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Lonely Planet South East Asia on a Shoestring (Lonely Planet Shoestring Guides)-China Williams, Kristin Kimball, Mat Oakley, Marie Cambon

  • Title: Lonely Planet South East Asia on a Shoestring (Lonely Planet Shoestring Guides)
  • Author: China Williams, Kristin Kimball, Mat Oakley, Marie Cambon
  • Released: 2004-03-01
  • Language:
  • Pages: 960
  • ISBN: 1741041643
  • ISBN13: 978-1741041644
  • ASIN: 1741041643

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. Destination Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is a spectacular assault on the senses. The smell of rice cooking in the morning, the burning spirals of incense in shadow-riddled temples, yellow pom-pom garlands dangling from the rear-view mirrors of rattletrap buses, tropical fruits the shape of porcupines and the flavor of ambrosia. Colors, smells and oppressive heat engage and repulse like a coy lover. Behind the appearance of chaos is an order exercised in resolute calm - as in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where the roads host a ceaseless stream of motorcycles, which pedestrians ford by setting a deliberate course for the opposite side. Here, screaming vehicles react with one collective mind, like a school of fish, miraculously clearing a path.

New ideas, immigrants and foreign commodities cautiously entering the furious Southeast Asian stream of life have been quickly adopted and adapted. From the east, through the ancient trade routes, came the outside religions. These were recrafted to fit in with the existing spirits and guardians who control the life-giving monsoons, protect the soaring-eaved bamboo huts and silence the belching volcanoes. From the west came the skypiercing towers - erected in the blink of an eye - transforming Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Singapore into roaring economic dragons.

Southeast Asia has more than just souvenirs to collect. It is more than just a photo opportunity. And having visited, Southeast Asia will give you far more than just a bragging point. With a compassionate heart, you'll take with you many lessons - of a spirituality that transcends dogma; of well-woven communities; and of a graceful approach to prosperity and poverty. So don't shy away from the crowded markets, rickety buses, or dusty towns with no Internet cafes. This is where your best adventures lie in wait.

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