Not only adventure seekers dream for an Asia travel, but also those who are interested in culture and sightseeing. For all of them the distant continent is an attractive destination. In addition to foreign cultures and huge cities, there are beautiful natural landscapes, tropical beaches, high mountains or valleys and lowlands.
In fact, the lowest-lying stretch of water in the world is Asia – the Dead Sea. You can also wander through the world’s second largest desert, the Taklamakan, in China or enjoy the tropical climate in Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia in Southeast Asia. Numerous landscapes gained international fame from some famous movies. The “Three Gorges” of the Yangtze River in China are a model for the stunning landscapes in “Avatar” and amaze every visitor.
Facts about Asia
With an area of approximately 44 million square kilometers, Asia is the largest continent in the world. With over 3.5 billion inhabitants, more than half of the world’s population lives here. The continent is divided into three major regions:
- Middle East
- Southeast Asia
- Central Asia
The highest peak in Asia and in the world is the Mt. Everest with 8848m above sea level, the longest river is China’s Yangtze-Kiang with a length of 5,500 km. The largest mountain range in Asia is the Himalayan Mountains, which includes areas of Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Kashmir and has several 8,000m summits.
The Middle East is dominated by many stone and sand deserts and barren high plateaus. The main lowland of Asia is the West Siberian Plateau east of the Urals, further east the country becomes more mountainous and changes into the Central Siberian Plateau, which ends south in the Gobi Desert and finally in the Himalayan Mountains.
Southeast Asia is dominated by India, its eastern neighbors and the many islands in the South China Sea.
The Middle East – the cradle of humanity
The Middle East is the west of Asia and is considered the cradle of humanity. The biblical stories take place in eastern Turkey, Iraq and Iran. Especially in Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris, there are many historical sites. The ground is correspondingly steeped in history. Here you will find site of the ancient Babylon, where supposedly one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World was – the Hanging Gardens of the Semiramis. In the south of Iraq is Ur, the ancient Sumerian capital and the birthplace of Abraham.
In Saudi Arabia and Iraq are the major Islamic shrines and mosques such as Mecca, Medina or Karbala and Najaf. Other sights are further west like Jerusalem in Israel; Damascus in Syria is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Many count the rock city of Petra in Jordan as a true wonder of the world. But also the mountainous areas of Yemen, the island state of Bahrain and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates are worth seeing.
Southeast Asia and the Tiger States
Southeast Asia consists of the populous countries Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The turbulent history of this region of Asia, where the Khmer (Cambodia) were in war with the Cham (South Vietnam) and later also with the Kingdom of Sukhothai (Thailand), Ayutthaya (Thailand) and the Burmese, left many historical sites, such as the World Heritage sites of Angkor (Cambodia), Pagan (Myanmar) or Sukhothai and Ayutthaya in Thailand.
The recent history of most countries was coined by European states. From a colonial point of view, the French were in Indochina, the British in Burma and Malaysia, the Spaniards in the Philippines and the Dutch in Indonesia. Today’s national borders were partly determined by the Europeans. All these local and global influences have created a variety of attractions for Asia travel.
Today, the modern emerging economies of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, with their metropolises Singapore City, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok in addition to the relatively poor states of Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, are located in this region of Asia.
Attractions in Central Asia from India to Siberia
Central Asia includes the states of (North) Asia, East Asia and the Indian subcontinent – such as the asian part of Russia, Mongolia, China, Japan, Korea, India, Pakistan, Nepal or Bangladesh.
Interesting destinations in the Indian subcontinent of Asia are Trekking in the Himalayas and the 8000s of the Himalaya Mountains (Everest, K2, Nanga Parbat etc.) in Kashmir and Nepal. In India, the city of Agra is home to the world-famous Taj Mahal mausoleum and other attractions include also the “pink city” of Jaipur, the cities of Bombay and Calcutta, the coast of Goa or other beach resorts in the southwest of India. Neighboring Nepal is well-known as a trekking paradise, with Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur also very interesting cities.
Climate and weather in Asia
To describe the climate in Asia is not an easy task, because Asia extends from Ural to the Bering Sea in the extreme east of our globe. Due to its enormous extent, Asia has a share in all climate types on earth. While the coldest parts of the world are in Siberia, the temperatures reach record high levels in the Arabian Peninsula. Also the largest precipitation is in the delta region of the Ganges in northeastern India.
Since most of the Asian land mass is located north of the equator and not by the sea, continental climate prevails here with large variations in temperature related to the seasons and times of the day. The climate tends to be colder in the northern and higher regions. The temperatures are extreme cold in the high mountains of the Himalayas or in north-eastern Siberia, where they can reach up to -70° C (-94° Fahrenheit).
In central Central Asia in Kazakhstan or Mongolia there are cold winters and hot summers with lots of steppe and desert areas. And the further you approach the equator, the warmer it gets. While countries in the Middle East tend to have a hot desert climate, the climate further to the east becomes wetter and more humid. There are a variety of rainforests and here temperatures rarely fall below 15° C (59° Fahrenheit).
Paradise for nature lovers
Asia’s landscapes are unique and home to many exotic plants and animals. A day in a national park here is a wonderful opportunity to get to know this special flora and fauna. For example a national symbol of China is the panda bear. Sichuan Province, with its metropolis of Chengdu, is considered the home of the panda bear. Here you can watch the cute bears in a breeding station.
In addition to the panda bear, the tiger, orangutan or the asian elephant are among the fascinating wildlife of Asia. Unfortunately, all these animals are now endangered with extinction, so you often only see them in zoos or enclosures. So you should not miss a visit to a national park under any circumstances.
Asia – the land of contrasts
Asia is called land of diversity and contrasts for a reason. Not only you can see all types of terrain and weather here, but also so many different cultures. Decide for yourself whether you want to soak up the sun on the beach of a dream island, walk in the footsteps of history in an ancient temple or climb the highest mountains. All is possible here and there is no bad time to do it in an Asia travel.