Escorted tours to Asia
A mystical and spiritual realm punctuated with colonial architecture, gilded temples, bizarre cuisine and amazing fare, a real blending pot of cultures. Asia is an expansive land of vivid colour and taste, where motorbikes crammed with families whizz around chaotic cities alongside peaceful rice paddies and paradise beaches. As well as alluring diversity, Asia is more than just an assault on the senses; it's a lifelong impression, containing one memorable experience after another. Somehow the sunsets are bigger and brighter here, but maybe that's because they're backed by such a spectacular backdrop. From the great Angkor legacy of Cambodia to Burma's plain of Bagan, the Great Wall of China and the Treasury at Petra to the Taj Mahal, Asia escorted tours have the hallmarks of something truly remarkable.
Asia also happens to be home to some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet and the cost-efficient way of living means you'll get a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to spending money. On tours of Asia you can laze on a beach in Bali, glide along Vietnam's postcard-perfect Halong Bay in a traditional junk, trek the mountainous playground of Nepal, witness orange-robed monks lining up for alms in Laos, have an elephant ride in Thailand, see Petra lit by 1,800 candles at night, sip chai on a rail journey in India or embark on a safari to spot Bengal tigers and jaguars.
A huge range of escorted tours are available to Asia including cruises, with a wealth of combined countries taking in the area's best. All packages include return UK flights, a full touring itinerary both on and off the beaten track, a tour manager plus local guides, good quality accommodation with porterage and some meals. Wherever you choose to go, Asia promises to offer unrivalled cuisine, some of the very best of which can be found on the streets.
Things to do
Intriguing and exotic, Asia is so diverse that it's home to a number of remarkable once-in-a-lifetime experiences, too many of which can be listed here. Here are our most-wanted destinations:
Fast emerging as a top destination alongside USA and Canada, alluring India has everything from tigers to the majestic Taj Mahal. It's a chaotic assault of colour, sound and spices, where frenetic cities blend with national parks teeming with wildlife. On an escorted tour of India, take in the Taj Mahal at sunset, enjoy a rickshaw sightseeing tour of New Delhi, embark on an elephant safari, admire the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, stay on a houseboat in Kerala or watch a cooking demonstration.
Glittering temples, paradise beaches, bustling markets and some of the best food you'll ever taste make friendly Thailand a hugely popular country to visit in Asia. Capital Bangkok is a must-see with its jewelled Grand Palace and giant reclining Buddha, while the charming northern cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai offer the chance relax, elephant trek or bamboo raft.
From the famous skyline of colonial Shanghai and the Forbidden City in Beijing to the Great Wall of China and the native Giant Panda, China is home to a few greats that have been sealing its popularity as a tourist destination for years. Away from futuristic cities you'll find Terracotta Warriers in Xian and the mystic River Yangtze.
Rice fields, floating villages and temples are the hallmarks of Cambodia. Siem Reap is the gateway to the awe-inspiring Angkor temples and is a charming town to browse markets or watch the world go by from a pavement café after a hot day at the temples. The real draw though is Eighth Wonder of World Angkor Wat – it's sheer scale and intricately carved stonework are logistically mind-boggling. More than 1000 temples make up the Angkor complex and to fully appreciate everything built during the ancient Khmer Empire will take up a good couple of days. Elegant Battambang usually features on itineraries, as well as bustling Capital Phnom Penh where visitors can barter at the tardis-like Russian Market, take in the magnificent Royal Palace or have a riverside stroll by the Mekong.
Incredible mountains, dramatic coastlines and endless rice terraces is the fortune cookie that is Vietnam, along with limestone islands. Navigate the streets of capital Hanoi by cyclo, cycle through the countryside close to Hoi An, visit the Cu Chi War Tunnels used during the Vietnam War, journey deep into the Mekong Delta or take in the dramatic limestone islands of Halong Bay from a traditional wooden junk.
Previously undiscovered and probably the least westernised of all Asian escorted tour destinations, a trip to Burma is the closest to stepping back in time that you're likely to experience. The awe-inspiring plain of Bagan with it 4,000 temples, stupas and ruins are a must-see, giving Cambodia's Angkor Temples a run for their money.
Tips & Advice
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Asia, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health & Travel Insurance
It is always recommended that before you travel to Asia you check with your local GP to see whether you need to have any vaccines or preventive measures.
In addition to this you should have adequate travel health insurance arranged before you leave the UK. You should also have access to additional funds in case you do need to pay for medical treatment whilst abroad or in extreme cases the cost of repatriation.
The telephone number used to contact the emergency services for the various countries in Asia may be different so always check for you individual country before you leave.
With regards to crime levels in Asia it is best to check the Foreign Commonwealth Office before you travel so you can understand the crime rates in the places you intend to visit. In any case it is always advised that you keep your valuables secure, in the hotel safe if possible and avoid carrying large sums of money with you.
Always purchase your own drinks when in bars and clubs and never accept them from a stranger. Keep all drinks with you at all times and be aware that alcoholic drinks in Asia may be stronger than in the UK.
Local Laws and Customs
Drug offences are punishable with severe penalties in many Asia countries so it is important for you to avoid possession, use or drug trafficking when abroad.
Again, it is sensible to check the FCO’s guidelines for each individual country you intend to visit as laws and customs can differ across the continent.
British Citizens will always need to check entry requirements when travelling to Asian nations. Some countries will require you to apply for a visa before allowing you to enter, whilst others will not.
Your passport should always be valid for the entire duration of your planned trip, however, some countries will require an additional period of validity beyond this. Some Asian countries will accept a UK Emergency Travel Document (ETD), however many have specific guidelines so it is always wise to check.
Any other nationality looking to visit Asia must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.