Wednesday, July 26, 2017

#Indonesia - Penglipuran: Cleanliness through conservation.

 In order: Rows of neat and tidy houses in Penglipuran traditional village, Bangli, Bali, which has become a tourist attraction teem with local and foreign visitors.

Clean and tidy houses can be found in neat rows in Penglipuran, a traditional village located at an altitude of 700 meters in Kubu sub-district in Bangli, Bali.
Penglipuran was declared one of the world’s cleanest villages in 2016 along with Giethoorn floating village in the Netherlands and Mawlynnong village in India.
Previously in 1995, the village community of Penglipuran also received the Indonesian government’s Kalpataru Award for environmental sustainability for raising and maintaining 75 hectares of bamboo forest as well as preserving its traditional spatial layout and buildings based on ancestral designs.

The village has also been a tourist attraction since 1993. In the last five years, Penglipuran has been one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Bali alongside the regions of Ubud, Kuta and Nusa Dua.

Penglipuran is among Bali’s oldest villages, having existed since the 18th century, during the period of the Bangli Kingdom. 

The name of the village is derived from the words pengeling or eling, which means “to remember” and pura, which means “ancestral land.”

 The name Penglipuran, therefore, implies that residents keep the land of their ancestors in mind.

Along with Trunyan village, Penglipuran has been designtated a Bali Aga village, or original Balinese village, for preserving its ancestral traditions.

Visiting Penglipuran is like taking a trip in a time machine back to Bali’s more traditional times.

“Amid the intense forces of modernization, Penglipuran continues to retain its ancestral traditions. I think this has attracted many tourists to our village,” chairman of the Penglipuran Village Tourism Awareness Group, I Nengah Moneng, said.

Moneng revealed that before becoming a tourist destination in 1993, the locals had conducted conservation works through the village’s participation in the settlement and environment reordering project formulated by the Public Works Office in the late 1980s.

The efforts, Moneng said, were meant to preserve the village’s ancestral traditions in the interests of future generations.

In 1990, villagers along with students on rural service assignments, also developed parks by utilizing portions of the village road to the front and side of house yards. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What is wrong in Thailand ?

In Holland we say

A man, a man - an word an word (Same a Rock)

(Een man, een man - een woord, een woord)

In Thailand is an word same a balloon.

The break their word in a minute.

An appointment has not any value, the come always to late (or not)

Same as a contract and a relation. 


The change from relation quicker than from their own car.


Difficult to live with, when you are always straight.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

#Thailand - A day of adrenaline at Chiang Mai adventure destinations

A journalist tries out some of Chiang Mai’s high-excitement pursuits, from a micro-light flight to rock climbing and barreling down some of Thailand’s longest forest ziplines

As we took off, wind slapping my face and churning my hair, I thought to myself, “This is just like a regular plane”. But the moment the wheels lifted off terra firma, I felt this deep sense of exhilaration no plain plane could have ever given me. There I was, rising up and up and up, eventually reaching a thousand feet above the shrinking ground below, surrounded by nothing but air. I was on a micro light at Chiang Mai Adventure and I felt as though I was flying straight into the rising sun.

We had been invited on a one day trip to experience some of the local attractions and this was a great start. Chiang Mai Adventure has been around for nearly 20 years, a professional outfit operating out of Doi Saket. As we flew over paddy fields, farmers toiling below, taking a small break to shield their eyes as they watched my dangling feet pass over above, I felt as though I was in a ‘Nam movie, the soundtrack of Platoon playing in my head. The wind was rather vigorous that day, especially as we headed over the skies above Mae Guang Dam, but the views of mountains, paddy fields, glittering temples and charming villages, kept my fear at bay and my senses on alert. The ride only lasted for 15 short minutes, and following a rickety landing, we were soon rushed off to our next attraction.

 Chiang Mai Adventure Land is a popular day out for the family. Since I am still single, I would never have really thought to come here, but after spending a few hours rock climbing, flying fox zip lining and zorb balling like a human-hamster-ball, I decided that no one is too mature for such frolicking! The park itself has all sorts of activities to keep everyone fully busy, giggling and exhausted, from the Indiana Jones style tight rope, the hill tribe swing, hill skiing, riding, fishing to challenging sky bridge, the staff are all on hand to make sure that everything is safe and everyone is having a great time.


Just when we were getting into it, we were told that we had to go to our next adventure. I wasn’t sure that anything could top the first two, but was soon proven wrong as I found myself hurtling atop canopies down the longest zip line in Chiang Mai. The roller coaster, where you are strapped on under the coaster and hold on for dear life had my head spinning and my body pumped with adrenalin.

By this point I was utterly exhausted, but was then told that we had one more destination, Dragon Flight. We actually had to trek a full hour to get to the first base of the zipline, but it was worth it when once again, I found myself flying through the skies down their 900 metre zip line.

I don’t remember the drive back to the city, as I was passed out, along with every other journalist in the van, from exhaustion.

These are activities which we Thais don’t normally get to enjoy, as we tend to think that they are for tourists. But once we woke up on arrival in the city, we all agreed, over a bowl of late night noodles, that this was a day to remember.

There are obvious health and safety concerns, especially of late, about many adventure tourism destinations. I hope that you all do your due diligence before you book any activity to make sure that the company in question is reputable. And most of all, have fun and stay safe.

Source - TheNation

Saturday, July 22, 2017

#Vietnam beats France to crack China's top 10 travel destinations

With 200 million Chinese tourists expected to make outbound trips in 2020, Vietnam is set to become even more popular.

Vietnam has become the 10th most popular destination among Chinese tourists, according to new statistics.

Figures from CLSA, a Hong Kong brokerage and investment firm formally known as Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia, showed Vietnam has overtaken France to enter the top 10, which is led by Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea.

The survey polled more than 400 Chinese travelers across 25 cities with an average age of 35 and a monthly income of 20,000 yuan ($2,900).

Safety remains the prime concern for mainland travelers, followed by cost and sightseeing opportunities.

A series of terror attacks last year in Europe had deterred Chinese travelers, it said, as cited by the South China Morning Post.

 Last May, a MarketWatch report, citing data from American Express, also showed that summer bookings to Europe’s top destinations, notably France and Turkey, had been hurt by the attacks.

China has always been Vietnam's main source of tourists, and their numbers increased by 57 percent on-year in the first six months of 2017, reaching nearly 1.9 million and accounting for 30 percent of all foreign arrivals. Last year, Vietnam welcomed around 2.7 million Chinese tourists, a jump of 51 percent from the year before.

Vietnamese media said Chinese visitors have been encouraged by a new policy that allows groups of travelers to visit the border province of Quang Ninh, home to the popular Ha Long Bay, for up to three days without a visa.

CLSA reported that 135 million Chinese people traveled abroad last year, and with 200 million Chinese tourists expected to make outbound trips in 2020, Vietnam is set to become even more popular.

A Bloomberg report last December said Chinese tourists could have a big impact on Vietnam’s economy. It said a 30 percent increase in spending by Chinese tourists would boost Vietnam’s economic growth by nearly 1 percentage point. For Thailand, that would be around 1.6 points.

“Chinese tourism is pretty big for ASEAN now, and all the countries rely on Chinese visitors to keep coming and keep spending,” Edward Lee, an economist with Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, was quoted as saying in the report.

Source - VN

Friday, July 21, 2017

Myanmar’s AIDS-related deaths decline 52% in 6 years

A new global report says that Myanmar’s AIDS-related deaths have declined by 52 percent in six years.

The UNAIDS report on the global HIV epidemic said the decline was the steepest in Asia and the Pacific.

The report, “Ending AIDS: progress towards the 90-90-90 targets”, was released by UNAIDS on July 20.
It said an estimated 8000 people died from AIDS-related causes in Myanmar in 2016, a 52pc decrease from 2010.

Oussama Tawil, country director of UNAIDS Myanmar, said new HIV infections declined by 26pc. “The decline is a strong indicator of Myanmar’s national HIV response,” he said.

“This shows the country’s leadership, commitment and engagement are having results which are saving thousands of lives,” he said.

The estimated number of people living with HIV in Myanmar is 230,000, and 57pc were accessing life-saving antiretroviral therapy.

New HIV infections have fallen by 26pc since 2010, and there were an estimated 11,000 new infections in 2016, according to UNAIDS.

It said that 88pc of women living with HIV in Myanmar were accessing services for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission.

The national HIV prevalence among key populations is at 28.5pc for people who inject drugs, 11.6pc for men who have sex with other men, and 14.6pc for female sex workers.

“While we are now seeing positive results in the reduction of deaths and new infections, Myanmar’s momentum must be sustained to achieve its goal of ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030,”said Tawil.

The National Strategic Plan on HIV and AIDS (2016-2020 aims for the achievement of global 90-90-90 targets, meaning 90pc of people living with HIV know their status, 90pc of people living with HIV who know their status receive treatment, and 90pc of people living with HIV on treatment have suppressed viral loads.

Moreover, it aims for 90pc of key populations to have access to HIV prevention services and 90pc of people living with and affected by HIV to report zero discrimination, especially in health, education and the workplace.

Tawil said that Myanmar will have challenges to end the HIV epidemic but is likely to achieve those goals.

‘’Continued commitment and support from the government, donors, international and national non-government organisations, community networks and people living with HIV groups are crucial to achieving the country’s HIV response targets,” he said.

The UNAIDS Program Coordinating Board adopted a new strategy to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. The UNAIDS 2016–2021 Strategy is one of the first in the United Nations system to be aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals, which set the framework for global development policy over the next 15 years, including ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Myanmar is in good position compared to other regional countries: While Myanmar has 57pc treatment, treatment coverage in some countries in the Asia-Pacific on average is only 47pc.

Source - MM TIMES

#Indonesia - Surfing contest, cultural festival in celebration of South Nias 14th anniversary

To commemorate the 14th anniversary of South Nias regency, the provincial administrations plans to hold two interesting events called South Nias Open Surfing Contest 2017 (NSOSC 2017) and South Nias Regency Traditional Song, Culture and Tradition Festival.

The two events will be held for four days from July 25 to 28 at Sorake Island. They are results of a partnership effort between the provincial administrations through South Nias culture, tourism, youth and sports department with South Nias Surfers Association (APNS) and supported by tourism ministry.

 “We’re going to hold a surfing competition and it’s open for local and international surfers. The main goal is definitely to increase the number of local and overseas tourists to South Nias,” explained South Nias cuture, tourism, youth and sports department head Anggreani.

The surfing contest itself is an annual event and the last time it was held was last year at Ya’ahowu Party.

Other than providing winners with Rp 87 million worth of prizes, NSOSC 2017 aims to scout new talents in Nias that can be trained to compete in National and International leagues in the future.

“NSOSC 2017 is divided into three categories: Men’s (16 years and above), women’s and grommet (men’s and women’s),” Anggreani added.

As for the festival, it will feature traditional dances and rituals of South Nias 
such as faluaya, famadaya harimao, stone-jumping, moyo dance and fataelesa.
Sorake beach is a haven for surfers, it’s included in the 10 best surfing spots in the world and said to be the second best after Hawaii. During the months of June – July surfers flock the beach because the waves are able to reach up to 10 to 12 meters high. Another uniqueness of the beach: one will not find anything but coral reefs in it.

Nias island is reachable by sea using a ferry boat from Sibolga city in North Sumatra with a distance of 85 miles or 12 hours. Travelers will then arrive at Mount Sitoli, the biggest city in Nias Island. Continue the journey from Mount Sitoli to Teluk Dalam city for about four hours using a four-wheeled vehicle. However, for a shorter traveling time, a flight is available from Kualanamu International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra. (asw)

Source - TheJakartaPost

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#Phuket, Thailand - Nai Harn Beach – one of the best in Asia?

Let’s have a look at what reviewers think of top-ranked Nai Harn Beach in Phuket.

Phuket’s Nai Harn Beach recently ranked fourth in the 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 25 Beaches in Asia. Situated on the southern end of the island, the beach is a stone’s throw from Phuket’s famed sunset viewing point - Promthep Cape. It’s considered a peaceful beach by Phuket standards, with no jet skis, para sailing, etc., but it is still pet friendly. So what did TripAdvisor’s reviewers think of the beach? Top issues included beach chairs/mats/loungers, local food and trash on the beach, but the overall consensus is that it is truly one of the most beautiful beaches around.

Sarah R. from Brisbane, Australia commended the beauty of the beach but wasn’t so enthusiastic about the beach chairs.

“We caught a taxi from Karon to Nai Harn for a few hours on the beach before sunset at Promthep Cape. Four beach chairs cost 500 baht, and we only used them for an hour before a storm hit. Still, it’s a beautiful beach.”

Source - TheNation