SOUTHEAST ASIA is a vast region of Asia situated east of the Indian Subcontinent and south of China. It consists of two dissimilar portions: a continental projection (commonly called mainland Southeast Asia) and a string of archipelagoes to the south and east of the mainland (insular Southeast Asia).
Extending some 700 miles (1,100 km) southward from the mainland into insular Southeast Asia is the Malay Peninsula; this peninsula structurally is part of the mainland, but it also shares many ecological and cultural affinities with the surrounding islands and thus functions as a bridge between the two regions.
Mainland Southeast Asia is divided into the countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Vietnam, and the small city-state of Singapore at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula; Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, which occupy the eastern portion of the mainland, often are collectively called the Indochinese Peninsula. Malaysia is both mainland and insular, with a western portion on the Malay Peninsula and an eastern part on the island of Borneo. Except for the small sultanate of Brunei (also on Borneo), the remainder of insular Southeast Asia consists of the archipelagic nations of Indonesia and the Philippines.
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