Asia is an amazing, exotic land that is full of intrigue, and adventure where cultures abound. Encompassing diverse customs and traditions that existed since prehistory, these deeply rooted colourful heritage is passed on from one generation to the next. The simplicity in the diversity and commonality that surrounds the multitude of cultures here is undeniably rich. As well, exotic Asia is a continent that is quintessentially spiritual and a place where you find solace in its simplicity.
The world’s largest, most populous and the oldest civilisation offers a region that is rich in ethnic plurality and diverse cultures. Along with this, Mother Nature’s greatest gift of incredible landscapes.
From the majestic Mekong River to the poignant beauty of the Taj Mahal, from the snow topped mountains of the Himalayas to the equatorial jungles of Malaysia, exotic Asia is a land that captivates and enchants. Home to ancient wonder such as the Great Wall of China to sacred spaces in Angkor Watt and Bali as well as the lesser known ones in Myanmar, Asia is a continent that will have you return for more.
Whether you are returning for more or you are first time visitor to Asia, this article is designed to give you as much information as you may need to plan your trip. It begins with some quick facts on the continent, cultural diversity, and climate which may be an added value to your research on this region.
Some quick facts on exotic Asia
Asia is located in the western hemisphere as well as the northern hemisphere with about a third of Indonesia in the southern hemisphere.
Exotic Asia – The largest, most populous and the oldest civilisation on planet Earth
Landscape: Asia’s landscape is vast. It is the world’s largest and the most populous continent.
It is 45,036,490 square kilometres (17,388,690 square miles)
Population: Asia has an incredible population of 4.3 billion.
Countries: There are 48 countries (2019, United Nations) divided into six regions.
Regions: These are Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia.
The 6 regions in Asia
Central Asia countries: Tajikistan | Uzbekistan | Kazakhstan | Turkmenistan | Kyrgyzstan.
Central Asia is a growing tourist attraction for its popular gas crater, known as Gates of Hell and the Silk Road in Uzbekistan.
Home to 21.5% of the world’s population, the East Asia region is a popular tourist destination. It’s tropical climate, warm temperatures, lush green mountains, rich cultures and mouthwatering delicious food makes this region one of the top destinations for western tourists. As well, top attractions and World Heritage Sites such as the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Army, the Forbidden City and Mount Fuji are all located here. Along with this, the Eastern Asia region is home to some of the world’s most popular metropolises and growing economies. Cities such as Tokyo in Japan, Beijing and Shanghai in China, Seoul in South Korea are great for weekend getaways or to explore on longer vacation.
South Asia countries: Afghanistan | Bangladesh | Bhutan | India | the Maldives | Nepal | Pakistan | Sri Lanka
Home to one of the world’s earliest known civilisation, the Indus civilisation, South Asia is one of the most densely populated area in the world. Also known as the Indian sub-continent, the wealth of history, culture and languages make this part of the planet an attractive tourist destination.
As well, the region boasts an archipelago of about 300 islands. Known as The Andaman Islands, the archipelago is in the Bay of Bengal. An upscale destination for its palm-lined, pristine white sand beaches, tropical rainforests and mangroves – a favourite as wedding destination and for honeymooners. The coral reefs here are popular for diving and snorkeling also.
Popular attractions in South Asia are the Taj Mahal, the Pink City in Jaipur, Mount Everest, just to name a few.
Southeast Asia countries: Brunei | Burma (Myanmar) | Cambodia | Indonesia | Laos | Malaysia | the Philippines | Singapore | Timor-Leste | Thailand | Vietnam.
Situated to the east of the Indian sub-continent and south of China, the Southeast Asia region is home to an impressive diversity in religion, culture and history. A tropical and sub-tropical climate sees this region receiving a high rainfall throughout the year, with a regular, extensive monsoonal weather patterns.
Ideal for 3-day breaks or a week-long exploration of a country for couples and solo travellers with lots to do (or do not much) in the evenings. Some countries such as Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are firmly popular for budget travellers and backpackers.
North Asia countries: Ural | Siberia | Russian Far East
Popularly known as Siberia, the Northern Asia is a vast Russian province that is home to coniferous forest, mountain ranges and lakes. Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake is situated on the south of the region. Lake Baikal is surrounded by a network of hiking paths called the Great Baikal Trail which is a popular destination for hikers and adventurers.
West Asia countries: Bahrain | Iraq | Jordan | Kuwait | Lebanon | Oman | State of Palestine | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Syrian Arab Republic | United Arab Emirates | Yemen
Peace in this region is fragile and some countries are out of bounds (check with your local Foreign Office for travel advice to these countries. Having said that, the West Asia region is culturally rich. There is much to explore as it is one of the oldest civilisations on the planet.
There are places that welcomes tourists – visit Dubai for timeless shopping experience, stargaze in a Bedouin camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan or go a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Largest and smallest countries
The biggest country by land area, Russia and the largest nation, China are both in Asia.
The smallest country, both by land mass and population is the Maldives which is made up of 26 atoll islands in the Indian Ocean.
As the largest and most populous continent, it is also rich in resources and home to some of the world’s oldest civilisation. China is known as the oldest surviving civilisation.
Conflicts of yesteryears
The resources of these Asian countries such as tea and spices were sought after by the Western countries that led to a number of conflicts such as the Opium Wars. These conflicts had, to some extent shaped the modern world.
You can get an idea of the these conflicts, especially the Opium Wars if you visit the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. A whole section of the museum is dedicated to the maritime history depicting the rise and fall of the East India Company. If you are unable to visit the National Maritime Museum, head over to an article I wrote as part of MyCityMyTown series on the the National Maritime Museum and get a glimpse of the original opium pipe.
Asia – A region of Ethnic Plurality and Diverse Cultures
Being the largest, most populous part of the world and home to several of the world’s oldest civilisation, it gives rise to ethnic plurality of the region. The diversity is evidenced by its cultures, religions and languages being practised.
Culture: The diverse Asian culture is represented in customs and traditions, a system of beliefs, values, symbols and presentations which are practised and passed on from generation to generation since prehistory. You can find these traditions embedded in art, architecture, music, literature, philosophy, lifestyle, politics and religion.
Religion: Major religion such as Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism and Islam were all birth in this continent. As well, there are Judaism, Shintoism, Sikhism and Taoism. The religious systems in particular had produced myths and codices on ethics and morality. One example of such myths and codices can be found in Five Etiquette to Observe at a Shinto Shrine in Japan.
Languages: With a population of 4.3 billion, there are 2300 recorded living languages being spoken in Asia. Some of the more common ones are Mandarin, Japanese, Arabic, Malay and Persia.
Other quick facts on Asia
Largest Lake: Caspian Sea;
Longest River: Yangtze River at 6,380 kilometres (3,964 miles) long is the third longest in the world.
Highest Peak: Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world sits on the border of Nepal and China at 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) above sea level.
With such wide landscape and so many regions virtually every climate is represented here. The climate in Asia varies from country to country. Generally, from hot, oppressive to windy and overcast with temperatures typically from 24°C to 32°C.
The deserts of China, India and Pakistan have little rainfall and extreme temperatures between day and night. Winters are cold and summers are extremely hot. for example, in Gobi desert, extreme temperatures have been recorded. It can reach -40°C on winter nights and 38°C in summer.
As well, there are several monsoon seasons in Asia throughout the year. There is the South Asian Monsoon season in India and Central Asia from June to September. Taiwan experiences monsoon in May, Japan in June, North China and Korea in July. Tropical cyclones makes its way to the Philippines from July through to October.
Cuisines in exotic Asia
With hot curries, spicy stir fries and hot pho soup – there is no better place than Asia to savour the best of the best cuisines the world has to offer. Asian cuisine is special. It’s fusion of spices, a true festival of scents and flavours. It’s mouthwatering dishes from hawker street food to fine dining will have you eating your way through each country in the Asian continent.
**Photos sourced from Free images, Pixabay unless otherwise indicated.
Hello there! Welcome to Timeless Travel Steps, a space where Georgina happily shares her love of travel, culture and history – bringing you only the best in travel to add value to your vacation. Learn more in About Georgina.
Best on long-haul flights
Top places to stay in Asia
Georgina’s Travels in Asia
Georgina has a close connection to Asia – grew up in Malaysia before embarking on the grandest adventure ever to the UK. She has travelled extensively within Malaysia and is well versed with the cultures and the cuisines of this beautiful amazing country. Georgina hopes to share all of her experiences and insights into travel and exploring Malaysia along with wider Asia in future articles. For now, a little sneak into her adventures and stories on living in Japan.
Living in Japan afforded Georgina with many opportunities to observe, learn and adhere to many of its traditions. Adhering to traditions was not a difficult task for her as she is familiar with the Asian traditions, religions and philosophy due to her Malaysian heritage.
I guess it is this familiarity with culture, the fact that I can speak and understand a couple of the Asian languages, having toured the surrounding regions such as Borneo, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand previously. which has me geared towards discovering an unfamiliar land, Europe more than the Asian countries. I hope to return to explore Asia soon in the coming years.Georgina
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