#Laos – Pakxong – a fine place to chill out

 
People who are lucky enough to spend a few days on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos always want to return because of the pleasant climate – it never gets really hot, either in the dry or wet seasons.
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The Bolaven Plateau, which is often referred to simply as Pakxong, is located in the hills of Champassak province. I feel I know the area pretty well.
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A long time ago I made many visits there when my wife was working for a coffee project in Pakxong. I have never forgotten it and liked this place very much as it was always cool throughout the year, both day and night.
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The town of Pakxong is about 50 kilometres from the provincial capital Pakxe. I once went there in April when it’s usually extremely hot in Laos, especially in the south. 
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I stayed at km 35 and always felt comfortable but as soon as I ventured beyond Pakxong, the temperate spiked and it was really hot.
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At that time of the year, many people can’t sleep because of the hot weather. Residents of large towns such as Vientiane and Pakxe have to use air conditioning to help them sleep.
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But in Pakxong there is no need to use an artificial cooling device and Mother Nature will ensure you remain comfortable. The fresh air that surrounds you throughout the night will keep you refreshed so you don’t wake up feeling exhausted.
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Some Thai visitors have been known to say they don’t need to go to Europe to enjoy a cool climate but can come to Pakxong district instead.
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I don’t know if things are still the same in Pakxong because I haven’t been there for 15 years. But some people who have spent time in this beautiful area recently tell me that it’s as pleasing as ever.
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The Bolaven Plateau runs through Champassak province’s Pakxong district, Saravan province’s Lao-ngam, and Xekong province’s Thataeng district, and boasts a wealth of scenic beauty.
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Some of the most dramatic waterfalls in Champassak are Nheuang, Fan, Phasuam, Nong Luang and Champee Nang Sida.
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There are also three more waterfalls of note in Saravan province, namely Lo, Hang and Xeset, and then there is the Sinouk Resort in Xekong province, which are all very popular with both local and foreign visitors.
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The Bolaven Plateau is set to be developed as the country’s top agri-business and agri-tourism destination thanks to its year round temperate climate and picturesque landscape.
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When visiting Champassak province over the past few years, Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith has advised officials to seek more investment from domestic and overseas sources so that the coffee industry can be further developed and other crops can be cultivated on the Bolaven Plateau and nearby.
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From Vientiane, tourists can reach Champassak by either road or air transport. And thanks to shared borders with Thailand and Cambodia, there are close tourist links with both those countries.

The local food is another attraction, with a wide variety of dishes on offer that will satisfy all palates. Set a date for a visit soon!

Source – Vientiane Times

 

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#Vietnam – Once a barrier against invaders, now a beautiful valley

Chi Lang Passage in Lang Son Province used to be a strategic bulwark for Vietnam and now boasts tourist attractions.
 
Chi Lang Passage is a narrow valley between the Bao Dai mountain range in the east and the Cai Kinh range in the west in the northern province. The mountains form two natural barriers. 
 
Running zigzag along the valley is the Thuong River. Historical accounts show the valley was once regarded as an impenetrable barrier that keep out invaders from the north. King Le Dai Hanh (941-1005) once said the area helped destroy enemies no matter how large and powerful their armies were.
 
From Hanoi, you can follow National Highway 1A to get to the place. It stretches for around 20 km, with the main sights being Chi Lang and Quang Lang communes in Chi Lang District, Lang Son Province.
 Bai Hao Lake, one of the sights in Chi Lang, is surrounded by undulating mountains.
 

The Chi Lang Temple is currently being built by the lake as a spiritual
and cultural complex to cherish the historical values of Chi Lang.
 
 The train runs through Bac Thuy Bridge in Chi Lang District on the Hanoi – Dong Dang (Lang Son Province) route. 
 
The train also connects with Dong Mo and Ban Thi stations in Chi Lang District.
 
 About 30 km from the center of Chi Lang District is Khau Sao hill (Khau Slao), a popular destination for visitors. Situated in Suoi Ma A Village, Huu Kien Commune, it is dubbed the ‘Green steppe of Lang Son’.
 
The hill is 760 meters high and its terrain makes it a strenuous climb. Locals allow their horses and cattle to graze there. There are more than 1,700 horses being raised here, of which nearly 700 are pure white.
 
 The Tay and Nung ethnic minorities here mainly make a living by raising horses. The abundant grass, clean water and salubrious climate help the horses breed rapidly.
 
The animals are left completely free. In the morning people bring their horses to the hill and leave them there until afternoon when they are taken to each family’s private area to drink water.
 
 
Custard apples are another Chi Lang specialty. They are grown throughout Chi Lang and the trees are ubiquitous along National Highway 1A.
 
One of the most famous places where the fruit is grown in Chi Lang is Dong Banh rock mountain, which is about 200 m tall. The harvest is transported in baskets by pulley from the top to the foot of the hill.
 
he custard apples are then delivered over a bamboo bridge by farmers to Dong Banh Market next to National Highway 1A. A lot of them are also sent to markets elsewhere including in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
 
On Sunday the third Chi Lang custard apple festival took place with many promotional activities and tips on growing the fruit. There were competitions between farmers to see who grew the best custard apples.
 
Source – VN Express
 

 

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
 
 

 

#Cambodia – Beating the heat at mango plantation waterfall in Battambang

The relaxation begins as soon as you see the blossoming yellow flowers lining the road leading up to the mango plantation.
 
Passing through a large entrance with a sign saying “Welcome to Mango Plantation Waterfall Resort”, visitors drive down a wide road that dissects rows of thousands of mango trees dominating the landscape of Battambang province’s Samlot district.
 
The main attraction at Chamkar Svay Waterfall Resort, as it is known in Khmer, is the river running through it, where visitors sit in gazebos eating and relaxing along its banks.
 
“This resort attracts people since it is not developed. They love swimming and eating on mats, as well as relaxing until dusk before they go home,” Monn Mika, 52, the resort’s owner, told The Post.
 
“I initially began planting mango trees without thinking about creating a resort. But with the mountainous water flow I thought it could be a tourism attraction. So I began developing it step-by-step until it started attracting many people.
 
Situated next to 87ha of land that after two years is entirely cultivated with mango trees, Chamkar Svay Waterfall Resort now welcomes hundreds of visitors daily who bathe in the river that flows from Chambang Mountain.
 
Sok Theary, a visitor with two friends from Samlot town on a recent Sunday, praised the resorts “beautiful and cold water”. 
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Visitors can also order fresh food at the riverside, including roast chicken, roast fish, stir-fry or soup, as well as many appetisers and snacks, with prices ranging from 10,000 riel to 50,000 riel ($2.50 to $12.50).
 
Visitors are also welcome to camp in the mango plantation.
 
“Guests who come here do not only just swim in the natural river and explore the mango plantation, they can also go camping. We serve food and there is a cleanliness charge of $1.00 or $2.00 per person,” said Mika.
 
Mika said that in the dry season, the stream’s flow is lower and exposes many of the rocks on the riverbed for people to sit on. But in the rainy season, the river’s flow increases and people can enjoy bathing. 
 
“I pay much attention to cleanliness. I tell all staff to clean the rubbish daily so it doesn’t impact visitors and keeps the environment clean.
 
“My current main job is to take care of the plantation and resort, so I keep making the place more attractive, and me and my wife plan to buy boats for visitors,” he said.
 
Chamkar Svay Waterfall Resort is located in Sambout district’s Prey Sdao village, some 80km from Battambang town or 7km from Sek Sak Tourism Resort. Visitors pay 10,000 riel to bring their car into the resort.
Source – PhnomPhenPost
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#Vietnam – Rough Guides names Ha Long Bay among world’s 100 best places to visit

 British travel magazine Rough Guides has voted for Ha Long Bay as one of the 100 most beautiful places to visit next year.
 
In the “The Rough Guides to the 100 Best Places on Earth,” the magazine described “the scattering of limestone pinnacles jutting out of the smooth waters of Ha Long Bay”, around four hours east of Hanoi, as an “incredible sight.”
It is the only Vietnamese destination in the list, which covers many historical and cultural sites around the world such as the Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the Forbidden City in China, Kamniške-Savinja Alps in Slovenia, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, and the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue in Mongolia.
 
Dropping anchor in the bay to explore small islands and caves is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Rough Guides said, adding that “the best junk boats have private cabins and serve gourmet food and in the early morning you can pull back the curtains to watch the sunlight dancing on the emerald green water.”
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Since its recognition as a UNESCO natural world heritage in 1994 Ha Long Bay has entrenched itself on the global tourism map, receiving rave reviews from travel bloggers and filmmakers. Around 5.2 million foreigners visited the bay last year, up 22 percent from a year earlier. A total of 15.6 million visited the country.
 
In its latest conservation move, the Ha Long Bay management said all tourism services in the bay would limit the use of plastic bags and straws from September 1. Fifteen local firms providing tourist boats, kayaks and high-speed boats will embark on a pilot program, banning the use of plastic products on sightseeing boats, starting August 1.
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The recent improvements in infrastructure have made traveling to and around Ha Long much easier for foreigners. Last December Van Don International Airport, 50 kilometers from Ha Long Bay, opened.
 
An expressway connecting the Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway with Ha Long, opened to traffic last September, reducing the Hanoi-Ha Long commute by 50 km to 130 km.
 
In addition to the popular kayaking and cruise tours, visitors can book Ha Long Heli Tours, a new helicopter tour, through Fastsky, the country’s first helicopter ride-sharing service offered by ride-hailing firm FastGo.
 
The South China Morning Post recently named Ha Long Bay in its list of 10 most popular Asian attractions. British magazine Woman and Home last May labeled the bay one of the most mentioned global cruise destinations on Instagram.
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Source – VN Express

 

China – Overseas tourists to Hainan on the rise

China - Overseas tourists to Hainan on the rise

China’s southern island province of Hainan received 946,000 overseas tourists in the first six months, close to the annual figure of 1.1 million for 2017 thanks to its new visa-free policy, which is yielding positive results since its launch in May, China News Agency reported Monday.

On May 1, the island province started to offer greater visa-free access for tourists from 59 countries to Hainan, expanding from 26 countries previously.

The policy has also boosted the growth of the local aviation industry. In the first half of this year, Hainan opened and resumed 12 international flight routes, increasing the total number of routes to 53.

To date, Hainan has opened air routes with 34 countries among the 59 that enjoy the visa-free policy, such as Italy, Australia, Russia, Japan and countries in Southeast Asia.

HNA airport group, a subsidiary of the Haikou-based Fortune Global 500 company HNA Group, which owns the four airports in Hainan, plans to open 20 international routes with visa-free countries later this year, including to London and St Petersburg.

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“Hainan should launch more tourism products that fit the foreign tourism market, and stabilize tourism product prices during its bleak and peak seasons, and build up the comprehensive strength of its tourism industry,” said Ge Jian, deputy secretary-general for the organization for European and Asian Economic Cooperation.

In 2017, more than 1.1 million foreign tourists visited Hainan, up nearly 50 percent year-on-year. By 2020, the number of overseas tourists to Hainan is expected to exceed 2 million.

The island province recently released a three-year action plan (2018-2020) to enhance the global influence of its tourism sector. According to the plan, Hainan is going to boost its international flight routes to 70 by the end of 2018, and the number will be increase to 100 by 2020.

Measures such as building a global duty-free shopping center and a base for the international MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions) industry on the island are also expected to bring in more passengers.

Source – China-Daily

Ps.

Hainan is an island province of China and the nation’s southernmost point. It’s known for its tropical climate, beach resorts and forested, mountainous interior. The southern city of Sanya has many beaches that range from 22km-long Sanya Bay to crescent Yalong Bay and its luxury hotels. Outside Sanya, the hilly hiking trails of Yanoda Rainforest Cultural Tourism Zone pass over suspension bridges and by waterfalls.

We take you to the Pearls of the Orient

CAMBODIA Siem Reap – Here you will find influences of French colonial and Chinese architecture. With the Tuk Tuk service to the ancient city of Angkor Thom, to visit Angkor Ta Prohm, one of the famous temples of Cambodia. In the afternoon with a Jeep to the Angkor Wat Temple. MYANMAR Mandalay – After arriving…

via Pearls of the Orient — NEWS & TRAVEL GURU MAGAZINE

Hiking in Asia: 10 Places With Stunning Trails

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Asia is home to breathtaking nature, lush vegetation, exotic cultures and delicious cuisines. One of the best ways to explore and discover the various destinations in Asia is on foot – by taking a hike. Some hikes in Asia offer hikers a chance to spot rare wildlife species and meet indigenous tribes living in charming villages along the way. In many of the trails listed below, the journey itself is the destination.

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1. Sapa, Vietnam

Travel the northern highland town of Sapa in Vietnam for breathtaking views of rice terraces and stunning mountain peaks with mists hovering over them. Sapa rests in the Hoang Lien Son mountain range, close to the Tonkinese Alps at the Chinese borders. Sapa is an increasingly popular destination among hikers, all keen to experience the hillside treks which passes through lush landscapes and charming villages. The best time to visit is from March to May.

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2. Ladakh Range, India

India’s highest and largest district is the Ladakh Range. Comfortably nestled between two vast mountains (the Karakoram to the north and the Himalayas to the south), the Ladakh range has more sheep and yaks than monkeys and cows. In Ladakh Range, the culture of the people lean towards Tibetan rather than Indian. Travellers can take on trails in the Ladakh Range which ranges from easy (Ripchar Valley Trek and Lamayuru Alchi Trek) to difficult (Kang Yatse Trek, Hemis to Tsomoriri Trek). Some of the most gorgeous trails in the Ladakh Range are those that take hikers through the Zanskar range, such as the Lamayuru to Darcha Trek.

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3. Ratanakiri, Cambodia

Ratanakiri (Ban Lung), located in northeast Cambodia, is known for fantastic jungle trekking and hiking. It is also known as “dey krahorm” (red earth), as the area is covered in reddish dust during the dry season. Impressive hills, rivers and mountain ranges grace Ratanakiri, and the area is dotted with crater lakes and waterfalls.

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4. The Snowman Trek, Bhutan

Bhutan’s Snowman Trek covers over 200 miles, crossing 11 passes over 16,000 feet. To undertake the Snowman Trek, which takes about 25 days to complete, it is compulsory to be part of a guided tour. Each year, only a handful of people challenge themselves to take on this hike. The trail passes through Laya, home of the indigenous Layap people. Guides usually drop by the Thanza village to exchange horses for yaks, which are used to traverse difficult terrains. The highlights of this trail include the sceneries of remote valleys, visiting Buddhist monasteries, experiencing Bhutan’s authentic culture and spotting interesting wildlife such as the Himalayan blue sheep. Timing is essential for this trek, and it is best to go in April to avoid the snow and rain that closes the high passes. The Snowman Trek is ideal for the hardcore hikers.

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5. Maluan Mountain, China

The trail that leads up to Maluan Mountain is easy and safe, and it passes through clear streams, verdant woods, and captivating waterfalls. It is no surprise that this trail is popular among hiking enthusiasts. Mount Maulan is also known for its plum blossoms in red, white and sea blue, which can be seen in January from the Plum Blossom Pavilion.

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6. Gunung Tahan, Malaysia

To have a taste of the jungle, climb one of the most challenging mountains in Malaysia, Gunung Tahan. Tigers, elephants, leopards and the Sumatran rhino will greet hikers in this 130 million years old virgin rainforest, located in Taman Negara in the state of Pahang. The most scenic route is the Kuala Tahan classic train, which usually takes about seven days. Just be warned: this trek requires you to be mentally and physically fit.

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7. Mount Everest, Nepal

Climbing Everest is the dream of many mountaineers, but for those who are not capable of undertaking that intense, arduous and potentially-fatal journey, just hiking to the Everest Base Camp will do. Hikers heading to the Everest Base Camp can drop by museums and monasteries, enjoy amazing views and also experience the Sherpa culture. The warmth of Nepalese hospitality and breathtaking scenery makes the Everest Base Camp Trek an amazing trip, one that is possible even for those with average fitness.

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8. Annapurna Mountain Range, Nepal

The lofty peaks of the Annapurna are only for the trained and determined, and one of the best trails in the Annapurna Mountain Range is the famous Annapurna Circuit. This horseshoe-shaped route that runs for more than 200 kilometre is considered one of the best hikes in the world. Completing this rather challenging trek will take between 15 to 20 days. Rugged trails, sacred pilgrimage sites, exotic wildlife and awesome views of nature’s bounty will make your trip a memorable one.

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9. Mount Kailash Pilgrimage, Tibet

Mount Kailash stands out as a holy site to Buddhists, Jains, the Ayyavazhi branch of Hinduism, and the ancient Bon religion of Tibet. However, it is not often visited due to the mountain’s remote location in far western Tibet. Some religions regarded Kailash as the mythical Mt. Meru – the center and birthplace of the entire world. Myths and legends surround Mount Kailash, such as the Hindu belief that the place is the abode of god Shiva. Transportation to Mount Kailash via rugged over-land vehicles can be booked through various tour companies. Once you get there, hiking the 50 kilometres around it alongside pilgrims is the ritual to complete. Do note that the weather there can be always harsh and trekkers and pilgrims must carry all the supplies and provisions they need for the entire trip. April through September is the best months for this trek.

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10. Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal

The Great Himalaya Trail covers over 4500 kilometres and it connects the highest routes across the Himalaya with existing trekking trails and pilgrimage paths. The trail can be completed in a whopping four to six months if the weather permits. The challenging part of the Great Himalaya Trail is during the ascents and descents of the high passes, including Sherpani Pass (20,128 feet), West Col (20,154 feet), and Amphu Laptsa Pass (19,193 feet) sandwiched between Everest and Makalu. Wildlife such as the endangered snow leopard, yaks, red pandas and herds of blue sheep can be spotted along the trails, and there are also monasteries, tea houses and guest huts along the way.

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Source: Tripzilla Magazine
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Lombok Island – Surf, sand, sun, sea and solitude

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Lombok 17 1

Lombok Island is gradually joining its more prosperous neighbour Bali in the global spotlight.

For decades overshadowed by its neighbour to the West, the Indonesian island of Lombok is today gaining favour with holidaymakers wanting something a little less commercial than Bali.

The four bikini-clad Americans taking in the sun at Kuta beach are among them. Jessica, a lithe blonde, says she wants to see the sunset.

In the world’s largest archipelago, Bali was the only Indonesian island included on a list of the top 30 islands in the world by US-based Conde Nast Traveler magazine in October 2015. It ranked 17th, far behind Palawan Island of the Philippines, which earned first place.

“Lombok deserves to be included on the list. Now it is heading that way,” says Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) Culture and Tourism Agency head Lalu Faozal.

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Surrounded by 35 smaller islands, the 4,514-square-kilometre Lombok is flanked by Bali to the west and Sumbawa Island, NTB, to the east.

Like Bali, Lombok provides hospitality, serenity, rich culture and beautiful natural features.

Unlike Bali though, it never feels overcrowded.

Kuta is among the many breathtaking spots for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, snorkelling and diving on Lombok and its smaller islands, or gili as they are called in the local Sasak language.

Off the northwest coast of Lombok, the Gili Islands comprise three exotic islets: Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. All have crystal-clear waters, rich biodiversity, enchanting coral reefs and beautiful sea creatures.

Visitors can reach the Gili islets by using the services provided by one of the 370 travel agencies in NTB.

The Komodo Dragon Backpacker Cruise, for example, offers a four-day boat trip for 2.5 million rupiah (Bt6,500) to visit the Gili islets and other tourist attractions. The boat, 25 metres in length and 4.5 metres wide, can accommodate up to 35 people.

Other agencies not only offer trips, but also provide surfing, snorkelling and diving courses.

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Faozal advises tourists to climb the 3,726-metre Rinjani Mountain, the highest of the seven mountains on Lombok, to admire the astonishing views.

“The mountaintop is home to the beautiful Lake Segara Anak,” he says.

Besides natural tourist attractions, Lombok is also rich with cultural events, such as the annual celebration of Bau Nyale, adds Central Lombok Tourism and Culture Agency head Lalu Putria.

Local people celebrate Bau Nyale on the 20th day of the 10th month of Sasak calendar. They go to sea to search for the colourful nyale (sea worms) that they believe to be the reincarnation of Princess Mandalika.

According to legend, Mandalika was a pretty princess of the Tanjung Bitu Kingdom that existed on Lombok a long time ago. Due to her good behaviour, many princes from other kingdoms were in love with her. Mandalika thought that if she chose one of the princes, wars would break out because the others would feel jealous and disappointed and they would fight against each other.

She then asked the princes and people to meet her at the Kuta Beach. She stood on a reef, telling them that she chose no one. Afterwards, she threw herself into the sea, The princes and local people tried to save her, but they found thousands of colourful sea worms floating on the sea instead of the princess’ body. They believed that the worms were her reincarnation.

“She jumped because she did not want people to become victims due to her choice. She showed us heroic values as she sacrificed herself for the interest of the people,” Putria says, adding that the locals consume nyale because they believe they would make women look ageless and boost the sexual vitality of men.

NTB hosts different festivals to bring in tourists. Last August to September, it hosted the first Lombok Sumbawa Cultural Month to boost tourism on Lombok and Sumbawa islands by exploring and developing the potential of arts and culture through various exhibitions and cultural events. The Pearl Festival, involving the producers of pearls with international standard quality, was among the highlights.

Faozal is optimistic that the number of tourists will reach two million in 2016, up by about 25 per cent from last year’s 1.6 million. Out of those 1.6 million, 752,306 were from overseas.

Besides the three airports, hotels and restaurants in the province are ready to welcome the tourists, he said.

The province has 925 hotels, consisting of 50 five-star hotels and 875 jasmine-class hotels along with 1,378 restaurants.

Faozal believes that the target of 2 million tourists could be realised because Bali, which was visited by 3.4 million tourists last year, has committed to encourage its tourists to visit NTB.

“The beauty of Lombok is complete. It ranges from the tops of the mountains to the bottom of the sea. Our rich culture will also attract tourists,” he says confidently.

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Prayers across Asean borders to welcome new year

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Prayer 1

CROSS-BORDER prayer ceremonies

Dubbed “Asean prayers”, the campaign aims to boost Thailand’s ties with neighbouring countries through friendly exchanges via the religious dimension, Culture Minister Veera Rojpojanarat said yesterday. This is the first time the Religious Affairs Department has extended this New Year activity to the border provinces of Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Tak, Loei, Nong Khai, Bung Kan, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Sa Kaew, Surin, Ranong and Songkhla, he said.

In Central Thailand, traditional prayers will be held on New Year’s Eve at several renowned temples, including Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimonmangalaram (Wat Pho), Wat Sraket Rajavaramahavihara (Golden Mount) and Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram, he added.

Meanwhile, police spokesman Pol General Dechnarong Suticharnbancha yesterday inspected police and related officials’ preparedness at four key New Year countdown venues in Bangkok.

He said some 4,000 policemen would be deployed to provide security at the most popular countdown site in Bangkok, the CentralWorld Plaza, where some 200,000 partygoers are expected to show up. Early on New Year’s Eve, the area will be cleared of roadside stalls, and before midnight a bomb squad will be on hand to provide security.

Prayer 2

About 10,000 city law enforcers and police will be patrolling 11 sites across Bangkok and manning 18 metal-detector entrance points, he added.

Eye on road accidents

The beginning of the so-called “seven dangerous days” of road accidents yesterday saw Interior Ministry permanent secretary Krissada Boonrat preside over the opening of a Road Safety Centre at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation. The centre will monitor road accidents and provide daily updates until January 5.

Public opinion is being sought over the policy of police and the Peace and Order Maintaining Command to temporarily seize cars and motorcycles from drunk drivers, which has been operating since Christmas Day.

A Suan Dusit Poll said yesterday that 80.47 per cent of 1,280 people surveyed from December 24 to 28 agreed with the measure on grounds that it would prevent road accidents, serve as a punishment and as a warning to motorists to abide by traffic laws. About 13 per cent disagreed with the policy, and suggested that fines and prison sentences be imposed, and alcohol-beverage selling outlets be dealt with as the root of the problem.

In the Northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, a provincial transport office added another 100 bus trips to its 300-strong daily service yesterday and today, to serve an expected 20,000 holidaymakers. It also conducted alcohol breathalyser tests on bus drivers and checked their buses. Traffic volume on Mitraparp Highway heading towards Nakhon Ratchasima also rose yesterday, but cars were moving at an average speed of 70 to 80 kilometres per hour.

Source: The Nation.com

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