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Twenty-one Days in S.E. Asia (Thailand)
The White temple.Chiang Rai Thailand We stepped off the boat on the Mekong River and entered Thailand. More than any other Southeast Asian nation, Thailand, situated on the southern end of the Indochina peninsula, has written its own history. This is largely because it is the only country in this region never to have been colonized by Europeans. It acted as a buffer state between British India and French Indochina. Present-day Thai culture evolved from a melding of many disparate influences, most notably southward migration by people living in modern-day China, early Indian cultures and the massive, long-lasting Khmer Empire. After having occupied present-day Thailand for much of the 9th through 13th centuries, the Khmers fell in 1431. A smattering of states comprising Thais, Mongols, Chams, and other peoples thrived in the region. Several dynasties occupied the country over several centuries and in 1767 the Chakri Dynasty was established in the newly formed city of
Twenty-one Days in S.E. Asia (Laos)
Early morning along the Mekong River Laos, officially named the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, is a mountainous and landlocked country in Southeast Asia. The country shares borders with Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and China. Laos was once a part of the kingdom of Lan Xan Hom Khao (the Kingdom of a Million Elephants Under the White Parasol), which for four centuries stood as one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia. This kingdom split into three factions before being reunited in 1893 under a French protectorate, officially making the three regions the country of Laos. The country struggled for independence during and after the Second World War, finally achieving autonomy in 1949. Four years later, Laos became independent with a constitutional monarchy under Sisavang Vong, only to be plunged into a long civil war resulting in the Communist Pathet Lao movement (backed by the Soviet Union) coming to power in 1975. The
Twenty-one Days in S.E. Asia (Cambodia)
Welcome to Cambodia After Vietnam we moved on to our second country, Cambodia. We flew into Siem Reap. This was an adventure at immigration and customs as there was a shortage of workers and an abundance of tourists. It took over an hour to get through immigration to purchase our visas and then through customs was another thirty minutes. We studied up on Cambodia as we knew little about the country other than during the Vietnam war incursions were made into the country. Though few Cambodians are famous within the United States, one in particular is infamous: Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge and instigator of the notorious Killing Fields of Choeung Ed in Phnom Penh. In ancient times Cambodia was the seat of the Khmer Empire which also ruled Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Like Vietnam, the French virtually took over Cambodia in the late 19th century and ruled by proxy until 1941 when
Twenty-one Days in S.E. Asia (Vietnam)
A friend asked me one time, “How do you get to do all that big game hunting with no complaints?” The answer is simple. My wife enjoys traveling and likes to go to far away exotic places. I like to go too. Time is taking its toll on us and we want to get in as many trips as possible before it is too late. A travel company we have used several times had a guided trip to S.E. Asia that lasted 21 days and visited four countries. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand were on the agenda. We signed up and left January 30th just before all the severe cold hit our area. Vietnam was the first stop. The lobby at the Melia Hanoi in Hanoi Vietnam. We arrived late afternoon in Hanoi after 30+ hours of travel including layovers. Exhausted, we grabbed a quick bite at our hotel and went to bed.