Vibrant festivals, pervasive deities, and a rush to modernise are common characteristics you will encounter in Asia.
In South Asia, India is a super nation of mind-boggling proportions. As the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, India was a big deal long before the British Raj. Situated between East and West, ancient Indian civilisations formed economic and cultural epicentres that traded as far off as the Roman Empire. Today’s India is a like a dozen countries in one. Part poverty-stricken, and part nouveau riche, part rural village, and part bustling city – contemporary India is unashamedly rich in contradiction, colour and contrast. Nepal, once a secretive mountain kingdom, is a welcoming nation home to the breaktaking Himalayas and a fascinating history. Sri Lanka, home to palm-fringed beaches and deep green tea plantations, lures travellers with its irresistible charm.
As for Southeast Asia - most travellers come for white beaches, exotic jungle-thronged temples and the overwhelming array of cultures. Beautiful Borneo remains wild and dense with rainforest, with Brunei offering glimmers of gilded rooftops. Cambodia provides the perfect antidote to Singapore’s ordered cleanliness and Kuala Lumpur's gleaming towers: the awe-inspiring temple at Angkor Wat sits in the ancient capital and is surrounded by hundreds of equally impressive temples. Vietnam and Laos could not be more different from each other. While laid-back Laos retains many of its traditional customs and buildings, Vietnam has raced into the 21st century at breakneck speed. Yet amongst this development stand the pagodas and temples of old, and the mouthwatering scents of pho and bun cha still waft in the streets.
How should you plan your visit to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia? This quintet of itineraries of different durations covers a range of themes and landscapes