Travelers Notes
South-East Asia

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more updated info for SE Asia
Request from ITIS Travelers(
Are you traveling in SE Asia or planning to travel there soon? If so we would really appreciate it and it would be useful for other travelers if you sent us information from your trip or were willing to join our 'On The Road' team - sending emails while on the road. Please email us if you can help.

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Mar 2002

Apr 2002
 May 2002        

? 2002.09.19: Gunhild
Traffic control in Singapore city center.
we have heard that the city of Singapore introduced city tolls to reduce traffic congestion and pollution.
We would like to know whether local authorities allow exemptions from this toll for hybrid or electric vehicles. Or are there any other privileges for hybrid or electric vehicles in Singapore?



2002.09.18: Katharina
Trekking in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Please advise if it is necessary to book with a tour group in advance for a 3-4 day hill tribe trek out of Chiang Mai. We are planning to be in Chiang Mai from Dec 10 - 15th, 2002.

From Editorial
It is not 100% necessary to book a trekking tour. There are more than 100 different trekking agents operating in Chiang Mai. All of them want to increase the number participants in a tour.
Many GH also operate tours. They offer cheaper sometime free accommodation but their fares are at least 300B more than normal tour agents. It is very hard to find a good travel agents or tours, because most of them offer very similar tours.



2002.09.17: Nikki
Tourist Police in Hanoi
I would appreciate it if you could email me a contact for the English speaking tourist police in Hanoi. I had a camera stolen there last month and need to speak to an officer in order to receive my insurance pay out. Thanks very much!
From Editorial
I think you have to visit to the police station in Hanoi personally. If you are still in Hanoi, ask to your GH owner and find out which office will handle this problem. You may have to go to a specific office which handle crime report according to the location where the crime occurred.



2002.08.28: Harald Weie
Boat from Jakarta to Batam?
I was just wondering if you have a schedule for when the boat from Jakarta is arriving in Batam, because I plan to take the boat from Batam to Medan. This boat is every four days, right?

From Editorial
If you have any question, send to me. I will try to do the best to find the answer for you.
Regarding to your question, we have some info for the boat. Please look our Jakarta transport page.
The boat leave from Jakarta every 4 days and they change their schedule often so we don't know which day it leaves. When you arrive at Indonesia, you may ask the schedule at Pelni agents.



2002.08.25: Kevin Rode <>
Airport near Singapore
We require information on getting from singapore to the nearest malaysian airport to catch a flight.
Can you help. How long would a train trip take from Singapore to the nearest malaysian airport by train.

From Editorial
If you have any question, send to me. I will try to do the best to find the answer for you.
Regarding to your question, the closest Malaysia airport is Kota Bharu which is the border town to Singapore. I think you can take Malaysia domestic flights from there.

M 2002.08.22: Gede Partha Wijaya <>
New Villa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Warmest regards from Bali...
We are small and new villa in UBUD - BALI, looking for travel agent who can walk togerther with us in selling and promoting this property. We have visited your web sites and we find that you just of one travel agent that we believe you could support us by spreading information about us and send some clients for us. In this great opportunity, if there is any question and inquiries regarding our villa, please do not hesitate to contact us at: or phone: ++62 (0) 361 942 390 or fax: ++62 (0) 361 942 392.
If there is enough space for you, please take a look to our web site at:

We understand how important the effort of Sales and Marketing is, but as we are just launch our new villas and we have very limited budget for it, so we just spreading this information through the web.
Supposed that you have any precious informations regarding the trave agent who are ready to make bussiness relation with us, it would be much grateful if you could inform us through our e-1-mail.

M 2002.08.11: Scub Nation Diving Centre <>
Dive in Cambodia
I would like to inform you that you can dive in Cambodia with
Scuba Nation Diving Centre
The only PADI diving Centre in Cambodia.
#20 street 278 ( behind Lucky Supermarket)
Phnom Penh
+855 (0)23 211898/ +855 (0)12 715785



2002.08.17: bridget clay
How to travel to Sumatra, Indonesia from Malaysia
Is medan on sumatra a visa free entry point for a uk citizen arriving by boat from malaysia?

From Editorial
If you have any question, send to me. I will try to do the best to find the answer for you.
Regarding to your question, the entry point was requiring visa but currently you can enter Indonesia without visa. I did not check for UK citizen but I am sure that it will apply to most of the nationals.
If you still worry about it, you may ask to Indonesia embassy.

I 2002.08.01: tim
Koh Panghan, Thailand
we found a nice hidden spot an the east coast.
Kung Bungalow at Ban Nam Tok.
20 min walk down to the beach but a great view, tasty food, very friendly and helpful people (and cheap). away from Haad rin (transfer service for a party) hard to come there (bad road), but the got to thongs ala Pier every noon and if you call a day in advance they'll pick you up from anywhere on the island (probably): 01-8915592



2002.07.15: denise gehrig <>
Help for Indonesia's pottery/painting courses?
we are planning a trip to indonesia and are looking for courses in pottery and painting? do you know a center where they offer courses or workshops in art?
thank you very much for your help
denise gehrg

Regarding to your question, I have not seen any Indonesian pottery nor painting courses for foreigners. But there are many Indonesia cultural courses are offered in Yogjakarta, Java and Ubud Bali. Yogjakarta is very famous for batik courses.
Do you know about pottery courses or painting courses in other countries (maybe in thailand) or courses in meditation and yoga (like meditation centres?).
For the meditation, there are a few places in Thailand and other places in SE Asia.
There are two types.
One which run by westerners and one run by local temples.
For the first one, it is quite expensive but western quality and you don't feel uneasy usually. The latter one is cheap. Since it is being run by local temples, often free(donation is expected). They offer services in English but you will encounter a strong cultural shock. Some people prefer this way. The places for ones run by local temples II know is Chiang Mai and Chaiya, N from Suratthani, S part of Thailand.

For the pottery and painting courses, I am sorry I don't know any at this moment. I usually don't pay attention for this information so much. you may find it in Chiang Mai in Thailand. I found many local artists who are selling their pottery in open market in C.M. You probably can ask those local artists directly if you cannot find any.

For the paintings, I think Ubud is the best place to look for the courses. This is the cultural center in SE Asia.

M 2002.07.10: Charlie

Ticket validity: 12 months
Travel Period: Any time
All prepaid taxes inclusive
Please call or email us for booking and many more special fares upon requested

Charlie Connection Travel & Tour Ltd., Part
49 Tanao Road Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200
Telephone:02 629 4260-2, Telefax: 02 629 1563

? 2002.07.09: Jane <>
Help for a batique Clothing shop in Ubud.
I am trying to locate a batique clothing company called Monkey Forest - I bought a beautiful dress made by them from the UK.

I 2002.07.10

Address: Kiosk No10 Hom market, Hue street, Hanoi Vietnam.
Tel : 0084-4-9433606 / 8226998 - Fax : 0084-4-8226998
Email:, ,
Web :
Attn: Chaiman General Director -Mr. Le Khac Triet

Vietnam - the name does not sound strange but is very familiar with people all over the world. Vietnam is a beautiful tropical country with golden rice fields; impressive mountains and over 3000 km of coastline with many fine sandy beaches, nearby, swaying coconut palm create a quiet beauty. Moreover, Vietnam is rich in culture and historical tradition.

Hatetra Tour is happy to experience these thing with you, especially with those who love Vietnam. Thanks to many years in operating tourism with an excellent, well-qualified and experienced staff, Hatetra Tour is willing to share with you the love of Vietnam. Take the chance with Hatetra Tour to explore Ancient Quarters, ancient capitals and Citadel, picturesque sightseeing or observe the life of friendly and country like people to visit local villages, which are rich in national color. Furthermore, you can experience such places of historical interest as the HaNoi capital called Dien Bien Phu by air, and the old battlefield of Dien Bien Phu, the Cam Ranh port, Cu Chi tunnels, city of Southern Vietnam named Ho Chi Minh who is considered to be a national hero, world $BCT (B cultural name, Den Hung temple where Hung Kings $BK7 (Bet

Founders have been worshiped as well as Ha Long Bay one of beautiful sight seeing which have been classified as world $BAT (B cultural inhering and you can enjoy a significant natural world with white cloud, fresh water and mountain. There are many historical places and scenic beauty. Viet nam is your destination and your dream will be true.

Hatetra Tour is always happy to receive visitors and tourists of any nation and will do our best in order to meet the requirements of tourists. Our goal is to give you the most enjoyable and useful time in this wonderful country. Hatetra Tour has functioned successfully in the role of providing an interim destination (Vietnam) for tourists on their way to China, Japan, Korea, South East Asia and other countries in the world.

With Hatetra Tour, we are sure you will find a tour that satisfies you and your dream of Vietnam will come true. Contact our office to arrange a custom itinerary for you or for your group.
Chaiman Director- Engineer Mr. Le Khac Triet


I-The North of Vietnam:

1. Ha Noi: The Red River dike borders the Ancient Quarter with an abundance of Chinese architecture. The 36 ancient streets crises cross each other in a dizzying network filled with shops, pagodas, temples, and houses. Another Ha Noi lies to the West and South, one of administrative offices, wide boulevards, opera houses, and palaces, a legacy of French colonial administration. But with the opening of the economy, a new Ha Noi emerges day by day. Streams of cycle, bicycles, and motorbikes driven by Ha Noi's skilled, and brave drivers who worm their way through narrow street and across busy intersections. As a result of economic development, wonderful hotels, restaurants and shops are appearing like mushrooms after the rain. A jumble of the ancient and the new, Ha Noi awaits discovery.

2. Hoa Binh - Mai Chau: The habitat of the ethnic minority groups Muong, Dao, Meo, and Thai, these small cities sit among the green mountains of the Northwest provinces. Living in the mountains, their traditional culture has been preserved.

3. Sapa: 1500 meters in elevation, this former French outpost is surrounded by mountains and small villages, is also the home to many ethnic minorities. On Saturday, they gather to hold a "love's market". Various people sing, dance, and play traditional games. Sa Pa's fresh, pure air offers tourists a place to loose themselves in the jungles and clouds on hot summer days. Sa Pa is also a base camp for climbing Vietnamese tallest peak, Fansipang.

4. Dien Bien Phu: This historic city rests in the heart-shaped valley of Muong Thanh. After 9 long years, the French and Vietnamese fought the decisive battle that freed Vietnam from French colonialism. Nowadays, Dien Bien Phu has changed to adapt to the new economic climate of Vietnam. The trenches and battle scars of history are still around for visitors to explore.

II-The center of Vietnam:

1. DMZ: The Demilitarized Zone, 20 km North of Dong Ha Town, DMZ's area of 5 km on either side of the demarcation line. During the Vietnam War, the DMZ area was the scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict. Quang Tri, Khe Sanh, Doc Mieu Base, Vinh Moc, Hamburger Hill. These became almost household names in the USA as, year after year, TV pictures and casualty figures provided Americans with their daily evening dose of the war. Visit to the DMZ includes: Truong Son National Cemetery, Quang Tri ancient Citadel, Vinh Moc Tunnel, Doc Mieu Base.

Some tourist may visit Phong Nha Cave, 45 km from Dong Hoi.

2. Da Nang: A dynamic city, Da Nang serves as the entry point to Hoi An. This economically energized port was recently classified as 4th most important in Vietnam. Besides it economic progress and history, Da Nang has the fascinating Cham Museum.

3. Hoi An: 35 kilometers South of Da Nang, Hoi An stands as the most beautiful city in Vietnam for many visitors. The ancient streets are narrow with houses piled on one another. The architecture, dating from the 1700's, is a mix of Chinese, French, Japanese, and other occidental styles. Besides intriguing houses, Hoi An boasts tombs, temples, congregational houses, and pagodas. The peaceful place and friendly people evoke comparisons with Venice in earlier days.

4. Hue: The capital of the last feudal dynasty in Vietnam has been classified as part of the world cultural heritage by UNESSCO. Hue symbolizes the poetry, literature and traditions of Vietnam. Although ruined by wars, the ancient Hue survives with pride in places like the still beautiful Perfume River, the Citadel, Imperial Palace, numerous Royal Tombs. The rhythm of Hue can be felt in the movement of girls wearing conical hats and tradition violet dresses - the color of Hue.

III-The center Highland

1.Dalat: At 1500 meters, Dalat is surrounded by hillocks and pine forests, wood French-style villas dot the landscape. With its lakes, colorful flower gardens, verdant vegetable plots, churches, schools, and research institutes, Dalat resembles a small occidental town in the hearth of Europe more than an oriental city.

IV-The South

1. HoChiMinh City (Saigon): The economic capital of 5 million people animated with the new-capitalism as well as the old traditions. Although renamed HoChiMinh in 1975, Saigon remains the city of excitement and flair in people's minds. It booms with commerce, the cycle, street-vendors, and visitors.

2. Cuchi: This historic reminder of the Vietnamese people' s sacrificial fight against the world's most powerful army. The entangle underground tunnel network with its strategic arrangement maintained life underground through out the war. Here, Visiting Cuchi, visitors will understand how the Vietnamese would defeat "an elephant with an ant's strength".

3. Tayninh: TayNinh is the headquarters of CaoDai. CaoDai, a fairly new religion founded in the 1920's by a colonial office, synthesizes from many occidental and oriental religious philosophies. A typical illustration of this mixture is TayNinh Great Temple. Its architecture resembles both a pagoda and a cathedral. Inside, Jesus Christ and Buddha evangelize side by side, while Confucius talks about feudal consciousness, and VictoHugo illuminates the way. A colorful religion only presented here.

4. Mekong Delta: The rice basket of Vietnam lies between Saigon, Cambodia and the Gulf of Siam. The green rice field spread forever. From Cambodia, the river divides into nine branches creating a unique, rich agriculture area. Inhabitants have an amphibious life; they live in a world of tangled canals, dense gardens, islets, and floating villages all moving with the rhythm of the Mekong River

5. The Cham ethnic minority:

The Cham live in villages along the coast. Cham architecture saw a particular brilliant period of development, with many monuments built of red brick surviving to this day. These comprise palaces, temples and multistory towers contrasted on hillocks of earth in the middle of the plains of Central Vietnam.

V. Famous beaches in Vietnam

1. Ha Long Bay: In 1995 classified as part of the world's natural heritage, consist of over 3000 islands of many forms and dimensions spread over 1500 kilometers of blue green sea. Hidden caves and lagoons are prime spots for swimming or exploring in small longtail boats or kayaks. Its many natural caves invite mysteriously sparkling stalactites and stalagmites such as Hang Dau Go (Grotto of Wooden Stakes) and Trinh Nu (Virgin Grotto). Most visitors agree that, a trip to Vietnam without visiting to Ha Long Bay is not complete.

2. Cat Ba: Visit Cat Ba Island, one of Vietnamese most interesting parks, where you can get lost in tropical evergreen forests, freshwater swamps, mangrove, and inland freshwater lakes.

3. Nha Trang: The picturesque coastal town of Nha Trang is Vietnam's most popular beach resort. The harbor is filled with colorful boats, and nearby are the ancient Cham towers and the Oceanographic Institute, where boat rides to offshore coral reefs are available.

4. Vung Tau: Pineapple Beach is probably the most pleasant, with its villas and generally tranquil atmosphere. The temples are a definitive must . The Niet Ban Tinh Xa is the largest temple in Vietnam

Many tours available from Hatetra Tour
See our web site

Address: Kiosk No10 Hom market, Hue street, Hanoi Vietnam.
Tel : 0084-4-9433606 / 8226998 - Fax : 0084-4-8226998
Email:, ,
Web :
Attn: Mr. Le Khac Triet - General Director

I 2002.07.21: Patima <>
Laos Hotels
Grand Luang Prabang Hotel

I 2002.07.09: ruth sands
Watch out in Haddrin, Koh Panghan
please please can you warn any travellers travelling to haadrin, koh pha ngan, to avoid seagarden bungalows, i had my passport stolen and room broken into twice, this has also happened to a few other people i have spoken to who stayed there, the staff told us it happens a lot but there is nothing they can do!



2002.07.03: Joana Rius
Transport from BKK to Koh Panghan
I am planning to visit your country this summer and I would be pleased if you could kindly let me know how to arrive to Ko Pangan from Bangkok.
I would appreciate to receive information such as flight schedules & prices or any other way to be used in case flights are not available.

From Editorial
there are many different way to go to Koh Panghan.
1.) take a flight to Koh Samui or Suratthani then take a boat to Koh Panghan.
2.) Take a train to Suratthani then take a boat to there
3.) Take a bus, either public or private to Suratthani then take boat.
Many private bus company sell joint tickets, bus and boat which is usually the cheapest to go.
You may go to Koh Samui then take a boat to Koh Panghan

There are many information in our site. See our BKK transport, Suratthani, Samui pages.
Currently I am editing the pages for Koh Samui and Koh Panghan which will be ready within a week.
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