Lhasa, the City on the Roof of the World, the Land of the Gods, is one of those places that […]
We all know and love a delicious korma, or for the stronger of stomach, a fiery hot vindaloo, but Indian […]
Bangkok is a wonderfully chaotic city full of fascinating contrasts – old temples of worship beside new (read shopping malls!); […]
Considered by many to be Southeast Asia’s most charming city, Luang Prabang is a melding of wonderfully preserved old colonial […]
There are over 2000 temples, stupas and pagodas around Bagan. They come in all shapes and sizes, some simple, some elaborate, with many containing vivid frescoes, intricate carvings and Buddha statues. Whilst there are four structures considered must see – Ananda Pano, Shwesandaw Paya, Shwezigon Paya and Dhammayangyi Pahto – just ask your guide to take you farther afield and you’ll easily end up with beautiful temples to yourself.
For perfect views over Bagan’s temples, over the plains and to the mountains beyond, head skywards in a hot air balloon that will float you over the plain at sunrise. Balloon flights operate from October to April and are weather dependent – flights cannot be guaranteed to operate.
Hoi An is more about relaxed wandering and soaking up the atmosphere than sights – it’s plethora of restaurants and cafes are the perfect place to sit, sip a drink and watch the world go by. Once a major port, today the grand old buildings of the past are left undisturbed – no traffic is allowed on the centre’s cobbled streets, which will make your strolls all the more pleasant. Many of the original wooden merchants houses are festooned in lanterns, especially pretty at night; amongst them look out for Chinese temples, assembly halls and tea warehouses. A must visit is the elaborate Japanese covered bridge, first built in 1590, whilst there are also a number of museum, such as Folklore, History & Culture and Trading Ceramics. Hoi An has an excellent market, a great place to see all the fresh produce grown in the area, and is also well known for it’s tailors – choose what you’d like made, get measured up and you’ll have your piece the next day.
Kathmandu is a city of many layers – a modern day assault on the senses, a hub of cultural and artistic heritage and a monument to the medieval era. Timeless and endlessly fascinating Kathmandu is the hub of Nepal, located more or less at its centre in the Kathmandu Valley. The narrow streets of the old town buzz with life, from the dozens of ethnic groups that call the city home, to the habitual sacred cow wandering languidly through the chaos. With a 2,000 year history, Kathmandu has plenty to explore. The Thamel district is the travellers’ hub, full of hotels, restaurants and bars whilst the old city is a web of narrow alleyways centred on Durbar Square. Wandering these alleyways, lined with temples and crumbling old architecture, is a hair-raising but rewarding experience. Durbar Square itself is flanked by the old royal palace (durbar), where kings were crowned and then ruled, and offers a perfect place to people watch and soak up the atmosphere. Head down to the Bagmati River to see Kathmandu’s ghats, the banks lined by statues, temples and lovely old buildings, including the Pashupatinath Temple, one of the most sacred of the Hindu faith in Nepal.
Established in 993 AD the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa reached its peak in an age of magnificence in the 12th century when it was a thriving garden city. It was a grand statement soon abandoned and left to the jungle after successive rulers bankrupted themselves with excess and the threat of invasion from southern India. Today the ruins are wonderfully well-preserved, an extensive archaeological park packed with hundreds of ancient structures with the royal palace at its heart – the Quadrangle just north of the centre, a cluster of religious buildings, is worth the visit along, giving an intriguing peek at a medieval Sri Lankan kingdom.
Stretching 2,703 miles from its springhead in Tibet to its delta in the south, the Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river. Passing through China’s Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the river ends in the bountiful beauty of the delta at the South China Sea. Due to rapids and waterfalls along its route, it isn’t possible to navigate the river as a whole but vast sections are – from Vietnam’s delta up to Phnom Penh in Cambodia for example, and from Vientiane in Laos up into China’s Yunnan province. The banks of the Mekong are home to farmers, fishermen and hilltribe communities, the lush and biodiverse landscapes providing life for flora, fauna and human alike. Long an essential trade route, you’ll also find great cities on or close to the river – Saigon, Phnom Penh, Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
Tokyo’s oldest and most venerated temple, Senso-ji was built around an image of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy which, legend tells, has been in this spot since the year 628. Destroyed during World War II and rebuilt as a symbol of the rebirth of Japan, the temple is always bustling with worshipping locals and tourists alike, adding a vibrant atmosphere to any visit. Pass through the magnificent Thunder Gate to find a street lined with traditional shops and eateries which originally served the pilgrims that walked miles to worship at the temple.
The Great Wall – Terracotta Warriors – Chengdu’s Pandas – Yangtze River – Shanghai’s Bund
Tokyo’s Senso-ji – Fuji views from Lake Kawaguchi – Kyoto’s extensive heritage – Tea with a geisha or meiko
Halong Bay – Sapa – Hoi An – Mekong Delta – Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Angkor Wat – Phnom Penh – Tonle Sap – Sihanoukville – Angkor Thom
Bagan – Rangoon – Inle Lake – Irrawaddy River – Mt Popa
Khongoryn Els – Ger Camp – Lake Khovsgol – Naadam Festival – Flaming Cliffs
The world’s most populous
Asia is home to a wealth of
people and cultures, each of them
offering their own
and delicious, cuisines. Whilst
food as a whole does share common
features – vibrant tastes, bright
colours and subtle flavours, and
ingredients – rice, ginger and
chillies (to name just a few),
be amazed by the huge variety of
things you can chow down on.
you like your food hot or not,
bustling street stall or in a
restaurant, prepare to blown
With a population of over four
billion people, Asia is an eclectic
mix of nationalities, societies and
ethnic groups. Examine its extensive
past and you’ll find little history
is shared between countries but
plenty of destinations are considered
innovative early civilisations and
important cultural crossroads so it’s
easy to see where the mystique of the
‘Orient’ of old began. Asian nations
do, however, share strong cultural
values and a love for expressing
their heritage through art, music and
food – experiencing these things for
yourself it a must.
Whether you are looking for
adrenaline adventure, culture or full
on relaxation, Asia is a traveller’s
paradise. From the skyscraping peak
of Mt Everest to the powder soft
sands of an Indian Ocean beach, the
range and depth of experiences on
offer is unsurpassed, whilst the
people you meet all have their own
unique stories they are more than
willing to share. With so much
diversity of culture, heritage,
natural and manmade landscapes, the
best thing you can do when travelling
in Asia is jump right in!
Call one of our tailormade specialists on
0800 988 8202
Click here to fill in our quote request form and one of our
specialists will call you back.
Download the complete ASIA Inspirations brochure in PDF
The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.