Category "Asia"

ASEAN Media Trip Set To Advertise Myanmar

Tourists and visitors to any hotel in Myanmar Yangon should expect some media from across the region, as a week-long ASEAN media trip to the country has been arranged, which will take the participating media representatives to the country’s notable attractions, including the city of Yangon.

The Myanmar Travel Bloggers Club was responsible for organizing the trip, which will have 30 participating media representatives from leading networks and publications from the ASEAN region, such as Thailand’s Spring News, Malaysia’s New Straits Times, and Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post, among others, as well as popular travel bloggers from these countries.

The details were revealed by Club Chairman Ma May Zune Win, who says that Myanmar has rarely used foreign media in its attempts to market itself as a tourist destination, with the trip being a good way to introduce the country to foreign media via seasoned representatives, who are regular attendees of travel events and exhibitions, before coming up with a tourist marketing strategy for the country.

The conflict in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State has scared off more than few Western and European visitors, with local tour operators adapting by focusing on the ASEAN region as their main target. According to Ma May Zune Win, it’s because Myanmar knows the situation within the ASEAN region well, with direct air link and no VISA requirements for entrance.

Ma May Zune Win says that it’s not important where the visitors hail from, only that they come into the country, sign into a hotel in Myanmar Yangon or anywhere else, and fill the hotels.

The trip has not received any official support from the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, nor from privately-owned travel groups, but Ma May Zune Win says that groups like Shwe Pyi Nan Myanmar Thanakhar are helping with the funding.

The familiarization tour will be aimed at more countries the next time, with media representatives from other countries in Asia such Japan, and South Korea being considered.

With the lack of proper funding for overseas promotion, the Myanmar Ministry of Hotel and Tourism is planning on collecting taxes from travellers, amounting to US$1 for foreign travellers, and K1000 for domestic ones.

According to data from the Ministry, Myanmar welcomed 3.44M international visitors in 2017, up by 18% from the previous year, with 1.36M coming in with VISAs and 2.08M coming in via the border checkpoints.

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10 -Year Visa In Pipeline

The Thailand government mentioned that it is now ready to issue the 10-year visas to foreign residents, aged 50 and over. However, no further details were issued regarding the conditions and the specific date for issuance for this new visa.

New visa for retirees

Khaosod Daily declared the news last November 22. It quoted the government spokesperson who has confirmed that the Thai Cabinet already approved the new visa during its Tuesday meeting.

When the 10-year visa is already running, it will give rise to the retiree tourism market and encourage long stays. As of the moment, retirees and longer staying tourists are able to get a one-year visa with the condition that they check in at a near immigration bureau every 90 days.

Neighboring countries’ visa services

However, Thailand feels the pinch especially that Malaysia offers retirees a liberal visa service. Cambodia is also considering a retiree visa allowing a stay of 1, 5 or 10 years. Malaysia allows property ownership for foreigners, while Cambodia is probably going to have the same rules as Thailand, allowing purchase of only condominium units for retirees.

Thailand’s 10-year visa, some rules and guidelines

The 10-year visa will be given in two 5-year periods. This requires the applicant to have updated documents as well as a financial standing proof for the second phase.

An applicant should either have at least a THB 100,000 monthly salary or have a bank account containing THB3 million that can’t be withdrawn for a year after getting the visa.

This will also be needed as evidence when the second phase commences.

Aside from this, they need to have health insurance covering hospital stays, and it needs to be able to cover a minimum of USD 10,000 annually. However, the 10-year visa holders still need to check in at the Bureau of Immigration every 90 days.

Thailand is an emerging overseas property investment destination. And with the availability of 10-year visas to foreign residents, more houses, condos and other properties are likely to be bought by foreign investors. East Coast Real Estate lists thousands of these properties in their website available for purchase.

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Rare Experiences In A Southeast Asian Family Holiday

Thailand is the favorite destination of adventurous travelers whether a 60-year old grandparent or an 8-year old kid. Families are quick to pack their bags and trek off to the unknown with both grandparents and kids in pursuit of quality time. Families that do not spend time often because of their schedules enjoy some precious bonding moments when they take a trip to a different country.

Thailand is popular for its beautiful beaches and appealing cuisine with Vietnam and Cambodia closely following behind in the number of visitors. Southeast Asia is perfect for a family holiday because there is a perfect balance of fun, history, culture and relaxation. Members of the family can make their own choices and have their own space.

For example, mom might prefer to sunbathe by the beach while the kids enjoy the swimming pools. Dad can turn up in his crocs and enjoy a night out at one of the bars. The highlight of the trip will be a family dinner at one of the trendiest restaurants with enough time to stop for an ice cream or beer.

Three-generation holidays are fun but it works better is everyone is willing to compromise. There are a variety of local activities for different interests and energy levels. If you spend a holiday in the Caribbean, you will not experience the tuk-tuk that is an efficient and economical transport to get around Bangkok. While fare may be the same as a taxi to the same destination, riding the tuk-tuk is definitely a unique experience.

Family relationships are strengthened when you travel together. Children can make friends with their own age-groups while adults will always have company. It takes the pressure off entertaining because there are many activities to enjoy for different generations.

However, travelers who want to pursue unique activities need to connect to locals who provide them. Flyfish, a mobile app, makes it easy and convenient to book for authentic adventures. For example, if your passion is photography, the mobile app will connect you to a local photographer who knows the right places where you can find breath-taking views.

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Phuket – Paradise In The Eyes Of Expats

Phuket is the favorite place of expats even with expensive taxis, overdevelopment for tourism purposes and the monsoon weather. Retiring in Phuket is one of the best decisions made by expats because of the sparkling waters of the Andaman Sea and the picturesque coastline. For many tourists and visitors, Phuket is like paradise where you can enjoy an easygoing lifestyle or a club-hopping, center-of-action adventure depending on your personal choices.

Temperature in Phuket can reach the 90’s but the ever present breeze keeps the temperature closer to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. With the windows open, you will not need air conditioning to sleep and relax. If you want to go for a swim, the endless beaches await you. If you want excitement, you can visit the bars in Patong area where music throbs and cabaret shows go on throughout the night.

Food is not a problem because restaurants offer a wide variety of cuisine from Western to Asian food. However, some of the best dishes include fresh seafood from the Andaman Sea. Some amenities that you can find in New York or London are missing but the affordable lifestyle is more interesting to visitors. Shopping malls are available as well as spectacular golf courses. It is also easier to find budget friendly accommodations that are less touristy for backpackers.

If you do a little research, you will find some good deals in the island like a two or three-bedroom apartment with a pool. There are also studios with amazing sea views. Ask the locals and they will tell where to find an accommodation that perfectly suits your budget. You will enjoy a cheap holiday by exploring the island on foot. You can also rent a scooter instead of a car to enjoy the best of Phuket.

If your idea is to cleanse yourself from all the stress of work and daily living, visit PhuketFit to quickly achieve your fitness goals. You can easily transform your life through healthy exercise, proper diet, Yoga and weight loss management with the support of a team of experts who will provide the motivation and encouragement that your need.

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What Thailand Imparts To The World In Terms Of Universal Healthcare

Thailand demonstrates that a well studied system and a committed leadership can boost health affordably. During the decade, the plan minimized infant mortality, worker sick days and in turn, lifted families’ burdens financially.

Thailand’s Universal Coverage Scheme of 2001

For most countries around the world, they are moving towards a universal healthcare. However, for many, it just remains a goal. Fortunately, Thailand’s leaders have successfully implemented a healthcare reform without it costing too greatly.

About 25 percent of Thais in 2000 were uninsured. Many people had policies but with incomplete protection. The country was in a crisis healthcare-wise. About seventeen thousand children aged 5 below died, and two thirds were from uncomplicated preventable infectious diseases. Twenty percent of the poorest homes fell to poverty due to own healthcare spending.

Then in 2001, the country launched their Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS). It was described as an ambitious healthcare reform done by a developing country.

The UCS spread to Thai provinces on the next year. It provided inpatient, outpatient and emergency care.

By 2011, the scheme already covered 98% or 48 million of the Thai population.

Thailand’s road to UCS

In January 2002, the UCS was already in every province. However, the comprehensive care took decades to get developed. Since the 70s, there was already free healthcare for poor families. The country had various Health Insurance (ประกันภัยสุขภาพ) schemes leaving a lot of people without coverage. The development of clinics, hospitals and staff to support this universal coverage took several years.

The challenge for any universal healthcare

Dr Sara Bennett who is an associate professor working at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health indicated that the challenging part for any universal healthcare especially in most developing countries is quality. While most healthcare funded by the government is free, it is inaccessible geographically. Aside from this, poorly trained staff are administering, and there are limited facilities.

Other countries’ move to universal healthcare

Other low income and middle income countries are also moving towards a universal healthcare. Bennett said that they are offering coverage to a lot of people. Numerous countries, according to her, are making notable steps towards this including those very poor countries.

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The Lesser Known Places Around Thailand

There are many visitors that come to Phuket, and they don’t even pull themselves away from Patong beach or their resort.

There are a lot of other places to see only if one leaves the usual tourist destinations. Australian rounds them up.

Ao Sane beach

This is a beach worth going to. The sand is coarser, though. What makes this beach attractive are the giant boulders and trees lining the beach. Snorkeling is good here too.

Khao Phing Kan

There are numerous limestone karts here. The most famous island is the James Bond island which was featured in the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun”. Activities include exploring rock formations, canoeing around the island or just lazying out on the beach.

Koh Racha Yai

The island is slowly developing as seen in its increasing accommodation options. The sand is white and soft. The water is clear blue, and there are schools of fishes. It is a great place to bask in its waters.

Haad Sai Kew beach

This beach is located in the northernmost part of Phuket. One needs to rent a car or drive there. However, the drive is worth it since there are only a few tourists likely to be around.

Freedom beach

To get to the Freedom beach means hiring a long tail boat. This means the beach doesn’t get really crowded. The sand is white, and the water is mesmerizing.

Layan beach

This is a remote beach located in Phuket’s western side. There are fishing boats plus a river is guarded by an island. The shoreline is fringed with tropical trees. There is also just a single resort here. There is not too much to do here other than swimming, sunbathing or having a massage.

Similan Islands

This archipelago is a group of 10 islands. The islands are almost deserted, and they are a short distance away from Phuket. The islands are low lying but are covered in forests. The coral beaches are home to crab eating monkeys too. The islands are popular dive spots often rated in the top 10. Thailand Dive and Sail is one company offering diving trips to these islands.

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