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Showing posts with label Traveling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Traveling. 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 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

#Indonesia - 8 reasons to visit Lombok and the Gili Islands


If you’re looking for a laid-back escape with an adventure or two, it would be hard to beat Lombok and the Gili Islands. You can choose to relax on endless white sand beaches, dive remote coral reefs or hike to see panoramic views.

Devastated by the series of earthquakes in 2018, these destinations are bouncing back and hungry for tourists. So pack your bags this coming dry season and go explore paradise.

1. Hike Mount Rinjani National Park

Lombok's Mount Rinjani National Park is unbeatable for spectacular views and challenging trails. While most of the hiking trails on Mt. Rinjani were damaged in the 2018 earthquakes, one trail has reopened.

Located in Aik Berik village, the trail is lesser known among the mountain's more popular trails, but offers a similar experience for adventurous travelers in search of epic views.
2. Hop around Gili Islands

For a relaxing break from daily life, consider going island-hopping around the stunning Gili Islands. These islands are known for scuba diving cruises and offers a chance to truly get away from it all.

If you can bear to tear yourself away from the white sand beaches and turquoise ocean vistas, you’ll find vibrant coral reefs teeming with life under the waters.

The Shark Point dive site offers a chance to dive with sharks and manta rays, while Deep Turbo offers overhangs and underwater caves for experienced divers to explore. You might even see a whale shark or two.
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3. Experience Bangkang bat cave

A trip to Goa Bangkang will take your breath away with stalactites and bursts of sunlight through the cave's ceiling. Tucked underground on Lombok, it is a cave like no other.

Descending the stairs into Bangkang, your senses will be struck by the sound and smell of thousands of bats. If you stay in the area until sunset, you can watch the bats exit the cave, covering the sky as they begin their nightly hunt for food.

4. Swim with sea turtles

If you’re a fan of sea turtles (who isn’t?), be sure to check out the sea turtle conservation initiatives at the Gili Islands.

Green sea turtles, which are classified as endangered, are well cared for at Gili Meno, thanks to Bolong, the local man who set up the Gili Meno Turtle Sanctuary. The sanctuary saves turtle eggs from predators to help release the precious hatchlings into the sea.

The sanctuary is fascinating, and your visit will support turtle conservation, as it depends entirely on donations from visitors.

You can swim with sea turtles at various spots around the Gili Islands. Gili Air is especially known for green sea turtles at Han Rock.

5. Slow down, enjoy the silence

No motorized vehicles are allowed on Gili Trawangan, meaning you can escape the noise of the neighboring destinations and rejuvenate in peace and quiet.

The best way to explore the charms of Gili Trawangan is by foot or on a bicycle. Stop off at beach bars, do some yoga, or just walk the endless sands to reconnect with yourself, one day at a time.

6. Enjoy epic views from Gili Trawangan

There’s only one lookout point on the Gili Islands, at the top of Gili Trawangan. Head off on a hike at sunrise, and you’ll start your day off right.

At the peak is a shrine and Muslim burial site, plus the remains of a World War II Japanese bunker to investigate, though the view is the real highlight.

Resting at the top, you can look across the ocean to Mt. Rinjani and capture panoramic views of the other Gili Islands, plus Lombok and Bali.

7. Learn to dive at Sekotong

If you’ve always wanted to try scuba diving but were too nervous to take the plunge, Sekotong in Lombok is a great place to start. The beautiful reefs there offer easy, sheltered dives, perfect for beginners.

It will be well worth the effort, as you’re likely to spot sea turtles. You can even try spotting the tiny pygmy seahorses.

8. Watch the sunset at Semeti Beach

Another Lombok highlight are the rock formations on Semeti Beach, which are not to be missed. These striking pyramid-shaped rocks jut impressively out of the ocean, providing the perfect backdrop to a sunset.

Semeti Beach is an ideal place to end a day of island-hopping, to see the best view of the sun setting that you’re ever likely to see.

The author is a diver and writer for LiveAboard.com

Source - TheJakartaPost

Monday, 29 October 2018

#Thailand - Ko Samui goes green to protect island ecosystem


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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working together with local stakeholders and tourists on Ko Samui to eliminate the use of single-use plastics and encourage all to reduce waste, reuse and recycle to help protect the island’s ecosystem.


The local authorities on Ko Samui are proactively campaigning for recycling and waste management, urging residents and business operators to separate their waste for recycling to reduce the amount of garbage produce on the island.


Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, TAT Governor, said, “Education and awareness are the keys to success for this initiative. TAT proactively encourages both tourists and tourism businesses to help reduce tourism waste on the paradise island of Samui.




“Changing behaviour doesn’t happen overnight. We are seeing an increase in reusable cloth bags when shopping, and both visitors and residents are pitching in to do their part and help keep the island clean.”


Waste reduction thinking is quickly gaining traction amongst environmentally concerned Thai businesses and globetrotters on Ko Samui.


With some of the most stunning landscapes in Thailand, it is little wonder that visitors to Ko Samui continue to increase at an astonishing pace. With this influx comes a need to find a balance between high levels of service and environmental impacts. Fortunately, as attention has turned to exploring ways to preserve the island’s delicate ecosystem, travellers can give back to the local Thai community by creating less waste and leaving a minimal holiday footprint.
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https://www.hotelscombined.com/?a_aid=145054
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 Local stores and shops on the island are campaigning against single-use plastics. Hotels and resorts as well as tourism-related businesses on Ko Samui are also helping to lead the way on responsible waste management by following the three ‘R’ principle: reduction, reuse and recycle. Luxury resorts on Ko Samui were among the first to introduce the plant-based straw revolution that is sweeping across Thailand and are endeavoring to make their tourism operations more sustainable.

One spearhead organisation is the ‘Trash Hero Ko Samui’ initiative, whose volunteers meet every Saturday at 10 a.m. to clean Samui’s beaches.
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Under the TAT’s on-going responsible tourism strategy, a new ‘Travel Thailand in Style, Reduce Plastic Waste’ collaboration initiative with various stakeholders was launched in August this year. It has an ambitious target to cut tourism-related waste by up to 50 percent by 2020.

Targeting both tourists and businesses to address waste problems in key travel destinations, the TAT also encourages use of reusable or sustainable items; such as, plant-based drinking straws instead of plastic straws, cotton bags instead of plastic bags, water tumblers instead of plastic bottles, and reusable food utensils instead of single-use plastic or foam items.

Back in March 2017, TAT partnered with PTT Global Chemical and the Ecoalf Foundation to launch an ‘Upcycling the Oceans, Thailand’ initiative. It made Thailand the first country in Asia to join the global ocean clean-up effort to reduce debris along the country’s coastal regions, especially in popular tourist areas on the east coast, in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

Source - TheNation
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https://12go.asia/?z=581915
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Thursday, 27 September 2018

#Cambodia - Bayon Restoration to resume


The Japanese and Cambodian governments have allocated $1,5 million to fund phase five of the Bayon temple restoration project, a Unesco official said on Tuesday.

Unesco Culture Programme Specialist Philippe Delanghe told The Post yesterday that the project which is slated to begin this year will be completed in 2020. This is according to a mutual agreement signed by the UN agency and the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

The project is backed by the Japanese and Cambodian governments, with each contributed $1 million and $500,000 respectively, he said.

Delanghe said: “The financial contribution is necessary to continue restoration of the Bayon Temple.”
The fifth phase of the project focuses on studying and restoring the central structure of the temple, as well as preserving its sculptures which reflect the people’s daily lives during the great era reigned by Jayavarman VII around the late 12th century.

Through Waseda University, Japan plays a crucial role in researching, protecting and preserving the Kingdom’s World Heritage site.
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 It has been financing restoration projects via the Japan Trust Fund for the Conservation of Culture World Heritage.

During the implementation of phase three (2005-2011) under the joint framework called Japan-Apsara Safeguarding Angkor (JASA), Japan provided financial support amounting to $3,268,286 in addition to the $500,000 contribution given by the Apsara Authority.

Unesco was responsible for the administrative arrangements for this project.

Phase four of the project, which started in 2011 and finished in 2015, was implemented with a $2.5 million contribution from the Japanese government and $500,000 from the Cambodian one.

Greater understanding

A spate of restoration activity by various stakeholders throughout the years led to the uncovering of many buried artefacts and greater understanding of the Khmer empire.
Apsara Authority director-general Sum Mab said the fund will make the process of protecting and conserving the temple easier.

“The contribution indicated a huge participation by the Japanese government in protecting and conserving [Bayon temple] which is part of the Angkor Archaeological Park – a world heritage site.”

He said restoration within the archaeological park is very important, noting that the effort would allow future generations to learn and research the traditions and culture of the ancient empire reflected through the historical structures.

Other than Japan, other countries have also participated in many of the Kingdom’s temple restoration projects.

Last year, a report saw China rolling out funds to restore the royal palace complex within the Angkor Thom archaeological site in Siem Reap.

In 2014, Korea, via The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), contributed $4 million towards a three-year restoration project of the 12th century Preah Pithu Temple located within the Angkor Wat World Heritage site.

Source - TheNation

https://12go.asia/?z=581915
 

Monday, 27 August 2018

#Vietnam's Golden Bridge among Time's top 100 destinations this year


Just months after it opened to public, Vietnam’s amazing Golden Bridge continues to grab the world’s attention.


The Time magazine has listed it in its list of top 100 World’s Greatest Places for 2018.
Remarking on its architectural creativity, the magazine’s Julia Zorthian notes: “The two massive stony hands emerging from the mountains of central Vietnam may look mossy and cracked like ancient ruins, but don’t be fooled: they’re brand-new wire mesh and fiberglass supports for a striking footbridge that opened in June.”

Images of the two giant hands holding up the 150 meters long bridge at Ba Na Hills near Da Nang have gone viral and many international media outlets have remarked on the bridge, including AFP, Reuters and CNN.

Vu Viet Anh, Design Principal at TA Landscape Architecture that designed the pedestrian walkway, told Reuters that the bridge was designed to stimulate the image of the “giant hands of Gods, pulling a strip of gold out of the land.”

Other places on Time’s list include the Macan Museum in Indonesia and Tianjin Binhai Library in China.

According to Time, editors and experts at the magazine evaluated the entries based on quality, originality, innovation, sustainability and influence.

Offering grand views of mountains and forests from a height of almost 1000 metres above sea level, the bridge is set to attract increasing numbers of tourists to Da Nang and Ba Na Hills.


The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism reported that Ba Na Hills attracted 2.7 million visitors in 2017.

In the first six months of this year, more than 1.7 million of four million plus people visiting Da Nang also visited Ba Na Hills.
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Friday, 16 March 2018

#Indonesia - Lombok records increase in tourist visits ahead of Nyepi


The number of domestic and foreign tourists in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), has significantly increased ahead of Nyepi, the Day of Silence in Bali, which falls on Saturday.

“Since yesterday [Wednesday], we’ve seen an increase in the flow of foreign tourists to Lombok. 
They want to spend the holiday in a relaxed atmosphere, as Bali and Lombok have really different atmospheres during Nyepi,” said the chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association's (PHRI) NTB chapter, Lalu Abdul Hadi Faisal, in Mataram on Thursday.

He said the trend could be seen in the spike in occupancy rates of hotels in Lombok.
Currently, the average occupancy rate stands at 60 to 65 percent in Mataram and its surrounding areas and it can reach up to 75 percent in tourist resort areas such as Gili Trawangan in North Lombok and Senggigi, West Lombok.

Apart from Nyepi in Bali, Hadi said, the increase in visitors to Lombok also had to do with a string of conferences and research activities that would be conducted in the area over the weekend.

“Around 300 students of Muhammadiyah University from Sidoarjo, East Java, for example, will come to Lombok. Because of Nyepi in Bali, they have decided to stay in hotels in Lombok for their meeting,” he said.

Lombok International Airport (LIA) general manager I Gusti Ngurah Ardita said that on Nyepi, eight flights from Ngurah Rai International Airport to LIA and vice versa would be halted until Sunday.
 
Source - TheJakartaPost

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Exploring Disney parks with Google Street View


Google has announced that its Street View feature now covers 11 Disney parks.
“We’re all about new fantastic points of view. Today, Street View is going the distance, from California to Florida, to make Disney part of your world. Be our guest at 11 Disney Parks, and with Street View, anything your heart desires will come to you castles, rides, attractions to infinity and beyond," Google Street View program manager Deanna Yick said in a statement on Tuesday.

Visitors are welcome to explore Disney parks at their own leisure and can take self-guided tours to plan future visits. Those who dislike long lines and big crowds can also take advantage of enjoying the parks from home.
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The Verge reported that some of the destinations include Magic Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Pandora – the World of Avatar and Epcot.  Google used for the feature Street View Trekker, a 360-degree camera mounted on a backpack worn by an operator moving through walkways and structures. According to the Disney Park website, images from the camera are digitally stitched together to create a 360-degree panorama effect. Images and videos of the parks captured and shared by users of the Street View app are also available for perusal.  For virtual access of the Disney parks through Google Street View, search for one of the 11 parks and then drag the yellow peg-man icon on the lower right corner of your map screen onto an area that will become highlighted in blue. From there, you’ll be able to pan around and utilize the 360-degree camera.
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The Verge reported that some of the destinations include Magic Kingdom, Guardians of the Galaxy, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Pandora the World of Avatar and Epcot.

Google used for the feature Street View Trekker, a 360-degree camera mounted on a backpack worn by an operator moving through walkways and structures. According to the Disney Park website, images from the camera are digitally stitched together to create a 360-degree panorama effect. Images and videos of the parks captured and shared by users of the Street View app are also available for perusal.

For virtual access of the Disney parks through Google Street View, search for one of the 11 parks and then drag the yellow peg-man icon on the lower right corner of your map screen onto an area that will become highlighted in blue. From there, you’ll be able to pan around and utilize the 360-degree camera.
 
Source - TheJakartaPost 
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Sunday, 10 December 2017

Indonesia eyes China's Macao, Hong Kong markets to boost tourism


Indonesia has planned to hold events to sell tour packages in China's Macao and Hong Kong on Dec 12 and Dec 14 respectively, aimed at further tapping significant potentialities from the two markets, a senior official of the country's Tourism Ministry said.

Deputy Minister for International Marketing Development at the ministry Gde Pitana said the ministry would send 11 sellers from Bali, Surabaya, Lombok, Jakarta, Sabang, North Sulawesi, Papua and Riau Isles in the two events.

Most of Indonesian sellers would highlight marine and undersea tours with several tour packages in Indonesia's prominent diving and snorkeling spots.


Besides Bali, tour packages to be offered for potential tourists in Macao and Hong Kong among others were Bunaken, Raja Amat, Mansuar Island, Mike's Point and Manta's point, would be offered in the two events.

"Indonesia has plenty of beautiful undersea spots for diving and snorkeling. Indonesia had just earned The Best Dive Destination award in the recent World Travel Market event in London last month," Pitana said recently.

He said the upcoming sales mission events held in Macao's Royal Hotel and Hong Kong's Kimberly Hotel were highly expected to successfully tap the momentum prior to year-end vacation this year.
Indonesia's upcoming tour package sales events were particularly expected to attract more tourists from the Chinese mainland to visit Indonesia via Hong Kong.

Source - China Daily

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Holiday trends for the coming year


A research conducted by Booking.com reveals the biggest travel predictions for 2018.

Looking for inspiration for 2018 travel? Facilitating reservations for more than 1.5 million room nights each day, the experts at the leading travel website Booking.com have combined customer insights from over 128 million real guest reviews with research from 19,000 travellers across 26 countries around the world to reveal the biggest travel predictions for 2018. 
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Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who have taken a trip in the last 12 months/plan to take a trip in the next 12 months surveyed 18,509 respondents from the UK, US, Brazil, China, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, India, Singapore and Russia plus smaller numbers from Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Hong Kong, Croatia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand and Taiwan. Respondents completed an online survey last August. 
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Here are eight travel predictions for the year 2018;
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 Immersive experiences will reach the next level in 2018, with travellers looking to technology to help better understand a destination or accommodation before they book. Artificial intelligence and digital technology are helping consumers turn the corner when it comes to smart destination intuition, reshaping the way we research, book and experience travel. Almost a third (29 per cent) of global travellers say they are comfortable letting a computer plan an upcoming trip based on data from their previous travel history. 

Over six in 10 (64 per cent) of travellers say they would like to “try before they buy” with a virtual reality preview. Taking all the hard work and stress out of decision making, in 2018 technology will continue to guide us seamlessly to find the best stays and experiences for us.
 
From dream to reality The year 2018 is the year to dream big as 45 per cent of travellers have a travel bucket list in mind and the majority of those (82 per cent) will aim to tick one or more destinations off their list in the coming year. The yearning for experiences over material possessions continues and drives our desire for more incredible and memorable trips. 

Most likely to feature on a bucket list is seeing one of the wonders of the world, as almost half of travellers (47 per cent) will look to tick this off in 2018. Over a third (35 per cent) yearn to tantalise their taste buds by trying a local delicacy, 34 per cent want to head to an island paradise and 34 per cent are thrill seekers wanting to visit a world-famous theme park. 

Retro reboot

As well as new experiences, travellers will be revisiting their favorite childhood memories as part of their trips in 2018. Blending the future with the past, next year’s travellers will be inspired to return to previously loved destinations and explore them in a whole new way. 

A third of travellers (34 per cent) will consider a holiday they experienced as a child for 2018.
These popularity of these vintage vacations stems from the feelings of nostalgia and happiness the destinations evoke. Travellers say that former family holidays recall the fondest memories, even more so than childhood sweethearts or family pets. 

Pop culture pilgrimage

In 2018, television shows, films, sport and social media in particular look set to have an increasingly significant sway over booking decisions, as travellers turn to pop culture for their travel inspiration. Reading blogs or watching YouTuber recommendations will spark ideas for four in ten (39 per cent) travellers and on screen locations from television, film or music videos will win over 36 per cent of travellers in the coming year. 

The top television programme locations travellers most want to visit in 2018 are Croatia, Spain and Iceland inspired by “Game of Thrones” (29 per cent), London as seen in “Sherlock” and “The Crown” (21 per cent and 13 per cent), New York and Manhattan from “Billions” (13 per cent) and Los Angeles viewed in “Entourage” (10 per cent). 

Walk your way to wellness 

The trend for wellness getaways isn’t slowing down for 2018, with almost double the amount of people planning to take health and well-being trips in 2018 compared to 2017 (from one in 10 in 2017 to nearly one in five in 2018). 

Health and wellness inspired activities high on the travel agenda in 2018 include visiting a spa or receiving beauty treatments (33 per cent), cycling (24 per cent), water sport activities (22 per cent), taking a full body detox holiday (17 per cent), going on a yoga retreat (16 per cent), running (16 per cent) and undertaking meditation/mindfulness (15 per cent). Embracing such experiences is popular with travellers, with 59 per cent saying they prioritize experiences over material items when on holiday. 

Economic intuition

Every year, travellers are becoming savvier, especially when it comes to getting the most for their money. With significant numbers basing their travelling decisions on finance-related matters, 2018 will see travellers looking to be even more economically intuitive. Nearly half (47 per cent) will take currency exchange rates into consideration when planning their travels for the year, and almost the same amount (48 per cent) will think about the economic climate of a destination before making the decision to travel. 

More confident to follow their own intuition, travellers are less obliged to follow the herd, with over half (57 per cent) wanting to do more independent travel in 2018, placing growing value on personalised endeavours, looking for the best deals and putting together their own packages – all with the help of apps and technology. 

The great mate escape

The year 2018 is gearing up to be all about the group getaway. When asked who their 2018 travelling companions were likely to be, the segment with the biggest increase when compared to 2017, was travelling with a group of friends, increasing from 21 per cent to 25 per cent. 

Mate’s escapes are the ultimate social time away from our everyday pressures, reducing stress and building connections with your friends. With the world only a click away it’s never been easier to find the perfect place to stay and explore with a large group of friends looking for adventure across every corner of the globe. 

Friend-based getaways also have financial advantages as four in 10 (42 per cent) said that joint holidays with friends will allow them to stay in accommodation they wouldn't be able to afford on their own. 

Live like a local, not with one
In 2018, rental homes are going to be particularly popular – not just for travellers looking to stay in one, but also home owners who are thinking of inviting others to stay in their own abode. One in three travellers (33 per cent) say they’d prefer to stay in a holiday rental (a holiday home or apartment) over a hotel and one in five (21 per cent) would consider listing their home on a travel accommodation site.

When it comes to playing the role of a host, travellers reveal that it isn’t about having them there all the time. Travellers are keen to have a local experience and will look to hosts for their expertise, as a quarter of travellers say it will be important that their host has strong local knowledge about local food and places to visit (25 per cent), but travellers will want the flexibility to interact with hosts on their own terms.

Source - TheNation
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Monday, 28 August 2017

Indonesia - Riau Islands seeks to become sports tourism destination


The sports event Nongsa Challenge 2017 held on Aug. 27 in Batam, Riau Islands, showed a great partnership between the provincial administration and Tourism Ministry.

“Held for the third time, this year's event [was supported by] the Tourism Ministry,” said Sumantri Endang, the general manager of Turi Beach by Nongsa Resort, where the event took place. “For next year, we aim to make the participants stay longer and to bring their family to explore Batam."

Riau Islands Tourism Agency head Boeralimar said the agency seeks to achieve the ministry’s target of 15 million foreign tourists in 2017 and 20 million foreign tourists in 2019.


 Among the sports events held in Riau Islands are Tour de Beleirang, Bintan Triathlon and Tour de Bintan.

The ministry's Archipelago Tourism Marketing Development deputy Esthy Reko Astuti said that Indonesia has a huge opportunity to develop its sports tourism.

The country is set to host 2018 Asian Games in August.

“There are so many studies discussing about the short- and long-term correlation between a sports event with the economic growth of a region or country, especially when it comes to infrastructure development and employment opportunities. Sports tourism has a huge impact,” said Esthy
 
Source - TheJakartaPost
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Sunday, 6 August 2017

#Indonesia - Ubud listed among 'world's top 15 cities'


American travel publication Travel+Leisure recently made a list of the "World’s Top 15 Cities".

“Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines and more. Readers rated cities on their sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping and overall value,” as quoted from the article.

Taking the 9th spot with the score of 90.13 is Ubud in Bali, right after Cape Town in South Africa that has the score of 90.24. Meanwhile, topping the list is San Miguel de Allende in Mexico that scores 92.12.

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 In a separate article from Travel+Leisure titled "The Top 10 Cities in Asia", Ubud takes the 4th spot with the same score, coming after Hoi An in Vietnam that takes the 3rd spot with the score of 90.31. The 1st winner is awarded to Chiang Mai, Thailand, with the score of 91.40.
 
“High up in the interior of the island of Bali, Ubud continues to draw those who favor the arts and reflection—rather than beaches and parties. ‘I loved everything about Ubud,’ said one reader. ‘I was spoiled by the kind and thoughtful people I met everywhere I went,’” the article wrote.

Ubud has arguably become more famous after being shown in the popular movie Eat Pray Love that featured Julia Roberts, where it showcases the beauty of Ubud Monkey Forest. These days however, Ubud is known as the best place for yoga.


Other attractions that you can visit while going to Ubud include Campuhan Hill, Nyuh Kuning Village, Tegalalang, Ubud Temple, Sarawati Temple and Apung river where you can do rafting.

Just like other Balinese, Ubud residents adopt the traditional philosophy of tri hita karana that epitomizes the balance and harmony between the three sources of life: humans, nature and God


Below is the list of the World’s Top 15 Cities according to Travel+Leisure:

1. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
2. Charleston, United States
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand
4. Kyoto, Japan
5. Florence, Italy
6. Oaxaca, Mexico
7. Hoi An, Vietnam
8. Cape Town, South Africa
9. Ubud, Indonesia
10. Luang Prabang, Laos
11. Santa Fe, United States
12. Roma, Italy
13. Siem Reap, Cambodia
14. Udaipur, India
15. Barcelona, Spain




Top 10 Cities in Asia according to Travel+Leisure:

1. Chiang Mai, Thailand
2. Kyoto, Japan
3. Hoi An, Vietnam
4. Ubud, Indonesia
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
6. Siem Reap, Cambodia
7. Udaipur, India
8. Bangkok, Thailand
9. Tokyo, Japan
10. Thimphu, Bhutan
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Saturday, 22 July 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 Express.net

Monday, 26 June 2017

Indonesia - 10 beaches to visit in #Yogyakarta

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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
 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

#Bangkok - Suvarnabhumi Standoff: Airport claps back after being called ninth worst

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Since being rated the ninth worst airport in the world last week in a report by the website airhelp.com, Suvarnabhumi has released a statement calling into question the survey, its data-collection methods, and their low score.  

In a Thai statement published on its Facebook page, Suvarnabhumi Airport called the survey unreliable and its methods unscientific.

The airhelp report, released last Monday, said that it took into consideration reviews from passengers regarding customer service, security, comfort, check-in, user experience, and quality of facilities at 76 airports around the world. Suvarnabhumi International Airport was rated 68, scoring just 6.3 points out of a possible 10. 
 
 
The Bangkok airport said that, while they are open to criticism and suggestions for improvement, they never provided any info to airhelp and have a much higher rating on the better-known site FlightStat, which tracks flight data and airports. 

They also accused airhelp of only taking into account reviews written in English while the majority of reviews for the Bangkok airport are written in Thai.

Below is a translation of the statement released by the airport about the recent ranking:
Suvarnabhumi Airport will take comments from the passengers or the organizations who conducted the survey into consideration, as Suvarnabhumi views that this information is greatly beneficial to the management of the airport. We know that this information reflects the thoughts of the passengers. 

The ranking on airhelp.com was conducted for the first time this year, claiming that the survey was conducted between Dec. 2016 – March 2017 from sources that have no standards. Regarding the rankings for on-time performance, quality and service, and passenger sentiment categories, the survey does not declare the merits and demerits of the airports ranked in the list.
They address each ratings category individually:

1. On-time Performance
www.airhelp.com does not clearly state their source for the ranking. Suvarnabhumi insists that it has not provided any information regarding its performance to this website.
However, Flight Stats, an organization collecting real-time information on air traffic, ranks Suvarnabhumi at 13th place in the category of Global Hub Performance in May 2017.

2. Quality and Service
Airhelp.com stated that it sourced the information from SKYTRAX star ratings collected between Dec. 22, 2016 – March 20, 2017. There is no evidence that SKYTRAX confirms the correctness of the information for Airhelp.
The Airport Council International ranked Suvarnabhumi as the 10th best airport in the world last year.

3. Passenger Sentiment.
Airhelp.com stated that it sourced from Twitter. We found that Airhelp only conducts their ranking from English-language tweets and its own tools.
Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomes the results of all surveys if these surveys are from reliable or well-known organizations such as the Airport Council International, which ranked Suvarnabhumi 10th best airport in the world.

Probably worth pointing out here that the Airport Council International is a lobbying group for airports.

Source - Coconuts.co

Thursday, 18 May 2017

#Myanmar, (Burma) Golf tourism needs long drive out of bunkers.

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Myanmar is far from a golf tourist destination despite having many courses in different cities, said U Phyo Wai Yar Zar, vice chair of Myanmar Tourism Federation.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times, he said that golf tourism has a potential niche market but the local courses are not up to the expectations of international golfers.

“We have to try hard if we want to make Myanmar a golfing destination. We can count the number of courses that are of international standard. But that number cannot be compared with other regional countries which have already developed the game and facilities,” U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said.

There are no more than 10 tour agencies offering packages, including golfing.
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In Vietnam, there are 32 international courses. Myanmar has about 60 courses in the whole country.

Daw Su Su Tin, vice chair of Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee, said, “Some tourists have tried golf courses in neighboring countries. A few tours operators are offering a golf program in their itinerary but we cannot promote golfing tourism too much.”

“Myanmar has fine weather, not as expensive as other countries and has a huge potential for golf tourism development,” she said.

U Phyo Wai Yar Zar added, “People know Myanmar as a cultural tourism centre. Perhaps now is the time to promote traditional sport related tourism like chinlone (caneball) and other Myanmar sporting events.”
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“Chinlone as a sporting event cannot be found in other countries. Relevant government departments should make it popular as a tourism product,” he said.

“Also, the golfing market is for high-end tourists who are mostly big spenders. Other facilities such as high-end restaurants and amenities need to be developed,” he said.

Currently, there are no more than six or seven international fine dining restaurants in Yangon.
U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said, “We should first get the primary requirements done up and then continue with other things,” he said.


“As I know, there’s no website, specific market figures on golfing for tourists. Concerned authorities need to build up the human capital first and the required infrastructure before promoting golf as a product,” he said.

“We have no information yet about the various courses and it is hard to find out who are those interested in golfing in Myanmar. Golfing is the best way to attract visitors as part of tourism,” U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said.
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Source - mmtimes
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Sunday, 14 May 2017

#Vietnam - Southeast Asia's longest cross-sea bridge to open shortly

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The 5.4-km long bridge in Hai Phong to undergo tests on May 14. 
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 The Tan Vu - Lach Huyen Bridge, the longest cross-sea bridge in Southeast Asia, will undergo a test run to check loading capacity on May 14, according to a report from local media.
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The 5.4-km long bridge is part of the Tan Vu - Lach Huyen Highway project, which connects developing areas in the east of the northern port city of Hai Phong with Lach Huyen Port in the island district of Cat Hai and the Hanoi - Hai Phong Highway.
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A source from the management board was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying that 99.8 per cent of the work has been completed on the bridge section built by Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. and Vietnam’s Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No.4 (Cienco 4). 
FOR THE BEST GLOBAL HOTEL & FLIGHT BOOKINGS
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Once the bridge is operational, traveling from Hai Phong city to Cat Hai Island will take about five minutes, compared to hours on ferries.
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The Tan Vu - Lach Huyen Highway project has total investment of almost VND11.85 trillion ($525.3 million), the majority of which comes from Japanese official development assistance. Construction began in May 2014 and was scheduled to be completed this month.
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The project is expected to form a complete transport network facilitating transportation to Lach Huyen International Port, thereby attracting investment to Hai Phong. 
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Source - http://vneconomictimes.com/

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Car slams into Erawan Shrine, 6 injured (+VIDEO)

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The light blue sedan veered off of Rama I Road in the middle of the city at about 8:20pm and slammed through a gate onto the grounds of Erawan Shrine, the site of a bombing in August 2015 that left 20 dead and scores injured.

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"It was an accident," Lumpini police commander Pornchai Chalodet told AFP of the car crash.
This afternoon, Post Today revealed the names of the injured people. They are two Singaporeans, two Indonesians, one Thai, and one Chinese.
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The two indonesians injured were Janto Kuriawan, 73, and Rosita Kuriawan, 56. The Singaporeans were Ong Cney, 70, and Ng Ican Leng, 35. The Chinese woman was Leena Bong, 81, and the Thai woman was Kanuengjit Taecholarn, 55.
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The shrine, a popular stop for East Asian tourists, was thronged with worshippers at the time of the accident, according to an AFP reporter at the scene.
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"We were praying and then suddenly we heard a big noise and we saw a car coming inside. We ran like crazy. It was very scary. At I first thought it was a car bomb but everyone was very calm around us," Kristy, a 21-year-old tourist from Vietnam, told AFP.

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In Friday's incident, police said the driver, who appeared to be about 40 years old, lost control of her Toyota Soluna and crashed through the sidewalk fence at the intersection beside the shrine before passing through the Erawan gate and stopping just before hitting the shrine.
The identity of the driver has not been revealed at the time of publication. The local media reported that she is currently receiving treatment in the intensive care unit.
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Also accompanying the driver in the car was her 20-year-old daughter, who told police her mom did not have a history of epilepsy. She had the seizure while she was about to take a turn at Ratchaprasong intersection.
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.Police will charge the driver with reckless driving leading to injuries of other people and will take the her medical diagnosis into consideration.
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VIDEO

Source: Coconuts.co 

*****

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Skywalk linking road outside CentralWorld to Platinum mall has opened, #Bangkok

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#Bangkok - The new skywalk, built over the crowded sidewalk of Ratchadamri Road outside Central World Shopping Mall, opened yesterday to facilitate pedestrians who just want to walk — not shop for sunglasses or buy fried chicken on the street.
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The new skywalk, called “Bangkok Skyline,” starts on Ratchadamri Road and stretches all the way to Novotel Bangkok Hotel and Platinum Shopping Mall. The skywalk was built because the roadside down below is currently overflowing with street vendors, causing heavy pedestrian congestion every night.
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The congestion only gets worse once you have to squeeze through the tiny bridge above Saen Saeb canal, which is also occupied by hawkers and beggars.
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The new skywalk also is directly linked with the second floor of Platinum — a famous stop for those who love affordable clothes.

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 Source & Photos: Pai Chanikarn/ Coconuts Media.