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Nearby Countries



Another advantage of studying in Yunnan is its easy access to the other provinces of Southwestern China and even the neighboring countries of Southeast Asia. To the north of Yunnan is Sichuan province where you can go see giant pandas, visit beautiful nature reserves like Jiuzhaigou or simply experience the capital city
of Chengdu’s relaxed outdoor tea houses. Guizhou and Guangxi to Yunnan’s east are amazing in their own right. You can visit Guangxi’s famous city of Guilin, stop by the border of Vietnam at breathtaking Detian Falls or even head to the beach in the tropical port city of Beihai. All of these places are just a short flight ora comfortable overnight train or bus ride away from Kunming.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Yunnan is its easy access to the Southeast Asian nations of Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia which are all clustered below Yunnan’s southern border.

Vietnam


In the last 20 years, Vietnam has emerged from decades of turmoil to become a developing power in the region. Both Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are rapidly becoming modern cosmopolitan cities like Bangkok. Despite this, Vietnam’s natural beauty and traditions have not been completely overtaken by economic development. Perhaps even more impressive is how well the country’s landscape has recovered from a decade of napalm and destruction during the Vietnam War. Spectacular landscapes such as the UNESCO honored Ha Long Bay and the many picturesque rice patties and waterfalls that are all around the country make Vietnam one of the most beautiful destinations in all of Asia.

Thailand

Of all the countries of Southeast Asia, Thailand has seen the most dramatic economic rise over the last few decades. Emblematic of this development is the capital city of Bangkok turning into a modern cosmopolitan city with bright lights and skyscrapers. Despite this, Thailand is still full of the traditional Buddhist history that has been at the center of Thai society for a millennium. This can be seen at sites such as Chiang Mai and the UNESCO honored Sukhothai Historical Park and even in modern Bangkok where there are over 400 temples throughout the city. If tropical beaches are more what you are into, then you can head to Phuket,an island province off of Thailand’s western coast.

Myanmar

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the largest country on the Indochinese Peninsula as far as territory is concerned. The country's infatuation with gold has led to it being nicknamed the “Golden Land.”

Another passion of the Burmese is Theravada Buddhism. For thousands of years Myanmar has been a
major religious and cultural center of Southeast Asia. This has left the country with sacred Buddhist pagodas and monasteries scattered around its countryside. This makes Myanmar an outstanding destination for anyone interested in Buddhism or the ancient history of Indochina’s ancient kingdoms. Both ancient religious sites like Shwedagon Pagoda and historical cities like Mandalay and Bagan are easily accessible from Myanmar’s capital city of Yangon.

Laos

Laos is easily one of the least developed countries in Southeast Asia. It was only in 1988 that Laos started
to open up its borders to tourists and begin work to develop the country’s economy. Due to this fact, Laos is one of the least spoiled countries in all of Asia.

Ancient sites like the UNESCO honored Luang Prabang dot the country’s tropical countryside and Buddhism continues to play a large role in Laotian society. Even Laos’ capital of Vientiane has managed to keep ancient architecture and maintain a relaxed way of life. If one wants a peek at what Southeast Asia was like before the economic boom of the last 20 years, then Laos is definitely the place to go.

Cambodia


A visit to Cambodia gives you a perfect view of the combination of colonial and ancient forces that have shaped Southeast Asia. Its capital city of Phnom Penh is filled with a mix of colonial French and traditional Khmer (Cambodian) architecture. Perhaps the best example of Cambodia’s ancient history is the UNESCO honored Angkor Wat. As with many other important sites in Southeast Asia, Angkor Wat was built for religious purposes. However, in this case the complex was built to honor the Hindu god Vishnu and not Buddha. While Cambodia is full of fantastic places to visit, Angkor Wat alone makes it worth the trip.

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Minds Abroad is a Chinese Language School based in Kunming offering
Chinese Language Programs, Summer Programs for High School Students
 
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