Asia del Sud-Est
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Asia del Sud-Est è termine geografico con cui si indica la regione all'estremità sudorientale del continente asiatico che raggruppa stati eterogenei sotto alcuni aspetti e stretti tra i due giganti asiatici di India e Cina.
Il Sud-est asiatico è una delle più popolari destinazioni turistiche grazie al suo clima tropicale, caldo o caldissimo per tutto l'arco dell'anno, per la sua ricca cultura, per le sue splendide spiagge, per i gustosi piatti culinari e infine per i prezzi molto a buon mercato.
Southeast Asian history is very diverse, and has to an important extent been shaped by European colonialism. The very term Southeast Asia was invented by American Naval strategists around 1940. Southeast Asia was prior to WWII referred to with reference to the colonial powers; farther India for Burma and Thailand, with reference to the main British colony of India, although Thailand was never formally colonized; Indochina referred to the French colonies of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos and Indonesia and parts of maritime Southeast Asia was referred to as the Dutch East Indies.
Pre-historic Southeast Asia was largely underpopulated. A process of immigration from India across the Bay of Bengal is referred to as the process of Indianization. Exactly how and when it happened is contested; however, the population of the mainland region largely happened through immigration from India. The sanskrit script still used as the basis for modern Thai, Burmese and Khmer has its roots from this process.
Modern Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia's major languages are not mutually intelligible. English is a traveller's most useful language overall, although for longer stays in any Southeast Asian country (except maybe Singapore) picking up at least some of the local language is essential.
The only place in Southeast Asia reachable by train is Vietnam, which can be reached from China and consequently also Russia and even Europe. Alas, Cambodia's network was badly hit by the civil war and it is not possible to transit through Cambodia to Thailand by train — although there are plans afoot to correct this sorry state of affairs.
Much of Southeast Asia is now covered by a dense web of discount carriers, making this a fast and affordable way of getting around.
Train services are generally a little limited and best experienced for their nostalgic value. Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are connected to each other by rail, but the networks in Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar are decrepit.
Rice is the main Southeast Asian staple, with noodles of all sorts an important second option.