The Amazing Race Asia is a reality game show based on the American series, The Amazing Race.

On 17 October 2005, CBS gave other countries the chance to franchise The Amazing Race. The Asian cable TV network AXN was among the first to acquire the rights to produce a version for its territory. The show is produced by Australian television production company ActiveTV, for AXN, in association with Buena Vista International Television-Asia Pacific (BVITV-AP). The host for the show is Singapore based Chinese-American actor Allan Wu.[1]

The ultimate prize is US$100,000, whilst the American show gives away US$1 million. The general manager of SPE Networks-Asia which runs AXN, Ricky Ow explained the smaller prize, saying, "It is not really about the money but the adventure and opportunity to be in one of the world's greatest reality shows"


Many of the same rules and regulations for eligibility for the American series apply to the Asian edition. The participants are all required to be able to communicate in English. The final selection of contestants are from various Asian countries and not limited to one country of origin. Participating countries include all citizens of the continent of Asia except the Middle East as well as non-Asian workers who are living in Asia for a long period of time.[2] Applications for the first season were accepted from February to the end of March 2006.[3] Filming began that June and the first season premiered on November 9, 2006.

From Season 2 onwards, Japan residents are able to participate, having been ineligible for Season 1.

The Race

This section cite the differences between the American version and Asian version only.

The Amazing Race Asia is quite similar to the American edition. The basic premise is the same, namely that teams must follow clues and complete tasks to check in to pit stops in a race around the world. However, some differences between the two versions exist.


Generally, the race required team members to have a preexisting relationship, as in the American version. However the first four seasons had only 10 teams participating in each, compared to the American edition, which normally uses eleven teams, but has had twelve in Seasons 3, 4, 10 and 15. So far, season 8 of the American edition was the only season to have 10 teams. However, that season consisted of 10 family teams of 4, or 40 participants.


In the American edition, the teams immediately depart from the Starting City once the race and drive start to the airport. However, it is different story in the Asian version, as teams remained in the same country except in Season 2.

While on the second leg, it seemed that all teams were only allowed to take AirAsia flights to their first overseas destination, most likely due to AirAsia sponsoring the race. In the American edition, teams are in most cases able to travel on any airline they wish, as the producer intends to split the team into various groups, it usually provide two to three flight option but with different time departure, however, this does not occur in the race where all teams depart at the same time.

The seasons have mostly limited to traveling in Asia with a few exceptions to Europe, Oceania, and Africa.


All of the clue types used in the American version are retained for use in the Asian race, but may some slight difference in implementation.


Generally the Roadblock rule is identical to the American version. However, in some legs, the Roadblock clue stated that the team members must finish the task in the time limit, or that team will lose the turn. This can be seen in Season 1's leg 2, where Roadblock required team members to finish the task in two minutes.


In Seasons 2 and 4, the Intersection was implemented each time for a single task.

Fast Forward

The Fast Forward has been available only one time in each race. Coincidentally, an all-time has won it each time (The Amazing Race Asia 5).


Yield was an option at some point on the first four seasons. The Asian edition continued using it even after the American version stopped.


Starting in Season 3, the U-Turn was available during the race. It has appeared each time after a Yield.

Pit Stops

As in American version, each leg has Pit Stops as the final destination, while double-length leg also can be seen in leg 9 in Season 1 while the team have to find Allan Wu to get the next clue.

In the Finish Line, the clue mentioned not as such but as a "Final Pit Stop". While the Finish Line only had a regular check-in-mat rather than an elevated red carpet with The Amazing Race logo enlarged on it as is used in the American edition.

Non-elimination legs

The clues directing teams to pit stops sometimes replace the 'may' in the traditional clue phrasing "the last team to arrive may be eliminated" with "the last team to arrive will be eliminated", pointing to a certain elimination point. In the American version, other than in the first leg, the phrasing is always "the last team to arrive may be eliminated".

Three out of the four seasons were a non-elimination leg. The first leg of the American version had its its first non-elimination first leg in Season 15 followed by Seasons 19 & 28.

In the non-elimination legs, the first two Asian editions used a rule from the American version's Season 5 to Season 9, in that the last team to arrive at these non-elimination pit stops is required to surrender all its cash. Unlike Season 7 to 9, teams are not required to give up their belongings. However, teams are not allowed to acquire any money prior to the start of the next leg.

For Seasons 3 and 4, teams had to check-in first on the following leg or face a 30-min penalty which may result in their elimination.

For Season 5, the team that arrived last in the non-elimination leg will have to perform the 'Speed Bump' task before continue racing.

Rules and penalties

Most of the rules and penalties are the same as the American edition; however, there are slight differences.

Unique Rules

Asian edition American version
If a team member is injured during the race, he/she has to pass medical evaluation to ensure they are fit to continue the race. If the injury is not serious or life-threatening, the team may choose to continue or quit the race. This occurred to Marshall & Lance during Season 5.
Teams must follow local road laws and regulations and be responsible to pay any fines and demerits they incur during the race. The most unique part is if teams violate speeding laws, the number of minutes for the time penalty is the amount of km/h that the team traveled minus the legal speed limit then multiplied by 2 minutes. However, this penalty is only served at the beginning of the next leg of the race. While speeding is also against the rules in the American version, (shown in Season 2 and Season 13, which are the only seasons where speeding was shown as a violation of the rules), the penalty is not given in a measurement of time per km/h over the speed limit but rather of time gained plus an additional 30 minutes.
Many penalties appear to be same as American version, however some exception can be seen in the race.

First, as is in the American edition, the teams who quit a Roadblock are served a four-hour penalty and is assessed starting from when the next team arrives. In the Race, this four-hour penalty applies at the pit stop prior to checking in and not at the roadblock itself.

In case that penalty is not affect the team placement, otherwise most of the penalty will be assessed at the Pit Stops in American version. However, speeding penalty is the exception in the Race, the penalty will only assessed in next leg of the Race, while the penalty can affect the placement for that team. (see Controversies)

Hitch-hiking (traveling in a privately owned vehicle) is prohibited in Race, if a team violates this rule, they incur an one hour penalty. It is the only penalty that not seen so far in American version.



The Amazing Race Asia has seen a greater use of time penalties than the original American version. While time penalties are generally served prior to the team being allowed to check in to the pit stop (therefore possibly pushing them down the ranking lists and opening them to a possible last place finish and elimination, as was the case with Sahil & Prashant in leg 5), controversy has arisen over the fact that some time penalties are served at the beginning of the next leg.

This was the case with Andy & Laura, who departed the Chard Farm Winery Pit Stop in Queenstown at the start of leg 7 with a 92-minute time penalty as a result of Andy's speeding in leg 6. Had this 92-minute penalty been applied prior to Andy & Laura being allowed to check into the pit stop at the end of leg 6, it would have pushed them into last place and certain elimination.[1]


They are several criticisms in the show, and these include:

  • Less self-driving in entire race.[2]
  • Teams always clumped in same flight.
  • A lot of the contestants casted are models, actors or other television personalities.
  • Traveling mainly limited to Asian countries [3]

Countries and Locales Visited

Africa Asia
Country Season(s) Visited Country Season(s) Visited
Flag of South Africa South Africa 2 Flag of India India 1, 3
Flag of Indonesia Indonesia 1, 4, 5
Flag of Japan Japan 2
Flag of Malaysia Malaysia 1, 4, 5
Flag of Oman Oman 3
Flag of the Philippines The Philippines 2, 4, 5
Flag of Singapore Singapore 1, 2, 4, 5
Flag of South Korea South Korea 2, 4
Flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 4
Flag of Taiwan Taiwan 3
Flag of Thailand Thailand 1, 3, 5
Flag of the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 1
Flag of Vietnam Vietnam 3, 5
Territory Season(s) Visited
Flag of Hong Kong Hong Kong 2, 3
Flag of Macau Macau 3
Europe Oceania
Country Season(s) Visited Country Season(s) Visited
Flag of the Czech Republic Czech Republic 2 Flag of Australia Australia 1, 4
Flag of Germany Germany 2 Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 1, 2, 4
Flag of Hungary Hungary 2

Overview of The Amazing Race Asia Seasons

Season Premiere Date Finale Winners Home Country Final City Winner's Unique Distinction(s)
1 November 9, 2006 February 1, 2007 Joe Jer & Zabrina Malaysia Kuching, Malaysia

First all-female team to win the race, and without any prior first place finish(es).

2 November 22, 2007 February 14, 2008 Adrian & Collin Singapore Singapore, Singapore First person with a disability to win the race
3 September 11, 2008 November 20, 2008 Vince & Sam Hong Kong Phuket, Thailand First dual-citizens to win the race
4 September 23, 2010 December 9, 2010 Richard & Richard Phillipines Singapore, Singapore First US citizens outside the US version to win the race
5 October 13, 2016 December 15, 2016 Parul & Maggie Philipines Bali, Indonesia


  • MediaWeek (03/17/2017): "Mediaweek Asia Profile: activeTV Asia boss Michael McKay"

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