The “Eastern” portion of the Eurasian continental plate – Asia is home to the most people of any continent, comprising of 30% of Earth’s landmass and 4.4 billion people. Consisting of 54 nations, Asia is no small feat to explore.
Language & Culture
Asia has an incredibly high diversity of languages and cultures. With over 600 languages spoken in Indonesia, and 800 spoken in India, it can be daunting to communicate in the native tongue. With that being said, there are still common tongues that can help the traveler get by. Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Bahsa, and Hindi will suffice in most regions if you try to speak locally, while English and French are the best European languages to know in the region.
Culturally, the region has seen a rich development from many cultures with heavy influences from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, and Taoism – amongst still many others.
Interaction with the west has gone through periods of ups and downs – isolationism, open trade, and colonialism. No summation can truly do justice to the region’s vibrant cultures. Though grouped together here, it is better to think in terms of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Central Asia is different enough that will receive it’s own region on this site.
Stability & Development
Asia is a land of many extremes and has seen dramatic variance in stability and development. While Asia has seen economic boon, particularly in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea – regions in South and Southeast Asia are still struggling with development. Still others are in the full swing of development and will soon be right on par with other developed nations.
Stability in the region is not as strong as in most western nations. Some countries are quite stable, while others are dealing with dramatic social changes and upheavals. Communism, Socialism, monarchy, puppet governments, and corruption all doge the region. However, for the common traveler, stability should be a low concern.