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Showing posts with label Agoda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agoda. Show all posts

Sunday, 14 July 2019

#Cambodia - Tractor rides and hiking to reach Oral Mountain’s peak


Though Oral Mountain is the hightest peak in Cambodia, even those without trekking experience won’t find reaching the summit hard. But the real obstacle to the summit is the tricky road journey before, with the use of a tractor almost essential.

Nearby Srae Ken village is home to about 300 Suoy Malou indigenous families. They use tractors as their daily transportation as their village does not have paved roads.

“When tourists reach the villages, we provide a tractor to take them anywhere, whether waterfalls or the peak of Oral Mountain. As you see, the road in the villages is quite hard for vehicles to drive on. Here, aside from bicycles and motorbikes, only tractors can transport materials, people and tourists,” said Theang Soth, one of a handful of local guides from Srae Ken Community, where tourists start their journey to the mountain.

It is 8km from Srae Ken village to a waterfall named Prek Snar at the mountain’s foot – a journey that takes more than two hours for tourists on a tractor driving down an unpaved road.

Soth, 47, a local guide for more than 17 years, told The Post: “One tractor can take seven to eight people, and normally we have one driver and one or two guides to help during the difficult journey. We charge $35 per guide for a day and tractor hire costs $50 per day.

“Some people come to visit a few places and then go back home – most of these people are from around Kampong Speu province. Others stay overnight, trekking from one waterfall to another on the same stream. A one day trek is not enough to explore all the waterfalls.”
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Muth Pech drove his tractor with a large family from Thpong district and carried a speaker on his shoulder playing loud music.

“We came for bathing and lunch together then we are going back home,” he said, as he took the family to Prek Snar waterfall, which has a slope resembling a water slide that plunges into a 1.2m pool.

Soth is also a good chef, and he prepares lunch in the jungle with basic equipment.
“Tourists order food with us, such as two chickens for six people, and we cook them in the forest with condiments, ingredients and rice. Normally we do chicken sour soup and grilled chicken that is enough for several people,” he said.

Soth takes his guests on a more than two-hour walk after they get off the tractor.

“From the lower stream, we visit Smounh cave where we have installed beds to relax. We also visit Bak Kanhchherl, Steung Kroul and Korki creeks, which all have cascades. If people want to see all the waterfalls, spending just one day is not enough,” he said. 
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For benefit of the whole Srae Ken Community, authorities and locals are working to build a pebble trail that will make access easier.

“We are very happy to see construction vehicles building a road in front of our homes. We’ve never seen such a nice roads in our villages,” said Chhem Chhim, Srae Ken Community chief, which was founded in 2004 in Oral district’s Trapang Chhou commune.

“When we have a new road, Srae Ken Community is going to welcome more visitors who wish to visit Oral Mountain and it will bring ecotourism jobs for our people.”

While guides cook for visitors, all expenses are the responsibility of tourists, including meat, vegetables, condiments and steamed rice.

Source - PhnomPenhPost 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Two #Vietnam waterfalls among world’s most beautiful


 Microsoft network MSN has included two waterfalls in Vietnam in its list of 15 most charming cascades in the world.

It describes Ban Gioc Waterfall in the northern province of Cao Bang, near the border with China, as ‘a paradise on earth’ while the Dambri Waterfall in Bao Loc Town in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong is mentioned as place worth visiting.

Around 340 kilometers (225 miles) to the north of Hanoi, Ban Gioc is still a relatively uncrowded natural beauty in Vietnam.  
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The waterfall can be visited at any time of year, but the best time is said to be September and October when the summer rains that feed the falls are less frequent and the rice harvest is in full swing.

"Forget a blue drop against grey rocks, this waterfall is surrounded by bamboo groves and splashes over limestone rocks into a jade-colored natural pool. You can even take a dip in the pool," the site writes.

Swimming is banned here but there are small bamboo rafts that take tourists to the very edge of the falls.

Around 130 kilometers from the popular highlands resort town of Da Lat, Dambri is one of the highest waterfalls in Vietnam, setting a majestic landscape that draws backpackers and adventurous trekkers in their thousands every year.
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Other waterfalls on the MSN list include Victoria Falls on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Niagara Falls in Canada and the U.S., Yosemite Falls in the U.S., Dudhsagar Falls in India and Yumbilla Falls in Peru.

Source - VN Expess

Friday, 22 March 2019

Vietnam - Ha Giang draws tourists and travellers

A view of impressive terraced rice fields in Vietnam’s northernmost province of Ha Giang

THE breathtaking landscape created by imposing karst mountains and impressive terraced rice fields, together with the unique ethnic culture of the local Hmong people, has turned Vietnam’s Ha Giang province into a magnet for tourists and travelers.

The country’s northernmost province is home to the Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark – the first Global Unesco Geopark in Vietnam.

In 2016, the province released a resolution on policies to promote tourism development. These policies support individuals and enterprises who invest into hotels, resorts, restaurants, community tourism and cave tourism.

At present, there are 20 tourist companies with representative offices in the province. In addition, more than 200 restaurants, 618 hotels with nearly 6,000 rooms, and 37 cultural villages offering community tourism have contributed significantly to provincial tourism development. 
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 Last year, among the 1,150,000 tourists to visit Ha Giang, 250,000 were foreigners. Total revenue from tourism reached more than $43 million. 

This has helped Ha Giang stamp itself on the country’s tourism map. It is one of 24 national key tourism spots and has been selected by the international press as one of the most interesting destinations in Vietnam. 

However, receiving an increasing number of tourists each year, there are many remaining matters that could harm further tourism development. 

While a limited traffic network at some places are inaccessible, poor tourism infrastructure is sometimes unable to satisfy tourists’ demands. Viet Nam News/Asia News Network

Source - PhnomPhenPost 
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Tuesday, 12 March 2019


Fine arts department succeeds in halting oil- drilling project to conserve ancient temple complex

THE FINE Arts Department plans to expand Phetchabun’s Si Thep Historical Park and create a buffer zone in order to protect the newly discovered archaeological site in the area. It will also make preparations to register the newly found ruins for World Heritage Site status. 

Anandha Chuchoti, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, said that he has told the regional fine arts office to draft a five-year roadmap to reform the park’s management and extend the conservation area to cover the new archaeological site.

He visited the historical park after learning about ECO Orient Resources (Thailand)’s plan to drill for petroleum just 100 metres from the ancient Khao Klangnok temple complex, which is situated outside the perimeter of the historical park. 
Though the drilling project has been suspended due to opposition from the Fine Arts Department and the public, Anandha said moves to protect the Si Thep Historical Park from heavy industries and mining projects must be stepped up. 

“The Fine Arts Department is totally against any plans to drill within archaeologically important areas, because such activity can have a negative impact on the ancient stupa and other historical sites that have not been discovered yet,” he added. 
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 “This year, the department will also push for the park to be granted a World Heritage Site status by Unesco [UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation], so the park’s conservation and management can be improved,” he said. 

The Khao Klangnok site was unearthed between 2014 and 2017, and archaeologists believe the ancient stupa – constructed with red laterite bricks – was built during the Dvaravati era in the 8th or 9th century. 

The 20-metre high and 4,096-square-metre wide stupa is believed to be the largest temple from the Dvaravati era to be found in Thailand. 

Buffer zone necessary

The archaeologists have also recently discovered that this stupa is part of a much larger temple complex. The 24 small hills around the site were found to be small pagodas and most are situated outside the historical park. 

In order to ensure better management and stricter conservation measures, Anandha insisted that the park’s perimeter be extended and a buffer zone created to protect the core archaeological sites from encroachment and harmful projects. 

“I want to ensure that locals living in the area are not affected by the extension and the buffer zone. 

“The department will conduct public hearings first to ensure public participation and ensure local communities benefit from the conservation efforts,” he said. 
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 “People will be allowed to live and conduct daily activities in the buffer zone and only activities that will have an adverse impact, such as heavy industries and mining, will be prohibited.” 

Meanwhile, ECO Orient Resources’ manager Navin Phantham said his company had complied with public opinion and agreed to stop drilling for petroleum. However, he called on the department to mark out the exclusion zone clearly, |so his company’s operations can carry |on. 
“We want the Fine Arts Department and Mineral Fuels Department to cooperate and clarify where our company can drill for oil. We have a business to run,” he said. 

Navin added that his firm has a valid concession to drill for oil in the area, but since crude oil is not below the surface everywhere, it has to explore first before it can open a new oil well. 

Source - TheNation


Wednesday, 20 February 2019

#Cambodia - Kratie to become a priority tourist destination

A beach in the Mekong River in Kratie province

The province of Kratie, in the country’s east, is poised to become a priority tourist destination and a national heritage site.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon on Monday unveiled plans to turn the province’s capital into a “prime tourism destination” and a “heritage city”.

Prime destinations are important attractions but are not as crucial to the tourism sector as the country’s main tourist draws – the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap and the coastal areas.

Minister Khon said the decision to turn Kratie into a priority destination and a heritage site was based on the city’s many tourist attractions, particularly the dolphins that can be spotted in the Mekong River.

“If there are dolphins in the Mekong River, there are tourists; however, no dolphins, no tourists,” Mr Khon said.

Other noteworthy products and sites in the province with great tourism potential include the Koh Trong pomelo, colonial buildings, stunning river beaches, and a slew of eco-tourism sites, the minister said.

He reminded the city’s authorities of their responsibility to boost the quality of these products and sites to meet and exceed tourists’ expectations.

“We must continue improving the quality of services and products in the province and create new tourism products,” he said. “We must work hard to develop Kratie province into a prime destination and a heritage site, organise new events on the beach and in the river, keep the city and the province clean, improve hygiene in public toilets, and protect the environment,” Mr Khon said.
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“Tourism officials must also strive to improve tourist boats so that they offer a quality service, and drivers must wear proper uniforms,” he added.

Mr Khon told Kratie’s provincial tourism department to focus on revamping infrastructure like tourist booths, parking areas, and public toilets while improving services and products at stores, tourist boats, restaurants, and food courts.

Chuk Chumnor, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, told Khmer Times that the government also wants to turn Battambang and Kampot into heritage sites. He said the ministry is working with Unesco to register these cities as national heritage sites first, and world heritage sites at a later stage.

“We are also working with Unesco to register Kratie city as a heritage site, together with Battambang and Kampot. These three cities boast beautiful French buildings,” Mr Chumnor said.

“We are committed to strengthening the quality of tourism services and products, social order and security as well as improving eco-tourism sites in the province,” Mr Chumnor said.
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Thoun Sinan, chairman of the Cambodian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said the priority destination scheme is a strategy that aims to increase opportunities for socioeconomic development through tourism investment and development.

“To develop these priority destinations, the Ministry of Tourism, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Unesco, has studied and produced the necessary documentation to register these cities as national heritage cities and Unesco world heritage sites.

“Battambang, Kampot, and Kratie could become world heritage sites, which will draw public attention to them and help develop them in a sustainable manner while preserving their urban and natural heritage,”
Mr Sinan said.

Last year, Kratie province welcomed about 349,000 visitors, a 15.2 percent year-on-year increase. 25,990 of them were foreigners, mostly French nationals, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Source - Khmer Times

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

#Bangkok a top Tet holiday choice for Vietnamese travelers


The Thai capital is the hottest destination this year for Vietnamese choosing to travel during the Tet holiday.

Agoda, a leading global online accommodation reservations provider, has used new bookings data to assess 10 most popular Tet, Lunar New Year, holiday destinations for Vietnamese this year.

Traditionally, Tet is a time when Vietnamese people return home all over the country and the world to join their family for important Lunar New Year rituals, and to visit relatives and friends as part of the festival tradition.

However, the long holiday is tempting increasing numbers of Vietnamese citizens to travel within and outside the country.

This year, Bangkok has overtaken many of famous Vietnamese tourist hotspots like Da Lat, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc. Singapore came sixth on the list, while Kuala Lumpur took the ninth position.
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 Around one million Vietnamese tourists touched down in Thailand in 2018, putting Vietnam among the kingdom's top 10 tourism markets, according to a recent report by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Citizens of ASEAN member nations can travel within the region without applying for visa and stay as a tourist for a maximum of 30 days.

Bangkok’s high popularity among Vietnamese holiday goers is reflected in the fact that 30 airlines have direct routes connecting Hanoi and Saigon with the capital of Thailand.

The Year of the Pig begins on February 5 and the Vietnamese government has approved a nine-day (February 2-10) break for the holiday.

Rising overseas travel is a result of economic development and an expanding middle class, said Nguyen Cong Hoan, vice general director of Hanoi Redtour.

"A more affluent younger generation now wants to see the world. They are willing to spend more money on experiencing new destinations," he said.

According to Mastercard, Vietnam has the second fastest growing outbound market in the Asia Pacific region after Myanmar, with projected annual growth of 9.5 percent between 2016 and 2021.

Mastercard has forecast that some 7.5 million Vietnamese travelers will venture outside the country in 2021.

Source - VN Express

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Bali's beaches are the top attraction on the resort island


Indonesia remains an attractive destination for Chinese tourists to visit during the year-end holiday season, according to a survey, despite the series of disasters hitting the archipelago throughout the year. 


As reported by news agency Antara, a survey conducted by Chinese travel portal tuniu.com reveals that the most attractive countries for tourists from mainland China during the current year-end holidays are Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, France, Italy, Switzerland, Indonesia and Germany.


Countries in Europe are the preferred destinations for Christmas, but those who want the warmth of the sun and pristine beaches choose Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand, especially since these countries allow visa-free entry.
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 Indonesia remains an attractive destination for Chinese tourists, according to the survey, which shows that a series of natural disasters and a fatal airplane accident in 2018 did not deter tourists.

The Tourism Ministry, however, has fallen short of its targeted 2.6 million tourist visits from China during the period of January to October, with only 1.87 million having visited.

According to Tuniu’s survey, conducted among respondents between 19 and 35 years of age, young Chinese travelers mostly opt for holidays in the northern hemisphere, such as Finland, Norway, Iceland or Denmark. Yet some prefer to fly to the southern hemisphere for some warmth, including to Australia, New Zealand or Mauritius.

The survey also shows that 70 percent of the respondents spend only three days on their year-end vacation, typically from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1. About 64 percent of the respondents were women, most of whom said they would go on vacation with their friends or parents.

Ticket sales for the holiday season rose 30 percent in China, according to the survey, with fast trains still the main choice for domestic tourists.
Source - TheJakartaPost

Top destinations to welcome 2019, according to Agoda


Big cities like Tokyo, Paris and New York have been named the top destinations for a New Year's vacation among travelers from all over the world, according to online travel agent Agoda

Japan's capital city of Tokyo is among to top 10 New Year's Eve celebration destinations for many market segments. For the Chinese and Singaporean market, Tokyo is the first choice to ring in the New Year, as reported by kompas.com

During New Year celebrations, Tokyo is enlivened with music concerts, parades and lights, making it the perfect destination to celebrate the start of 2019.

Meanwhile, Paris is often filled with numerous parties to welcome the New Year. There are many countdown celebrations in popular places across the city, which are also suitable for some family fun. 

The lively atmosphere among the classic French architecture makes Paris the most popular destination in Europe for New Year's Eve celebrations.

For tourists from Britain, Israel, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, Paris is ranked first in their choice to celebrate the New Year.
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The ball drop in New York’s Times Square in the United States is one of the most iconic celebrations in the world. So, it is no wonder that New York is included in the popular list as the top destination in North America for global tourists.

In a separate list of destinations in Asia, Indonesia's resort island of Bali ranked ninth for global tourists.

Meanwhile, in a separate list compiled by Indonesian travelers, Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok are the most popular Asian choices for New Year's Eve celebrations. For travelers from Jakarta, Bali is the most popular destination to celebrate the changing year.

Notably, top global favorite Tokyo is also one of the most popular destinations among Indonesian tourists for celebrating New Year's. Tokyo rose to fifth place among Indonesian tourists, climbing three places from 2018.
 
Source - TheJakartaPost

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

#Bangkok tops Agoda’s 2018 list of Asian destinations






Online travel agent Agoda has found Bangkok to be the most popular Asian destination of 2018, “not only a convenient transit point to explore the rest of Thailand, but also teeming with energy, quirks and fascinating culture”.

 According to the year’s booking data from Agoda, beachside city Pattaya has been the 10th most popular Asian destination.

Tokyo is No 2, followed in descending order by Hong Kong, Osaka, Taipei, Seoul, Singapore and Bali, and then Pattaya.

 Thailand ranked second-most-booked Asian country this year. “From historic temples and sparkling white sandy beaches to rich culture and world-famous cuisine, it’s no wonder why Thailand continues to draw in travelers from around the world,” Agoda says.

 Japan has claimed the crown for top Asian country overall, the credit going to “ephemeral sights like cherry blossoms to the endless quirky, wonderful experiences such as robot cafes”. Malaysia ranks third.

Thai travelers have mainly enjoyed domestic trips in 2018, with Japan and Singapore the most popular countries further afield. 
 
Agoda says Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Phuket have been the top five destinations in Thailand for Thais, followed by “laid-back destinations” Khao Yai, Chonburi, Krabi and Chiang Rai.

Tokyo appeals to Thais because it has no visa requirements, additional flight routes and diverse cultural highlights.

Source - TheNation

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Just the ticket for the holidays

Travellers spending their holidays in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East can save up to 30 per cent on their accommodation by booking online a stay of two nights or more with our Hotels and Resorts.

 “We operate multiple hotels in many countries and with our Summer 2017 campaign offering value-for-money room rates, travellers have the perfect excuse to book more than one property or holiday to experience all that a destination – or even a region – has to offer.” 
The ‘It’s your Summer’ campaign is valid for stays from tomorrow (June 1) through August 31. This summer, guests can sample two new initiatives – the global family programme and an innovative sleep concept.

The 'Family’ programme is designed for guests travelling with youngsters. It offers a range of complimentary benefits including on-demand baby essentials such as strollers, change tables and bottle warmers, healthy children’s menus, family-friendly services, local activities, and special room discounts. 

Guests in Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland can opt for a pioneering personalised sleep experience by booking a new “Sleep individually different” room.