Immerse yourself in Asia. An inspiring and beautiful part of the planet where spirituality meets modern commerce, in a fascinating cultural melting pot. Open up your senses to absorb the urban noise of criss-crossing streets in fabulous cities or choose to relax in an incredibly peaceful, ancient landscape. Traditional temples co-exist with modern shopping centres and vibrant night markets in Asia's exciting mix of old and new. Unforgettable Asia offers you a truly enlightening experience.
Welcome to a country that measures success in terms of ‘Gross National Happiness’ and where the capital city has no traffic lights. Bhutan is a land of magical landscapes, where snow covered mountaintops create a mystical vision, and over 60% of forests are protected for future generations.
Wind your way through stunning pine forests to the sacred site of Taktsang Palphug -Tiger’s Nest Temple. Precariously nestled into sheer 900 metre cliffs, this is where the Guru Rinpoche (the founder of Buddhism in Bhutan) arrived in style via a winged tigress, and proceeded to meditate for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours.
Immerse yourself in Bhutan’s firm Buddhist traditions and their vitality for life. Discovering Bhutan is an enlightening experience through which you can truly sense the joy of its people and their spirituality.
Our Picks for Bhutan
Dragon Kingdom - 9 days from $5115
Bhutan Discovered - 7 days from $3565
Bhutan Trekking - The Druk Path - 11 days from $3499
Brace yourself for adventure in a land where formidable head-hunters once roamed. This incredible island is home to unique and endangered species of flora and fauna living amongst its pristine rainforests and mountains.
Try your hand at navigating a longtail boat upstream and stay a night or two in a longhouse. Head to the jungles at Sepilok and admire breakfasting orangutans. Bliss out on a cruisy trip along the Kinabatangan River and you might be super lucky to see an orangutang in the wild. You may also spot curious long-nosed proboscis monkeys and plump pygmy elephants. And if you’re feeling fit, top it all off by watching the sunrise from the top of South East Asia’s highest mountain - Mount Kinabalu.
Our Picks for Borneo
Borneo Family Adventure - 11 days from $2125
Best of Borneo - 21 days from $4625
Mt Kinabalu Trek - 3 days from $1189
A country where astounding ancient temples and crumbling French colonial buildings collide with a troubled history, prepare to be astonished in Cambodia.
Of course, any trip to Cambodia has to include the most famous wat of them all – Angkor Wat. Jump on a bike or hire a tuk tuk to explore. Don’t miss iconic Bayon Temple and its giant carved stone Buddha faces with their secretive smiles.
Spend some time unwinding on gorgeous Monkey Island where you can live slowly; maybe even eating wild snake and fish you’ve caught for dinner. Try some fragrant Fish Amok – Cambodia’s deliciously lemongrassy, coconutty national dish, washed down with some fried tarantulas and cooked crickets!
Our Picks for Cambodia
Hike, Bike & Kayak Cambodia - 9 days from $1550
Real Food Adventure - Cambodia - 10 days from $1495
Classic Cambodia - 6 days from $1124
With a line up of mind blowing sites including the sprawling Forbidden City, the colossal Great Wall and Xian’s austere Terracotta Army, the most difficult part of a trip to China will be choosing which spectacular archaeological site you should see first. The historical artefacts of the oldest continuous civilisation on the planet won’t fail to fascinate you.
Strolling along the Bund in stunning Shanghai, it’s phenomenal to think the skyline of this modern metropolis took only 20 years to construct from farmland. Spend a sleepy Sunday morning practicing Tai Chi in a city park with the locals and devour a sizzling hot pot in Sichuan. Take a trip to see possibly the cutest animal in the world, the Giant Pandas of Chengdu, as they munch their way through fresh bamboo.
Our Picks for China
Wonders of China - 16 days from $5080*
Majestic Yangtze - 14 days from $4080*
* includes return airfares
For a guaranteed overdose of soul stirring experiences, immerse yourself in the wildly intoxicating delights of India. From the Golden triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur to spiritual Varanasi on the banks of the sacred Ganges, you’re in for a trip of intrigue, astonishment and delight.
See the moon rise over the world’s most famous monument of love, the Taj Mahal. Explore Jaipur, Rajastan’s vibrant ‘Pink City’ and don’t miss the Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) while you’re there. Still in Rajasthan head to ‘Venice of the East’, breathtakingly beautiful Udaipur. The Buddhist cave temples at Ajanta are at least 2000 years old, including crowd favourite Khajuraho with its erotic friezes.
Cover yourself in coconut oil before heading out to celebrate the wildly colourful Holi in Varanasi – one of civilisation’s oldest cities. For a change of pace, consider seeing India by river – along the mighty Brahmaputra.
Our Picks for India
Land of the Maharajahs - 14 days from $2169
Spiritual India - 14 days from $1979
Golden Triangle - 9 days from $3540*
* includes return airfares
Simmering volcanoes, steaming sambals and sensational surf beaches await you in incredible Indonesia. From gardened losmen home stays to wildly luxurious 6 star resorts – you’ll be well looked after in the land of 17,000 islands.
Catch the ferry over to Lombok and brave a ride with a local driver. Play castaway and head to the tiny atolls of the Gili Islands. Soak in the glorious underwater world with a day of snorkelling and swimming. Enjoy a beer or two as the sun goes down with your newfound travel buddies and enjoy the best sleep of your life in simple bamboo beach huts.
In blissful Bali, head for artsy Ubud where exquisite offerings of flowers and fruits adorn carved doorways, and slow burning incense perfumes the air. Take in your morning sun salutations overlooking emerald rice terraces. Watch beautifully dressed women wending their way along Ubud’s streets for a temple procession. Chill out in luxury with a massage in one of the outrageously luxe tropical spas.
Our Picks for Indonesia
Bali & Lombok Adventure - 15 days from $2165
Club Med Bali - 7 nights from $1146
Best of Flores & Komodo - 9 days from $1599
Japan is home to an interesting, exotic and often unusual collision of cultures. Still heavily influenced by the ancient traditions of the past, the Japanese people are also happy to embrace technology and the pop culture phenomenon wholeheartedly.
Strap on your skis and head for the Japanese Alps. Shopaholics will go wild in the urban excitement of the Tokyo shopping malls. The highly organised Japanese travel systems make exploring this incredible land a simple and pleasurable experience.
Our Picks for Japan
Sapporo & Snow Monkeys - 12 days from $9480*
Cherry Blossom 2017 - 9 days from $5390
Ski Niseko - 7 nights from $1499
Ski Furano - 7 nights from $1299
* includes return airfares
Ever dreamt of living in your very own tropical tree house? Head to the Bokeo forest in northern Laos. The world’s highest tree houses are suspended in giant strangler figs over 40 metres above the ground. Wake up to the sounds of black-cheeked gibbons calling in the forest around you. You can spend a couple of days hanging out in your cubby in the canopy, and even have your meals zip lined in across the treetops.
When you’re ready to venture out again, zip line down and walk along the Nam Nga River to a luxurious natural waterfall and plunge into its stunning freshwater pool.
Of course, Laos also offers a host of other great adventures including white water rafting trips, mountain biking and caving; as well as visits to some of the ethnically diverse remote villages whose lifestyles and traditions have remained intact over many centuries.
Our Picks for Laos
Highlights of Laos - 14 days from $4545*
Classic Laos - 5 days from $840
*includes return airfares
If you’re searching for peace and hedonistic pursuits in paradise, head to the magnificent Maldives. Known for vast expanses of pristine beach that border clear and inviting waters, the Maldives is perfect to wander at any time of day, exploring beach after beach of stunning white sands.
Luxurious Maldives resorts all occupy their own private island; an oasis of peace away from the day to day chaos of life, offering you complete relaxation against a stunning backdrop.
Our Picks for the Maldives
Sheraton Full Moon Resort - 5 nights from $1630
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island - 5 nights from $3365
Maldives Dhoni Cruise - 7 days from $1849
The land of a million pagodas is opening its wondrous doors. Step inside magical Myanmar, spiritual home to over 100 ethnic groups. Yangon's most sacred religious site is the 2,500 year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, believed to enshrine precious strands of Buddha's hair. Plated with thousands of solid gold bars and with a stupa dripping with exquisite diamonds, rubies and sapphires, Kipling described its magnificence as 'a beautiful winking wonder that blazed in the sun'.
Take a slow boat along the Irrawaddy River to Mandalay and see for yourself why George Orwell and Rudyard Kipling were so inspired. Watch out for rare Irrawaddy River Dolphins and observe the gentle pace of village life on river banks. Perched precariously on a cliff, Golden Rock is a stupa-topped, gold-leafed balancing act. It attracts thousands of pilgrims and is magically held in situ by a single hair of the Buddha!
Our Picks for Myanmar
Classic Myanmar - 12 days from $3525
Burma Sailing Adventure - 9 days from $2660
Cycle Myanmar - 13 days from $3789
With 8 of the world's 10 highest peaks, Nepal is the trekkers’ holy grail. Unzip your tent and be treated to the most sublime view of soaring Gangapurna along the famous Annapurna trail. Brave the world's wildest hairpin bends and catch a colourful local bus from Kathmandu to Pokhara, a great low altitude base from which to begin your adventures.
In Kathmandu, visit colourful Bodhnath, a miraculous survivor of the 2015 earthquake. Join red robed Tibetan monks and pilgrims as they spin prayer wheels under the all-seeing gaze of Buddha’s eyes at Asia’s largest stupa. High above the chaos, you can observe life in its hazy glory. Ringing temple bells, flapping prayer flags, buzzing motorbikes, grannies hanging out their washing, monkeys leaping atop temples, the whole heady wonderful mix that is Kathmandu.
Our Picks for Nepal
Everest Base Camp - 15 days from $1479
Annapurna Explorer - 16 days from $1730
Nepal Express - 10 days from $1319
With over 7,000 islands to play in, you’re spoilt for choice of brochure-worthy beaches and silky emerald seas in the Philippines. Borocay’s accommodation ranges from rustic ‘pito’ huts to luxe 5 star resorts. Feast on a range of high octane water sports, or go fire dancing and tribal drumming under the full moon. Jump on a colourful jeepney and wend your way through coffee plantations and rice terraces to Sagada’s limestone cliffs to see the curious ‘hanging coffins’, carved by elderly Igorot people before they leave this life.
Taking the gong as the ‘best island in the world’, Palawan presents travellers with a luminous watery world that truly is beyond belief. Also described as the Philippines “last ecological frontier”, you can play David Attenborough and explore the biodiverse jungles once you’ve had your fill of chilling out in secluded luxury at the coast.
Our Picks for the Philippines
Palawan Island Getaway - 9 days from $2390
Philippine Adventure - 19 days from $4480
Atlantis Azores Liveaboard Bohol Safari - 7 nights from $4995
It’s a tiny island state that punches well above its weight for travel treats, and with a new wave of ‘hawkerpreneurs’, the world is waking up to the spicy delights of Singapore. Street markets boast chilli crabs so good that Gordon Ramsay flies in to dine on them! Head for vibrant Little India and indulge in a steaming fish head curry. Soak in the contrasts of flower garland sellers and Hindu temples alongside shiny boutique hotels and 24-hour shopping malls.
You might like to take tea - or even better - a potent Singapore Sling, ensconced in the old school colonial glamour of Raffles Hotel. Learn more about the evolution of Singapore from humble fishing village to thriving metropolis at the Asian Civilisations Museum. See the magical Cloud Forest and Supertree Grove magically lit up at night. If all else fails, plant hubby under a shady angsana tree on Orchard Road and shop ‘til you drop.
Our Picks for Singapore
Singapore Breaks - starting from $409
Bangkok to Singapore - 14 days from $1549
Jump in a tuk-tuk and prepare for the fabulous ride that is Sri Lanka! Home to cinnamon, hydro power (thanks to its ubiquitous waterfalls), and lush tea plantations, the “pearl of the Indian Ocean” is emerging after 26 years of civil war and is fast becoming a beloved destination for travellers.
Observe “The Gathering” as herds of wild elephants come together on the shores of an ancient lake in Minneriya National Park. Visit the Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, enshrining the left upper canine of Lord Buddha inside 6 gold caskets of diminishing size! Time your trip with the vibrant celebrations of Esala Perahera, a ten-day festival under candlelight replete with drummers, fire dancers fending off curses, and elaborately decorated elephants.
Our Picks for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Family Holiday - 15 days from $2600
Highlights of Sri Lanka - 14 days from $4980*
*includes return airfares
Thailand is well established as a favourite with globetrotters for a reason. With its fragrant food, luxe resorts, exotic culture and off-the-beaten-track beaches, there’s every reason to come and spend a few weeks in the “Land of Smiles”. Visit the intricately curated house of American expat, former architect, and CIA agent Jim Thompson, who began his textile empire here before he mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia. Explore the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha and wind down with a pummelling from a Thai masseuse. Don’t forget the almost 50-metre-long reclining gold Buddha inside Wat Pho, and the lovely surrounds which are also home to the national Thai medicine school.
Catch an overnight sleeper train to colourful Chiang Mai. Spend time soaking in the delights of the “Rose of the North” before you venture into the jungly mountains to visit ethnic minority Hmong people. Call in at Lampang (Horse and Carriage City) considered by many to be Thailand’s last paradise. Jump on a bike and explore the historic wonder of Old Sukhothai with its phenomenal classic Thai architecture and artwork set in glorious gardens.
Our Picks for Thailand
Thailand Highlights - 13 days from $3320*
Thailand Family Holiday - 12 days from $1504
Phuket Sailing Adventure - 7 days from $1885
*includes return airfares
Enjoy wholesome cups of po cha (yak butter tea) as you contemplate life at the very roof of the world. Allow the monumental north face of Mount Everest to be etched in your mind. Tibet is a place of spiritual reflection, with its ubiquitous prayer flags bearing colours of the five earthly elements. It’s home to chanting monks, beguiling blue lakes, and the highest plateau on earth.
In Lhasa visit the imposing 1,000 room Potala Palace. Zig-zagging its way up a rugged hill, this fortress was once home to the Tibetan government and was a winter residence of the now exiled Dalai Lama. You’ll be blown away by the golden roof tops of 1,300 year-old Jokhang Temple, ensconcing a magnificent 8 foot bejewelled golden Buddha. Feeling fit? Join pilgrims at magnificent snowy Mt Kailash on a 3-day meditative kora.
Our Picks for Tibet
Kathmandu Adventure - 15 days from $3987
Tibetan Wonders - 24 days from $7880*
*includes return airfares
Lift the lid on the heady delights of Vietnam. Discover the craziness of Ho Chi Minh City – where faded French architecture collides with a thriving modern metropolis. It’s arguably home to the most enterprising, positive people on the planet. Feel the devastation of the Vietnam War at the War Remnant Museum. Head underground at the Cu Chi tunnels, part of a vast network established by the Viet Cong. Imagine the gruelling living conditions that were endured as you explore the bleak underground hospital and command centre.
On a lighter note, head to glorious Hoi An. Be measured up for a replica of your favourite shirt from a clever tailor and take a night stroll along the lantern-lit river. Jump on a junk boat and spend a few days drifting round Halong Bay, where a maze of jagged limestone islands magically erupt from the sea. In elegant Hanoi, take in a concert at the stunning Opera House and sample as many bowls of steaming pho as you can.
Our Picks for Vietnam
Angkor to the Bay - 16 days from $4160*
Vietnam Impressions - 9 days from $3090*
Sapa Hilltribes Trek - 4 days from $619
*includes return airfares