Combine the natural hospitality of South East Asian people and the historical and cultural influences of former colonial masters and near neighbours and you have a tourist destination with untold variety. The name ’’Indochina’’ was coined to reflect that India was situated to the west of the region and China to the North with the sea on the other two sides. The majority of the region was under French colonial rule though the British were in India in the 19th Century until the middle of the 20th Century, encroaching east into what was then Burma (now Myanmar). A further more recent but less marked influence has been the USA that fought the Vietcong in a war to avoid the inevitable; the unification of Vietnam. There is now peace throughout the reason and quite rightly it has become an increasing popular tourist destination.
The Country that was never conquered by colonialists is Thailand that has been a popular tourist destination ever since air travel became so popular. Its beaches and islands are stunning yet increasingly tourists are finding that the rest of Indochina can match the beauty of Thailand’s coastline. The obvious answer for holidaymakers is to spread their horizons to look more closely at the whole of the region and get an experienced tour company to put together an Indochina tour package that combine two of more of the countries of Indochina.
• Vietnam is arguably the jewel of Indochina and tourist numbers reflect that it is emerging as a destination to rival many elsewhere in the world. There are wonderful religious sites, a stunning coastline, the chance to glimpse real rural life and the Mekong Delta. Travel in Vietnam is a delight, north to south. Internal flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) ensure tourists can see the Country in a fairly short time. They are sure to return!
• Cambodia has also has a troubled history recently but Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge are long gone and Angkor Wat is a complex that is on the ‘’must see’’ list of many travellers worldwide. The capital Phnom Peng was described as the ‘’Paris of the East’’; development has been fairly slow though high-rise buildings are gradually emerging amongst the traditional buildings, colonial as well as Buddhist.
• Laos is taking longer to emerge from isolation but therein lies one of its real charms. Its infrastructure is catching up and there are many historical, religious and cultural attractions to appeal to visitors. While Vientiane is the Capital, Luang Prabang is the real highlight; the whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is certain to become as popular as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.Both can be included in Indochina holiday.
• Myanmar’s isolation has been self-imposed by a strict political regime but it is another country that tourists are discovering now that its borders are open to all. Bagan is the ancient capital of the Myanmar Empire dating back a thousand years. It is in the north of the country with the modern day capital Yangon on the southern coast where there are many wonderful beaches.
There are a number of similarities but also a number of differences in these countries, one from another. In all tourists are expected to respect religion and local culture; it almost goes without saying and is natural amongst seasoned travellers. The cuisine is delicious everywhere with subtle differences depending on the direct influences and the fruit and vegetables produced. Rural life is remarkably similar throughout the region with some really poor areas still remaining, often not too far away from the bustle of modern cities.Tours of Indochinawill reveal the contrasts and similarities of the region and an experienced tour company of Indochina will provide you with tailor-made ideas for you to consider.
The question is if Indochina attracts you where do you start? Bangkok is a well-worn path and although it is a vibrant city why not pick Hanoi instead and look to see Vietnam combined perhaps with Cambodia? If you have time then Laos is an option as well. There are plenty of direct flights into Hanoi from all parts of the world and a good tour company can not only arrange a variety of Vietnam travel packages, it can provide advice and direct assistance on any visas that will be required. If you select a holiday in Vietnam, travelling north to south, Cambodia and Angkor Wat is a logical extension. The Mekong River is actually navigable up into Cambodia but not further inland through Laos though Laos is an easy addition to make a combined Indochina travel package.
It would be wrong to ignore Thailand completely of course. There are many popular destinations within the Country beyond Bangkok; Phuket, Chiang Mai in the northern highlands and Pattaya spring to mind immediately. There is a well-developed tourist infrastructure and with it has come the crowds that are still fairly rare in the other countries of Indochina.
Indochina has so much to offer and so much of it is just waiting to reveal itself to a larger audience. Travel in Vietnam is an excellent introduction to Indochina and a good tour company within the Country is ideally placed to provide further advice and make the arrangements with a customized Vietnam travel package to cover the mainhighlights.
The question is how long have you got? You do not want to rush things and try to see everything in a couple of weeks. That is certainly sufficient to see Vietnam and perhaps a little of Cambodia or Laos? There are several readymade tours to consider that have selected the highlights within the region. With so many great places in the world to enjoy there is no guarantee that every visitor will be able to return to Indochina so a word of advice! Start with Vietnam and see its beaches, its cultural and religious highlights and rural life in the mountains. By night sample Vietnam’s wonderful cuisine. Don’t forget the people who will be welcoming wherever you go. A real experience awaits you in Vietnam and that should leave you determined to return to see more beyond its borders; Indochina as a whole.