Asia

Ranging from the peaks of the Himalayas to the jungles of Borneo, this region of the world is hugely diverse in cultures, scenery and heritage, however the warmth of welcome and generous hospitality of the locals is consistent throughout.

Overview

The vibrant colours, unique flavours and intoxicating perfumes of a Asia holidays stay with you forever. From lively cities like Hong Kong and Singapore with their eclectic mix of ancient and modern cultures and the rich heritage of Cambodia and Vietnam to the beautiful exclusive resorts in Malaysia, Thailand and Bali there is something to suit everyone.

Countries

From ancient temples, shrines and pagodas to beautiful beaches, bustling markets and towering mountains, Asia offers something for everyone.

Bhutan

Bhutan

Nestled in the Himalayas, the remote kingdom of Bhutan is a land of fertile valleys and primeval forests overlooked by glittering, snow-capped mountain peaks. Challenging topography and political dogma of the past, that restricted visitors to this hidden kingdom, has helped retain a beautifully preserved and unspoiled destination that is reputed to be the happiest country in the world and considered the inspiration for mythical Shangri-La. Spirituality abounds, in temples, in fortress-like dzongs, in the smiles of the locals, in dances, in textiles, in handicrafts and in this nation's enlightened approach to the environment - Bhutan absorbs more carbon than it emits and measures Gross National Happiness! A sustainable approach to tourism that limits the number of visitors and enforces a minimum daily spend ensures that accommodation is of the highest standards - not for those seeking budget backpacker-style travel.

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Cambodia

Cambodia

Less visited than it's neighbour Thailand, Cambodia is one of Asia's 'hidden gems'. This small nation is packed full of history waiting to be discovered in the temples, towns and villages that dot the country. Explore luscious jungle, unwind on the quiet beaches of the south or float down the Mekong River which runs between Laos and Vietnam through the centre of Cambodia. As well as offering a fascinating insight into Cambodia's past, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh both boast a wonderful selection of local markets and delicious food in cafés, restaurants and from street vendors. Stay longer and head off the beaten track to discover more of this unique country, from rice paddy fields to rural villages.

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Once a colonial gateway to China, Hong Kong is a fusion of east and west. This vibrant, fast-paced, dazzling, bustling and incredibly exciting city embraces both the old and the new. It's a brash, buccaneering city that delights the visitor and yet provides surprises with its countless contradictions.

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India

India

This mecca for visitors offers an exhilarating and mesmerising potpourri of exciting sounds, irresistible flavours, intoxicating aromas and intense colours fully engage the senses. It is vibrant and timeless, a place where the wonders of the past are comfortable bedfellows with the contemporary - an enchanting land with compelling secrets. The expression 'a country of diverse contrasts' could never be more apt in this exotic destination that never fails to seduce and charm. In this serene and hectic land, ancient culture and customs exist in tandem with a hotbed of entrepreneurialism and chic designer boutiques. The stark variation in ethnic backgrounds, cultures and religions simply adds to an already magical cocktail. In addition to its cultural and spiritual heritage, this beguiling destination also offers exciting wildlife, breathtaking scenery, snow-capped mountains and beautiful sun-drenched beaches.

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Indonesia

Indonesia

Straddling the equator, between the Asian mainland and northern Australia, Indonesia is made up of thousands of diverse islands that are waiting to be explored. Mostly volcanic, each island features towering mountains covered in rice terraces or rainforest that lead down to beautiful golden beaches and clear blue seas. Discover enchanting culture, ancient temples, grand mountain views, verdant jungle, rolling waves to surf in and deep blue seas to dive in, or simply unwind by the pool or in the spa of a luxurious resort. Whether embarking on an adventure or indulging in a relaxing break, the warm and gracious welcome of the Indonesian people is found at every turn.

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Laos

Laos

About the size of the UK and three times larger than Ireland, landlocked Laos is one of Asia's best kept secrets. Retaining an old-fashioned charm and slower pace of life, Laos is home to a number of diverse cultures; colourfully dressed hill tribes populate the higher elevations, while in the lowland river valleys, coconut palms sway over Buddhist monasteries. Reminiscent of a bygone era, the smell of bread as it bakes in the ovens and coffee as it's freshly brewed mingles with exotic local aromas in the morning markets in the sleepy capital, Vientiane, Rural stilt houses and paddy fields look just as they do in the movies and hundreds of monks drift through the streets of Luang Prabang every morning. For those looking for spirituality and relaxation and for those seeking adventure in underground river caves, on jungle ziplines or on an exotic safari - one thing is certain, there's more to Laos than meets the eye.

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Malaysia

Malaysia

With 137 languages spoken, this is one of the world's top melting pots of culture, races and religions. Malaysia's multiculturalism has made this country a gastronomic paradise and home to hundreds of colourful festivals. Prehistoric rainforests that nurture some of the world's rarest animals, beautiful beaches, cool highland hideaways and cities that blend modern and colonial architecture are all waiting to be enjoyed.

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Myanmar

Myanmar

Bordered by China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh and India, Myanmar is sprinkled with golden pagodas and warm welcomes. It's location between China and India has heavily influenced its culture, blending elements of both with traditional Myanmar traits and Buddhist beliefs to create a unique way of life. Discover colonial-style Yangon, filled with the smell of spices from the stalls lining the streets and the famous Shwedagon Pagoda. On the west coast, Ngapali Beach, named after Naples, boasts untouched white sand beaches lined with palm trees - perfect for serene relaxation. Head north to Bagan, home to a traditional way of life, to hear the monks chant as the sun rises, and to Inle Lake to discover the famous leg-rowing fishermen and extraordinary floating markets. Climb to the top of Mandalay Hill for a birds-eye view of the bustling streets of Mandalay, Myanmar's second largest city on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River.

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Nepal

Nepal

Sitting to the north of India, Nepal offers amazing diversity, from jungles and national parks filled with Bengal Tigers, leopards and rhinos to magnificent Himalayan peaks that are home to Snow Leopards, Giant Pandas and the Himalayan Wild Yak, from ancient cities bursting with Hindu temples to villages, rice paddies and monasteries on a mountainside perches. Trek through incredible mountain scenery as colourful prayer flags flutter in the wind, enjoy the adrenaline rush of paragliding through a beautiful valley, stroll around Buddhist stupas, explore old Kathmandu and feast on some delicious street food.

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Singapore

Singapore

This progressive island nation and gateway to Southeast Asia is a dynamic mix of cultures, ideas and histories. Astounding 21st Century architecture, colonial buildings, Chinese and Indian temples, bazaars, flea markets, street vendors, churches and mosques all seem to find space to flourish between the numerous green spaces and parks. Perfect for a stopover and even better for a longer stay.

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Vietnam

Vietnam

ietnam is a country of extraordinary extremes and distinctive experiences, from kayaking in Ha Long Bay, marvelling at the 14th Century Cham ruins at My Son and exploring ornate temples, to relaxing on pristine beaches, exploring the ancient cobblestone streets of Hoi An and strolling by the modern buildings of Ho Chi Minh City. This is a land filled with rugged mountains, lush forests, dense jungles and verdant rice paddies dotted with bicycle-thronged cities and peaceful, rustic villages. Whether touring this fascinating country or simply enjoying the sunshine and beaches, Vietnam will not disappoint.

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Thailand

Thailand

Not surprisingly, the Kingdom of Thailand is the most visited country in southeast Asia. The land of a thousand smiles is friendly and fun loving and offers a breathtaking range of scenery - from the jungle forested hills in the north to the unbelievably clear and warm waters of the Andaman Sea off the west coast. With its eclectic mix of culture, cuisine and commerce, most visitors spend time in Bangkok, before going up country to the jungle or heading for the islands and beaches. Serene Buddhist temples, golden royal palaces, buzzing street markets, glitzy shopping centres, gleaming hotels and colonial edifices all jostle for space in what is one of Asia's largest cities.

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