Where to go in Asia
Asia has it all - bustling cities, superb beaches, interesting sights and cultures. If you can only pick one country, make it Thailand. Thailand just has something for everyone: perfect beaches, colourful temples, bustling cities, fun nature activities and great landscapes.
Bali is as good, and a perfect choice if you have limited time. You won't be the only one there, though. If you are after beaches minus the crowds, try Malaysia. For sightseeing, culture and nature, go to Laos, Burma/Myanmar and Cambodia - Angkor Wat, anyone? Vietnam again has everything, but is behind Thailand and Bali on our scale. Finally, if you find all this boring, try our more adventurous Indonesia itinerary.
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.
Asia's and the world's highest point is Mount Everest, along the border of Tibet in 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 southeast, and by the Indian Ocean to the south. It is bordered by the Red Sea to the southwest, by Europe and Urals to the west, and by the Arctic Ocean to the north.
Asia offers the very diverse travel options available to the most avid travelers. On one end, there are the ultramodern largely democratic modern countries or territories like Japan and Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea which are very prosperous and in which people enjoy very high standards of living. Check out our Working Girl's Guide to Hong Kong if you are a female expat. If you've an interest in traditional Chinese culture, take a look at attractions described in Taiwan for Culture Vultures.
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.
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. Thailand is a magnet for travelers too, with great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches. Malaysia is an up and coming tourist destination with large cities like Kuala Lumpur and beautiful beach islands such as Pulau Tioman, Pulau Rawa, Pulau Redang, Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Kapas.