Monday, February 24, 2014

All about Thailand

Full name: Kingdom of Thailand
Population: 69.9 million (UN, 2012)
Capital: Bangkok
Area: 513,115 sq km (198,115 sq miles)
Major language: Thai
Major religion: Buddhism
Life expectancy: 71 years (men), 78 years (women) (UN)
Main exports: Food including rice, seafood and live animals, office equipment, textiles and clothing, rubber
Internet domain: .th
International dialling code: +66

Thailand officially the Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Burma. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India in the Andaman Sea to the southwest.

Thailand Travel Advice:
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to the provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla on the Thai-Malaysia border.

The FCO advise against all travel to the Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) temple area and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area located on the Thai-Cambodian border due to the presence of troops in the area and the risk of outbreaks of fighting.

There is a high threat of terrorism.

Political demonstrations continue in and around Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand. Some of these have been violent, including the use of firearms, and there have been casualties and deaths. The situation is unpredictable and further protests are expected.

On 21 January the Thai Government declared a 60-day State of Emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas from 22 January.

Protest action in central Bangkok since 13 January is causing significant disruption to roads in affected areas, with knock-on effects across the city. The main protest sites are at the major intersections of Sala Daeng, Asoke, Ratchaprasong, Pathumwan and at Government House and the government complex at Chaeng Watthana. Some protest sites are located close to shopping malls. There have been attacks involving weapons and explosives at protest sites and protest marches. Attacks have taken place during the daytime and at night.

The government has signalled its intention to dismantle the protest sites. On 18 February this resulted in violent clashes between the police and protestors at thePhanfa Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Road.

Voting in a national election took place on 2 February. There were protests and some violence during the election period and these may continue until all rounds of the election are completed and the results announced, which may take several months.

You should take extra care and avoid all protests, political gatherings, demonstrations and marches. If you’re travelling to the airport, allow extra time to take account of possible transport delays, and consider using the airport rail link. Monitor local news and social media for developments.

The Thai authorities have set up a Tourist’s Friend Centre to provide information for tourists. Offices are located at the Sport Authority of Thailand in the Bangkapi district of Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, four BTS Skytrain stations (Siam, Phya Thai, Ekkamai and Wong Wian Yai) and Hua Lampong MRT station. You can also contact the Tourist’s Friend Centre by telephone on +66 (0)2 314 1212 (in English – 24 hours).

The majority of road traffic accidents in Thailand involve motorcycles, but accidents involving other vehicles including cars, coaches and mini-buses also occur.

By law you must carry your passport with you at all times. Tourists have been arrested because they were unable to produce their passport.

Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.


Over 800,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year. Most visits are trouble-free, but incidents of crime (sometimes violent) can affect visitors. 

Thailand Travel Video Guide


Thailand Travel, Travel to Thailand, Thailand Tour [Fascinating Destinations]


Thailand: a place...a sensation (full documentary)



Monday, February 24, 2014 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Friday, February 21, 2014

All about Cambodia

Full name: Kingdom of Cambodia
Population: 14.5 million (UN, 2012)
Capital and largest city: Phnom Penh
Area: 181,035 sq km (69,898 sq miles)
Major language: Khmer
Major religion: Buddhism
Life expectancy: 62 years (men), 65 years (women) (UN)
Main exports: Clothing, timber, rubber
Internet domain: .kh
International dialling code: +855

Cambodia officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia and once known as the Khmer Empire, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. Its total landmass is 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi), bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.


Travel Advice:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the Preah Vihear (Khaoi Pra Viharn in Thai) temple area and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area located on the Thai-Cambodian border.

National elections took place on 28 July 2013 in a mostly peaceful environment. The main opposition party continues to dispute the results and protests are ongoing in Phnom Penh with frequent roadblocks and congested traffic. There have been some clashes which have resulted in a number of deaths and injuries, including on 3 January.

On 4 January the government issued a statement banning any further protests, and demonstrators were forcibly cleared from Freedom Park in central Phnom Penh. See Political situation

There have been a number of security alerts about small explosive devices found around Phnom Penh, the most recent on 13 September 2013 outside the National Assembly building.

105,000 British nationals visited Cambodia in 2012. Most visits are trouble-free but there have been reports of assaults and armed robberies against foreigners. See Crime

There is a low threat from terrorism.


Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.


Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world which Suryavarman II dedicated to the Supreme Hindu God Vishnu.


Cambodia Travel Video Guide

Luxury Travel Cambodia [Fascinating Destinations]

Angkor
The greatest attraction in Cambodia and one of the most spectacular ancient sites on earth, Angkor is a vast temple complex featuring the remains of several capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century AD. These include the famous Angkor Wat temple, the world’s largest single religious monument, the Bayon temple (at Angkor Thom) with its multitude of massive stone faces and Ta Prohm, a Buddhist temple ruin entwined with towering trees.


Banteay Srei
Although officially part of the Angkor complex, Banteay Srei lies 25 km (15 miles) north-east of the main group of temples, enough to list it as a separate Cambodia attraction here. The temple was completed in 967 AD and is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still clearly visible today. Banteay Srei is the only major temple at Angkor not built for a king, instead it was constructed by one of king Rajendravarman’s counselors, Yajnyavahara.


Koh Ker
Koh Ker was the capital of the Khmer empire for a very brief period from the year 928 to 944 AD. In this short time some very spectacular buildings and immense sculptures were constructed. The site is dominated by Prasat Thom, a 30 meter (98 ft) tall temple pyramid rising high above the surrounding jungle. A giant Garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird creature), carved into the stone blocks, still guard the very top, although its partially covered now. Left to the jungle for nearly a millennium, Koh Ker was one of Cambodia’s most remote and inaccessible temple destinations. This has now changed thanks to recent de-mining and the opening of a new toll road.


Kratie
Kratie is a small town located on the banks of the Mekong River and is dominated by a central marketplace surrounded by old, French colonial buildings. There’s no large scale tourism, but plenty of backpackers pour through here during the peak season. It is the place in Cambodia to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins, which live in the Mekong River in ever-diminishing numbers. It is estimated that there are between 66 and 86 dolphins left in the upper Cambodian Mekong area.


Bokor Hill Station
Bokor Hill Station near Kampot was built by the French in the 1920s to be used as a retreat from the heat of Phnom Penh. It has since been abandoned twice, first in the 1940s when the Japanese invaded Cambodia and again in the 1970s, when the Khmer Rouge engulfed the country. Today, Bokor Hill Station and its abandoned buildings have an eerie, ghost-town feel. As of October 2008, the road to Bokor is officially closed due to ongoing reconstruction. Independent access seems to be impossible. though there are hiking tours arranged by local travel agents.


Silver Pagoda
Located within the Royal Palace compound in Phnom Penh, the Silver Pagoda houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Most notable is a small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia) and a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9584 diamonds. The internal wall of the Silver Pagoda courtyard is decorated with a richly colored and detailed mural of the Ramayana myth, painted in 1903–04 by 40 Khmer artists.


Tonle Sap
Tonlé Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is of major importance to Cambodia. The lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia’s dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year’s heavy rains begin in June, the flow of the Tonlé Sap changes directions and an enormous lake forms. Tonlé Sap is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake.


Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville, also known as Kampong Som, is a port city and beach resort on the Gulf of Thailand. The big attraction here are the white-sand beaches and several undeveloped tropical islands. Sihanoukville is a good place to relax and unwind, though be prepared to battle the crows during the high season or a holiday weekend.


Preah Vihear
Preah Vihear is a Khmer temple situated atop a 525 meter (1,722 ft) cliff in the Dângrêk Mountains, on the border between Cambodia and Thailand. It has the most spectacular setting of all the Khmer temples. Most of the temple was constructed in the 11th and 12th century during the reigns of the Khmer kings Suryavarman I and Suryavarman II. It was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Preah Vihear is the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, and several soldiers were killed in clashes in 2009.


Siem Reap
Siem Reap (literally “Siam Defeated”) is undoubtedly Cambodia’s fastest growing city and serves as a small charming gateway town to the world famous destination of the Angkor temples. Thanks to those Cambodia attractions, Siem Reap has transformed itself into a major tourist hub. It is laid-back and a pleasant place to stay while touring the temples. Siem Reap offers a wide range of hotels, ranging from several 5-star hotels to hundreds of budget guesthouses while a large selection of restaurants offer many kinds of food.



World Heritage List in Cambodia

Angkor
Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 km2, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. UNESCO has set up a wide-ranging programme to ...

Preah Vihear Temple
Preah Vihear temple is located in Svay Chhrum village, Kontuot commune, Choam Ksan district, about 108 kilometers north of Preah Vihear provincial town. Preah Vihear province was created in 1964 by cutting the land from Stung Treng, Kampong Thom and Riem Reap provinces. The province is at the north of Cambodia, on the plateau that is rich in forests, mountains and streams. The temple was originally known as Sreisikharesvara, which means the power of the mountain. The temple was built over 300 years in the late 9th and early 12th centuries to worship Shiva Brahmanism by four kings.

Friday, February 21, 2014 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

Thursday, February 20, 2014

All about Vietnam

CapitalHanoi
LanguageVietnamese
Area: 331,210 km2
Population: 89.7 million (UN, 2012)
Largest city: Ho Chi Minh City
Major language: Vietnamese
Major religion: Buddhism
Life expectancy: 73 years (men), 77 years (women) (UN)
Main exports: Petroleum, rice, coffee, clothing, fish
Internet domain: .vn
International dialling code: +84



Vietnam officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.3 million inhabitants as of 2012, it is the world's 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The name Vietnam translates as "Southern Viet" (synonymous with the much older term Nam Viet); it was first officially adopted in 1802 by Emperor Gia Long, and was adopted again in 1945 with the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976.


Travel advice:


Tropical cyclones affect the eastern coastal regions. The season normally runs from May to November, but tropical cyclones can occur outside this period. You should monitor the progress of approaching storms.

There is a low threat from terrorism. See Terrorism.


Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.



Around 100,000 British nationals visit Vietnam every year. Most visits are trouble-free.


Climate

Vietnam is large enough to have several distinct climate zones.
The North has four distinct seasons, with a comparatively chilly winter (temperatures can dip below 15°C/59°F in Hanoi), a hot and wet summer and pleasant spring (March-April) and autumn (October-December) seasons. However, in the Highlands both extremes are amplified, with occasional snow in the winter and temperatures hitting 40°C (104°F) in the summer.

In the Central regions the Hai Van pass separates two different weather patterns of the North starting in Langco (which is hotter in summer and cooler in winter) from the milder conditions South starting in Danang. North East Monsoon conditions September - February with often strong winds, large sea swells and rain make this a miserable and difficult time to travel through Central Vietnam. Normally summers are hot and dry.



The South has three somewhat distinct seasons: hot and dry from March to May/June; rainy from June/July to November; and cool and dry from December to February. April is the hottest month, with mid-day temperatures of 33°C (91°F) or more most days. During the rainy season, downpours can happen every afternoon, and occasional street flooding occurs. Temperatures range from stifling hot before a rainstorm to pleasantly cool afterwards. Mosquitoes are most numerous in the rainy season. December to February is the most pleasant time to visit, with cool evenings down to around 20° (68°F).


Vietnam is advancing rapidly in manufacturing, information technology and oil production. However, millions of Vietnamese still depend on agriculture


Top 10 Iconic Landscapes of Vietnam

Halong Bay: There's nothing quite like Halong Bay first thing in the morning. As the mists clear, hundreds of huge karst towers appear, looming high above the boat. In the soft morning light it's like waking up in a watercolour painting of a mythical land.


Hanoi: Motorbikes piled high with people, produce and even animals zip through the streets. It's crazy, haphazard and somehow it works. The best way to take it all in is from a rooftop cafe. Order an extra strong coffee and watch the chaos unfold below.



Mekong Delta: This massive area of floating markets, emerald rice paddies and lush islands is home to some of the friendliest people on earth. Take a boat trip to one of the sleepy islands to get a front row view of life on the Delta, and meet the people who call it home.



Sapa: Head to the hills and see the colourful villages of Vietnam's minority groups - the Zay, and the Blue and Black H'mong. The area is remote so the best way to experience it is on an overnight trek, spending the night as a guest of a local family.



Qui Nhon: Quaint Qui Nhon is a sleepy beach town off the main tourist trail. It's worth coming here just for the drive. The road hugs granite cliffs that plunge into the South China Sea, and islands, lagoons and sand dunes slowly give way to sugar plantations and rice fields.



Hue: Jam-packed with imperial sites, Hue is one for the history buffs. Explore the Citadel with its ruined Forbidden Purple City before embracing your inner emperor and taking a dragonboat cruise down the Perfume River.



Hoi An: This shoppers' paradise is home to more boot makers, tailors and handicraft than you could visit in a lifetime. While you wait for your suit to be made, hire a bicycle and explore the Old Town - the streets are blissfully car free.



Ho Chi Minh City: Still known as Saigon to most, HCMC is a city on the go. It's fast-paced, exciting and full of amazing sites. Temples and markets collide with churches and skyscrapers for a heady mix of traditional, colonial and modern.



Mai Chau: Mai Chau feels a million miles away from the bustle of Hanoi. Misty mountains and emerald rice paddies contribute to the air of peacefulness. Be sure to look out for the traditional fabrics woven by the White Thais that call this area home.




Dalat: It's spring all year round in Vietnam's 'honeymoon capital'. Soak up the French-inspired atmosphere, spot the quirky local artists and explore the surrounding lakes, waterfalls and forests. C'est fantastique!

idth Discovery Channel - Ultimate Journeys Vietnam
Vietnam Travel Guide, Best Time to Travel to Vietnam [Fascinating Destinations]

Vietnam Travel Video Guide More Vietnam videos here



World Heritage List in Vietnam

Complex of Hué Monuments

Established as the capital of unified Viet Nam in 1802, Hué was not only the political but also the cultural and religious centre under the Nguyen dynasty until 1945. The Perfume River winds its way through the Capital City, the Imperial City, the Forbidden Purple City and the Inner City, giving this unique feudal capital a setting of great natural beauty.



Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site's outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest.



Hoi An Ancient Town

Hoi An Ancient Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.



My Son Sanctuary

Between the 4th and 13th centuries a unique culture which owed its spiritual origins to Indian Hinduism developed on the coast of contemporary Viet Nam. This is graphically illustrated by the remains of a series of impressive tower-temples located in a dramatic site that was the religious and political capital of the Champa Kingdom for most of its existence.



Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

The karst formation of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park has evolved since the Palaeozoic (some 400 million years ago) and so is the oldest major karst area in Asia. Subject to massive tectonic changes, the park's karst landscape is extremely complex with many geomorphic features of considerable significance. The vast area, extending to the border of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, contains spectacular formations ...



Central Sector of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Hanoi
The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (Vietnamese: Hoàng thành Thăng Long) is the cultural complex comprising the royal enclosure first built during the Lý Dynasty and subsequently expanded by the Trần, Lê and finally the Nguyễn Dynasty. The ruins roughly coincide with the Hanoi Citadel today.


Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
The 14th -century Ho Dynasty citadel, built according to the feng shui principles, testifies to the flowering of neo-Confucianism in late 14th century Viet Nam and its spread to other parts of east Asia. According to these principles it was sited in a landscape of great scenic beauty on an axis joining the Tuong Son and Don Son mountains in a plain between the Ma and Buoi rivers. The citadel buildings represent an outstanding example of a new style of south-east Asian imperial city.

Thursday, February 20, 2014 by V.K Vimalaranjan · 0

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