Asia is too massive and diverse to conceptualize as a single digestible travel “destination”.
Even defining the borders of this continent is difficult – from the mountains around the Black Sea in the west, to the snow fields of Siberia in the east, there are more people and cities in Asia than outside of it.
Band-e Haibat Lake in Afghanistan
Asia’s and the world’s highest point is Mount Everest, along the border of Tibet (China) and Nepal, which rises to 8,848 m (29,028 feet) above sea level. Its lowest point is the Dead Sea, located at the meeting points of Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Jordan, whose surface is 400 m (1,312 feet) below sea level. Asia’s longest river is the Yangtze, which runs 6,300 km (3,915 miles) through China, from all the way from the high Tibetan Plateau to Shanghai. Its largest lake is the 386,400 sq km (149,200 square mile) Caspian Sea, which is surrounded by several Central Asian nations.
Asia is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the east, by Australia to the south east, and by the Indian Ocean to the south. It is bordered by the Red Sea to the south west, by Europe and Urals to the west, and by the Arctic Ocean to the north.
Travel options range widely, from the desert ruins and modern mega-malls of the Middle East to the magnificent ancient monuments in South Asia, and from the beach bungalows and jungle treks of South-East Asia to the mega-cities and technology capitals of East Asia.
Asia offers very diverse travel options. There are ultra modern, largely democratic countries like Japan and the East Asian Tigers of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea which are very prosperous and in which people enjoy very high standards of living. On the other hand, Afghanistan, Laos and East Timor are extremely poor countries where people struggle even to get a few grains of rice each day. Of course, there are also many countries lying somewhere in the middle, such as the emerging powerhouses of China and India which make wonderful travel destinations in themselves due to their long history, size and diversity. Thailand is a magnet for travellers, with great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches. Asia also contains North Korea, suffering under one of, if not the most, oppressive regimes in the world and, therefore, very safe for travellers.
Asia’s largest airports by number of intercontinental connections include Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New Delhi, Mumbai and Singapore.