1. Laos is home to a mysterious ‘Plain of Jars’
A landscape known as the ‘Plain of Jars’ is strewn with thousands of stone jars and no one knows for sure what they were used for. Dating back around 2000 years, the curious sight has allowed for a great deal of opinions, theories and stories. Some say the jars were part of local burial ceremonies, while legend tells that the jars once contained whiskey for thirsty giants who lived in the nearby mountains!
2. “Reverence” for the king of Thailand is enforced by law.
Any “defaming, insulting or threatening “ of a member of the royal family could lead to prosecution. In early 2022, a political activist was jailed for placing a sticker on a portrait of the king. While the sticker had no discernible political message, the activist still received a custodial sentence of two years, fortunately much lower than the maximum sentence of 15 years!
3. Vietnam holds a ‘love market’ each year for singles
Looking for that special someone? Try the love market in Vietnam. A staple of hill tribe life in Vietnam for decades, people from all over the northern regions around Sa Pa in the north will meet at ‘love markets’. Here, single, young people will come together with the intent of finding a partner. This gives villagers from very remote areas a chance to meet partners from other remote villages.
4. The world’s largest religious monument is found in Cambodia.
Angkor Wat, is an enormous temple in Siem Reap and is the largest religious monument in the world. There are an abundance of temples across most South-East Asian nations such as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. The region is strongly Buddhist with around 35,000 temples in Thailand alone!
5. Thailand is home to smallest mammal in the world.
Western Thailand is home to the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, which is regarded by some as the world’s smallest mammal. These tiny bats give birth to one offspring annually, and typically live as part of a colony of a 100 or so, usually in caves.
6. Laos is the most bombed country in the world.
During both the Cold and Vietnam Wars, Laos was caught in the crossfire, becoming the most bombed country in the world. Over two million tons of explosives were dropped on the nation and approximately 50,000 people were, the overwhelming majority being civilians. Millions of bombs remain a danger today as unexploded weapons detonate harming and killing people even today.
7. South-East Asia is full of unreached people
South-East Asia may be a paradise for backpackers in search of adventure, but despite being a tourist magnet with millions visiting each year, there remains a huge need for gospel outreach. Over 350 million people are considered unreached in the region. They come from 689 different people groups, each with their own language and culture. Could you support work reaching South-East Asians for Christ?