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The largest, the most populous and the most exotic of the continents, Asia covers 30 per cent of the planet's land area, stretching from east of the Suez Canal to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Almost three-fourths of Russia, traditionally a European nation, is in Asia. It is so big that it has its own subcontinents of India and the Arabian Peninsula.
Sadly, international conflict has put large swatches off limits for tourists, but once forbidden areas have become major tourist destinations like Cambodia's Angkor Wat, which attracted 2 million foreign visitors in 2013. Asia offers unlimited possibilities for travel pleasure: ancient civilizations to explore in India, China and South East Asia; vibrant 21st century cities like Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore and Shanghai; natural wonders like the Himalayan Mountains and Thai beaches, ayurvedic spas in South India and lush retreats in Bali - and great food to sample everywhere you go.
LGBTQ rights, however, are lagging behind other areas of the world and non-existent in Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen where homosexuality is punished by death. At the other end of the spectrum, Israel, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, and Cyprus are the most gay-welcoming. A recent global survey listed Philippines as one of the few countries in which the majority of people accepted homosexuality. The first and only LGBTQ political party was founded there in 2003. Taiwan's Gay Pride Parade is the largest Gay Pride event in Asia with 78,000 participating in 2015.