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.

Aug 21, 2015

Abnormal Special Economic Zone in the Golden Triangle

It is currently 9 am and it is still boisterous here. What can be seen here is some overnight die – hards are making bets at the gambling tables while the exhausted ones are taking small naps nearby. This is Kings Romans, a splendid casino with a huge golden crown on the top, is located on the side of Laos along the Mekong River. The casino owned by a Chinese in Ton Pheung district is a 10,000 square meter leisure centre called ‘Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone’. The other two nations in the Golden Triangle are Thailand and Myanmar, which are just on the opposite bank of the river. These two countries have long been known for organizing illegal activities consist of human trafficking, weapons smuggling and rare animals trafficking.

The establishment of the casino is an attempt made by the Government of Laos with an aim to make profit from an activity which is considered to be illegal in China but Laotian’s favorite.

This is such great news to the Chinese who love gambling but cannot be satisfied in their country.

However, with 24 hours open per day and all days in the week, Kings Romans gains a stable number of gamblers form China. Chinese gamblers have been regarded as among the world best gamblers when always come back with suitcases full of cash.

A hostess at the casino expressed surprise when she saw Chinese gamblers stayed at the gambling table for one or two day playing nonstop.

Special Economic Zone looks like a small replica of China. All of the clocks here are set to Beijing time, yuan is the main currency and the mostly used language here is Chinese.

It is quite surprise to know that not many employees here are Laotian. Most of them are from Myanmar and China.

For the country which is landlocked and poor like Laos, the casino is such a valuable source of income. The zone is a great way for Laos to gain money from China. What a profound investment.

However, there is no such thing as a free lunch, this investment comes hand – in – hand with the serious damages on the environment and the lack of land for other projects.

Observers stated that the Special Economic Zone had now turned into the place where people used to wash dirty money from China.

The Golden Triangle has been popular for producing drugs for long times. It used to produce the drug that is the second most sought drug in the world.

Aug 20, 2015

Nha Trang welcomes ‘night beachgoers’

Although there are still safety concerns, Vietnam will zone Nha Trang beach for night swimming.

As reported, the local authorities have just granted permission for a company to zone the beach to serve the locals and tourists who are in favor of swimming at night.

Normally, people are not encouraged to swim at beaches in Vietnam after 6 pm since the lifeguards are not on duty at that time.

The company who applied for the permissions asserted that there would be lights, lifeguards and lifeboats to make sure that the beach was safe for swimming when night falls. And the zone is said to be near the hotels.

Mr. Le Huy Toan, the deputy chairman of Nha Trang, declared that the company would have to go through trial time.

He stated that the company had to hire bodyguards and install lighting systems in order to make sure that beachgoers were safe. The beach area used for trial will be the one near 32 – 34 Tran Phu Hotel.

There are to be no entrance fee and the night beach will be open for both tourists and the locals. It is not sure by which way the company earns profits.

Nha Trang beach, located on the South coast of Vietnam, is a wide known beach.

Aug 19, 2015

Myanmar has to face tourism issues

Myanmar is going to have to face a rise in orphanages and child sex tourism. These are the emerging issues in not only Myanmar but also the Mekong countries.

According to the recent tourism’s influence appraisal conducted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, children are really susceptible to the negative influence generated from tourism. What can be learned from the neighboring countries, especially Thailand and Cambodia is that we should put more focus on raising the awareness of both tourists and tour operators.

Mr. Naung Naung Han, a member of Myanmar Tourism Federation executive stated that
Child sex tourism was a problem in the country but not really a huge one yet. He also said the issue needed to be controlled before it got more serious.

He has just gave a speech at a golf tournament where the golfers requested young female partner from a KTV which recruited young girl from the age of 14 to 16 years old for sexual services. He declared that child sex was illegal but the case was that there was no law about it at KTVs.

The rapid expansion of tourism had a bad influence on not only children but also the environment.

There is a suggestion that the Government make up plans to control the bad influence that tourism has on the children and the environment.

Aug 18, 2015

Ho Chi Minh City issued law prohibiting pets on walking street

A list of what you can and what you cannot do at Nguyen Hue Street, the street which is for pedestrians only has just been issued by Ho Chi Minh City government. What seems quite strange is that there is also a rule says no pets on the street.

The government also forbids inline skating, selling coffee and having picnic on the walking treet.

This 19.7 million USD walking street is a brand new tourist site in Ho Chi Minh City. The street was open to the public on April 29th this year as an event to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the end of war.

In order to celebrate the 125th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh, the most beloved President of Vietnam, a statue of him was placed on the street on May 17th.

There are 160 wooden benches have been set up along the street. All of the benches were made of the wood from the centuries – old trees in front of Saigon Opera House. Last July, these trees were cut down for the construction of the new subway station.

The city has welcomed more than 2 million international visits in the first half of this year. Most of the tourists are from South Korea,ASEAN countries, Japan, and the USA.

Aug 17, 2015

Angkor failed to attract European tourists

APSARA (which stands for Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap) has just reported that over one million foreign visitors had come to Angkor Watt. This represents a rise of 2% compared to the same period in the previous year.
The total revenue gained from selling Angkor tickers reached 34 million USD after the first seven months of this year.

Mr. Long Kosal, the spokesman of Aspara Authority believes that the fear for the outbreak of MERS is to be to blame for the fall in the number of European visitors.

However, it seems that the economic depression in Europe is much more related to the decrease. Cambodia is not the only country that has been affected by the crisis. The other ASEAN countries have also recorded the decreases in the number of European visitors.

In contrary to the fall in the number of European tourists, tourists from Asian countries seem to be in favor of Angkor. They don’t have to pay too much for the park tickets and stay in Siem Reap for only one night. This shows a huge difference between European tourists and the Asian ones. The European visitors are always eager to learn more about the Cambodia’s history and culture and they spend a whole day exploring just one temple.

Apasra did not mention how much of 34 million USD goes to the areas which are lack of elementary infrastructure and clean water.

The Angkor Archeological Park is an attractive tourist sites, which is even more famous than the ecotourism destinations and the coastal regions.

Aug 14, 2015

Cambodia failed to meet tourism targets

Because of the bad global economic outlook, Cambodian tourism will fail to reach its goal of 5 million visits this year.

Mr. Thong Khon, the Minister of Cambodian Tourism, concerns that the nation’s tourism might be badly influenced by the negative global economic situation and other factors such as the crisis in Russia’s economy, terrorism and the outbreak of MERS.

He also noted that the nation might not be able to reach its goals this year.

A liberal visa policy has been recommended by tourism experts. There are also recommendations suggesting visa discounts and single – visa program valid for ASEAN countries. However, it takes quite a long time before these recommendations are made real. Not until October will the visa exemptions have positive influence on the country’s tourism.

However, there is a way to achieve this target. The saviors are visitors from China but the prices need to be more competitive. More charter flights might be required and Chinese travel agents might also expect discounts in the prices of room in the heritage city.

The recently released data has shown a significant increase of 4.3% in the number of international visitors to the country this year.

Aug 13, 2015

Myanmar’s Bank for tourism is waiting for approval

A new Tourism Development Bank in Myanmar has been kept waiting for the permission from the Central Bank. The new bank is established with an aim to finance tourism SMEs and travel projects.
Mr. Than Tin, the managing director of Myanmar Tourism Bank, stated that he had hoped that they would get the license in May but the Central Bank had not approved the permission yet.

He also added that if permitted, there would be not only one bank in Nay Pyi Taw but also two others in Yangon and Mandalay.

The new bank will help travel companies with their technology and finance. The first bank is established in the capital city probably because travel projects need to be approved by the Government.

The government has previously approved the establishment of a public company formed to sell shares and manage and join tourism – related events.

This project is believed to be not only devoted to tourism but also to those related projects.
Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Statistics has released the statistics showing that the country has earned more than USD920 million from tourism in 2013 and over USD 1 billion in 2014.

Aug 12, 2015

B&Bs in Myanmar

There are going to be bed and breakfast establishments opened in the remote regions of Myanmar once the tourism law was passed.

The first B&B might appear in Thandaung Gyi, a small beautiful town in the North of Kayin State.
Mr. U Win Kyaw, the Minister of Tourism Department in Hpa-an, Kayin State, told the local media that there had already been some operators ready to offer B&Bs. 7 operators in Thandaung Gyi are ready to offer guests B&Bs. He also added that B&Bs were advised to be located separately from houses and there had to be at least 4 rooms for tourist to accommodate conveniently.

Mr. Myo Win Nyunt, the director of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, stated that the tourism law hadn’t been submitted yet and the Ministry didn’t have the right to issue licences for B&Bs.

However, if the Immigration Department or the Government approved, B&Bs can be opened as long as they are located away from cities and hotels.

This idea of B&Bs is sure to boost Tourism in this country since this would be a perfect choice for visitors with tight budgets.

Mr. U Khin Aung Htun, the joint secretary of Myanmar Tourism Federation, recommended that B&Bs be allowed in Chin states, Kayah and Shan, where the locals would love to provide such type of travel service.

However, these B&B establishments will have to be checked carefully by the authorities to make sure that they satisfy the standards of sanitary and safety.

Aug 11, 2015

The need to extend the normal 15 – day visa exemption to Vietnam

Tourism Department in Ho Chi Minh City is about to extend the normal 15 – day visa exemption to the 30 – day one for the five European countries.

According to an unnamed source, Ho Chi Minh City’s Tourism Department is on its way to apply for admission from the the country’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to extend the length of European tourists’ visa – free stay. The countries that are going to be considered for visa extension are Germany, France, UK, Spain and Italy.

Tourists from Europe are in favor of tours across Vietnam and the Indochina tour which is the combination of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Hence, the 15 – day visa free is quite short. Moreover, during their trip, they normally don’t enter the country once but many times so multiple entries should also be allowed.

European visitors have officially been exempt from visa when traveling to Vietnam since July 1st with an aim to increase the number of visits to the country.

However, travel companies in the city stated that the Government still required fee when visitors wanted to extend their stay in Vietnam beyond 15 days.

They expect to have at least 30 days of visa exemption.

Besides, this new visa exemption program will only be available for one year and this means no long – term plans can be made to boost visits from the 5 mentioned countries.

Currently, citizens from South Korea, Finland, Russia, Japan, Norway, Denmark, Belarus, Sweden and ASEAN countries are exempt from visa when visiting Vietnam.

Vietnam has recorded a decrease of 11.3% in the number of international visitors this year.
Tourism companies believe that the rising cost and complicated visa requirements are main causes of this fall.

Aug 10, 2015

Hanoi welcomes Apricot Hotel

A new Apricot Hotel is going to be opened for business in Hanoi (the capital city of Vietnam) in the late of this year.

Two restaurants, luxury rooftop bar, spa, fitness centre, a lobby lounge, café and rooftop swimming pool can all be found at this beautiful five – star hotel.

Executive chef Hugo Barberis 

With over 600 unique artworks ranging from the popular sculptures, masterpieces to watercolors and sketches hung at the rooms, lobby and corridors, you might confuse it with a large scale gallery.
Mr. Steve Tan, the general manager of the hotel, believed that art was the perfect reflection of any culture. He also added that the art collection at the hotel would provide guests with an amazing trip through the development of Vietnam’s art and culture.

This beautiful ten – floor hotel has turned over a new leaf since its recent rebuiltment. The hotel now is the perfect combination of classic and modern architecture. Apricot used to be Phú Gia Hotel, the gather destination for political and business leaders since 1920s.

The leasing price is quite soft starting from 2,400,000 VND (which equals around USD 110).