Asia + the South Pacific
New Zealand: Top to Bottom
Five ideas on how to explore the country’s diverse terrain from Active Adventures New Zealand.
Volcanoes, emerald-hued mineral lakes, and tufted grasslands define the Tongariro Northern Circuit, where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed.
Thousands of rare glowworms cling to the walls of the Waitomo Caves, which you can explore by foot or by boat.
The 55,672-acre Abel Tasman National Park is located on the pristine South Island coast, where golden beaches, granite cliffs, and quiet estuaries are populated by tui and pukeko birds.
Two massive glaciers draw trekkers to the South Island’s Westland National Park.
Carved by glaciers 20,000 years ago, the 3 million-acre Fiordland National Park is filled with snowy peaks and primeval rain forest.
The world’s highest mountain range is the spiritual heart of many cultures, all of which offer unique on-the-ground experiences.
Cultural Immersion: India
A one-hour flight north of New Delhi, the arid Ladakh region is filled with villages and Buddhist monasteries. Shakti Himalaya runs six homestays with large, comfortable beds and a private staff; guests use them as a base for visiting nearby communities and sites on foot. Eight days from $4,290. ++
Physical Challenge: Nepal
Snow-cloaked peaks rise out of deep valleys and narrow gorges in the Nepalese and Tibetan stretches of the Himalayas. Epic Tomato runs a trek on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit and along the less-visited Nar Phu Valley, before crossing into Tibet. 15 days from $7,880. ++++
Spiritual Retreat: Bhutan
This carefully preserved landscape is steeped in Buddhist culture. The Merak-Sakteng Trek from Asia Transpacific Journeys goes to the country’s east, where you’ll pass hillsides filled with wild rhododendrons to reach remote monasteries. Six days from $2,700. +++
Always walk to the left of monuments and shrines.
Photography in the main hall of temples and monasteries is often forbidden; ask before you shoot.
Use both hands to receive food, drink, or a gift.
It’s rude to step over someone’s outstretched legs; draw yours up if someone is passing by.
Custom trips to Sri Lanka by Red Savannah might include walks between tea plantations or hikes up the 7,360-foot-high Adams Peak. 14 days from $5,352.
Mongolian Vistas from Nomadic Expeditions starts in the vast Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and ends in the Gobi desert. 15 days from $5,795.
Level of Difficulty