Immerse Yourself in Asia

Japan • India • Thailand • Vietnam • Laos • Cambodia

 

“It felt like a dream world.”

See how best friends of over 20 years felt sharing a trip to Japan together. You may be surprised by everything they learned about the country and culture along the way.

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Why Go Guided in Asia with Collette?

Designed by Travellers

Our tour designers are curious like you, and carefully choose every element of your trip. Ready to overnight in a monastery? Have lunch with Thai people at their home? Us, too.

Relax. We’ve Got This.

There’s a lot to navigate in Asia and we know that firsthand. We have team members who live there! That means we know the way – from the literal road ahead to the language and the culture. Our experts have you covered.

Satisfying Your Curiosity

We hear you: You want the must-sees and more. Don’t worry. We’ll take you to Tokyo. But you’re going to meet the locals and experience lesser-known sites, too.

Support Around the World

You’ve got your local expert, plus a behind-the-scenes group of travel professionals on standby back home. Our experienced response team is there to support you no matter what, 24/7, all year long.

Your Personal Inside Scoop

Your Tour Manager is a true local expert. They live and breathe the culture and destination. And they’re highly rated professionals we’ve handpicked to show you the way.

Diving Deeper

Most of our tours to this region are uniquely designed for small groups. Get closer to the action and gain access to local people, restaurants, and unique accommodations that the big groups can’t reach.

Travellers said it best...

Brandon E.

Cultural Treasures of Japan Traveller

“Yoko the [Tour Manager] was amazing! She really helped us understand the culture and gave great suggestions on how to make the tour special — restaurant recommendations, maps to locations, and she even went out of her way to help us make a reservation at an Omakase. If we mentioned a food item that we wanted to try, she helped us find it! We loved being with her. This was our 6th Collette tour, and Yoko is the best guide we’ve had!”

Christine M.

Wonders of Thailand Traveller

“The variety of activities/sites was wonderful! Nothing felt like ‘oh, we've already seen stuff like this.’ We learned so much about the culture, traditions, and spirituality of Thailand. I am extremely grateful for our wonderful Tour Manager. He welcomed questions and strived to ensure we learned as much as possible.”

“We enjoyed going with our guide, Sanjay, who explained the cultural, religious, historical, and political significance of the sites we saw. The tour made me aware of a country and culture that I never had paid that much attention to. He was excellent at putting sites we visited into a cultural context. It was never just looking at something.”

Peter L.

Mysteries of India Traveller

See for Yourself…

Frequently Asked Questions

Vietnam

There will be a lot of walking, so broken-in, comfortable shoes are key on tour. Casual clothing is OK, though people tend to dress conservatively, especially in religious sites like temples. Khakis, slacks, polo shirts, and cotton tops are all appropriate.

The basic rule for visiting temples is to cover your shoulders and knees. Ideally, you would cover your ankles, too. On the bottom, wear longer shorts, capris, pants or a knee-length or longer skirt. On top, choose any shirt that fully covers your shoulders. A pashmina or a scarf worn around the shoulders over a sleeveless shirt would work. In addition, you may be asked to remove your shoes to enter, so we suggest easy slip-on shoes and wearing socks.

Weather is typically hot during the day and cool in the evenings, so think layers.

The currency of Vietnam is the Dong. The currency of Laos is the Kip. The currency of Cambodia is the Riel.

Your personal bank card may work at local ATMs in the destination you are travelling to and would dispense local currency. Check with your bank before you leave. Please note that ATMs will probably be the most convenient and least expensive way to obtain local currency, however, they may not always be available.

Most street vendors accept local currency and US dollars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but local currency is always helpful. It’s a must in small denominations for lunches and tipping.

While you may be used to servers leaving you with a menu, waitstaff will wait while you look at the menu to take your order. Don’t feel rushed; they don’t mind waiting! In fact, you will have to request your bill at the end of the meal. Restaurants will not pressure you to hurry or leave.

You may have heard to avoid drinking tap water and ordering drinks with ice, but ice is generally safe in restaurants! You can always confirm the water is filtered before. Another tip: Bring your own napkins. They’re seldom provided.

Japan

The currency in Japan is the Yen. Not every place accepts credit cards, but Japan is very accustomed to breaking larger bills in shops and stores. Small currency may be needed for shopping at smaller shops, restaurants, and local businesses.

Your personal bank card may work at local ATMs in the destination you are travelling to and would dispense local currency. Check with your bank before you leave. Many travellers use ATMs located at 7-Eleven stores as they are easy to find and use.

7-Elevens themselves are a unique culture stop, as these convenience stores often have more varied snack and drink options than you may be used to at home!

Japanese are very passionate when it comes to food!

Many Japanese restaurants specialize in one dish to master it and other options may not be available. Vegan, vegetarian, and even gluten free diets are uncommon in Japan and not widely catered to. Meals are cooked to highlight the freshness of each ingredient and include many local specialties.

Portions may be smaller than you’re used to at home as Japanese are not accustomed to taking leftovers, and leaving too much food is considered disrespectful. You will rarely see food left on plates in Japan.

You may not be able to identify the various items by looking at them, but your Tour Manager should be able to assist you with any questions. Fish is an integral part of the Japanese diet and prepared in many ways.

Japan is also known for their noodles — such as soba, udon, and somen — which many restaurants make fresh! An interesting point, when eating noodles in Japan, its standard practice to slurp them. Slurping shows respect to the preparer and demonstrates that you’re enjoying the noodle dish. Don’t be shy and try slurping your noodles like the locals do!

If you’d like to try your hand at local phrases, start your meal by putting your hands together and saying “itadakimasu,” (ee-ta-dak-ee-mah-su) which means “I gratefully receive this meal.” In a restaurant setting this is typically said collectively as a group to signal the start of the meal much like “Bon Appetit.” At the end of your meal, it is customary to say “gochisosama deshita,” (go-chee-so-sama dey-shee-ta) meaning "thank you for the meal." This phrase can be said individually when you are finished or collectively to signal the end of the meal, usually when the bill is paid and you are ready to leave. You may see some Japanese people saying this directly to the waiter or chef before leaving the establishment. These phrases express gratitude to both the cook and the ingredients.

This is a totally unique overnight at a working Buddhist temple.

You’ll sleep on a traditional Tatami mat, dine only on vegetarian meals along with the monks of the temple, and you are not allowed to wear shoes inside or roll luggage. Overnight bags are needed here.

You can bring socks to wear if you feel that you need something on your feet. The floor coverings in the monastery are traditional straw matting, and it is custom in Japan to not wear shoes on these floors. There will be bathroom slippers/slides provided to wear in the bathrooms only. The monastery stay has private bathrooms and toilets.

Thailand

Thailand is warm year-round. Their cooler, dryer seasons fall between November and April, which is the ideal period for weather. September and October aren’t too hot yet and are good options as well!

The currency of Thailand is the Baht. While US dollars may be used for tipping of your Tour Manager and drivers, please plan on using local currency for all purchases and payments.

Your personal bank card may work at local ATMs in the destination you are travelling to and would dispense local currency. Check with your bank before you leave. Please note that ATMs will probably be the most convenient and least expensive way to obtain local currency, however, they may not always be available. You may exchange your money at airports, banks, exchange bureaus, and at most hotels. In most cases, a commission charge will be assessed to exchange your money. At the hotel or in the city usually offer a better currency exchange rate than airports.

Locals in Thailand usually don’t tip, but it’s always a nice gesture. If you’d like to tip at restaurants on your own or utilizing local transportation like a tuk-tuk, consider tipping 10%.

For baggage handling and waitstaff gratuities for included meals, the tips are covered by Collette. For hotel housekeeping staff, local sightseeing guides, transfer drivers, motor coach drivers, and Tour Managers, gratuities are not included in the price of your tour.

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