Covering vast swathes of our planet’s land surface, Asia is the largest of our continents stretching from the Arctic tundra in the north, down to the sweltering tropical heat of the southern regions.
The endless undulating plains are Asia’s dominant feature, though one cannot think of this continent without also calling to mind the towering peaks of the Himalayas, as well as vast areas of temperate rainforest. These rich and varied habitats each hold unique populations of wildlife, including the elusive tiger and the lovable panda.
Hit the road
To see and explore any part of Asia at its best, it is essential to travel on foot. Hiking is the one form of travel which engages all the senses – which probably explains why it also connects so easily with the soul. Walking through a landscape you can experience, enjoy and interact with the sights, sounds and aromas you encounter on your journey.
Embrace your wild side
Though they lack the drama of the high mountain peaks, Asia’s temperate rainforest areas are nevertheless teeming with wildlife. Birds are everywhere, and characteristic species include exotic woodpeckers and the delightful hornbills which colonise the Vietnamese rainforests. Exploring Java’s natural environment may result in sightings of the Javan gibbon. Those wanting to see larger fauna, like elephants, will have more success in the forest tracts of Indonesia. Smaller pockets of tropical vegetation in both Sumatra and Borneo hold populations of rhinoceros, as well as some of the remaining Asian tigers.
Equally beautiful on a smaller scale, the Japanese Emperor butterfly, clothed in purple with distinctive spotted wings, blends perfectly with the sun-dappled vegetation in its native habitat – a camouflage which renders it almost invisible until it takes to the air. The Emperor’s caterpillars are even harder to spot, taking on the same green hue as the foliage of the celtis tree which is their food plant.
Hiking and trekking in Asia requires careful preparation to meet the challenge of the environment. Getting into good physical condition is essential, and such a trip should never be attempted if you are unfit. Good quality clothing is equally important, and here the feet should be your main priority: a comfortable pair of men’s hiking boots will provide the necessary protection and ensure your hiking trip remains memorable for all the right reasons – just remember to break them in properly before they are due to see action.
Almost any Asian hiking destination holds unexpected treasures. So whilst your adventure trek slowly unwinds step by step, be prepared for that once-in-a-lifetime glimpse of rare wildlife species or the unexpected discovery of ancient ruins which makes such experiences so deeply rewarding.
Okinawa: Asia’s Island of Discovery
In a new travel series entitled ‘Okinawa: A Journey of Discovery’ seven travellers from around the world travel to an exotic island in Asia called Okinawa. The seven experts, who come from seven different countries, are hand-packed to visit the Asian island and to share its secrets with the rest of the world.
Okinawa, probably one of the world’s best-kept secrets, provides visitors with unique experiences in food, culture, music and more. Each traveller on the show has a special skill that will showcase the very best Okinawa has to offer, and with unique challenges created for each of them, you just never know what’ll happen next!
Speaking about his stay on the island, Josh Harris, a bar owner from the USA said “sometimes you need to search for the adventure and the beauty in the unlikely places. If you get off the beat and path you’re gonna get an experience that’s so much more personal and so much more unique.” During the series Josh is introduced to the oldest distilled liquor in Japan and given the task of making a perfect Awamori cocktail.
In addition to the rich culinary heritage found on the island, there is also a thriving underwater world of tropical reefs that provide the perfect opportunity for professional scuba diver Emma Burdett, to get up close with some rare manta rays which are popular sight around the island.
Towards the final episode, Russian dancer Maria Bessononva laments that “life is full of moments that take your breath away” and that being on Okinawa island has been one of those moments. The entire series will make you want to experience the beauty and wonder of this slice of tropical paradise. To watch the entire series click here.