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Long Tail Boats in the sea in Thailand

Multi-Country Asia Travel Guide

Asia, a continent of wonders and contrasts, presents an incredible array of travel experiences waiting to be embraced. From the tranquil rice terraces of Bali to the vibrant streets of Tokyo, Asia's diversity captivates every traveler. Discover the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, where history unfolds in intricately carved stone, or explore the towering peaks of the Himalayas, where prayer flags flutter against the backdrop of serene landscapes.

Beyond its iconic landmarks, Asia offers immersive cultural encounters that transcend borders. From savoring the aromatic spices of Indian cuisine to partaking in traditional tea ceremonies in China, the flavors of Asia are a journey in themselves. Adventure awaits as you navigate the bustling markets of Bangkok or meander through the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. Whether you're scaling the Great Wall or meditating in a serene Japanese garden, Asia's vibrant cultures and dynamic landscapes ensure a travel experience that nourishes the mind, body, and soul.

Key Facts

Time Zone

Varies by country

Money

Varies by country

Dialing Code

Varies by country

  • The prices: Asia is one of the most budget-friendly areas to visit, with great value accommodation, food and travel.
  • The people: People in Asia tend to be kind, friendly and full of life (Thailand is known as ‘the Land of Smiles’ for good reason!)  Their attitudes to others, warmth and lack of inhibition are a refreshing change for inhabitants of a cold little island like ours!
  • The nightlife:  From Full Moon Parties in Thailand to beach parties in Boracay, Asia is one of the best places in the world to dance until the sun comes up. 
  • The tropical beaches:  From tiny gem-like coves to great sweeping arcs of sand, and remote shores to party islands, Asia has something for every type of beach bum.
  • The cities:  Asia’s cities positively hum with life.  From neon-soaked Bangkok to high-tech Tokyo, chaotic Mumbai and moped-filled Ho Chi Minh, major Asian cities dwarf their Western equivalents in both size and pace of life.  Everywhere you go there are exotic scents, deafening hubbub, and extraordinary spectacles – it’s a non-stop assault on the senses.
  • The markets:  The best places for a bargain, Asian markets are fascinating as well as great value.  You can buy pretty much anything you want, from chickens’ feet to knock-off electronics, as long as you’re prepared to haggle! 
  • The festivals:  From Holi (the festival of colour in India) to Songkran (the crazy Thai water festival) and Taiwan’s Lantern Festival, Asia really knows how to throw a good party. 
  • The sacred sites: From Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha to the banks of Varanasi, Asia is full of atmospheric spiritual places.

  • Dance until the sun comes up at the home of the original Full Moon Party – Ko Phangan, Thailand
  • Watch the sun come up over Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Sail the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
  • See the cherry blossom in Kyoto
  • Take tea at the legendary Raffles hotel in Singapore
  • Marvel at the Lost City of Petra in Jordan
  • Practice your haggling skills at a Bangkok street market
  • Go trekking in Chang Mai, Northern Thailand
  • See the iconic Taj Mahal at sunset
  • Party the night away on the legendary White Sand Beach on Boracay Island, Philippines
  • Live your best life in Bali’s glamorous beach clubs
  • Meet the orang-utans in Borneo
  • Float down the Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi
  • Camp out on the Great Wall of China
  • Swim with whale sharks around Cebu Island, Philippines
  • Go tubing down the river in Van Vieng, Laos
  • Visit a floating market on the mighty Mekong in Vietnam
  • See the world-famous terracotta army in Xi’an province, China
  • Hike up iconic Mount Fuji in Japan
  • Spot the geisha on the ancient streets of Gion, Japan
  • Watch baby turtles hatching on Libaran Island, Borneo
  • Visit the lush tea plantations in Sri Lanka
  • Work with pandas at a wildlife conservation centre in China
  • Reach dizzying heights at the top of Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Asian cuisine is wonderful. Cheap, delicious and good for vegetarians and omnivores alike, food is often spicy, sour, sweet and salty, all at the same time. It’s like a party in your mouth! Try culinary classics like Pad Thai in Thailand, Nasi Lemak in Malayasia or Pho in Vietnam, as well as some more out there local delicacies. How about skewered scorpion in Bangkok, Fugu in Tokyo, or a 1,000-year-old egg in Beijing? Food across most of Asia is served family style, with dishes in the centre of the table for everybody to share and tends to feature some kind of starch (rice, noodles or flatbreads) and either vegetables or meat and seafood. Street food is also a major feature of eating out in most Asian destinations. The roads of most Asian cities are lined with open-air stalls and carts and these are often where you’ll find the most authentic and mouth-watering grub. 

The climate varies hugely across Asia, even within the same country. Generally speaking though, the southern sections are mild to hot, and far northern regions can be very cold. Some of the countries that have hot weather all year round can still experience a lot of rainfall, particularly in the monsoon season (usually south-eastern countries). Altitude is also a factor and you can have snow on high ground, but sweltering temperatures lower down. Because of the variety of weather systems in Asia, any time you plan to go, there will always be somewhere where the weather’s great!

Visas

Visas may be required in order to enter or transit through certain countries depending on your passport nationality, your reason for travel and how long you intend to stay.

Visa, passport and entry rules are subject to change and you should check the most up-to-date information from the relevant embassy or visa specialist.

To make things easier we have teamed up with The Travel Visa Company who are one of the UK’s leading travel visa specialists. You can use their website, alongside embassy websites,  to find out the specific entry requirements for the countries you intend to travel to.

For a fee, their dedicated team of experts can also apply for visas on your behalf, taking away the hassle and streamlining the process for you if you wish. For more details on the services they provide please click here – The Travel Visa Company

Passports

Passports must be kept in good condition. Travellers with damaged passports may be refused entry at immigration. It is the responsibility of the traveller to ensure that all travel documents are in good condition before they travel. Most countries will also require at least 6 months of validity on your passport from the time you finish your trip. 

Further Entry Requirements

Some countries will require proof of certain vaccines, such as yellow fever or covid, in order to gain entry. Please check with the relevant embassy or a visa specialist before travelling.

Asia speaks many different languages, most of which are quite difficult for a Western traveller to decipher as they usually have a different alphabet, and feature sounds and intonation that are unfamiliar to us. The most spoken language in Asia is Chinese Mandarin (as the country is the world’s most populated), followed by Hindi. English is used widely in Singapore, Hong Kong, India and Mauritius among others.  Most people working in the tourist industry in Asia will have a bit of English under their belts. Get off the beaten track though and you’ll find that’s not the case - it’s amazing how much you can communicate through mime though!

There’s a lot of variation in plug sockets across Asia and sometimes even within one country! Sometimes they’re 2-pin, sometimes 3, sometimes round pin, sometimes flat. Your best bet is to bring a compact universal adaptor.

  • If you’re offered food by a local, sample a little of it. It’s considered rude to refuse.
  • Bring a small gift if you go to somebody’s home.
  • Cover up when visiting a sacred site, temple or mosque. This is especially relevant for female travellers. In some countries, such as India, modest dress is expected at all times.
  • Take your outdoor shoes off when coming indoors (especially in Japan).
  • Avoid public displays of affection, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • Don’t use your feet to point at anything (especially images of Buddha), or allow the soles of your feet to face anybody else.
  • Greet people like a local. For example, ‘namaste’ is the customary greeting in India and is accompanied by a slight bow and hands pressed together.
  • Show deference to the elderly. Unlike Western culture, which celebrates youth, Asians value and respect their elders. Visitors should do the same.

While each country has its individual legal quirks, drugs are not tolerated and can carry serious penalties in some countries, including the death sentence (Indonesia). Homosexuality is illegal in a number of countries (Malaysia, Myanmar) as is gambling (Vietnam). Singapore is strict on some surprising acts, such as spitting, feeding pigeons and not flushing the toilet, with offences punishable by caning! And in Thailand, any disrespect shown to the monarchy or its image is a serious faux pas. However, as long as you steer clear of any big no-nos, you’re unlikely to have a brush with the law while you’re away.

No doubt you’ll have a happy and healthy trip. However, it’s always good to take some precautions. Health considerations differ across countries, but some advice is applicable across most of Asia:

  • Make sure you have appropriate travel insurance in place to cover you for any health problems you may have while overseas.
  • Ensure you’ve had any vaccinations necessary for the destinations you’ll be visiting. We’re not qualified to offer you medical advice, so you should visit your GP well ahead of time. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different countries.
  • Make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.
  • Take high-factor sun cream! The sun can be very intense towards the Equator and getting burnt is no joke.
  • Take measures to protect yourself from mosquitoes. Mozzies are part and parcel of the Asian experience, but with good repellent, burning coils and covering up a bit in the evening, you can avoid getting bitten too much.
  • Take a first aid kit to cover minor injuries and ailments. It’s especially advisable to pack treatment for stomach problems as travellers’ diarrhoea is common in Asia.

The large majority of Asia is safe and most travellers come home without running into any issues. However, pick-pocketing and petty theft is always a risk, particularly in tourist areas, so keep your valuables safe, secure and out of sight. Never carry too much cash on your person and pay special attention when withdrawing money from cash machines. There are often safes at your accommodation where you can leave valuables before heading out. Check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for any specific safety concerns relating to your destination.

We do not recommend hiring motorbikes, scooters, ATV vehicles, quad bikes or other types of motorised vehicles whilst abroad. Safety and quality of vehicles vary considerably and the traffic conditions can be much more dangerous than what UK travellers are used to. Should you wish to go against this advice, you should ensure you are hiring for a reputable company and that your travel insurance covers you for such activities.

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