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Additional info for Lonely Planet Southeast Asia
And the region’s great monuments have been built for the divine, from Angkor’s heaven incarnate to Bagan’s infinity-bending temple expanse. This is a region in close communication with the divine. Visitors can join in on the conversation on meditation retreats or by hiking into the mist belt to visit a golden-spired temple or sacred mountain. Rice paddies in northern Vietnam STU SMUCKER/LONELY PLANET IMAGES © A Marriage of Old & New Southeast Asian cities grabbed on to the future long before it became the present.
Turn inland to Phnom Penh to pay your respects at its genocide museums then bus to Siem Reap and the monumental splendour of Angkor. Board a flight to Pakse, gateway to the easy river living of Si Phan Don. Bus to Vientiane and on to Vang Vieng then Luang Prabang. Trundle to Nong Khiaw for tribal trekking. Follow the rugged, revolutionaries’ trail through the Na Meo border, a remote and adventurous crossing to Hanoi. Work your way through Vietnam, sampling history, culture and beaches. Fly from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok and slide down the Malay Peninsula, swimming and diving around Ko Pha-Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand and around Krabi in the Andaman Sea.
Ride the Mekong River to the Laos–Thailand border at Huay Xai. Slide into Chiang Rai for hill-tribe treks, or Chiang Mai. Escape to the mountains of Pai or Mae Hong Son. Pay homage to ancient capitals at Sukhothai and Ayuthaya. Return to Bangkok. Fly to Myanmar’s Yangon and continue to the island monasteries of Inle Lake, the ancient capital of Mandalay and the ruins of Bagan. Woman working the fields outside her home in Vietnam's far north DANIEL BOAG / LONELY PLANET IMAGES © Three to Four Weeks Beaches, Beaches From Bangkok, make a beeline for the beach-bum islands in the Gulf of Thailand: dive-crazy Ko Tao, hippie Ko Pha-Ngan and resorty Ko Samui.