Experts are at the heart of new offerings from Cox & Kings (www.coxandkings.co.uk). Among 2012’s art-tour highlights is a 14-day Myanmar itinerary in November (from £2,995 per person). Led by Julian Brown, a Southeast Asian art and culture historian, the tour includes a lecture at the Bagan Museum by the former director of the Ministry of Culture. (First picture shows Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, formerly Rangoon.)
Long an authority on North Africa and the Middle East, Cox & Kings is also offering an October “After the Pharaohs” trip with Egyptologist Dr Jocelyn Gohary, taking in the monastic sights of Cairo, Alexandria and the Sinai Peninsula (from £1,795 per person). The truth is that Egypt will remain a hard sell in these tumultuous times, but for the big sites, such as pyramids, the fewer tourists the better.
And there are other lures besides. After three years, the Old Cataract hotel (second picture; www.sofitel-legend.com; from $280) has reopened on the banks of the Nile in Aswan, with a new look by French designer Sybille de Margerie (also behind Hôtel de Crillon in Paris). Aswan is where many of the Nile cruises begin and end, the best of them to be had in the company of author Anthony Sattin and his Belgian-born wife, Sylvie Franquet. Twice a year the couple lead a 10-day Nile trip on a traditional dahabiya sleeping 16 or 20 (enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org; from £2,950 per person).