Such an incredibly vast and varied continent - 30% of the global landmass - resists generalisation.

The far flung corners of Asia are far from homogenous, and that’s the enduring appeal. Years of exploring, unearthing and wandering would barely scratch the surface of this great continent with all its contradictions and delights. Pretty much every geographical and climatic variation on earth is represented somewhere here, and a lifetime’s worth of excitement and inspiration await discovery. Whether you find it in a remote nomadic camp on the steppe or in a frenetic tropical city is beside the point - you can’t fail to enjoy the search.


Lovely Luang Prabang (Laos)
This enchanting riverside town boasts many Buddhist temples: colourful, intricately embellished feasts for the eyes. Make the most of the cultured vibe by booking a cookery or craft course, or perhaps hiking out to a tribal hill village.

Live like a nomad (Mongolia)
Get involved in traditional customs - stay in an authentic Mongolian ger (nomadic tent) with your local hosts, who will be glad to teach you a few phrases of their language and cook for you. You might be lucky enough to be asked to help out with their herd - a real privilege.

Bagan by balloon (Burma)
The view across the tropical vegetation of the Bagan plain would be unforgettable without the 2000 temples that have been built there – but the whole ensemble is almost otherworldly.

Trails for Trekkers (All of Asia)
Spectacular comes as standard on some of the world's most scenic hiking trails. Head for the awesome majesty of the Himalayas, or blaze relatively untrodden trails in the northern hills of Vietnam, the mountains of Sri Lanka, around Banaue in the Philippines, or in the fragrant Ghats of Kerala.

Lake explorer (Cambodia)
Tonlé Sap Lake is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake – at its most impressive during the rainy season. Among several floating villages Kompong Phluk is one of the most interesting, with shops, schools and houses all floating on the water.

Silk road sights: Samarkand (Uzbekistan)
The imposing Registan Square beckons, its jewel coloured tiles glinting in the sunlight. Come at the beginning or end of the day for the best light for photos and an authentic sense of history.

When to go

There will always be a corner of Asia with pleasant weather whenever you choose to go. November to February is the most reliable period weather-wise for large tracts of the continent so, if you have a multi-country itinerary, focus on these months. This is obviously a broad simplification - many local factors will determine precise weather patterns, and you should consider altitude too. Temperate regions of Asia, such as China, Nepal and northern India, endure relatively large temperature fluctuations and generally see the most manageable conditions in the shoulder seasons: March to May and September to November. Tropical regions experience little variation in temperature year round, but instead the humidity and rainfall are an important factor to consider. The southwest monsoon brings wet weather to large swathes of tropical Asia from May to October, although the east coast regions of Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam see the reverse, with wetter weather dominating from November to February. There are many exciting festivities - for example Chinese new year; the Pushkar camel festival; Holi - which may tempt you to pin your itinerary to a certain date, but be prepared for crowds.

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Myanmar (Burma)
Sri Lanka