From the nomadic steppes of Kazakhstan to the frenetic streets of Hanoi, Asia is a continent so full of intrigue, adventure, solace and spirituality that it has fixated and confounded travellers for centuries.
This continent has contributed a cast of villains and heroes to global history. Most of the significant achievements of the modern world had their infancy in Asia. Historic trading routes sliced across epic terrain as expanding empires competed to trade goods and ideas throughout the continent and beyond. Asia’s ambitious civilisations ultimately gave rise to some of the world’s most revolutionary ideas and important technology. Ancient wonders and sacred spaces abound across the continent, from the Great Wall of China and the temples of Angkor to lesser-known marvels in Myanmar, Nepal and Afghanistan.
A trekkers' paradise, Nepal combines Himalayan views, golden temples, charming hill villages and jungle wildlife watching to offer one of the world's great travel destinations.
The Nepal Himalaya is the ultimate goal for mountain lovers. Some of the Himalaya’s most iconic and accessible hiking is on offer here, with rugged trails to Everest, the Annapurnas and beyond. Nowhere else can you trek for days in incredible mountain scenery, secure in the knowledge that a hot meal, cosy lodge and warm slice of apple pie await you at the end of the day.Then there's the adrenaline kick of rafting a roaring Nepali river or bungee jumping into a yawning Himalayan gorge. Canyoning, climbing, kayaking, paragliding and mountain biking all offer a rush against the backdrop of some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes.
Tibet offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one of the most likeable peoples you will ever meet.
For many people, the highlights of Tibet will be of a spiritual nature: magnificent monasteries, prayer halls of chanting monks, and remote cliffside retreats. Tibet’s pilgrims – from local grandmothers murmuring mantras in temples heavy with the aroma of juniper incense and yak butter to hard-core visitors walking or prostrating themselves around Mt Kailash – are an essential part of this appeal. Tibet has a level of devotion and faith that seems to belong to an earlier, almost medieval age. It's fascinating, inspiring and endlessly photogenic.
China. The name alone makes you want to get packing. It's going places, so jump aboard, go along for the ride and see where it's headed.
Its modern face is dazzling, but China is no one-trick pony. The world's oldest continuous civilisation isn't all smoked glass and brushed aluminium and while you won't be tripping over artefacts – three decades of round-the-clock development and rash town planning have taken their toll – rich seams of antiquity await. Serve it all up according to taste: collapsing sections of the Great Wall, temple-topped mountains, villages that time forgot, languorous water towns, sublime Buddhist grottoes and ancient desert forts. Pack a well-made pair of travelling shoes and remember the words of Laotzu: 'a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step'.
From the vibrant cityscape of Bangkok to Halong Bay's magnificent limestone karsts, this trip encompasses the highlights of Indochina. Marvel at the wonders of Angkor Wat, sail the Mekong, and savour noodles in Hoi An. Shop for souvenirs in Ho Chi Minh City and join the locals sipping coffee at a lakeside café in Hanoi. With hotels, transport, and a number of included activities arranged by our CEOs, this adventure offers up the perfect combination of must-see highlights and free time.
Indonesia's numbers astound: more than 17,000 islands, of which 8000 are inhabited, and over 300 languages spoken across them. It's a beguiling country offering myriad adventures. The world’s fourth most populous country is a sultry kaleidoscope draped along the equator for 5000km. From Sumatra's western tip to Papua's eastern edge, Indonesia defies homogenisation. It's a land of so many cultures, peoples, animals, customs, plants, sights, artworks and foods that it's like 100 countries melded into one.The people are as radically different from each other as if they came from different continents, with every island a unique blend of the people who live there. Over time, deep and rich cultures have evolved, from the mysteries of the spiritual Balinese to the utterly non-Western belief system of the Asmat people of Papua.
Few isles tempt the imagination with the lure of adventure quite like the wild land of Sumatra. An island of extraordinary beauty, it bubbles with life and vibrates under the power of nature. Eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis are Sumatran headline grabbers. Steaming volcanoes brew and bluster while standing guard over lakes that sleepily lap the edges of craters. Orang-utan-filled jungles host not only our red-haired cousins, but also tigers, rhinos and elephants. And down at sea level, idyllic deserted beaches are bombarded by clear barrels of surf.
The mere mention of Bali evokes thoughts of a paradise. It's more than a place; it's a mood, an aspiration, a tropical state of mind. The rich and diverse culture of Bali plays out at all levels of life, from the exquisite flower-petal offerings placed everywhere, to the processions of joyfully garbed locals, shutting down major roads as they march to one of the myriad temple ceremonies, to the otherworldly traditional music and dance performed island-wide. Almost everything has spiritual meaning. The middle of Bali is dominated by the dramatic volcanoes of the central mountains and hillside temples such as Pura Luhur Batukau (one of the island's estimated 10,000 temples), while the tallest peak, Gunung Agung, is the island's spiritual centre.
The heart of the nation, Java is an island of megacities, mesmerising natural beauty, magical archaeological sites and profound traditions in art, music and dance.
Boasting a dazzling array of bewitching landscapes – iridescent rice paddies, smoking volcanoes, rainforest and savannah, not to mention virgin beaches – most journeys here are defined by scenic excesses. The island is at its most excessive in the cities: crowded, polluted, concrete labyrinths that buzz and roar. Dive into Jakarta's addictive mayhem, soak up Yogyakarta's soul and stroll though Solo's batik laneways en route to the island's all-natural wonders.Home to 140 million people and the most populated island on earth, Java travel can be slow going, particularly in the west. However, the rail network is generally reliable and efficient, and flights are inexpensive. Your endurance will be rewarded with fascinating insights into Indonesia's most complex and culturally compelling island.