In Vietnam, there is a sense of lightning progress and blockbuster attractions such as the limestone karst-studded wonderland of Halong Bay; in Cambodia, the darkness of the recent past is being countered by increased investment and growing confidence. Meanwhile, in sleepy Laos, a booming contingent of lotus-eaters from around the world is helplessly seduced by the country’s languorous charms. Vastly different they may be, but more links the three countries than traumatic history and optimism for the future. Until conflicts disfigured these locations, a king ruled each one. And today, the royal legacy of each of these destinations endures as an echo of its former self.