It’s no coincidence that Asia was called the Far East—the continent’s geographical, philosophical and cultural divide from the West has been viewed as vast. Shaped equally by its rich, ancient history and embrace of modernity, Asia is a place where thousand-year old temples stand shoulder to shoulder with gleaming skyscrapers, where the pace of daily life is governed by both tradition and technology. But the thread that unites Asia’s many diverse countries and ethnicities is a deep spirituality, a philosophical perspective that influences everything from literature to medicine to politics. Travelers have long come to Asia to explore its expanse of colorful, varied landscapes—significant mountain ranges, natural wonders, tropical jungles—and vibrant cultural heritage. Global cities hum with trade, cuisine and art; sacred temples and rural villages offer a contemplative serenity that is decidedly Eastern in spirit. A land of marked contrasts, modern Asia balances the distant intrigue of the exotic with a thriving contemporary culture that is more familiar than it is “far.”

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