Asia has a long coastline as three of the world’s oceans surround the continent. Indonesia has the longest coastline of any Asian country, which stretches over 95,176 km (59,140 miles) in length. However, 12 countries in the continent have no coastline as they are landlocked. These landlocked countries are Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan, 652,860 Km2
Another landlocked country in Asia is Afghanistan. The country is situated in Central Asia, and is bordered by six countries: Pakistan, Tajikistan, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Iran. Afghanistan is investing heavily in the development of the Chabahar-Hajigak corridor that will link the country to Iran’s port of Chabahar. This port, which is situated in the Gulf of Oman, offers Afghanistan shorter access to maritime trade than Pakistan’s Karachi port which is its second alternative. Commercial water transport in the landlocked country is only feasible on the Amu Darya River, found on the country’s borders with Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The ports of Shir Khan Bandar and Kheyrabad facilitate water transport on the river.
Armenia, 28,470 Km2
Armenia is a western Asian country among the landlocked countries of Asia. Armenia has a 1,560-km-long land border (975 miles) that it shares with four countries: Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The country is subject to a trade embargo by Turkey, making it impossible to use Turkish ports for sea trade. The country instead relies on Georgia as its transit country and uses two of Georgia’s ports, Batumi and Poti for maritime trade. Like many landlocked countries, Armenia has no naval force.
Azerbaijan, 82,658 Km2
Azerbaijan is located at the junction of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia in the north, Georgia in the northwest, Armenia in the west, and Iran in the south. It is also bounded by the Caspian Sea in the east. Despite being landlocked, Azerbaijan conducts the transportation of cargo via the Caspian Sea. The Baku International Marine Trade Port is an important seaport of Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea.
Bhutan, 38,117 Km2
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a small landlocked country found in South Asia. Bhutan is another semi-enclave country as it is sandwiched between two countries with which it shares its 1,136-km-long land border (706 miles), China and India. The country has an agreement with Bangladesh to use the Port of Mongla for its maritime trade. The country has no naval force.
Kazakhstan, 2,699,700 Km2
Kazakhstan is a landlocked country situated in central Asia. This large country (the ninth-largest in the world by landmass) is bordered by four sovereign states: Russia, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. It may be confusing to call Kazakhstan landlocked given it borders the Caspian Sea, but it is considered as such because the Caspian Sea is actually a large lake, contrary to its name. Kazakhstan’s Port of Aktau is one of the largest in the Caspian and connects the country to the eastern European countries of Georgia and Turkey. Another major port found on the Caspian Sea is the Port of Atyrau. Most of the freshwater transport in the country is on two of the country’s largest rivers: the Ertis and Syr Darya Rivers which have a combined 4,025 km (2,500 miles) of waterways. The country is among the few landlocked countries with a naval force. The Kazakhstan Navy is based in the Caspian Sea where it conducts regular patrols within its territory.
Kyrgyzstan, 191,800 Km2
Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked mountainous country located in Central Asia. It is bordered by Kazakhstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the west and southwest, by Tajikistan in the southwest, and by China in the east. There are no inland waterways with transport capacity in the country. There are also no seaports in Kyrgyzstan.
Laos, 230,800 Km2
Laos is also a landlocked country in Asia. This relatively small country shares its land borders with five countries: China, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Water transport in the country is only possible on the two largest rivers in Laos, the Nam Ou and Mekong Rivers. Despite being landlocked, the country has a small naval force. The Laos People’s Navy is the country's navy that patrols the Mekong River. The navy is made up of at least 20 patrol boats that navigate the river. With the Mekong River defining a significant portion of the country’s western border, the navy plays a vital role in preventing illegal border crossings on the river. Laos has made agreements with its neighboring nations to use the Mekong River to access the South China Sea. However, the Khone Phapheng Falls found on the river makes commercial navigation to the South China Sea impossible.
Mongolia, 1,553,560 Km2
Mongolia is a landlocked country located in East Asia. It is bordered by China in the south and by Russia in the north. Mongolia is the world’s 2nd largest landlocked nation. Mongolia is highly dependent on its two large neighbors for external trade.
Nepal, 143,350 Km2
Nepal is another landlocked country in Asia. This Southern Asian country is the world’s 91st-largest country. The total land border of Nepal is 2,925 km (1,818 miles) long, which the country shares with India and the People’s Republic of China. Water transport in the country is not significant, as the rivers are not navigable. As the country is predominantly situated on mountainous terrain (the Himalayas and their highest peak, Mount Everest are found in Nepal), the rivers feature deep gorges and hence do not support water transport. The country relies on neighboring India as its transit country to access seaports for maritime trade.
Tajikistan, 139,960 Km2
Tajikistan is a landlocked country located in the heart of Central Asia. It is bordered by China in the east, Kyrgyzstan in the north, Uzbekistan in the west, and Afghanistan in the south. Being a landlocked country, Tajikistan has no seaports. The major transportation in the country is via air, rail, and roads. Recently, Tajikistan has made agreements with its neighboring countries to gain access to their ports and carry out external trade.
Turkmenistan, 469,930 Km2
Turkmenistan is another landlocked country in Asia. The country is bordered by four others: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. Despite being landlocked, Turkmenistan has maritime transport which is conducted on the Caspian Sea. The Port of Turkmenbashi is Turkmenistan’s primary port and facilitates sea transport in the Caspian Sea. The port is well-developed with numerous berths and can serve large vessels including huge oil tankers. To protect its territory in the Caspian Sea, the country has a small naval force that patrols its waters.
Uzbekistan, 425,400 Km2
Uzbekistan is another Asian country that has no coastline. The country shares its land border with four Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. Uzbekistan stands out from all other landlocked countries in Asia as it is the sole doubly landlocked country on the continent. A doubly landlocked country means that all the countries that border it are themselves all landlocked. The only other country in the world with this distinction is Liechtenstein in Europe. The Aral Sea was once integral in the country’s water transport but decades of overuse caused the surface of the inland sea to shrink by as much as 60%, rendering water transport on it commercially unviable. Water transport is conducted on the Amu Darya River, which is home to the country’s primary port, Termez. The country is connected to the seaports of nearby countries such as Georgia’s Port Poti and Iran’s Abbas Port.