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The Shangri-La of Southeast Asia: Immerse Yourself in the Heart of Cultural Tourism

Southeast Asia is a collection of related but dissimilar states squeezed between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The part of the world has long been a favorite corner of the world for globe-tramping backpackers and is well-known for its perfect beaches, tasty cuisine, low prices, and good air travel options and connections.

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason. A tropical climate, warm all year round, rich culture, gorgeous beaches, wonderful food, and last but not least, low prices.

History Of Shangri-La

Pre-historic Southeast Asia was largely underpopulated. A process of immigration from India across the Bay of Bengal is referred to as the process of Indianization. Exactly how and when it happened is contested, however, the population of the mainland region largely happened through immigration from India. The Sanskrit script was used as the basis for modern Thai, Lao, Burmese, and Khmer. On the other hand, the population of the archipelagos of East Timor, Indonesia, and the Philippines, as well as Malaysia on the mainland is thought to have come about though immigration from Taiwan.

Thailand Tourism

Countries of Southeast Asia

Singapore

Clean and orderly island-city state. The most economically developed country in Southeast Asia. Singapore is much more than the sum of its numerous attractions. It’s constantly evolving, reinventing and reimagining itself, with people who are passionate about creating new possibilities. It’s where foodies, explorers, collectors, action seekers, culture shapers and socializers meet and where new experiences are created every day.

If you’re planning a vacation to the Southeast, it’s a good idea to look at Singapore packages as you will most likely travel via Singapore. Take a few days off and immerse yourself in what Singapore has to offer.

Brunei

Tiny oil-rich sultanate on the island of Borneo.

Cambodia

Still recovering economically from decades of war, though currently relatively safe and easy to travel. Highlights are Siem Reap near the ancient city of Angkor, the capital Phnom Penh and the beachside Sihanoukville.

East Timor

Encompassing the eastern side of Timor island, this is one of the world’s newest and poorest states, with abundant natural resources. 

Indonesia

The sleeping giant of Southeast Asia and the world’s largest archipelago, with more than 18,000 islands spanning across 3 time zones. Home of the Komodo dragons and too many sights to see in one lifetime, they have improved economically into a ‘G20’ nation.

Laos

The forgotten but growing, country of Southeast Asia, landlocked by Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is a mountainous country that is very popular on the backpacker trail. The entire town of Luang Prabang is a World Heritage site.

Malaysia

Malaysia stands out as the center of diversity that is unique in Asia. Half of the population is made up of Malays, while the other half consists of descendants of Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli background, as well as other indigenous people of Malaysian Borneo. There are also small but significant communities that are uniquely Malaysian.

Culturally, Malaysia is influenced by Portuguese, Dutch, British, Persia, Arab, Turkey as well as neighboring countries like Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines. This place is full of variety and this diversity extends to its cities, languages, and landscapes.

Myanmar (Burma)

An ancient country with a history that includes both ruling its own Empire and being part of the British Empire. Until recently isolated, under military dictatorship and suffering from economic sanctions, Myanmar is currently undergoing major political changes and opening up to tourism.

Also read: BORACAY TRAVEL GUIDE FOR FIRST TIMERS (ITINERARY & EXPENSES)

Philippines

Asia’s ‘sleeping tiger’ has yet to achieve its full economic potential. A unique fusion of the Asian traditions of non-confrontation and respect for elders combined with Spanish ideas of machismo, romance, and sophistication. The largest Christian nation in the region with over 7,000 islands and beautiful white-sand beaches.

Also read: 20 AFFORDABLE WEEKEND GETAWAYS NEAR MANILA

Thailand

Thailand has the distinction of being one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, renowned for its vibrant cultural heritage and natural beauty.  The frenetic cities and chilled-out beaches are the most popular tourist destinations in the region. From the mountains in the north, to the southern beaches and islands, to the lights of Bangkok and Pattaya, Thailand has it all. 

If there’s one place in Southeast Asia everyone should visit, it’s Thailand. If you’re traveling with family or friends, or even alone, be sure to check out thailand holiday packages. There are many attractive offers that are well worth every penny.

Vietnam

Firmly marching down the road to capitalism as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. One of the more popular tourist destinations in the area and a well-established route on the backpacker trail.

Major Cities of Southeast Asia

The nine of the most prominent cities in Southeast Asia:

  • Bangkok – Huge, bustling and cosmopolitan capital of Thailand with endless possibilities for nightlife, shopping, and culture.
  • Jakarta – Capital of Indonesia and the largest city in Southeast Asia. A diverse city, from the old houses of Batavia to modern megamalls.
  • Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) – Bustling metropolis and Vietnam’s largest city and southern economic center.
  • Kuala Lumpur – The capital of Malaysia, grown from a small sleepy tin-mining village to a large and diverse metropolis with tons of shopping and nightlife.
  • Luang Prabang – A UNESCO World Heritage City and a popular tourist destination in Laos hosting temples, colonial-era architecture, vibrant night markets, and an all-around laid-back vibe.
  • Manila – The hectic and friendly capital of the Philippines.
  • Phnom Penh – Rapidly developing capital of Cambodia, striving to reclaim ‘The Pearl of Asia’ title it had before 1970.
  • Singapore – Modern, affluent city-state with a medley of Chinese, Indian and Malay influences.
  • Yangon (formerly the capital of Myanmar, Rangoon) – Pagodas and fading colonial architecture, Yangon is rapidly emerging from repression and poverty.

Other Well Known Destinations

It’s impossible to list every major ‘non-city’ destination in Southeast Asia, so here are some of the more significant destinations outside of major cities:

  • Angkor Archaeological Park – Magnificent remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire.
  • Bali – Unique Hindu culture, beaches, and mountains on the Island of the Gods.
  • Boracay – Long white sand beaches and bustling nightlife.
  • Borobudur – One of the largest Buddhist temples in the world.
  • Gunung Mulu National Park – Fantastic limestone caves and karst formations.
  • Ha Long Bay – Literally translated as ‘Bay of Descending Dragons’, famous for its scenic rock formations.
  • Komodo National Park – The Komodo is the biggest reptile in the world, and it can only be found in this national park.
  • Krabi Province – Beach and watersports mecca, includes Ao Nang, Rai Leh, Ko Phi Phi, and Ko Lanta.
  • Palawan – A long island in the western part of the Philippines. Palawan is filled with lush tropical green forests and is one of the most favorable diving and swimming sites in the world. It also has one of the most diverse landscapes in Asia and in the world.
  • Preah Vihear – A clifftop temple pre-dating Angkor Wat.

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