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The Best Places in Asia for Discovering Ancient Civilisations

Want to learn about the rich history of the continent? Join one of these unique, carefully curated TRIPS by Culture Trip and discover the places you’ve read about in books.
Richard Collett
9 Dec 2021
From the ancient cities of Anatolia to the lost kingdoms of northern Thailand, Asia has seen the rise and fall of civilisations for thousands of years. For history lovers, there’s no better continent for delving deep into archaeological sites and historic cultures. Visit biblical temples in Jerusalem, head to Rajasthan for ancient ruins or uncover the oldest winemakers in the world in Georgia. To inspire your next journey, here are the best places in Asia for discovering ancient civilisations.
1 . Istanbul to see Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman ruins and underground cities

Turkey is an extraordinary destination for a historical trip. This is not only where continents collide, but where civilisations have risen, fallen and fought for supremacy over Europe and Asia. In Istanbul, you can see the ruins of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires. In Ankara, the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations offers an insight into the archaeological wonders that have been uncovered across Turkey – while in Cappadocia, ancient cave dwellings and underground cities have been hiding in plain sight for centuries. Join the Ultimate Turkey Itinerary tour and you can see the best of Turkey’s storied past and more, as you journey from Istanbul to Antalya, via Ankara and Cappadocia.

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Next available from2 Sep 2022
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2 . Jerusalem to explore one of the holiest sites in the world, with a 5,000-year history

Jerusalem is one of the world’s most ancient cities. With a history spanning more than 5,000 years, the Holy City is certainly a destination for history buffs. But rather than just visit religious and archaeological sites, why not join a tour led by both Arab and Jewish guides? You’ll see first-hand the divisions and similarities that have existed in Jerusalem for millennia, with the opportunity to experience the city from two perspectives. There’s even more to see across the Holy Land on this tour, which takes you to the Dead Sea, Christian homes and nativity churches in Bethlehem – as well as the delightful food markets of modern Tel Aviv.

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Next available from11 Sep 2022
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3 . Rural Georgia to learn about Greek antiquity and its legends and myths

Is Georgia in Europe or Asia? Geographically, it’s in Asia, but speak to locals in Tbilisi and they’ll tell you that you’re firmly in Europe. Georgia is at a crossroads, so you’ll see elements of East and West as you tour through the Caucasus Mountains. Civilisations have called this region home for thousands of years – at the Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi you can see the supposed remnants of the fabled Golden Fleece of Greek antiquity. Legends and myths abound in Georgia, but what’s certain is that this country has one of the oldest winemaking cultures in the world. You’ll experience food, drink and ancient ruins in Georgia as you tour through mountains, valleys and national parks.

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Next available from10 Sep 2022
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4 . Vietnam to trace its historic Imperial City and independence

Vietnam has an impressive past that dates back centuries, but this ancient history is often lost in the turmoil of more recent colonial conflicts and the Vietnam War. Join this 12-day tour of northern Vietnam and you’ll start in Hanoi – visiting the exact spot where Ho Chi Minh declared independence in 1945. You’ll also head south to Hue, where you’ll tour through Vietnam’s historic Imperial City. Hue was the capital until 1945 and you’ll be able to visit its historic citadel, sail along the Perfume River and even experience a royal tea ceremony.

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Next available from6 Sep 2022
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5 . Thailand to learn about a lesser-known civilisation, Lan Na Kingdom

The ancient Lan Na Kingdom is one of Asia’s lesser-known civilisations, but it dominated northern Thailand between the 13th and 18th centuries. The kingdom was closely related to neighbouring Burma and nearby India (more so than to the Thai kingdoms to the south), and today you can explore many of their unique temples and ruins. This 10-day group trip, starting in Chiang Mai, will educate you on the history of the kingdom, and you’ll also have time for jungle treks, waterfall swims and off-the-beaten-track adventures.

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Next available from19 Sep 2022
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