Asia is a majestic and enchanting continent that beckons and enthralls all those who travel in its lands. With so many countries encompassing this great continent, you may have the dilemma of where to begin your journey first. If you currently at a loss of ideas on where to go first, then it is highly suggested you try venturing somewhere in the southeast. Southeast Asia holds the right mix of tropical climate, warm and accommodating people and the breathtaking spots that will hypnotize you to come back over and over again. For those of you who are planning to go on a trip to Asia, going southeast will be a wonderful detour.
Starting from the topmost Southeast Asian country bordered by India and China, Myanmar is a good place to start your trip of exploration and learning. Famous tourist spots include Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the most famous pagodas in the world. Located in Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital, the Shwedagon Pagoda is the symbol of pride and religious heritage for the people of Myanmar. This is just the beginning of your enchanting journey, where you’ll be inspired by culture chaser/travel blogger Dave Taylor’s tagline: I’m The Culture Chaser! Join me as I explore, value and learn about local cultures and their history all across Asia.
Going a bit lower in the map, in the southeast direction, you’ll be able to reach the country of Laos. This country prides itself with its Buddhist heritage, its famous temples and pristine natural tourist spots. Your journey to Laos is never complete without going to Luang Prabang. This ancient city still retains the glory of its temples and the Buddhist religious practices such as daily alms ceremony. Outside of this city lies other natural wonders to explore: Kuang Si Falls, Tad Sae Waterfalls, which has its own 1,000m zipline, Phou Si hill and Pak Ou or ‘Buddha’ Caves.
Going further east of Laos, you will find its next neighboring country, Vietnam. The country is known for its beaches, rivers and Buddhist temples. Vietnam also witnessed one of the bloodiest wars in its history, the Vietnam War. The Ho Chi Minh City Museum will help tourists understand the war that pitted the North and the South against each other, and the sacrifices made by both sides of the conflict. On a lighter note, nature trips are abound in this beautiful land. You can go boat riding on the Mekong Delta, go trekking in the highlands of Sa Pa or experience the Buddhist heritage in Hue.
Heading back to the southwest direction from Vietnam, you will find Cambodia. Cambodia houses the Angkor Wat, a massive stone temple complex built during the Khmer Empire, which is also a designated World Heritage Site. Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city, also holds the ornate Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, the history rich National Museum, the chilling Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center among the many wonderful places and landmarks you’ll come across.
Heading back west lies Thailand, a country where, history and modernization intertwine harmoniously. Bangkok’s bustling cityscape also holds the Grand Palace, the official residence of the royalties in Thailand. Also worth visiting are Wat Pho, which is home to the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand, Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, and Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the Emerald Buddha. If the busy and hectic pace of life isn’t your thing, then Chiang Mai is the destination for you. This pleasant northern city shows the extensive influence of Buddhism across this country, as evident Chiang Mai Old City, where orange-robed monks greet you with a smile and sawadee ka. Chiang Mai also offers cultural festivals, night markets, majestic temples and nature trips to relax and captivate tourists.
There are many other countries in Asia that still await exploration. Don’t fret if you can’t go to all of the places at once. Going to these places is meant to be done over several days, to immerse in the rich culture and historical significance of each Asian destination. These are just five countries you can start your exciting and memorable Asian journeys. So explore enjoy and learn with every trip you take in Asia.
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