Asia is a culturally rich and very diverse continent. When somebody says Asia, we think about China, Japan, Korea and such which are actually East Asian countries. There also lies countries like India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan which falls in South Asia, countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines from Southeast Asia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar, UAE, Turkey in Western Asia and Soviet Socialist Republics in Central Asia. All of the countries lying in different parts of Asia have their own culture and traditions that leaves us in awe. Among them all, we think these eight countries are must visit countries with amazing cultures.
China is a great country with great culture. The foundation of Chinese culture is one of the oldest civilizations. Most of the people in China follow Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism and derive spiritual meanings from their religions. Concepts like reincarnation, fortune telling, heaven, etc. can be found in Chinese literature, art and traditions. Chinese art comprises of various mythical creatures like dragons, spiritual figures like Bodhisattvas, figures of humans, animals, trees, flowers, etc. Some amazing cultural sites fused with brilliant architecture are the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, The Terracotta Army Museum, Potala Palace, Temple of Heaven, etc.
India is a place where various regional cultures amalgamate to form a single Indian culture. Bright colors, ornaments, exotic food and dresses with lots of people gathering together are major things for any event or festival. Hindus themselves follow a number of deities and cultures differs from place to place. Equally vibrant Islamic, Sikh and Jain cultures make India an amazing destination with numerous festivals to witness. India also has various types of dance forms involving dress ups and beautiful classical music. Some cultural places in India with outstanding architecture are Agra Fort, Akshardham Temple, Taj Mahal, Jama Masjid, Varanasi, Jaipur, Qutb Minar, Mahabodhi Temple, etc.
Sri Lanka, an island country with Buddhism and Hinduism as major religions. Lanka, as stated in Ramayana used to be in this place and the Pali Canon, an important scripture of Theravada Buddhism was found in this country. Keeping aside the magnificent natural beauty, it has several cultural sites which leave anyone mesmerized. The Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree, brought from the Bodhi Tree in India lies in Sri Lanka and is the oldest living tree humans have planted. Must-visit places in Sri Lanka are The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura surrounded by monasteries, Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa, etc.
Hindus in Nepal worship several deities but they also have a living goddess, Kumari. Some unique and rich culture like Newari can be found in Kathmandu with festivals like Jatras which involve dressing up like monsters, bizarre dances and huge handmade chariots. Traversing across the average 193 km width of Nepal, one can explore the lifestyle of indigenous people of Terai at the elevation of barely hundred meters to Pahadi people living in Hilly region to Sherpas, Tamang, etc. living in the Himalayan region at high altitudes of several thousand meters. Some of the most popular treks and tours in Nepal are, Everest Base Camp trek, ABC trek, Kanchenjunga trek, Everest base camp helicopter tour, which is the perfect chance to explore this cultural diversity from Kathmandu to the foot of Everest. Even if you have just a few days, Nepal can astonish you with a variety of people, language and culture.
Malaysia is a country of variety of people and culture. Only upto 50% of the population is Malay, the ethnic people while other people include Malaysian Chinese which forms about 25% and Malaysian Indian forming about 10% of the population. This makes Malaysia even more colourful with the rich culture of both India and China. Ethnic people like Dusun are people living in the mountains, Bajau are famous for their impressive equestrian skills and Sabah for their clothing decorated with beadworks. There are several other ethnic groups with varied cultural roles and traditions. Some amazing places to explore are Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca, Archaeological Heritage of the Lenggong Valley etc.
This beautiful country of Islands is also a home to cultural shrines of different religions. Though Indonesia is a Islam majority country, Hinduism and Buddhism has influenced a lot in art and culture of this country. It is also home to the world’s largest Buddhist temple, Borobudur. In the island of Bali in Indonesia, the majority of people are Hindus. The religious beliefs of native people is heavily based on animism, where people believe and worship supernatural spirits believed to inhabit in trees, mountains, forests etc. So, religion people follow here is the unique mix of a lot of different practices. Great Mosque of Demak is a must-visit Islamic heritage in Indonesia.
Iran is an Islamic country with a majority of Twelver Shia Islam followers with about 8% Sunni Muslims and few Christians, Jews, Bahais, etc. If you are looking for Islam heritage in Asia then look no more! This ancient Persian Empire is rich in cultural site where you get to explore the ancient and historical aspect of this place. Persepolis is the capital of the Achaemenid empire which looks outstanding as the ruins of the past presents itself in front of your eyes. The magnificent Amir Chakhmaq Square lies in the desert city and is famous for wind catchers. Imam Reza in Mashhad is the largest mosque in the world. These are just a few of several amazing cultural places you can savor with amazing food and kind people in Iran.
Turkey has a unique blend of cultures inspired by both East and West. This vibrant outcome is a major tourist attraction. Aya Sofya museum, also known as the most beautiful building in the world lies in Istanbul. The still standing ruins of Ephesus takes you back in time to the Roman Empire. Sumela Monastery is another aesthetically beautiful places to visit. Beside beautiful cultural places, Turkey is an amazing country for those who are fascinated with nazar boncugu (Evil Eye), spicy food, beautiful rugs, carpets, jewelries etc.