For many first-time visitors to South East Asia, the common gateway after you jump off the plane is through busy, bustling Bangkok. A Bangkok city break is a fun, feisty, friendly way to start any South East Asia holiday and with its floating markets, vibrant nightlife and unique culture, it’s easy to see why this is one of the world’s most exciting cities. However, while the bright lights of Thailand’s capital are well worth a visit, there is so much more to the country, and indeed the rest of this friendly continent to explore.
From canoeing the lakes of Vietnam to climbing the volcanoes of Bali, a journey through South East Asia can be enjoyed as much as the destination. See northern Thailand’s undulating mountain jungle from an elephant’s eye view, or take a cultural tour of Cambodia by bicycle and discover much more than Angkor Wat – head to Phnom Penh and then south to the coast and the warm waters of the Gulf Of Thailand.
And what about the relatively undiscovered, landlocked country of Laos? Bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west, what this diminutive pocket of Asia lacks in beaches, it makes up for with its interesting multi-ethnic culture, colonial architecture and impressive gastronomy. And who needs sand and sea when you can watch the sun set over the beautiful Mekong River, which runs through Laos, spreading into Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Burma is another country on the peripherals of tourism. There is now a steady flow of visitors to this country once shrouded in strict military rule, which is great for the economy of the country. Home to some of the earliest civilisations of South East Asia and offering an undiscovered landscape of endless green hills, vast fertile plains and mighty waterways, Burma is a photographer’s dream. In 1898, the author Rudyard Kipling wrote that Burma was 'quite unlike any land you know about'. In over 100 years, little has changed and Burma's ancient temples, unspoilt beaches and colourful culture are only just being discovered.
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