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Asia Bucket List: Top 15 Things to Do in Asia

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Written by
Kate Herz, Jobi Chan & Keith Jarman

Asia is a famously diverse region, packed with culturally rich countries.

Whether you're at your most content on a sun lounger or happiest when deep in the jungle, Asia offers something for all.

Here's our picks of the top 15 don't miss things to do in Asia.

Overnight cruise
Halong Bay
Hot Air Balloon
Bagan
See Orangutans
Borneo

1) Overnight cruise in Halong Bay

Halong Bay is a stunning UNESCO-protected bay in the north of Vietnam, known for its huge limestone karsts, hundreds of islets, and mirror-like water. We have several luxury junk boats that depart for a night or two in this beautiful bay, such as the Violet. Admire the stars at night, kayak around the bay, and soak up the serenity on the deck.

halong-bay-vietnam

2) Soar over the temples of Bagan in a hot air balloon at sunrise

Bagan is a striking landscape of over 2000 temples dating back to between the 9th and 13th centuries. When witnessed from a hot air balloon in the early morning sunrise haze, this view will be one you won’t forget.

Hot Air Balloons Bagan

3) Spot Komodo Dragons on a private Indonesian cruise

These impressive lizards, the biggest in the world, are found only on a few volcanic Indonesian islands, which are best explored as part of a cruise. As well as glimpsing these amazing creatures, you can also snorkel or dive with the incredible marine life of the Indonesian archipelago.

Komodo dragon, the Komodo Islands, Indonesia

4) Orangutan spotting in Borneo

These amazing mammals are found only in Borneo, an island divided between Malaysia and Indonesia, and Sumatra. By visiting some of the rainforest lodges in Borneo, you can travel into the heart of this jungle and see the gentle orangutans in their own environment or at one of the rehabilitation centres, such as the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary.

sepilok-sabah-orangutan-borneo

5) Visit Angkor Wat with a Khmer scholar

Angkor Wat is one of the most famous temples of Southeast Asia, but we can make a trip to these ancient ruins much more meaningful by pairing you up with a Khmer scholar who can give you a deeper insight to this amazing complex. Make sure you’re at Angkor Wat for sunrise, before exploring the lesser-known, but equally stunning temples in the surroundings.

Angkor Wat, reflection in water, Cambodia, Seam Riep

6) Get close to elephants in Chiang Rai

In the rural north of Thailand, there’s the chance to experience a more traditional lifestyle. The Anantara in Chiang Rai boasts Asia’s finest Elephant camp on-site, giving you the uniquely magical opportunity of learning how to handle these mighty animals in their natural habitat.

Elephants at the resort entrance, Anantara Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand

7) Diving in Raja Ampat

Commonly cited as the world’s best dive site, Raja Ampat is a sublime archipelago in the east of Indonesia. The remoteness of this area means it is best experienced on board a luxury phinisi boat, such as Tiger Blue.

shoal-of-fish-raja-ampat-indonesia

8) Sunrise over Borobudur, Java

Locations don’t get much more dramatic than Borobudur. This ancient Buddhist temple sits in central Java, surrounded by smoking volcanoes and dense jungle. At sunrise, the scene is truly awe-inspiring.

Borobudur, Java, Indonesia

9) Spot leopards at Jawai

Retreat into the spiritual wilderness of rural Rajasthan, where nomadic Rabari herdsmen have lived for centuries, to stay in the intimate luxury of JAWAI, a truly unique safari-style camp from which you can venture out to discover the landscape, explore temples and forts or track the region’s famous leopards.

Leopard, Jawai, Rural Rajasthan, India

10) Hitch a private helicopter to Everest Base Camp

Take an unforgettable flight up to the Everest Base Camp. At an altitude of 5,364m, this legendary spot is where mountaineering expeditions make their home for months each year as they prepare for the mighty climb up to Mount Everest. This exclusive trip offers panoramic views over the Himalayas for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

EVEREST BASE CAMP, NEPAL

11) Take a luxury cruise from Yangon to Mandalay

Cruising down the Irrawaddy River between Yangon and Mandalay affords passengers a different vantage point of Myanmar, slightly off-the-beaten-track, cruising past river villages, temples tucked into the jungle, and ancient palaces.

Buddhist temple, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar

12) Tour Luang Prabang in a vintage Mercedes

Luang Prabang is a town that seems to have a universal appeal. Stunningly picturesque and blissfully tranquil, this French colonial town has a charming blend of European and Asian influences, with cobbled streets leading to gilded temples. Tour the town and surrounding countryside by vintage Mercedes, stopping at gorgeous waterfalls, and make time for watching the monks receiving alms at sunrise.

Vintage Mercedes tour, Luang Prabang, Laos

13) Thai island-hopping

The Thai islands are perfect for a series of beach breaks and boat trips, with their perfect tropical terrain and excellent resorts. If you’re a fan of nightlife, you can visit Koh Samui, but if you’re seeking peace and quiet, head over to the Andaman coast for some downtime on Koh Yao Noi.

Hammock Koh Samui

14) Stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan

These traditional Japanese inns have existed since the eighth century A.D., and typically feature tatami-matted rooms and communal baths. Our personal favourite is the idyllic Yoshimatsu overlooking Mount Fuji, where you can get a real taste of old-world Japan in the ultimate luxury.

The baths at Yoshimatsu Ryokan, Hakone, Japan

15) Champagne sunset at Mehrangarh Fort

This magnificent Indian fort overlooking the Blue City of Jodhpur makes an unforgettable spot from which to watch the sun set over the desert landscape of Rajasthan – and what better way to watch the sunset than with a glass of champagne?

Talk to one of our expert travel designers today and start creating your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Asia.

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