- 1 Pamir Highway Tour
- 2 Golden Triangle ‘Taj Traveller’ Tour
- 3 Nalanda Rajgir Tour
- 4 Varanasi Food Tour
- 5 The Best of Bangkok Private Tour
- 6 Bangkok by Night Tuk-Tuk Tour
- 7 HanoiKids Walking Tour
- 8 Island Hopping in El Nido And Expedition Tour
- 9 Island Hopping in Coron Tour
- 10 Birth of Industrial Korea Walking Tour in Euljiro Area
- 11 Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour
- 12 Cooking Class & Nishiki Market Tour
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The Best Tours Around the World series highlights one-of-a-kind tour adventures told through the experiences of world travelers.
When we asked travel bloggers to reflect on their best tour experiences from around the world, the scope of experiences talked about that are available in Asia is immense.
From a walking tour and cooking class through Kyoto, Japan, to exploring Bangkok at night on tuk-tuks, there are so many incredible, eye-opening opportunities. Here are their experiences with the top tours in Asia.
- Pamir Highway Tour
- Golden Triangle ‘Taj Traveller’ Tour
- Nalanda Rajgir Tour
- Varanasi Food Tour
- The Best of Bangkok Private Tour
- Bangkok by Night Tuk-Tuk Tour
- HanoiKids Walking Tour
- Island Hopping in El Nido And Expedition Tour
- Island Hopping in Coron Tour
- Birth of Industrial Korea Walking Tour in Euljiro Area
- Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour
- Cooking Class & Nishiki Market Tour
Pamir Highway Tour
- Tour Company: Visit Alay
- Location: Osh, Kyrgyzstan
- Experience told by Ellis Veen from Backpack Adventures
Starting the top tours in Asia, the Pamir Highway is a difficult place to travel in. It runs from Dushanbe in Tajikistan to Osh in Kyrgyzstan and is one of the world’s highest highways. The road goes through spectacular high altitude landscapes with glittering mountain lakes and snow-capped peaks all around you.
Although it is possible with public transport, it will require a lot of time and patience in this part of the world. Expect overcrowded shared taxis and delays as things break down in the middle of nowhere. If you really want to enjoy the Pamir Highway at your own pace, a tour is still the best way to go.
There are many variations possible, but most people go on week-long central Asia tours in the scenic southern route along the Wakhan corridor. This road runs right next to the Afghan border. The villages are so close that you can see the women washing clothes in the river and men on their motorbikes pass by.
It’s a very multicultural area. The Wakhan people speak their own language and follow their own version of Sufi Islam. As you travel from Dushanbe to Osh, you will meet more and more Kyrgyz people too. Its people and the spectacular view are the main attractions on the Pamir Highway.
At night you will stay in basic-but-welcoming homestays. Khorog and Murgab are some of the bigger towns along the way; others are small villages. It shows that life can be harsh up here in the long cold winters. Therefore summer is the best time to enjoy a Pamir Highway tour.
Tour companies will arrange a 4-by-4 with a driver for you. Expect to pay about 50 USD per day if you are in a group of four people. The driver will let you know about all the interesting sights along the way and gives you a lot of flexibility to stop wherever you want. The views are so spectacular that you certainly want to make some photo stops even though you know pictures can’t capture the real beauty of the Pamir Highway.
Golden Triangle ‘Taj Traveller’ Tour
- Tour Company: On the Go Tours
- Location: Golden Triangle, India
- Experience told by Paul Rought from The Two That Do
No list of the best tours around the world is complete without mention of India’s world-famous Golden Triangle.
Often a visitor’s first experience to this fabulous country, a Golden Triangle tour starts and ends in the northern city of Delhi, taking in the historic cities of Jaipur and Agra en route.
Boasting centuries-old palaces, UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the opportunity to witness life in rural villages, this makes for a wonderful introduction to this colorful and vibrant country.
On the Go Tours operate a week-long Golden Triangle tour known as the ‘Taj Traveller.’ Prices for which start around 875 GDP per person and includes accommodation and most meals, as well as the full-time assistance of one of their many hugely informative and expert guides.
After the all-important group introductions, your central Asia tour starts in Delhi. You’ll explore the majestic Red Fort, Jama Masjid mosque, and Gandhi’s tomb ahead of a scintillating rickshaw ride through the tight streets of the city’s Chandni Chowk bazaar.
The many treasures of Jaipur, the ‘Pink City,’ are next on the itinerary with the Amber Fort and City Palace memorable highlights. For a truly unique experience, book the added excursion of a morning dawn hot air balloon ride over the city. Gliding hundreds of meters above the eerily silent streets as the sun rises in the distance is a visually stunning and unforgettable memory.
After a tour of a rural Indian village and trip to the incredible Chant Baori stepwell, you head to Agra and the undoubted highlight of the journey. The sheer beauty of the Taj Mahal and the indescribable aura it projects are difficult to comprehend at first sight. No wonder this is one of the world’s most famous landmarks and a bucket list destination for millions.
Nalanda Rajgir Tour
- Tour Company: Government registered tour guide
- Location: Rajgir, India
- Experience told by Ruma Dey Baidya from The Holiday Story
“Nalan” means lotus, and “da” means delegate. Nalanda University was founded in the 5th century AD. In the Gupta period (after 600 years of Ashoka), Nalanda University established. At that time, students come from all over the world.
Besides Buddhism, they taught literature, philosophy, Vedas, logic, grammar, semantics, rhetoric, astrology, chemistry, and medicine. Hiuen Tsang came to Nalanda while traveling from China to India, and he studied here for a full five years. You must go with a guide on the Nalanda Rajgir tour to access these central Asia tours spots and to get to know the place better.
Several times outsiders ruined Nalanda University. But, after 20 years of excavation, the place is open for the public. Besides the Nalanda University, don’t forget to visit Nalanda Archaeological Museum. The museum keeps all sculptures coming up from the excavation. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site in India and supported by an archaeological survey of India. You must include the place on your Rajgir tour. The area is 12 km away from Rajgir’s central city and famous for Gautam Buddha.
We visited Rajgir from Kolkata Howrah station. First, we visit Gaya, Bodhgaya, and then by cab reach Rajgir. If it’s a single tour, the nearest station is Bakhtiyarpur. While you can take a local train, bus, or taxi to reach Rajgir, there’s still no direct train available. Then we contacted a government official guide to visit Nalanda and Rajgir in India. You can find them beside the university.
Varanasi Food Tour
- Tour Company: Roobaroo Walks
- Location: Varanasi, India
- Experience told by Mayuri Patel from Fernwehrahee
Your trip to India is incomplete without visiting spiritual capital–Varanasi. Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in India where death is celebrated and attracts millions of tourists from around the world! Varanasi offers so many activities and tours, be it Ghats Walk, visiting temples, shopping, or taking a food tour, there is something to offer for every kind of traveler.
As it is one of the oldest cities in India, the cuisines of Varanasi are a blend of different dishes that have emerged with time, but locals still preserve its authentic taste.
When you are in Varanasi, don’t forget to take one of these well-known central Asia tours, a Varanasi Food Tour. If you are traveling to India for the first time, its one of the top tours in Asia where you should devour all the delicious street food in India–Varanasi is heaven for it! Take a Food tour with Varanasi Walks or Roobaroo Walks early in the morning to get a glimpse into the Ghats’ actions and savoring the best food. You can combine a food tour with Old city and Ghats walk, which may take 4-5 hours.
The tour starts early in the morning and later on concludes by seeing the Ghats from the Boat. During the tour, you will taste many street food varieties, including famous Bhang Lassi, a kind of weed that is only Legal in Varanasi.
Start your tour with Chowk area near Vishwanath temple–taste the delicious Chaat at Deena Chat Bhandar/Kashi Chaat Bhandar. Their Tomato Chat is not to miss! After having spicy Chat, head to Raju Thandai for its Milk-based Thandai and Bhang. You’ll cross the temple and go to Kachori Gali–the most famous Place of Varanasi. The Ram Bhandar in Kachori Gali is renowned for popular snacks Kachori Sabji and Jalebi. Devour all the spiciness and head to have some sweet Lassi at Blue Lassi Shop.
Varanasi is famous for its milk-based items, especially Lassi. You will get 30+ flavored Lassi at Blue Lassi, but my favorite is Pomegranate Lassi, don’t miss it! If you visit Varanasi in winter, you will get sweet, frothy milk-based ‘Malaiyo’ that melts in your mouth!
If you are taking a tour in the morning, you must attain Aarti at Assi Ghat, take a boat tour, and then start a food tour. If you are taking your food tour in the evening, start the walk from Assi ghat, devour all the food, and end your tour at Dashshwamedh Ghat. Typically, a 4-5 hours tour will cost you 4500-5000 INR per person. You can also customize this tour to your liking.
The Best of Bangkok Private Tour
- Tour Company: Withlocals
- Location: Bangkok, Thailand
- Experience told by Corritta Lewis from Itz A Family Thing
For our first international trip, we decided to head to Bangkok in Thailand. I searched for a tour company that was affordable and could give us an authentic look at the city. I stumbled on an awesome app called Withlocals that pairs local tour guides with tourists.
The tour that we chose was The Best of Bangkok Private Tour with Sammy, and to say it was phenomenal is an understatement. We spend 5 hours touring some of the most iconic spots in Thailand with our guide.
The tour started at the golden Buddha, Wat Traimit, then headed to Chinatown, and Pak Klong Talad Flower Market. We rode in a tuk-tuk, took a boat to Phan Pa Klong, and stopped for local Thai Tea. My favorite part about the tour was when we were able to provide a donation to the temple and were “blessed” by the monks.
The day was amazing. We were able to get through all the attractions without waiting and learned so much about the city, including the “real” name of Thailand’s capital.
What made this tour even better was the price. We did all of this for 98 USD for two people. This included entry to all of the temples and drinks. I am sure we could have done a self-tour for a cheaper price, but having a dedicated and knowledgeable guide was so much fun. He was able to answer all of our questions about the city and Thai culture. He even exchanged money for us, since we forgot our passport at our hotel.
This trip inspired our decision to take a family gap year.
Bangkok by Night Tuk-Tuk Tour
- Tour Company: Expique
- Location: Bangkok, Thailand
- Experience told by Leslie Rivera from Backpackers Thailand
Bangkok is one of those cities that is hard to navigate, even if it’s not a first-time visit. It may be hard to tell one neighborhood from the other. When a fellow blogger recommended the Bangkok by Night tour as one of their top tours in Asia, I quickly jumped at the opportunity. It’s a foodie-friendly and fun way to explore the monuments, best temples, and markets in the city.
Expique Tours is one of the best-rated Bangkok tour operators, so the choice was easy to make. Our ride was done on a clear-roof tuk-tuk, from which you can enjoy the breathtaking city views.
Trip duration is 4 hours, with departures at 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
There are two ticket options: a join-in tour and a private tour. Join-in costs 2,200 THB per person, while private tour costs 1,950 THB per person. The price includes food, drinks, and travel insurance.
The tour starts at Krung Thonburi BTS Station. The first stop is a Klong San Market, for quick snacks tasting (Thai sausage is a must-try). Then you proceed to explore the small local temples, where the guide makes an introduction to Thai and Buddhist religious beliefs. This is good since the tour then leads to the historic heart of Bangkok, and famous Wat Prayoon and Wat Pho temples. Later, you will drive by the key sights: Grand Palace, the Giant Swing, and Loha Prasat.
You will leave the tuk-tuk for short walks through the signature night markets, including the flower market. You definitely won’t go hungry, since the tour includes lots of food sampling, including vegetarian food options. Don’t eat beforehand; save space for the signature dishes.
The tour ends at the flower market, where the tuk-tuk drops you off within selected drop-off areas.
HanoiKids Walking Tour
- Tour Company: HanoiKids
- Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
- Experience told by Courtney Byrneheim from Courtney in the Middle Seat
The best way to experience Hanoi is through the eyes of the next generation. Join a HanoiKids walking tour! HanoiKids is a student-run nonprofit that empowers local college students to be ambassadors for their city. Explore Hanoi’s history and culture while also getting the unique experience of learning about daily life from a local!
First visit to Hanoi? Choose a tour featuring the city’s most famous sites: Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature, the Old Quarter, and more. If you have already explored a bit on your own, HanoiKids lets you craft your own agenda. Your guide will pick you up at your hotel, and for the next few hours, you will learn more about Hanoi than any guide book could ever cover!
My tour started with a morning coffee (cà phê sữa đá, of course!) where Howl, my guide, shared insight into life as a college student in Hanoi. After our coffee, we headed to the Vietnamese Women’s Museum. Howl’s knowledge of Vietnamese history was truly impressive. Our conversation flowed freely, feeling more like meeting a new friend than taking a tour! After a few hours of exploring Hanoi, Howl led us to a fantastic spot for the most mouth-watering Bun Cha Hanoi!
My tour with HanoiKids was so good; I even joined another tour the next day! Not to mention, they are free. There is no fee for the tour, but you are expected to cover the entrance fees and meal costs for yourself and the student guide.
The best part is that as a guide, the students have opportunities to learn about the history of their city and practice conversational English skills. Take a walking tour with HanoiKids, and I guarantee it will be one of your fondest memories of visiting Hanoi!
Island Hopping in El Nido And Expedition Tour
- Tour Company: Buhay Isla
- Location: El Nido, Philippines
- Experience told by Ruben Arribas from Game In Traveler
One of the best places for island hopping in the world is El Nido in Palawan, the Philippines. It’s the most popular destination for local and foreign travelers in the country. There are a few day tours that you can enjoy A, B, C, and D. All of them are amazing.
You will visit paradise islands with huge limestones everywhere. The guides will cook fantastic food for you, and they will help you find the best spots for snorkeling. You will have around one hour in every place where you can swim, relax, sunbath, or take pictures.
From all these top tours in Asia and island hopping in El Nido, our favorite one is the expedition tour, where you will spend three days from El Nido to Coron or vice-versa. You will do island hopping during the day, and you will spend each night on a local island, sleeping in cottages where you will not have electricity.
The experience is the best since you can enjoy all the islands for yourself with nobody around. The food that they provide is Filipino food, and they are amazing. We did the expedition tour with Buhay Isla, and our experience was 10/10.
Read the Rest of the Series:
- Top Tours in North America
- Top Tours in South America
- Top Tours in Europe
- Top Tours in Africa
- Top Tours in Oceania
Island Hopping in Coron Tour
- Tour Company: Big Dream Boat Man
- Location: Coron, Philippines
- Experience told by Jackson Groves from Journey Era
Coron Island is often called the gem of the Philippines, but the only word I ever use to describe Coron is ‘epic.’ The sharp, jagged cliffs tower over your boat as you cruise along on the translucent, crystal clear water on your island hopping tour with Big Dream Boat Man.
As you wind your way from one incredible lagoon to another, the water changes from deep blue to aqua as your boat slides over another amazing reef. When you get tired from epic free-diving, snorkeling, and looking up at the dramatic cliffs, you settle down on a secluded beach for a feast of delicious seafood and camp overnight or stay in small huts on the beach.
The Big Dream Boat Man tour is a 4-night experience that consists of island hopping and snorkeling during the day and camping, bonfires, and relaxing on a secluded island at night.
You’ll visit hotspots like Kayangan Lake and Skeleton Wreck and more remote spots like Black Island and Pass Island. Most tourists visit the same spots on just a one-day island hopping trip, but with this trip, you escape the crowds and have time to reach even more remote, and even more stunning beaches.
The Big Dream Boat Man tour costs about 400 USD for the four days, including all food, entry passes to beaches and islands, some rum at night, and accommodation on the islands, of course.
Birth of Industrial Korea Walking Tour in Euljiro Area
- Tour Company: One More Trip
- Location: Seoul, South Korea
- Experience told by Marie Boes from Be Marie Korea
Euljiro is one of the oldest areas in Seoul and still looks the same as in the 1970s. During that time, South Korea went through an industrialization faze and developed from a third-world country to a first-world country in less than 15 years.
When walking through Euljiro, you can still see the remains of this fast industrialization period. The area is filled with tiny factories and workshops. Even though this area is located in the middle of the tourist center, you won’t see a single tourist in this area.
During my 7 days in Seoul, this Euljiro tour is probably one of the top tours in Asia I have ever been on, as it is so unique! You go through this really local area with not a single tourist. During the tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet a few factory owners who talk about the area and how it changed over the year. The Seoul Tourism Organisation created the tour, and that’s why it’s super cheap compared to other tours of Seoul.
The tour lasts about two hours and ends in a small, super-local coffee shop where you will be able to try some unique style coffees. If you are brave enough, try the coffee with a raw egg and spices.
Ultimate Ramen Tasting Tour
When you think of ramen, the image of noodles in soup, with seaweed, pork, and egg on top is probably the first thing that pops into your head. However, did you know that there are countless types of ramen, different ways of eating, using different ingredients, and different styles? Well, I didn’t know either, and that’s why we joined a ramen tour.
Our host, Frank, took us to see four different ramen shops around the Ebisu area in Tokyo, each with its own twist and specialty. Included in this top tours in Asia, you get to try out two mini-bowls of ramen at each of the ramen shops.
At one of the ramen shops we were taken to, we got to try out curry ramen. Yes, you read that right. They had a tsukemen style ramen, where you dip your noodles into the curry broth. If you’re unsure about this combination, I think you should give it a good. It definitely surprised me in a good way.
The highlight of the tour for me was the last place we went, where we got to try out basil ramen and squid ramen. It might sound strange to you, but it was delicious! Despite being quite full from the previous ramen shops, I thoroughly enjoyed these ramen.
Not just trying out ramen, but our host is extremely knowledgeable and has extensive experience in the history and culture of ramen. He walked us through the ins and outs of ramen, and we even had a fun exercise where we got to brainstorm our own ramen!
It was a unique experience, and I would definitely recommend any ramen lover to try it out when they are in Tokyo!
Cooking Class & Nishiki Market Tour
- Tour Company: CookingSun Kyoto
- Location: Kyoto, Japan
- Experience told by Pamela from Directionally Challenged Traveler
Japanese food is some of the most unique (and delicious) food in the world! When we visited Kyoto and had the opportunity to take an authentic cooking class – with a real Japanese chef – we couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
Nyo of Cooking Sun was a friendly face who welcomed us into her kitchen. We got to select one of the four recipes depending on our taste. Then she guided us through Nishiki Market – which is over 400 years old and has over 100 shops in it!
We got to explore the shops, taste samples (with Nyo talking to the shop owners), and pick out fresh, local ingredients. Often, Nyo would just have us try a sample without telling us what it is first; none of us had diet restrictions, fortunately. This led us to an experience I’ve never had before – trying food without any expectation of what it is or what the texture is going to be. Some of the items were delicious, and I wanted a second, some were bland, and others were–as my mother taught me to say–interesting.
Once Nyo purchased the ingredients, we went back to the kitchen. Nyo taught us about traditional Japanese knives and other cooking utensils before diving into the recipe. We laughed our way through mishaps, minor burns, and bad pronunciation of Japanese while cooking. I didn’t think I could learn that much in three hours, but I did! At the end of the tour, we got to eat our homemade meals with new friends, knowing these memories would last forever.
Which of these top tours in Asia are your favorite? Which experience do you want to try for yourself?
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