Asia is the most beautiful, the most exciting and user friendly continent on earth. This affordable paradise can fulfill your travel and retirement dreams!
The Asia continental definition is far broader than many people think.
Under the seven continent methodology, Asia stretches from Japan in the East through Russia in the West. It encompasses Saudi Arabia and everything above Asia. While it doesn’t always make practical sense, there is no denying this definition of Asia makes it the home of over 60 percent [4 billion] of all humans. China and India, of course, are the locations of a vast majority of these people.
In modern times, geographers recognize there really is no dividing line between Asia to the west and Europe to the East. This has resulted in the entire area being called Eurasia, but thousands of years of terminology aren’t about to pass into antiquity. Today, most people refer to Europe as a continent so far as it extends to the Ural Mountains in Russia. Everything to the east of that mountain range is considered Asia. For instance, Israel is considered a country in Western Asia!
Russia has even picked up on this theme with the two heads on the national flag. The west facing head refers to the European part of Russia while the East facing head refers to the Asian part of the country. Within Russia, it is almost as if there are two countries with Moscow and St. Petersburg having heavy European influences. Cities in the Far East, such as Vladivostok, are much more oriented to China and such.
To resolve the boundary issue, the powers that be have started defining Asia subcontinents. The areas are:
- Central Asia – Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
- East Asia – China, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, North and South Korea
- North Asia – Russia
- India Subcontinent – India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
- Southeast Asia – Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar [Burma], Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam
- Southwest Asia – The Middle East, including Turkey, Iran, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and sometimes Egypt
Given the problems defining the boundaries of Asia, you can imagine it is also difficult to define certain characteristics regarding the continent. After all, life in Turkey is much different than in China. Conversely, customs in India are completely different than those in China. In fact, most people living in Asia take offense when someone uses the word “Asians” to refer to them. The word implies a similarity among all people in Asia, which simply isn’t true.
Economically, things are a bit easier to categorize. The largest economy in Asia is China as a measure of gross domestic product. Officially known as the People’s Republic of China, this country remains communist in name only when it comes to economic issues. With massive economic growth over the last 10 years, China is the second largest economy in the world after the United States. Another heavily populated area, India, is now the fourth biggest economy in the world, while relatively small Japan is the third. Put in practical terms, Asia is home to three of the four biggest economies on Earth. The three dominant financial centers are Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.
With so many countries, it is hardly surprising to find a wide variety of religious practices in Asia. There are a wide variety of belief systems, but Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam have the largest number of adherents.
Figuring out exactly what constitutes Asia is largely a matter of opinion. Among many assertions about Asia, the indisputable one is it is the home to the largest percentage of humans on the planet.
How to travel to Asia and tips for saving money.
It seems like traveling these days has become more of a hassle than what it’s worth. Gas prices are constantly on the rise, while airports remain notorious for overcharging plane tickets. Not to mention the long waits, hassle of security, and running the risk of losing your luggage. Traveling out of the country poses even more of a hassle. Despite the obstacles traveling involves, you can eliminate one worry from your mind if you’re planning a trip to Asia – spending too much money to get there.
You can travel to Asia for half of what others spend. No, that isn’t a phony promise, but if you properly research your options you will find that it’s easy to save money on airfare to Asia. Start preparing for your trip months in advance by signing up online for mailing lists. Sounds crazy, right? No one likes to junk up their inbox by useless offers for credits cards or so-called discount travel packages. But there are some mailing lists that you can sign up for and specify what you’re looking for. In this case, express your interest in traveling to Asia and you’ll receive newsletters on last-minute and discount flights.
If you can’t afford to get in through the front door, go in the back. That’s what stand-by flights are all about! You should never rely on a stand-by flight as a definite way to travel, but if you aren’t picky about your dates, then it’s an excellent way of saving money – especially on international travel. You can improve your chances of making a stand-by flight by arriving at least one hour early to the gate. (Remember, you did not purchase a confirmed seat.) Immediately approach the check-in agents and let them know you are a stand-by passenger. If someone with a confirmed seat fails to show up before the scheduled departure time, they’ll know to come to you with the seat first.
Again, if you have a flexible schedule and dates are not an issue, then traveling on a courier flight may be a great option. You can travel to Asia on a courier flight for significantly less than commercial fares, but the downside to courier flights is that they don’t usually work well if you are traveling with other people. You run the risk of being placed on separate flights and arriving to your destination at different times. However, it still remains a possibility if you are traveling alone or with just one other person.
If you’re a frequent traveler by plane, chances are you’ve racked up some major reward points with your airline. Use those points to your advantage and apply them towards your trip to Asia. You can reduce your airfare by 50% or more depending on how many reward points you have saved over time. Also remember to ask for any specials or discounts when purchasing your plane ticket. Lots of airlines offer a variety of discounts, such as senior citizen, student, or military. Finally, look into discount travel websites. These sites will often list airfares at a discounted rate depending on the date you travel. With these helpful tips, you are sure to save money on your trip to Asia!