Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia, South-eastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical
The region lies near the intersection of
It covers about 4,500,000 km2 (1,700,000 sq mi), which is 8% of Eurasia and 3% of Earth's total land area. Its total population is more than 675 million, about 8.5% of the world's population. It is the third most populous geographical region in Asia after South Asia and East Asia. The region is culturally and ethnically diverse, with hundreds of languages spoken by different ethnic groups. Ten countries in the region are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a regional organisation established for economic, political, military, educational, and cultural integration amongst its members.
Southeast Asia is one of the most culturally diverse regions of the world. There are many different languages and ethnicities in the region. Historically, Southeast Asia was significantly influenced by
The region, together with part of South Asia, was well known by Europeans as the East Indies or simply the Indies until the 20th century. Chinese sources referred the region as Nanyang ("南洋"), which literally means the "Southern Ocean". The mainland section of Southeast Asia was referred to as Indochina by European geographers due to its location between China and the Indian subcontinent and its having cultural influences from both neighbouring regions. In the 20th century, however, the term became more restricted to territories of the former French Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam). The maritime section of Southeast Asia is also known as the Malay Archipelago, a term derived from the European concept of a Malay race. Another term for Maritime Southeast Asia is Insulindia (Indian Islands), used to describe the region between Indochina and Australasia.
The term "Southeast Asia" was first used in 1839 by American pastor Howard Malcolm in his book Travels in South-Eastern Asia. Malcolm only included the Mainland section and excluded the Maritime section in his definition of Southeast Asia. The term was officially used in the midst of World War II by the Allies, through the formation of South East Asia Command (SEAC) in 1943. SEAC popularised the use of the term "Southeast Asia," although what constituted Southeast Asia was not fixed; for example, SEAC excluded the Philippines and a large part of Indonesia while including Ceylon. However, by the late 1970s, a roughly standard usage of the term "Southeast Asia" and the territories it encompasses had emerged. Although from a cultural or linguistic perspective the definitions of "Southeast Asia" may vary, the most common definitions nowadays include the area represented by the countries (sovereign states and dependent territories) listed below.
Ten of the eleven states of Southeast Asia are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while East Timor is an observer state. Papua New Guinea has stated that it might join ASEAN, and is currently an observer. Sovereignty issues exist over some islands in the South China Sea.
|Brunei||5,765||449,002||77||12,003,000,000||$85,011||0.829||Bandar Seri Begawan|
|Malaysia||329,847||33,573,874||102||337,008,000,000||$34,567||0.803||Kuala Lumpur *|
Nay Pyi Taw
* Administrative centre in Putrajaya.
Southeast Asia is geographically divided into two subregions, namely Mainland Southeast Asia (or the Indochinese Peninsula) and Maritime Southeast Asia.
Mainland Southeast Asia includes:
- Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam:
- Myanmar, Thailand and West Malaysia:
Maritime Southeast Asia includes:
While Peninsular Malaysia is geographically situated in Mainland Southeast Asia, it shares many similar cultural and ecological affinities with surrounding islands, thus it is often grouped with them as part of Maritime Southeast Asia. Geographically, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India is also considered a part of Maritime Southeast Asia. Eastern Bangladesh and Northeast India have strong cultural ties with Mainland Southeast Asia and are sometimes considered transregional areas between South Asia and Southeast Asia. To the east, Hong Kong is sometimes regarded as part of Southeast Asia. Similarly, Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands have strong cultural ties with Maritime Southeast Asia and are sometimes considered transregional areas between Southeast Asia and Australia/Oceania. On some occasions, Sri Lanka has been considered a part of Southeast Asia because of its cultural and religious ties to Mainland Southeast Asia. The eastern half of the island of New Guinea, which is not a part of Indonesia, namely, Papua New Guinea, is sometimes included as a part of Maritime Southeast Asia, and so are Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau, which were all parts of the Spanish East Indies with strong cultural and linguistic ties to the region, specifically, the Philippines.
East Timor and the eastern half of Indonesia (east of the Wallace Line in the region of Wallacea) are considered to be geographically associated with Oceania due to their distinctive faunal features. Geologically, the island of New Guinea and its surrounding islands are considered as parts of the Australian continent, connected via the Sahul Shelf. Both Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located on the Australian Plate, south of the Sunda Trench. Even though they are geographically closer to Maritime Southeast Asia than mainland Australia, these two Australian external territories are not geologically associated with Asia as none of them is actually on the Sunda Plate. The United Nations geoscheme has classified both island territories as parts of Oceania, under the Australia and New Zealand (Australasia) subregion.
Some definitions of Southeast Asia may include Taiwan. Taiwan has sometimes been included in Southeast Asia as well as East Asia but is not a member of ASEAN. Likewise, a similar argument could be applied to some southern parts of Mainland China, as well as Hong Kong and Macau, may also considered as part of Southeast Asia as well as East Asia but are not members of ASEAN.
The region was already inhabited by
Ancient remains of hunter-gatherers in Maritime Southeast Asia, such as one Holocene hunter-gatherer from South Sulawesi, had ancestry from both the Papuan-related and East Asian-related branches of the Eastern non-African lineage. The hunter-gatherer individual had approximately ~50% "Basal-East Asian" ancestry, and was positioned in between modern East Asians and Papuans of Oceania. The authors concluded that East Asian-related ancestry expanded from Mainland Southeast Asia into Maritime Southeast Asia much earlier than previously suggested, as early as 25,000BC, long before the expansion of Austroasiatic and Austronesian groups.
Distinctive Basal-East Asian (East-Eurasian) ancestry was recently found to have originated in Mainland Southeast Asia at ~50,000BC, and expanded through multiple migration waves southwards and northwards respectively. Geneflow of East Asian-related ancestry into Maritime Southeast Asia and Oceania could be estimated to ~25,000BC (possibly also earlier). The pre-Neolithic Papuan-related populations of Maritime Southeast Asia were largely replaced by the expansion of various East Asian-related populations, beginning about 50,000BC to 25,000BC years ago from Mainland Southeast Asia. The remainders, known as Negritos, form small minority groups in geographically isolated regions. Southeast Asia was dominated by East Asian-related ancestry already in 15,000BC, predating the expansion of Austroasiatic and Austronesian peoples.
In the late
Studies presented by the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) through genetic studies of the various peoples of Asia show empirically that there was a single migration event from Africa, whereby the early people travelled along the south coast of Asia, first entered the Malay peninsula 50,000–90,000 years ago. The Orang Asli, in particular the Semang who show Negrito characteristics, are the direct descendants of these earliest settlers of Southeast Asia. These early people diversified and travelled slowly northwards to China, and the populations of Southeast Asia show greater genetic diversity than the younger population of China.
Solheim and others have shown evidence for a Nusantao maritime trading network ranging from Vietnam to the rest of the archipelago as early as 5000 BC to 1 AD. The Bronze Age Dong Son culture flourished in Northern Vietnam from about 1000 BC to 1 BC. Its influence spread to other parts Southeast Asia. The region entered the Iron Age era in 500 BC, when iron was forged also in northern Vietnam still under Dong Son, due to its frequent interactions with neighbouring China.
Most Southeast Asian people were originally
The spread of these two Indian religions confined the adherents of Southeast Asian indigenous beliefs into remote inland areas. The Maluku Islands and New Guinea were never Indianised and its native people were predominantly animists until the 15th century when Islam began to spread in those areas. While in Vietnam, Buddhism never managed to develop strong institutional networks due to strong Chinese influence. In present-day Southeast Asia, Vietnam is the only country where its folk religion makes up the plurality. Recently, Vietnamese folk religion is undergoing a revival with the support of the government. Elsewhere, there are ethnic groups in Southeast Asia that resisted conversion and still retain their original animist beliefs, such as the Dayaks in Kalimantan, the Igorots in Luzon, and the Shans in eastern Myanmar.
Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms era
After the region came under contact with the Indian subcontinent circa 400 BCE, it began a gradual process of
The first Indian-influenced polities established in the region were the Pyu city-states that already existed circa second century BCE, located in inland Myanmar. It served as an overland trading hub between India and China. Theravada Buddhism was the predominant religion of these city states, while the presence of other Indian religions such as Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism were also widespread. In the first century, the Funan states centered in Mekong Delta were established, encompassed modern-day Cambodia, southern Vietnam, Laos, and eastern Thailand. It became the dominant trading power in mainland Southeast Asia for about five centuries, provided passage for Indian and Chinese goods and assumed authority over the flow of commerce through Southeast Asia. In maritime Southeast Asia, the first recorded Indianised kingdom was Salakanagara, established in western Java circa second century CE. This Hindu kingdom was known by the Greeks as Argyre (Land of Silver).
By the fifth century CE, trade networking between East and West was concentrated in the maritime route. Foreign traders were starting to use new routes such as
As Srivijaya influence in the region declined, The Hindu Khmer Empire experienced a golden age during the 11th to 13th century CE. The empire's capital
During the 13th century CE, the region experienced Mongol invasions, affected areas such as Vietnamese coast, inland Burma and Java. In 1258, 1285 and 1287, the Mongols tried to invade Đại Việt and Champa. The invasions were unsuccessful, yet both Dai Viet and Champa agreed to become tributary states to Yuan dynasty to avoid further conflicts. The Mongols also invaded Pagan Kingdom in Burma from 1277 to 1287, resulted in fragmentation of the Kingdom and rise of smaller Shan States ruled by local chieftains nominally submitted to Yuan dynasty. However, in 1297, a new local power emerged. Myinsaing Kingdom became the real ruler of Central Burma and challenged the Mongol rule. This resulted in the second Mongol invasion of Burma in 1300, which was repulsed by Myinsaing. The Mongols would later in 1303 withdrawn from Burma. In 1292, The Mongols sent envoys to Singhasari Kingdom in Java to ask for submission to Mongol rule. Singhasari rejected the proposal and injured the envoys, enraged the Mongols and made them sent a large invasion fleet to Java. Unbeknownst to them, Singhasari collapsed in 1293 due to a revolt by Kadiri, one of its vassals. When the Mongols arrived in Java, a local prince named Raden Wijaya offered his service to assist the Mongols in punishing Kadiri. After Kadiri was defeated, Wijaya turned on his Mongol allies, ambushed their invasion fleet and forced them to immediately leave Java.
After the departure of the Mongols, Wijaya established the
Spread of Islam
There are several theories to the
Trade and colonisation
Trade among Southeast Asian countries has a long tradition. The consequences of colonial rule, struggle for independence, and in some cases war influenced the economic attitudes and policies of each country.
From 111 BC to 938 AD northern Vietnam was under Chinese rule. Vietnam was successfully governed by a series of Chinese dynasties including the
Malaysian legend has it that a Chinese Ming emperor sent a princess, Hang Li Po, to Malacca, with a retinue of 500, to marry Sultan Mansur Shah after the emperor was impressed by the wisdom of the sultan. Hang Li Poh's Well (constructed 1459) is now a tourist attraction there, as is Bukit Cina, where her retinue settled.
The strategic value of the
Western influence started to enter in the 16th century, with the arrival of the Portuguese in Malacca,
European explorers were reaching Southeast Asia from the west and from the east. Regular trade between the ships sailing east from the Indian Ocean and south from mainland Asia provided goods in return for natural products, such as honey and hornbill beaks from the islands of the archipelago. Before the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the Europeans mostly were interested in expanding trade links. For the majority of the populations in each country, there was comparatively little interaction with Europeans and traditional social routines and relationships continued. For most, a life with subsistence-level agriculture, fishing and, in less developed civilisations, hunting and gathering was still hard.
Europeans brought Christianity allowing Christian missionaries to become widespread. Thailand also allowed Western scientists to enter its country to develop its own education system as well as start sending Royal members and Thai scholars to get higher education from Europe and Russia.
During World War II,
Gujarat, India had a flourishing trade relationship with Southeast Asia in the 15th and 16th centuries. The trade relationship with Gujarat declined after the Portuguese invasion of Southeast Asia in the 17th century.
The United States took the Philippines from Spain in 1898. Internal autonomy was granted in 1934, and independence in 1946.
Most countries in the region maintain national autonomy. Democratic forms of government are practised in most Southeast Asian countries and human rights is recognised but dependent on each nation state. Socialist or communist countries in Southeast Asia include Vietnam, Laos. ASEAN provides a framework for the integration of commerce and regional responses to international concerns.
China has asserted broad claims over the South China Sea, based on its nine-dash line, and has built artificial islands in an attempt to bolster its claims. China also has asserted an exclusive economic zone based on the Spratly Islands. The Philippines challenged China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2013, and in Philippines v. China (2016), the Court ruled in favour of the Philippines and rejected China's claims.
Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia and is also the largest archipelago in the world by size (according to the
The South China Sea is the major body of water within Southeast Asia. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, and Singapore, have integral rivers that flow into the South China Sea.
Geographically, Southeast Asia is bounded to the southeast by the Australian continent, the boundary between these two regions is most often considered to run through Wallacea.
Geopolitically, the boundary lies between Papua New Guinea and the Indonesian region of Western New Guinea (Papua and West Papua). Both countries share the island of New Guinea.
Islands to the east of the Philippines make up the region of Micronesia. These islands are not biogeographically, geologically or historically linked to mainland Asia, and are considered part of Oceania by the United Nations, The World Factbook and other organisations. The Oceania region is politically represented through the Pacific Islands Forum, a governing body which, up until 2022, included Australia, New Zealand and all independent territories in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Several countries of Maritime Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, are dialogue partners of the Pacific Islands Forum, but none have full membership.
Maritime Southeast Asia was often grouped with Australia and Oceania in the mid to late 1800s, rather than with mainland Asia. The term Oceania came into usage at the beginning of the 1800s, and the earlier definitions predated the advent of concepts such as Wallacea.
The non-continental Australian external territories of
Most of Southeast Asia have climate being tropical with being hot and humid all year round with plentiful rainfall. Northern Vietnam (including
- mountain areas in the northern region and the higher islands, where high altitudes lead to milder temperatures
- the "dry zone" of central Myanmar in the rain shadow of the Arakan Mountains, where annual rainfall can be as low as 600 millimetres or 24 inches, which under the hot temperatures that prevail is dry enough to qualify as semi-arid.
Southeast Asia is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change in the world. Climate change will have a big effect on agriculture in Southeast Asia such as irrigation systems will be affected by changes in rainfall and runoff, and subsequently, water quality and supply. Climate change is impacting agriculture, threatening food security, and is compounded by the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Climate change is also likely to pose a serious threat to the fisheries industry in Southeast Asia. Despite being one of the most vulnerable regions to the effects of climate change in the world, Southeast Asian countries are lagging behind in terms of their climate mitigation measures.
The vast majority of Southeast Asia falls within the warm, humid tropics, and its climate generally can be characterised as monsoonal. The animals of Southeast Asia are diverse; on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, the orangutan, the Asian elephant, the Malayan tapir, the Sumatran rhinoceros and the Bornean clouded leopard can also be found. Six subspecies of the binturong or bearcat exist in the region, though the one endemic to the island of Palawan is now classed as vulnerable.
Tigers of three different subspecies are found on the island of Sumatra (the Sumatran tiger), in peninsular Malaysia (the Malayan tiger), and in Indochina (the Indochinese tiger); all of which are endangered species.
The Komodo dragon is the largest living species of lizard and inhabits the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, and Gili Motang in Indonesia.
Birds such as the green peafowl and drongo live in this subregion as far east as Indonesia. The babirusa, a four-tusked pig, can be found in Indonesia as well. The hornbill was prized for its beak and used in trade with China. The horn of the rhinoceros, not part of its skull, was prized in China as well.
The Indonesian Archipelago is split by the Wallace Line. This line runs along what is now known to be a tectonic plate boundary, and separates Asian (Western) species from Australasian (Eastern) species. The islands between Java/Borneo and Papua form a mixed zone, where both types occur, known as Wallacea. As the pace of development accelerates and populations continue to expand in Southeast Asia, concern has increased regarding the impact of human activity on the region's environment. A significant portion of Southeast Asia, however, has not changed greatly and remains an unaltered home to wildlife. The nations of the region, with only a few exceptions, have become aware of the need to maintain forest cover not only to prevent soil erosion but to preserve the diversity of flora and fauna. Indonesia, for example, has created an extensive system of national parks and preserves for this purpose. Even so, such species as the Javan rhinoceros face extinction, with only a handful of the animals remaining in western Java.
The shallow waters of the
The trees and other plants of the region are tropical; in some countries where the mountains are tall enough, temperate-climate vegetation can be found. These rainforest areas are currently being logged-over, especially in Borneo.
While Southeast Asia is rich in flora and fauna,
Even prior to the penetration of European interests, Southeast Asia was a critical part of the world trading system. A wide range of commodities originated in the region, but especially important were spices such as pepper, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. The spice trade initially was developed by Indian and Arab merchants, but it also brought Europeans to the region. First,
In 2022, Malaysian petroleum industry through its oil and gas company, Petronas, was ranked eighth in the world by the Brandirectory.
Seventeen telecommunications companies contracted to build the Asia-America Gateway submarine cable to connect Southeast Asia to the US This is to avoid disruption of the kind caused by the cutting of the undersea cable from Taiwan to the US in the 2006 Hengchun earthquakes.
Tourism has been a key factor in economic development for many Southeast Asian countries, especially Cambodia. According to UNESCO, "tourism, if correctly conceived, can be a tremendous development tool and an effective means of preserving the cultural diversity of our planet." Since the early 1990s, "even the non-ASEAN nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma, where the income derived from tourism is low, are attempting to expand their own tourism industries." In 1995, Singapore was the regional leader in tourism receipts relative to GDP at over 8%. By 1998, those receipts had dropped to less than 6% of GDP while Thailand and Lao PDR increased receipts to over 7%. Since 2000, Cambodia has surpassed all other ASEAN countries and generated almost 15% of its GDP from tourism in 2006. Furthermore, Vietnam is considered as a growing power in Southeast Asia due to its large foreign investment opportunities and the booming tourism sector.
By the early 21st century,
Stock markets in Southeast Asia have performed better than other bourses in the Asia-Pacific region in 2010, with the Philippines'
Southeast Asia's GDP per capita is US$4,685 according to a 2020 International Monetary Fund estimates, which is comparable to South Africa, Iraq, and Georgia.
(2020) $ billion
|GDP per capita
|Brunei||B$ Brunei dollar||437,479||$10.647||$23,117||0.1%||0.3%||Petroleum, Petrochemicals, Fishing|
|Cambodia||៛ Riel||16,718,965||$26.316||$1,572||-2.8%||2.5%||Clothing, Gold, Agriculture|
|East Timor||US$ US dollar||1,318,445||$1.920||$1,456||-6.8%||0.9%||Petroleum, Coffee, Electronics|
|Indonesia||Rp Rupiah||270,203,917||$1,088.768||$4,038||-1.5%||2.1%||Coal, Petroleum, Palm oil|
|Laos||₭ Kip||7,275,560||$18.653||$2,567||0.2%||6.5%||Copper, Electronics, Tin|
|Malaysia||RM Ringgit||32,365,999||$336.330||$10,192||-6%||-1.1%||Electronics, Petroleum, Petrochemicals, Palm oil, Automotive|
|54,409,800||$70.890||$1,333||2%||6.1%||Natural gas, Agriculture, Clothing|
|Philippines||₱ Peso||109,581,078||$367.362||$3,373||-8.3%||2.4%||Electronics, Timber, Automotive|
|Singapore||S$ Singapore dollar||5,850,342||$337.451||$58,484||-6%||-0.4%||Electronics, Petroleum, Chemicals|
|Thailand||฿ Baht||69,799,978||$509.200||$7,295||-7.1%||-0.4%||Electronics, Automotive, Rubber|
|Vietnam||₫ Đồng||97,338,579||$340.602||$3,498||2.9%||3.8%||Electronics, Clothing, Petroleum|
Southeast Asia has an area of approximately 4,500,000 square kilometres (1,700,000 sq mi). As of 2021, around 676 million people live in the region, more than a fifth live (143 million) on the Indonesian island of Java, the most densely populated large island in the world. Indonesia is the most populous country with 274 million people, and also the fourth most populous country in the world. The distribution of the religions and people is diverse in Southeast Asia and varies by country. Some 30 million overseas Chinese also live in Southeast Asia, most prominently in Christmas Island, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, and also as the Hoa in Vietnam. People of Southeast Asian origins are known as Southeast Asians or Aseanites.
The peoples of Southeast Asia are mainly divided into four major ethnolinguistic groups: the
In Malaysia, the country is demographically divided into
Within the Philippines, the country has no majority ethnic groups; but the four largest ethnolinguistic groups in the country are the
In mainland Southeast Asia, the
Cambodia is one of the most homogeneous countries in the area, with
Spirit houses are common in areas of Southeast Asia where Animism is a held belief.
TheMother Temple of Besakih, one of Bali's most significant Balinese Hindutemples.
ThaiBuddhists in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The prayer hall of theTaoisttemple in Penang, Malaysia.
- Islamic country with Shariarule.
Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in Cebu City, Philippines, the ecclesiastical seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu
AProtestant church in Indonesia. Indonesia has the largest Protestant populationin Southeast Asia.
Countries in Southeast Asia practice many different religions and the region becomes home to many world religions including Abrahamic religions, Indian religions, East Asian religions and Iranian religion. By population,
There are approximately 205 million Buddhists in Southeast Asia, making it the second-largest religion in the region, after Islam. Approximately 38% of the global Buddhist population resides in Southeast Asia. Buddhism is predominant in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Singapore. They may come from Theravada or Mahayana school. Ancestor worship and Confucianism are also widely practised in Vietnam and Singapore. Taoism is also widely practised by the overseas Chinese community in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Chinese folk religions are also widely practised by the overseas Chinese community such as Mazuism. In certain cases, they may include Chinese or local deities in their worshipping practises such as Tua Pek Kong, Datuk Keramat and many more.
Christianity is predominant in the Philippines, eastern Indonesia, East Malaysia, and East Timor. The Philippines has the largest Roman Catholic population in Asia. East Timor is also predominantly Roman Catholic due to a history of Indonesian and Portuguese rule. In October 2019, the number of Christians, both Catholic and Protestant in Southeast Asia, reached 156 million, of which 97 million came from the Philippines, 29 million came from Indonesia, 11 million came from Vietnam, and the rest came from Malaysia, Myanmar, East Timor, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia and Brunei. In addition, Eastern Orthodox Christianity can also be found in the region. Besides that, the practice of Judaism can be observed in certain countries such as in the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia due to the presence of Jewish diaspora. Additionally, there is also a small population of Parsis in Singapore who practised Zoroastrianism. Baha`i is also practised by very small population in Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand.
No individual Southeast Asian country is religiously homogeneous. Some groups are protected de facto by their isolation from the rest of the world.
The religious composition for each country is as follows: Some values are taken from the
|Brunei||Islam (81%), Buddhism, Christianity, others (indigenous beliefs, etc.)|
|Cambodia||Buddhism (97%), Islam, Christianity, Animism, others|
|East Timor||Roman Catholicism (97%), Protestantism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism|
|Indonesia||Islam (86.7%), Protestantism (7.6%), Roman Catholicism (3.12%), Hinduism (1.74%), Buddhism (0.77%), Confucianism (0.03%), others (0.4%)|
|Laos||Buddhism (67%), Animism, Christianity, others|
|Malaysia||Islam (61.3%), Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Animism|
|Myanmar (Burma)||Buddhism (89%), Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Animism, others|
|Philippines||Roman Catholicism (80.6%), Islam (6.9%-11%), Evangelicals (2.7%), Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) (2.4%), Members Church of God International (1.0%), Other Protestants (2.8%), Buddhism (0.05%-2%), Animism (0.2%-1.25%), others (1.9%)|
|Singapore||Buddhism (31.1%), Christianity (18.9%), Islam (15.6%), Taoism (8.8%), Hinduism (5%), others (20.6%)|
|Thailand||Buddhism (93.5%), Islam (5.4%), Christianity (1.13%), Hinduism (0.02%), others (0.003%)|
|Vietnam||Vietnamese folk religion (45.3%), Buddhism (16.4%), Christianity (8.2%), Other (0.4%), Unaffiliated (29.6%)|
Each of the languages has been influenced by cultural pressures due to trade, immigration, and historical colonisation as well. There are nearly 800 native languages in the region.
The language composition for each country is as follows (with official languages in bold):
|Brunei||Malay, English, Chinese, Tamil, Indonesian and indigenous Bornean dialects (|
Murutic language, Lun Bawang.)
|Cambodia||Khmer, English, French, Teochew, Vietnamese, Cham, Mandarin, others|
|East Timor||Tetum, Portuguese, Mambae, Makasae, Tukudede, Bunak, Galoli, Kemak, Fataluku, Baikeno, others|
Indonesia has over 700 languages in over 17,000 islands across the archipelago, making Indonesia the second most linguistically diverse country on the planet, slightly behind Papua New Guinea. The official language of Indonesia is Indonesian (Bahasa Indonesia), widely used in educational, political, economic, and other formal situations. In daily activities and informal situations, most Indonesians speak in their local language(s). For more details, see: Languages of Indonesia.
|Laos||Lao, French, Thai, Vietnamese, Hmong, Miao, Mien, Dao, Shan and others|
Lundayeh/Lun Bawang, and others see: Languages of Malaysia
|Myanmar (Burma)||Burmese, Shan, Kayin(Karen), Rakhine, Kachin, Chin, Mon, Kayah, Chinese and other ethnic languages.|
Sama-Bajaw, Maguindanao, Maranao, Spanish, Chavacanoand others
|Singapore||English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese, Hakka, Telugu, Malayalam, Punjabi, Filipino, Indonesian, Javanese, Balinese, Singlish creole and others|
|Thailand||Thai, Isan, Northern Khmer, Malay, Karen, Hmong, Teochew, Minnan, Hakka, Yuehai, Burmese, Mien, Tamil, Bengali, Urdu, Arabic, Shan, Lue, Phutai, Mon and others|
|Vietnam||Vietnamese, Cantonese, Khmer, Hmong, Tai, Cham and others|
- Jabodetabek (Jakarta/Bogor/Depok/Tangerang/South Tangerang/Bekasi), Indonesia
- Metro Manila (Manila/Quezon City/Makati/Taguig/Pasay/Caloocan and 11 others), Philippines
- Samut Prakan/Pathum Thani/Samut Sakhon/Nakhon Pathom), Thailand
- Đồng Nai), Vietnam
- Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley (Kuala Lumpur/Selangor), Malaysia
- Hanoi Capital Region (Hà Nội/Hải Phòng/Hạ Long), Vietnam
- West Bandung), Indonesia
- Yangon Region (Yangon/Thanlyin), Myanmar
- Eastern Economic Corridor (Chachoengsao/Chonburi/Rayong), Thailand
- Greater Penang (Penang/Kedah/Perak), Malaysia
- Metro Cebu (Cebu City/Mandaue/Lapu-Lapu City/Talisay City and 11 others), Philippines
- Ogan Komering Ilir), Indonesia
- Kandal), Cambodia
- Island Garden City of Samal), Philippines
- Vientiane Prefecture (Vientiane/Tha Ngon), Laos
- Leganes/Zarraga/San Miguel/Guimaras) , Philippines
- Manado metropolitan area (Manado/Bitung/Tomohon), Indonesia
- Metro Cagayan de Oro (Cagayan de Oro/El Salvador and 13 others) Philippines
- Brunei-Muara (Bandar Seri Begawan/Muara), Brunei
- Dili (Dili), East Timor
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
The culture in Southeast Asia is diverse: on mainland Southeast Asia, the culture is a mix of Burmese, Cambodian, Laotian, and Thai (
Rice paddy agriculture has existed in Southeast Asia for millennia, ranging across the subregion. Some dramatic examples of these rice paddies populate the Banaue Rice Terraces in the mountains of Luzon in the Philippines. Maintenance of these paddies is very labour-intensive. The rice paddies are well-suited to the monsoon climate of the region.
Stilt houses can be found all over Southeast Asia, from Thailand and Vietnam to Borneo, to Luzon in the Philippines, to Papua New Guinea. The region has diverse metalworking, especially in Indonesia. This includes weaponry, such as the distinctive kris, and musical instruments, such as the gamelan.
The region's chief cultural influences have been from some combination of
As a rule, the peoples who ate with their fingers were more likely influenced by the culture of India, for example, than the culture of China, where the peoples ate with
Puppetry and shadow plays were also a favoured form of entertainment in past centuries, a famous one being the
It has been pointed out that Khmer and Indonesian classical arts were concerned with depicting the life of the gods, but to the Southeast Asian mind, the life of the gods was the life of the peoples themselves—joyous, earthy, yet divine. The
Traditional music in Southeast Asia is as varied as its many ethnic and cultural divisions. The main styles of traditional music include court music, folk music, music styles of smaller ethnic groups, and music influenced by genres outside the geographic region.
Of the court and folk genres, gong chime ensembles and orchestras make up the majority (the exception being lowland areas of Vietnam). Gamelan and angklung orchestras from Indonesia; piphat and pinpeat ensembles of Thailand and Cambodia; and the kulintang ensembles of the southern Philippines, Borneo, Sulawesi and Timor are the three main distinct styles of musical genres that have influenced other traditional musical styles in the region. String instruments are also popular in the region.
On 18 November 2010, UNESCO officially recognised the angklung as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, and encouraged the Indonesian people and government to safeguard, transmit, promote performances and to encourage the craftsmanship of angklung making.
The history of Southeast Asia has led to a wealth of different authors, from both within and without writing about the region.