The Expansion of Buddhism into South East Asia

Before the era of large-scale tourism, trade was one of the principal means by which people of different religions and cultures came into contact with each other. Although Buddhism is not traditionally a religion that actively seeks to ‘convert’ others, it nonetheless spread across South East Asia and became a widely followed religion in many countries in the Middle Ages, due largely to the voyages of Buddhist traders across Central Asia. Buddhist monks travelled on trading ships too, in order to go on pilgrimage, thus carrying their religious practices far afield.    

Related Information

  • Authors:
    J.G. de Casparis
    4th to 11th century AD
    Language of article:

    Silk Roads Highway of Culture and Commerce

    China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Viet Nam

This platform has been developed and maintained with the support of:


UNESCO Headquarters

7 Place de Fontenoy

75007 Paris, France

Social and Human Sciences Sector

Research, Policy and Foresight Section

Silk Roads Programme

Follow us