With one-third of the world’s land mass and 60% of its people, Asia is beyond big. When it comes to travel destinations in Asia, there are many popular choices. At the top of many travel bucket lists are the Asian countries of Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Nepal, China, and India. However, there are 40 more countries to explore in Asia.
While English is the second most commonly spoken language in Asia, there are hundreds of other languages spoken. So if you plan to visit a travel destination in Asia, check out these tips on overcoming language barriers. Even when you can communicate in English, knowing these few, key phrases in the local language will enhance your experience when you travel abroad.
Fun Fact: China and India are the only countries in the world with more than a billion (yes, with a “b”) people.
It seems that the whole world is in love with the cuddly-looking, bamboo-eating giant panda native to China. But do you know these interesting (and in several cases heartbreaking) facts about the first giant panda to live outside Asia?
From the beaches of Goa to the snowy peaks of the Himalaya Mountains, India is full of diversity making it one of the more popular Asian countries. In addition to its topography, India is also culturally diverse. Its 1.3 billion residents speak more than 150 languages with 22 of them recognized as official languages.
The island nation of Japan has more than 18,000 miles of coastline and six different climate zones. The four largest of its more than 6,800 islands make up more than 95% of the country’s landmass. The capital of Japan is Tokyo, and the country has one of the rare sun flags (rather than a banner featuring stars or stripes).
Mt. Fuji is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and sacred place in Japan. Although it looks like a single mountain surrounded by several lakes, Mt. Fuji is actually a trio of volcanoes. Visit Mt. Fuji through the eyes of Nick Kembel in this Everyday Postcard. Then follow this talented photographer and travel blogger to another destination in Japan. Directly south of Osaka, Koyasan is a mountain top village that home to the Okunoin Cemetery and one of the most sacred places in Japan for Buddhists.
Many people who travel to Asia to visit Japan want to see the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Centered around the haunting remains of a building that was nearly directly hit by the bomb dropped just a year after the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the area is now a park dedicated to peace.
Taiwan is an island located just off the coast of China. A bustling modern city and a food-lover’s dream, Taipei is on the northern tip of Taiwan.
Turkey is an interesting travel destination in Asia because it spans two continents. Istanbul, the country’s largest city, straddles Europe and Asia over the Bosporus Strait. Home to the massive Hagia Sophia church-turned-mosque-turned museum, Istanbul was featured in Dan Brown’s thriller Inferno. Several other things to do in Istanbul are also featured in the novel like the Galata Bridge and Basilica Cistern. But before you visit this country where slender minarets stretch toward the heavens, read up on these rules of etiquette in the Middle East.
Fun Fact: Istanbul was known as Constantinople during the Byzantine period. (And now the They Might Be Giants song is stuck in my head…)