Interesting Facts About Asia

20 Interesting Things to Know About Asia

Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
••• In 2009, a French climber scaled one of the Petronas Towers in KL using only his bare hands!. Afriandi/Getty Images

These 20 interesting facts about Asia may surprise you. Our planet’s largest and most populous continent is home to extremes of all types.

Asia is definitely growing, and as modernization accelerates, old customs and ways of life become lost. See these 10 reasons why you should travel to Asia sooner than later and then start planning your trip!

  • Fact #2: "Asia" is used as a female name and means "sunrise." The name "Asia" is thought to possibly be a variant of Aisha, the name of Muhammad’s favorite wife.
  • Fact #3: With around 30 percent of the earth’s surface area, Asia is the largest of the seven continents on our planet.
  • Fact #4: The 14 tallest mountains on earth, known collectively as the Eight-Thousanders, are all located in Asia — all are over 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) tall!
  • Fact #5: Asia is the most populous continent on earth; an estimated 4.4 billion people live on the continent. Roughly 60 percent of the earth’s population lives in Asia. The continent is home to the most densely populated and more sparsely populated regions on earth. The sometimes-chaotic crowds are one of the top complaints by travelers in Asia.
  • Fact #6: The top four most populous cities in the world are located in Asia. Shanghai ranks first in the world with a population of 24.1 million. Three out of the four most populous countries in the world are located in Asia. Here are the top four in order by population:
    1. China
    2. India
    3. United States
    4. Indonesia
  • Fact #7: The land borders for Asia — and list of what countries are considered "Asian" — are not clear and cause disputes. Cultural and political separation is necessary because Asia technically connects directly to Europe to form Eurasia. "Asian" is originally a European concept; people from different countries in Asia never considered themselves to be pooled together.
  • Fact #8: Many countries in Asia outrank the United States for average life expectancy. Countries with longer life expectancies include Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan.
  • Fact #9: Per the World Health Organization, Japan has the longest life expectancy in the world. The average life span in Japan is 80.5 years for men and 86.8 years for women. The average life expectancy for a male in the United States is 76.9 years (per 2015 data).
  • Fact #10: Even with a troubled economy, there are more millionaires in Japan than in Germany, France, Italy, China, or Canada (per 2015 data by Forbes). More millionaires call Tokyo home than Paris, Los Angeles, or San Francisco.
  • Fact #11: Despite being home to so many millionaires, Asia is not home to any of the world's top 10 richest billionaires (per 2016 data by Forbes). The wealth divide in Asia is wide; begging is a serious problem in most major cities.
  • Fact #12: In 2015, Bangkok, Thailand, became the world’s second-most visited city, just behind London; Thailand has held the coveted "most visited" city spot several times. Bangkok beat out New York City and Paris for international arrivals. Six of the top 10 most visited cities are located in Asia (per 2015 data by MasterCard).
  • Fact #14: Despite Asia’s astounding economic growth, there are still wild, completely unexplored places. Approximately 44 never-before-contacted tribes are thought to exist in the jungles of Papua, Indonesia, alone!
  • Fact #15: Mobile phone use and service are astounding in Asia. Asian countries with more mobile phones in use than people include: Hong Kong (2.4 phones per person), Singapore (1.5 phones per person), Malaysia, Taiwan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand. Although Nepal has historically been one of the poorest countries in Asia and suffers from frequent natural disasters, there are still more mobile phones than people!
  • Fact #16: With an average of only 8.3 mobile phones per 100 citizens, North Korea has the lowest mobile phone density in the world.
  • Fact #18: With an average of 21,352 people per square kilometer (55,301 people in every square mile), Macau — a special administrative region belonging to China — has the highest population density in the world. Singapore ranks third with 7,697 people per square kilometer.
  • Fact #19: Southeast Asia is the most rapidly deforested region in the world, even beating out the Amazon. Rain forests in Borneo and Sumatra are cleared to make way for palm oil plantations. Although there are a few sustainable palm oil plantations, they are greatly outnumbered by operations that begin with logging.
  • Fact #20: Wild orangutans are found in only two places on earth: Sumatra in Indonesia and the island of Borneo (split between Malaysia and Indonesia). Orangutans are one of the biggest victims of habitat loss due to poor palm oil practices.