Chinese Culture >> Asian Articles >> Transportation in Asia
There are more than 30 countries in Asia today. Many have changed their names or forms of government since World War II. Some, like Israel, did not even exist before the war. People in United States and Europe are able to travel quickly from one place to another, even when the places are hundreds of miles apart. Transportation is abundant and there are many good roads, railroads, and airlines to choose from.
In Asia transportation and travel is very different. Asia has extremes of surface and climate, so that overland travel is often difficult. High mountains, plateaus, deserts, and jungles make it almost impossible to build roads and railroads in many places.
Few railroads go directly from one country to another. Many people in Asia have never seen or traveled on a railroad. In fact most of them have never traveled more than a few miles from the tiny villages where they were born.
Some countries do have good railroads. India's railway lines were built by the British. Japan, too, as many fine railroads. Highways are even fewer than railroads in Asia. Southwest Asia has no paved roads leading to southern Asia. There are some trails leading north from India through the mountains of Tibet or China but they are not suitable for modern vehicles. Only one surfaced road, built recently by the Chinese, connects Nepal with Tibet.
Fortunately, in recent years there has been rapid growth in air transportation in Asia. Several major airlines not connect countries of Southern Asia with Europe and the United States. Airlines make regular stops at Manila, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Bombay, Taipei, and Beijing. But the central part of Asia has little air service, just as it has few roads or railroads.
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