Background information;  by

The islands of the pacific may seem to be a great distance from Asia, but some of them are much closer to the continents of Asia or Australia than to the Americas (North and South America): Papua New  Guinea and Fiji (both parts of Melanesia)  are relatively close to Australia and Indonesia; the Micronesian islands of Saipan and Guam are to the east of the Philippines. For this reason,  visits to Asia can easily be combined with stop overs at pacific islands.

  • Asia (The world’s largest continent);

Off china’s east coast are a string of island – nations; from north to south; Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. Continuing south,  you encounter the multi – island nations of Indonesia and Malaysia, along with Singapore. On the southeast Asian mainland are Thailand (a very popular destination),  Vietnam (with its emerging tourism),  and the less visited Cambodia, Laos,  and Myanmar (better known by its traditional name,  Burma).  Below china and to the west of southeast Asia is the large area known as the Indian subcontinent.  From west to east,  it includes India, Nepal and Bhutan (as well as less visited Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka). Also in Asia are 5 independent nations of the former Soviet Union. Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan are the most important of these.

  • The most prominent feature in Asia and Pacific;

The most noticeable feature of the entire region is how flat much of it is. Most of western china is desert (notably the Gobi Desert),  as is the western two – thirds of Australia. Much of southeast Asia,  too,  is flat rainforest.

  • Bodies of water:

The Pacific Ocean is critical to this vast region. The continent of Asia,  being as large and geographically situated as it is,  is ringed by an assortment of seas. Beginning at the far west of the region,  India is bordered on its west by the Arabian Sea,  on its south by the Indian Ocean,  and on its east by the Bay of Bengal. Farther east is the Gulf of Thailand,  in the midst of Southeast Asia;  the Gulf,  in turn,  flows into the South China Sea. The Sea of Japan separates Russia and the Korean peninsula from Japan. The Yellow Sea – which forms a bay between north east China and Korea – empties into the East China Sea,  which in turn merges into the South China Sea. Bordering this whole region to the east is the vast Pacific Ocean. The pacific  encompasses most of the South Sea Islands. However,  other major waters here bear note;  the Timor Sea separates northern Australia from Indonesia; the coral sea lies  northeast of the continent; and dividing southeast Australia from New Zealand is the Tasman Sea.  Asia, Australia, and the Pacific Islands  have only a few major rivers. The Yellow and Yangtze  wind and twist their way through the center of China. They offer visitors a superb way of exploring the magnificent countryside. (There is also an important canal system in northeastern China that permits several popular excursions). And the Ganges, which flows through the northeast of India,  is perhaps the most sacred river on earth,  for Hindu pilgrims immerse themselves in its waters to spiritually cleanse themselves.

  • Mountains:

The 2,000 – mile – long Himalaya Mountain range is the loftiest range in the world. Himalayas’ Mt. Everest is the world’s tallest mountain;  It is 9,000 feet higher than the tallest mountain in North America, Mt. McKinley,  and 7,000 feet higher than the tallest peak of the Andes.  Of the world’s 50 tallest Mountains, virtually all are in the Himalaya. The challenging Himalaya are considered by adventurous travelers to be the finest trekking and mountain – climbing territory in the world. The Himalaya triple through the top of Pakistan, northern India, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Tibet region of China, covering an area greater than all of Germany. In addition a spine of volcanic mountains runs down the length of much of Japan, the most  famous of which is stately Mt. Fuji. There are also many mountains of volcanic origin in Indonesia (where the legendary Krakatoa erupted)   and in Australia,  with its Great Dividing Range down the east coast. The Southern Alps rise above New Zealand’s south Island. Parts of western China are also somewhat mountainous –  though few tourists visit there.

  • Climate:

Since parts of Asia and the Pacific lie both north and south of the equator, two distinct patterns exist: north of the equator,  seasons are the same as those in North America;  south,  they are the opposite.  The extreme northern and southern areas have very cold weather. In addition, the Himalaya and other high regions are frigid. Western China and Western Australia have largely desert climates. The Indian subcontinent,  most of China, the islands of Japan and Taiwan (all of which lie north of the equator),  and northern Australia (to the equator’s south) have a subtropical climate. Summers in these areas are very warm and humid; winters are drier and more pleasant. A fully tropical climate can be found in those countries that flank the equator –most of Indonesia and all the South Sea Islands –as well as in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Micronesia (north of the equator). Asia is famed for its monsoons, typhoons, and cyclones. Monsoons are long – standing summer rainstorms, usually associated with the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Typhoons are what hurricanes are called when they occur in the China Sea and west pacific area. Cyclones (the generic name for hurricanes and typhoons) -often whip along Australia’s  northeast coastal areas.

Top attractions in Asia;

  • 1. Botanical Gardens (Singapore)
  • 2. Himalayas (India)
  • 3. Ko Nang Yuan (Thailand)
  • 4. Mount Fuji (Japan)
  • 5. Mount Kinabalu (Borneo)
  • 6. Everest National parks (Nepal)
  • 7. Bali (Indonesia)
  • 8. Taj Mahal (India)
  • 9. Khao Phing Kan (Thailand)
  • 10. Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei)
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