Exploring Asia: Top 25 Memorable Asian Day Tours To Enjoy

Are you exploring Asia in the near future?  There are so many places to visit that will ‘wow’ you, you are probably wondering where do you start!

We have reached out to top travel bloggers for their best memorable Asian Day Tours.  You can take local food tours to explore cuisine that is unique to Asia,  enjoy island hopping tours, visit the Taj Mahal and the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh and much more.  This is such a great informative list, you won’t have any problems deciding on what you should do, the only problem is making sure you give yourself enough time to travel through one of the most exciting destinations in the world – Asia!

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Map of Asia

Exploring Asia - Map

Map of Asia

What Countries in Asia Do I Need A Visa For?

Depending on what type of passport you hold you may need a visa before you travel.  For example, many travellers need an e-visa for Vietnam and the process is quite easy.  It is recommended to check the country that you intend to travel to before you book your flights to see if you need a visa.  Also, you will need to know that passports will require at least 6 months validity on them before you travel. For Asia travel check below:

Exploring Asia: Top 25 Memorable Asian Day Tours To Enjoy

Cambodia: Angkor Wat

Tour: A Day Trip Angkor Wat

Author: Sophie Clapton/Travels of Sophie

Exploring Asia Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat at Sunrise

Angkor Wat is one of UNESCO’s most incredible world heritage sites and should be on everyone’s bucket list for South-East Asia. Located just outside Siem Reap, it encompasses over 1000 temples within an area of over 400 square kilometres. Despite its size, with some careful planning, you can absolutely see the highlights in just a day.

In one day, you can easily manage what is commonly referred to as the “small loop”. This route will include the temples Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Keo, Ta Prohm, Banteay Kdei, and Prasat Krava. With some careful planning, you could include highlights from the “big loop” too, but this will be a fast-paced, tiring day.

With that in mind, be prepared for a lot of walking, over uneven ground and likely in very hot and humid weather. Unfortunately, Angkor Wat would not be easily accessible for anyone with mobility issues as there are many steps throughout the park.

It is very easy to arrange your visit independently upon arriving in Siem Reap and this provides a good way to ensure your money stays local. This Ultimate Guide to Angkor Wat will help with all aspects of arranging your trip. However, if you are short on time then there are numerous tour operators that will arrange everything for you.

Cambodia: Phnom Penh

Tour: Killing Fields and S21

Author: Paula MorganExpertabroad.com

Killing Fields Phnom Penh Stupa

Stupa that contains the skulls of the victims at the Killing Fields

While most travellers visit Cambodia to see the stunning temples of Siem Reap there is much more to the county. Between 1975 and 1979 Cambodia was ruled by the Khmer Rouge who wanted to rid the country of educated people who may revolt against him.

Sometimes when travelling it’s important to do the hard stuff. A visit to the Killing Fields in Phenom Penh is one of the darkest travel experiences we have had. It is also one that we feel is very important. Learning about the atrocities of people like Pol Pot can help us to make sure they never happen again.

There are several killing field sites in Cambodia. One of the largest was Choeung Ek, which is located 17km from the capital. It is thought that 17,000 people where executed here over the 4-year reign of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979.

The centrepiece of the site is a large Stupa that is filled with the skulls of those victims tortured here. The is also a series of mass graves, some not touched at all. The rest of the site as it would have looked before the genocide took place, leafy trees and green fields.

Walking through the Killing Fields is a very moving experience and it left us feeling haunted for some time. As challenging as this visit was, we feel that a visit here is a vital part of understanding Cambodia and appreciating the strength of the people and their spirit today.

Most people combine a visit to the Killing Fields with a stop at S-21 Toul Sleng – the Genocide Museum. Of the 14,000 people who were sent to S-21 only 7 survived. Usually one or more of these survivors is in attendance.

What is the best way to tour the Killing Fields?

We suggest a tuk-tuk from the city. This will set you back about USD$25 and the trip takes about 35 minutes. Once there your entry fee of about USD$20 includes an audio tour. You can also choose to engage a local guide to help you understand what you are seeing. We visited with a Khmer Rouge survivor and her story really impacted our entire month in the country.

Tips: Remember to cover your shoulders and knees. Leave the kids at home. This is too confronting for children in our view.

Cambodia: Otres Beach

Tour: Boat tour from Serendipity Beach

Author: Sapna Kapoor/My Simple Sojourn

Serendipity Beach Cambodia

Serendipity Beach

Serendipity Beach Sihanoukville is a beautiful sea town on Cambodia’s coast. A boat trip to nearby islands is one of the fun ways to spend a day in Sihanoukville. The most popular tours go for a full day trip to Koh Rong or three islands. These tours start from Serendipity Beach pier. If you are travelling solo or as a couple than book a tour through one of the tour operators. If you are in a group then rent a complete boat because it is economical.

These boat trips take you to the Koh Rong island. From the island, you can go snorkelling and paddle boating. Most of these boat tours have these activities included in the trip cost. After these activities, they take you for the jungle walk on the island. Lunch is included if you book the boat trip with an operator.

The speed ferry takes 45 minutes to Koh Rong and the slow boat takes 2 hours. These trips cost between 20 to 30 USD.

These boat trips are for suitable for people of all age groups and don’t require extra physical strength.

Cambodia: Tonle Sap

Tour: Tonle Sap

Author: Maura McKenna/Travel Kiwis

Exploring Asia

Tonle Sap

A visit to Siem Reap in Cambodia can be extended to see more than the famous Angkor Wat temples. One tour to consider is visiting a floating village on Tonle Sap Lake with Exo Travel.

Since 1993, Exo Travel has organised tours in South East Asia. And what you’ll love about their tours, is you set the pace of the day and have the tour guide and driver all to yourself.

The tour to Tonle Sap Lake is suitable for everyone and makes a great family trip. The guide and driver will collect you from your hotel in a comfortable air-conditioned SUV.

The 30-minute drive to the awaiting long boat Phnom Karom dock is often operated by a family. The boat travels at a moderate speed, to navigate the river tributary arriving at the village of Chong Kneas on Tonle Sap Lake.

The fun part is transferring from the longboat to the village shop which is roped to a pole to stop it floating away.  You can shop for souvenirs or have a drink as you take in the view of houses, including a school, floating on the lake.

This half-day tour is suitable for all ages to see another side of Cambodia.

Hong Kong

Tour: Hong Kong Food Tour

Author: Rosalind Cuthbertson/ Frequent Traveller

Hong Kong Food Tour

Hong Kong Food Tour delights

When it comes to city day tours a popular option is to take a food tour. We recently took an Eating Adventures Food Tour of Hong Kong and we weren’t disappointed.

Food! It’s one of life’s pleasures, one that brings family and friends together and a topic that transcends nationality. Ask a person about their national cuisine and their face will instantly light up and a new friend will be made.

Our Eating Adventures Food Tour began in the bustling Mong Kok area of Hong Kong. This half-day walking tour took us through the back streets of Mong Kok.

Walking these alleyways was a feast for the eyes, Chinese medicine shops sold a weird and wonderful assortment of natural medicines and we were enthralled as our guide William explained their uses and cures.

We explored the Mong Kok Market and were staggered by the freshness of the produce. William introduced us to local characters who were friendly and keen to show us their goods.

We watched bean curd being made, a laborious task which was fascinating to watch. We sampled Egg Tarts and sweet treats straight from the vendor and ate Dim Sum and Roast Goose with the locals.

If you are visiting Hong Kong, be sure to take an Eating Adventures Food Tour, it’s a fabulous day out, one that will leave you knowing more about Hong Kong daily life and the traditions that surround food preparation and consumption.

India: Agra

Tour: Taj Mahal

Author: Shalini Garnaik/Eager2Travel

Exploring Asia

Taj Mahal in Agra

Taj Mahal is one of the most beautiful Seven Wonders of the World. It is located in Agra, just 4 hours away from Delhi, the capital of India.

The tour would cost from 70 to 100 USD depending upon the luxury of the vehicle used. Mostly the tour starts at 9 am in the morning and ends by 7 pm.

Places covered in the tour are

  1. Taj Mahal
  2. Mehtab Bagh
  3. Red Fort
  4. Shopping at Agra

You get a driver cum guide who explains you the rich history of the monument along with the sacrifices made by the workers. After finishing the monument, the hands of the workers were cut to prevent them from creating another Taj Mahal.

This tour is suitable for everyone, even kids can enjoy the history lesson or play at the nearby park. You can find many tours in Delhi providing this sightseeing.

You can follow Shalini on Instagram.

For Travel Around South East Asia

Southeast Asia Travels on Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Others. Overnight Buses, Sleeper Trains, Cheap Flights, Ferry Boats to Islands, Charter Transfers. Find Tickets. Get Guide. Click here for more details.

Indonesia: Yogyakarta

Tour: Temple Hopping from Borobudur to Prambanan

Author: Roshni Patel/The Wanderlust Within

Exploring Asia

Borobudur

One of the most popular day trips in Yogyakarta is temple-hopping from Borobudur to Prambanan. The day is fairly exhausting but it’s worth the early wake up (pick up is at 3.30 am) so you can witness the sunrise over the worlds largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur.

The UNESCO World Heritage site is found on top of a mountain, surrounded by volcanoes and lush green forests. The temple is 95 foot high and made up of several terraces each holding 72 stupas. There is a lot of walking involved but you have 2 hours to explore at your own pace. There are also a few shops where you can grab some breakfast before braving the infamous Yogyakarta traffic to drive across the city to Prambanan temple. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a collection of three main temples dedicated to Hindu deities; Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. There are over 500 monuments found throughout the site, some are restored but many remain as rubble, giving an idea of the size of the archaeological work still yet to be completed.

The tour will end around 1 pm back at your hotel, in time for lunch and a nap if required!

Laos: Luang Prabang

Tour: Kuang Si Falls and Laos Buffalo Dairy Day Trip from Luang Prabang

Author: Kyla Hunter/Where Is The World

Exploring Asia - Dairy Farm Luang Prabang

Laos Buffalo Dairy

Luang Prabang is a beautiful French colonial city surrounded by the steamy Laos jungle. The best city tour in Luang Prabang actually isn’t in the city at all, but found in the hills above the city. Kuang Si Falls and the Laos Buffalo Dairy make the perfect day trip from Luang Prabang.

This tour is suitable for people of all ages, although some mobility is required for visiting Kuang Si Falls. You can arrange a Songthaew (taxi-truck) yourself, or book a tour. Whichever you choose, pack drinking water and comfortable walking shoes to make the most of your day.

While you’re at the Falls you can also choose to visit the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Center or the Butterfly Farm. Bring your bathing suit and go for a dip, or simply trek around the waterfalls enjoying the scenery. The creamy blue water is incredibly beautiful and is at it’s best on a sunny day.

On your way back from the falls, stop at Laos Buffalo Dairy. Having an ice cream cone is an absolute must-do, but you can also tour the farm and learn about the incredible initiatives helping local farmers. Beyond the buffalo, there are rabbits and pigs to feed, and tables where you can relax and enjoy your ice cream.

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur

Tour: City Tour of Kuala Lumpur

Author: Raihaan Is’rafael/A Rai Of Light

Exploring Asia Batu Caves

Batu Caves

Kuala Lumpur has grown to become one of the best cities to offer a great blend of city life and cultural experience. Not to mention interesting places to visit and some of the best food.

Joining a city tour is a good option for those looking to see the best of the city in a short amount of time. Some of the iconic landmarks include the Petronas Twin Towers, Independence Square, the National mosque, with the highlight being a visit to the 400-million-year-old Batu Caves. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims to climb 272 steps to reach a temple filled with Hindu shrines.

The tour is suitable for both families and solo travellers and if you’re looking for souvenirs a stop at the Central Market is included where you’re able to browse to your heart’s content at the Handicraft Center.

Malaysia: Kuching

Tour: Day Tour from Kuching Visiting Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, Bidayuh Longhouse Village, Borneo Rainforest

Author: Nicolette Kay/Semi-Budget Travel

Orangutans in Kuching

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

While there is plenty to do in and around Kuching proper, opportunities to meet orangutans, eat authentic Bidayuh food, and trek through the jungle to swim under a waterfall are found further afoot. But, can all that be accomplished in just one day? The answer is yes!

Saloma Villagestay offers a day trip, complete with transportation to and from your Kuching lodging. Along the way, you will experience the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre, where you will observe orangutans in their natural habitat. In Saloma’s own home, you will enjoy authentic Bidayuh cuisine, made with fresh local ingredients. Saloma will also guide you through a Bidayuh longhouse village and into the Borneo rainforest for a refreshing swim at a waterfall. This day trip is suitable for a range of ages (our day trip ranged from age 5 to 50+). All transportation, meals, and entrance fees are included in the price of the day trip. This is authentic Borneo at its best!

Malaysia: Penang

Tour: Food Hop With Heritage On a Plate

Author: Priyanka Gupta/On My Canvas

Penang Local Food Tour

Local Malay cuisine

Penang, a lush island of Malaysia, is one of the most sought-after Southeast Asian destinations for street food and wall graffiti. In Georgetown, the UNESCO heritage centre of Penang, you can find food as varied as Indian roti, Chinese red bean sweet dumplings, and Assam Laksa, a spicy Malaysian fish soup.

But how do you find all this food?

Even though you can find food at every turn in Georgetown, a local of the city would be the best person to show you some of the hidden hawker centres and the tiniest stalls that are now popular around the world.

We suggest you take this Georgetown: Food Hop with heritage on a plate half-day tour guided by a local. This tour would take you from the Little India of Georgetown to the labyrinth of tiny lanes that Georgetown is while describing all the traditional food in Georgetown. As some of these culinary items have come from around the world with the Chinese, Indians, and other ethnicities who migrated to Malaysia, you would also get to understand the origin and the story behind each delectable dish.

If you are below 18 years then you will need an adult to accompany you on this tour. Wear comfortable shoes, carry a water bottle along, and enjoy Penang street food.

Myanmar: Yangon

Topic: The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Author: Monique Skidmore/Tripanthropologist 

The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most significant Buddhist site in Myanmar. Located in the former capital city of Yangon, it is rivalled only by the Bagan Plain in terms of absolute must-do sights. If you are time poor this tour is a great one to do as it includes air-conditioned return transfers from your hotel and entrance fees.

Everyone must take off their footwear before entering any Buddhist site in Myanmar and this rule applies to the moment you set foot upon the pagoda compound. The marble tiles get mighty hot in the middle of the day and in the hot season, so a night tour is a practical one!

For travellers unfamiliar with Theravada Buddhism and for first-timers to Myanmar, pagoda precincts such as the Shwedagon can be imposing with touts, fortune tellers and “guides” seeking to “help” you. They are large and often difficult to understand with their proliferation of shrines and animist elements. A guided tour makes these aspects more understandable.

The Shwedagon is magnificent at night and if possible, try and see it both at day and night. The Shwedagon Evening Pagoda Tour by Tour East Myanmar includes two hours at the Shwedagon which is about right in terms of having a good look around.

Related Reading: Top 5 Places to Visit in Myanmar

Singapore: 

Tour: Bitemojo Food Tours

Author: Rachel Heller/Rachels Ruminations

Kampong Glam Singapore

Kampong Glam in Singapore

As a person who likes to set my own pace, I particularly enjoyed taking a Bitemojo tour in Singapore. Bitemojo is an app-based food tour, which means you can take your time as you move from “bite” to “bite.” (Take my word for it, what Bitemojo calls a “bite” is a lot more than that!).

In Singapore, Bitemojo offers two tours; we took the one in Kampong Glam, a neighbourhood with a fascinating and diverse story. It’s been home to Malays, Arabs, Chinese, and many other groups. Today it shows its history in the rows of colourful shophouses, the stunning Sultan Mosque, and the streets full of hip eateries and pubs and dotted with outstanding and surprising street art.

Our “bites” were as diverse as the neighbourhood, including pita and hummus, Kaswi Kueh (a steamed sticky rice cake), beef rendang, and kaya toast, among others. On the walk from restaurant to restaurant, we read about the neighbourhood and its history, visited the sights and also learned about the particular foods we ate.

Depending on your appetite and how many sights you stop to see, this tour could take just a couple of hours to all day; it’s up to you. Given the size of the “bites,” you might even want to stretch it over two days! Read about my Bitemojo experience here.

Book Now
Book here for your Bitemojo Food Tour around the world. Use our ToTravelToo10 code for a special discount on your next tour.

You must download the Bitemojo app –

From the Google store

From the Apple store: 

Taiwan: Sun Moon Lake (One hour out of Taichung)

Tour: Sun Moon Lake

Author: Max Gandy/Dame Cacao

Exploring Asia Sun Moon Lake Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake Taiwan

One of the most well-known culturally important sites for indigenous Taiwanese people is Sun Moon Lake, a gorgeous body of water located just south of Taiwan’s geographic centre. Often cited as one of the most beautiful places in the country, it’s also quite easy to add Sun Moon Lake to your Taiwan itinerary

The site is just an hour outside of Taichung, Taiwan’s second-largest city, or about 2 hours from Taipei, and you can see everything in a day by using the Sun Moon Lake Pass. This all-day trip starts with your arrival at the tourism centre, where you’ll see your first glimpses of the cerulean water. Next, you’ll take a boat ride out to the island in the centre, or rent a bike to ride around the perimeter of the lake. Other things to do include Wenwu Temple, Ci En Pagoda, and the Thao Tribe Performance Center, as well as the Ida Thao night market.  This is the perfect day trip for any type of traveller, from families with young kids to baby boomer couples and solo travellers.

Taiwan: Taipei

Tour: Taipei Historic Walking Tour

Author: Chloe Koh/Chloe’s Travelogue

Exploring Asia Taipei

Free Walking Tour of Taipei

When you visit a city for the first time, there is no better way to get your bearings and learn about the town than joining a walking tour. Especially in cities with a rich history, like Taipei, many tourist sites are historical landmarks. In which case, hearing interesting stories behind the history and cultural significance from a local expert makes a huge difference in your overall experience.

In Taipei, you can sign up for a free walking tour (by Like it Formosa) to visit six most famous historical places – including Longshan Temple, Bopiliao Historic Block, Ximending Red House, Taiwan Presidential Palace, 228 Peace Memorial Park, and National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. All these sites are located in proximity, making it easy to visit in a three-hour walking tour. Before you know it, three hours pass by as you learn history through storytelling at each stop.

As this tour requires a long walk, wearing comfortable shoes is essential. The tour is offered daily at a fixed time, so it is best for physically capable travellers with a flexible schedule.

See how you can add this free walking tour into your Taipei Itinerary

Thailand: Ayutthaya

Tour: Ayutthaya -Ancient Capital of Siam Day Trip from Bangkok

Author: Ben Reeve/The Sabbatical Guide

Ayutthaya is a fantastic option for a day tour from Bangkok. With trains leaving Bangkok every hour it is an easy escape from the busyness of Thailand’s capital city. The city of Ayutthaya was once the capital of ancient Siam and among the most important cities in the world. It fell into ruin after attacks in 1767 and is now a UNESCO heritage site that has become hugely popular with tourists. The main ruins can all be seen in a single day, with the best option to hire bikes and book a ’Temple Combo Ticket’ which allows you to see all the main attractions with a one entry fee. The most famous temple is Wat Maha That, which has the head of an old Buddha statue encased by a tree. It’s one of the most iconic images in Thailand and has featured in many travel publications. With a travel time of around 90 minutes Ayutthaya is a perfect day trip and one I would highly recommend.

Thailand: Bangkok

Tour: Bitemjojo Vegan Food Tour

Author: Jane Dempster-Smith/To Travel Too

Vegan Ice Cream Bitemojo Tour Bangkok

Yummy vegan ice cream at Veganerie

We all love ice cream but have you tried Vegan Ice Cream made from vanilla soy ice cream, whipped coconut cream, vegan cookie crumble with a topping of seasonal blueberries and strawberries? It is heaven in a bowl.

A visit to Veganerie is one of the ‘bites’ from Bitemojo’s Vegan Food Tour of Bangkok. In this tour, there are 6 stops; four savoury dishes and two desserts all along the busy Sukhumvit Road and all in walking distance of one another. Not only do you get to taste the best of Vegan Food in Bangkok you also learn historical and interesting facts along the way.

This is one tour that you can take your time, there are no set time limits you can visit as fast as you like or as slow as you like. You can even spread the tour out over a few days just as long as the venues are open. There is so much food you won’t be able to consume it all in one go unless you are very very hungry.

Book Now
Book here for your Bitemojo Food Tour. Use our ToTravelToo10 code for a special discount on your next tour.

You must download the Bitemojo app –

From the Google store

From the Apple store: 

Related Reading: 6 Reasons To Visit Bangkok

Thailand: Chiang Mai

Tour: Chefs Food Tour

Author: Jane Dempster-Smith/ToTravel Too

Khao Soi thai dish

Northern Thailand – Khao Soi

One of Northern Thailand’s most famous dishes is Khao Soi. As part of “A Chefs Tour,” lunchtime food tour is a visit to one of Chiang Mai’s most famous Khao Soi restaurants. Khao means rice and Soi means noodles cut into small bite-size pieces. The curry sauce that accompanies the dish is made with spices from the Yunnan Province. There is a special way to eat the dish, which will be explained to you when the dish arrives.

The tour includes spending time at one of the local markets learning about the history of Northern Thailand’s cuisine as well as tasting the Queen of Fruits the Mangosteen and the King of Fruits the Durian if you dare. For those who love exotic or strange food, you can enjoy the local crickets, silkworms and even bamboo worms.

This is one tour that we would recommend that you even miss breakfast, as there are so many dishes and yummy morsels to try. After the market visit, you have the opportunity to enjoy papaya salad and grilled chicken before finishing the adventure off with a choice of ice creams from “ring the bell’ ice cream.

Related Reading: Things to do in Chiang Mai

Thailand: Koh Phi Phi

Tour: Full Day Island Hopping

Author: Naomi Beemsigne Williams/Eat Love Explore

Exploring Asia - Monkey island

Watch out for these cheeky monkeys

 Koh Phi Phi is a small island off the Southern coast of Thailand, best known for its amazing beach parties, flawless beaches, and views.

The island is located really close to some other amazing islands in Thailand making it the perfect place to do a half or full-day island hopping tour.

This island hopping tour is suitable for all travellers and you will get the chance to explore these islands: Ko Phi Phi Don, Monkey Beach, Vikings Cave, Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Le.

You’ll get about an hour to explore and snorkel at each stop which is more than enough time to enjoy and appreciate each place. You’ll quickly see that each island is unique and stunning in its own way.

Don’t forget to pack everything you need including your sunscreen, hat and towel. It’s really easy to burn quickly and being in the water so much, it’s easy to forget about it.

If you’re wondering if Monkey Island actually has monkeys on it, the answer is yes! They are very used to people and not shy to come right up and steal your food, camera or hat if you give them the chance – so be careful!

If you do the full-day tour, lunch will be included and you will be treated to a spectacular sunset from the water. If you have the time, I highly recommend doing the full day tour because you will get more time on each island and be able to enjoy it more.

This island hopping tour is one of the best things to do in Koh Phi Phi and you will definitely love it!

Thailand: Ko Samui

Tour: Angthong Marine Park, Ko Samui

Author: Steve Rohan thetripgoeson.com

Ko Samui

Ko Samui Angthong Marine Park

Angthong Marine Park is a nature reserve covering 42 islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Tour companies on Ko Samui offer day trips which include kayaking, snorkelling and hiking around some of the most idyllic “desert islands” you could ever hope to imagine.

Your tour company will arrange to pick you up at your hotel for transfer to the marina. From there it’s a 90-minute boat ride to the marine park. Onboard, there are free refreshments and light snacks (water, biscuits, fruit etc). Keep your eyes peeled and if you are lucky you might spot a dolphin or two.

The first destination is the island of Koh-Wau-Ta-Lap where you can ascend a series of steep steps up to a viewing platform which looks out across the archipelago. Although the top platform is only 262 metres above sea level, it’s a tough climb in the heat of the day and a moderate level of fitness is required.

After spending a few hours discovering Koh-Wau-Ta-Lap, there is the option of sea-kayaking to the next island, and from there you can hike up to the pristine blue lagoon called Talay Nai.

The tour is suitable for families but children must be at least four years of age. Many of the activities are optional so you can choose between relaxing on the beach or hiking, snorkelling and kayaking.

Thailand: Krabi

Topic: James Bond Island Phang Nga National Park Krabi

Author: Chris Bienemann/More Life In Your Days

Exploring Asia James Bond Island

James Bond Island

One of the best tours from Krabi is to take a boat trip to the famous James Bond Island.

This tall narrow pinnacle is the most famous of the many limestone islands in Phang Nga National Park. It featured in a pretty ancient James Bond film.

Maybe some of the hundreds of people that visit each day are big Bond fans, but for most people, it is the spectacular environment around here that is the main attraction.

Karst islands rise spectacularly out of the Andaman Sea and a boat trip around the area is a sight to behold. Every island is different and each is uniquely beautiful, but it is the fact that they are all over the place that makes this area so special.

In addition to the natural beauty, you can visit the fascinating Koh Panyee (sometimes billed as the Venice of Thailand) where around 1500 people live in rickety huts built on stilts above the water.

It is an interesting place to look around and learn a little about a different way of life that revolves around the sea. This tour is a must if you are in this part of Thailand!

Vietnam: Hanoi

Topic: Hanoi Food Tour

Author: Emily Lush / Wander-Lush

Pho in Hanoi Vietnam

A bowl of the popular Pho in Hanoi Vietnam

Loud, pungent, and visually chaotic, Hanoi is truly a city for all five senses. One of the best ways to discover Vietnam’s capital is by eating your way around on a food tour.

Vietnamese cuisine needs no introduction. Hanoi is debatably the epicentre of the country’s street food universe, with enough markets, hole-in-the-wall eateries and roving vendors to keep your tastebuds occupied for an entire lifetime. Every dish has a fascinating story behind it that speaks to the city’s history and culture. A food tour is a great chance for the uninitiated to hear these yarns and pick up practical tips as to how street food commerce works.

A food tour of Hanoi typically includes a walk around the Old Quarter and a visit to one of the nearby produce markets. If you’re lucky, your tour might even wander into a local neighbourhood. In Truc Bach, you can taste my favourite street food speciality, pho cuon.

Staple snacks including phobun cha and egg coffee feature on most grazing menus. Not only will your guide show you where to source the best of the best, they can also teach you how to order ‘local style’. Requesting a gooey egg atop your ban cuon is a priceless life lesson!

When choosing a Hanoi food tour, I recommend going with a socially responsible company such as Backstreet Academy, which only works with local guides. They can tailor a tour to any specific dietary needs and accommodate for kids as well.

Related Reading: A Weekend Hanoi Itinerary

Vietnam: Ho Chi Minh City

Tour: Cu Chi Tunnels Ho Chi Minh City

Author: Jessica Drier/Unearth The Voyage

Exploring Asia Cu Chi Tunnels

Cu Chi Tunnels

There are so many day tours in some pretty incredible cities throughout Southeast Asia. If you get a chance to visit Vietnam, we suggest adding a day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels from Ho Chi Minh City to your Vietnam itinerary. From Ho Chi Minh, there are many different tour companies that will take you on a day tour to visit the tunnel. Of all the tour operators, we highly suggest checking out Les Rives Experience for their commitment to being a responsible tour company and giving back to the community. The Cu Chi Tunnels are an immense network of tunnels dug and built during the Vietnam War. The tunnels were used by the Viet Cong as hiding spots during the war and as military camps. The tunnels aren’t just in one area, though, they actually span almost through the entire country! During the tour, you will learn about what life in the tunnels was like and get to go inside of the tunnels as well as see old military camps. This tour is suitable for pretty much anyone. There is some walking you have to do, and going into the tunnels is optional, so don’t worry if you are claustrophobic and don’t feel like going in the tunnels!

Related Reading: 15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Vietnam

Vietnam: Hue

Tour: Hue Temple Tour

Author: Laura Caddick/The Travelling Stomach

exploring asia - hue temple hopping

Hue Temple

Hue, one of the less frequently visited cities in Vietnam, is home to some of the most incredible architecture across the country. Take a day trip with Stop and Go tours to get out of the city and visit these incredible imperial tombs and find out more about the emperors that built them. Great for all ages who wish to learn more about the history of Hue and enjoy exploring historic buildings, with a driver for the day you can go at your own pace and explore as much or as little as you wish.

The classic Hue Temple Tour starts off with a visit to Khai Dinh tomb. A blend of European and Asian styles, the most striking part upon entrance to the complex are the stone bodyguards standing to attention like chess pieces. Once you’ve climbed up and marvelled at the lavish interiors take time to look back at the incredible views across the countryside of Hue. The other two tombs you’ll visit, Minh Mang Tomb and Tu Duc Tomb, are very different both with peaceful gardens and lakes to wander around offering a moment of reflection. Heading back towards to city you can add on a boat ride up the Perfume River to Thien Mu Pagoda, a perfect place to catch the sun setting.

Vietnam: Hue

Tour: DMZ Tour From Hue

Author: Oli Diprose/Not Brits Abroad

exploring asia - dmz crossing

DMZ Crossing

During the Vietnam War, the Ben Hai River acted as the border between North and South Vietnam. Nowadays, you’ll find various historical sites in and around the area as a reminder of the conflict. There are half and full-day tours available from the city of Hue.

Aside from the DMZ crossing itself, one of the highlights is the Vinh Moc Tunnels which were built by locals to avoid American bombs. The tunnels go down as far as 23 metres underground and were used as a shelter for over five years.

If you opt for a full-day tour, this will often include a stop at the Khe Sanh Combat Base, a former American base found a short distance from the border with Laos. The base has several remnants including tanks, planes and helicopters as well as a museum about the base’s significance during the war.

Taking a tour of the Demilitarized Zone area is fantastic for anyone with an interest in the Vietnam War. At times, it may not be the most light-hearted of activities but all of the sites are distinctly memorable and well worth visiting.

Related Reading: Walk of Revolution Tour Hue

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18 Comments

  • Rachelle says:

    I love all things about this post! It’s been my dream to go backpacking in SEA for some time now, and it’s looking like my birthday trip for next year! I really want to go to Krabi to tour the James Bond Island. I’m a huge Bond fan. Hue made it onto my list after watching the Anthony Bourdain episode that he filmed there. It looks like a dream!

  • Lisa says:

    Wow this is an incredible list of tours to do in Asia. I love taking tours whenever I travel and you’ve given me plenty to work with here. I’ve yet to visit India, Cambodia, Laos or Taiwan, so I’ve got tons of inspiration. The lake in Taiwan looks stunning, and is somewhere I definitely would like to visit.

  • Amanda says:

    I’ve definitely heard of all of these except Hue! It intrigued me with temples and then brought me full circle with some history. Those are the types of places I like the most. This is such a perfect list for exploring Asia, I can’t wait to go! You seriously thought of everything, thank you!

  • Wow, you have completed all the excellent day trips to be done in SE Asia. I have travelled through SE Asia extensively and I am glad to realise that I have been to most of these places. Something that caught my attention here is the vegan food tour in Bangkok – it seems to be so interesting. I would love to join it someday.

    • Hi Shreya
      Thanks for your comments. It is a great list, thanks to our travel experts. The vegan food tour in Bangkok is definitely worth it.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • What a great feature on some of Asia’s to day tours! I loved reading about my own favourites already visited, such as Agra, Taipei and Bangkok, and the ones I’m yet to see. The Vietnam section was super handy as we are visiting there next!

    • Hi Kavita
      Thanks for your comments. There are so many great things to see and do in Asia. Lots of travel planning, but well worth it.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • What a nice exhaustive list of to do or must do list In and around Asia . I had a nightmare when i vsited killing fields in Cambodia paired with s21 prison. The story still haunts me and thereby went to watch this movie “first they killed my father” . It is really disheartening sometimes to hear stories about each countries past .. oh between India is so big , the places you mentioned is just a few . You must include more

  • Danni L says:

    Cambodia! Angkor Wat! Such a dream for me and I had no idea you could squeeze its 1000 temples into a day – but great to know. I’d follow that with Krabi and mingle with the Bond fans.

  • Amar Singh says:

    A very interesting post I must admit as I live travelling through Asia. I have been lucky enjoying to do a few of these and my favourite still
    Is a visit to the Taj Mahal. The Angkor Wat is on my list and I want to tick it ok soon. Reading your post just makes me think how much is on offer around the world when this list if 25 shows us so much. I want to visit all the 25. Not too far. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is such a lovely post TBH. Done a few off the list but need to do so many more. Love how the information has been conveyed in a crisp manner specially for South East Asian nation’s.

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