Asia travel guide
Asia is the world’s largest continent, and spans a huge array of diverse landscapes. Straddling the border between Nepal and China, you’ll find Mount Everest — the highest summit on earth — and between Israel and Jordan, you’ll encounter the Dead Sea — the lowest point on the planet. Elsewhere on the continent, tropical jungles and verdant villages contrast with snow capped mountains, while gleaming modern skyscrapers vie for space with spectacular ancient architecture.
India is a cultural kaleidoscope, with six main religions and 1,652 languages. China boasts 37 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the iconic Great Wall and the famous Forbidden City. Thailand welcomes visitors in search of tranquil beaches, while those who head to Japan can ski down the unspoilt Japanese Alps, or marvel at the flashing neon lights of cutting-edge Tokyo.
Whether you want a stylish city break, a relaxing beach holiday, or an enlightening cultural adventure, you’ll find what you’re looking for, and more, in Asia.
Asia is a vast continent, and its climate varies considerably, depending on which country you’re visiting.
Countries on the Indian Subcontinent, such as Sri Lanka and India, are generally hot all year round. Travellers should avoid the summer months of May and June, when temperatures can rise to a scorching 40 degrees Celsius, and visiting during monsoon season, in September, is also not ideal, as high rainfall may put a damper on your holiday. The best season to visit is between November and March, when temperatures hover around a pleasant 25 degrees and rainfall is least likely.
The United Arab Emirates has a fairly constant climate. It is generally pleasantly warm and dry throughout the year, with the exception of July and August, which is best avoided, as the temperature can rise to a stifling 45 degrees.
Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, have a tropical climate, which tends not to vary very much. Temperatures generally remain around 30 degrees, and both humidity and rainfall are high. Most countries in this region will have a rainy season, when rainfall is particularly heavy, and this is best avoided by travellers.
Far eastern Asian nations, such as Japan and China are best avoided in late August and early September, when typhoons are not uncommon. But the spring months of March and May are a great time to visit, when the temperature generally lingers around a warm 25 degrees, and the beautiful cherry blossoms burst into bloom.
Much of Asia is now covered by a network of discount airlines, so travelling by plane can be a fast and increasingly affordable way of getting around the continent. There are several air-passes that you can purchase, which claim to offer discounts on flights, but as there are number air carriers, all competing for business, it can actually work out cheaper to buy your trips individually. One word of warning though: whilst the multinational bargain airlines have a great safety record, you should be wary of flying with some of the smaller local airlines, which use much older planes — cheaper is not always better.
Alternatively, rail travel is a generally less expensive transport option, and is also a great way to discover a country’s landscape as you journey though it. The famous Trans-Siberian Railway connects
Japan has an efficient high-speed rail system called the Shinkansen, which serves the majority of the country, apart from Hokkaido and Okinawa.
If you want to be able to travel as and when you want, you can find cheap car hire deals in most major Asian cities. However, the state of roads will be very poor in some countries, while many major Asian cities have hectic and confusing traffic. If you are determined to travel by car, you might want to consider hiring a driver, which is not as expensive as you might think.
Any trip to China would not be complete without a visit to the awe inspiring Great Wall of China. This spectacular ancient wonder stretches for approximately 8,850 kilometres — from Shanhaiguan in the east of the country, to Lop Nur in the west — and is the only man-made structure that can be seen from space.
If you’re travelling to Jordan, be sure to stop off at the historical city of Petra. Dating back to the 6th century BC, Petra’s pink rock cut architecture can make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. This is Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and was chosen by the BBC as of the ’40 places you have to see before you die’.
When visiting the United Arab Emirates, it is practically obligatory to stop off at a ‘souk’: a traditional Arabian marketplace. The Deira’s Gold Souq is one of the best places to pick up beautifully hand-made local jewellery.
A holiday in India should definitely include a trip to Agra to see the famous Taj Mahal. Built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, this building is a beautiful tribute to love and, with its iconic white dome, is widely considered to be the finest example of Mughal architecture in the world.
If you are travelling to Sri Lanka, take a trip to the hillside city of Kandy, to see ancient Temple of the Tooth, which protects the sacred tooth of the Buddha. Come here in July for the festival of Esala Perahera, and you will see the relic paraded through the city accompanied by brightly clothed dancers, drummers, and ornately decorated elephants.
- Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG)
- Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
- Gandhi International Airport (DEL)
- Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM)
- Denpasar Ngurah Rai Airport (DPS)
- Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)
- Osaka Itami International Airport (ITM)
- Queen Alia International Airport (AMM)
- Kuwait International Airport (KWI)
Ben-Gurion International Airport (Tel Aviv) (TLV)
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)
Jinnah International Airport Karachi (KHI)
Ninoy Aquino International (MNL)
Singapore Changi Airport (SIN)
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport () (BKK)
United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
Dubai International Airport (DXB)