Asia’s 10 largest countries

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Insatiable curiosity and dreams of grandeur? Today, we’re off to Asia’s 10 largest countries, each as unique as the next.

Asia stretches from Russia to Indonesia and from Turkey to Japan. This makes it the world’s largest continent. It is home to some 50 countries, each with its own unique identity, and nearly 20 languages spoken by some 4.3 billion people. Suffice to say, it’s a veritable wellspring of cultures, folklores, traditions and astonishing gastronomies.

Today, we invite you on a journey through Asia’s 10 largest countries, to discover this continental plurality.

1. Russia

Russie

Photo credit: Shutterstock – TTstudio

  • 🌎 Surface area: 17.13 million km²

Number 1 among the largest countries in Asia, Russia is also the largest country in the world! And even though the majority of its territory is in Asia, it is more closely associated with the European continent. And that’s because of its resolutely Western-oriented policy. An immense land of many charms, Russia is a magnificent country with a culture and traditions rooted in an undeniable modernity. Just visit Moscow and its Kremlin to get an idea of the mix.

Another Russian must-see: the Trans-Siberian Railway, of course! The Trans-Siberian Railway covers almost 10,000 kilometers. It crosses the country from the icy confines of Moscow to the eastern region of Vladivostok. A must-see! Otherwise, there are many interesting places to visit in Russia. St. Petersburg with its majestic palace, Kaliningrad with its Prussian charm, and lakes such as Baikal, Onega and Ladoga.

2. China

Chine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – aphotostory

  • 🌎 Surface area: 9.597 million km²

China’s population density (over 18% of the world’s population is Chinese) is impressive. Constantly on the move, it never ceases to evolve and surprise. With its incredible landscapes, ultramodern cities and ancestral history, China is a mecca for world tourism.

Among China’s must-sees is the 21,200-kilometre Chinese Wall. But don’t miss Beijing (Forbidden City, Summer Palace), Hong Kong and even the old town of Lijiang. When it comes to natural splendours, China is not to be outdone: the Shapotou Desert, the Five-Coloured Bay of Xinjiang, the Blue Moon Valley, the Huanglong Valley and Mount Emei…

3. India

Inde

Photo credit: Shutterstock – YURY TARANIK

  • 🌎 Surface area: 3.287 million km²

Like China, India is one of Asia’s largest countries, both in terms of population density and history. India is an atmosphere, a culture and even an art of living. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re interested in architecture, gastronomy or natural landscapes. Many palaces dot the Indian landscape. Among them, the most famous is the immense and majestic Taj Mahal, located in Agra. A must-see if you’re passing through!

And the Mysore Palace, a 16th-century building of impressive stature. The cities of New Delhi, Pondicherry and Darjeeling, famous for the tea of the same name, are revealed. All in a perfect balance of wild and urban. You can even take part in everyday Indian life, from washing clothes in the Ganges to the markets of Calcutta and the religious processions of Puri.

4. Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aureliy

  • 🌎 Surface area: 2.725 million km²

Wedged between China, Russia and Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan is a large yet little-known country in Central Asia. Its wild, mountainous lands were long criss-crossed by the famous Silk Road, making the country one of the most developed in the region. Cities such as Almaty and Noursoultan (formerly Astana) are very modern and still bear witness to a Soviet cultural heritage. Don’t miss a visit to the Baikonur cosmodrome.

Created in secret in the 1950s, it is now the world’s largest rocket launch center. In terms of nature, the forests, steppes, lakes, canyons and glaciers of the region are a delight for the curious visitor. Hikers will love the Tian Shan and Altai mountains. In Kazakhstan, the spectacle is grandiose and infinite, nature resplendent.

5. Saudi Arabia

Arabie Saoudite

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sainuddeen Alanthi

  • 🌎 Surface area: 2.15 million km²

Situated on the Arabian Peninsula, occupying 80% of its surface area, Saudi Arabia is a highly controversial country. Tourism is not what the country is famous for around the world. Indeed, despite its beautiful desert landscapes, Saudi Arabia remains a very religious country, but also, and above all, a country in conflict. Particularly with Yemen, to the south.

In fact, it is not advisable to visit this region due to the risk of attacks. Other places to avoid are Abha international airport and the city of Al-Qatif and its suburbs.

6. Indonesia

grands pays asie : La belle plage de diamants de Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonésie

Photo credit: Shutterstock / Ferry Tomasowa

  • 🌎 Surface area: 1.905 million km²

Indonesia deserves its place in our ranking of Asia’s largest countries because it’s spread over a thousand islands! Of course, not all these islands are inhabited. But they’re the ideal places for a change of scenery, because when you visit Indonesia, you’ll discover a multitude of landscapes, colors and cultures! Indonesia is home to almost 275 million inhabitants, divided into over 1,100 unique ethnic groups, speaking more than 700 languages. Javanese, Dunadese, Malay,…

These subdivisions of the population have given rise to just as many rites and traditions to discover. The main islands are Java, Jakarta and Sumatra. But Indonesia is also home to magnificent landscapes and monuments, such as the islands of Raja Ampat, the Bromo and Kawah Ijen mountains, Ubud and its rice paddies (Bali), the Komodo national park, the Prambanan complex of 240 Hindu temples and the Borobudur temple.

7. Iran

grands pays asie : Iran photo rizières

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mahsa

  • 🌎 Surface area: 1.648 million km²

Iran is one of Asia’s largest countries, bordered by the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf ofOman. It shares borders with 7 countries, including Turkmenistan, Turkey andArmenia. It’s a country with a long history, closely linked with Persia as its cradle. Numerous vestiges and architectural testimonies confirm this. You can discover magnificent monuments in Tehran (Golestan Palace), Isfahan (Imam Mosque) and Shiraz (Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque).

Persepolis, on the other hand, offers you the chance to visit the incredible ruins of a city founded by Darius I in 521 BC! But Iran is also a country of desert plains, in the heart of which you can discover Badab-e Surt, a natural site made up of travertine terraces. In the south, don’t miss the island of Qeshm, with its Hara forest, Chahkooh canyon and Stars Valley.

8. Mongolia

Altaï Tavan Bogd

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park in western Mongolia Photo credit: Shutterstock – nurmukhamed battur

  • 🌎 Surface area: 1.564 million km²

A vast country wedged between Russia and China, Mongolia is more than exceptional. Its immense expanses of steppe, summoned by snow-capped mountains, and vast grassy plains are among the world’s most unspoiled places. The Mongolian lands conceal dense forests as well as arid deserts. Culture and history are intimately intertwined, and nomads still roam the land, as they did in the days of Genghis Khan. The country’s capital is Ulan Bator, where life has become sedentary.

Nevertheless, the nomadic spirit persists, and this is the atmosphere in which you discover the city. Ultra-modernism has not yet found its place, and that’s no bad thing. Nature is omnipresent, and Mongolians and tourists alike have understood this. So don’t miss Lake Khövsgöl, the expanse of the Khongor dunes or a night under the stars in the Gobi Desert…

9. Pakistan

grands pays asie : Pakistan

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Umer Arif

  • 🌎 Surface area: 881 913 km²

Pakistan suffers greatly from the prejudices attributed to it. Yet it’s a wonderful country, with an incredible wealth of natural resources, not to mention a thousand years of history. Many witnesses to this history remain today, in the form of monuments, for example. Although it is very desolate and rather rugged, Pakistan’s natural landscape is exceptional, with major mountain ranges, dizzying peaks and impressive glaciers. Pakistan is home to 4 of the world’s 10 highest peaks.

Beyond these natural beauties, Pakistan’s monuments are not to be outdone. Its history is reflected in buildings such as the Mohenjo-Daro, which has given archaeologists a hard time. In a more modern vein, discover Lahore, the river city with a fort that has stood the test of time, and the nearby Shalimar Gardens. The whole complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10. Turkey

grands pays asie : Horaires d'ouverture

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Boris Stroujko

  • 🌎 Surface area: 783 562 km²

Like Russia, Turkey is divided between its Asian roots and its European-oriented personality. And yet, it’s Asia that Turkey belongs to… which is why it features in our ranking of Asia’s largest countries. Both natural and very urban, Turkey is a veritable oriental treasure trove, where traditionalism, ancient history and modernity intertwine. Visit Istanbul first, to get an idea of what modern Turkish life is like.

Then head for the more remote regions and discover the country’s authenticity. Don’t miss Cappadocia and its troglodyte cities, the seaside resort of Pamukkale or the city of Ankara, a great starting point for Anatolia. Turkey is also bordered by 4 different seas: the Black Sea, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Enough to take in a wide variety of landscapes and bask on the beach. Don’t you agree?