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

Image of a Korean city in the rain at night, with neon signs and people walkign

Korean Wave

From $4,352 per person

When it comes to pop culture, South Korea punches well above its weight, exporting films, TV dramas, and music all over the globe in a phenomenon known as Hallyu, or “Korean Wave.” Over almost two weeks, you’ll see firsthand how this small country has turned into a global entertainment powerhouse.

Ornate gardens with skyscrapers in the background

Heritage Hong Kong

From $1,840 per person

Delve beneath Hong Kong’s shiny surface to explore the rich Chinese and colonial heritage that shaped it.

Yellow tram travelling along tracks alongside advertisements at night

Classic Hong Kong

From $1,210 per person

Dim sum, neon signs and stunning skyline views: indulge in the classic experiences that have made Hong Kong an icon.

Temple exterior, Bangkok, Thailand

Kingdoms of Thailand

From $2,637 per person

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

White Temple, Chiang Rai

Thailand & Laos Explorer

From $2,830 per person

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

Sunset over temple in Penang

Experiential Malaysia

From $3,113 per person

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

Top destinations for culture & history lovers

Our favorite culture rich places in Asia

Malacca waterfront

Malacca

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.

Steps up to Penang Hill

Penang

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.

Ipoh hillside

Ipoh

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.

Kuching waterfront

Kuching

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.

Orange robed monks at Angkor Wat Temple

Siem Reap

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

Daily life on the streets of Hanoi

Authentic Life of Hanoi

Hanoi

Hanoi is a maze of streets, a hotch-potch of eras, a tangle of stories.

Man and buffalo in Mekong

Local life in the Mekong Delta

Mekong Delta

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

Aerial view of the bridge over the River Kwai

Visit the Bridge on the River Kwai

Kanchanaburi

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

Traditional Iban longhouse in Batang Ai

Meeting the Iban people

Batang Ai

Borneo’s Iban people may have abandoned their former practice of headhunting, but thankfully their traditional culture survives in many other forms.

Local girl in Muang La

Meet the ethnic groups of Muang La

Muang La

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.

People climbing steps up to St Paul's church

Day trip to Macau

Hong Kong

Just 60km across the Pearl River Delta, the Portuguese enclave of Macau makes a fascinating counterpoint to Hong Kong.

Boat on canals of Bangkok

Kings & khlongs: Half-day tour of the canals of old Bangkok

Bangkok

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.

A woman lights incense at a shrine

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