Boundaries of Mainland Southeast Asia
Historically known as Indochina, Mainland Southeast Asia is the continental part of Southeast Asia. The region stretches south of China, from Myanmar in the west to the Pacific Ocean coast in the east.
Countries of Mainland Southeast Asia
The countries that make up Mainland Southeast Asia are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and West Malaysia.
Geography of Mainland Southeast Asia
Geographically, the region is part of the Indochinese Peninsula, which is located in Southeast Asia. The northern part of the region features several mountain ranges, and the three largest river systems draining the region are the Irrawaddy River, Chao Phraya River, and the Mekong River, as well as their tributaries and distributaries. The Malay Peninsula extends further southward from the Indochinese Peninsula and is shared by Peninsular Malaysia and Southern Thailand.
Culture in Mainland Southeast Asia
The two parts of Southeast Asia, the mainland and maritime divisions, have significantly different cultures. This difference is explained by the predominantly land-based lifestyles in the former, and the predominantly sea-based lifestyles in the latter. The languages spoken in Mainland Southeast Asia are mainly Sino-Tibetan languages, while those spoken in Maritime Southeast Asia are mostly Austronesian languages. Indian and Chinese cultures heavily influence the nations of Mainland Southeast Asia. Vietnam is more heavily influenced by Chinese culture than other nations of the region. However, over the years Western cultures have also exerted significant influence on these countries.
Religion in Mainland Southeast Asia
Buddhism is the most popular religion in the region. For example, Buddhism is practiced by 94.6% of Thailand’s population, 95% of Cambodians, more than 80% of the population in Myanmar, and 66% of the population in Laos. However, Vietnamese folk religion is practiced by 73.2% of Vietnam's population, and 61.3% of Malaysia's population practice Islam.
Tourism in Mainland Southeast Asia
Mainland Southeast Asia’s rich culture and natural beauty attracts tourists from all across the world. Some of the countries in the region, like Thailand and Cambodia, are top tourist destinations, and the others are quickly growing in popularity. Mountainous landscapes, scenic river valleys, coastal landscapes, rainforests, and diverse wildlife attract tourists to these nations. These countries were also the seat of ancient civilizations, and thus host numerous architectural and historical sites that are visited by millions of tourists. The region also includes a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Angkor Wat temples of Cambodia, the Ban Chiang archeological site in Thailand, and the Complex of Hué Monuments in Vietnam.
About the Author
Oishimaya is an Indian native, currently residing in Kolkata. She has earned her Ph.D. degree and is presently engaged in full-time freelance writing and editing. She is an avid reader and travel enthusiast and is sensitively aware of her surroundings, both locally and globally. She loves mingling with people of eclectic cultures and also participates in activities concerning wildlife conservation.
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