Once the mysterious “Orient” in the East, Asia has intrigued the Western mind for centuries! Prior to the 19th century, Asian nations China and India were revered for their incredible wealth and prosperity. People are now left to stare in awe and wonder at such symbols of the region’s power as the 13,000-mile-long Great Wall of China, the army of as many as 8,000 terracotta soldiers, the esteemed grandeur of the Taj Mahal, or the over-200-foot-tall Leshan Giant Buddha carved into a mountain-face some 1,200 years ago.
However, Asia is not only known for the wealth and prosperity it once symbolized. It is the birthplace of most, if not all, major religions still being practiced worldwide today. Though generally considered today to be Western religions of the Middle East Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all had their beginnings on what is technically Asian soil. Asia is home to a wealth of ethnically, and culturally diverse peoples. From the stoic and serene Kopan Monestary in Nepal, to the hustle and bustle of busy city life in Tokyo, Asia can offer an amazing travel experience, whatever your interest!
- Fantastic historic structures and beautiful architecture: South Korea alone is home to 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites! If that’s not enough, walk along the Great Wall of China, visit the beauty and splendor of the Taj Mahal, or see the magnificence of any one of the massive Buddha statues throughout Asia, such as Daibutsu, Great Buddha of Kamakura in Japan!
- Go out on the town! Shopping, eating, museums, entertainment, and the nightlife in general: Head to Tokyo, the center of Japan’s high speed city life, for shopping, entertainment, and sushi! Or spend some time in Seoul, the K-pop music and fashion center of the world, and immerse yourself in a relatively new, up-and-coming culture.
- Marvel at some of the natural wonders of the continent: From high mountain peaks in Japan and India, to magnificent beaches, you can find your natural wonderland in Asia. Go scuba diving or snorkeling to see the coral reefs and wildlife in Thailand, or visit the hot springs and zen gardens in Japan. The choice is all yours!
- Travelers to China are required to provide proof of yellow fever vaccination.
- Tap water in China should not be consumed unless it is first boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected.
- Crimes against tourists do occur in China, from pickpocketing to violent muggings. Solo travelers should remain alert and take precautions when traveling to more secluded destinations, when going to street markets, and even in the populous tourist sites.
- Travelers to India should take precautions to avoid food poisoning; drinking sealed bottled water, only consuming fully cooked meat and seafood from the best restaurants, avoiding salads and peeled fruits.
- Japan’s strictly enforced anti-stimulant drug ban outlaws Vick’s inhalers, along with many other allergy remedies. It is always best to carry prescription medicine in its original container accompanied by a signed doctor’s note explaining the need for the drug.
- Travelers to South Korea should consider vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, and should stick to drinking boiled or bottled water.
- The crime rate against foreigners is low in South Korea, but travelers should still safeguard their valuables when in public places, and be sure to only use legitimate taxi services or public transportation.
- Certain regions of Thailand have reported outbreaks of water-borne diseases. It is important travelers drink only boiled or bottled water. If a traveler experiences diarrhea while in Thailand, they should seek immediate medical attention.
- Travelers without medical insurance or the means to pay out of pocket will not be treated in hospitals in Thailand.