boring. But game director Hideaki Itsuno thinks that if players want to avoid actively traveling in your game, then the game has bigger problems. “Travel is boring? That’s not true,” he said in an interview with IGN . “It’s only an issue because your game is boring. All you have to do is make travel fun.”

An oxcart travels along a sunny path

Fast-travel mechanics often serve to smooth out a player’s experience of a game’s world, making its actual terrain and the act of traversing it easier to ignore. In a more traditional open-world RPG, you’re typically required to make that trek to a city once, then gaining the ability to warp there at will in the future. As a playthrough goes on, you can just teleport at will across long distances in order to keep the action of the game moving. Even games like Breath of the Wild , Tears of the Kingdom , and Elden Ring that eschew the oft-derided Ubisoft open-world design of the past decade still allow for relatively player-friendly fast travel.

And while those critically acclaimed games don’t always shy away from player inconvenience and friction, most of that friction emerges in combat. That friction can have purpose, such as how Soulslikes use it to give the player a real sense of accomplishment after taking the time to learn enemy patterns and take down a tough boss. However in most games, combat is used as a way to fulfill a power fantasy. If you level up enough or find the best gear even the most dangerous enemies will turn into fodder before you.

Two knights high five in front of a fallen enemy

That sense of challenge, of losing to or defeating an enemy in combat, is the most common kind of friction players encounter. In opposition to that, Dragon’s Dogma 2 reserves the majority of its friction for non-combat systems such as travel. This is something you can’t level out of. Even the game’s more standard fast travel option, Ferrystones, relies on the limited resource of Port Crystals. Every player, no matter their strength, must still deal with the reality of traveling long distances.

Despite an outcry from some players on social media claiming the opposite, traveling in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is indeed fun. But it’s fun in an unexpected way that reflects the larger design ethos of the game, a n ethos centered on intentional friction. “We’ve put a lot of work into designing a game where you can stumble across someone and something will happen, so while it’s fine if it does have fast travel, we decided to design the map in a way that the journey [itself] could be enjoyed,” explained Itsuno.

The joy of cooking (and hiking)

To rely on cliche, in Dragon’s Dogma 2 is about the journey, not the destination. Traveling across the hills and valleys of the game’s world is a recipe for emergent moments of adventure to occur. You might stumble upon an NPC with an odd job for you or find yourself spending hours off the beaten path, delving deep into the caves littered across the map. All the while, you’re accompanied by the unique, expressive personalities of your pawns , the game’s NPC party members. Thanks to their companionship, the game’s emergent fun while traveling can come not just in the form of combat or quests with direct payoffs, but also in narratively emergent moments that deepen your connection with its characters.

Characters sit around a campfire and tent at night

It’s why, even though you can doze off while riding an oxcart to make travel shorter, I often opt to spend time sitting and watching the scenery roll by. I want to make sure I don’t miss a potential treat in the form of literal treasure, but I also want to hear my pawns bicker and gossip about my Arisen as well as their past masters. Getting to take in the view while I do this is just an added bonus.

The game’s approach to health also encourages you to take a second to rest and spend time with your party. As you get hit in combat, your maximum health gets reduced. The only way to restore it is to rest. A quest that tasks you with crossing the map may take several in-game days as a result. And every time you rest, you’ll want to eat a good meal for helpful buffs. This requires you to search out the right monsters and cook the proper dish.

Frieren and Fern ride next to each other on a cart

These are the mundane moments that define Dragon’s Dogma 2 . Sitting in an oxcart with your pawns and cooking meals over a crackling fire. As I played the game, I couldn’t help but constantly draw parallels to two of this year’s best anime: Frieren: Beyond Journey’s End and Delicious in Dungeon . Both are traditional medieval fantasy stories centered around a party of adventurers making their way slowly through the world they inhabit in hopes of completing some end goal. Much like the Arisen’s journey in Dragon’s Dogma 2 , however, the story is more about the mundanity of how these travelers get to where they are going.

Delicious in Dungeon is especially rooted in the Dungeons & Dragons mechanic of characters needing to rest and cook meals to sustain themselves on their journey. For the poor adventurers of Delicious in Dungeon , that means killing and cooking monsters in ways that make them look way more appetizing than they have any right to be. Dragon’s Dogma 2 also requires you to scavenge and hunt down your food, but players are rewarded with a luxurious video of a prime cut of meat getting cooked over a crackling fire. Like in real life, after a long day of hiking, nothing is better than a good meal.

Characters sit around a large pot of food inside a dungeon

As for Frieren , so much of the anime is spent showing characters simply walking on roads or sitting in carts. They struggle against the weather, the monsters, and sometimes each other. But through that simple act of traveling together in such close proximity, when so much of time is spent doing mundane actions like cooking or walking, we see relationships blossom. The titular Frieren’s central struggle is learning how to connect with those around her. As an elf she has a lengthy lifespan, and she’s lived with a disregard for the people who have come in and out of her life in what feels like a blink of the eye. Throughout the show, Frieren works to overcome this failing by spending time on the road with a new party of companions she hopes to understand.

Being on the road is also how my Arisen grows closer to her pawns, companions that you slowly grow to love over time. I’ve repeatedly held on to a particularly special pawn despite them being underleveled compared to my hero, not wanting to let them go because of the bond we’d formed. But like Frieren in her longevity, saying goodbye is an ever-present part of life. What is important is appreciating every moment you have with someone.

A true sense of adventure

So much of traditional modern western fantasy can trace itself back to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien . Fantasy games like Dragon’s Dogma 2 and anime like Frieren and Delicious in Dungeon are inspired by Dungeons & Dragons , which itself is directly inspired by Tolkien. And while most people think first of The Lord of the Rings , I’m more interested in The Hobbit , Tolkien’s 1937 book that would later serve as a prequel for his more famous trilogy.

A wide shot of an ox cart pulling into a large city

The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins, who is taken out of his humdrum life in the idyllic Shire and sent on an adventure that takes him a total of 421 days to complete. In that time, he bonds with a party of dwarves on the way to the Lonely Mountain, returning home a changed man. The full title of the story is The Hobbit, or There and Back Again . Bilbo’s story isn’t just about reaching the climactic face-off with a dragon and various armies of the world; it’s about the ways that being exposed to new things in the world during this journey changes him. It’s why Tolkien’s reputation for detailed description of the seemingly normal parts of the world are so valuable: the world is what changes Bilbo. Coming “Back Again” is just as important as going “There.”

The seemingly friction-filled mentality of Dragon’s Dogma 2 forces you to engage with the living, breathing world your character and their companions exist within. Just as you’re a force of change on the world, the world is a force of change on you. While that happens in the exciting moments of dealing a killing blow to a hulking monster, it also happens in the quiet conversations with your party. It’s a narrative structure of hills and valleys that reflect the hills and valleys you travel over, and in those hills and valleys, entire journeys play out. For Dragon’s Dogma 2 , “There” and “Back Again” are valued in equal measure.


Dragon's dogma 2 is a merciless but rewarding journey.

Dragon's Dogma 2 offers brutal adventure, limited fast travel, challenging combat, and tough health loss, making it a memorable, intense experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Unscripted interactions make Dragon's Dogma 2 special, perfect for dedicated role players seeking a unique experience.
  • Pawns add depth to the journey, offering unique personalities and helpful guidance throughout your adventure.
  • Dragon's Dogma 2 eschews modern trends, focusing on deliberate exploration and challenging combat, making every moment intense.

The moment I knew Dragon's Dogma 2 was something special was also the moment I realized it was not for everyone. I was on my way to an objective through a forest when I encountered a few goblins. No big deal. I had dealt with them easily before, and this time should be no different. However, when a random Griffin decided to swoop in, the situation became a bit more complicated. After minutes of chipping away at its health, I was clinging to its back when it decided to simply fly away. I hung on as long as my stamina would last but eventually was forced to fall to my death, undoing all the progress I had made up to that point.

Best RPGs for PC: Superb role-playing games worth your money

These are the kinds of stories Dragon's Dogma 2 will deliver. Emergent, non-scripted interactions that happen naturally in the world are abundant and worthy of sharing with your friends like old war stories. However, that random nature, combined with some janky systems and old-school design philosophies, may turn some people off. This is a game for the most dedicated role players who are ready to fully invest themselves in the world and systems on offer. If you're ready to make that investment, Dragon's Dogma's sequel will not disappoint.

Dragon's Dogma 2

Become the Arisen and embark on a dangerous journey filled with monsters and men to hunt down the dragon that stole your heart.

Reclaim your heart

And summon pawns.

The premise of Dragon's Dogma 2 is simple, but narrative and mechanical complexities are quickly laid upon you. Early on, you discover that your created character is a figure known as the Arisen. This is the one person in the land who has their heart taken by a dragon, does not age, and is able to control a group of beings called Pawns. Most importantly, the Arisen is also meant to be the one true ruler of Vermund, yet someone has already claimed to be the Arisen.

The real joy, and the memories I will be sharing with anyone who will listen, were all unscripted.

Weaving in geopolitical intrigue, espionage, and betrayals, the main plot is gripping in concept but lacking in delivery. Voice performances are top-notch, though the strict adherence to Middle-English parlance may become grating for some. However, it is in the character models themselves where things fall flat. Most conversations and cutscenes lack any expression on the characters' faces, and most of the time, they simply stand in static or basic idle animations. It's a strong story but buried beneath a terrible presentation that dampens any potential impact. When my adventure was over, I had little to think back on fondly regarding the story beats. The real joy, and the memories I will be sharing with anyone who will listen, were all unscripted.

Part of that magic comes from the aforementioned Pawns. These are player-created NPCs, but not player-controlled, that you can summon to aid you on your adventure. You create your main one and can call upon two more for a full party of four. Each Pawn has its own personality and knowledge to bring to the table. If a Pawn has completed a quest you're doing, they can lead you to your next objective. If one has found a hidden cave nearby, they will offer to lead you to it to explore. Their voice lines and chatter will eventually grow stale after a dozen or so hours, but early on, hearing the banter and chat helps make it feel like you're not so alone in the world.

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It's the journey, not the destination, adventuring is brutal.

Adventuring in Dragon's Dogma 2 is brutal. Fast travel exists but is strikingly limited to the point of being discouraged. There are precious few places you can fast travel to in the world, and doing so requires the use of a rare and expensive resource called a Ferrystone. This design choice successfully forces you to risk traveling by foot for a majority of the game -- where the game will either click for you or make it very clear it isn't one with which you will gel.

No trip is a simple one where you can turn your brain off and just follow your quest marker. Failing to prepare will force you into situations with no clear solutions. As you lose health in combat, a portion of each hit cannot be recovered with normal healing items and can only be restored by resting at a camp or inn. Over time, you could end up with a fraction of your total health if you stay out too long or fail to rest before a journey. Dying amplifies that health loss, plus sends you back to either your last save or the last inn you rested at. As brutal as this mechanic sounds, it does result in some of the most intense and nerve-wracking situations. Barely limping your way back to town before nightfall with nearly no health remaining is the kind of triumphant feeling you typically only get from Souls games.

Combat itself is a treat once you find the Vocation that works for you. There are 10 of these classes to pick from, and all behave and play wildly differently from one another. The Thief is nimble and adept at climbing onto big foes to strike at weak points, while the Warrior can knock foes off balance with their massive swings. Each one has its own skills to unlock and buffs to earn alongside your overall player level. Each one is restricted to a class of weapons and armor, but you are encouraged to experiment and change Vocations often, so you never feel barred off from any play style. If there are two factors that will suck some of the fun out of combat, they are the inconsistent framerate and lack of a lock-on.

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The verdict, a game out of time.

Dragon's Dogma 2 does not adhere to current trends, intentionally forgoing many of the quality-of-life mechanics we expect from games of the genre, yet does so with intention. Fast travel is limited, forcing you to experience the world and create your own moments of excitement, and the health loss system means you need to properly plan every trip. Combat can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience when you topple some massive foe, but equally crushing when you get killed and sent back to your last save weaker than before due to circumstances beyond your control.

"Combat can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience when you topple some massive foe, but equally crushing when you get killed and sent back to your last save..."

If you dive into Dragon's Dogma 2 and accept its quirks, you'll discover an experience unlike anything else on the market.

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Filed under:

Dragon’s Dogma 2’s surprise microtransactions are making people angry, but should they?

Capcom is selling some of the rarest in-game items as DLC

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Share All sharing options for: Dragon’s Dogma 2’s surprise microtransactions are making people angry, but should they?

A Fighter stands in the center of the Vernmouth town square in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

Capcom’s fantasy role-playing game Dragon’s Dogma 2 has launched at last to critical acclaim — but reactions from some players are much harsher. At the center of these complaints is a suite of 21 downloadable items Capcom released without warning alongside Dragon’s Dogma 2 across PC, PlayStation, and Xbox . Most of them are single-use in-game items enabling features like new fast-travel locations, the ability to change characters’ appearance, and combat revives.

On Steam , where Dragon’s Dogma 2 was a much-hyped and wishlisted title, user reviews sit at “Mostly Negative” at time of writing. Alongside the microtransactions, critical players cite the game’s poor performance on PC, and the developer’s use of the unpopular anti-cheat and anti-piracy software Denuvo. (Polygon has contacted Capcom for comment and will update if we hear back.)

Capcom is often criticized for tagging a lot of microtransactions onto largely single-player games, like the Resident Evil 4 remake or Monster Hunter Rise . If Dragon’s Dogma 2 is drawing more ire than usual, it could be because of the way the items on sale interact with Dragon’s Dogma 2 ’s intentionally challenging and restrictive game design .

It’s important to note that all the items for sale can be obtained during normal gameplay, so in theory, Capcom is only offering an additional convenience to players. If you play the game for long enough, you’ll end up with most of these items in your inventory, such as the Rift Crystals that allow you to hire pawn party members at a higher level than your character to help out with tough fights (500 Rift Crystals cost $0.99, while a pack of 2,500 costs $4.99).

A list of all the Dragon’s Dogma 2 microtransactions on Steam at the time of this writing. They cost $41.79 in total

But many of the items for sale are rare, expensive, or difficult to obtain in the game. Wakestones , for example, allow you to revive your character in the middle of combat, and are rare enough that players are advised to save them for use during only the most challenging encounters. But now the temptation is there to just buy your way out of trouble for $0.99.

The Art of Metamorphosis item , which allows you to change your character’s appearance, can be bought from a vendor, but comes at a high price: 500 Rift Crystals. That’s too much to afford early in the game, and sellers have limited inventory. Capcom is selling these for $1.99.

The availability of Portcrystals for $2.99 each has caused some players to accuse Capcom of selling fast travel, but this isn’t strictly accurate. Fast travel is very restricted in Dragon’s Dogma 2 by design, to encourage exploration of the open world and to make distances feel significant (a choice that can be frustrating to some players). Portcrystals allow players to create new fast-travel points within the game, which is useful because only a handful exist in major towns. But to use Portcrystals you need Ferrystones, another rare resource.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 player activating a portcrystal

Tellingly, Capcom has chosen not to make Ferrystones available as microtransactions, indicating that literally selling fast travel was a design Rubicon the development team was unwilling to cross. Nonetheless, selling Portcrystals is still a controversial choice, given how extremely rare this item is in the game — in our first 50 hours with the game, we only found one, and it was as a quest reward.

Dragon’s Dogma 2 is a single-player game, so it’s easy for players to simply ignore these microtransactions if they find them distasteful. If there’s an issue, it’s how they interact with the game’s distinctive design ethos, which is to use the scarcity of these items (among other things) to make the experience more challenging and immersive. Selling the items would seem to either break that ethos, or call it into question by suggesting scarcity was a sales tactic all along.

Plus, there’s a $15 bundle on sale that includes 1,500 Rift Crystals and one each of all the DLC items (notably excluding the Portcrystal). This bundle is also included in the game’s $80 Deluxe Edition, so there is an option for people willing to part with a bit more money.

Capcom briefly commented on the situation in a post on Steam Friday, noting that players could get the items “in-game or as paid DLC items,” and that it was working on fixes for major PC issues. If it were to go into more detail, it might offer a similar argument to Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada, who recently argued that this kind of monetization was a necessary countermeasure for the rapidly rising cost of game development.

Regardless of the reasoning behind them, Dragon’s Dogma 2 ’s microtransactions are unlikely to tarnish its reputation for good; it’s an engrossing game that seems likely to captivate even more players than its cultish predecessor . But they’re another sign of the increasing pressure on AAA game development — and that’s probably here to stay.

Update: We’ve updated this story to mention a post from Capcom on Steam about PC performance and microtransactions.

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31-Day Southeast Asia Circuit: Epic Adventures Across Four Nations

  • In-depth Cultural
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Places You’ll See


  • Experience food markets in Chiang Main
  • Relax along Mekong River
  • Swim in the Blue Lagoon in Van Vieng
  • Introduction
  • Day 1 Meet your fellow dragons!
  • Day 2 Bangkok & Train to Chiang Mai
  • Day 3 Jungle Trek
  • Day 4 Elephant Sanctuary
  • Day 5 Wat Doi Suthep & Monk Chat
  • Day 6 Free Time
  • Day 7 Catch a flight to Luang Prabang
  • Day 8 Kuang Si Waterfalls & volunteering at the Big Brother Mouse volunteering program
  • Day 9 Visit Ban Xanghai Village (Optional)
  • Day 10 Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon
  • Day 11 Hike to Pha Ngern Viewpoint
  • Day 12 Catch a flight to Hanoi
  • Day 13 Visit Hoa Lo Prison
  • Day 14 Travel to Halong Bay
  • Day 15 Kayak tour on Halong Bay's emerald waters
  • Day 16 Cycle to Bong Lai Village
  • Day 17 Discover Phong Nha's giant cave systems
  • Day 18 Ancient town tour of Hoi An
  • Day 19 Venture to Ba Na Hills
  • Day 20 Travel to Ho Chi Minh
  • Day 21 Free Time In Ho Chi Minh
  • Day 22 War Remnants Museum and Karaoke Night
  • Day 23 Phnom Penh City Walk
  • Day 24 S21 Prison & The Killing Fields
  • Day 25 Swim with bioluminescent plankton
  • Day 26 Boat tour & Camp on a deserted island
  • Day 27 BBQ on Koh Rong Sanloem & Travel to Siem Reap
  • Day 28 Siem Reap City Walking Tour
  • Day 29 Sunrise at Angkor Wat
  • Day 30 Lotus Fields Cycling Trip
  • Day 31 Travel to Bangkok

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What's Included

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Where You'll Stay

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Operated by The Dragon Trip

We are The Dragon Trip. We expand minds through transformative experiences. We provide meaningful adventures throughout Asia, showing a real side of life through deeply researched trips. We support local communities through sustainable and ethical travel, investing as much as possible into the places we visit. Our Adventure Leaders are experts in their destination. They love their home and their country and take pleasure in introducing it to new travellers - the culture, history and the food. We don't do package holidays. We don't do tourist traps. We do Dragon Trips.

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Customer Reviews

  • Overall Rating Excellent 4.4
  • Itinerary Excellent 4.2
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  • Tour Operator The Dragon Trip 4.5
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  • ES Emily · 21st February 2024 the best experience of my life. recommend this tour to anyone and everyone!! Trip date: April 2023
  • C Cameron · 21st February 2024 From feeding / washing Elephants to swimming with plankton that lights up as you move past. From the hustle of Hanoi to the tranquillity of Ha Long Bay We have seen some truly spectacular scenery and I have made memories that will stay with me forever.... Show more Trip date: May 2023

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  • IE Ina · 14th December 2023 Had one of the best days of my life! So much to see, so much to experience.... Trip date: November 2023
  • L Lara · 13th December 2023 Kompakte Rundreise durch 4 Länder, ideal um sich einen Überblick zu verschaffen. Viele zusätzliche Aktivitäten werden angeboten, gut durchgeplant inkl. allen Transporten. Trip date: November 2023

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  • Currencies ៛ Riel Cambodia ₭ Kip Laos ฿ Baht Thailand ₫ Dong Vietnam

As a traveller from USA, Canada you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F, G. As a traveller from England you will need an adaptor for types A, B, C, E, F. As a traveller from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa you will need an adaptor for types A, B, C, E, F, G.

  • These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
  • Typhoid - Recommended for Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
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  • Yellow fever - Certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission for Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Ideally 10 days before travel.
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  • For any tour departing before 11th June 2024 a full payment is necessary. For tours departing after 11th June 2024, a minimum payment of 5% is required to confirm your booking with The Dragon Trip. The final payment will be automatically charged to your credit card on the designated due date. The final payment of the remaining balance is required at least 75 days prior to the departure date of your tour. TourRadar never charges you a booking fee and will charge you in the stated currency.
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    Home Reviews The Dragon Trip: 25-day China Loop - REVIEW. Reviews, China. July 3, 2020 The Dragon Trip: 25-day China Loop - REVIEW Words by Lana. So, usually when people turn 18, they want to have a big party and get drunk. ... The Dragon Trip is a very travel responsible aware company, and shows it in many of the blogs on their website ...

  13. The Dragon Trip

    About. The Dragon Trip provides adventures tours in Asia to young people. Our trips offer travellers the chance to get under the skin of the places that they visit. They are packed full of cultural experiences, off the beaten track locations and offer unbeatable value for money. We have tours all over Asia and have taken over 10,000 people on ...

  14. Japan Solo Group Tours & Travel Packages

    12-Day Japan Family Adventure Tour. From $3,052. Japan. 12 Days. Tokyo to Kyoto. Impress your family with our 12-day Japan adventure tour; taking you to Tokyo, Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka.

  15. Deciding whether to book? Read our Reviews!

    We know how important reviews are to help you decide on your next adventure, so read our countless 5 star testimonials... WhatsApp +1 (213) 493‑8958 +44 (0)208 064 1907 ... "The month I spent in China with Dragon Trip almost three years ago was a teaching experience in a myriad of different ways. Other than the wonderful places and sights I ...

  16. The Dragon Trip

    The Dragon Trip. 11,557 likes · 47 talking about this. No tourist traps. Just Dragon Trips. Transformative, affordable tours across Asia - are you joining?

  17. 13-Day Budget Japan Tour with The Dragon Trip

    There's a sushi making lesson, a cycling tour, a chance to soak in a traditional Onsen and - of course - karaoke. (Don't worry, the last one is optional.) The 13 days also includes plenty of opportunities to explore Japan's beautiful countryside, with its shrines, temples and endless hiking trails. • Active traveling (walking every day!)

  18. Dragon's Dogma 2 review: an action RPG anecdote generator

    Quirks remain, for good and bad, but ultimately this is an RPG where you make travel plans and the game does it best to dash them. It never gets old. Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Capcom. Set in a parallel universe, the story of Dragon's Dogma 2 fulfils the pseudo-remaster criteria, too.

  19. China Solo Group Tours

    China Group Tours. Budget-friendly, backpacking adventures trips for the young and the young at heart, our tours range from 9 to 26 days and take in all of China's highlights. China is where we started and what we do best. A massive country and melting-pot of cultures, China boasts bustling cities, vast national parks and incredible landscapes.

  20. Why 'Dragon's Dogma 2' Reviews Didn't Mention The ...

    Capcom. There is a storm raging online between many potential Dragon's Dogma 2 players, Capcom and the journalists and YouTubers who reviewed the game. All of this is based around the fact that ...

  21. South Korea & Japan Odyssey in 24-Days by The Dragon Trip (Code: SKJAT

    303 reviews about The Dragon Trip. Ask a Question Check Availability Show previous picture Show next picture. South Korea & Japan Odyssey in 24-Days . 24 days ... 2024, a minimum payment of 5% is required to confirm your booking with The Dragon Trip. The final payment will be automatically charged to your credit card on the designated due date.

  22. Dragon's Dogma 2 Launches With 'Mostly Negative' Reviews on Steam

    Dragon's Dogma 2 arrived with a 'Mostly Negative' review score on the major PC games platform due to the various PC performance issues, and the microtransactions available in the in-game store.

  23. Dragon's Dogma 2 Breaks Capcom Steam Records Amid ...

    Dragon's Dogma 2 has launched with a 'mixed' user review rating on Steam after an initial 'mostly negative' rating, with most of the negative reviews hitting out at the monetisation.

  24. Dragon's Dogma 2 Makes You Take Your Time, And That's Great

    Dragon's Dogma 2 doesn't entirely lack ways to fast travel, but they're far from the super-convenient, endlessly reusable options present in so many other games, which has generated a great ...

  25. South Korea Solo Group Tour Packages

    Before your South Korea group trip why not connect with fellow Dragon Trippers or meet people on The Dragon Trip Facebook page. ... 4.7/5 Independent Product Rating based on 500+ verified reviews. Read all reviews. 12-Day South Korea Tour. Excellent value. Hotels and hostels are well located to conveniences. The guide was very responsive and ...

  26. Dragon's Dogma 2 review: Merciless but rewarding

    Become the Arisen and embark on a dangerous journey filled with monsters and men to hunt down the dragon that stole your heart. Platform (s) PlayStation 5 , Xbox Seires X , PC. Released. March 22 ...

  27. Epic 13-Day Japan Budget Tour: Odyssey Across the Land of the Rising

    The Dragon Trip commented on this review. Ricardo sounds like a fantastic trip leader, and it's great to hear how his chill vibe complemented the pace of the tour! Fast-paced trips can indeed be exhilarating, especially when balanced with ample recommendations and local insights. Walking and...

  28. Dragon's Dogma 2 has surprise microtransactions, and ...

    On Steam, where Dragon's Dogma 2 was a much-hyped and wishlisted title, user reviews sit at "Mostly Negative" at time of writing. Alongside the microtransactions, critical players cite the ...

  29. 12-Day South Korea Tour

    Explore South Korea's unique history, natural beauty, rich culture and mouth-watering cuisine with our 12-day adventure tour. From bustling, neon-lit metropolises to rolling countryside hills, long sandy beaches to temples in the mountains, and even a visit to the historic Demilitarized Zone, our adventure leaders will take you off-the-beaten ...

  30. 31-Day Southeast Asia Circuit: Epic Adventures Across Four ...

    The Dragon Trip commented on this review. Thank you so much for your review! It's amazing to hear you had a great time! Trip date: December 2023. Show More Reviews Dates & Availability . 31 days. 31-Day Southeast Asia Circuit: Epic Adventures Across Four Nations. From Bangkok to Bangkok ...