Holidays in Asia

Bahrain

Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf with many things to do and see.

From the excellent National Museum in Manama and the traditional houses of Muharraq to the extraordinary burial mounds at Sar, there are many fine sites to visit. For more modern pearls, there’s the spectacular Bahrain World Trade Centre, King Fahd Causeway and the new islands project at the southern tip.

Currency: Bahraini dinar

Flight Duration (From London): 6 Hours 10 Minutes

Language(s): Arabic

Time Zone: UTC+02:00

Early June to mid-September is intensely hot but also the most character-ful time of the year.

If this sounds too hot, November to March is the best time to go. However, try and avoid Ramadan and Eid as high numbers of Saudi tourists make finding accommodation very difficult.

A visa is required on arrival to Bahrain but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bahrain/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Rabies, Tetanus-diptheria and MMR

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bahrain/health

Bangladesh

Following the devastating effects of Cyclone Sidr in late 2007, Bangladesh has been slowly but surely re-building itself. This dynamic country proudly considers itself one of perseverance and promise, and one from which we could all learn a thing or two.

In the midst of the cyclone, Bangladesh did something no other country has done before; strived for cleaner air by banning all petrol and diesel vehicles from the major conurbations and replacing them with cleaner ones; banning plastic bags and creating a throng of national parks and protected areas. This really is something you need to yourself.

Currency: Bangladeshi taka

Flight Duration (From London): 9 Hours 40 Minutes

Language(s): Bengali

Time Zone: UTC + 06.00

The three main seasons in Bangladesh are the monsoon season from late-May to early-October, the cool season between mid-October and late-February and the hot season between March and mid-May.

The cool season is definitely the most tolerable time to go; in the summer temperatures can rise to an unbearable 40 degree plus.

Be aware of Ramadan; during this month-long period of religious fasting, getting food can be tricky, especially in the smaller towns.

A visa is required on arrival to Bahrain but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bangladesh/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Cholera, Yellow Fever (if arriving from an infected area ten days before travel) and Japanese B encephalitis

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/bangladesh/health

Cambodia

The chaotic yet charismatic capital of Phnom Penh is a hub of political intrigue, economic vitality and intellectual debate. The revitalised city is finally earning plaudits in its own right thanks to a gorgeous riverside location, a cultural renaissance, and a wining and dining scene to rival anywhere in the region.

This is the place to experience the rhythm of rural life and timeless landscapes of dazzling rice paddies and swaying sugar palms. The South Coast is fringed by tropical islands, with just a handful of beach huts in sight.

Currency: Cambodian riel

Flight Duration (From London): 12 Hours 05 Minute

Language(s): Khmer

Time Zone: UTC + 06.00

Cambodia can be visited at any time of year. The ideal months are December and January, when humidity levels are relatively low, there is little rainfall and a cooling breeze whips across the land, but this is also peak season when the majority of visitors descend on the country

From early February temperatures keep rising until the killer month, April, when the mercury often exceeds 40°C. Sometime in May or June, the south-western monsoon brings rain and high humidity, cooking up a sweat for all but the hardiest of visitors.

Some visitors like to coordinate their trip with one of the annual festivals, such as Bon Om Tuk or Khmer New Year.

A visa on arrival is required to travel to Cambodia and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cambodia/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, MMR, Tetanus-Diphtheria and Influenza (in flu season between November and April)

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cambodia/health

China

China may be modernising at a head-spinning pace, but the world’s oldest continuous civilisation is bound to pull an artefact or two out of its hat. Travel selectively around China and you can quickly tap into memories of its wonderful past; The Forbidden City, The Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors to name but a few.

You’ll soon discover that the whole country is obsessed with food, so rather than choosing the local Chinatown menu, explore the lavish Middle Kingdom cookbook; peking duck, sizzling lamb kebabs or a delicious bowl of Lánzhōu noodles for a true Chinese experience.

Currency: Renminbi

Flight Duration (From London): 9 Hours 30 Minutes

Language(s):  Mandarin

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

Spread over such a vast area, China is subject to the worst extremes in weather, from bitter cold to unbearable heat.

The best time to visit China is generally either spring (March to May) or autumn (September to early November). Winter in China’s north and northeast fall between November and December and March and April, both of which are very cold.

Some visitors like to coordinate their trip with one of the annual festivals, such as Bon Om Tuk or Khmer New Year.

A visa is required prior to arrival to China and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tetanus-Diphtheria, Measles, Varicella, Polio and Yellow Fever

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china/health

Hong Kong

This friendly, enigmatic city is made of soaring towers, ancient rituals and action movies.

The tantalising neighbourhoods and curious islands are a sensory delight awaiting exploration. You could find yourself on a double-decker tramcar one moment, then cheering with the crowds at the city-centre horse races the next.

Or, if you like the quieter life, simply gazing out over the glorious harbour can take your breath away. Escape the city buzz and spend your day wandering in a Song-dynasty village, hiking surf-beaten beaches or scouring for sea shards on a deserted island.

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar

Flight Duration (From London): 11 Hours 40 Minutes

Language(s):  English & Chinese

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

To avoid Hong Kong’s punishingly hot and humid weather, the best time to go climate-wise is in early spring, between March and April or late autumn, between October and November. The days are warmer and fresher and the air is often cleaner.

Summer, which falls June to mid-September, is the hottest period when heat and humidity soar. It is also typhoon season so do plan your trip with this in mind.

No visa is required to travel to Hong Kong but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hong-kong/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Influenza, MMR and Tetanus-Diphtheria

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/hong-kong/health

India

India has a beautifully eclectic mixture of ethnic groups, providing an intoxicating cultural cocktail for the everyday traveller. With such considerable diversity, you will be taken on a journey that will linger in your mind long after you’ve left this stunning country.

With an ability to inspire, frustrate, thrill and confound all at once, India presents an extraordinary spectrum of encounters. Some of these can be challenging, particularly for the first-time visitor. The poverty is confronting, Indian bureaucracy can be exasperating and the crush of humanity sometimes turns the simplest task into an energy-zapping battle. Even veteran travellers find their sanity frayed at some point, but love it or loathe it, a trip to India could change your life.

Currency: Indian Rupee

Flight Duration (From London): 9 Hours 10 Minutes

Language(s):  Hindi & English

Time Zone: UTC +04:30

When planning a trip to India, keep in mind that climatic conditions in the far north are distinctly different to those in the south.

Generally speaking, India’s climate is defined by three seasons – the hot, the monsoon and the cool; each of which can vary in duration from north to south.

The most pleasant time to visit most of the country is during the cooler period of November to around mid-February, although there are marked regional variations.

Apart from the weather, the timing of certain festivals or special events may also influence when you wish to visit.

A visa is required to travel to India before travel and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Polio

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india/health

Indonesia

Indonesia has the world’s fourth largest populations with 245 million people and counting. It is a land of so many cultures, customs and foods that it is like numerous countries melded into one.

If you’re a fan of adventure sports, then Indonesia is the place for you. It has some of the best scuba-diving in the world and features dozens of world class surf spots. Or, if it’s a quiet, relaxing time you’re after, why not visit one of the spa centres? Ranging from simply constructed huts to lavish wellness centre in five star hotels, there is usually something suited to everyone, and their budget!

Currency: Indonesian Rupiah

Flight Duration (From London): 9 Hours 10 Minutes

Language(s):  Indonesian

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

Straddling the equator, Indonesia tends to have a fairly even climate all year round. It has two seasons rather than the usual four (wet and dry) and unusually, there are no extremes of winter and summer.

The best time to visit is in the dry season between May and September; this is when most travellers visit the country, usually to experience one of the Indonesian summer festivals.

A visa is required on arrival to travel to Indonesia and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio, Japanese encephalitis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Tetanus-Diphtheria, MMR and Yellow Fever

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/indonesia/health

Japan

Japan is a cultural hub where a unique civilisation has flourished, and today thrives in delicious contrasts of traditional and modern. The Japanese spirit is strong, warm and incredibly welcoming.

The wonders of Japan’s natural world are a well-kept secret. The hiking in Japan is world class and down south, the coral reefs of Okinawa are awe-inspiring; you’re never far away from its diverse nature and forested mountains.

Japanese cuisine is also something not to be missed. You could spend your life there and not experience everything that’s on offer! One thing is for sure, you can’t leave without trying the sushi…

Currency: Japanese Yen

Flight Duration (From London): 11 Hours 30 Minutes

Language(s):  Japanese

Time Zone: UTC +08:00

Without a doubt, the best times to visit Japan are spring, which falls between March and May, and autumn, which falls between September and November.

No visa is required to travel to Japan but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/japan/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Japanese encephalitis (for long term stays), MMR, Tetanus-Diphtheria and Influenza

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/japan/health

Malaysia

Malaysia is like two countries in one, cut in half by the South China Sea. The multicultural peninsula flaunts Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, while Borneo hosts a wild jungle of orangutans, granite peaks and remote tribes.

It also means it has one of the best assortments of cuisines in the world and despite all the pockets of ethnicities, religions, landscapes and the sometimes-great distances between them, the beauty of Malaysia lies in the fusion of it all, into a country that is one of the safest, most stable and manageable in Southeast Asia.

Currency:  Malaysian Ringgit

Flight Duration (From London): 12 Hours 45 Minutes

Language(s):  Asia

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

Many people will say you can visit Malaysia at any time of the year but do bear in mind the that rain falls fairly evenly throughout the year and the difference between the main October to April rainy season and the rest of the year is not that marked. During these months many east-coast resorts close and boat services dwindle or stop altogether.

No visa is required to travel to Malaysia but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Japanese encephalitis, Hepatitis B, MMR, Rabies and Tetanus-Diphtheria

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/malaysia/health

Maldives

A byword for paradise, the Maldives is the ultimate in long haul luxury. Currently enjoying incredible growth again having bounced back from a series of disasters in the past few years, it’s a popular tourist destination for honeymoons, sun worshipper or divers.

Its beaches are superior and the country see bright blue skies, all year sunshine and fantastic diving and snorkelling in lagoons the temperature of bath water.

Currency:  Maldivian Rufiyaa

Flight Duration (From London): 10 Hours 20 Minutes

Language(s):   Dhivehi

Time Zone: UTC +04:00

For winter sun the Maldives is perfect, making high season December to April amongst Europeans. The islands enjoy the dry monsoon with little rain and lower humidity while Europe feels the full, brutal force of winter.

February to April is the hottest period and resorts are almost all operating at capacity during this period; surfing season runs between March and October.

A visa is required on arrival to travel to Maldives and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/maldives/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis B, MMR, Rabies and Tetanus-Diphtheria

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/maldives/health

Philippines

The Philippines is a sovereign island country in South-East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons. Covering almost 300,000 square kilometres it is the 73rd largest independent nation made up of an archipelago of 7,107 islands.

With a population of more than 97 million people,the Philippines is the seventh most populated Asian country and the 12th most populated country in the world. Trade and subsequent Chinese settlement also introduced Chinese cultural elements that remain to this day.

Currency:  Philippine Peso

Flight Duration (From London): 13 Hours 20 Minutes

Language(s):  English & Philipino

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

Any time is a good time to visit the Philippines, with the possible exception of Holy Week (around Easter), when hotels book out months in advance and prices triple. New Year sees a similar hotel crunch in popular spots like Boracay, but the parties make it worthwhile. Also be aware that during typhoon season (June to early December), tropical storms raging up the east coast can mean foul weather for days, but there’s not much you can do to predict typhoons. Adopt the Filipino maxim – bahala na (whatever will be will be) – and wait it out.

No visa is required to travel to Philippines but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/philippines/entry-requirements

Russia

The diverse Russian landscapes of icy tundra and sun-kissed beaches, dense silver birch and fir forests and deep and mysterious lakes all add to the mystery of this fascinating country. Many people don’t know what to make of Russia, or how to imagine it, but a visit will soon sort that out…and maybe you won’t want to leave.

Factor in ancient fortresses, luxurious palaces, swirly-spire churches and lost-in-time wooden villages and you’ll begin to see why Russia is simply amazing. And to get the most out it, head way off the beaten track and take in the sights and sounds of history.

Currency:   Russian Ruble

Flight Duration (From London): 9 Hours 10 Minutes

Language(s):  Russian

Time Zone: UTC +03:00

Early summer and autumn are many people’s favourite times for a trip to Russia. By May, the snow has usually disappeared and temperatures are pleasant, while the golden autumnal colours of September and early October can be stunning.

Winter brings the Russia of popular imagination to life. If you’re prepared for it, travel in this season is recommended: the snow makes everything picturesque, and the insides of buildings are kept warm. Avoid the first snows though, which usually fall in late October, and the spring thaw in March or April which turn everything to slush and mud.

A visa is required before travel to Russia and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/russia/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Yellow fever (certificate of vaccination required if arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission)

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/russia/health

Singapore

Singapore is a strange collaboration of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Western cultures, with rich social diversity that’s anything but boring.

Singapore’s mouth watering food is the number one draw, with its fabulous and stylish restaurants and a whole host of top-notch hotels. As well as this, its shopping is second to none so be sure to check out what’s on offer if you’re looking to splurge!

Of course, it’s not all about shopping, eating and G&Ts on the veranda. Work up a sweat with outdoor activities such as walking, cycling or water sports – or for something a bit more relaxing, check out the country’s contemporary arts scene.

Currency:   Singapore Dollar

Flight Duration (From London): 13 Hours 10 Minutes

Language(s):  English

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

Practically on the equator, Singapore’s temperature never drops below 20°C, usually climbing to 30°C during the day. Rainfall and humidity are steady year-round. Rain arrives in torrential downpours, but is soon replaced by sunshine. It may rain every day during the wet season, but it rarely rains all day. The wettest months are November to January, the driest May to July.

No visa is required to travel to Singapore but 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese B encephalitis and Yellow Fever (certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission)

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/singapore/health

Sri Lanka

Endless beaches, vivid culture, exotic wildlife and timeless ruins. Sri Lanka has it all. It also has eight Unesco World Heritage Sites, packed into a relatively small area.

Its 2000-plus years of culture can be discovered at ancient sites filled with mystery, legendary temples boasting beautiful details crafted by artisans through the centuries and safari tours aplenty.

Currency:  Sri Lankan Rupee

Flight Duration (From London): 10 Hours 30 Minutes

Language(s):  Sinhala and Tamil

Time Zone: UTC +04:30

The driest and best season to visit Sri Lanka is between December and March for the west coast, the south coast and the Hill Country, and between April and September for the ancient cities region and the east coast. December through to March are also the months when most foreign tourists visit, the majority of them escaping the European winter so it can be busy.

A visa is required before travel to Sri Lanka and 6 months must be valid on your passport.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Yellow fever (certificate of vaccination required if arriving from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission10 days before travel) and Japanese B encephalitis.

For more information please visit: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/health

Thailand

Thailand is as radiant as you’d expect; the pictures don’t lie! Its people are friendly and it has an exotic culture and history that will leave you wanting more (especially the golden beaches and pearlescent coral gardens!).

This tropical getaway offers a variety of experiences, whether you’re backpacking on an extended travelling trip, or after a bit of luxury among the dramatic limestone mountains and clear blue waters. Whichever trip you’re on, we urge you to visit some of the country’s most sacred spaces, be it the gleaming temples, fortune-bringing shrines or meditation retreats in Chiang Mai. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Currency:   Thai Bart

Flight Duration (From London): 11 Hours 25 Minutes

Language(s):  Thai

Time Zone: UTC +07:00

The months between November and February are the best times to visit Thailand, mainly because it rains the least but is not too hot. This is when most of the country’s main festivals take place, which are well worth a visit.

There is no visa required to travel to Thailand but 6 months must be valid on your passport

For more information please visit this website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Cholera, Yellow Fever (if travelling from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission 10 days before travel) and Japanese B encephalitis

For more information please visit the below website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand/health

Vietnam

Beautiful coastlines, emerald-green mountains and dynamic cities make Vietnam one of the most culturally diverse and interesting places to visit in the world.

It is an outrageously fun country to explore and is becoming more developed on a day to day basis. The people are fantastic and though poor in parts, it is never squalid. It is also a country of countless influences. In the south, Indian and Hindu culture is more prevalent, whilst in the north, there are more Chinese tendencies.

Overall, one of our favourite places to visit on the planet.

Currency:  Vietnamese Dong

Flight Duration (From London): 12 Hours 10 Minutes

Language(s):  Vietnamese

Time Zone: UTC +06:00

The months between November and February are the best times to visit Thailand, mainly because it rains the least but is not too hot. This is when most of the country’s main festivals take place, which are well worth a visit.

There is no visa required to travel to Thailand but 6 months must be valid on your passport

For more information please visit this website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam/entry-requirements

Immunisations required are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Cholera, Yellow Fever (if travelling from an area with a risk of yellow fever transmission 10 days before travel) and Japanese B encephalitis

For more information please visit the below website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam/health

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