Asia is host to an eclectic mix of cultures, races, religions, traditions, and languages. To travel across Asia is like running through an amazing kaleidoscope of human diversity and variety.
The ancient Chinese cultural influence and the Confucian and Buddhist philosophy of life pervades through the cultures in Japan, South Korea, North Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Tibet, Singapore & Hong Kong apart from Mainland China. These countries are popularly known in the west as “the Orient”. This group of nations has overall cultural and ethnic similarities in terms of their physical appearance, their language and scripts, their food habits, their customs and traditions, and their general lifestyles.
At a macro level, these countries form a cluster with substantial cultural homogeneity. But at a micro level, each of the individual nations within this group is also quite diverse from each other. China, for example, has a strong communist influence, and at a philosophical level it is deeply influenced by the teachings of Confucius. Whereas, Japan is largely influenced by the western capitalistic society and liberalism in its socio-political system. The modern Japanese society follows Buddhism as its main religion, but increasingly, the younger generations in Japan, and even in China, are turning to atheism and agnosticism.
The second major cluster in Asia is South Asia, which comprises India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan & Afghanistan.. This part of Asia is commonly known as the Indian sub-continent. The two major religions that pervade through this cluster are Hinduism and Islam. Both these religions are sharply divergent in terms of their thought and philosophy. Hinduism is a very ancient religion, it is almost like a way of life, without much fanaticism or rigidity. Whereas Islam is a fairly young religion in comparison, and it proposes a quite different and dedicated philosophy about God and worship to its followers. There are many different languages and dialects that are spoken in different parts of South Asia. Physical appearances, beliefs, customs, traditions, food habits, and dressing styles are also highly diverse in this region among different groups of people.
The third major cultural cluster in Asia is Central Asia, which consists of certain states of the former Soviet Union, like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan etc. These countries are also highly homogeneous like the far eastern countries of Japan, Korea, China etc. and the commonalities are many. These countries are mainly influenced by the socialist culture of Russia, though the western influence of liberalism is gradually coming to these countries as well.
The fourth and the last major cultural group in Asia is the Middle East, which comprises Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey & Syria.. These countries are highly influenced by Islamic culture and religion, and maintain a high degree of cultural homogeneity among themselves. These countries are largely followers of Islamic thought, and in terms of philosophical and spiritual thought process, they are deeply influenced by the Persian thinkers, poets, philosophers, and writers.
To sum up, one may say that Asia is a gifted land, where many unique rivers of humanity come together and form a rich and beautiful confluence of cultures that is worth experiencing.