Malaysia has been making huge strides in recent years to boost awareness of its potential for tourism. Located between Thailand to the north and Singapore and Indonesia to the south, Malaysia represents different things to different people: A melting pot of cultures, a vibrant developing nation and a haven of natural bio-diversity.
Whether you come for a city break, a beach holiday or to fulfill your scuba diving dreams, Malaysia usually exceeds expectations.
The Koh Ru bungalows of Bamboo Island [ Koh Russei ], have always seemed to be something of an enigma to me. While the nearby beaches of Sihanoukville are rammed with tourists and vendors hawking endless tat, this particular island has managed to preserve its quietness and exclusivity.
The boat trip from Bar Ru, Occheutel Beach is a mere $10 return and takes just an hour to deliver you away from swarming beach chaos and into the arms of a peaceful retreat up there with the best kept secrets in the world.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Thursday 17 that he expected the local tourism industry to increase 20 percent in 2008. The increase is equivalent to around 6 million tourist visits.
"I think that the Koh Kong coast and the ecotourism area in the northeast are the two areas which will drive local tourist growth," he told reporters at a tourism development workshop.
He said that road improvements and better infrastructure would drive Cambodians to explore their own country.
The government has agreed to investment projects on two islands off the coast of Cambodia's southeastern resort town of Sihanoukville, according to a statement released yesterday by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).
A foreign firm has been given permission to develop both Koh Rong and Koh Russei into private resorts, said the CDC statement, which did not specify the duration of the investment or the amount of money involved.
Vieng Xai is approximately 30 km from the Vietnamese border, 150 km from Hanoi. The town is home to 33,000 people and a great market where you can get a bowl of pho for 5,000 kip. The town is surrounded by green hills and limestone cliffs that house hundreds of caves. Inside these is where the modern political history of Laos began.
Combining proximity to a valuable political ally, a sympathetic local population, and a nearly impregnable defensive position, the Pathet Lao chose Vieng Xai to serve as their headquarters during their resistance against the U.S.
Too much rain, rapid urbanization and old-fashioned production methods have created havoc in Vietnam's salt production and the country is facing a shortage. Cambodia has been taking up the slack with large volumes of salt being exported to Vietnam since the beginning of this year. Last month, however, production was also low in Cambodia, and officials have no idea if Cambodia's salt production will cope with their neighbor's voracious demands.
Tourism experts have announced that visitors to the Mekong Sub-region may be able to buy a single visa for visiting Cambodia and five of its neighbors by 2015.
According to the Bangkok Post February 6 edition, the prediction was made at a Mekong Sub-regional tourism meeting in Bangkok earlier this week.
In this decade, tourism in the region is greatly developing. In 1995 there were only 10 million tourists, but by 2015 this is expected to increase to 50 million, predicted the Asian Development Bank's (ADB).
Of the many dusty sawngthaew rides I've been on in Laos, this one was the dustiest. The grasses and shrubs on the side of the road are all coated in a fine layer of dirt, looking as if they've been bronzed, and by the end of the hour and a half trip from Ban Na Hin to Ban Kong Lo there's dust in my ears and tiny beaches have formed in the folds of my clothes.
The flappers' gowns are torn, their cloche hats discolored and disintegrating; coattails are ripped and muddied; cigarette holders dangle from bare phalanges; the haunting quintet in matching tuxedos is tearing through Duke Ellington; and a reanimated, though paler than usual, Jay Gatsby has flown in to host the liveliest -- or is that undeadest? -- party of the year in the decrepit ballroom. No need to clear out the dead branches on the floor. The guests' spectral feet will Charleston right through them. And no need to clean out the fireplace; the chilled air suits the atmosphere nicely.
Location, location, location, you know the old adage and the magnificent temples of the ancient Khmer empire are no exception. The classic Khmer temple of Phnom Rung boasts Thailand's boldest location, perched atop an extinct volcano, while in Laos the Khmers left their legacy under the shadow of Lingaparvata mountain in the elegant lines of Wat Phu.