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The best guide to Southeast Asia, completely updated
Golden palaces, ancient temples, and tribal communities
Jungle treks, smoldering volcanoes, and pristine beaches
Where to shop -- colorful bazaars, gracious artisan villages, stylish urban megamalls
Where to stay and eat, no matter what your budget
Beachside bungalows, mountaintop villas, palatial high-rises
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Fodor's Exploring Thailand: An information-rich cultural guide in full color.
Fodor's Exploring Vietnam: An information-rich cultural guide in full color.
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Destination: Southeast Asia
Indonesia's principal tourist destinations are Bali and Java. Java has the capital city of Jakarta, which is bursting at its seams with an influx of people swamping its Dutch-influenced past: local markets are crammed with regional produce and crafts; museums display the heritage of former kingdoms; the cuisine is a mixture of Indonesian, Chinese, and Dutch; and the architecture includes both pompous projects by recent governments and those of nobler days, some of the world's great Buddhist and Hindu monuments, and the palaces of sultans in Yogyakarta and Solo.
Bali has more than 3 million people and probably more than 10,000 temples. Since the destruction of Tibet, this is one of the very last completely traditional societies in which all facets of life -- agriculture, economics, politics, technology, social customs, and the arts -- are welded together by religion. The beaches of Bali's southern coast are highly developed to accommodate tourists, but it is in the interior that you can fully appreciate Bali's passionate and beautiful way of life.
Malaysia and Brunei
The country is divided into two parts: the peninsula and the states of Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo. Peninsular Malaysia, with 81% of the population, contains the chief cities, sights, and resorts. The scenery is spectacular, with jungles and rugged hills in the interior, plantations and superb beaches in some of the coastal areas.
The capital, Kuala Lumpur (population 2 million), is clean and comfortable -- if rather dull -- with striking Victorian-Moorish architecture. The city is a 50-minute flight from Penang (the other main tourist center) and is near the Genting and Cameron highlands. The island of Langkawi, between Penang and the Thai border, is becoming a popular resort with the opening of deluxe hotels. Melaka, on the southwest coast, is the oldest city in Malaysia and has its share of historic charm. Off the southeast coast, Tioman Island is gaining renown for its scuba-diving facilities. Across the South China Sea on Borneo, Sarawak and Sabah are often considered frontier country. They have limited facilities (other than a few new luxury resorts) but offer virgin jungle and mountain scenery and fascinating close-up glimpses of tribal life.
Primarily a stopover between Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo, Brunei covers less than 5,760 square km (2,226 square mi). The tiny sultanate is rich in oil revenues but still limited as to tourist facilities. Its population of 200,000 is found mostly in the sleepy tropical capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, and in kampongs (villages) on stilts at the waters' edge nearby.
The Philippines has a population of 70 million and an area of nearly 300,000 square km (115,831 square mi), including seven major and 7,100 minor islands. The economic, political, and cultural center is Manila (population 10 million). Tourism is concentrated in Cebu and the Metro Manila area, where there are modern hotels, restaurants, and shops. Elsewhere on the main island of Luzon, hill resorts, beaches, subtropical scenery, and friendly people are also draws. The nation contains about 55 ethnic groups, each with its distinctive language, customs, and traditions. The five major groups are the Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Visayans, Bicolanos, and Muslims.
Singapore is something of an anomaly: an independent city-state, an efficient economy, a tightly run welfare system, and a remarkable multiracial social environment. With a population of 2.6 million and about 582 square km (225 square mi), Singapore's central shopping and business districts may have lost the mystery and romance of the "exotic Orient," but what you will find instead is a bright, clean, modern tropical city -- one that has neither the glamour of Hong Kong nor, mercifully, its brutal contrasts of wealth and squalor. Tucked into this tiny country's fringes are pockets of Chinese, Indian, Malay, and Arabic culture tucked into temples, gardens, and markets.
Thailand, has become one of the world's top tourist destinations. Most of the traffic flows through the capital city of Bangkok (population 8 million), which is also the gateway for much of Southeast Bangkok has wonderful hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, shops, banks, and other big-city facilities. Asia. The level of development makes it very convenient, but the headlong rush into the 21st century has taxed its infrastructure to its limit.
Outside the capital, chief excursions are to important temples and ruins, mostly in smaller towns in the Bangkok basin -- a hot, flat, wet, rice-growing plain that epitomizes subtropical Asia. The eastern and northeastern parts of the country are arid and poor; the areas' riches lie in their fantastic ruins, their spicy food, and a traditional Thai lifestyle. In the north, Chiang Mai, the rapidly developing second city, is a pleasant provincial town on a cool mountain plateau, with several good hotels, a tranquil atmosphere, and numerous temples in the Lanna style (12th--13th centuries). A number of beach resorts have established themselves on the world map. Pattaya, south of Bangkok, was the first: it's Asia's largest -- and possibly tackiest -- resort. Phuket, an island in the Andaman Sea, is now the most popular resort, though quieter Ko Samui in the gulf is preferred by many. Toward the Malaysian border are miles of sand beaches, fishing villages, and jungle regions.
Although it's rarely more than 150 km (90 mi) from the shores of the South China Sea at its western border, Vietnam snakes along the edge of the Indochinese peninsula for nearly 1,700 km (1,050 mi). The far northwest, bordered by China and Laos, is a remote mountainous region still inhabited by culturally unique hill tribes. Toward the coast lies Hanoi, the capital, surrounded by the fertile Red River Delta. The road north leads to the port of Haiphong on the Gulf of Tonkin, where the misty outcrops of Ha Long Bay were once the hideout of pirates but today are a renowned tourist attraction.
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Book Description Fodor's Travel, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110679000984
Book Description Fodor's. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0679000984 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1190924
Book Description Fodor's, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 22nd. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0679000984