Temples and Pagodas of Southeast Asia and Their History

Without a doubt, you will not see a larger number of pagodas and temples anywhere else in the world than those located in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Thus, any avid Southeast Asian culture and philosophy enthusiast can see how important the Khmer Empire is to historic Southeast Asia. For example, the Angkor Wat exemplifies the crowning achievement of today’s Southeast Asian culture and philosophy.

Angkor Wat, meaning “Temple City” (or Capital Temple) in the Khmer language, is indeed a crowning achievement. Built by Emperor Suryavarman II, Angkor Wat is a unique religious venue and major tourist attraction in the Southeast Asian region. It served as the official state temple and centralized political hub during Suryavarman II’s reign as emperor. Originally a Hindu temple, Angkor Wat was later converted to a Buddhist temple during the 12th century.

Voted Cambodia’s most visited tourist spot, many visitors have recognized Angkor Wat as a sacred monument. The Apsara Authority, in charge of protecting the Angkor Archaeological Park, has strictly enforced the Angkor Wat dress code to show respect to Cambodia’s rich culture and tradition. Each day, the Cambodian management authority prohibits any visitor wearing “inappropriate clothing” from entering the religious site. The Angkor Wat dress code is mandatory.

What are the pagodas used for?

A pagoda, usually a tiered Buddhist temple complex, serves as a religious venue. Pagodas, while originally serving as tombs, were built in temples or grottoes in which a mass of people have offered sacrifices to their ancestors. Today, many pagodas and temples are found throughout Southeast Asia.

Highly respected by Buddhists, Buddhist monks are well known for their yellow-orange or saffron robes, shaven heads, and their educational work. Buddhist monks are committed to honor the dead as the ordained male monastics chant sutras, while standing in front of an altar covered with flowers as they perform funerals and memorial services.

Before you enter a pagoda or a temple in Southeast Asia, adhere to the local customs and laws like the Angkor Wat dress code.

What are some of the famous temples in Southeast Asia?

Travelers and backpackers from all over the world flock to Southeast Asia for its temples. Their purpose isn’t solely religious, but to appreciate history, culture, and architecture.

If you ever find yourself in a Southeast Asian country, don’t miss the chance to visit one of these majestic temples and pagodas:

  • Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • Borobudur Temple, Indonesia
  • Kek Lok Si Temple, Air Itam, Malaysia
  • Wat Bo Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Thailand
  • Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand

Because many animals are protected by monks in the Buddhist community, you will find rescued animals in local pagodas and temples. That is why many Buddhists support initiatives like this animal non profit organization that show compassion and kindness to animals in the region.

Juliana’s Animal Sanctuary, for example, is one of these organizations that promote equality for all living beings. As the only animal sanctuary in Colombia, they are the sole rescuers and protectors of animals. They also educate the public about the benefits of living a plant-based diet. To help Juliana’s continue their services, you can make a donation to help give the animals a better chance at life. 

This post is brought to you by the vegan marketers at Ardor SEO who believe in taking care of all living beings.

Things To Do And Places To Stay In Asia

As the world’s largest continent, it’s no wonder that Asia is teeming with activities, attractions, and legendary sites. Comprised of 48 countries having major cities and smaller colorful towns, the continent offers a plethora of things that you can enjoy to your heart’s content.

Due to its vastness, though, it would be hardly possible to see all of Asia in one go. For a start, you can travel to Southeast Asia. This region has long been a favorite for travelers, almost to the point that it has become a cliche. Well, a place will not become so popular for no reason.

With the best accommodation, such as the BE Happy Guesthouse Cambodia, get ready for a wonderful and memorable Asian holiday!

Why travel to Southeast Asia?

A trip to this region is often ideal, whether you are a first-time or a seasoned traveler. Aside from the fact that traveling to Southeast Asia does not cost much, there are also endless activities that you can enjoy whatever type of person you are. You can always find a piece of Southeast Asia that will stay in your heart and will make you understand why the region is so frequently visited.

From the beautiful beaches to the rich culture, here are reasons why you should visit the region:

  • Stunning beaches – There are many archipelagos in this region, where you will find powdery-white sand beaches touched by alluring crystal-clear blue waters. Many of these beaches are not overdeveloped, which means that they will still feel like paradise.
  • Wildlife – Like Africa, Southeast Asia is also home to some of the most interesting creatures on the planet, many of which are endemic to the region.
  •  Culture – Of course, there is a rich culture that is unique to SEA. As you explore, you will be met with sweet smiles that come straight from the hearts of the locals. Plus, the way of living is so authentic that you will not find anything like it somewhere else in the world. This is definitely a good reason to visit these countries.

Take Cambodia, for example. While some people skip it entirely for their itineraries—thinking that it’s just the same as other Southeast Asian countries—it is actually very different.

For one, a visit to Cambodia will let you explore an incredible amount of Khmer history and culture that will not learn elsewhere. Of course, eating Khmer food is something that you can’t miss.

Far away from the big city, nature and wildlife reign. You will also find flora and fauna that are endemic to the country alone.

Aside from these, it’s pretty easy to travel in Southeast Asia, which is why it is considered as a “mecca” by backpackers from all over the world.

What should you do when you visit Asia?

With an endless number of options to choose from, selecting a city to visit in Asia can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, you can always go to places that other travelers are raving about. Here are just 3 cities that you should include on your bucket list and the activities that make them popular.

  • Siem Reap, Cambodia

Visiting Angkor Wat is definitely among the top things to do in Siem Reap. However, there is definitely more to the city than this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also visit the Old Market, tour the Cambodia Landmine Museum, and take a dirt-bike trip to Phnom Kulen.  

Where to stay: BE Happy Guesthouse Cambodia

  • Bali, Indonesia

Bali is one of the most popular destinations, not only in Asia, but all over the world—with good reason. This island, also known as the “Island of the Gods”, has beautiful beaches where you can laze around, swim, surf, and try other water sports. Other things that you can do are exploring famous temples, visiting adventure parks, and watching a cultural dance.

Where to stay: THE LOVINA Bali Resort

  • Koh Samui, Thailand

Probably the most famous island in Thailand, Koh Samui is known for its stunning palm tree-edged beaches and clear waters. Its broad appeal attracts all types of travelers, from backpackers to celebrities.

Aside from enjoying the beaches, you can also visit the Big Buddha Temple, go on a safari tour, and take a trip to the Ang Thong Marine Park.

Where to stay: Samui Paradise Chaweng Beach Resort & Spa

When in Cambodia, where should you stay?

As previously mentioned, Cambodia is one of the best choices for a destination when you travel to Asia. However, to make your experience more fun and memorable, you must choose the best accommodation for your stay.

While there are many hotels in this country, one of the most ideal places to book your accommodation with is the BE Happy Guesthouse Cambodia, especially when you are in Siem Reap.

This lovely little property has cozy and colorful rooms and is located in a quiet suburban area that offers you an authentic feel of the Cambodian countryside.

With an ethos that supports responsible tourism to minimize the negative impact of traveling on the local people and their environment, they are the best option if you care about being sustainable.

Moreover, the guesthouse is also vegan-friendly. They serve vegan food options and does not support the use of products that are not cruelty-free. Just like vegan food relief charities and organizations, such as Food for Life Global, they’re fighting for a better world where animals are given the love and respect that they deserve.

This article is sponsored by the vegan marketers at Ardor SEO, who are also keen supporters of the vegan lifestyle.