Even if only in the form of temple and palace ruins, the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms that once ruled over huge “mandalas” around the Mekong continue to exist today, even if only as a reminder of the forces that once wielded sway in the region around the river.
Begin your exploration at Bagan, Myanmar, which is home to more than 2,000 Buddhist stupas and temples. They were built as expressions of faith many centuries ago by both commoners and nobles, and they continue to be the most conspicuous monuments of the Bagan empire’s glory days.
Temples such as Shwezigon, whose alluring golden stupa served as an inspiration for Yangon’s Shwedagon, Htilominlo, a symmetrical beauty with magnificent brickwork, and Bupaya, a riverbank temple whose gourd-like shape links to its origin mythology, are among the must-see attractions in Bagan.
The expansive Angkor Archaeological Park at Siem Reap, which can be found in Siem Reap, Cambodia, has more than 400 square kilometers of forest land. The Khmer Empire was in power from the 9th to the 15th century AD, and its ruins may be seen inside this expansive area. Visitors come here to investigate the ruins.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap Cambodia, is an enormous complex of five stone towers whose vastness belies its magnificent symmetry and meticulous interior workmanship. If you are only able to see one temple while in this region, you should make it to Angkor Wat. The temple covers an area of 208 hectares square and has intricate carvings of Khmer dancing girls as well as a gigantic relief sculpture depicting the Hindu story of the Churning of the Sea of Milk.
The Cham Empire, which dominated central and southern Vietnam from the 7th to the 14th century AD and fought against both the Khmer and the Dai Viet until their empire was ultimately defeated, is credited with constructing a religious complex that can be found in Po Klong Garai, which is located in the country of Vietnam.
Po Klong Garai, Binh Thuan, Vietnam is the location of a trio of Champa towers that are still standing today. The remaining members of the Cham population in Ninh Thuan continue to hold this location in the highest regard as their most sacred, and they hold the Kate Festival here every July. The neighboring Museum of Cham Ethnic Culture in Phan Rang is where you will find the most well-preserved examples of old Cham artwork and cultural artifacts.