May/June 2012 World Traveler

“I have not told half of what I saw.”
— Marco Polo, on his travels in Asia

World Traveler

Whether Marco Polo made it to China or not, many have enjoyed the extraordinary stories of his travels through the once mysterious continent. Today the differences and distances between East and West are no longer daunting, but rather fascinating, as cultures shift and societies connect in our increasingly globalized world.

It’s no secret that investment in Asia is a strategic decision these days — growth in the major ASEAN nations has returned to levels from before the global economic crisis, and China continues its outstanding annual increases in GDP. Our readers understand the political and economic developments that make Asia an attractive place for investment, but this Foreign Affairs World Traveler feature focuses on the continent as an even more attractive travel destination. Its rich and diverse history, natural beauty, and spectacular man-made structures make Asia a vacation spot like no other.

With a population of four billion and 30% of the world’s land mass, Asia offers the most culturally and intellectually fulfilling experience on Earth. Asia has the most pristine untouched landscapes and the most densely populated centers of technology, finance, and production.
Active travelers can trek through the rainforest in Bhutan, climb Everest or Mount Fuji, and explore the coastlines of Vietnam and Thailand. With thousands of years of civilizations, conquerors, and philosophers, Asia invites travelers to experience its history at the temples in Bangkok and Kyoto, the Taj Mahal in India, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Terra Cotta Warriors in China. Modern travelers can walk
along the Shanghai Bund or Guangzhou’s Pearl River in awe of the scope and beauty of the city skyline, shop in Hanoi’s covered markets, and try to keep up with the phenomenal pace of Seoul, Tokyo, and Kuala Lumpur.

May your travels be expansive and exhilarating; perhaps you will only be able to tell half of what you saw.

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