About Tropical Asia

Tropical Asia and the tropical Pacific area cover a large expanse. Brunei, Burma (or Myanmar), Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam make up the majority of the region in tropical Asia.

The climate in this area depends heavily on seasonal weather patterns and the two monsoons that determine the number of tropical cyclones throughout the Bay of Bengal, the North Pacific Ocean, and the South China Sea. Climate-wise, there are a variety of different environmental factors such as the increase in urbanisation, land industrialisation and the economic development of the area that affect temperatures and weather conditions throughout the year.

History

Rainforests in tropical Asia and the tropical Pacific have existed for millions and millions of years. Despite this, they have changed considerably since then; around 8000 years ago the majority of Southeast Asia was covered by forests, but today less than half of the original mass remains.

Scientists and scholars believe that humans have lived in this area as early as half a million years ago when much of the world around it lay under ice and snow. Several centuries of human migration in more recent times has brought with it influences from great religions and civilisations from the east as well as the west.

Culture

Culture in tropical Asia and the tropical Pacific is vibrant and diverse, offering a huge number of languages, religions, and traditions. Over the years, much of this region has drawn influence from passing or nearby cultures which means that today there is a melting pot of peoples and material culture.

In the past, much of the art, rituals, and other cultural aspects revolved around the celebration of rice. Whilst this has evolved slightly in more recent times, the culture in tropical Asia is still upheld, with arts and rituals remaining vital components of daily life.

Health

Tropical travel brings with it the risk of diseases that are not found elsewhere in the world and this is the same for tropical Asia.

Malaria is perhaps the most common worry for travellers visiting this region of Asia. The disease is mostly contracted in the rural regions, with the larger cities seeing little to no outbreaks. You can take preventative medication before and during your time there as well as take extra precautions such as wearing long clothing and using mosquito repellent.

Another mosquito-borne disease that affects tropical Asia and the tropical Pacific is dengue fever. Unlike malaria, there is no medication of vaccination preventing against it, so it is important to take precautions during your stay.

Yellow fever, another disease transmitted by mosquitoes can be vaccinated against before departure. Many countries surrounding yellow-fever ridden areas require a certificate of vaccination before you can enter.

The liver affecting disease Hepatitis has three different strains; Hepatitis A is contracted via contaminated food and drink or through human-to-human contact. It thrives in unsanitary conditions so it is important to take extra care when travelling through these areas. Hepatitis B is contracted via body fluids whilst Hepatitis C, the most serious strain, is contracted via blood and sexual contact. There are vaccinations available before departure to protect against Hepatitis.

The lung infection Tuberculosis is contracted via airborne bacteria and unpasteurised milk products. There is a vaccination available against TB which can be obtained before departure although a few treatment-resistant strains have appeared in recent years.

Typhoid fever is transmitted through contaminated food and drink. The vaccination, although considered to be not one hundred percent effective, is worth getting before you leave.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection contracted from the Leptospira interrogans bacterium which is found in contaminated water. The infection is common in regions of tropical Asia, but there is not yet a vaccination protecting against it.

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection contracted from mosquitoes that breed in the rice fields. The infection occurs widely throughout tropical Asia, but there is an effective vaccination for travellers who plan on visiting rural areas of the region or who plan on spending longer than a month there.