Food and culture Leave what you know behind

As they say 'Same same but different'

The locals in the markets will tell you what they sell is the same as you’d find at home, with a few differences. But that’s about where the similarities end. Every day in Asia brings so many weird and wonderful things to see and do that are far removed from what you’re used to back home. That’s why its charm is so special.

While you’ll see obvious differences in wealth, you’ll also find Asians are super friendly and polite. They’ll go out of their way to help and the smiles from even the poorest of kids are simply infectious. Meet a few in places like Laos where we help out with a local orphanage.

Asia is very self-sufficient, and the locals are very adept at using the land and food to their advantage. They’re renowned for creating some of the best technology in the world too.

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Sample the tastes

You can’t see Asia without tasting it. We include a ton of meals, and keep it flexible so you can enjoy the meals you want to.

Learn to cook Thai-style in Chiang Mai or have a Laotian meal in a restaurant that teaches the regions’ young kids. Remember your first locally-made laksa (spicy coconut curry noodle soup), Phat Thai (stir-fried noodles with shrimp, egg and chicken), dim sum (steamed dumplings), sushi or Tom kha gai (spicy coconut soup with chicken). If you’re game, keep an eye out for the more unusual delicacies – bugs, snakes, chicken feet, raw fish and more. And try the amazing street food.

Chill with a drink

Try a beautiful Jasmine tea in China which expands a flower in your cup. Locally brewed Beer Lao and Tsing Tao are popular favourites, as are Choujiu or Hunagjiu rice wine in China, and refreshing sweet lime and soda on a hot day.

Meet the wildlife.

Different types of cute monkeys roam around Asia, but keep your shiny things out of sight. China is home to the Giant Panda which are native to the mountain areas, and tigers can be found in several areas. Keep an eye out for elephants in the wild too.

Then there’s the famous creepy crawlies like vipers, snakes and scorpions, but the closest you’ll probably get is in the markets.

Shop til you drop

Flex your bargaining skills in Bangkok’s Khao San Road markets or get measured up for a custom-made outfit in Hoi An and have it back in less than 48 hours. Everything is super cheap and you can pick up handbags, shoes, jewelry, clothing and more.

Hong Kong is a mecca for electronics stores, and Nathan Road is lined with neon inviting you in to shop for a new camera or phone. In Beijing, Wangfujing has been a shopping centre for more than 700 years, and if you’re after silk, head to the 7-storey Silk Market.

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