Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Culture & History holidays

As the home of the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, Asia’s culture and history is deep, rich, and infinitely interconnected.

So, where to begin? It all depends on how you like your history. You could do it Indiana Jones-style, weaving through vine-strangled temple complexes in Cambodia’s ancient Angkor Wat temple complex at dawn – or if you’re interested in more modern history, you could learn about the darker moments in Southeast Asia’s recent past with a visit to the Bridge on the River Kwai. Looking for a more multisensory cultural experience? Then why not see how Vietnam really says “good morning” with a coffee tour of Saigon?

In a nutshell: if you're looking for an Asian holiday rich in culture, look no further. Here are our best Asian culture and history itineraries, top cultural destinations and the best cultural tours and excursions, all tried and tested by our country experts.

Our top itineraries for culture & history lovers

A selection of itineraries that offer a deeper insight into the country's heritage and traditions

$3,300
Classic
Activity
Adventure
Culture & History
Scenery
Wildlife

Covering both Sabah and Sarawak and balancing wildlife with culture, this itinerary proves Borneo is about much more than orangutans.

$3,300
Classic
Active
Culture & History
Relaxation
Scenery

Balancing city with rainforest, beach and rural life, this is a classic introduction to the absolute highlights of Peninsular Malaysia.

$2,600
Classic
Culture & History
Scenery

This itinerary unspools like a reel of Cambodia’s greatest hits, from Angkor and Phnom Penh to the countryside and coast.

$2,700
Classic
Activity
Adventure
Culture
Culture & History
Scenery

If you prefer country to city, we made this for you: packed with outdoors adventures in Vietnam’s most stunning scenery.

$2,500
Activity
Classic
Cruising
Culture & History
On the water

Don’t know where to begin with Vietnam? This trip combines cultural, scenic and historical highlights for a perfectly balanced introduction.

Top destinations for culture & history lovers

Our favourite culture rich places in Asia

Malaysia

With a history stretching back through colonial rule and the Age of Exploration, Malacca’s Portuguese fortress and lantern-strung Chinese temples make it one of the best places to get a sense of Malaysia’s long and turbulent past.

Malaysia

World Heritage architecture, 130-million-year-old rainforest, world-class street art and a countryside peppered with spice gardens and durian groves: the island of Penang is an intoxicating medley of natural and cultural treasures.

Borneo

A wide variety of indigenous and immigrant cultures combine to form Kuching’s unmistakable cultural mélange, expressed not only in its historic architecture and ethnic diversity, but in its legendary laksa, multicoloured cakes and freshly blended gourmet coffee.

Cambodia

The laid-back, low-rise town of Siem Reap is the gateway to one of the most spectacular man-made sights on the planet: the sprawling, root-strangled ruins of Angkor.

Southern Vietnam

The yin to Hanoi’s yang, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon to its friends) offers a more internationally minded counterpoint to that northern bastion of tradition — not to mention an exciting base from which to explore Vietnam’s most interesting war sites.

Cambodia

Phnom Penh may no longer be the “Pearl of the Orient”, but don’t judge a book by its cover: beneath this chaotic exterior is a city alive with energy, art, and youthful verve.

Northern Vietnam

Combining canary-yellow French palaces with colourful and chaotic market streets dating back to the imperial dynasties, Hanoi is the place to soak up the atmosphere of old Vietnam.

Laos

Luang Prabang is Laos’s Shangri-La: sweeping golden roofs and colonial shophouses against a lush backdrop of jungle-covered mountains, and a laid-back atmosphere of peace and serenity.

Chiang Mai

In contrast to the mile-a-minute chaos of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is a breath of fresh air. Here, leafy boulevards and European architecture survive alongside temples dating back to the twelfth century.

Thailand

Bangkok is an assault on the senses. Clouds of aromatic steam battle with exhaust fumes, neon signs blink jarringly alongside confection-like temples, and 30-degree heat and humidity heightens the sensation that you’re simmering in a heady, spice-laden stew.

Cultural and historical guided tours and excursions

Our best cultural tours and excursions

Ho Chi Minh City
Culture
Culture & History
Food & Drink
Insider

Sipping a sweet iced coffee at a street-side café is an unmissable Vietnamese experience — but there’s more to it than just a few ground beans and some condensed milk: these days, Vietnam is a bona fide, world-class, bean-brewing pro.

Muang La
Culture
Culture & History
Scenery

In the hills around remote Muang La, undisturbed by the modern world, the Khmu live in teakwood stilt houses, the Hmong raise pigs and buffalo, and the Ikhos produce dyes made with plant extracts foraged from the forest.

Luang Prabang
Architecture
Culture & History

Luang Prabang has seen numerous cultures come and go in its 1,500 years, but what makes it so special is the way it has fused those traditions together to create something completely new.

Kanchanaburi
Culture & History

Learn about one of the darkest periods in Thai history: the construction of the “Death Railway” and the Bridge on the River Kwai.

Mekong Delta
Active
Culture & History
On the water
Responsible entreprise

This action-packed day tour is your chance to peep behind the curtain of daily life in the deeply traditional, rural Mekong Delta.

Culture & History

Discover Chiang Mai’s spiritual side on a half-day tour of the city’s sacred sites, from hidden jungle temples to sacred mountaintops.

A woman lights incense at a shrine

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