East Asia

East Asia covers about 28% of the Asian continent and contains over one fifth of all the people in the world (more than 1.5 billion people). Its vast geographic expanses range from the arid steppes of Mongolia to the vast deserts of northwestern China, extensive rice paddies, and subtropical islands.

Chinese dynasties long dominated the region in matters of culture, trade, and militarily. Among their influences are Confucian ethical philosophy, Buddhism, a common writing system, and various political and legal systems.

East Asia was one of the cradles of world civilization, with Chinese civilization developing at about the same time as Egypt, Babylonia and India.

Japan and Korea, in particular, have been influenced by China, including adopting the Chinese script. Nevertheless, both cultures retain many distinctive elements which make them unique in their own right.

The economies of East Asia are among the most successful in the world. One result is that costs for travel are typically higher than in neighboring regions.

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Countries in this region:

Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

China

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: March, April, May, September, October, November

 ChinaChina is an enormous country in East Asia both geographically (about the same size as the U.S.) and in population (the world's largest population, over 1.3 billion). China is one of the major cradles of civilization, starting in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia.
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Japan

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: March, April, May, September, October

 JapanJapan is a country in East Asia comprising four main islands: Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku. While Japan was the first Asian country to modernize, and it remains an important technology center today, travelers find traditional elements remaining everywhere, ranging from the small house nestled between modern skyscrapers to the neighborhood festivals that continue even in the biggest cities. Visiting the Japanese countryside, including the beautiful Japan Alps and its many hotsprings, is another way to experience traditional Japan.
 
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Mongolia

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: May, June, July, August, September

 MongoliaMongolia is a landlocked country in east-central Asia, and one of the most sparsely populated in the world. About 30% of the population are nomadic or semi-nomadic, with over 50 million head of sheep, goats, cattle, horses and camels. The country contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. A majority of the population is Buddhist.
 
A Cultural Atmosphere includes both the historic (eg, landmark town centers) and the contemporary (music, nightlife, etc).

Cultural Interests tend to be:
(a) indoors-oriented, and therefore not as linked to weather conditions for enjoyment
(b) relatively physically accessible, while also not being physically demanding.

South Korea

Atmosphere: Culture    
Best Weather: April, May, June, September, October

 South KoreaSouth Korea occupies the southern half of the Korean Peninsula. As with neighboring North Korea, it retains its own history, distinct from China and Japan, but with intermittent periods of conquest by its neighbors. It was an early center for the development of pottery and other tools and crafts. Outside of Seoul, its capital and largest city, travelers can find scenic countryside and historic temples, a number of them UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
 
 
A Cultural Atmosphere includes both the historic (eg, landmark town centers) and the contemporary (music, nightlife, etc).

Cultural Interests tend to be:
(a) indoors-oriented, and therefore not as linked to weather conditions for enjoyment
(b) relatively physically accessible, while also not being physically demanding.

Taiwan

Atmosphere: Culture    
Best Weather: March, April, May, September, October

 TaiwanTaiwan is an island located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. With more than 23 million people, it is one of the most densely populated places in the world, led by its capital, Taipei. Taiwan is largely mountainous, with a chain of mountains running from north to south at the center of the island. The west coast is mostly plains and is where most of the population is concentrated. While the political status of Taiwan is a a controversial and sensitive issue, from a traveler's point of view, Taiwan is under the de facto control of a different government from mainland China, and in practice operates as a separate country.
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Tibet

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: May, June, July, August, September

 TibetTibet is a region on the Tibetan Plateau in Asia northeast of the Himalayas, and the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people, as well as several other ethnic groups. As “the Roof of the World,” it is the highest region on Earth. Today Tibet it is an autonomous region of China, and increasingly experiencing government-sponsored migrations of Han and Hui Chinese. Alpine terrain conditions in Tibet can be severe, with strong winds, low humidity, a rarefied atmosphere and a huge fluctuation in annual and summer daytime temperature.
 
 
A Natural Atmosphere includes a diverse range of destinations with outdoor-oriented features, including both water-based (beaches, rivers, lakes, etc) and land-based (mountains, forests, deserts, etc). It also includes specific outdoor activities, ranging from water adventuring (eg, kayaking, sailing) to land adventuring (eg, hiking, biking).

Natural Interests tend to be:
(a) outdoors-oriented, and therefore more dependent on weather conditions
(b) less easily accessible and more physically demanding than other destination categories.

In some cases (eg, rafting and climbing), this includes a significantly increased degree of adventure (or danger, depending on one's viewpoint).

Eastern Russia

Atmosphere: Nature    
Best Weather: May, June, July, August, September

Eastern RussiaEastern Russia forms a large part of the Russian and the Asian landmass. It is among the most sparsely populated areas on earth. The region includes Siberia, as well as areas in the extreme Russian east bordering the Pacific Ocean. Siberia’s western area is covered by a swampy plain, its central plateau is heavily forested, while its eastern areas include mountains above 3,000 meters. The region’s most famous landmark is Lake Baikal, while the eastern peninsula of Kamchatka is famous for its volcanoes and other geothermal activity.