Asia is too massive and diverse to conceptualize as a 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. Asia's highest point is Mount Everest, along the border of China and Nepal, which rises to 8,848 m (29,028 feet) above sea level. Its lowest point is the Dead Sea, between Israel 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. 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 southeast, and by the Indian Ocean to the south. It is bounded by the Red Sea to the southwest, by Europe to the west, and by the Arctic Ocean to the north.
Travel options range widely, from the desert ruins and modern malls of the Middle East to the magnificent monuments in South Asia, and from the beach bungalows and jungle treks of South-East Asia to the megacities and technology capitals of East Asia. Find out more about regions, destinations, and itineraries below.
In any case, Asia offers the most diverse travel options available to the most avid travelers. On one end, there are the ultramodern 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 high standards of living. On the other, Afghanistan, Laos and Timor Leste 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. To add to a list of possible travel destinations, Asia is also home to North Korea, which is under one of, if not the most, oppressive regimes in the world. Besides that, Thailand is a magnet for travelers too, with great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches.
Regions ASHLEE HUSK
Asia's largest airports by number of intercontinental connections include Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore. For the Middle East, Dubai is by far the largest hub, with Doha and Abu Dhabi also having reasonably good connections.
If you are coming to Asia by train, you'll be likely coming in through Russia or Turkey, although other options may exist. For an interesting experience, try the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Safety in Asia can vary wildly, but it is a safe place in general. Non-violent crime can be a problem in some areas though. Refer to specific pages and your State Department/Foreign Affairs Office/embassies for more information.
Monosodium glutamate is used commonly in Asian restaurants, although little of the hype about the supposed dangers of this chemical — which occurs naturally in food ranging from cheese to anchovies — is backed by research.