An Introduction to Asia
Asia is the most populous continent in the world, located in the Northern and Eastern hemispheres. It is well known for its natural beauty, environment, unique cultures, traditions, and distinctive regions. Each locale is inimitable and peerless in its own way. What makes it different? What makes it unique? Why should it be your first travel preference? Ever wondered how Asia is different from the rest of the world? This quick introduction to Asia will cover some of the most unique aspects of this massive continent and is followed up with a variety of tips and tricks for how to stay healthy while traveling in Asia.
Asia, “The land of contrasts,” is home to some of the hottest and coldest regions on Earth and as we discuss in further detail later it is crucially important to understand these vast differences in climates for anyone interested in how to stay healthy while traveling in Asia. From the Chocolate Hills in The Philippines to the Gokyo Lakes in Nepal and everything in between, you can experience almost any type of landscape your heart desires while traveling in Asia. The range of unique environments and climates is astonishing. From Siberia, located in the Northeastern part of Russia, harsh, cold and covered in snow to Southern Asia, tropical, exotic and wet. Whether it is the flora, fauna, environment or climate, Asia is the continent where everything varies, from country to country and even city to city.
The natural beauty – Flora, and fauna
Flora and Fauna are the beauty of the land and Asia is full of plants and animals unique to the continent, found nowhere else in the world. While deforestation has dramatically depleted the wild populations of many of these incredible species, conservation is becoming a more significant part of Asian culture. That being said, travelers can easily find sanctuaries to work and volunteer at to help some of these endangered animals, such as elephants and tarsiers.
Largest cities, malls, and buildings
There are tons of unique things that make Asia a special place, especially its widely varied cultures, traditions, food, clothing, and native animals. Asia is without a doubt one of the best places to travel for those looking to experience a variety of unique and different cultures. Tibet, located on the Northern side of the Himalayas in China is known as “The Land of Ancient Wisdom” ― sounds like a heck of a place, right?
Seven out of the ten largest cities in the world (regarding population) are found within Asia. It also has the biggest shopping mall in the world, located in China, which has just reopened. It’s the size of a small city, and has an amusement park with an indoor roller coaster. Additionally, nine of the world’s tallest buildings are in Asia. As we later discuss how to stay healthy while traveling in Asia, it’s important to recognize that larger cities can often have heavily polluted air and contain higher rates of infectious diseases. Every traveler should do thorough research beforehand on the specific countries and cities they choose to visit to assess any current health concerns specific to that region.
History and more
Asia’s ancient culture dates back so far that no one really knows how long people have lived there. One of the oldest civilizations initially started living there mainly because of its agricultural potential and vast area of farmable land. Several peripheral coastal cultures in East Asia, Middle East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia all originated from Asia and you can see the mainlands’ influence on the customs found there. In the past, Asia has been occupied by western civilizations. India was once ruled by the English Empire, the French occupied Vietnam, and Russia once controlled China. These western influences have now intermingled with native cultures, creating something completely unique to each area.
How to stay healthy while traveling in Asia
People often report finding themselves fall ill more often when traveling, and the reality is that traveling can present a variety of risks to ones health. It’s no secret that traveling can be a stressful experience on our bodies but traveling, especially internationally, also exposes us to all kinds of other conditions that could make us more susceptible to illness as well. Airports and train stations are essentially just giant germ-laden petri dishes, tap water can be undrinkable without major risk, and foreign countries are often home to foreign diseases you’re not familiar with or prepared to deal with. Luckily there are a few simple precautionary steps you can take to lower your risk to falling ill and maintain your health throughout the entirety of your trip. For those interested in how to stay healthy while traveling in Asia, read on for seven tips and tricks to ensure your next trip to Asia doesn’t include getting sick or injured.
Stay healthy by staying hydrated
If you’re planning on exploring the Southern Asian countries, then my advice is to stay hydrated all the time. Why? Well, most of the regions like Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Maldives are some of the hottest areas in the world and obviously, you don’t want to get sick on your travels.
Hydrating is not only fundamentally important to life in general, but it is one of the best means to stay healthy while traveling. If you ask any experienced traveler how to stay healthy while traveling, you better believe staying hydrated will be near the top of their list. Just be sure that the water you are drinking is clean and filtered because most of the water available in Southern Asia is unsafe to drink due to the native bacteria that lives in it. The easiest way to make sure you don’t get a nasty bacterial infection, or a case of the runs, is by drinking sealed bottles of water.
Stay healthy while traveling by eating safe
There are tons of places in Asia where street food is common and delicious. My advice is to make sure you are 100% sure that the food you are eating is completely safe, healthy and hygienic. How can you figure that out? It’s actually easier than it sounds.
- Eat at highly recommended restaurants. A restaurant’s reputation is everything, and if it’s got a good one, the chances of you getting sick are slim. No one would give a restaurant a high rating if they ended up sick after eating there! Check online reviews, and ask the locals. Nobody knows the best food in the area quite like those who live there and eat it every day.
- Avoid seafood! Seafood can be quite dangerous in Asia, especially in regions like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. Most travelers end up getting food poisoning. So, try to avoid seafood in Southern Asian countries.
- Eat well-prepared and fully cooked meals. Food items that are cooked at high temperatures have a much lower chance of getting you sick because high heat kills off any bacteria present in the food.
Stay healthy while traveling with good hygiene
Want to be 100% clean? Well, another extremely common tip we hear from experienced travelers when asked how to stay healthy while traveling is to keep hand sanitizer and wet wipes on you at all times. The majority of the time, you won’t find a clean place to wash your hands properly before eating, making hand sanitizer one of your most powerful tools in the fight against illness and bacteria while traveling.
Prepare with vaccinations and medicine to stay healthy while traveling
Before leaving for Asia, get vaccinated! There are many serious illnesses in Asia that your body can’t fight off on it’s own. Furthermore, carrying medicines for diarrhea, stomach issues, mosquito repellents, and other diseases is mandatory. No one wants to get sick while traveling, but expect the unexpected and you’ll find that proper preparation makes the whole experience easier if you do end with food poisoning, the flu or some other nasty bug.
Get good travel insurance and air medical transport
Even with all of the best tips on how to stay healthy while traveling, you can get still get sick or hurt at any time. Give yourself some peace of mind and make sure you’re fully prepared before leaving, especially if you are traveling alone. Medical expenses can be a huge burden on your travel budget, so get yourself the best travel insurance. Insurance companies have different policies. Some offer treatment at specific hospitals while others will only take you to the nearest hospital, no matter the quality of care you’ll receive. For this reason, many travelers also opt into a medical transport service like MedjetHorizon to ensure they don’t get stuck in a foreign country where they might receive a lower quality of care than if they were being treated in their home country. A Medjet membership provides travelers air medical transport all the way back to their hospital of choice in their home country — regardless of medical necessity. If you think the local hospital isn’t a safe place for you, they’ll take you to the best one in the area. If that’s not good enough, they’ll fly you back to your home country for care there.
Pack and dress appropriately to stay healthy while traveling
Make sure you pack clothes for the particular region you’re going to. Since there’s a huge diversity of climates, it’s crucial to be prepared for anything. If you’re simply wondering how to stay healthy while traveling to Siberia, the first thing you should be doing is packing warm clothes appropriate for the colder climate of the region. If your travels are taking you to the Southern Asian countries, pack light, cotton, sweat-wicking clothes, as the weather there is quite wet and humid.
What do you do if you get sick while traveling?
Getting sick is unfortunately a fact of life. If you get sick while traveling, here are a few things you should do.
- Go to a doctor who is highly recommended by the locals of the region. Doctors, like restaurants, thrive on good reviews. A good doctor will be well reviewed, easy right?
- Take the medicine the doctor prescribes. Most antibiotics require you to take the whole regimen to be effective, even if you feel better after a day or so.
- Don’t rush from place to place if you are sick, rest until you feel better. Your recovery time will just get longer if you’re constantly on the move.
- Keep a medical kit with you in case of emergencies. Band-aids, disinfectants, painkillers, stomach, cough and fever medicines should always be a part of your kit.
Traveling is one of the most rewarding things to do. The memories and moments you experience will give you joy that outweighs any material purchase. Just make sure to be careful and thoroughly prepare before venturing out into the world. Stay safe!