I am going to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, and am not sure which camera to take!
I have a smaller, not too good digital camera that doesn't look to expensive and can fit into my pocket, or I have a larger entry level DSLR, which takes much better photos, but would need to be carried round my neck! If I took the DSLR, would I be asking for trouble, or do you think it should be okay to take into the poorer regions? or should I take the safe option of taking the cheaoer camera, but poorer quality photos?
Thailands very safe. I would worry about getting it robbed (though be careful anyhow), but if you spend a lot of time on beaches the sand can soon mess up that expensive camera!
I don't think your SLR would be a problem. I've travelled a few times around the region with an SLR and never had problems. I would say that in general, the people of the region are honest and not theives, and I've never felt like my camera was going to get stolen. Of course on occasion you hear of people breaking into rooms (usually hotel owners), and a couple cities in Cambodia and Vietnam have been known for snatching, but in general, safetly and keeping your valuables is not a concern in Southeast Asia provided you use common sense.
But when you say "carry it around my neck", do you mean litterally swinging around your neck. If that is the case you are just asking to get it nicked. I see so many people walking around with their big flashy cameras like that, and not only is it asking for trouble, but it seems in bad taste to me (consider that the camera is worth more than many people of the area make in a year). Get a good sturdy over-the-shoulder camera bag that keeps it there and excessable, but hidden. Sometimes the bags are made roomy enough to hold your guide book and whatnot too, so it acts as your daypack.
Since the region is so photogenic and you will want good quality shots when you get home, the very small risk of taking it is well worth it.