The Orient as it was known in Europe has been the epitome of culture and human civilization; place full of diversity yet with so much in common is perhaps one of the most mysterious cultural conglomeration known to western civilizations. East Asia was largely known to the world as the land where a race of tea-sipping Orientals lived. The region which is geographically as large as almost two-thirds of Europe has played a major role in the development of human thought, culture as well as the propagation of one of the greatest religion in the world – Buddhism. The region though was and has been largely influenced by the largest country in the region, China. China as being the most technologically, culturally, and historically advanced country has had major influence in the writing, language, mannerism and though process of the people in the region. The region’s countries though influenced by the Chinese culture have managed to carve out their own identities which are reflective in the divergent cultures seen today in the form consumerist Japan to the austere, communist North Korea.
From the beginning when Man first started to civilize with the development of agriculture East Asia came out as a civilization and cultural powerhouse of the world with the main role being played by China. China was able to develop into a thriving civilization at the same time as India, Babylonia and Egypt. It developed many ingenious techniques of agriculture, construction and languages which were developed in western civilization many centuries later. The Chinese Golden Age came during the period of Hang and Tang Dynasties which established it not only as a military powerhouse in Asia but also as a technological and cultural one too. It was during this time that Chinese cultural influence started spreading to various corners of East Asia such as Vietnam, Korea and Japan. Even though Korea and Japan started out under Chinese influence in later centuries they were successfully able to develop their own unique cultural identity which is evident today.
By the time 19th century came many European powerhouse became imperializing the region with colonies in Indonesia, Vietnam, Korea and regions of China and Japan. Japan was able to adopt a westernized model of developed which helped it become an Imperial force in its own right within half a century on the other hand centuries of corruption had left the world’s greatest civilization in a sorry state leading to defeats at the hands of Western and Japanese imperial forces. China had seceded Hong Kong and Weihai to Britain while Manchuria, Korea and Taiwan was captured by Japanese while France grabbed hold of Vietnam marking the beginning of the Colonial Age. After the Second World War, East Asia was left ravaged by the war but most of the countries especially China had regained control of their territory from the European countries with exception of Vietnam which gained independence in the 1970s. Japan was the first country to embark on the path of rapid development which saw it emerge as the second largest economy in the world; its success was followed by the economic success of the Asian Tiger Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. In the last two decades after the death of Mao Zedong China embarked on an unprecedented path of development which has seen it now overtake their eastern Japan to become the second largest economy in the world.
East Asia is wonderful confluence of many culture, dialects and styles of life which presents itself in the most beautiful of ways. Traveling to this most populated region of the world one can only be amazed at the beauty of human life and that of the region’s geography which ranges from the barren highland of Mongolia to the deserts of South West China, from the sun kissed beaches of Japan to the green rice fields of Vietnam. Getting into East Asia is no hassle at all as there hundreds of international airports at different cities of the region although you are recommended to start your journey from China moving onto Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and finally culminating in Japan. Getting around within specific countries should not be a problem as all the countries are extensively connected with railways, roadways and airways with the most high-end transportation networks in place.
East Asia is full of wonders both architecture-wise and geography-wise which will keep you entertained and involved all throughout your journey. In China, you can visit the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden Palace; enjoy the natural scenery at Guangxi province. In Japan, visit the site of the nuclear bombings and the memorial of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, ride also the Bullet Train from Osaka to Tokyo. In South Korea, see the natural beauty of Seoraksan the highest peak in Korean Peninsula, Seongsan Sunrise Park, Yeojwa Stream and Bulguksa temple. In Malaysia, you can enjoy the beauty of the countless beaches which are just mesmerizing to be at other places to see include the My Son temple in Vietnam, Mekong Delta and the Taipei 101 tower. East Asia is a treasure which is just waiting to be unraveled.