Experiences of Asia, our top tips and insider advice

Asia looks set to be a trending destination in the year ahead as people clamber to rediscover the kaleidoscope of cultures that make up the continent. As passionate explorers, the Travel Counsellors community has seen a lot of Asia so have gathered some of their most treasured experiences below along with insider tips for your next visit.

“I spent five nights on a superb river cruise on the Mighty Mekong travelling through Cambodia and Vietnam. We had pre- and post-cruise stays on land to make the most of the big cities. I would recommend this kind of trip to those who like the finer things in life (like the food, wines, and service on the river cruise) but still want an adventure into local life on daily excursions. I loved the fact that you could get right into the heart of local village life, learn about the rural culture, experience folk music, and meet Vietnamese families.

The sunrise excursion to the Buddhist Temple at Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a definite MUST! Spiritual and magical!”

Sarah, Travel Counsellor

"The regions of Thailand are unique within themselves, this comes with different foods, cultures and even languages, providing tourists with a feeling of well-roundedness after their trip. For example, the Northern region (i.e. Chiang Mai) is historically tied to South Asia and has cooler weather, so the dishes up there tend to be milder, less spicy and with a more Indian flavouring, such as Khao Soi. There are multiple famous Khao Soi restaurants in Chiang Mai and in the past I have spent the day with friends travelling from restaurant to restaurant in order to try them all (finished very full but very satisfied). Ironically, the flavour palette of each region reflects the stereotypical personality of it also, as Northern people are generally perceived as milder and more mellow than most.

Otherwise, Chinatown in Bangkok has grown in popularity, with one famous street food vendor called Jay Fai being the first vendor to gain a Michelin star (she is on a Netflix show called Street Food Asia!)."

Peem, Travel Counsellor

“I recently experienced an amazing trip to Cambodia, sailing from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap on the all-inclusive Scenic Spirit and ending on a high at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor.

I’d recommend taking advantage of the current low tourist numbers and special offers before tourists return in force to this wonderful part of the world. Our winter season is a great time to travel to Asia in terms of weather too. Go now, before the tourist numbers increase for a truly never-to-be-forgotten experience.”

Anjie, Travel Counsellor

“I spent a few weeks in Malaysian Borneo. We started in the coastal city of Sabah and went inland to climb Mount Kinabalu before working our way through the jungles in the east of the island to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We finished our adventure with a wildlife spotting trip along the Kinabatangan River where we saw proboscis monkeys, crocodiles and rhinoceros hornbills. I couldn’t recommend Borneo enough for lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors”

Joe, Travel Counsellor

“During our two weeks in Bali we chose to move around a couple of times so that we could experience as many different areas as possible. We started our trip in the lively town of Seminyak, throwing us straight into the hustle & bustle of Balinese life. You’ll find yourself surrounded by busy streets lined with shops, quirky brunch bars & traditional street food. Moving from Seminyak we were greeted by the equally lively, up & coming resort of Canggu. It's best known for its surfer lifestyle and the accompanying laid back vibe that eminates out from the resort village. With modern coffee bars and boutique shops, you can see why Canggu is regarded as the ‘place to be’ in Bali. Next stop was Ubud where we took part in a Sunrise Trek of Mount Batur which was an unbelievable experience.

You’ll find nature everywhere in Bali, but if you want to experience living in a rainforest, I’d definitely recommend Ubud.”

Holly, Travel Counsellor

“We fell in love with Malaysia during our honeymoon.  From the towering skyscrapers and rooftop cocktails in Kuala Lumpur we headed to the lesser know East Coast to stay at the Tanjong Jara Resort. No menus at this 5* hotel, instead the chef comes out and asks which flavours you like and whips up a feast just for you. Our highlight here was getting up in the middle of the night to watch the baby turtles hatching – amazing! 

After this we flew to Penang and soaked up the culture – street art tours on a tuk tuk, cycling through rice fields and eating the world-famous street food, before heading to Langkawi for five nights of pure luxury at The Datai Langkawi. Waking up in the rainforest, Dusky Leaf monkeys playing on the balcony, and relaxing on one of the top 10 beaches in the world – paradise!”

Sarah, Travel Counsellor

To start planning your next visit to Asia, get in touch today. You’ll benefit from full financial protection and a 24-hour duty office ready to assist you before, during and after your trip.

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