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.

Jun 6, 2015

Myanmar is opening brand new duty – free outlets

A ten- year agreement between Singapore Windsor Holdings and DFS Group has been signed in order to open duty-free outlets at Nay Pyi Taw International Airport and Yangon International Airport.

DFS Group, which is majority owned by the luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is a Hong Kong travel retailer.

As reported by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), the duty-free outlet would be opened at the current arrival and departure terminal of Yangon International Airport and the larger one would be located at the new terminal of this Airport.

Almost 2000 square meters of duty – free outlet space will be managed at the two airports by the end of this year. However, the plan to operate duty-free services at Mandalay International Airport has not been mentioned yet.

The duty – free tobacco and alcohol have already been offered at Myanmar’s airport but still not achieve the international standards yet.

The headquarters of DFS are located in Hong Kong with offices situated in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Shanghai and Singapore.

Singapore Windsor is a Myanmar-focused and Singapore-listed company with interests in serviced offices, rental services, car hire and telecom infrastructure construction.

Jun 4, 2015

Vietnam’s Airport privatization

The private sector of Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport is awaiting the Politburo’s approval for the allowance to operate Phu Quoc international Airport, which is located in Kien Giang province.

According to Mr. Dinh La Thang, the Transport Minister, 2 plans about the management of the operations of the airport apart from the supervision of military facilities and flight control.

A detailed plan will be drawn up in order to give Phu Quoc international airport the operational rights right after it gets the approval from the Politburo. This would allow it to attract private investors.

In the beginning of this year, the ministry revealed a plan to give the E hall of Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi the operational rights before Phu Quoc airport was added to the plan.

If approved, the plan is hoped to be able to raise funds for the other infrastructure projects such as Long Thanh International Airport which costs multi billion dollars in Dong Nai province.

Phu Quoc International Airport, which cost USD 190 million, was put into operation in 2012.

Higher revenue with more barcode systems

The barcode systems in Luang Prabang are about to be extended to more destinations in order to make it easier for tourists to pay permission fee at famous tourist sites.

As reported by Lao News, there have already been barcode systems in Kuang Si Waterfall and The National Museum (Old Palace). Incomes have been increased significantly, may be because of the elimination of pilfering.

Finance Department of Luang Prabang claimed that there had been an increase of 32% in the income thanks to the installation of the barcode system at Luang Prabang’s museum (Old Palace).

The report also added that the installation of the barcode system at Kuang Si Waterfall had made the revenue double over the last year.

The system is under the control of the Finance Department of Luang Prabang and the National Treasury via the internet.

There has been a request from The Finance Department for a purchasing budget to open more barcode systems at Tham Ting cave, Phou Si Mountain, international airport and Wat Xiengthong temple.

Jun 3, 2015

The number of visits to Cambodia increases by 4.2 % in March

The statistics released by the tourist Information Department showed an increase of 4.2 % in the number of visits to Cambodia in March, 2015. The majority of the visits come from the China and the neighbour countries.

Cambodia welcomed 417,052 visits, which is higher than last year (400,076) during the same month. According to the data released by the Ministry of Tourism earlier this week, Vietnam led this field with a rise of 6% compared to the same month last year.

Laos (29,338; -14.6%), China (62,996; +25.8%); Thailand (27,142; +38.1%) and South Korea (37,222; +2.1%) were also in the top 5 leading market.

In March, there are 55% (229,357) of all international tourists travel by plane. Siem Reap Airport gained the larger share of 32.4% (134,933) and Phnom Penh Airport received a share of 22.6%.

Siem Reap – the home of Angkor Wat accounted for 46.1% (224,799visits) in tourist arrivals while other destinations and Phnom Penh gained the share of 39.4% (192,253visits). Ecotourism took up 1.3% (6,439 visits) and the share of Coastal areas was 13.2% with 64,195 visits.

Top 10 tourist sources for Cambodia in March 2015
 Top 10 tourist sources for Cambodia from January to March 2015

Jun 1, 2015

Khanh Hoa is attracting more and more Chinese

KHANH HOA : There has been a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese visitors to Khanh Hoa (Vietnam). The local authority hopes that this will make up for the significant decrease in Russian visits.

Khanh Hoa’s economy depends mainly on tourism and Russian market is the main source of supply.

According to Mr. Nguyen Van Thanh, the vice chairman of Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Tourism Association, the number of charter flights from China had offset the fall and this would continue until July.

Almost every Chinese tourist travels on pre – paid tours and charters, Mr. Phan Thanh Truc, the director of Khanh Hoa Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The province will welcome tourists from China all around the year if there are scheduled flights as expected besides charter flights.

While there has been a sharp decline in Chinese visits in the whole country, we are now observing the recovery in bookings with positive growth rate in 2015.

The province has set the goal of 4 million visitors this year with a million foreign holidaymakers.

Khanh Hoa is famous for its amazing and pristine beaches, especially Nhatrang beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This province is also wide – known thanks to the beautiful and majestic Cam Ranh bay, which is near Cam Ranh International airport.

Shwedagon needs protection

Specialists are calling on the government to protect Shwedagon Pagoda and the surrounding areas from over development.

Mr. Maw Lin, the vice president of the Association of Myanmar Architects stated that because of the historical and religious meaning of the pagoda, the government need to stay cautious when granting permissions for construction in this area.

A letter was sent from AMA to Mr. Thein Sein – the President, the ministers and the related ministries with an aim to call on the government for a protection project for the temple.

Dr Nyan Myint Kyaw, the civil professor of Yangon Technological University stated that although the pagoda had been strengthened in structure recently, there hasn’t been a survey on the pagoda’s underground water and foundation yet.

There is a suggestion that the surrounding areas be remained as a green area used for educational, recreational and cultural aims.

Visual pollution which is caused by the appearance of too many skyscrapers and offices is the main concern to the experts. This type of pollution deters tourists from having a good view of the temple.

Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most famous temples and tourist sites in Yangon.

The pagoda welcomed over 500,000 foreign tourists in 2014.

Myanmar concentrates on the southern islands

YANGON: As stated by the Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, 26 joint ventures and local companies are waiting for the approval from Government on the new hotel projects in Mergui Archipelago.

Currently, the Myanmar Investment Commission is inspecting 6 joint ventures and 20 local firms which are going to build resorts on the archipelago’s pristine islands, the Irrawaddy media reported.

The majority of the plans require the only one hotel on each island.

The two joint ventures named Moe Kant & Kyaw Win Phyo along with its foreign partners - United Resorts have already obtained the approval for building on Kyun Phila island and Ngakhin Nyogyi island.

Mr. Aung Zaw Win, the general director of Ministry of Hotels and Tourism stated that: “Many companies have applied to set up hotels in the Myeik [Mergui] islands since 2011, when the new government took office.”

The Mergui Archipelago possesses 800 islands spanning a total area of 10,000 square miles in the South of Myanmar.

As released by the Government in 2013, the tourism plan listed the archipelago as the prior area. If the plan comes off, it is sure to attract numerous holiday – goers and ecotourists.

However, the infrastructure which consists of electricity and water on the archipelago is in really poor condition. It would require a decade to develop the islands to the point which they can compete with those resorts in Thailand.

Laos and Myanmar Friendship bridge

LUANG NAMTHA : As the Lao News Agency reported, the first Friendship Bridge between Laos and Myanmar connecting the North of Laos with Myanmar over the Mekong river has been opened Last Saturday.

The bridge which is funded through the investment by the two nation governments is 10.9 metres in width and 691.6 metres in length.

The USD 26 million bridge was under construction for 30 months and was finished 5 months earlier than planned.

The bridge has a sidewalk which is 1,2 meters wide. The bridge can also carry up to 75 tons and withstand an earthquake of magnitude 7. Ships of no more than 500 tons can easily cross underneath the bridge.

The governments of the two countries agreed on the construction of the bridge in March 2012 in a visit to Laos by the President of Myanmar – Mr. Thein Sein.

The bridge connects National Road No.17 in Laos with National Road No. 4 in Myanmar and is sure to boost the tourism and trade between the two nations.

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.