What are the five regions of Asia?

Landscape, wildlife, culture, food. The continent of Asia will blow your mind in more ways than you can ever imagine! It is by far the most cultu... Read more
What are the five regions of Asia?

Landscape, wildlife, culture, food. The continent of Asia will blow your mind in more ways than you can ever imagine! It is by far the most culturally diverse continent on the planet and its natural beauty ranges from the towering peaks of the Himalaya to the pristine beaches of Bali. It's home to some of the world's oldest civilisations and historical landmarks including the Taj Mahal in India and the Temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Geographically it covers around 17 million square miles and is home to over 4.5 billion people, making it the most populated continent in the world. 

But do you know your East from West and South from Southeast? Let us help boost your knowledge with our guide to the 5 different regions of Asia and ways for you to explore this captivating continent.

East Asia


East Asia (also known as the Far East) promises a captivating journey filled with immersive experiences and warm hospitality. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, Russia to the north and Southeast Asia to the south, it boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, mountains and plateaus, tantilising cuisine and modern marvels. Cities like Toyko in Japan and Seoul in South Korea, buzz with activity and showcase futuristic architecture, high-speed transport, vibrant nightlife and cutting-edge entertainment. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or a novice adventurer, East Asia offers a wide range of outdoor experiences amidst outstanding natural beauty and cultural richness.

Which countries are within East Asia? 

China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

What is special about East Asia?  

East Asia is special not only because it offers varied adventure opportunities, but also spiritual rejuvenation and a profound connection with the region's awe-inspiring wilderness. The sheer diversity of the countries that fall within East Asia mean that one day you could be discovering the expansive plains of Mongolia where the notorious Genghis Khan established an empire and the next trekking on a pilgrimage through the heart of Kumano Kodo in Japan before relaxing in soothing hot thermal springs known as 'onsen'. 

When is it best to travel to East Asia?   

East Asia is at its best during the months of March to November depending on which country you are choosing to visit. In Japan and South Korea, springtime is popular as the weather is generally mild making it a great time to explore. It's also a popular time for tourism due to the iconic cherry blossom (Sakura) which usually occurs in early April. Late summer is also another great time for adventure travel (September/October) as the temperatures are starting to cool and the foliage changes to vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow. These are excellent months for outdoor trekking and outdoor activities.

How can you explore East Asia? 

Fall in love with Japan and immerse yourself in its rich fascinating culture on either a trek through its spiritual heartland on the Nakasendo Trail, or by going on our self-guided walking holiday where all the arrangements are made for you. Trek beneath Minya Konka (7,556m) the third highest peak beyond the Himalaya range and see pandas at the research centre at Chengdu or explore South Korea by bike on a leisurely cycling tour and visit the UNESCO-listed, 600 year old Hahoe Folk Village. The ultimate adventure lies in Mongolia where you can go on an exceptional winter journey across the blue ice of Lake Khuvsgul driving your own dog sled. 

Fun fact about East Asia

Fun fact! - In Japan, it's good manners to slurp your noodles. Noisily. Slurping is a sign of enjoyment and Japan values good manners highly.


Southeast Asia is a region that sprawls across islands and archipelagos, straddling the equator. Located north of Australia, south of East Asia, west of the Pacific Ocean and east of the Bay of Bengal, it has a population of 684 million. It's blessed with lush rainforests, pristine beaches, wonderful friendly people, beautiful scenery, ancient temples, a great climate and incredible cuisine. Thai curries, Vietnamese pho, Indonesian nasi goreng and Filipino adobo are just some of the amazing dishes you can expect to eat in Southeast Asian countries. Overall, it's an adventure traveller's paradise and a great value for money destination. 

Which countries are within Southeast Asia? 

Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

What is special about Southeast Asia?  

Halong Bay in Vietnam, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Chiang Mai in Thailand, Mount Rinjani (3,726m) on Lombok in Indonesia - rice paddies, train journeys, palm-fringed beaches and the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam. Where do we begin? The abundance of walking and cycling opportunities, ancient temples and historic sites, coupled with incredible outdoor experiences are what makes Southeast Asia an exciting adventure travel destination. Plus, it's one of the best places in the world to go volcano trekking as the Indonesian Archipelago is the biggest in the world and is home to the largest number of active volcanoes on the planet.

When is it best to travel to Southeast Asia?

The great thing about the climate in Southeast Asia is the fact that there is just two seasons: wet and dry. The dry season is generally from November to April and is considered a great time to visit as rainfall is minimal, skies are clear and temperatures are relatively cooler. The wet season (May to October) sees heavier rainfall, high humidity and monsoon rains are common during this time, particularly in countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. However some coastal regions experience slightly different monsoon seasons so always check dependent on where you want to travel.

How can you explore Southeast Asia? 

You can explore Vietnam from North to South and visit all the highlights from Halong Bay to the Mekong Delta, or take a leisurely cycle tour on the Backroads of Cambodia from Angkor Wat to the Cardamom Mountains. Climb 5 volcanoes in Indonesia and island hop across Java, Bali and Lombok or go self-guided in Thailand and experience the culture and flavours from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi. 

Fun fact about South East Asia

Fun fact! - Coffee! With 1,650,000 metric tons of coffee produced annually, Vietnam sits second behind Brazil as the largest exporter of coffee.

Central Asia


Situated at the heart of the continent, Central Asia is the largest landlocked region in the world. It shares borders with Russia to the north, China to the east and Afghanistan to the south and was previously a part of the Soviet Union. The countries in Central Asia, all ending in "-stan," are collectively known as "The Stans," which translates to "land of" or "place of." This expansive area of steppes, deserts and mountains has been a meeting point for various civilizations for centuries. Ancient Silk Road cities such as Samarkand, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Central Asia, and Bukhara in Uzbekistan, are notable historical sites in the region. From the snow-capped peaks of the Tian Shan Mountains to historic landmarks and vibrant bazaars, Central Asia offers fascinating destinations for intrepid travellers seeking authenticity and adventure.

Which countries are within Central Asia? 

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

What is special about Central Asia? 

Central Asia holds a special allure due to its unique blend of history, culture, and geography. It has served as a meeting point for various civilizations over thousands of years and played a crucial role in the ancient Silk Road, a system of trade paths linking the East and the West. The wild and rugged landscapes of the Tian Shan and Pamir Mountains, secluded valleys and high-altitude lakes attract nature lovers with their untouched wilderness and diverse cultural legacy. 

When is it best to travel to Central Asia? 

For active walking and cycling adventures, the best times to travel are in spring (April to June) where you will experience milder temperates and blooming landscapes and summer (July to August) where the weather will be much warmer in the lowlands, perfect for exploring the cities and cultural sites as well as mountain trekking and outdoor adventures. 

How can you explore Central Asia?

You could head to Uzbekistan on our Samarkand and the Silk Road trip and enjoy gentle walks and wonderful culture, head off the beaten track to a little-visited part of the Pamir range in The Ultimate Fann Mountains, trek in the Tian Shan 'Mountains of Heaven' on our Mountains and Lakes of Kyrgyzstan, or enjoy a fun challenge Cycling through Kazakhstan with views of Khan Tengri (7,010m) and the central Tian Shan peaks.

Fun fact about Central Asia

Birthplace of the Apple: Central Asia, particularly Kazakhstan, is believed to be the birthplace of the domesticated apple. The wild ancestor of the modern apple, Malus sieversii, still grows in the mountains of Kazakhstan.

South Asia


The region of South Asia is home to glaciers, rainforests, valleys, deserts and grasslands and is a vibrant tapestry of cultures, landscapes and histories waiting to be explored. The region covers roughly two million square miles and has a population of more than 1.99 billion, nearly a quarter of the global population. From the majestic peaks of the Himalayas to the sun-kissed beaches of Sri Lanka, whether you're seeking spiritual enlightenment, culinary delights or breathtaking natural beauty, the countries of South Asia have something to offer every traveller. 

Which countries are within South Asia? 

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives.

What is special about South Asia?

South Asia has the world's tallest mountains and is home to the mighty Himalaya, often referred to as the "Roof of the World,". This giant mountain range stretches across several countries including India, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Pakistan. This is where you can see all fourteen peaks over 8,000m, such as Mount Everest and K2. Hikers and climbers come to popular trails like the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Base Camp Trek to experience the grandeur of the Himalayas firsthand.

When is it best to travel to South Asia?

South Asia is vast and depending on where you want to visit will depend on when you travel. If Nepal, Bhutan or the northern India Himalaya are on your radar, then there are generally two seasons; spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). These seasons offer pleasant weather, clear skies and excellent trekking conditions. However, if visiting Pakistan to hike in the Karakoram mountains, then the summer months of June-August are the most popular as they are not influenced by the monsoon to the same extent as Nepal and most of India. 

How can you explore South Asia? 

KE has some classic adventures that explore South Asia. Bhutan's The Druk Path Trek is a wonderful way to combine a 5 day trek and all the colourful cultural highlights of Bhutan and our Everest Base Camp trekking holiday takes you all the way to the iconic base camp where you can stand in awe at the world's tallest mountain. If visiting India, you can see the Best of Northern India on a leisurely tour or summit the 6,000m peaks of Mentok Kangri or Kang Yatse 2 and the Lhato Valley. Sri Lanka is great for cycling end to end, discovering the temples and tea trails and also exploring with your family.  

Fun fact about South Asia

Bhutan is known as the only country in the world to measure its success by Gross National Happiness (GNH). This unique approach to governance prioritises the well-being and happiness of its citizens over economic growth.

Western Asia


Western Asia, also commonly referred to as the Middle East, is a region that encompasses countries such as Turkey, Israel, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon and others. It's a diverse and historically significant region, often referred to as the cradle of civilization due to its rich history dating back to ancient times. It's known for its diverse landscapes, from deserts to fertile valleys and for being a crossroads of cultures, religions and civilizations. It's also home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Petra in Jordan, Byblos in Lebanon and the Göreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia, TurkeyWestern Asia beckons adventure enthusiasts with its untamed wilderness, ancient wonders and hospitable cultures, promising unforgettable experiences off the beaten path. 

Which countries are within Western Asia? 

Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

What is special about Western Asia?  

There are numerous reasons why Western Asia is a special place to visit. It's a treasure trove of archaeological wonders with ancient ruins and historical sites scattered throughout the region and is home to some of the most extraordinary scenery in the world. In Jordan you will find the 'Star Wars' movie site of Wadi Rum, the ancient 'Red-Rose' city of Petra and the extremely salty Dead Sea. In Georgia and Armenia there are spectacular mountain ranges that make you feel like you are trekking back in time and in Cappadocia in Turkey you'll find unique, tall, cone-shaped rock formations known as 'fairy chimneys' in Love Valley. The varied landscapes and interesting historical sites are abundant in Western Asia.

When is it best to travel to Western Asia?   

The best months to travel to West Asia are typically during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November). During these times, the weather is generally mild and comfortable, making it ideal for exploring outdoor attractions and archaeological sites. July and August are the hottest months and temperatures in the lowlands can reach as high as 35-40 degrees. It is however a superb time for high-altitude treks and exploring mountainous regions.

How can you explore Western Asia? 

KE has over 20 holidays that explore West Asia including 9 holidays in Turkey, 6 holidays in Jordan and 3 holidays in Cyprus. Some of them include trekking along the Balcony Walk in Oman's Grand Canyon', cycling from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea in Jordan, trekking across mountain passes, by lakes and through flower strewn meadows in the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia or hiking to the Southern summit (3888m) of Aragats (4090m), the highest peak in Armenia.

Fun fact about Western Asia

The Dead Sea in Jordan is the lowest place on Earth. This vast lake, 46 miles (74 km) long, lies on the border between Israel and Jordan. Its water is so salty that nothing can live in it, which is how the lake got its name.

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