->''"Well, you'll work harder with a gun in your back''
->''For a bowl of rice a day''
->''Slave for soldiers 'til you starve''
->''Then your head is skewered on a stake."''
-->-- '''Music/DeadKennedys''', "[[TropeNamers Holiday in Cambodia]]"

Southeast Asia is a rich land of many cultures and nations. Myanmar/Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines and Indonesia ([[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Singapore, Brunei and Timor Leste]]).

And that's the thing: The West's cultural experience with Southeast Asia is usually limited to the leftovers of UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar. In the minds of many people outside of the region, Southeast Asia (minus Thailand) is a land of steamy jungles, guerrilla warfare, and all sorts of violence and atrocities. Add vice for taste; affairs between American servicemen and native Vietnamese women are notorious, and it's not for nothing that Thailand has a reputation for sex tourism. Furthermore, it appears that Southeast Asia doesn't exist below the sixth parallel - one might get to see [[UsefulNotes/{{Malaysia}} the Petronas Twin Towers]], but that's about it.

So, when a piece of media goes to Southeast Asia, it usually goes on a Holiday In Cambodia. The setting will either be little jungle villages with wooden huts or cities so seedy they leave marks on the screen. Vice will be both upheld and punished, with the main characters either being told "[[YouNoTakeCandle Me love you long time]]" by a woman (very often a [[AsianHookerStereotype prostitute]]) who [[UnsettlingGenderReveal may or may not have a vagina]], or being thrown in some {{hellhole prison}} on drug charges. And someone, some time, is getting a gun in the face. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Oh, and there may be elephants.]]

If you mix this trope with a strong dose of LatinLand, you'll get something like the UsefulNotes/{{Philippines}}, though for what it's worth, that country is mixed with ''so many and so disparate cultural influences''—owing to nearly 500 years of Western colonialism more pervasive than almost any other country in the region—that it's a challenge to even represent ''at all'', let alone accurately, in most media. Just for one example, there are no ancient temples anywhere in the Philippines—they're all [[ChristianityIsCatholic Catholic churches]], plus a few mosques left over from the days when Islamic kingdoms ruled there.

For those in the know, it becomes clear that the writers [[{{Pun}} Miss]] [[Theatre/MissSaigon Saigon]].

Compare EastIndies, which is a little further south.



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' centers on the fictional Thai city of Roanapur, where it seems like every body of organized crime in existence has a controlling stake.
* Saito is implied to be a connoisseur of such vacations (the sexual side anyway) in ''Manga/{{Beck}}''.
-->'''Koyuki:''' ''He extended his vacation ''again?'' What is it about Southeast Asia that makes middle-aged men so crazy?''

* The Franchise/MarvelUniverse has the fictional country of Madripoor, a state so corrupt that a terrorist/assassin-for-hire served as its ruler. And then she was deposed by HYDRA, which means it's gone from one end of fresh hell to the other.
* The Creator/{{Vertigo|Comics}} miniseries ''Vertigo Pop! Bangkok'' centers around two American tourists who are fully exposed to the seedier sides of Thailand's sex tourism trade.
* You wouldn't expect a Disney comic to take place in such a locale, but in Creator/CarlBarks' "The Treasure of Marco Polo", (written in 1966), Scrooge [=McDuck=]'s adventure in search of the eponymous treasure takes him to the war-torn, vaguely Vietnamese country of Unsteadystan.
* ''ComicBook/BuckDanny'' has the fictional countries of Viet-tan and Sarawak (the latter is in fact a province of Malaysia). The former is depicted in the midst of a civil war between a corrupt dictatorship and rebels backed up by evil mercenaries, and the latter is where the Mafia produces its heroin for worldwide distribution.
* ''ComicBook/AmbushBug'' should be brought to Nuremberg for wanton cruelty to this trope. It destroys it like Agent Orange the jungle. Hukka Mandoraid!

* In the [[VacationEpisode first chapter]] of [[FanFic/MassFoundations Mass Foundations: A New Day]], Eric and his family visited Bangkok, Thailand, then Angkor Wat in the prologue until Eric stumbled upon a strange artifact at the aforementioned temple.

* ''Film/TheKillingFields'', obviously. Played straight with Spalding Gray's ''Film/SwimmingToCambodia'', which talked about his adventures in Thailand between shooting days.
-->Farewell, to the fantastic breakfasts, free every morning. You walked down and there they are waiting on you with the papaya, mango, and pineapple like I'd never tasted before. Farewell, to the Thai maids with the king-sized cotton sheets and the big king-sized beds. Farewell, to the lunches. Fresh meat flown in from America, daily. Roast potatoes, green beans and roast lamb, at 110 degrees under a circus tent, according to British Equity. Farewell to the drivers with the tinted glasses and the Mercedes with the tinted windows. Farewell to the cakes, and teas and ices every day exactly at four o'clock. Farewell to those beautiful smiling people. Farewell to that single, fresh rose in a vase on my bureau in the hotel every day. And just as I was climbing into that first-class seat, and wrapping myself in a blanket, just as I was adjusting the pillow from behind my head, and having a sip of that champagne, and just as I was adjusting and bringing down my Thai purple sleep mask, I had an inkling, I had a flash. I suddenly thought I knew what it was that had killed Marilyn Monroe.
* The documentary ''S-21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine''.
** Rithy Panh, the documentary's director, makes a cameo in a French film set in Cambodia, ''Holy Lola'', specifically in order to provide a RealLife perspective on the nightmare that country went through within living memory.
* The ''Film/JamesBond'' feature ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'', where he travels to Thailand to question a possible associate of Scaramanga, the businessman Hai Fat.
* ''Film/AirAmerica'' depicts the secret operations conducted by the US in Laos during the Vietnam War, complete with rampant corruption, drug smuggling and gunrunning.
* ''Film/TheBeach''. See Literature.
* ''Film/TropicThunder'' is being shot in Vietnam, but when the director gets tired of the actors primadonna antics, he dumps them in the jungle. At one point the OnlySaneMan deduces they've passed the border, being in Laos or Cambodia.
** Though curiously, the opium growers the actors encounter and are eventually captured by speak poorly accented Mandarin Chinese.
** [[spoiler:This becomes a (hilarious) plot point: Kirk Lazarus is able to distract the gate guards long enough with increasingly crappier Chinese until they become suspicious of him.]]
* The VillainProtagonist of ''Film/AmericanGangster'' gets his drugs from Vietnam. The scenes there focus on the peasant villages with wooden huts and the general anarchy of the Vietnam War.
** Similarly, the Amsterdam Triad in the 80s film ''Film/ChinaWhite'' gets their heroin from guerillas in an unidentified Southeast Asian nation in exchange for rocket launchers.
* ''Film/BrokedownPalace'' presents a somewhat more grim variant of the above scenario, with the two female leads thrown into a Thai women's prison with no chance for parole after a fling sneaks large amounts of heroin into one's luggage.
* ''BangkokHilton'' (the real prison associated with that nickname, where Wiki/TheOtherWiki claims that Death Row prisoners have their leg-chains welded together, is all-male)
* ''{{Holly}}'' is about an American in Cambodia who discovers the sordid world of child prostitution, and decides to rescue a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl from that grim fate.
* ''Film/BangkokDangerous'': Politics in Thailand involve hiring hit men to dispose of troublemaking politicians.
* … while in ''Film/OnTheJob'', set in the Philippines, the ''politicians'' hire the hit men to dispose of troublemaking rivals.
* ''DienBienPhu'' is a film about the eponymous battle that sealed the fate of French Indochina.
* Referenced in ''ThreeSeasons'': An American veteran of the Vietnam War goes to Saigon in order to find the grown daughter he had with a local prostitute, and whom he left behind when he went back to the US.
* ''[[Film/TheHangover The Hangover Part II]]'' is set in Bangkok, which is portrayed exactly like this trope.
* ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' is probably the TropeCodifier.
* ''Film/OnlyGodForgives'' is probably the crappiest holiday in Thailand anyone's ever gone through.
* ''Wish You Were Here'' is about two young couples of [[LandDownUnder Aussies]] who decides to go visiting, [[TemptingFate and partying]], in Sihanoukville in [[HolidayInCambodia Cambodia]]. They [[FromBadToWorse get into more and more trouble.]]
* ''Film/BadGenius'' is set mostly in modern, urban Thailand. While it doesn't focus much on Bangkok's urban squalor, as most of the action is set in reasonably maintained school settings, it does feature scenes in a huge dumpsite, where one of the characters is assaulted by paid thugs.

* ''Literature/TheQuietAmerican'' sticks to the cities of Vietnam, but focuses on the upcoming turmoil that will lead to the Vietnam War. Notably, it was actually written ''before'' the Vietnam War began, which can lead to a good deal of HarsherInHindsight for modern readers.
* ''Literature/TheUglyAmerican'' features the fictional country of Sarkhan (an {{Expy}} of Vietnam with cultural trappings of Burma/Myanmar and Thailand), but also contains scenes in those other countries.
* ''[[Literature/SonchaiJitpleecheep Bangkok 8]]'' is centered on Bangkok's red light district, and the sequels follow Thai detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep as he explores the other seedy aspects of Bangkok living.
* ''Literature/BridgetJones: The Edge Of Reason'' has a scene where Bridget, on vacation in Thailand, is unknowingly made into a drug mule by a fling of one of her friends and ends up in your average Thai [[HellholePrison prison hellhole]].
* ''Literature/TheBeach'', beginning with a seedy Bangkok hotel. Interestingly, the tourist industry around the Phi Phi Islands, where the bulk of the movie adaptation was filmed, seems quite proud of the movie and it is still possible to visit remnants of the set.
* Nayan Chanda's book ''Brother Enemy'' is focused on the international relations of Cambodia, Vietnam, and China after the fall of Saigon up to 1986.

* Jack from ''Series/{{Lost}}'' holidays in Thailand in one of his flashbacks. Apparently, in ''Lost'', Thailand is made entirely of naive 8-year-old boys and psychic tattooists. Incidentally, they manage to split the difference on the surroundings: he gets a quiet jungle hut... right in the middle of a seedy city.
* ''Series/NoReservations'' and its predicessor ''A Cook's Tour'' beat ''Top Gear'' to the punch by some years. Tony ''loves'' this part of the world (except Cambodia was kinda lame), has been to both cities and the jungle and wants to live in Vietnam. For chefs in general, Southeast Asia is a mind-blowing place to visit (for those of us stuck elsewhere, find a good pho resturant, trust me).
* Exception: When the ''Series/TopGear'' boys went motorcycling through Vietnam for the 2008 Christmas special they acknowledged it would be a disservice to history not to refer to UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and its legacy, but at the same time presented the country as so much more than "that place where a war happened".
* Although not shown in the series, Daisy of ''Series/{{Spaced}}'' goes on a holiday in Vietnam. We only see vague photo snaps. She later gets caught out by a dole interviewer when she wears her souvenir T-shirt to sign on (he just ''happens'' to speak Vietnamese).
* ''Series/SerangoonRoad'' depicts Singapore in the mid-1960s, before it became a wealthy city-state, and had its share of seedy dives, unsafe back alleys, intercommunal violence and the odd terrorist bombing.

* The Music/DeadKennedys' song "Holiday in Cambodia" uses this trope for satirical contrast, with the vocalist inviting pretentious, insensitive American college students to take a holiday to Pol Pot's regime, to find out what it's like.
* Kim Wilde's ''Cambodia'' is about a pilot who returns from Cambodia with a ThousandYardStare. He doesn't return from his next mission.

* The musical ''Theatre/MissSaigon''.
* [[Theatre/{{Chess}} "One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster..."]]

* ''VideoGame/KaneAndLynch 2: Dog Days'' follows this trope in spirit, being centered entirely around the exploits of the titular duo as they attempt to oversee an arms deal in the most crime-ridden part of Shanghai, China before being chased through ever-seedier back alleys by just about every dude in the city with a gun (and [[TortureTechnician one dude with a box cutter]]).
* In ''VideoGame/WastedYouth'', [[DeanBitterman Mr. Stouffer]] breaks down into a "Vietnam flashback" while giving a speech, during which time he reveals that [[TooMuchInformation he slept with]] [[UnsettlingGenderReveal a transvestite]] while on vacation in Vietnam.
* The [[ForcedTutorial training level]] of ''VideoGame/TombRaiderTheLastRevelation'' takes place in Angkor Wat. In the backstory of the Creator/CrystalDynamics trilogy, Richard Croft was killed by Natla in Cambodia.
* ''[[VideoGame/JustCause Just Cause 2]]'''s Panau surely fits the definition.

* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' has a Laotian character, Kahn, as the neighbors of the main characters. The show mostly averts this trope, until the episode where another well-to-do Laotian convinces Kahn that his life is meaningless because he embraces American culture, and convinces him to join a Laotian resistance force that will one day go back to free their brethren.
** That suggests Kahn is Hmong, with a clearly Laotian family name. Huh.
** Somewhat a subversion in that the person invoking the trope, the well-to-do Laotian, Ted, is even more assimilated than Kahn, and doing this for the benefit of his community's place in American society, rather than because he cares or even knows what is going on in Laos. He outright states the reason he is forming his paramilitary group to gain notoriety for Laotian immigrants by emulating the Cuban exile community. He invokes this trope to create parallels to the Cuban LaResistance by likewise opposing the communist government in his home country.