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Asia

Iran, Esfahan Iran, Esfahan Steve Coleman

The vast sprawling Asian Continent is the largest on earth, covering an incredibly rich diversity of landscapes and cultures. From the exquisite Islamic art of Iran to the Buddhist temples of Bali the historical and religious heritage is unsurpassed.

The mighty Himalayas are home to the world’s highest peaks, and icy streams flow south through the mountains and valleys to form three of the world’s most important rivers.

Palm-fringed beaches, ornately decorated temples and mouth-watering cuisine lure visitors to the countries of Southeast Asia.

The deserts and minarets of Central Asia conjure up images of the fabled Silk Route, whilst China’s traditions have intrigued visitors for centuries.

 

The Indian Sub-Continent

From the remote mountain villages of Nepal and Bhutan to the tropical beaches of Sri Lanka the Indian Sub-Continent is steeped in centuries old traditions and blessed with breathtaking scenery. The people are friendly with an infectious zest for life, and everywhere you travel you will be greeted with huge smiles. Succumb to her charms and you will find yourself returning for many years to come.

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India is immense and the contrast between the princely grandeur of the desert cities of Rajasthan and the sleepy backwaters of Kerala, or the lively crowds at Varanasi ensures there is something for everyone in this visually stunning country. Boutique hotels, former palaces and Raj era rest houses offer visitors a wide range of accommodation. Transport options are as varied as the Indian states. Take a whirlwind holiday around India travelling by private car, Indian Enfield, a luxury train and even a camel.

Nepal is famous as a walking and trekking destination, offering walks in the Himalayas for all abilities. Don’t miss out on the centuries old architecture of its wonderful capital Kathmandu, or the opportunity to go on safari seeking tigers and rhino in Chitwan National Park.

Sri Lanka offers visitors the perfect combination of beautiful beaches, tropical jungle and cool hill country, all scattered with stunning architecture. The national parks are home to an abundant variety of wildlife, including leopard and around the coast migrating blue whales. The warm welcome and genuine kindness of the Sri Lankan people makes it the perfect holiday paradise, enchanting all who travel to its shores.

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Southeast Asia

Laying east of the Indian Subcontinent and south of China the region known as Southeast Asia encompasses Indochina and the Malay Peninsula, and a string of archipelagos to the south and east. Southeast Asia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the differing cultures and cuisine of the people who inhabit the region ensure that no two visits will be the same. Link some of the countries together on a tour of the region and some of its most famous sights.

Thailand is famous for its gorgeous beaches and mouth-watering cuisine. This is a country renowned for its natural beauty, distinctive culture and beautiful smiles. Take a boat journey on the River Kwai to the infamous bridge, before heading into the hill tribe region of northern Thailand, where trekking and outdoor activities are abundant.

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Vietnam is increasingly popular as a holiday destination. The country’s rich heritage and colourful ethnic communities ensure there is more to Vietnam than its recent history. Head north from Hanoi on mountain roads that weave around rice terraces and mist shrouded valleys of lush vegetation to mountain towns, where the weekly market attracts villagers from their remote homes.

Cambodia and Laos can be easily combined, or incorporated with a holiday in Vietnam. Travel from the hectic streets of Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh to the world famous temples of Angkor hidden amongst the steamy tropical jungle. Laos is possibly the most intriguing of the old French colonies of Indochina. A slow boat journey along the mighty Mekong is the best way to explore this part of Southeast Asia. 

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Malaysia is a wonderful melting pot of Malay, Indian, Chinese and European cultures. The beaches are excellent, as is the food. A visit to the Taman Negara National Park, one of the world’s oldest tropical woodlands, is an unforgettable experience.

Across the South China Sea Borneo’s most famous residents can be visited at the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary. Singapore is a popular stopover on flights to and from Australia. Short distances and an excellent transport system means you can see a lot of the island on a 2-3 day visit.

The thousands of islands of Indonesia make up the largest archipelago in the world. Language, customs and cuisine vary enormously. From the astonishingly beautiful island of Bali to the mountains and jungles of Sumatra, where Orang-utan can still be seen in the wild, the islands of Indonesia offer visitors beaches, wildlife and colourful festivals.

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China and Central Asia

Some of the world’s most famous journeys travel through this region. The wonderful Trans-Siberian train journey links Russia with Mongolia and China. Xian in China was once the start/end destination for merchants and travellers journeying along the fabled Silk Route following routes through Central Asia to Turkey This region of Asia is historically fascinating; so take a long distance journey into the lands of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.

The open steppe of Mongolia is simply breathtaking. Teenage horsemen ride like the wind, birds of prey circle the skies and across the steppe are the traditional gers (tents) of the Mongolian people. The nomadic Mongolians live a life little-changed since the days of Genghis Khan. Stay in a ger at a comfortable tourist camp and experience this traditional way of life.

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Whilst Tiananmen Square, The Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors need no introduction, a tour in China can encompass a cruise along the Yangtze River, the gorgeous karst landscape around Guilin and a visit to the Panda Conservation Centre near Chengdu. Take a journey to Kunming to explore the Stone forest, Tiger Leaping Gorge and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Modern and imperial worlds clash in the great cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong where 21st Century technology mixes seamlessly with ancient traditions and architecture.

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Uzbekistan in Central Asia is a blend of desert, steppe and river valley and its architecture is some of the most sublime of the Islamic world. The cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva were at the very centre of the intrigue of the Great Game played out between British and Russian spies in the 19th Century, and evidence of these cities extraordinary history is everywhere.

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