South East Asia comprises a number of countries; it lies between the subcontinent of India and the huge state of China. The name Indochina was coined as a result, the majority of it under French control for a period in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Myanmar, then Burma, the British and Thailand forever free from colonial control. Each country has been independent since the middle of the 20th Century but since then there has been significant conflict across the region. Today the future looks bright as tourist numbers steadily increase. Thailand was the first to benefit from travellers realising the region’s potential but in their own way the others have grown slowly but steadily, especially Vietnam. The others have been slower starters for a variety of reasons but the future looks good and this Indochina travel guide hopes to tell you why.
There are many similarities across the region because over centuries there has been considerable migration. However, there are elements of culture unique to individual countries. Each country deserves attention and for those with sufficient time there are Indochina travel packages covering two, three or more of the countries during the same holiday.
Best Time to Visit Indochina
There are wide climatic differences across the region with different monsoon affecting land at different times of the year. There is an extensive coastline, over 3,000 kilometres in Vietnam alone. At times the monsoon affects the ability to travel to remote regions and areas where the roads have not been improved sufficiently yet it is wrong to think that monsoon automatically means hours of rain each day; it may only be a shower. It means that there is no one high season across Indochina and your decision about when to travel should be dictated by the specific things you want to see. Here are some of the highlights to help you choose.
• Vietnam is now a unified country after the end of the Vietnam War. The Cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) are included in most Indochina travel packages and among the highlights elsewhere there is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay, the Northern Highlands including SaPa Terraces and of course the Mekong Delta. Read more Vietnam travel guide
• Cambodia survived the cruel regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Angkor Wat is one of the most photographed images of Asia, if not the world. Siem Reap is the closest city while Phnom Penh, the capital, has many historical and cultural attractions as well as the stark reminders of Pol Pot with its ‘’Killing Fields’’ and the museum that was once a building that had the far more sinister function of torture and imprisonment.
• Laos has had its own problems because it was a target for USA bombs during the Vietnam War when the Viet Cong sought shelter. Vientiane is the capital but the highlight is LuangPrabang. It once had over 10,000 temples and there are still around 2,000 today. There are several natural sites to visit, caves, waterfalls, the Mekong River making Laos a place of increasing interest for inclusion in Indochina holidays.
• Myanmar has only recently opened up to tourists in any numbers. This former British colony was well known for its history and culture but the military regime ensured it was fairly isolated until recent years. Bagan and Mandalay are the two main places of interest even though Yangon, the capital until fairly recently, is the largest city.
• Thailand is well known for its beaches and in many cases an Indochina tour package will start in its capital Bangkok. This city is certainly worth any tourist’s time, temples, great cuisine, 21st Century shopping and hospitable people.
A good Indochina tour operator will answer all your questions after you have read this Indochina travel guide and make all the travel and accommodation arrangements for you. There are several points of entry into the Region with international flights on an hourly basis. From your point of entry domestic routes within each country and short flights linking neighbouring countries mean it is easy to get around South East Asia.
Overland travel varies from country to country. Thailand and Vietnam probably offer the best road and rail facilities but as more people visit Indochina the infrastructure elsewhere is improving as well. Perhaps you may even consider cruising the Mekong, typically Phnom Penh down into Vietnam towards the South China Sea?
Indochina is a mix of races, often with minority hill tribes living in remote regions. Chinese and Malay, some Indian have settled in Indochina The Vietnamese often came from the south of China, the Khmer are spread across Cambodia and beyond. One thing that is common right across the Region is the natural hospitality. Visitors are welcome though it is expected that tourists will respect the religion and culture that is so important.
Your Indochina tour operator will provide you with advice where you have any doubts about how to behave in different circumstances.
It is common these days for countries to require visitors to obtain visas. They will define the permitted period that you can stay and whether you can extend that say. When you are on an organised tour you can expect help from your tour operator so that you can move from country to country on an Indochina travel package without difficulty.
Note: To obtain cheap Vietnam visa, please feel free to contact us or visit www.vietnamvisaprovider.com.
Indochina is a huge area and each of the five countries that are under its ‘’umbrella’’ has much to recommend it. It is difficult to decide what to include in your first holiday in the Region as this Indochina travel guide hopefully indicates. Some tourists may seek the main religious sites in Indochina, others are looking for activity holidays in the interior of the coastal gems. There are people for whom the cuisine is a priority, others wanting to see as much as possible in their available time.This Indochina travel guide aims to stimulate your mind into considering the alternatives you can book.