Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nine Cambodians arrested for felling, processing Siamese rosewood trees


Thai park officials and troops detained nine Cambodians for allegedly felling and processing Siamese rosewoods inside forest reserves in Sa Kaew’s Mueang district.

Pang Si Da National Park chief Panatchakorn Phobanthit said the arrests were made on Monday following a tip-off .

Panatchakorn said the informant told authorities a large group of Cambodians were felling trees in the Kaeng Dinso, Kaeng Yai and Satone national forest reserves.

 Park officials and troops later found around 40 Cambodians walking in line, each carrying a plank of Siamese rosewood on their back to smuggle the precious wood out of the forest. On seeing the authorities approach, they ran into the forest – but nine were apprehended.
Officials seized 75 planks and two chainsaws.

 The arrested Cambodians said they sneaked across the border at night and walked four days to the forest reserves. They spent five days processing the planks before starting to walk back when the authorities swooped.

Source - TheNation

Car rallies expected to rev up tourism with Thailand

Tourism between Myanmar and Thailand is set to accelerate after the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee (MTM) decided for the first time to cooperate on allowing rally cars to pass through their common border.
 MTM secretary U Myo Thwin told The Myanmar Times that an agreement has been reached but it had not yet been decided when it will take effect.

“A few details have to be worked out before we decide the exact date when rally cars will pass through Myanmar’s border with Thailand, but we expect it to be in September or toward the end of the year,” he said.

The car rally will start at Myanmar’s Htee Khee border area in Tanintharyi Region and go through Thailand’s Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai and two other ancient cities before returning through the Myawaddy-Mae Sot border area.

“The Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee is exploring possible destinations around the country as car rallies have the potential to increase tourism among both domestic and international travelers.

“The Myanmar Heritage Trail Tourism Rally has been in the planning since 2015,” he said.
“The rally-car market is getting more popular. Hotel occupancy rates are mostly up with more local rather than international visitors,” U Myo Thwin said, adding, “We should take care of domestic tourism development first, which is very important. The rallies are intended as a market promotion tool and will help regional tourism development. That’s why we are seeking the best potential destinations.”

Last year, only 2.9 million international tourists visited Myanmar, but there were more than six million domestic travelers, which exceeded expectations.

U Khin Aung Htun, deputy chairman of the Myanmar Tourism Federation, said that domestic tourists can explore various scenic routes and learn about the different cultures and traditions of local people, which will help boost domestic tourism.

“Domestic tourism will improve if there is a stable political climate. Tourism in Kayin State has doubled. Now more than 100 people visit the state each day, up from about 10 before,” he said.
“The first part of the Myanmar Heritage Trail Tourism Rally was to Pyay, Bagan and the Pyu ancient cities in 2015. The second and third trips took participants to the Golden Triangle and Rakhine, Mrauk-U and Arrawaddy regions in 2016.

“Currently, there are ongoing trips to the south, and a fourth trip to Mon State and Tanintharyi Region started June 3 and will end on Friday,” he said.

Daw May Myat Mon Win, chair of MTM, said, “Many people thought that the roads were very bad and unsafe for cars, but the roads are not as terrible as they thought they were. The route was pleasant when we went to Mrauk-U. Also the roads in Mon and Tanintharyi in the south are improving.”

Daw May Myat Mon Win said that relying on international tourists is not good because when foreign countries have economic downturns, it affects Myanmar’s tourism. So, pushing domestic tourism makes sense because it offers long-term sustainability, she said.
“Cities like Bagan and Mrauk-U depend heavily on domestic travelers,” U Khin Aung Htun said.

“We have been to the east, west and south of the country. If possible, we want to look at Myitkyina in Kachin State in the north as a potential destination for car rallies,” he said.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Indonesia - 10 beaches to visit in #Yogyakarta

Many of us identify Yogyakarta with Malioboro and Prambanan temple. While the two places are certainly a must-visit, if you still have a few more days to explore the city this holiday season, Tourism Minister Arief Yahya encourages you to visit Yogyakarta's beaches. 

"Take a lot of pictures, upload them to your social media channels and use the hashtags #MudikPenuhPesona, #WisataJalurMudik and #PesonaCeritaMudik," he said. 

 Here are 10 must-visit beaches around Yogyakarta.

Siung Beach
Located around 70 kilometers and about two-hour drive from the center of Yogyakarta, Siung Beach is mostly known for its huge corals and cliffs. The cliffs, especially, are haven for rock-climbing enthusiasts. There are more than 250 rock-climbing routes available at this beach. And for those who are keen to spending a night under the stars, there’s also a campsite available.

Pok Tunggal Beach
This white sand beach is one the most beautiful beaches in Yogyakarta. The beach itself is relatively new to the public, as it first gained recognition back in 2012. What’s unique about this beach is that there’s actually freshwater springs that comes from the river flow running beneath the soil.

Indrayanti Beach
The real name of this beach is actually Sawal Pulang or Pulsa Beach, the name Indrayanti is actually the name of a café’s owner whose business is located at the beach. Along the way, people began to associate the beach with Indrayanti and the name sticks until today.
This white sand beach is pretty well-known among tourists as lodgings, cafes and restaurants are already available in the area. The distance between Yogyakarta and Indrayanti beach is around 65.8 kilometers, or around two-hour drive from the city.

Sundak Beach
The story behind the name of Sundak Beach is actually pretty interesting, legend has it that in 1976 there was a pet dog who was playing there and it somehow got lost into a cave. Inside the cave, the dog saw a porcupine and wanted to eat it. This led into a fight between the two animals. 
In the end, the dog won the fight and the name Sundak was born; an acronym of asu (dog) and landak (porcupine). Before the name Sundak was coined, the beach was called Wedibelah.

Krakal Beach
Located in Tanjungsari district, Krakal Beach offers a view of white sandy beach and coral reefs found at the shore. The waves at this place are friendly enough for surfers and there are numerous hotels and restaurants there to welcome visitors.

Goa Cemara Beach
The beach is called Goa Cemara due to the fact that you will encounter rows of pine trees that create an illusion of entering a cave made of pine trees on your way to the beach. Those who are looking to enjoy the beach from a different angle may want to go to the lighthouse to see it from above. 

Baru Bantul Beach
Baru Bantul Beach is still in the same lane with Goa Cemara, Kuwaru, Pandan Sari and Pandan Simo beaches. Bantul Baru Beach is known for its seafood eateries. 

Depok Beach
Depok Beach is mostly known as the place for fish auctions (TPI) that sells many varieties of fish and other sea creatures.

Samas Beach
Just like in Goa Cemara Beach, Samas Beach also has a lighthouse that visitors can go. Since the shoreline of this beach is steep, it’s not advisable to swim your way too far beyond the shoreline. On the east side of Samas Side, there’s a new attraction called Pesona Pengklik (The Wonder of Pengklik) lagoon, which is currently being developed.

Parangtritis Beach
Probably the most famous beach in Yogyakarta, Parangtritis Beach is located close to other beaches such as Parangkusumo Beach, Parangendog Beach and Depok Beach. Apart from playing in the water, visitors can also tour around the beach using a bendi (horse-drawn carriage) or ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle). 
Source - TheJakartaPost

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Indonesia - Sumatra Paradise for surfers

When it comes to the best places for surfing in Indonesia, Bali has long topped the list, but next in line is Kampar River in Riau, West Sumatra.

Located on the equator, this river is a natural wonder of Indonesia; its waves can reach a height of up to six meters and a length of 300 meters.

Another good area for surfing, though less known, is the western coast of Lampung, which has a coastline of 210 km. There are 21 surfing spots on this coast, including Ujung Bopur, Karang Nyimbor, Way Jambu, Mandiri beach, Labuhun Jukung and Tanjung Setia beach.
“Waves at Tanjung Setia beach are said to be the best ones in the world, the place is on par with Hawaii,” said West Pesisir regent Agus Istiqlal.

Istiqlal said 16,400 overseas tourists had come to West Pesisir regency in 2016, roughly double the 8.866 tourists counted in 2015.

“The highest number of visitors are from Australia with 5,524 tourists, followed by Spain, France, Japan, Korea and other countries. This year, I hope we can double the numbers,” he added.

Recently, the international surfing competition Krui Pro 2017 was held at Tanjung Setia beach and joined by 53 overseas surfers. Indonesia sent a team of 18 surfers, 11 men and seven women: Oney Anwar, Darma Putra, Dylan Longbottom, Mustafa Jekson, Pepen Hendrik, I Nyoman Artana, I Komang Hermawan, Dede Suryana, I Made Widiarta, Raditya Rondi, Tipi Jabrik, Janiati Hansel, Yasinyar Gea, Ni Kadek Dyah Rahayu Dewi, Kailani Johnson, Taina Izquierdo, Puanani Johnson and Salini Rengganis.  

Source - TheJakartaPost

Friday, June 23, 2017

This untouched beach in central #Vietnam will take your breath away

Bai Dong, which literally means Eastern Beach, is located on the Nghi Son Peninsula in Tinh Gia District, 60km (37 miles) from Thanh Hoa Town. Every weekend, the beach is filled with visitors from the north of Vietnam. Photos by Hong Nhung

The newly-discovered Bai Dong Beach is wowing locals with its sparkling blue waters, white sands and delicious seafood. 

 The beach is with white sand and blue sea.

 Bai Dong is over 200km south of Hanoi. You can travel by coach from Hanoi to Thanh Hoa’s Nghi Son Economic Zone, then take a taxi or a motorbike taxi the next five kilometers to the beach.

 Restaurants located by the sea offer a variety of options.

 Resorts, hotels, and hostels are available to meet your accommodation needs. The cheapest hostel will cost you VND200,000 (less than $9) for a night.

Source - VN Express

Thursday, June 22, 2017

#Thailand - Krabi beaches generate most entry fees for national parks


Nopparat Thara Beach and Phi Phi Islands in Krabi generated the most revenue from entry fees for the national park agency over the past nine months.

Following the renovation of facilities and restoration of natural resources, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has collected Bt1.7 billion in revenue from nationwide national park admission fees from October 2016 until June 2017, DNP spokesman Sompot Maneerat said on Wednesday.

Most of the revenue was collected from the admission fees of Bt428 million at Krabi’s Nopparat Thara Beach and Phi Phi Islands National Park, followed by Bt299 million at Phang Nga's Mu Koh Similan National Park. 

The DNP is aiming to generate more revenue from tourism at the national parks and will allocate the money for the restoration and development of natural attractions, as the budget from the government is not sufficient.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Line's adventure park to make global debut in #Bangkok

Line Village Bangkok says it will open a Line Village merchandise store on Friday before fully opening its doors in the capital's Siam Square at a cost of 500 million baht (US$14.7 million). ( File) 

 The world's first indoor adventure park featuring friend characters of Japan's immensely popular messaging app provider Line Corp. will open later this year in Bangkok.

Line Village Bangkok says it will open a Line Village merchandise store on Friday before fully opening its doors in the capital's Siam Square at a cost of 500 million baht ($14.7 million).

The adventure park will showcase the houses of Line sticker characters -- Brown, Cony, Moon, James, Boss and Choco -- as well as photo shoot spots and digital games.

 It anticipates 12 million visitors a year. Ticket prices will be around 800 baht. Kampanart Wonghongkul, chief executive officer of Fire Dragon International Co., says his Thai firm has been granted a license by Line Friends Corp., a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based messaging app company, to run the amusement facility. He expressed hope that Line Village will become a new tourist attraction in Bangkok.

According to Line Thailand, the Southeast Asian country is its second-largest market after Japan as more than 94 percent of Thais using mobile internet are Line users. 

 Read also: LINE introduces WAVE, its first smart home device

Source - TheJakartaPost