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Showing posts with label Crossing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Crossing. Show all posts

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Crossing Siberia, from Moscow to Mongolia


In 1891, Nicholas II made a grand voyage across what was then the Russian Empire on what was called The Tsar’s Train. The potentate ventured from the imperial capital of Saint Petersburg to Vladivostok, on the frozen rim of Siberia, more than 9,000 kilometers away.

The same route, now known as the Trans-Siberia Railroad, exists today, with branch lines that allow journeys to destinations as far as China and Mongolia.

All aboard


Unlike Tsar Nicholas II, I would begin by voyage in Moscow, where I landed at Domodedovo Airport in October. First pro tip: Dress warmly: the temperature was about -3 degrees! Used to tropical weather, I was chilled, wearing only a thin jacket, winter hat and hand-knit gloves.

Two months before leaving for Russia, I had purchased my tickets, spending US$285 for an 87-hour passage from Moscow to Irkutsk on the Trans-Siberia Railway and $200 for the 22-hour journey from Irkutsk to Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. Purchase can also be made in Moscow, or via websites such as russianrail.com or expresstorussia.com, which will deliver tickets to your hotel.

Before departing, I stopped at a supermarket. Three days on a train traveling second class meant I had to lay in a supply of food and sundries, such as instant noodles, flip flops for the shower and five cans of beer. (Second pro tip: Russian Rail officers say that you can’t bring more than five cans on the train.
 
 
 I was at Moscow Yaroslavskaya Station, which forms a rail terminus shared with Kazansky and Leningradsky Stations, about three hours before departure, as suggested. Each car of my train had from six to nine (quite clean) passenger compartments, a toilet/shower room and an officer space. 
 In my second-class compartment, towels, blankets, mattresses and pillows were neatly stacked. There was ample space for four to sleep, two on upper berths, which folded away during the daytime, and two on lower berths. We left Moscow just before midnight, starting my Siberian adventure.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Cross-border route to link India, Myanmar, Thailand


1,400 km highway and other transport ties are major part of 'act east'policy, Indian ambassador says; world war ll bridges being repaired.

INDIA, Thailand and Myanmar are negotiating a breakthrough 1,400-kilometre highway that will link India with Southeast Asia by land for the first time in decades.

In an interview with The Nation, Indian Ambassador Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi said 73 bridges in Myanmar built during World War II more than seven decades ago are being renovated with funding from the Indian government to allow vehicles to cross the highway safely.

When the repair work is completed in 18 months, the highway could be opened to traffic from all three countries.

The planned highway, which starts in the eastern region of India from Moreh city to Myanmar's Tamu city, has received a positive response from Myanmar's new government following the recent general election.
At this stage, negotiations are underway to conclude a tri-nation motor vehicle agreement for the use of the 1,400km road that will reach Thailand at Tak's Mae Sot district.
 This will lead to land transport connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia and increased trade and investment among all partner countries with cargo transportation being the first priority.

However, there are still some security challenges for a section inside Myanmar, which will have to be resolved with the authorities.

The tri-nation highway exemplifies India's "Act East" policy, under which the Asian giant aims to boost its economic and other relations neighbouring countries in the East.

Myanmar's Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate project near the Thai border is also expected to help further integrate eastern India with Asean.

The planned port can be linked up with India's Chennai port as well as Thailand's Laem Chabang Port on the other side of the ocean.

Under the "Act East" policy, India is also preparing to negotiate a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which includes the 10-country Asean grouping on top of the current India-Asean free-trade agreement (FTA).

Some Asean countries such as Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia have become members of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) FTA, so Asean is upgrading its FTAs with major trading partners such as India and China to formulate RCEP agreements, which are more advanced.

India views Asean as a central component of its "Act East" policy. Myanmar shares a border with India, while Thailand is a maritime neighbour with long-standing cultural and other ties, so both nations are India's gateway to Asean.

Thai-Indian trade amounted to US$8 billion (Bt285.5 billion) last year, while 1 million Indian tourists visited Thailand last year. There were also about 300 Indian weddings held here.

Among major Thai investors in India are CP Group, Delta Electronics, Ital-Thai and Pruksa Real Estate, while the major Indian firms operating in Thailand are Tata Group, Aditya Birla and Indorama.

India continues to rack up high economic growth of 7 per cent per year amid the global slowdown, he added.

 India’s recent pact with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to facilitate free vehicular movement coupled with the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway could potentially increase intraregional trade by almost 60% as well as extract maximum strategic mileage.

A strategic pact signed by India to facilitate free vehicular movement with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal; alongside a proposal to step-up work on operationalising a 3200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand), are two vital components of the NDA government’s reinforced ‘Act East’ policy.
India’s recent pact with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to facilitate free vehicular movement coupled with the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway could potentially increase intraregional trade by almost 60% as well as extract maximum strategic mileage.
A strategic pact signed by India to facilitate free vehicular movement with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal; alongside a proposal to step-up work on operationalising a 3200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand), are two vital components of the NDA government’s reinforced ‘Act East’ policy.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sub-regional-road-connectivity-pacts-from-looking-east-to-linking-east/#sthash.E0idX9lr.dpuf
India’s recent pact with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal to facilitate free vehicular movement coupled with the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway could potentially increase intraregional trade by almost 60% as well as extract maximum strategic mileage.
A strategic pact signed by India to facilitate free vehicular movement with Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal; alongside a proposal to step-up work on operationalising a 3200-km road link from Moreh (India) to Mae Sot (Thailand), are two vital components of the NDA government’s reinforced ‘Act East’ policy.
- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/sub-regional-road-connectivity-pacts-from-looking-east-to-linking-east/#sthash.E0idX9lr.dpuf
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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thai man travels 500,000km across Thailand to create Google Street View


Google has mapped out 150 new places of interest in Thailand with the help of Thai triathlete Panupong Luangsa-ard.  

Panupong travelled an estimated 500,000 km using various transportation methods, and walked about 500 km of it.

"While collecting just the tea plantations and strawberry fields, he burned through four pairs of shoes," a Google rep said.
The new places include the Sukhothai Historical Park and ancient temples at Ayutthaya.
Nestled in northern Thailand, Sukhothai Historical Park was once the capital of ancient Siam. Sukhothai means “dawn of happiness”, and now you too can explore this happy place from the palm of your hand with Google Maps. Today, the park joins over 150 new places and national treasures that are now available in 360-degree panoramic imagery on Google Street View.

From ancient temples, to tropical beaches, to strawberry plantations and rice terraces, this new Street View collection showcases the beauty and diversity of The Kingdom. Our intrepid trekker walked 500 kilometers with a heavy backpack across the length and breadth of the country to capture images of places like this:
Temple visits are a must for any visitor to Thailand.
Now you can wander virtually through the ruins of the Chai Watthanaram Temple and pay your virtual respects to Buddha peaking out from behind ancient tree roots at the Ayutthaya Historical Park. See ancient Khmer ruins at Phanom Rung National Park, or get up close to the intricate Buddhist and Hindu sculptures at the The Sanctuary of Truth — a temple made entirely of wood, just outside Bangkok.
Or take a whirlwind tour around Thailand’s most famous monuments and architectural attractions all in one place at Ancient Siam. Dubbed the world's largest outdoor museum, the park is shaped like Thailand and is home to monuments of The Old Market Town and The Pavilion of the Enlightened. 
Source: Coconuts & GoogleBlog

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thai Immigration launches 'new' crackdown on visa runners


Understands that Immigration officials at land border crossings will no longer allow foreigners to complete an ‘Out/In’ visa run.

Reports of a ‘crackdown’ on border runners along the Thai/Cambodian border first started surfacing over the weekend when several Thaivisa members posted about not being allowed to re-enter Thailand on visa-exempt entries.

On Monday evening, Thaivisa spoke to an Immigration officer based at Chaeng Wattana who confirmed that renewals of 15/30 day visa exempt entries are not allowed.

The source, who did not want to be named, also said that this apparent ‘crackdown’ is actually nothing new and stressed that foreigners are not permitted to stay in Thailand on renewed 15/30 day visa-exempt entries.

Instead, any foreigner wishing to stay in Thailand beyond 30 days should ensure they have the correct documentation, such as a valid tourist visa, Non-Immigration or extension of stay based on marriage, work, education, retirement etc.

This latest news does not affect those people with valid tourist visas or those who are on multiple entry Non-O, Non-B.

This ‘crackdown’ only applies to those people who stay in Thailand on visa exempt entries, without valid visas, and therefore have to complete a border run every 15 or 30 days.

Thaivisa understands that because Thailand is currently in a state of heightened security following the Bangkok bombings, government officials have informed all Immigration offices and border checkpoints nationwide to carry out rigorous checks on foreigners trying to enter the Kingdom and ensure that all foreigners do so with the correct visa documentation.

Foreigners entering Thailand can also be expected to provide information on where they will be staying in the Kingdom, as well as items such as a valid travel itinerary, if requested to do so by Immigration officials.

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 “The order is not new. Originally, officers were authorised to consider giving permits. But in this current situation of heightened security, all officers have to step up restrictions,” said an official at the Immigration Bureau.

Many foreigners regularly go on visa runs to Cambodia and return through the Sa Kaeo immigration checkpoint, he said.

“Some foreigners do not even go themselves, but get illegal networks to obtain the entry stamp for them,” the source said, adding that the government has cracked down on the border-run syndicates, prompting them to change tactics.

Now the networks provide a one-day tour for foreigners to the Cambodian town of Poi Pet, so they can re-enter Thailand afterwards with permission to stay for another 15-30 days.

Law enforcement on these types of activities will intensify, said the source. From now on, foreigners who are re-entering Thailand will be screened rigorously.

They will need to provide information about their accommodation, tour company or other details to confirm they are in the country to travel as tourists.

The measure is likely to block scores of foreigners from re-entering Thailand through Sa Kaeo. Those wishing to enter Thailand from Cambodia will have to go to Phnom Penh to apply for a visa at the Thai embassy.

The police investigation into the bomb blasts at Erawan shrine on August 17 and the Sathon pier on August 18 discovered immigration police were bribed by an illegal network linked to the perpetrators.

The issue prompted national police chief Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang to call a meeting with the heads of immigration checkpoints on Sept 7, and was followed by a reshuffle in immigration police staff.

“The immigration police are coming under intense scrutiny,” said another high-ranking official at the bureau.

Some army-backed officers were moved to head up the checkpoints in the recent reshuffle.

Pol Gen Somyot is now wrestling to oust bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sakda Chuenpakdee, who allegedly failed to follow the government order to transfer officers linked to Rohingya traffickers out of his jurisdiction.

Pol Gen Somyot also handed out a report exposing the unlawful practices of immigration police under the command of Pol Gen Sakda, such as allegedly accepting B300-500 bribes from foreigners cutting the queue to apply for visas at Suvarnabhumi airport, the source said.

The practice is said to make about B2 million in profit for the immigration police every day.

“Pol Gen Somyot aims to destroy the treasure trove plundered by the bureau,” the source said.


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