All 48 Countries of Asia, Sorted by Region

By: Mack Hayden  | 
There are 42 countries in Asia, and many of them share a continental landmass with Europe. Image Source / Getty Images/Image Source

Eurasia is the largest continent on Earth, home to a rich tapestry of cultures, languages and histories. From the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia to the bustling cities of the modern era, the countries of Asia offer a glimpse into the diversity of the world's population.

Here, we provide a brief overview of each Asian country, sorted by region and alphabetized for easy navigation.

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5 Countries in Central Asia

The combination of striking landscapes you'll find in this region include imposing mountain ranges and tremendous deserts, making for one heck of a trek or road trip.

1. Kazakhstan

As the largest landlocked country in the world — and the largest by land mass in Central Asia — Kazakhstan spans diverse landscapes from vast steppes to high mountains.

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2. Kyrgyzstan

Known for its mountainous terrain, Kyrgyzstan attracts adventure seekers and nature lovers. The country’s nomadic culture offers a unique glimpse into Central Asian traditions.

3. Tajikistan

Tajikistan’s rugged mountains and ancient history make it a unique travel destination. The Pamir Highway offers one of the world’s most exciting road trips.

4. Turkmenistan

Flanked on its western edge by the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan’s vast deserts and ancient Silk Road history make it a fascinating place to explore. The modern capital, Ashgabat, has grand marble monuments that leave tourists in awe.

5. Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s cities Samarkand and Bukhara were major stops on the Silk Road of days gone by. Formerly ruled by Russia (for two centuries!), it's now a sovereign nation.

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5 Countries in East Asia

National borders and political definitions are particularly contentious in this part of Asia.

1. China

Perhaps the most recognizable of Asian countries, the People's Republic of China is the world's second most populous country. From the Great Wall to the modern skylines of Shanghai and Beijing, China's landscape is both a testament to its past and its future. It's also home to the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia.

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Taiwan's status as both part of mainland China and a semi-independent nation-state is a major point of contention between the two countries. Taipei’s night markets and the iconic Taipei 101 tower are must-see attractions if you ever decide to visit.

Hong Kong and Macau are considered special administrative regions of China, even though they have their own currencies and passports.

2. Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea)

North Korea remains one of the most isolated countries in the world. Satellite images of the nation at night show the entire country shrouded in darkness, whereas neighboring countries glow with electric lights.

3. Japan

Japan, an island nation in East Asia, excels in blending tradition with technology. From tranquil temples in Kyoto to the neon lights of Tokyo, Japan has it all. After recovering from the destruction brought on by World War II, it's grown into the fourth-largest economy in the world.

4. Mongolia

Mongolia’s sprawling steppes and nomadic culture offer a stark contrast to urban life. The annual Naadam Festival showcases traditional sports like archery, wrestling and horse racing.

5. Republic of Korea (South Korea)

South Korea, a leader in technology and pop culture, is a country at the forefront of modernization and creativity. Seoul’s palaces and vibrant districts showcase this dynamic country.

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18 Countries in West Asia

The Middle East includes both countries in Asia and countries in Africa, so while much of Western Asia can be considered part of the Middle East, not all of the Middle East is in Asia.

1. Armenia

Nestled in the Caucasus, Armenia is home to a variety of ancient monasteries. As the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion — even before Rome did under Constantine — it stands as an outlier in relation to the Islamic majority nations close by.

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2. Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan sits at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, neighboring Armenia, Iran and Russia. The capital, Baku, dazzles with its futuristic architecture and the ancient Maiden Tower.

3. Bahrain

This island nation in the Persian Gulf is famous for its luxurious lifestyle and vibrant financial sector. It also hosts the annual Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, attracting motorsport enthusiasts from around the world.

4. Cyprus

Cyprus, a small island in the Mediterranean, that Mark Antony once granted to Cleopatra as a gift. Its blend of Greek and Turkish cultures adds to its distinctive charm.

5. Georgia

Georgia's Black Sea beaches pair with the towering Caucasus Mountains for a spectacular set of views. Its location right at the borders of Europe and Asia have made it an important crossroads that empires have battled for throughout history.

6. Iraq

Iraq, the cradle of ancient Mesopotamia, holds immense historical significance. Despite the turmoil plaguing the region, the depth of the country’s cultural heritage remains a testament to its storied past. It's also home to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which served as the backdrop to the earliest Mesopotamian and Sumerian civilizations.

7. Israel

Israel rests at the heart of the Holy Land. Cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are now hotbeds of modern innovation, flanked as they are by areas sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Its conflict with Palestine and the surrounding regions has engendered a great deal of controversy.

8. Jordan

Jordan’s ancient monuments, including the famous ruins of Petra, draw history enthusiasts from around the world. The Dead Sea and Wadi Rum desert present a mix of natural beauty and adventure.

9. Kuwait

Kuwait’s oil wealth funds its modern architecture and luxurious lifestyles. These fuel reserves are a major factor in why the country served as the flashpoint of the Persian Gulf War.

10. Lebanon

From the ancient ruins of Baalbek to the lively nightlife of Beirut, Lebanon offers diverse experiences to its citizens and travelers alike.

11. Oman

Oman’s historic forts and beautiful coastlines make it a fascinating destination. The happening souks and vast desert landscapes offer a taste of traditional Arabian life.

12. Palestine

Palestine holds significant religious and historical importance, as it's home to sites like Bethlehem and parts of Jerusalem. Given its contested status as a territory, it's one of only two non-member states of the United Nations (the other is Vatican City).

13. Qatar

Qatar hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is eager to continue growing its standing on the world stage. One of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, its capital city of Doha hosts the futuristic Museum of Islamic Art.

14. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, draws millions of pilgrims to Mecca each year. The country’s immense deserts and oil wealth significantly influence its global standing. It's also the site of a new project called The Line: a completely enclosed 106-mile self-sufficient city.

15. Syria

Syria, formerly the center point of the Assyrian empire, is now facing major crises. The ancient city of Aleppo stands as a testament to its storied past, although the current civil war has left it devastated.

16. Turkey

Turkey straddles both Europe and Asia — and while it's not officially a member of the European Union, it's a major trade partner and frequent guest when it comes to diplomatic discussions. The Hagia Sophia, a mosque devoted to "Holy Wisdom," is the most notable landmark in its capital of Istanbul.

17. United Arab Emirates

The UAE, known for its luxurious cities like Dubai, showcases futuristic architecture and rich oil wealth in the an otherwise arid desert climate. The country’s cultural heritage remains evident in its traditional markets and historic sites.

18. Yemen

Yemen’s ancient history and stunning architecture are marred by ongoing conflict and humanitarian crises. It's experiencing one of the worst famines in the world due to its current war with Saudi Arabia.

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9 Countries in South Asia

Countries in Southern Asia also share some overlap with countries we often think of as part of the Middle East.

1. Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been a crossroads of cultures for centuries, and it was an active part of the Silk Road. Home to a number of nomadic communities that go where their herds can graze, the country is also known for a strong kite culture.

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2. Bangladesh

Bangladesh is home to the world's largest river delta (the Ganges) and plenty of greenery as a result. Its name means "Land of the Bengals."

3. Bhutan

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan measures national success through Gross National Happiness rather than GDP (though it didn't make the 2024 list of the 20 happiest countries in the world). Known for its monasteries and breathtaking landscapes, Bhutan offers a serene escape from modern life.

4. India

India is the world's most populous country; its 1.4 billion people comprise 17.6 percent of the world's population. It's also the biggest country in Southern Asia. Its diverse cultures and languages offer a sensory overload of experiences, from the iconic Taj Mahal to the crowded markets of Delhi.

5. Iran

Iran is home to some of the most stunning architecture and ancient ruins in the Middle East. Previously the bedrock of the Persian Empire, the bazaars and buildings in cities like Tehran reflect both its past grandeur and continuing status as a world power.

6. Maldives

The Maldives, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, boasts exquisite coral reefs and luxury resorts. It’s a dream destination for honeymooners and scuba divers.

7. Nepal

The home of Mount Everest, Nepal attracts adventurers from all around the world. The peak is the ultimate summit for climbers to surmount, no matter where they hail from.

8. Pakistan

Pakistan’s is a country of contrasts. From the busy streets of Karachi to the serene valleys of Swat, Pakistan is a beauty to behold and a major player on the world stage.

9. Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s diverse wildlife and impressive ruins attract travelers from every country on Earth. You'll never run out of things to explore in this small country's landscape.

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11 Countries in Southeast Asia

With an abundance of beaches and verdant landscapes that benefit from this part of the world's humidity, Southeast Asia is a popular tourist destination.

1. Brunei

Brunei, a tiny but wealthy nation on Borneo, is an ideal vacation spot if you're looking to explore both pristine beaches and tropical rainforests. The opulent Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is just one architectural marvel to take in while you're there.

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2. Cambodia

Cambodia is best known for the ruins of Angkor Wat, the largest set of temple ruins. Cambodia's buzzing capital, Phnom Penh, showcases a blend of traditional and French colonial influences.

3. Indonesia

This archipelago in Southeast Asia is famed for its beauteous islands like Bali. Indonesia’s biodiversity and warm traditions make it one of the world's top travel destinations.

4. Laos

Laos offers much to explore, including placid landscapes, French colonial architecture and Buddhist monasteries. The Mekong River and the town of Luang Prabang are must-sees.

5. Malaysia

Malaysia is a melting pot of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European influences. The capital, Kuala Lumpur, provides the backdrop for the iconic Petronas Towers.

6. Myanmar (formerly Burma)

Myanmar captivates visitors with its pagodas. The city of Bagan alone has over 2,000 of these temples. The people of Myanmar eat tea leaves in addition to drinking tea as a beverage.

7. Philippines

The Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia, is a beachgoer's dream. Manila, the capital, is a busy metropolis with a mix of Spanish colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers.

8. Singapore

Singapore is known for its cleanliness and financial prowess. The futuristic Gardens by the Bay and historic Chinatown are highlights.

9. Thailand

Thailand’s tropical beaches and over-the-top palaces make it a top tourist destination. In Bangkok, the country's capital, you'll see hip new bars and restaurants right next to long-standing temples.

10. Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor)

Timor-Leste was another country that faced collateral damage during the Vietnam War. The country’s struggle for independence has shaped its modern identity.

11. Vietnam

The thriving country serves as a vacation spot for Easterners and Westerners alike. Whether you want to walk the streets of Hanoi or dive into the serene waters of Ha Long Bay, there's plenty to see in Vietnam.

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North Asia

Calling out North Asia as its own region may be a bit misleading as it doesn't contain multiple companies like the aforementioned regions do. Russia is the only country in the area considered Northern Asia.

Russia

Russia, the largest country in the world, spans both Europe and Asia and is home to the Ural Mountains. It's so large that it borders the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic Ocean.

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How many countries can you fit inside Russia? Well, it's bigger than the entire continent of South America, and 164 of the world's smallest nations could all fit comfortably inside its land.

We created this article in conjunction with AI technology, then made sure it was fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.

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