Asia is the largest continent on the planet and includes approximately 60% of the world’s population in over 45 countries (47 as of 2014). As a result, Asia has some of the most diverse cultures on the planet. The continent can be broken down into a number of regions most commonly according to geographic, political, cultural, socio-economic and historical factors. These areas do include some overlap depending on what field of study you may be involved in and/or how you individually group and categorize countries, but in general they are divided by geographic regions. They include: Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. At some point I would like to be able to say that I have been able to travel to destinations in each of these geographic regions. Below is some brief information about the categorization of these areas and the highlighted links can direct you to my travel experiences in Asia.
Central Asia – Currently Unexplored Region
This region is comprised of many of the former Soviet Socialist Republics. They include: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, Mongolia is also a part of this Asian subcategory.
Often referred to as the Far East, this region includes the republics of: China, Hong Kong, Macao, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Some consider Mongolia a part of this subcategory. On other occasions, individuals may also include portions of Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia can be divided into two sub-regions of its own. Mainland Southeast Asia includes the countries of Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. Maritime Southeast Asia includes Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Timor-Leste.
The Middle East (Western Asia) – Currently Unexplored Region
The Middle East, also known throughout history as the Near East, Asia Minor, and Western Asia in addition to a number of other classifications currently includes the current republics of Bahrain, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. (Iran is often included in South Asia, while some consider it a part of this region.)
South Asia – Currently Unexplored Region
South Asia or what many call the Indian subcontinent often refers to the republics of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Iran. Currently some would agree that in terms of geography, culture and current geopolitics Iran more typically goes with the Middle East and Myanmar with Southeast Asia, but both teeter along the unofficial lines bordering the South Asia region of the continent.