Thailand’s Ang Thong National Marine Park, the ‘new’ Maya Bay

With Thailand’s Maya Bay in Koh Phi Phi Ley remains closed
indefinitely to allow the tourist-magnet some much-needed time to
recover, it’s time to look for another natural wonder.
 
One of Thailand’s astonishing natural wonders, not as well known as Maya Bay,
is the Ang Thong National Marine Park, located about 40 kilometers north
west of the coast of Koh Samui. Some would argue it’s even more
spectacular and worthy of at least a full day visit. 
 
There are manytours available to the National Park.
 
The Ang Thong National
Marine Park is made up of 42 islands spread over 102 square kilometers. Travelers will find beautiful beaches, limestone cliffs, caves, rock
formations and countless photo opportunities. Enjoy some views from the
air…
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It will take you about an hour to travel there from either the Surat
Thani mainland or from Koh Samui by speedboat. There are slower
ferry-style boat trips as well but you’ll lose a lot of time travelling
there (usually for day trips) and the speedboats can get into much
shallower waters.
 
Tours usually also squeeze in a visit to Koh
Phaluai, the park’s biggest island, where there’s a popular  stilted
restaurant in the island’s fishing village, serving a delicious seafood
lunch.
 
Another popular island worth visiting is Koh Wua Talap,
famed for wildlife spotting and what might just be the most beautiful
viewpoint in the entire park.
 
FUN FACT: Though
the 2000 movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed in
Koh Phi Phi’s Maya Bay in the Andaman Sea, the book by Alex Garland upon
which the film was based was actually set in Ang Thong in the Gulf of
Thailand.
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Source – The Thaiger
 
 

 

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Thai bay made famous by The Beach shut till 2021

Thai Bay

THE closure of the glittering Thai bay made famous by the movie The Beach has been extended for another two years to allow a full recovery of its corals and wildlife, an official said on Thursday, drawing a sharp rebuke from the tourism industry.

Maya Bay, ringed by cliffs on Ko Phi Phi Ley island and surrounded by azure waters, was made famous when it featured in the 2000 film starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

It was shut last June by Thai authorities due to worries the white-sand paradise was suffering from the pressure of thousands of day-trippers arriving by boat.

Authorities had initially said the beach – a massive draw for Thailand’s more than 38 million tourists – was going to be closed for four months, but the re-opening was repeatedly postponed.

Thon Thamrongnawasawat, adviser to the Department of National Parks, on Thursday said the ban on visitors will be extended until mid-2021.

“The resolution of the Department of Parks yesterday [May 8] is to extend the closure of Maya Bay for another two years to allow its ecology to fully recover,” he said.

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After it is reopened, measures such as limiting the number of daily visitors and banning boats from parking within the bay’s waters will be enacted, Thon said.

Before Maya Bay’s closure, up to 5,000 tourists visited daily, causing trees and smaller vegetation to be uprooted, creeping soil erosion, and severe damage to the corals in the bay.

A majority of the visitors were ferried there from tourist hotspot Krabi province by local longtail boatmen or tour operators who touted the movie-famous bay as a key attraction for day trips.

“Maya Bay is the heart of our tourism,” said Wattana Rerngsamut, chairman of Krabi Provincial Tourism Association which represents some 200 tourism and hotel operators.

Calling the two-year extension “unfair”, Wattana said the Department of National Parks should conduct public hearings so they can find “common ground . . . so that local people can earn a living”.

Chinese visitors, making up a quarter of Thailand’s tourists, have “plunged 50 per cent [in Krabi]”, he added.

Thailand experienced a three-month slowdown in tourism last year, most noticeably since July when a ferry sank and killed 47 Chinese visitors off nearby Phuket.

Since the tragedy, the government has rolled out inducements aimed at regaining trust and making travel easier – including exempting Chinese visitors from paying a visa-on-arrival fee.

Less than a year after its closure, blacktip reef sharks have been sighted swimming in Maya Bay, with conservationists saying their return signals signs of a recovery to the ecology.

Source – ThePhnomPenhPost

#Vietnam – Son Doong Cave an incredible find

The Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh Province is among the most incredible places in the world recently found, The Telegraph says.

 
The cave, part of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park in central Vietnam, is the world’s largest, but it did not feature on Vietnam’s tourism map until it was opened for tourists in 2013.
 
The Telegraph has included the once-hidden cave on the list of 11 newly-discovered places that are worth an amazing exploration journey.
 
Son Doong opened to tourists in 2013, four years after members of the British Cave Research Association concluded their initial exploration and declared it the world’s largest cave.
 
The five kilometer-long system, which is 150 meters high and 200 meters wide, contains at least 150 individual caves, a dense subterranean jungle and several underground rivers.
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 Due to limited space, registration for Son Doong tours must be made well in advance. According to Oxalis, now the only company licensed to bring tourists to the cave, only 300 spaces are available for 2019 tours.
 
A four-day expedition costs $3,000, and there are bus routes running from Hanoi to Dong Hoi, the capital town of Quang Binh, and then to the park.
 
The Quang Binh government recently raised the limit for number of tourists allowed to visit the cave from 640 to 900 a year.
 
Other incredible places that are recent finds include the Pico da Neblina mountain in Brazil, Xianren Bridge in China, Cape Melville in Australia, Machu Picchu citadel in Peru and Mount Mabu in Mozambique.
 
Last month, the U.K.-based travel guide publisher, Lonely Planet, named Son Doong Cave in Quang Binh among the best places to visit in 2019.
 
The New York Times has named it among the world’s top eight travel destinations, while the National Geographic has called it a “natural wonder.”
 
 Source – VN Express
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#Cambodia – Kratie to become a priority tourist destination

A beach in the Mekong River in Kratie province

The province of Kratie, in the country’s east, is poised to become a priority tourist destination and a national heritage site.Tourism Minister Thong Khon on Monday unveiled plans to turn the province’s capital into a “prime tourism destination” and a “heritage city”.

Prime destinations are important attractions but are not as crucial to the tourism sector as the country’s main tourist draws – the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap and the coastal areas.

 

Minister Khon said the decision to turn Kratie into a priority destination and a heritage site was based on the city’s many tourist attractions, particularly the dolphins that can be spotted in the Mekong River.“If there are dolphins in the Mekong River, there are tourists; however, no dolphins, no tourists,” Mr Khon said.

Other noteworthy products and sites in the province with great tourism potential include the Koh Trong pomelo, colonial buildings, stunning river beaches, and a slew of eco-tourism sites, the minister said.

He reminded the city’s authorities of their responsibility to boost the quality of these products and sites to meet and exceed tourists’ expectations.

“We must continue improving the quality of services and products in the province and create new tourism products,” he said. “We must work hard to develop Kratie province into a prime destination and a heritage site, organise new events on the beach and in the river, keep the city and the province clean, improve hygiene in public toilets, and protect the environment,” Mr Khon said.

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“Tourism officials must also strive to improve tourist boats so that they offer a quality service, and drivers must wear proper uniforms,” he added.Mr Khon told Kratie’s provincial tourism department to focus on revamping infrastructure like tourist booths, parking areas, and public toilets while improving services and products at stores, tourist boats, restaurants, and food courts.

Chuk Chumnor, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, told Khmer Times that the government also wants to turn Battambang and Kampot into heritage sites. He said the ministry is working with Unesco to register these cities as national heritage sites first, and world heritage sites at a later stage.

“We are also working with Unesco to register Kratie city as a heritage site, together with Battambang and Kampot. These three cities boast beautiful French buildings,” Mr Chumnor said.

“We are committed to strengthening the quality of tourism services and products, social order and security as well as improving eco-tourism sites in the province,” Mr Chumnor said.

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Thoun Sinan, chairman of the Cambodian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said the priority destination scheme is a strategy that aims to increase opportunities for socioeconomic development through tourism investment and development.

“To develop these priority destinations, the Ministry of Tourism, in close cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts and Unesco, has studied and produced the necessary documentation to register these cities as national heritage cities and Unesco world heritage sites.

“Battambang, Kampot, and Kratie could become world heritage sites, which will draw public attention to them and help develop them in a sustainable manner while preserving their urban and natural heritage,” Mr Sinan said.

Last year, Kratie province welcomed about 349,000 visitors, a 15.2 percent year-on-year increase. 25,990 of them were foreigners, mostly French nationals, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

 
Source – Khmer Times

 

Phu Yen, #Vietnam’s land of the rising sun

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 The easternmost province is a top choice for adventures and to enjoy the beauty of nature including some out-of-the-world landscapes.Phu Yen, located on the south central coast, is the first point on the Vietnamese mainland to welcome the sun every morning.

It has a diverse topography consisting of mountains, rivers, lagoons, bays, and islands and a myriad of beautiful natural sights for visitors to explore.

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Phu Yen’s sunny season is from January to around August, and is perfect for sightseeing. There are also lots of local festivals during these months, so remember to check their dates if you want to see them.But April and May can be quite hot, so visitors who choose to go during this period should be mindful and take sun-protection gear and water.

From May until the end of July is the peak domestic tourist season, and during this period Phu Yen can get pretty crowded. It might not be an ideal time for those who prefer a quiet and relaxing holiday.

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Dai Lanh Cape, around 35km from Tuy Hoa, the capital city of Phu Yen, is the first place in the country where the sun rises. The best spots to catch the sunrise from are up the lighthouse or on Mon Beach, both spectacular places.Visitors can spend the night at Mui Dien lighthouse, and, when the time comes, take in the view of the bay and the ocean wide open right before their eyes. The feeling when standing on the top, with the wind carrying the smell of the ocean and caressing your skin and hair, and watching the spectacular scene unfold is indescribable.

You need to call up the lighthouse and make arrangements the day before. Tickets cost around VND10,000 ($0.43)

Camping on Mon Beach for the night and waiting for the sunrise can be an unforgettable experience. The beach is located behind Dai Lanh Lighthouse.

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Vung Ro spreads over an area of 16.4 square kilometers, with beautiful beaches and the ocean on one side and forested mountains like Deo Ca and Hon Ba, and the highest peak, Da Bia (Tombstone Mountain), on the other.It is situated in the commune of Hoa Xuan Nam, Dong Hoa District, at the edge of Ca Pass. The drive, whether from the south or north, is extremely scenic. The coastal road offers a magnificent, unbroken view of the bay’s blue waters, fishing villages, the craggy pass, the green mountains, and the white sandy beaches.

There are hundreds of floating homes, fish farms and wooden fishing boats in the main bay. From here, visitors can take a boat to visit seafood farms, try to be a fisherman for a day and learn how locals catch lobsters or go catching fish or squid.

The seafood at the floating restaurants here are obviously as fresh as it possibly can be as it goes straight to the kitchen from the floating farms around. Some beers while floating on the blue lagoon, and this becomes an experience one just should not miss.

There are also other recreation options such as jet-skiing, snorkeling and visiting historical relics for visitors.

 Vung Ro Bay has 12  beautiful, pristine beaches such as Lach, Mu U, Chua, Chan Trau which are perfect for a refreshing dip in the cool, clear water or just unwinding in a tranquil, quiet place on the white sand.

 

#Thailand’s most important airports are going smoke-free

Goodbye smoking lounges
Smoking is no longer allowed inside the passenger buildings at six of Thailand’s main airports.

As of Sun, Feb 3, Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai and Mae Fah Luang airports, all operated by Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT), have been declared no-smoking zones with fines of up to B5,000 (around US$160) for any violators.

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The move is in accordance with the 2017 Tobacco Control Act and a
2018 Public Health Ministry announcement requiring all offices of
government agencies and state enterprises, which includes airports, to
assign no-smoking areas.
According to Bangkok Post, the AoT has instructed staff at the six airports to arrange smoking areas outside the passenger buildings
Passenger
traffic at Bangkok’s two airports, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi, both
affected by the change, exceeded 100 million in 2018.
Source – Thaiger

 

Top 10 busiest airports by passenger traffic in H1

Beijing Capital International Airport

Beijing Capital International Airport remained the world’s second-busiest airport by passenger traffic, witnessing 49.38 million passengers in the first half of the year, said Civil Aviation Data Analysis, a civil aviation data platform based in Shanghai, on Aug 2.

The list, comprising 17 international airports around the world, ranks airports in terms of passenger traffic as of the end of June. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport remained the world’s busiest airport, with passenger traffic of 52.64 million in the first six months, while Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi saw the fastest growth of passengers with an increase of 13.41 percent during the same period.

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Let’s take a look at the world’s top 10 busiest airports in the first half of the year.

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

No 10 Indira Gandhi International Airport – Total passengers: 35.04 million

No 9 Shanghai Pudong International Airport – Total passengers: 36.69 million

No 8 Hong Kong International Airport – Total passengers: 36.91 million

No 7 London Heathrow Airport – Total passengers: 38.07 million

No 6 O’Hare International Airport, Chicago – Total passengers: 39.45 million

No 5 Tokyo Haneda Airport – Total passengers: 41.06 million

No 4 Los Angeles International Airport – Total passengers: 42.68 million

No 3 Dubai International Airport – Total passengers: 43.74 million

No 2 Beijing Capital International Airport – Total passengers: 49.38 million

No 1 Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport – Total passengers: 52.64 million

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Peace (4 Star) Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

Peace Resort 1

Situated on Bo Phut Beach, Peace Resort offers 2 outdoor pools and an outdoor restaurant. Its spacious bungalows feature a private terrace with sea or garden views. Free WiFi is available in all areas.

Peace Resort 2

Equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, bungalows at Peace also come with a tea/coffee maker and a minibar. Private bathrooms feature a spacious layout and include a hairdryer.

Peace Resort 3

The Sea Wrap Restaurant serves French and Thai dishes, with the option of dining outdoors right on the beach. Guests may also enjoy a refreshing drink at the pool bar. Room service is provided.

Peace Resort 4

Guests can take a dip in the spa pool or have a quiet read in the resort’s library. Day trips can be arranged at the tour desk, which also assists with car rentals.

Peace Resort 5

Peace Resort 6

Located opposite the resort is Peace Tropical Spa, which offers massage treatments. Peace Resort is 1.5 km from Fisherman’s Village and 6 km from Samui International Airport.

Peace Resort 7

Peace Resort 8

This is our guests’ favourite part of Bophut , according to independent reviews.

Peace Resort 10

Peace Resort 9

This property is also rated for the best value in Bophut ! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

Peace Resort 11

Peace Resort 12

*****

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Sedona Hotel, Yangon Myanmar

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Sedona Hotel 1

Sedona Hotel Yangon is a 10-minute drive from Shwedagon Pagoda. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi. The hotel features a pool, spa and fitness centre. Free public parking is possible on site.

Sedona Hotel 2

The hotel is a 3-minute drive to Inya Lake and a 10-minute drive from Kabar Aye Pagoda. It is 9 km from Sule Pagoda and the center of Yangon.

Sedona Hotel 3

Rooms come with a flat-screen TV, refrigerator and safety deposit box. Featuring a shower, private bathrooms also come with a hairdryer.

Sedona Hotel 4

Guests can enjoy international cuisine at Brasserie Restaurant. Room service can be arranged upon request.

Sedona Hotel 5

Sedona Hotel 6

Sedona Hotel 7

Yankin Township is a great choice for travelers interested in parks, markets and ancient landmarks.

Sedona Hotel 8

This property is also rated for the best value in Yangon! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

Sedona Hotel 9

Sedona Hotel 10

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Pullman Phuket Arcadia, Naithon Beach

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Pullman Phuket 1

Perched on the headland overlooking the Andaman Sea with direct access to Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach offers guests a tranquil and relaxing getaway. Featuring a spa centre, this luxurious resort boasts 2 outdoor pools, a children’s pool and a a gym. Guests can head to any of the 3 bars, bakery or 2 restaurants on-site.

Pullman Phuket 2

The property is a 10-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, a 12-minute drive from Splash Jungle and a 15-minute drive from Blue Canyon Golf Course and Laguna Golf Course. It is a 30-minute drive from Big Buddha and Royal Phuket Marina. Central Festival Department Store and Patong Beach are a 40-minute drive away, while Phuket Aquarium is a 45-minute drive away.

Pullman Phuket 4

Soundproof rooms at Pullman Phuket Arcadia are stylishly furnished with contemporary décor. Each one comes equipped with a balcony, a flat-screen cable/satellite TV and an iPod docking station. It has a seating area, a coffee machine and a minibar. Free toiletries are included in an en suite bathroom with a separate bathtub and rain shower.

Pullman Phuket 3

Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with currency exchange, luggage storage and laundry. The hotel also has meeting facilities, a library and a business centre. Other services include a shuttle service and a tour desk.

Pullman Phuket 5

Pullman Phuket 6
Pullman Phuket 7
Pullman Phuket 8

Guests can enjoy a variety of international dishes at the restaurant. In-room dining option is available upon request.

Pullman Phuket 9

Pullman Phuket 10

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