Even for the most experienced traveller, the Far East can’t fail to fascinate. Here you can still glimpse the truly exotic — gilded shrines and floating markets, sampans in mist-shrouded harbours, harvested rice left to dry in the sun. But equally fascinating is the juxtaposition of the new and the old: skyscrapers towering over stone-carved temples: bullet trains speeding past rice paddies and tea plantations.