Southeast Asia Tourism – A Blissful Place to Bolthole
Southeast Asia consists of 11 States, it has 5 time zones and it is the only part of Asia which is not entirely in the South region, in fact most part of the Southeast Asia lies in Northern hemisphere. Southeast Asia covers 4.5 million km, which makes 10.5% of Asian land and 3% of total earth area. Southeast has a population of more than 6.42 million, which is about 8.5% of total world’s population. Southeast Asia is considered third most populous area of the world after South Asia and East Asia.
Most of the countries in Southeast Asia enjoys national autonomy. Out of 11 states, 10 are member of ASEAN – Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN basically promotes intergovernmental cooperation and give military, educational, security, economic, political and socio-cultural facilities not only to Southeast Asian countries but also other countries in Asia.
Chinese ancestor referred Southeast Asia as “Nanyang” which literally means “Southern Ocean”. Southeast Asia consists of two geographical region (i) Mainland Southeast Asia (ii) Maritime Southeast Asia
Mainland Southeast Asia also known as Indochina because of its location, it lies between China and India subcontinent. Southeast Asia has great influence from both of the connecting countries. Mainland Southeast Asia consists of Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma), Peninsular Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos
Maritime is referred as Nusantara but it is also known as Malay Archipelago because an extensive group of islands lies between Mainland Indochina and Australia. Maritime Southeast Asia consists of East Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei and East Timor.
Southeast Asia has a very diverse culture; 100 of languages are spoken in this region. Southeast Asia has 13 official languages in which Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Tamil, Tatum, Mandarin and English are included.
Myanmar Himalayas and Northern Vietnam are two regions which are considered subtropical in Southeast Asian region. These areas have a cold winter with snow. Rest all of the Southeast Asia is tropical-hot and humid in nature. All round year it has a mix climate of dry and wet but in monsoon season tropical rain belt causes additional rainfall; whereas there is a deviation by this kind of climate and chances of vegetation are more, where there are mountains in northern side of Southeast Asia. The main reason is that the temperature is moderate and land is drier in mountains as compared to southern part. Southeast Asian rain-forest is the second largest on earth after the Amazon rain-forest, ranked at first.
Southeast Asia has always been a critical part of the world for trading. This region has wide range of commodities but spices are top of the list, especially nutmeg, pepper, ginger and cloves. Arab and Indian merchants were the pioneers in developing spice trade with Southeast Asia. Europeans, Spanish, Portuguese, the Dutch and finally the British started trading with Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asian region highly depends on agriculture; rice and rubber are two most prominent exports. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are new emerging markets in Southeast Asia whereas Brunei and Singapore are well developed economies. Almost whole Southeast Asian region’s economy relies on agriculture but Vietnam is making progress towards industrial sector by manufacturing textiles and electronics goods such as microprocessors and automobiles products. Southeast Asia is also rich in Oil reserves which include hydrocarbon- natural gas and petroleum.
Last but not the least Tourism is the key factor in economic development of Southeast Asia. There are prominent tourist places in Southeast Asia, which gives the boost in GDP of this region. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are top of the list.
Let’s talk about some of the famous tourist areas of Southeast Asia.
Our first destination is Thailand, which was previously called Siam, is famous for its tropical beaches, royal palaces, ancient and ornaments temples. Thailand has 76 provinces and is 50th largest country of the world. Bangkok is the capital and the biggest city of Thailand. Thailand is hub of tourist’s resorts and spots. Thailand has been blessed with mesmerizing views where tourists go and lost in the purest beauty of natural life. TAT – Tourism Authority of Thailand has been building and publicizing Thai Tourism so they use the slogan “Amazing Thailand” to promote the Thai tourism internationally. In 2015, the slogan of “Amazing Thailand” was replaced by “Discover Thainess”.
- Koh Phi Phi Island
Phi Phi Island is situated in Krabi province; it’s one of the most popular islands in Thailand. The most visited and fun spot Monkey Beach, as per its name when you will visit this beach, you will meet face-to-face with beach name creatures. There are a lot of small stalls of fruits and milkshakes, so tourists have to be careful if you are going to leave your fruits or shakes there unattended, monkeys can take away your treats. Tourists can hire tour guide in Monkey Beach, they take tourists into small wooden boats and guide you all beach. People can also hire their own boats or kayaks on rent.
Long Beach is another amazing spot for people who do not like crowded places. Long Beach is not visited by many people but it is popular for its magical sunsets. Usually tourists visit Long Beach for walks and site views.
Phi Phi Don was one of the areas which were hit hard by tsunami in 2004. All the restaurants, market and guest houses were destroyed in tsunami, although everything has been revived and rebuilt but there is a small place called “Somber Memorial Park” to honor those who lost their live in tsunami tragedy.
- Railay Beach
Krabi Province is considered as home of Thailand Beaches. Railay Beach is account as one of the best beach in Thailand. Railay beach is like heaven on earth, clear blue water, white sand and green mountains give tourists feeling that they are on paradise. To reach towards island there are services available for tourists at Krabi Town and Ao Nang.
In Krabi Province, only beaches are not the reason to visit but there are major famous rock-climbing spots. Karst Peaks of Railay draw special attention of rock-climbers to climb the sky high Limestone Cliffs.
Elephant trekking, snorkeling, white-water rafting, massaging and kayaking are also activities tourists enjoy in Railay Beach. If you want to make your trip more adventurous, you can give a visit to Diamond Cave. Diamond Cave has a convenient walk path for tourists, so they can explore and enjoy the cave.
- Khao Yai National Park
Elephant is National symbol of Thailand. Elephant is seen and treated with utmost respect and love in Thailand. Thailand people celebrate elephant’s longevity, strength and durability. Everywhere you go, you will see elephant statues and paintings in Thailand. There are numerous groups in Thailand who conduct a day trip with elephants. Tourists spend a day or more with these revered creatures by doing different activities starting from trekking, bathing them and even feeding them but the most exciting view is to see them in natural wildlife.
Khao Yai National Park is prominent which provides a great opportunity for tourists to see elephants roaming beside the waterfall, intelligent monkeys, exotic birds and a lot of tropical creatures who make Khao Yai National Park their home.
Second destination is Indonesia; it is an enormous country with both population and area wise with remarkable cultural and geological diversity. Indonesia has been blessed with 18,110 islands out of which 6,000 islands are inhabited and it is considered as the largest archipelago. There are 300 ethnic groups which makes around 240 million, who can speak more than 250 different languages. As we are talking about Indonesia, many foreign visitors only know about the tourist’s destination Bali but Indonesia is enriched by other top tourist’s spots which can be discovered in this amazing country.
- Lake Toba
Volcanic Lake of Sumatra Island – Lake Toba is 100 km long and 30 km wide. This lake is prominent because of the fact that, it was basically formed due to gigantic volcanic eruptions 70,000 years ago. It is said that this was the largest resurgent caldera on Earth meaning by it is the largest volcanic structures on our planet. Genetic also estimates that at that time, only few thousand humans could survive the disaster on this island. The unique thing about this island is that, there is another island in the middle called “Pulau Samosir”, and it is the largest island within a island that carry two lakes.
Tourists who have immense interest in archaeology and want to have relaxation and swim in the volcanic warmed waters should pay a visit here.
In Sulawesi Island, Bunaken exists; which is famous for scuba diving and snorkeling. The area of island is part of Bunaken Marine Park, where tourists can enjoy and see more than 70% of fish species that currently exists in western Pacific Ocean.
The guide and people of Bunaken tell that the best time for diving is from April to November, where tourists can enjoy the stunning sights underwater.
- Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park is national park of Indonesia. Komodo National park is placed in Lesser Sunda Islands; this island contains three larger islands in which Komodo, Rincah and Padar are included. Other than these three big islands, there are 26 small islands present in Lesser Sunda Lake.
This National Park is named after the world’s largest living reptile Komodo Dragon. Komodo Dragon weighs start from 70 kg and its length can be reach up-to 3 meters or more. Tourists can see komodo roaming freely in the national park; the experienced guides are there to keep the tourists safe. The feed of Komodo dragons depends on carcass of dead animals, they hunt mammals and birds. There are very rare cases of attacks against humans. Komodo National Park is also famous as a destination of world-class scuba diving, but locals only prefer experienced divers to go underwater.
Our Third destination is Malaysia, which consists of 13 states and it is constituted on two similar sized regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo (East Malaysia). Malaysia is known for its diverse culture, with a population of 30 million it is the 44th most populous country of the world. Kuala Lumpur is the capital and largest city of Malaysia. Malaysia is prominent for stunning rain-forests, mesmerizing beaches and multi-cultural. Malaysia is also famous for iconic Petronas Twin Towers that is almost 452 meter tall and it is situated in Kuala Lumpur. It is 88-floor and there is a sky bridge between 41st and 42nd floors.
Like Indonesia, Malaysia is also running marketing campaigns for tourism; the “Malaysia-Truly Asia” slogan was internationally famous. Every year Malaysia receives more tourists than previous year, there is a definite growing number in foreign tourists to visit Malaysia and discover the exciting sights.
The best known holiday destination in the Andaman Sea is Langkawi, it is an archipelago of 99 islands, which make this island the largest island with a population count up to 65,000 inhabitants.
Langkawi if famous for white beaches, turquoise blue sea, heavily covered hills like jungle and rocky peaks of mountain. Tourists can found the most famous beaches on the west coast with a wide range of eateries and exotic resorts in Langkawi. It’s easy to see why Malaysia is heavily promoted among tourist destination.
- Taman Negara
In Malay, Taman Negara literally means “National Park”; it is one of the oldest tropical rain-forest in the world. Taman Negara offers heavy trees, waterfalls, jungle treks of different time duration, world longest canopy walkways and wildlife. There are several treks for tourists which they explore without a guide.
Taman Negara also gives tourists a chance to give a close look to special species like tigers, leopards, Asian elephants and rhinos. Other than these species tourists will see different species of birds, lizards, and small deer. If anyone is lucky enough, perhaps he can see a tapir.
- Kek Lok Si Temple
In temple history, Kek Lok Si Temple is considered a new temple dating back to 1891. In Southeast Asia, It is one of the most sacred and important Chinese Buddhist temple. Kek Lok Si Temple is the largest in Malaysia and it draws thousands of pilgrims throughout Southeast Asia.
This temple is famous for its Supreme Bliss, amazing sight, with numerous images of Buddha – Buddhist icons and gods. There is complex name Temple of Rama IV which is the main highlight of the Kek Lok Si Temple because it’s carrying 10,000 Buddha carvings.
Last but not the least Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the 15th most populous country in the world having inhabitants approximately 94.6 million. Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam but Ho Chi Minh City is the most crowded city in Vietnam. The temperature of Vietnam is higher in lower lands throughout the year as compare to northern side. The climate of Vietnam is a mix of hot and cold, it varies according to the season. The winters lasts from November to April, Vietnam also witness monsoon season which usually occurs at the northeast of the region.
Vietnam’s agriculture is dependent on wet rice cultivation. There is also bauxite mining industry in central Vietnam, which is the important material for aluminum production. Currently Vietnam is growing rapidly its national economy through information technology and high-tech industry. As of 2010 in Asian and Pacific region, Vietnam ranked at the 8th largest crude petroleum producer.
Tourism in Vietnam is producing 7% of gross domestic product. Vietnam welcomed 12.9 million tourists as of 2017 records, which makes the region growing industry for tourism and increase in economic activities. Most visited destinations of Vietnam are Ho Chi Minh City, followed by Hanoi, followed by Ha Long; all the three areas are ranked under 100 top visited cities in the world. Vietnam is popular for its beautiful caves and it is the center of attraction for most of the tourists.
- Marble Mountains
Marble Mountains are at the south of Da Nang. This place is famous because these five peaks of Marble Mountains are named after the five elements Earth, Water, Fire, Wood and Wind. This place is attractive and charming in its own way, the peaks are homes to innumerable caves, and some are incredible sanctuaries of Buddhist. During Vietnam War, some of these caves also contained shrines of Buddha and others were used as hospitals and sanctuaries. So tourists who have huge interest in history, it’s a must visit place for them.
- Hang Son Doong Cave
Hang Son Doong Cave is the largest cave of Vietnam and it is considered one of the largest caves in the world. It is to be said that this cave is three million years old and it is the most stunning destination for tourists to visit because it’s unique and unlike anywhere else in the whole wide planet. The enormous cave can accommodate thousands of tourists at a same time and many tourists camp inside the cave. The cave is naturally decorated with lush green walls, clear blue water and a river runs through this cave, lastly natural erosion in the cave which lets the sunlight to come inside cave is like cherry on top. This cave is considered most delicate cave in History, guides are also available to escort the tourists where they can explore this amazing cave to the very best.
- Hang Nga’s Guesthouse in Da Lat
Hang Nga’s guesthouse is known as Crazy House to many travelers. Hang Nga’s was basically designed by a local architect who gives this cave a very unusual but marvelous design that it became the most visited destination by tourists. This guesthouse is a tree which has a huge stairway in which tree branches are twisted and also can be seen out of the windows. The most amazing piece of art is sculpted animals that are used as furniture and even fireplaces.Tourists visit this place as a unique monument of modern architecture. Tourists which have interest in modern architecture should pay a visit here.