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Overview to Southeast Asia: Travel Guide and Tourist Information
Southeast Asia is increasingly becoming one of the traveling hotspots of the world – and it isn't hard to see why. With its beautiful islands and beaches, dense jungles, delicious cuisine, fascinating culture and welcoming people, the region has something to offer everyone.
The region's largest country, China, isn’t so much a travel destination as a glittering universe of possibilities. In addition to its remarkable cities – Beijing, Shanghai and Xian – the country is filled with remarkable, ancient attractions.
From the Terracotta Warriors, the Grand Buddha of Leshan and the Potala Palace in Lhasa, China contains some of the world’s most instantly recognizable historical monuments. Snaking for mile after rolling mile of hillside, meanwhile, the Great Wall of China is one of the few manmade structures visible from space.
A series of beautiful islands capped with mist-shrouded peaks (like the iconic Mt Fuji), Japan is nothing if not visually impressive. Whether it's the vibrant urban scenes of Osaka, the serene temples and shrines of Kyoto, or the lurid lights and soaring skyscrapers of Tokyo, its cities are no less arresting, either.
Few countries can compete with Thailand for the mantle of ‘best backpacking destination’. And at the heart of this reputation is Bangkok, with its enthralling historical quarters and seedy nightlife. Highlights of the capital include the glittering temple of Wat Arun, the transcendental beauty of the Grand Palace and the famous markets.
Then there are the modern city states of Hong Kong and Singapore; frantic 21st century metropolises. A slightly more relaxed atmosphere prevails in the dazzling Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. But there’s a return to the generally frenetic feel of the region in its capital, Hanoi, with its dilapidated colonial quarters, and more than a little hustle and bustle.
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of a visit to Southeast Asia is a trip to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Counted amongst the Seven Wonders of the World and one of the most enthralling historical sites on the planet, it’s believed that one million people once lived in the huge complex.
Less visited than many of its neighbors, Myanmar offers a glimpse of Old Asia, in its dilapidated colonial buildings, horse carts and golden pagodas. Laos, too, is full of remarkable sights like the Plain of Jars and Louang Phabang, one of the most striking examples of a Southeast Asian town.
The Philippines offer outstanding natural beauty, with impressive waterfalls, white, sandy beaches, the iconic rice terraces and endlessly scenic terrain. Malaysia, and the seemingly never-ending collection of islands that is Indonesia, also stand out in this respect. With their vast expanses of jungles and virtually peerless diving off their reefs and atolls, both are increasingly popular ecotourism destinations.
No matter where you go, it’s hard not to be struck by the friendly reception from local people eager to offer a helping hand, and an insight into their country. With all of this to offer – and much, much more – it’s practically impossible not to won over by the region.