When it comes to picking out a country for travel, I am often lost. With more places than you can imagine, very little time and constraints in budgets, it can be a tricky thing. This is a fact that holds true for the world, as much as the continent of Asia. Spanning across much of the Eastern hemisphere and home to billions, the region is, together with Europe, called the ‘Old World’, and independently, as the ‘Orient’. Being the largest continent in the world with something interesting everywhere I look, I am often left with the same dilemma I mentioned above. And now that I have to think of traveling with my baby as well, I need to me more careful with planning just to make sure I find the right places to go. Simply put, how was I supposed to overcome the analysis paralysis of choosing a destination, when they are all so good? Well, here’s what I did … pulled out my map and dusted our passports and hit the road!
An independent country, and part of the larger cultural region of Mongolia, a good part of which is in present day China, this is one of the more mysterious countries in the world today. Situated in the heart of Asia, the country is most well known as the land of Genghiz Khan, a Mongol ruler who once conquered all of Asia. Today, the country is largely known for its legacy as a post-soviet state, a host of historical monuments, the vast Gobi desert, the steppe grasslands and a good part of the population which still lives a nomadic way of life.
A country situated right in between the two great continents of Europe and Asia, it would be hard to properly place it in either one of the two. The country is geographically in Asia, but has a culture that has a higher affinity to that of Europe than anything else. This interesting ‘mid point’ of sorts, is what makes Georgia so unique. In fact, one could take this idea step further by stating that Georgia is a country which, if visited, would be no different than visiting any country in Mainland Europe. The best attractions that these country offers are the stunning mountains, idealistic villages, ancient cities and a distinct way of life. In addition to this, the country’s language and script are just as interesting, belonging to a group called the ‘Kartvelian’ languages, and unlike anything anywhere in the world.
3. United Arab Emirates
Tucked away in a small corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is the United Arab Emirates. Composed of several small kingdoms called ‘emirates’, from which it gets its name, the place has become an important economic power in the middle east. Powered by oil and increasingly tourism and finance, the place has emerged as a major travel destination, with a steady growth of tourists in recent times. Of the many places that it has to offer, one of the most important would be that of Dubai and Sharjah, both of which make their ways into the bucket lists of people everywhere. With everything from a shimmering skyline and skyscrapers, to a host of desert activities, and of course the culture of the region, the UAE is an interesting country worth visiting. It would be interesting to note that if one were to go by the history of the UAE, to another entity called the ‘Trucial States’, it would also extend to two other nearby countries, namely Bahrain and Oman. This is important for those who travel to explore the history of a place, more than anything else.
Spread across a vast area of the ocean, it is a country that is not so much a part of Asia per se, but is included in it anyway. If anything, you could call Indonesia as being a part of the region called ‘Oceania’, with at least the eastern half of the country coming under this region. A country that is as vast as it is diverse, the place has been the home of various civilizations over thousands of years, making it a rich with history and culture. Whether it is the ruins of Borobudur, or the stunning metropolis of Jakarta, the country has something for everyone. Also worth pointing out is that of the many places in the country, one of the most distinct, is the island of Bali. Home to a very unique form of Hinduism and often considered a resort island of sorts, it is frequented by travelers ranging from honeymooners to foreign diplomats for its beauty and charm. In addition to this, the place is also a great destination for ecotourism, given that it much of it is a rainforest region. This makes for a great travel spot, if you are into nature and everything environmental.
Not so much a part of continental Asia but included in it, Maldives is an interesting travel destination in the Indian Ocean. Comprised of hundreds of small coral islands scattered across a vast area, it is an excellent place for anyone interested in a warm tropical getaway. Of the many things that the country is known for, the most important would be the beautiful sandy beaches, largely comprised of clear white sand. In addition to this, the place is also emerging as a destination for other activities like snorkeling and diving.
These five countries are by far the most interesting countries that I’ve loved exploring in Asia. But with plenty to visit, and even more undiscovered, there is much more to Asia than these few countries. So if you are planning on visiting Asia, these would be my personal picks. You might find them useful too. Either way, I hope you have a great journey!