Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a popular travel destination, located in Quang Ninh province, Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to Hạ Long City, Cẩm Phả town, and part of Van Don district

Mt.Phousi, Luang Prabang, Laos

The Phousi Mountain (Luang Prabang)

The Phousi Mountain is situated in the centre of Luang Prabangs. To climb up the mountain can be hard but it is definitely worth the trip. There is a formidable view from the top of the mountain where you can see "The Royal Palace", and the surrounding rivers and villages.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world.

Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma

Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma

The Shwedagon Pagoda officially titled Shwedagon Zedi Daw, also known in English as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a 99 metres gilded pagoda and stupa located in Yangon, Burma.

Thien Mu pagoda

Thien Mu pagoda, Vietnam

Thien Mu Pagoda is a historic temple in the city of Huế in Vietnam. Its pagoda has seven storeys and is the tallest in Vietnam.

May 21, 2015

Brand new shopping mall in Mandalay

MANDALAY: A new option has been added to the list of shopping destinations for tourists visiting Mandalay. The brand new Mandalay Yatanar Mall will open on 1st April next year.

Burmese handicrafts, silk products and hand – made jewelry along with branded shopping items can be found at the Mandalay Yatanar Mall, The Global New Light of Myanmar media reported.

Mandalay Yatanar Mall is to be located on the second floor of Yadanabon Super Centre .There will be 389 shops selling silk, mosaic paintings, Myanmar handicrafts as well as gold and gemstones.

Banks and money changers are also included in the mall.

As forecasted by Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Mandalay will welcome up to 500,000 international visits this year.

464,577 foreign visitors have been attracted to the city in 2014, which shows an increase of 60,385 compared to the previous year. The majority of visitors are from japan, China and South Korea. AirAsia, THAI Smile, China Eastern Airlines, Myanmar Airways International, SilkAir, Bangkok Airways and Golden Myanmar are currently operating regional flights between Mandalay and Kunming (China), Bangkok, Gaya (India) and Singapore.

May 20, 2015

Laos got a high score from ICAO

VIENTIANE: Laos has been given a high score of 73% after an audit conducted last month by The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Coordinated Validation Mission (ICVM) team.

According to Mr.Yakua Lorpangkao, the director of the Lao Civil Aviation Department, it was a ‘historic milestone’ to receive such a high score from ICAO.

The ICVM team inspected personnel licensing, civil aviation legislation and regulations, aircraft operations, civil aviation organisation, air navigation services and airports.

The director also added that according to the audit, there were no significant safety issues regarding the country’s aviation management. This shows a striking contrast with the poor evaluation of Thailand earlier this year, which led to Japan prohibiting the new flight by Thai registered airlines.

“This means Lao Airlines as well as Lao Skyway and Lao Central Air can fly anywhere in the world, based on the audit’s evaluation,” he declared.

No further details about the audit recommendations or the scores have been revealed.

Laos was first evaluated by ICAO in April 1999, followed by the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme in March 2002 aimed to access the capacity and capability of DCA, especially those related to regulations and legislation in the aviation sector. Huge improvements have been made after this event. The first Lao Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) has been established in 2003 and the Law on Civil Aviation in 2005.

May 19, 2015

Halong introduces new electric car service

QUANG NINH: A new electric car service is about to be operated in Halong City next month.

According to Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, this service will be run this June.

Tourists will be carried to the city’s main tourist sites on two routes.

The first one is Bai Chay which connects Bai Chay Tourism Complex, Bai Chay Tourist Boat Wharf, Bai Chay Bridge and Marine Plaza.

The second one named Hon Gai connecting Vincom Halong and Bai Thơ mountain, Quang Ninh Museum and Halong Market 1.

The service uses Japanese – made cars which have a seating capacity for 9 to 12 passengers.

Depend on the destinations, the ticket fares can be from USD 1 to USD 3.

The other four destinations using electric cars in Vietnam are Thanh Hoa province, Dong Hoi, Sam Son town and Hanoi. The statistics published by the Ministry of Transport in November last year shows that the number of electric cars in the central and northern regions is 621 and 50 in Hanoi.

May 15, 2015

More and more visitors are attracted to Mandalay

MANDALAY: According to Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Mandalay will welcome 500,000 visits in this year.

Statistics published by the Mandalay Region Immigration and National Registration Department showed an increase of 60,385 international tourists visited the city in 2014 (464,577 foreign visitors) compared to the previous year.

As reported by Global New Light Myanmar media, the majority of visitors came from China, South Korea and Japan.

Mandalay is the second largest city and the last royal capital of Burma. Most of the historical works consist of the palaces were damaged but visitors are still able to discover the replicas of palaces.

The top visitor destinations in Mandalay are the Maha Muni Buddha Image, Yankin Hill, Mandalay Hill, Taungthaman Lake, Myanan Sankyaw Golden Palace, the ancient Inwa city, Taungthaman Bridge and Kuthodaw Pagoda.

SilkAir, Bangkok Airways, THAI Smile, AirAsia, Golden Myanmar, China Eastern Airlines and Myanmar Airways International are currently operating flights between Mandalay and Bangkok, Singapore, Kunming (China) and Gaya (India).

May 14, 2015

Hanoi food website

HANOI: A unique website featuring Hanoi food has just been run by Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

A wide range of coffee shops and restaurants is selectively highlighted for tourists who are food lovers in diachi.hanoidep.vn. However, the website is in Vietnamese so it is dedicated to domestic visitors mainly, especially the ones from Ho Chi Minh city.

According to the local media, this original website is a part of a larger project called ‘Hanoi – Good and Bad’.

The Department stated that the website is going to be aim at presenting tourists with attractions such as parks, theatres and museums once the foodie content comes off well.

There is bound to be an English version of the website but until then, foreign visitors will have to count on a poor Google translation.

May 13, 2015

The underground shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh city

HO CHI MINH CITY: The underground shopping mall in Ho Chi Minh city is to be constructed this year. However, we will have to wait for another 8 years until the mall is completed as a part of a larger project – a new subway transport system.

According to Tuoi Tre media, the underground shopping centre will be built alongside the Ben Thanh Terminal, which is going to be the central terminal for the subway system in the southern metropolis.

Passengers will be able to board metro trains on three separate routes to Suoi Tien in District 9, Tham Luong in District 12, and the Western Bus Station in Binh Tan District. The project is in progress but will only be fully operational in 2023.

A 19.7 – kilometer Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien route or No 1 route, the Ben Thanh Terminal and the underground shopping mall will be under construction this year.

700 meters underground from the 23/9 Park to the Municipal Theatre at three meters depth under Le Loi Street will be covered by the trade central.

However, a huge investment of USD326.22 million is required. So far, there has been just only one Japanese investor interested in the project.

May 12, 2015

Music shows at Hanoi Airport

With an aim to keep the passengers from getting bored with waiting for flights, Noi Bai International Airport will hold concerts twice a week.

Mr. Vu The Phiet - the airport’s director let the local media know that the first music show will occur in the evening of May 19th, in the lobby lounge of T2 terminal.

The 120-minute concert will give passengers an insight in Vietnamese traditional music. There will be traditional music on Wednesday evenings and the international classical ones on Saturday evenings.

Customers will also be provided with live music by some restaurants in the airport, the director added.

The programme, named “Air Music”, is jointly organised by the Youth Union Central Committee and the Vietnam Airport Authority.

May 11, 2015

A direct flight between Cambodia and Indonesia

PHNOM PENH, 2015: With an aim to boost tourism and trade, there has been a discussion between the leaders of Cambodia and Indonesia of a direct flight connecting the two countries.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, Mr. Hun Sen – the Cambodian Prime Minister and Mr. Joko Widodo – the Indonesian President discussed about the direct flight in a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum East Asia (Jakarta) last week.

No further information was brought out and even if there is a direct air link between the two countries, it is not sure that any Airline would take the option for scheduled services. However, it is Siem Reap not Phnom Penh the main tourist site.

“We must encourage discussions between the foreign affairs ministries of both countries to have direct flights”, Mr. Hun Sen stated.

Mr. Ho Vandy – the Co-Chair of the Sector at Government-Private Sector Forum said that Garuda Airlines – the national Airline of Indonesia had signed a MoU with Cambodia three years ago but there has been no steps taken yet.

The trade between Indonesia and Cambodia still remains small. However, Indonesia ranked as the 18th biggest source of visitors to Cambodia in 2014.

May 1, 2015

HCMC airport repairs taxiway

HO CHI MINH CITY: At Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh, maitainance will start 10 April and be accompished by 30 June, according to Airports Corporation of Vietnam chairman, Nguyen Nguyen Hung.

He was replied to unconfirmed reports in travel trade circles that airline services would face delays and disruptions due to airport maintenance work.

He told local media that repair work will upgrade both the apron and taxiway at the country’s largest airport on Wednesday.

The maintenance will happen with the national holiday on 28 April to 3 May , which covers the Reunification Day and International Labour Day and the Hung Kings celebrations. It is a major public holidays with thousands of Vietnamese booking overseas holidays on airline services from the country’s busiest airport.

Lai Xuan Thanh- Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam chief warned that work would disrupt flights. Hence, it was imperative for airlines to minimise passenger inconvenience.

Flights will face delays once the taxiway be closed and this will slow down the transfer of aircraft between the runway and the terminal.

Tan Son Nhat airport urgently needs an upgrade as Vietnamese carriers are expanding their fleets with 50 planes due for delivery this year.

At present, there are about 30 flights depart and land at Tan Son Nhat airport every hour. This number could fall to 25 per hour once work begins. EXO Travel recommended its travel industry clients on Wednesday in a news alert that there were unconfirmed reports that maintenance work would be carried out at some key Vietnamese airport and that would cause flight delays across Vietnam in the coming weeks.

It impressed that the reports had not been confirmed by airlines or authorities.However, it was seeking clarification to minimalise inconvenience for its international guests.

In related news, Pleiku Airport has already been closed for upgrades with an estimated completion date of 25 October.

Apr 30, 2015

Vietnam may outsource airport management.

HANOI : Vietnam may turn over Phu Quoc International Airport to the private sector to manage as part of a project to privatise some of the country’s main airports, this week Saigon Times reported earlier .

besides, there is also a proposal on the table to allow a private company to manage the domestic terminal at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.

Quoted the Ministry of Transport, Saigon Times saying it was studying a business model that would transfers airport management to private firms. The suggestion for Phu Quoc island airport which is off mainland Kien Giang province and Terminal 1 at Hanoi’s Noi Bai would comply with a government decree that opened the way for public-private partnerships in transport and aviation.

However, it is still a long way off and would require private firms to file tender bids. Althought, it is still not clear if the companies bidding could have foreign investment partners.

An independent consultant will be hired to assess airports and estimate the revenue stream that the government could expect from private firms managing airports.

T&T Group had written to the ministry proposing that it buy Phu Quoc airport, saying it would establish a unit to operate the airport if approved. VietjetAir and Vietnam Airlines have also shown interest in managing Hanoi terminal 1.