Take a glimpse into the diversity, culture and traditions of Southeast Asia with our In Photos series. Be inspired to explore this beautiful region with the help of a few snapshots from our resident travel expert Karen Hewell.
Southeast Asia is home to some of the most mystical and magical cultures in the world, with exotic destinations and incredible cultural diversity throughout Indochina, Thailand and Myanmar. Perhaps one of the most beautiful and pervading elements of Southeast Asian culture, though, is that of Buddhism, which has been a central cultural element in Indochina and its surrounding countries since the 6th century.
Buddhism and the image of the Buddha is one of the region’s most enduring images, and has become an integral part of Southeast Asian culture and character. Culture and history buffs in search of the region’s most beautiful Buddha statues and monuments will find themselves in awe of these Southeast Asian destinations — home to the regions most incredible Buddhas, large and small. Here are some of the major Buddhist places to visit when travelling in Southeast Asia.
Vientiane is not only the capital of Laos, but one of the premiere spots to see Buddhist culture realized in stunning ancient artwork. The city itself is home to an incredible array of Buddha statues within some of the country’s oldest temples, but also Buddha Park, one of Southeast Asia’s strangest destinations.
The ancient ruins in Sukhothai, Thailand are some of Southeast Asia’s most incredible testaments to Buddhist history and culture. This ancient ruin city in lower northern Thailand was the capital of the first Siam Kingdom some 800 years ago, and is now a must-see destination for visitors looking for an in-depth adventure into the must-see historical spots in northern Thailand.
Ayutthaya has the same incredible history as Sukhothai, and was the second ancient capital of Thailand after Sukhothai. As one of Thailand’s most important trading posts during the 1600 and 1700s, Ayutthaya is home to not just incredible floating markets and villages, but also a vast religious park that has since been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As one of the most untouched regions in Southeast Asia, Myanmar now holds a top spot among many travelers bucket lists. Beyond just the epic religious valley monuments in Bagan, the city of Yangon is home to some of the country’s most beautiful testaments to Buddhism and culture, and is a must-see for history buffs traveling to Myanmar.
Looking to explore the incredible history and culture of ancient and modern Buddhism in Southeast Asia? Get an in-depth experience with an incredible journey to the region’s most significant Buddhist epicenters.