Discover the intrigue, majesty and beauty of the East
The multifaceted Asia is a sensory excursion. There are more people living in Asia than anywhere else, creating a melting pot of unfathomable proportions. Steeped in spiritual splendour, Asia is blessed with natural wonders and sacred sites from country to country, leading the charge for big business and technological innovation.
Asia is a continent with a huge diversity of languages including Mandarin and Cantonese (Cantonese is a dialect used mainly in Hong Kong and Guangdong), Japanese, Hindi, Korean, and Thai. There are hundreds of regional dialects spoken throughout Asia, with English commonplace in major trade cities like Hong Kong.
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Diverse, dramatic and downright dizzying; Asia is all that and more
Where else but Asia could you travel from the majestic mountains of Tibet to the shimmering neon lights of Tokyo? The world's largest continent by land mass and population, Asia encompasses nearly one-third of the world's total land area. Sprawling from the Indonesian archipelago all the way to the Indian subcontinent and the wintry cold climes of northern Japan, this enchanting region will fascinate, finesse and occasionally flummox even the most travel-hardened of visitors. No continent is more diverse, more culturally enriched or more linguistically mixed than this extensive, all-encompassing landscape.
What was once termed the Far East is now the centre of a vibrant tourism industry. Every year, millions of visitors flock to uncover the secrets of China's mysterious Forbidden City, enjoy world-renowned skiing in Japan and sip sweet-tasting soju in South Korea. Elsewhere visitors scale voluminous mountains in Nepal, explore tropical plantations in Malaysia and sup on sizzling servings of fiery curry in Thailand, on a continent in which there is much to see, more to do and plenty of delicious food to sample.
Explore the exotic in enticing East Asia
Often viewed as the cultural heart of Asia, the countries of East Asia comprise some of the continent's most diverse and exciting destinations. Japan has long been a favourite with travellers, and it's little wonder given the dizzying array of sights to see in this vast and vibrant country. Tourism is expanding in fast-developing China, while South Korea hides some unexplored gems in what is one of Asia's most ancient lands. Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong are all equally attractive places to visit, making East Asia a must-see region on any trip to Asia.
Asia might boast some of the world's oldest cultures but it's also a hotbed of hedonistic fun and outdoor activities. The Indonesian island of – Bali is home to some of the world's best surf beaches, cheap and cheerful southeast Asian dining and many of the hippest nightclubs in Asia. If you're looking for a more culturally resonant experience, the surrounding hills of Ubud are teeming with art galleries and peaceful holistic retreats. The nightlife is equally vibrant in nearby Thailand, particularly in popular beach hotspot Pattaya and similar coastal towns such as Krabi and Ko Samui.
Cambodia and Vietnam, once centres of conflict, are these days better known as fascinating tourist destinations. From the stunning Angkor Wat temple complex in northern Cambodia to Vietnam's ancient capital Hanoi, there are plenty of reasons to explore this once hidden part of Asia. Singapore is a glitteringly modern metropolis, while Malaysia, the Philippines and East Timor harbour plenty of undiscovered treasures. Subcontinental India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are also well worth exploring and with Flight Centre's extensive range of holiday packages, you can see as much of Asia as your heart desires.
Tour the temples
One of Asia's most alluring attractions is its cultural diversity and sheer range of spiritual beliefs. From Japan's complex combination of Shinto and Buddhist beliefs to the central role Hinduism plays in India and the Confucian ideals which have shaped Chinese society for millennia, one of the best ways to delve into Asian culture is by exploring the myriad temples and religious structures which dot the landscapes of this sprawling continent. Some of the best Japanese temple architecture remains in the ancient western cities of Kyoto and Nara, while the Konark Sun Temple and Sri Krishna-Balarama Temple in India attract millions of visitors each year. China's Spring Temple Buddha is the tallest statue in the world, in a nation teeming with shrines to its Buddhist and Taoist beliefs.
Tantalise your tastebuds
There's no more delicious a way to explore Asia than by sampling some of the food which tantalises local tastebuds. Cities like Singapore and Hong Kong are highly regarded for the quality of their cheap and cheerful cuisines, which pack a punch in terms of taste without emptying your wallet. More refined tastes might appreciate the high-end wares on offer in Japan, where slabs of skillfully sliced sashimi can set you back tens of thousands of yen. Tastes in neighbouring South Korea tend to be more rustic, where steaming hot bowls of bibimbap are often shared at communal tables filled with jovial business workers. Vegetarians will find India a food lover's paradise, while Thailand reigns as southeast Asia's epicentre of tasty food.
Embrace the high-tech
Take a stroll down a Seoul street in the glittering Gangnam district and you could be forgiven for thinking you're in another world. Home to towering skyscrapers which light up the night sky, the district is one of the high-tech capitals of the world and home to a dizzying array of stores selling the latest electronic gadgets. From Seoul across to Tokyo's futuristic Akihabara, the modern metropolis that is Manila and China's bustling Beijing, many of the world's most popular electronic devices are designed and constructed in Asia. Names like Sony, Samsung and Sanyo are synonymous with the electronics industry, making Asia one of the best places to shop for high-tech goods and services.
Getting there and around
Booking flights to Asia is a simple task given the vast number of airlines which service this vital destination. To save even further time and effort consider booking one of Flight Centre's extensive range of Asian holiday packages which combine flights and accommodation with additional tours and added extras, allowing you to spend more time exploring a wide variety of Asian countries and less time trying to coordinate your travel schedule.
If sailing the high seas on a luxury cruise liner sounds like your perfect idea of travel, then a tailor-made Asian cruise is one of the best ways to explore this fascinating part of the world. Sail out of Shanghai around South Korea's outlying Jeju island, see the straights and waterways surrounding magnificent Malaysia or explore the Mekong Delta from Vietnam to Cambodia with our great range of cruises. Get even more out of your holiday by booking one of the many tours which get up close and personal with some of Asia's most recognisable cities.
If you're looking to see more of Asia, one of the best ways to do so is to book a hire car and set your own agenda. Make the most of South Korea's extensive highway network, travel from the Japanese capital Tokyo to the western metropolis of Osaka in style and comfort or simply revel in the frequent chaos that is Bangkok's chaotic rush-hour traffic to experience a completely different side of Asia.