Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia lies south of China, a vast region filled with a spirit so irresistible many arrive with bated breath and leave with much reluctance. The spirit of Southeast Asia runs deep; it is in the people, the places, and also the visitors who explore the region with fascination. Colorful temples and stupas, robe-clad Buddhist monks, aromatic food, and a scenic, sometimes surreal, backdrop combine for a heady mix of the exotic but also a calm serenity. Outside of the tranquility, there is a broad array of opportunity for outdoor activity, lazy beach days, fun-filled nightlife, and a look into rich and vibrant cultures.

Cambodia

Cambodia

Cambodia

Angkor Wat is the tourist anchor in Cambodia located outside of Siem Riep and visited by millions over decades. Cambodia has a marred and violent past yet tourism has kicked up a beat over the last couple of decades--many on the “Banana Pancake Trail” through Southeast Asia do not miss the opportunity to explore Cambodia in more depth. Colonial history in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville’s sandy white beaches, Kep’s coastal beauty, and the misty, loftiness of Bokor Hill Station are each a testament to its innate beauty and intrigue.

Vietnam

Vietnam

Vietnam

Vietnam has a lot more to offer than a complicated, war-torn history. Geographically, Vietnam is one of the most interesting and scenic of all countries in Southeast Asia; Halong Bay is one of the most stunning settings in the region. The busyness of the Mekong Delta, Sapa’s pretty rice valleys, and an incredible stretch of white sand beaches speak volumes about the many opportunities for exploration and discovery during vacations. Add in some pretty amazing food, great shopping, and kind, caring people and Vietnam becomes an irresistible mix of entertainment.

Thailand

Thailand

Thailand

Budget hostels to luxury hotels, ethnic villages to modern, skyscraper cities, thick jungle forests to sweeping, white sand beaches; Thailand is about as diverse as it gets in Southeast Asia with a well sculpted tourist industry to boot. Convenience doesn’t get any better in the region, with an array of tour guides, regular, reliable transportation, and hotels from cheap to ultra-expensive; Thailand is also well-stacked with amenities. A strong, graceful culture is the backbone of the country, with ruby-red robed monks chanting throughout glorious temples; some of the greatest examples of Thai architecture around. The Chao Praya River, the Mekong Delta, and the stunning Gulf of Thailand are the national waterways offering a wealth of things to explore. From the bustling capital of Bangkok to the pristine beaches of Phuket Island, this lovely country has something for everyone.

Laos

Laos

Laos

Small in size but big on enchantment, Laos is a particularly beautiful country and the only landlocked one in Southeast Asia. Mountain peaks shrouded by mist and edged by thick jungle valleys filled with wildlife describe Laos well. Several intriguing ethnicities, from Hmong to Kmou, live within the tiny stretch, keeping historic traditions alive. Buddhist culture stands strong throughout, most evident to visitors in places like lovely UNESCO Heritage city Luang Prabang where morning alms are a big attraction. With significantly fewer tourists than neighboring countries, Laos has much to offer independent travelers looking for adventure.

Myanmar

Myanmar

Myanmar

Being closed off from the world for so long, Myanmar stands far apart from neighboring Southeast Asian countries. The common denominator is the people; they are amazingly friendly, caring and just as curious about visitors as they are of them. Since Colonial times, Myanmar hasn’t changed much-visiting is much like traveling through a time machine. Forget banking machines or 7-11s (corner shops found all over the backpacker trail). Myanmar showcases a much simpler life several steps behind modern Asia. Some of the most fascinating attractions include the 4000-year-old temples and stupas of Bagan, beaches along the scenic Bay of Bengal and journeys along the Ayeyarwady River. Though Myanmar has had its fair share of troubled times, today it is a perfectly safe place to visit and one of the most rewarding destinations in Southeast Asia.

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