Satri House Secret Retreats (5 Star Hotel) Luang Prabang, Laos

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Satri House Secret Retreats 1

Located in Luang Prabang, the colonial-style Satri House was the previous residence of Prince Souphanouvon. The hotel offers 2 outdoor pools, free Wi-Fi and a spa.

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The modern rooms at Satri House feature beautiful interiors and a cable TV. Standard amenities include a minibar and fridge.

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Guests can lounge by the 2 pools and enjoy views of the beautiful landscaped gardens. The hotel’s spa features massage services and sauna facilities.

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The onsite restaurant serves delicious local and international specialties.

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This is our guests’ favorite part of Luang Prabang, according to independent reviews.

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Satri House Secret Retreats have beautiful big rooms

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Massage

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S Park Design (4 Star) Hotel, Vientiane Laos

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Situated just a short drive from Vientiane’s must-see destinations, S Park Design Hotel offers a swimming pool and comfortable guestrooms equipped with air conditioning. Suitable for both business and leisure travelers, the hotel also provides free WiFi access and free parking on-site.

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All guestrooms come with a flat-screen satellite TV, a safety deposit box and a minibar. Fitted with a bath or shower, the private bathroom includes towels, a hairdryer and free toiletries.

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At S Park Design Hotel, guests will be greeted by the helpful staff at the 24-hour front desk. Other services such as luggage storage services and business/meeting rooms are also available. For those who want to work out during their stay, the hotel also has a fitness work.

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MUSSO Restaurant & Bar opens daily from 18:00 – 00:00 hrs and serves a variety of international dishes as well as a great selection of imported wine and beers. For a cup of coffee and a light snack or sandwich, guests can also visit The Scenic Eatery open daily from 11:00 – 23:00 hrs. In room dining is also available upon request.

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S Park Design Hotel is approximately a 10-minute drive from Laos National Museum and the famous Wat Sisaket and Hor Phra Keo. Wattay International Airport is 6 km from the property.

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

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Asean set for tourism push

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Asian Beach

As grouping turns 50 next year, campaign will promote 600 destinations in the region.

IN ORDER to build a real sense of community, Asean will for the first time launch a regional tourism campaign to promote 600 destinations to boost arrivals and income when the regional grouping turns 50 next year.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said officials of national tourism organisations from the 10 nations had agreed at a meeting in the Philippines to introduce “Asean at 50” as the new regional tourism campaign.

The campaign will be announced tomorrow at the Asean Tourism Forum in Manila and there will be a grand opening at the International Tourism Berse (ITB) in Germany in the first quarter of this year.

“Asean promotes itself as a single-market tourist destination as all members were integrated into an economic community at the end of last year. The campaign will be part of Asean’s 50th anniversary celebrations,” Pongpanu said.

Asean will be promoting 600 attractions located across the region, which will be divided into 12 different categories under the theme of “50 Best…”.

The dozen categories will be the 50 best of cities, hotels, restaurants, food, festivals and celebrations, beaches, shopping, historical sites, adventure tourism, small towns and villages, markets, as well as unforgettable experiences.

Pongpanu said each Asean member would propose their attractions and products to a central committee, which should complete the selection procedure before the grand opening in Germany.

Phill+

Thailand is assigned to lead the selection of two categories: festivals and celebrations, as well as unforgettable experiences, he said.

“The new campaign should boost tourism income and total arrivals in the region by 15 per cent from 100 million to 115 million,” he added.

Officials from national tourism organisations also approved another 10-year Asean Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) set for 2016-25, while Asean tourism ministers adopted the ATSP 2011-15 that focused on 19 measures.

Plan for tourism professIonals

The 10-year plan is also expected to boost tourism earnings for the entire region from 10 to 15 per cent in 2025, while employment in the sector should rise from 3 to 7 per cent, travellers’ length of stay will climb from 6.3 days to eight days and average spending per trip per visitor will rise from $900 to $1,500 or Bt 27,000 to Bt45,000.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, the total number of international arrivals in Asean is expected to rise to 123 million by 2020, 152 million by 2025 and 187 million by 2030.

Pongpanu said Asean will be also focusing on other developments such as improving infrastructure, enhancing competency, labour transfer, a single visa for all nations in the grouping as well as maintaining major tourism markets such as China, India and Russia.

Myan Mar

On January 19, all 10 Asean tourism ministers signed an agreement on the establishment of the Regional Secretariat to support the implementation of Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professional (MRA-TP.) The secretariat will be based in Jakarta and will commence operations this year.

Signed by Asean Tourism Ministers in November 2012, MRA-TP was developed to facilitate mobility of tourism professionals in the region.

Dr Ong Hong Peng, secretary-general of Malaysia’s Tourism and Culture Ministry, said the MRA-TP marked a significant milestone for tourism development in Asean.

“Moving forward, Malaysia, as chairman of the Asean Tourism Professional Monitoring Committee, will fully support and contribute towards the realisation of the objectives and targets of the Asean MRA-TP,” he said.

Source: The Nation

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Bueng Kan, Cascades, caves and chasms #Thailand

Bueng Kan 1Thailand’s newest province, Bueng Kan, has plenty of charms to attract visitors.

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ONCE PART of Nong Khai, Bueng Kan is Thailand’s newest province and surprisingly one of the most developed in the Northeast, beating out Nong Bua Lamphu, Amnat Charoen, Sa Kaeo and Mukdahan in terms of infrastructure.

At 4,305 square kilometres, it is marginally smaller than Mukdahan (4,340sqkm) and slightly bigger than Nong Bua Lamphu (3,859sqkm) and Amnat Charoen (3,161sqkm) and right now is attracting a lot of public attention, not to mention investment, thanks to the construction of a fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and an airport.

“The idea for building the fifth bridge came up when we were still Bueng Kan District but was rejected because of being in the same province of Nong Khai, which is home to the first. The new bridge will undoubtedly attract tourists from our neighbours, especially China and Vietnam,” says Vice Governor Tewan Sannikorn in a meeting with the media at City Hall.

“Right now visitors have to take one of three routes to come to Bueng Kan: from Udon Thani, from Sakon Nakhon and from Nakhon Phanom. Soon they will be able to fly right to the provincial seat and we will be more than ready to welcome them,” he continues.

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“Our economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, especially rubber plantations, but the province is rich in tourism resources too,” he adds. “In addition to the airport, the Ministry of Transport has a plan to build a new road that will offer greater convenience to tourists as it cut the distance from Udon Thani to Bueng Kan and bypass Nong Khai.”

But even without the airport and road, tourist numbers are looking up, according to Rachata Samranchalaruk, director of Bueng Kan Tourism and Sports.

“Despite relatively little promotion, we had more than 4,000 tourists visiting Tham Phra Waterfall during this year’s long holidays. When I went I was astonished to see a queue forming at the natural slide although I have to add that one visitor had an accident and was taken to hospital. It’s one of the most beautiful and interesting places in Bueng Kan and draws a large number of tourists. To get there you need to take a boat and because the waterway isn’t wide enough to accommodate many boats, we are looking for a forest path to the waterfall,” Rachata says.

“Another attractive tourist destination is Dongdipkala Phu Sing and the Dongsichomphu Forest Nature Room, especially Hin Sam Wan cliff, which is shaped like a whale. We held a cycling event here not that long ago and when the photos were uploaded to the social networks, we saw a significant increase in the number of visitors. Right now, I’m working on ensuring the area is both safe and clean as we are expecting many more tourists during the winter. Ideally, they should park at the bottom of the reserve then walk or cycle the trail through the forest. I know many people are attracted by the sheer beauty of Hin Sam Wan and are determined to climb it. But it is as dangerous as it is beautiful and we worry that tourists might fall into the chasm. In the distance, you can see Hin Rot Fai, which looks like a train consisting of five bogies and a smokestack.”

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Last Sunday, Bueng Kan was home to the second edition of the cycling series, Tour of Isaan Classic, and hundreds of keen cyclists, from nearby provinces as well as Bangkok, turned out. The event was divided into two categories: a 100km road ride to Wat Phu Thok and a 50km mountain-bike ride to Phu Sing.

Wat Phu Thok, which is also known as Wat Chetiya Khiri Wihan, is not recommended for anyone who suffers from vertigo. You walk to the top via a wooden bridge that winds around the steep mountain. While the wooden bridge looked stronger than the last time I was here, when it was bouncing in the wind, it’s still a steep and nerve-wracking climb, probably because it symbolises the path of virtue that leads a righteous man to leave the world and enter the state of freedom through his own efforts.

Phu Thok is still a meditation practice centre as well as a centre and used for religious affairs by the local community. And the climb is well worth the effort: the view from the top is magnificent.

Visitors to the province can also take a boat trip on Bueng Khong Long, which was registered in 2001 one of the World’s Wetlands of International Importance and is the second largest wetland in Thailand. A massive fresh water reservoir initiated by His Majesty the King and the Royal Thai Irrigation Department with the aim of providing water for agriculture during the dry season, it is home to various rare plants and aquatic animals, such as the Mekong bumblebee goby as well as migrating birds like the plumed egret, tailed jacana and the lesser whistling duck.

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Thai-Lao markets abound in town and are ideal places to pick up souvenirs. Our press group was taken to Ched Si and Phu Tham Phra waterfalls though access to the first was cut off due to heavy rainfall. Phu Tham Phra Waterfall, which flows down the 100-metre wide cliff to the valley, reminded us a little of the Niagara Falls, and is well worth a visit.

Dongdipkala Phu Sing and Dongsichomphu Forest Nature Room are home to several curiously shaped rocks, among them the elephant head-shaped Hin Hua Chang and the Kanpaeng Hin (Stone Wall), which feature a Buddha image.

Any trip to Bueng Kan should include a stop at Nong Gud Thing, a swamp with a rich biodiversity, including 20 fish species found nowhere else in the world.

We wrap our Bueng Kan trip by admiring 60 Chinese carved figures at Wat Weruwan and paying our respects to Luangphor Phra Sai at Wat Pho Chai.

Source: The Nation

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A winning heritage, Xieng Thong Temple #Laos

Xieng Thong Temple 1

A Luang Prabang temple is recognised with a Unesco Award of Merit

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Xieng Thong Temple in Luang Prabang province has won an Award of Merit, one of 12 announced last week under the 2015 Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Award scheme.

According to the official announcement published on http://www.UnescoBKK.org on September 1, 12 winning projects in five countries, – India, China, Laos, Australia and Thailand – have been recognised in this year’s Heritage Awards.

A panel of international conservation experts met in June to review 36 entries from across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Cangdong Heritage Education Centre, Kaiping City, Guangdong province, and Pingyao Courtyard House, Shanxi province in China as well as Baan Luang Rajamaitri, Muang district, Chantaburi province in Thailand, also received the Award of Merit.

Conservation of the Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple in Kerala, India, received the Award of Excellence in this year’s Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

The Award of Merit for the conservation of the exceptionally ornate Xieng Thong Temple has safeguarded the jewel of Luang Prabang architecture and Laos’ most significant landmark.

Undertaken within the framework of technical standards set by the Luang Prabang Department of World Heritage, the project is to be commended for its systematic conservation planning and execution.

The involvement of trained monk artisans in producing the traditional decorative works represents a noteworthy revival of an age-old practice of sustaining Buddhist temples.

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The major initiative has arrested the temple complex’s slow physical decay and reversed previous inappropriate conservation efforts, improving the condition of both the ritual buildings and the monks’ quarters.

By combining grassroots efforts with donor support, the project epitomises the spirit of World Heritage in promoting international cooperation for protecting the world’s most iconic heritage places.

The Unesco Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation programme recognises the efforts |of private individuals and organisations that have successfully |restored and conserved structures and buildings of heritage value in the region. Earlier this year, the Luang Prabang World Heritage Site scooped “Best City” in the Wanderlust Travel Awards 2015, with Bagan in Myanmar taking second place and Stockholm in Sweden coming in third.

Source: The Nation

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