Asian frogs of the tribe Paini (Anura: Dicroglossidae) range across several first-order tectono-morphological domains of the Cenozoic Indo-Asian collision that include the Tibetan Plateau, the Himalayas, and Indochina. We show how the tectonic events induced by the Indo-Asian collision affected the regional biota and, in turn, how the geological history of the earth can be viewed from a biological perspective. Our analysis of a concatenated dataset comprising four nuclear gene sequences of Paini revealed two main radiations, corresponding to the genera Nanorana (I) and Quasipaa (II). Five distinct clades are recognized: Tibetan plateau clade (I-1), Himalaya clade (I-2), environs of Himalaya–Tibetan plateau clade (I-3), South China clade (II-1), and Indochina clade (II-2). This pattern of relationships highlights the significance of geography in shaping evolutionary history. Building on our molecular dating, ancestral region reconstruction, and distributional patterns, we hypothesize a distinct geographic and climatic transition in Asia beginning in the Oligocene and intensifying in the Miocene; this stimulated rapid diversification of Paini. Vicariance explains species formation among major lineages within Nanorana. Dispersal, in contrast, plays an important role among Quasipaa, with the southern Chinese taxa originating from Indochina. Our results support the tectonic hypothesis that an uplift in the Himalaya–Tibetan plateau region resulting from crustal thickening and lateral extrusion of Indochina occurred synchronously during the transition between Oligocene and Miocene in reaction to the Indo-Asian collision. The phylogenetic history of Paini illuminates critical aspects of the timing of geological events responsible for the current geography of Southeast Asia.