Asia is the largest and most populated continent on the planet, which with about 44 million km 2 represents 8.65% of the total land area and 29.45% of the emerged lands, and with its 4 billion residents, the 60% of the human population. It extends over the eastern half of the Northern Hemisphere, from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. It limits, to the west, with the Ural Mountains, and to the east, with the Pacific Ocean. In the conventional division of continents, of European origin, Asia and Europe appear as two different entities for cultural and historical reasons. In geographical terms, they actually form a single continent, called Eurasia. In addition, Africa is linked to Eurasia by the Isthmus of Suez so that the entire joint extension of Europe, Asia and Africa can also be considered as a single supercontinent, occasionally called Euraphrasia, or Afro-Eurasia. See list of countries in Asia.
Central Asia climate
The states of Central Asia are far from the sea. This is why this region of Asia has a predominantly continental climate with large temperature differences between day and night and between summer and winter. Temperatures can vary by 40 ° C in a day in some areas. Over the course of the year, values between plus 45 degrees in summer and minus 45 degrees in winter can be recorded in one place.
In addition, the climate is influenced by the great differences in altitude in Central Asia. The higher regions have an alpine climate with long, very cold and snowy winters and short, mild and dry summers. The summer and winter seasons are very distinctive in Central Asia. Spring and autumn, on the other hand, are only relatively short.
In winter, visitors are confronted almost everywhere with low temperatures below zero. The values decrease from south to north and from the plains to the peaks. The average temperatures in January are -8 to -27 ° C in the north and in the mountains. With 0 to -8 degrees, they usually stay below freezing point, even in the southern flatlands. If polar air masses flow from the north and northwest to Central Asia, the temperature in the northern areas and in the high mountains even drops to -45 ° C. Temperatures remain above freezing point only in the south of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan with 2-3 ° C as well as in the deeper basin landscapes in the east and in the deserts in the southeast of Afghanistan with even 8-10 degrees.
In the lowlands, the summer is warm to hot. The average temperature in July ranges from 19 ° C in the north to 32 ° C in the south. Peak values of up to 45 degrees are possible there during the day. However, the low humidity of sometimes less than 30% makes the summer heat comparatively bearable. At higher altitudes in the south, in the warmest month of July, the thermometer only sinks below the 20 degree mark above 2,000 m on average.
The annual amount of rain in Central Asia is low due to the great distance from the world’s oceans. It increases in the lowlands of less than 100 mm in the south, on Issyk-Kul and in the Fergana valley up to 350-400 mm in northern Kazakhstan. Only the mountains get significantly more moisture. Here the span ranges from 500 to 1,700 mm.
In winter, precipitation comes as snow from the sky in large regions. It is most humid between January and May. The summer is dry and it always come back dust storms on. Only in northern Kazakhstan does the rain maximum occur in summer.
Best travel time for Central Asia
The optimal travel time for the lower elevations of Central Asia is in the months of April and May as well as September and October. Then the temperatures of 20-25 degrees are very pleasant. In spring nature blooms in the whole region. In the sunny autumn the temperatures drop back to bearable values and it is dry.
The summers, on the other hand, are clearly too hot to stay in, and the winters too cold.
The mountain regions are suitable for winter sports enthusiasts in the snowy months of December to March. However, numerous traffic connections are then interrupted by snowfall, so that many mountain regions are inaccessible.
However, if you want to go on trekking tours or hikes in the mountains, only the warmer summer months of July and August are ideal.
Far East climate
Several rules of thumb apply to the climate in the Far East:
Average temperatures and precipitation increase continuously from northwest to southeast.
With the exception of the tropical south, all regions have large seasonal temperature differences. Because in winter, Siberian air masses penetrate deep into the south, while in summer tropical air penetrates far into the north.
In large parts of the Far East, up to 90% of the annual precipitation falls in the summer months. Then the southeast monsoon brings humid air masses in. While the rainy season in the north and west is June to August, in the south it lasts from April to October. The winter months, on the other hand, are extremely low in precipitation and sunny almost everywhere.
Continental climate is found in the north. During the long winters, the temperatures are clearly in the minus range. The short summer is quite warm with average temperatures of 20-23 ° C. This region is relatively dry with 400-550 mm annually. Only the north and west of Japan have significantly higher amounts of 1,100 mm, which means that the winters are significantly more snowy.
The desert climate extends from the Takla Makan in the west to the gates of Beijing. It is characterized by frosty winters with little snow and hot summers with mean values of up to 33 degrees. There is an extreme drought all year round. The amount of precipitation is only about 100 mm.
In the mountains in the west there is a cool and dry mountain climate with high temperature contrasts. Only 100-420 mm of precipitation fall. The winters are cold and with little snow. In summer, the maximum daily temperatures are 22 degrees.
Moderate monsoon climate
There is a moderate monsoon climate between Beijing and the Yangtze, as well as on the Korean peninsula. Cold winters are opposed to humid and warm summers with average values of 21-27 degrees. The monsoon brings 600-1,300 mm of rain during this period.
A subtropical climate can be found south of the Yangtze and on the Pacific coast of Japan. The winters are cool. The mean temperatures are above freezing point. In summer it gets humid and warm with an average of 22-26 degrees. In addition, there is heavy precipitation of 1,500-2,000 mm.
The extreme south of the Far East has a tropical climate. The relatively dry winters are very mild with an average of 16-20 degrees. In the very humid summer, an average of 28 degrees is measured. The humidity is then unbearably high at 80-97%. At 1,500-3,000 mm, the tropics are the wettest climatic zone in the Far East. Every year typhoons haunt the coasts of the subtropical and tropical zones. Their main season begins in the south in mid-May, further north in June or July and ends in September or October.
Best time to travel to the Far East
There are different best travel times for the climatic zones of the Far East.
In the south, the dry and cooler months from October to March are recommended.
April / May and September / October can be regarded as the best travel times for the moderate monsoons and subtropical zones. The temperatures are pleasant in both phases, it is sunny and the rainfall is limited.
In the warm and not too humid months of June and September you are in the right place in the continental north.
The higher areas are best visited for hiking and trekking tours in summer, when the thermometer reaches its highest values.
Winter sports enthusiasts get their money’s worth in Japan and South Korea from December to March.
Climate on the Indian subcontinent
The climate of the Indian subcontinent can be divided into six zones
Tropical always humid climate
The southwest of Sri Lanka has a tropical, always humid climate. It has high rainfall all year round. The average temperature is 26-34 ° C, with values of constant high.
Tropical and humid climate
The north and north-east of Sri Lanka as well as the south of India have a tropical and humid climate. The temperatures here are also constantly hot with mean values between 25 ° C in December / January and up to 35 ° C in April / May.
The center and north of India are subtropical. In some cases considerable temperature fluctuations occur here over the course of the year. While the nights in December / January are only 10 to 15 ° C, maximum daily temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees are possible in April / May.
The west of the subcontinent has a desert climate. The summer is with average temperatures above 30 ° C hot. In winter they are on average between 12 and 20 degrees.
In the pre-Himalayas from 1,500 m there is a temperate climate. The average temperature is between approx. 10 ° C in January and 24 ° C in July.
There is an alpine climate at an altitude of over 4,000 m. The temperature here remains almost constantly below zero degrees, so that snow and ice shape the landscape.
In addition to the temperature conditions, the monsoon has a decisive influence on the three seasons on the Indian subcontinent.
The rainy season starts in April in the southwest of Sri Lanka and reaches Pakistan with weak foothills at the beginning of July. The southwest monsoon then brings most areas between 80 and over 90% of the annual rainfall until September or October.
However, their regional distribution is highly uneven. The west coast of India, the Western Ghats, the slopes of the Himalayas and the northeast are sometimes several thousand millimeters long. The western Deccan plateau with several hundred millimeters and especially the west of the subcontinent get relatively little moisture. The monsoon hardly penetrates there, so that only 100-500 mm fall here annually.
The cool season follows the rainy season. In addition to the relatively low temperatures until February, it is also associated with great drought.
The northeast monsoon coming from Central Asia brings hardly any moisture between October and May, but a cloudless sky and a lot of sun. Only the southeast of India receives a lot of rain in October and November and the northeast of Sri Lanka from November to February. Because the northeast monsoon absorbs moisture on its way across the Bay of Bengal and rains it down there.
The hot season begins in March. Then the subcontinent heats up extremely until May. In the lowlands, the thermometer shows peaks of over 40 degrees almost every day. It remains dry. Only with the southwest monsoon do the temperatures drop again slightly.
Best travel time for the Indian subcontinent
The optimal travel time for most regions of the Indian subcontinent is between October and February. The temperatures are then pleasantly warm. Precipitation and humidity are also low.
The rest of the time it is either too hot, too humid or too humid.
Exceptions exist on the one hand for the Himalayas and its foothills. If you want to travel there, March to May and mid-September to mid-November are ideal. In both phases it is dry and warm, but not too hot.
Because of the different rainy season, you should travel to the northeast of Sri Lanka from April to September.
Climate in Southeast Asia
In terms of climate, Southeast Asia forms a relatively uniform region. It is tropical practically everywhere. Only in the north of Vietnam are subtropical influences noticeable. The climate therefore only differs according to whether it is hot, humid and humid all year round or whether the alternation of rainy and dry seasons causes fluctuations in temperature, precipitation and humidity.
Tropical always humid climate
It is always tropical and humid in the north of Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore as well as in the south of Thailand and the Philippines.
Abundant rainfall falls here in all seasons ; in the summer months it is a little less humid. Only in the Moluccas (Indonesia) is it the other way round. They reach their maximum precipitation between April and August. The annual amount of rain is 2,000 to 5,000 mm, in the mountains up to 7,500 mm. The temperatures show only minimal seasonal fluctuations and averages always around 25-30 ° C. The air humidity is 80-98 (!)%.
Tropical and humid climate
The remaining parts of Southeast Asia are tropical and humid. The seasons there are determined by the changing monsoon winds.
North of the equator
North of the equator they come from the northeast from October / November and bring cooler temperatures, drought and lower humidity. Only where the monsoon blows over the sea before it hits the mainland does it bring larger amounts of rain. These include southern Thailand, central Vietnam and the east coast of Malaya.
During the winter months, the thermometer shows an average of 17-20 degrees in the north and 25-26 degrees in the south of this zone. In the higher mountains in the north, snowfall and frost are even possible.
The hot season follows from March to May. It remains dry, but temperatures regularly rise to 35-45 degrees during the day. In addition, there is an unbearable humidity of sometimes over 90%.
From April / May the prevailing wind direction changes to the southeast, from where the monsoon brings humid air masses in from the end of May. By October / November, most of the annual precipitation falls from 1,000 to 5,300 mm. The plains in the interior of Myanmar, which are located in the rain shadow of high mountains, are drier with only 400-600 mm.
Typhoons occur between June and November. The wet season also brings a slight decrease in temperatures. It then averages 27-29 ° C.
South of the equator
South of the equator, in Central and East Java, on the Lesser Sunda Islands and on the Aru Archipelago, there are different sequences of the seasons.
The southeast monsoon blowing between May and September ensures a dry and cool time in May / June.
The hot phase of the dry season lasts from July to September.
The southwest monsoon brings humid and humid air masses from October to April. In the west of this zone there is 2,000 to 3,000 mm of precipitation per year. The amount of rain decreases towards the east. Dry air masses from Australia ensure a particularly pronounced dry season there in summer. Therefore, the eastern Sunda Islands have annual rainfall of only 600 to 1,000 mm.
Best travel time for Southeast Asia
Visitors should only travel to Southeast Asia during the respective dry seasons. In this way you not only avoid the torrential rainfall of the rainy season, but also expect milder temperatures, lower humidity and significantly more sunshine.
Therefore, for the humid tropics in the north, usually November to February, for the always humid tropics and the humid tropics of the south, June / July are recommended.
Also see Abbreviation Finder for a list of abbreviations and acronyms of all countries in the continent of Asia.