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Vietnam’s National Assembly Votes on Contested High Speed Rail Project

By: Kim N. B. Ninh Posted: August-07-2010 in
Kim N. B. Ninh

This summer has been one of the hottest summers on record in Vietnam, with temperatures often rising above 100 F in many parts of the country. Low rainfall has rendered the country’s network of hydroelectrical power plants virtually useless, and rising energy consumption has outstripped the capacity of the state-owned energy sector, leading to rolling blackouts throughout the country in recent months.

Tubing in Vang Vieng doesn't make everyone happy

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: August-03-2010 in
Thomas Wanhoff

It could be so beautiful. We arrive at the Organic Farm. Goats standing in their wooden stables, chewing mulberry leaves. A black-white kitten is walking with us, asking for attention with a loud "miau". Birds are singing from the trees. Morning clouds are hanging deep around the hills surrounding the Nam song river valley. Nature at it's best. If there wouldn't be another sound: blasting music. Welcome to Vang Vieng, the “paradise” for backpackers.

Garuda Indonesia Operates New Boeing 737-800NG on Singapore - Bali Route

By: Asia Travel Tips Posted: August-02-2010 in
Asia Travel Tips

Indonesia’s national airline, Garuda Indonesia, has started operating its new 162-seater Boeing 737-800NG aircraft from Singapore to Bali which features the carrier’s new ‘Nature’s Wing’ livery, signature interior and upgraded on-board services.

Garuda Indonesia’s new Boeing 737-800NG also includes individual touch-screen LCD TVs throughout Executive and Economy Classes with Video on Demand (VOD) entertainment systems offering 25 feature films and 250 audio tracks.

Don't miss bear Lao

By: Thomas Wanhoff Posted: July-24-2010 in
Thomas Wanhoff

The average stay of tourists in Luangprabang is 2-3 nights. The common activities are temples (Wats), the old Kings Palace and walking along the Mekong river. But there is another attraction, a bit outside and off the track: The Laos Bears - Luang Prabang Rescue Centre.

It is located at the stunning Tat Kuang Si Park with its beautiful scenery and waterfall, approximately 30 km south of the centre of Luang Prabang. There is a waterfall here, with views across the surrounding countryside and many cool pools that you can swim in.

Dive Into the Delta

By: Tim Russell Posted: July-14-2010 in
Tim Russell

With the recent opening of the Trung Luong Highway, the Mekong Delta is now a mere 90 minutes’ drive away from HCMC. Yet given its proximity to the metropolis, allied with its sleepy, laid-back ambience, its friendly people and its beautiful countryside, it’s amazing that so few HCMC expats bother to spend much time down there.

I suspect it’s because we all visit the Delta soon after arriving in Vietnam, usually on a rushed one-day tour being dragged from one fake ‘tourist village’ to another, and end up wondering what all the fuss is about. The fact that there is little in the way of decent accommodation in the region doesn’t help either.

A Visitor’s Guide to Saigon Taxis

By: Tim Russell Posted: July-07-2010 in
Tim Russell

I wrote this piece a couple of years ago for the Duxton Hotel blog. If anything the taxi situation in the city has gone from bad to worse, so time to tweak & repost it!

A frequent complaint from foreign visitors is of being overcharged, ripped off and generally mistreated by the city’s taxi drivers, particularly those operating at Tan Son Nhat Airport. Indeed, a 2007 survey discovered that the number one reason cited by tourists as to why they would not return to Vietnam was being overcharged by taxi drivers.

Iconic Cyclo Disappearing From Phnom Penh's Streets

By: Robert Carmichael Posted: June-24-2010 in
Robert Carmichael

The cyclo has been a distinctive feature of Phnom Penh's streets for 70 years, stretching back to the days when Cambodia was a French colony. But this form of transport has begun to fade away.

New York has its yellow cab. London has its red bus. But Phnom Penh has its cyclo - a three-wheeled bicycle with the driver perched on high above the rear wheel, and the passengers in a bucket seat slung between the two front wheels.

This iconic vehicle has proved a comfortable - if slow - way of getting around Cambodia's capital for the best part of a century. But that is changing.

Avoiding Restaurant Rip-offs

By: Tim Russell Posted: June-16-2010 in
Tim Russell

A great and very useful feature on the excellent Travel Rants website about how to avoid being ripped off in tourist restaurants. Personally I would go even further and advise people to avoid tourist restaurants altogether, especially in Vietnam where tourist restaurant = same food you would get in a local restaurant, only with aircon, nicer chairs and and plenty of extra $$$ on the bill.

A Luxury Hideaway with Spectacular River and City Views

By: Expat Advisory Posted: April-22-2010 in
Expat Advisory

RiverWind is an idyllic rural hideaway located on the east bank of the Mekong River at Arexat Village, directly opposite the Royal Palace. Relax from the moment you alight from the boat into the lush tropical garden, scented with frangipani, jasmine and gardenia. Chill out by the private pool, where the only sound is the rustle of the river breeze in the palm trees. Unwind in a deckchair on the lawn and watch the river flow. Take in timeless sunsets over the urban skyline, or go on a sundown river cruise.

Bali Airport Fingerprinting to Boost Security, Lines

By: Made Arya Kencana Posted: April-17-2010 in
Made Arya Kencana

Bali Airport Fingerprinting to Boost Security, Lines

Denpasar. Longer lines of inbound tourists are expected at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport with mandatory fingerprint scanning now in full force.

“We chose Bali for this new system because it’s one of the major gateways into the country,” Rohadi Iman Santoso, head of the immigration office’s subdirectorate for information-systems implementation, said on Friday at the office of airport operator PT Angkasa Pura I in Badung district.


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