Asia is the type of destination where travellers appreciate a guiding hand. The exotic continent comes with its challenges, especially for first-time visitors.
Enter Cosmos, one of the most highly regarded tour companies traversing the East. The company has experience in volumes when it comes to pinpointing the best in cuisine, experiences and accommodation.
Cosmos manages to provide security and reliability, but still avoids suffocating travellers with restricted itineraries. Ample free time, optional excursions and trip extensions all contribute to a refreshing freedom few associate with guided journeys.
Thailand is notorious for keeping nervous travellers snug under their comfort blanket with Westernised regions such as Patong Beach. However, those more adventurous would do well joining Cosmos' 13-day Thailand Experience.
Traversing the country's eastern side, Cosmos only includes two popular destinations (Bangkok and Chiang Mai) amongst a collection of relatively unknown gems. Kanchanaburi, famed for the River Kwai Bridge; Lopbri's monkey-filled Sarn Prakarn Temple; and ruined monasteries at Sukhothai Historic Park are all part of the tour's back-roads style.
A jaunt across Vietnam with Cosmos can last between 14 and 20 days on the adjustable Simply Vietnam journey. Cosmos' flexibility is working overtime here, along with its breadth of experiences, covering more than eight destinations in the 14-day option – triple that in sights and activities.
However, there's no frantic rushing involved, thanks to a willingness to trade the tour bus for inclusive internal flights at certain points. This leaves more time for enjoying the country with bamboo boat rides down water tunnels, Ho Chi Minh sightseeing, Vietnam War history in Cu Chi and floating markets in Cai Be.
More Asia holiday inspiration
There aren't any plane rides in Japan, but you will have the opportunity to catch the world-famous bullet train from Hiroshima to Kyoto. The country unfurls before you during the 12-day roundtrip from Tokyo, revealing castles, waterfalls, islands, shopping, shrines and more quintessential Japan moments.
Cosmos' interactive element comes to the fore with participation in a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony and a free afternoon in Tokyo.
With so many sweets there's surely got to be a stomach ache hiding somewhere, right? Not when it comes to Cosmos.
You certainly won't feel it with the cost. Cosmos' real-world prices are designed for real people, complemented by a packaged style that includes accommodation, transport, attraction entry and some meals.
The aforementioned Thailand Experience will only set you back $111 a day*. That's cheaper than most cruises, which are considered one of the most affordable means of travel and have nowhere near the amount of experiences.
And with their new range of China journeys – ticking off the Yangtze River, Great Wall, pandas and more – along with Sri Lanka and India tours, there's very little left of Asia that you can't reach with Cosmos.
*Price correct at time of publication