Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Culture & History vacations

As the home of the world’s oldest continuous civilization, 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 vacation 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

$2,400
Classic
Architecture
Culture
Culture & History
History

How did Thailand become Thailand? Follow the threads of history back to the kingdoms and cultures that shaped Thailand today.

$2,900
Classic
Active
Adventure
Cruising
Culture & History
Scenery

Experience two unique but intertwined cultures as you cruise along the Mekong from northern Thailand to Laos.

$2,800
Classic
Activity
Culture & History
Food & Drink
Hands on

This action-packed itinerary is all about full immersion: getting to grips with Malaysian culture by experiencing it first-hand.

$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.

Top destinations for culture & history lovers

Our favorite 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.

Malaysia

Once a tin-mining boom town known for its seedy nightlife, Ipoh has remade itself. Stellar street-art, Western-Malay fusion cuisine, and a clutch of elegantly dilapidated galleries and cafes make this one of Malaysia’s trendiest cities.

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, multicolored 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.

Cultural and historical guided tours and excursions

Our best cultural tours and excursions

Penang
Architecture
Culture & History
History

Begin learning about George Town’s 200-year history over a breakfast of freshly baked Bengali bread, then delve into its Chinese roots with a visit to the former HQ of one of the city’s Five Great Clans.

Ipoh
Architecture
Culture & History
History

This half day tour is about getting a sense of Ipoh’s past while enjoying the delights of its present.

Bangkok
Culture & History

Before Bangkok became famous for its busy nightlife and glitzy malls, it was known as the “Venice of the East”: threaded through with hundreds of canals (or khlongs) and lined with teakwood homes and shrines.

Malacca
Architecture
Culture & History
History

This walking tour will introduce you to every aspect of Malacca’s eclectic heritage, from Portuguese fortresses to Dutch clock towers and everything in between.

Singapore
Culture & History

Raffles, Victoria, Cavenagh, Fullerton: Singapore is peppered with British names and opulent buildings, but how does the city square all this grandeur with the legacy of colonialism today?

Phnom Penh
Culture
Culture & History
Insider

It's easy to beeline from landmark to landmark, but the tours we really love dove into the life that goes on in between.

Ayutthaya
Culture & History

Discover Thailand’s cosmopolitan roots on a tour of the Ayutthaya ruins, accompanied by art history expert Professor Chedha Tingsanchali.

Hue
Culture & History
History

Hue is best-known for its Citadel, but for us the imperial tombs offer an even more compelling insight into the lives and histories of Vietnam’s royal emperors.

A woman lights incense at a shrine

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