Asia presents a pure treasure of records. The largest continent in area on earth also contains the most populous country China and the Himalayas as the greatest mountains with the highest peak of all - the Mount Everest. Not counting the countries of the Middle East, Asia contains about 33 countries on an area of 31.7 million km² and covers a third of the earth. Together with Europe, Asia constitutes the Eurasian continent, which borders on the Pacific Ocean in the east and the Indian Ocean in the south. The continent is completed by the numerous islands in South East Asia, which are a very attractive destination for many tourists. The majority of the 17,000 islands in front of Indonesia, however, have not been fully developed for tourists or provided with the necessary infrastructure. An equally mysterious sight is the South East Asian river Mekong, the source and length of which pose a riddle. It is not surprising that a continent of this size contains a variety of climate zones, which offer the suitable weather for every season.
It gets hotter and hotter in Gobi desert in Mongolia and the second biggest sandy desert, Taklamakan in Central Asia, also burns under the sun. Mountaineers find bone-chilling cold on the Himalayan peaks or the Caucasus Mountains between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Asia's diverse flora and fauna are boundless and cater for all tastes. From the grassy landscapes and steppes to the alpine landscape and the conifer forests in the north to the savannas, tropical rainforests and the monsoons in the south - travellers experience the sublime diversity of Asia's vegetation. The natural flora is crossed by expansive plantations in many areas. Especially the terraced, green rice fields shimmer unreally in the Asian sun. The Ring of Fire at the Pacific, which refers to the many dormant and active volcanoes in Japan, Indonesia and on the Philippines, has more thrills in store. Asia is full of extraordinary animals, many of which you finf in no other place on earth. You can watch the timid snow leopard in the Himalayas, the world-famous butterfly species silkworm is kept as a pet, and the yak is still an important means of transport for many inhabitants. The Chinese bamboo forests are home to the giant panda.
Asia - the land of the rising sun - has produced several high cultures. India, Japan and China alone are so rich in history and spirituality that it would take more than a lifetime to discover it all. Through the centuries, the individual cultures created significant religions which are still practised worldwide today. The Hinduism and Buddhism alone count tens of millions of members. The magnificent temple complexes, pagodas or the statues of saints in Asia are indicative of the people's spirit and faith. These structures are frequently destinations for visitors from all over the world. Especially China has won fame for its art of construction. No other nation manages to build such extremely high skyscrapers in such a short time. A major part of Asia is characterised by agriculture. Besides rice cultivation, fishing figures prominently in the continent's economy. Nevertheless, several leading nations of high tech set up business in Asia. Apart from Japan and China, especially Singapore and South Korea are worth mentioning. Their wealth is reflected in the breathtaking seaport metropolises, which are still growing.
No matter where holidaymakers start their journey through Asia, they will be filled with wonder. Impressive gigantic buildings such as the Great Wall of China, the lovingly designed Taj Mahal in India or the biggest temple complex on earth, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, give a foretaste of the continent's richness. Travellers who want to be active can let off steam in the snowy mountains of the Tian Shan in Kazakhstan and others can find inner peace at one of the unspoiled dream beaches of the Philippines. The markets in the city centre of Hong Kong are lively and colourful while those in China's metropolises Beijing and Shanghai are steeped in history. Singapore's coasts prove to be a shopping paradise and impress with numerous beautiful parks and botanic gardens. The hospitality of the different Asian peoples is a true benefit for tourism. Even though gambling is foridden or at least strictly regulated in most parts of Asia, there are some exceptions. The Chinese town Macau counts over 30 different casinos and is called the "Asian Las Vegas". Those who are interested in the the continent's culinary specialities will thoroughly enjoy Asia. Thw world-famous Indian cuisine, Japanese sushi and the wide range of local Chinese dishes are a dream come true for every gourmet and an adventure to those who like to try new things.
Hundreds of different languages are spoken in Asia's countries and the currencies also differ from country to country. Those planning a journey to Asia should take care of the necessary visa and - where appropriate - of the required compulsory vaccinations in time, depending on the respective region.