EAS has recently learnt that people have been surprised by several changes at the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom Penh. Firstly, new application forms, secondly, a $10 increase in the price of a 3 month multiple entry visa, and thirdly, people are being offered 6 and 12 month multiple entry visas which have not been available for some time now.
The Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) has launched a global search to identify a private sector investor to partner with it in the development and operation of a unique hotel in Vientiane, Laoss.
The institute has a 3,700 sqm riverfront plot in downtown Vientiane that is suitable for a 75-100 room, four-star hotel.
Villa Juno, a new property in Bali that classifies itself as a Bed & Breakfast, is now open to guests in the premier private villa colony of Canggu, in the south western part of the island.
Villa Juno is located 30 minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport and only 20 minutes from the trendy shops and restaurants of Seminyak.
By far the most popular blog posting I’ve made all year was my September piece about hotel wifi charges, about how 5* hotels have the nerve to charge for internet access on top of their already high room rates, while 3* hotels usually provide it for free.
Sample 24 hours of non-stop entertainment in Hanoi, as we go from the traditional to the modern.
5 am: Exercise
The whole of Hanoi stirs gently as if it is itself waking from a sound sleep. Autumn breezes make the weather cooler, and the scent of milk flowers hangs in the air. It is the best time to breathe in Hanoi’s air at its purest. Many people start the new day with morning exercise. People flock to Hoan Kiem Lake, Thong Nhat Park and Thu Le Zoo to exercise. No one pays attention to others but all of them concentrate on the music from old radios. Old people in white outfits slowly dance with swords and fans, creating an idyllic picture of morning which lacks the usual bustle of Hanoian life.
For my regular commutes between Saigon and Phnom Penh I usually take the Mekong Express Bus. Yesterday I decided to try the Sapaco Tourist Bus for a change. Finally reaching the safety of home I can now laugh about the journey as I sit here safely ensconced in my familiar surroundings, so unless you are completely barmy, or a thrill seeking nutter, this company should be avoided like the plague.
Before we've even pulled out of the bus station by Psar Thmei the Khmer family next to me is offering their son to sit in my lap. He's a little too big for that sort of thing and, fortunately, too shy, but when I offer him a seat on my backpack in the aisle he makes himself at home. By the time we've passed through Kep and arrived at Kampot four hours later Nimol has climbed up on the seat next to me, given me half of his mango, and, through missing teeth, steadfastly refused my offer of a peanut bar.
I spent today with a lieutenant in the Vietnamese army, sitting behind him for seven hours as he showed me the sights of Dalat's countryside and told us about his life in the war.
Huang Van Hong is now one of the members of Dalat's Easy Rider Club , a group of 80 motorbike guides who whiz around the countryside (and beyond) to show visitors the beauty of this region up in the hills of the Vietnamese Highlands.
In the last month I've had to make two complete driving loops from Phnom Penh, across southern Cambodia from border to border, using the main roads and passing through Kampong Trach, Kep, Kampot, Sihanoukville and Koh Kong. It's a nice time of year to drive the countryside. The country is pulling toward the monsoon season and rural Cambodia is lush and alive and buzzing with farming activity. The paddies are full of water and the season’s near mature rice stands tall and deep green.
"How do you say thank you in Vietnamese?"
The border guard stared blankly at me, mumbled something (which wasn't "thank you") and gestured me toward the baggage scanner before we reboarded the bus from Phnom Penh to Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City).
I asked the same question of the officer who stamped my passport but he just gave me back my document and gestured me to move on.