Diversity is one of the reasons why Asia is a sought-after travel destination. India offers beaches, lush areas, arid cities and stunning mountains.
If you love mountainous landscapes, Asia won't disappoint. This continent is home to the Himalayan ranges, the Zagros Mountains, the Tien Shan Mountains, and more.
Another distinctive landscape that you will find in Asia is its cold deserts. One example of this is the Nubra Valley in India. Add to the list the famed Gobi Desert, the Arabian Desert, and the Thar Desert, among others.
When seeking out gorgeous landscapes in Asia, you will also find plenty of plateaus, especially in India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. Among the most popular ones are the Tibetan Plateau and the Deccan Plateau.
Finally, the continent features a massive collection of freshwater and saltwater formations. From bays like the Ha Long Bay to rivers and lakes like the Yangtze and Mekong River, all the way to the Persian Gulf, you can find them all here.
The cultural heritage of Asia is seen through its history, art, music, literature, religion, philosophy, and architecture. The cultural diversity of the continent, apart from its landscape and gastronomy, is one of the reasons why it is a favourite among tourists.
Due to the enormous size of the continent, there are different civilizations that have been established here over many centuries. For great architecture, you can visit the Taj Mahal in India or the Great Wall of China. If you want to immerse yourself in philosophy and religion, head to the Dambulla Cave Temples in Sri Lanka, the Shinto temples of Japan, or the Borobudur temples in Indonesia. And if you want a living cultural landscape, explore the rice terraces of Banawe in the Philippines.
Listing down all the best places or landmarks to visit in each Asian country is almost impossible since there are so many fantastic options. We put together some of our favourites which we think should make it to your bucket list:
China – If there is one tourist attraction to visit in China, make that the Great Wall. This historic attraction is an ancient world wonder that stretches to more than 5,000 miles.
Japan – Mount Fuji is an active volcano that is located approximately 100 kilometres from the heart of Tokyo. It is the tallest peak in Japan measuring 3,776 meters. It is known as one of the three sacred mountains in the country and is a famous pilgrimage site.
Cambodia – Angkor Wat is hands-down the must-see attraction in Cambodia. This is a temple complex and is known as one of the world’s largest religious monuments. When it was built during the Khmer Empire, it was a Hindu temple but was later transformed into a Buddhist temple.
India – The most famous attraction in India is the Taj Mahal. This is a mausoleum made of ivory-white marble, and it is located along the south bank of the Yamuna River in Agra.
Thailand – The Grand Palace is the most notable landmark in the capital of Bangkok. This palace has served as the official residence of the King since the late 18th century. It is also home to the royal government offices and court.
Asia is a continent known for its natural beauty, history, and cultural heritage. There are many exciting things to see and do, no matter where you choose to go on the continent. But here is a list of things to know before you go so you can have a pleasant experience:
- Asia is still a largely cash-based economy. While there are plenty of countries that have a modern cashless payment system, a huge portion of the continent still relies on cash. So, it is a good idea to bring cash with you wherever you go, especially smaller bills. Not all restaurants accept credit cards. You can find plenty of ATMs that you can use to dispense cash when you travel.
- Asia can get really humid. The summers are extremely hot. If you are not used to this type of weather, it is important to plan your visit beforehand. Avoid visiting Asia during the peak of summer if you do not want to deal with the heat. Always pack sunscreen, a hat, and water wherever you go.
- Do not carry foreign currency with you. When you leave a country in Asia, it is recommended that you exchange money into your own currency. A lot of countries in Asia strictly impose penalties against tourists who carry large amounts of the local currency when they leave.
- Always bring insect repellent with you. Mosquitos are a large problem in most Asian countries, especially in tropical regions.
The key to enjoying your travel to Asia is to time your visit. Since Asia is so vast, it is important to do research beforehand on your specific destination. The climate and seasons can vary largely as well, depending on where you intend to go. In general, you want to avoid travelling to Asia during the monsoon season.
You can use this guide on the geographical subregions in Asia to know when to go:
- Central Asia – The best time to visit the Central Asia region is anywhere from April to May and July to October. It varies depending on the specific country you visit.
- South Asia – The best time to visit South Asia is from November to February. When you visit this time of the year, expect drier and cooler weather.
- Southeast Asia – The best time to go to Southeast Asia is from January to March and June to September. You can avoid the hottest and wettest months of the year.
- East Asia – The best time to visit East Asia is from February to early April. This will ensure moderate weather as the spring season starts and before April showers begin.
- Western Asia – The best time to visit Western Asia is from April to May and September to mid-November. You can expect mild temperatures that are neither too hot nor too cold.
As mentioned above, Asia is a diverse continent with many different regions to visit. And as such, there will be different customs and traditions for each country. Take time to learn about these subjects so you can easily blend in.
Asian people are generally very hospitable and welcoming. A lot of countries rely on tourism as a major component of their economy, so you’ll be treated to a warm welcome wherever you go.
Learn about each country's cultures and traditions before visiting. Some Asian countries will be deeply religious, so it's important to always respect people in the host country. In Japan, for example, tipping is not expected, whereas in other Asian countries it is expected. In Japan, manners and etiquette at the dinner table are incredibly different than in India, for instance, where people use their right hand to eat with.