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Asia is a land of hyperboles.  From the tallest mountains range in the Himalayas to the largest palace complex; from some the most inhospitable deserts and steppes on earth to major agricultural deltas that support millions, Asia is as diverse as the many nations that reside here. Follow the daily rituals of a Laotian or Burmese monk, or observe a fisherman’s routine in the Mekong Delta.  Pay your respects in one of the many temples in Thailand, or marvel at the vast grounds of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.  Ride a horse across the steppes of Kazakhstan or the grasslands of Mongolia.  Hike through mountains in Nepal and visit the nearby traditional mountain kingdom of Bhutan.  See Roman ruins and rock churches in Turkey before heading to a Black Sea resort.

In India, catch sight of the tiger in its natural surroundings, or visit the Taj Mahal.  Walk firsthand along the Great Wall of China, or try your bargaining skills at a shop in Hong Kong.  If you’re feeling lucky, head to Macau, home of some of the world’s biggest casinos, then splurge your winnings on the latest electronics or haute cuisine in Japan.  To relax, head over to Bali, Indonesia or to the Philippines.  Epicureans will find a diverse array of food from fiery hot in India and Thailand to the intricate presentation of Japanese food or the famous chili crab of Singapore.

Come to Asia to experience the different cultures and ancient traditions within each nation.  There is something to suit nearly everyone among all these diverse experiences.
Top Countries in Asia
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Questions answered about visiting Asia
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Travel Tips from people who've been to Asia
Bangkok is the best place for cheap shopping of all kinds.  They are renowned for their authentic-looking rip-off designer goods, and clothing is amazingly cheap.  Best markets/places to go include:  Chat Tu Chak (although it is really hot and crowded & can become overwhelming), Sum Lum Night Bazaar is good for a night out,  MBK (Mahboonkrong) Center sells great bags and clothes (and is wonderfully air-conditioned), but by far the best place for shopping (and just to check out the scene) is Patpong.  It is certainly the Thai experience. I kinda hate Bangkok, as it is a falling down mess, but the shopping and food are unbeatable.  I suggest being adventurous & buying from the street sellers... they really make the best food although it looks dodgy.  Great places to visit are: The Royal Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, and taking an hour or so train to the abandoned city of Ayutthaya (although I suggest seeing Ayutthaya before ever going to Cambodia for Angkor Wat).  After Angkor Wat, Ayutthaya is quite disappointing.
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When most Australians go to live abroad for the first time, they usually take the "safe" option and go to the UK.  If they are feeling extra adventurous, maybe they'll go to America or Canada.  My best friend and I decided to go to Dalian, China, and I have no doubt in my mind that it was the best experience of my life.

When Chinese people refer to Dalian, they allude to one catch-phrase - "Dalian is a beautiful city," or "the pearl of the orient."  While the beaches don't have the pristine sands of Western Australia, or the magnificent skyline of Melbourne, Dalian is undoubtedly one of the nicer cities of China.

Dalian is one of the smaller Chinese cities with only a population of about 6.2 million(yes this is small), but only has and urban population of about 3 million including a developmental zone. 

Dalian governs the entire Liaodong Peninsula of North-East China, while mountains surround the northern end of the city, which makes for many-a lovely hiking trip through the mountains and surrounding townships.  As Dalian is a seaside city, there are also plently of opportunities for strolls along the coast when weather permits.  

As with most of China, there is also plenty to do and costs were minimal.  As an English teacher, I was able to live on about 500RMB per week(about $70US) and this included eatling out every night, and having an active social life.  Having travelled in most provicences of China, Dalian definitely had the best food, as unlike the rest of China, it food was niether sweet or laden with MSG.  For $1 US, you could enjoy a tasty Chinese BBQ with lamb sticks and Corn bread, before heading out for an evening of drinking and playing Jenga or connect 4 at Noahs Ark or Dave's Bar.

In the summer, Dalian comes alive in it's many paks and squares where you can join in with the locals and play Hacky Sack(with a feathered ball thing), or a version of Duck Duck Goose they play where someone walks around everyone who are standing in a circle and drops the hankey behind you before being chased (sadly I got caught and ended up having to stand in the middle with the other losers singing "We Will Rock You".  In Zhongshan Square, in the city, they also do dancing.  In our mis-guided attempts however to learn the steps, we ended up leading the locals in dancing the "Nutbush" to their music!

Don't get me wrong, Dalian had it's drawbacks.  Hygiene in retaurants, a hole in the ground for a toilet, the beaches had pebbles instead of sand, and communicating and accepting the beuracracy of their customs was often frustrating -as you would expect, but overall, Dalian was a fabulous experience, and I highly recommend it.

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Be careful of the kids when you're going through this checkpoint!! DO NOT GIVE OUT FOOD OR MONEY of any kind!!! They will mob you. The kids in this area are trained to look as cute as possible, but if you watch them, they run and give the money to someone else (usually an adult) who is sitting off to the side and out of site. And a lot of times, the smaller kids get mugged by the bigger ones. Just don't fall for it. I know they're all so cute and you'll want to keep one or two (or all), but just don't do it.
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