The largest continent on the planet, Asia is full of centuries-old tradition and present-day trends. Several interesting facts about Asia remain untold, and learning them will undoubtedly leave you bewildered.
Here are 7 interesting facts about Asia:
1) Countries in Asia consume ninety percent of the rice produced in the world –
An essential food throughout the continent, rice makes for a staple for breakfast, lunch as well as dinner. Concerning food consumption, Asia differs from the rest of the world due to its high need for rice. So vital is rice for living here that many Asians use “rice” as a conversation starter.
Asians consume about ninety percent of the world’s rice yield with China, India, and Indonesia, partaking sixty percent of it alone. The latter half of the twentieth century saw the individual average rice consumption in Asia rising steadily from 85 kilograms annually to 103. This period also marked the start of the Green Revolution when farmers received over 1000 modernized rice varieties.
2) All Vietnamese people share the same birthday –
In Vietnam, people count their age based on the number of Vietnamese New Year they’ve celebrated, unlike the rest of the world, counting it from the day of their birth. So, in Vietnam, everybody turns another year older on “Tet Nguyen Dan” which means “Vietnamese New Year’s Day.”
Every year, Tet Nguyen Dan doesn’t fall on the same date because it is by the lunar (moon) cycle. The date falls in the latter half of the winter season, i.e., late January or the beginning of February, and the “Tet” lasts for many days. So, among several Tet traditions, the New Year also makes for a birthday celebration. A baby’s first Tet would make him officially one year old, even if his actual birth took place before the New Year’s Day.
3) One of Thailand’s markets lies right over train tracks – A genuinely unique Thai market and located near Bangkok, the Maeklong Railway Market lies right on a passing train’s tracks! This market has numerous stalls displaying local produce such as fruits and veggies, seafood and meats, sweet foods, clothing, and fresh flowers.
Several times throughout the day, as the warning bell rings loudly through the speaker, the vendors have to drawback their awnings. It’s because a train runs right in the middle of the buzzing market, sufficiently close for touch. This aspect certainly makes the Maeklong Railway Market stand out among Thailand’s several markets
The market remarkably adjusts itself and encloses the train while it rolls through. The vendors pull back the awnings just to the extent required and move the baskets of local produce just enough to keep them from being sliced by the train’s wheels.
Once the train passes, the vendors instantly restore the awnings where they were initially. Everyone resumes their normal activities as though nothing unbelievable did ever happen.
The train runs through the market eight times per day, including the trips in the return direction. So, one gets eight opportunities daily to watch the spectacular sight of the train rolling through the market just after the vendors have closed down their umbrellas.
4) The Spring Temple Buddha is the tallest sculpture worldwide – Towering at 420 feet, on top of a lotus-shaped pedestal as high as 66 feet, the Spring Temple Buddha located in the Chinese township of Zhaocun is the tallest sculpture in the world. If you’re seeking something fresh and thrilling, yet remarkably peaceful and quiet, you should be heading straight to visit the marvelous sculpture in China.
The sculpture features a famous statue representing the Vairocana Buddha. Built in the period from 1997 to 2008, the statue is made up of large quantities of gold, copper alloy, and steel occupying almost 11,000 square feet. The ornately layered copper gives the figure its brilliant appeal.
A diamond seat, holding 6,666 smaller statues of Buddha and lying beneath the Buddha, further enhances the sculpture’s beauty. It also contains the holy Buddhist monastery where people come seeking eternal peace.
5) Indonesia is the world’s largest island country – With 17,508 islands extending between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, and with 741,050 square miles of overall land area, Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic nation. This archipelago stretches across the equatorial line and covers almost an eighth of the circumference of the earth.
Several groups of islands make up the entire archipelago, namely, Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Timor, Maluku, and Papua New Guinea. Indonesians reside in about 6,000 islands, with 51% of the country’s total population living on Java island. The coastal area encompassing Indonesia has global significance, mainly for trading purposes.
6) The largest flower in the world grows in South-East Asia -he Rafflesia flower, named after Sir Raffles who founded Singapore and found the flower while on an expedition, grows in the tropical forests of South-East Asia, most abundantly in Indonesia. Rafflesia, the formal state flower of Indonesia, is a huge flower measuring a meter across, and its unique shape and size have earned it a symbolic status.
With twenty species of the flower existing in the world, a typical Rafflesia flower has five dull-red, leather-textured, spotted petals resembling the shape of a cabbage and a large, bowl-like center.
When the Rafflesia blooms, it emits an extremely unpleasant odor that attracts insects, thus helping pollination. Rare and beautifully exotic, the Rafflesia, weighing 22 pounds, is the most substantial flower worldwide. Rafflesia is a parasite growing on the hardy Tetrastigma vine only and blooms for not more than 3-5 days annually.
7) Rub’ al Khali desert is the largest desert worldwide with continuous sand – Spanning approximately 6,50,000 sq km and more than a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s complete area, Rub’ al Khali, meaning “Empty Quarter,” is the largest desert in the world with continuous sand. This desert region occupying the southern Arabian Peninsula constitutes the Arabian Desert’s most significant portion.
Featuring diverse topography, the western part of Rub’ al Khali desert is 2000 feet above mean sea level with thin and soft sand. While the desert’s eastern portion is only at 600 feet, consisting of dunes, sheets, and sabkhas, also called salt flats.
One of the world’s driest regions, the Rubʿ al Khali, is virtually empty, i.e., without inhabitants and contains ample petroleum reserves below its sands. The Al-Ghawār oil field, extending approximately 260 km in the eastern part of the country, includes several billions of oil barrels.
So, now you know some unusual facts about the Asian continent. If you’re already planning a trip for exploring these facts, don’t forget to carry a scratch-off world map along. Once you’re back home, carte a gratter will remind you of all the exciting facts that you explored.