Travelers Notes
South-East Asia

upto April 98

I: Travel Info.

M: Travelers Messages

O : Opinion

L: Travelogue

?: Questions

Source of information

Other Media

Own Experience

Reported

See also Hot info section
more updated info for SE Asia

I Sun 19 Apri, mel dog21@aol.com
Vietnam:
Just spent a wonderful week in S Vietnam. Enjoyed the Continental Hotel (about $100 night after bargaining) Super room and location.
guided Tour with a guide Tri, out of Kim's Cafe in Saigon for a private tour of the Mekong Delta.
With a car, driver, Their food and hotels, gas, etc. about $180 for three days. It was a tremendous experience, Seeing things and people that were certainly off the normal tourist beat. As a personal recomendation,
Our guide Nguyen Van Tri T8369859,F84-8-8298540
honest, hardworking, personable,and knowledgeable. Other recommendations- Lemon Grass and Augustin restaurants in Saigon .After Vietnam, We spent three neat weeks in Thailand in Chiang Mai , Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Bangkok. For a list of nice mid to high range hotels and meals, feel free to email me for advice.
We also did a most adventureous trek south of Chiang Mai.

I 19 Apr 98, Chris (travellerstation@hotmail.com)
Dengue Outbreak in Indonesia
It's bad news this time around , there is a massive dengue outbreak in Jakarta with 207 dead and over 7,600 people hospitalised , it has so far been contained within Jakarta itself there are no reports of other areas being infected yet, so take extra care all those that are there and all heading there .

? 24 Apr, 98, Anke Poggel, poggel@iis-b.fhg.de
Myanmar
Hi,I've just seen your homepage, it is VERY helpful and interesting!! Great!
We want to travel to Myanmar in November and as we got six weeks off we want to spend as much time in Myanmar as possible. Could you give me some information on visa extension, please? Can we get visa for 5 to 6 weeks or do we have to extend them after 28 days in Yangon? (We are from Germany, by the way.) What about the formalities? If visa extension is possible, can we do this when arriving in Myanmar or only after 28 days?

A
Immigration: Strand Rd+Boo Soon Pat St,S from MTT
2-week extension $36,1or2 month-$72,T286434
Or you pay $3/day at airport when you leave.
You need many copies from your passport. I think 2 copies for each from the pages of your ID number, Myanmar visa page, entry stamp page. You need the excange cirtificate, at least $300/p.It is much easy to pay $3/day when you leave.(Taka)

? Apr 23, 98. Abbie McLachlan
Kho Panghan, Thaialnd
Do you know anything about a full moon party in Kho Panghan? How early do I have to go to get a room?
A 10,000 people there at the March full moon. No way that all could stay on Ko Phangan.
Most people try to get there up to a week before. However prices in Had Rin rise at this time.
If you don't want to go so early, you can turn up even the day before and stay in Ko Samui or Thon Sala and take full moon transport to Had Rin, spend the night on the beach and return the next day.
Places to recommend- check Ko Phangan info- the 2 bungalow complexes on the rocks Serenity
I think and the one next 2 it are good. Great location, homely,social restaurant. Only problem is the climb up there with your luggage. They're likely to be full over the full moon. Accommodation on the Sunset side is quieter. (Andrea)

? Apr 23, 98. Shirin shivandgrey@hotmail.com
Safety Info in Bali & Java, Indonesia:
I am planning to travel Bali and Java. I am Chinese. I want to know is it safe in Indonesia.
A The indonesia's situation is getting worse. I had a report that Bali was OK. but Java is very hostile.
? Yogyakarta is safe?
Do you think that Yogjakarta is still inadvisable if we took a package tour from Bali to Borabodur?
A I have a report from a Japanese girl. Indonesians were very kind until she started taliking with her Chinese friend in Chinese launguage.
Going Java with a organized tour is probably most safe way to go, But is your tour from Bali to Yogyakarta you mentioned not just a transport?
I personally think even you are Chinese, nothing will happen on you. I was talking only a very small possiblility. The people killed in Indioneia are
Chinese local sellers. If you dress as foriegn travelers, they recognized you as foreign. So you will be OK. Just keep your eyes on your belongings.
Don't go out at night alone. Everything is common sense. Yogyakarta is one of the place where students are very active against government (Taka)

I Rob Lawton, RLawton@nentnds1.telecom.com.au
Hotels:
Singapore- The travevellers nest
very friendly, clean and good value for money.

Chiang Mai, Thailand- The Garden Guest House (In Lonley Planet) Ratmanchanca Road. Excellent value for money, clean, very friendly (the women who runs it is an absolute gem) great base for trekking, as the guides are opium free and you really do go to a village with just your group of trekkers and not half on the backpacker population.

Ko Phanghan,Hat Rin, Thai-The Orchid Bungalows, great value for money, friendly run, good food and plenty of tours organised and information for travellers. However people should make the effort to get out of Hat rin and travel to the north of the island.
The Hat Yaar bungalows (We stayed in,next to the Ibiza bungalows),in their own secluded bay, with crystal clear water, lovely food, friendly people and is so peaceful and unspoilt.
Warning: the mistake of hiring any form of motor bike on this island. I joind the long procession of bandaged and not so cocky looking travellers who came a cropper and have extensive scarring to show for it !!. The roads are extremley steep, the surfacing is random (ie gravel, then sand, then mud, then water !) and are pitch dark at night !. Hiring a bike on this island is asking for it!.
I have riden for years and this was my first accident, BE WARNED
Planet Scuba - a great dive shop, very good prices, well run Padi courses and the owner, Torston is one of the friendliest people you could hope to meet.

Ko Sumui!- Thailand
Chaweng is now very commercialised with many resort style complexes springing up (luckily thgey are still not allowed to build higher than the palm trees).
Good food places -
The islander, Falty Towers! but be prepared to spend some money compared to the rest ot Thailand.
The Black Jack pub is very friendly has excellent pool tables and is one of the few places you can drink without the hassles associated with the pick up bars which dominate this area.

Apology
We informed the border between Thai and Cambodia would be opened on March 4, 98. We confirmed this info from various sources incl Bangkok Post, Cambodia Embassy. However according to the mails from our viewers, only the northern route, near Ankor Wat is open, but the coastal route, Ko Kong is closed. We apologized about out this misinformation.

?
Apr 14, 98 Akari Ito: Mail to ITIS Travelers
Bali, Indonesia
I am in Australia. I will go back to Japan soon. On the way I want to visit Bali. Please let me know some good and safe accommodation in Bali. Can I go there without reservation?

? Apr.2,98 Wasaka Mail to ITIS Travelers
Andaman Islands, India
I heard the islands was recently opened to travelers.I would like to go there. Please send info about these islands if you know.

I
Apr.2,98 Wasaka Mail to ITIS Travelers
Thai - Cambodia Border
Aranyaprathet,Thai-Sisophon,Cambodia is now open. It is easy to travel to Siem Reap(Ankor Wat)
I personally traveled from Siem Reap to Thailand.(Mar 98)

M
Apr 2, 98 Dave & Jay d_inward@hotmail.com
URGENT MESSAGE about Cambodia
Myself & a friend are interested in travelling from Bangkok overland to Siam Reap, Cambodia via Poi Pet, as this border crossing is now open. I would be interested in hearing from any other travellers who are interested, as the larger the group travelling, the better!! We are considering Sat Apr 4th or Sun Apr 5th as departure dates.
Popped in to the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok again today. I was told there is a bus from Poi Pet to Sisophan for 50 Baht & from there on to Siem Reap costs another 150 Baht. Alternatively, you can get a taxi
direct from Poi Pet to Siem Reap for, so we were told for between 2000 - 3000 Baht. We're still a little unsure whether to take this route or whether to fly
to Phnom Penh, so if there's anyway that you could let people know that we are thinking of travelling Sat 4th / Sun 5th, could they please
E-Mail me as if there were a couple more of us we'd feel that much more certain

? Apr 1, 98, Dave & Jay, d_inward@hotmail.com
Cambodia
Information on travelling within Cambodia in general , particularly if travelling overland from Thailand (Poi Pet) & areas around Siem Reap in light of current situation with Khmer Rouge. Aim to travel 4th April
We were informed at the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok that the Thai-Cambodia border is now open at Poi Pet. Would welcome any info on this or any more travelling partners.
Answer from Editorial. We do not know the border situation at Poi Pot, but the border at Kok Kong seems to be opened from Cambodia side but not from Thai side. Thai officials are turning back foreign travelers coming from Cambodia. See Hot Info "On The Road" from Andrea for more detail

?
Mar 19 1998 Cathie
Indoneisa
I'm wondering about the safety of travel in Indonesia at present from anyone who has actually been there recently. Also are the prices also rising as they have in Thailand?

R
Feb 23 1998 Reuters:Singapore
Asia: Air Safety ...Aviation disasters in Asia claimed 675 lives in 1997 one of the worst years on record for the region and 1998 started as grimly. The latest accident occurred last week when a China Airlines Airbus A300 crashed at Taipiei's international airport, killing all 196 people aboard and at least 7 on the ground...Asia's average fatality rate of one passenger death for every .....1.7 billion miles flown compares well with a global industry average of 1 fatality for every 1.6 billion miles.

R
Feb 20 1998 Bruce
Laos: Visas I heard that for US citizens, the visa on arrival at Vientiane Wattai Airport, Laos, is US$50, US$ only. Apparently it is cheap and easy to get a Laos visa in Hanoi for about $20 in a day or so.

O
Feb 18 1998 Andrea
Indonesia: Security situation in Indonesia
The British, US, and Australian embassies and the US State dept., have all issued cautions concerning travel in Indonesia, following recent public disturbances, rioting, attacks on Chinese owned businesses, and a rise in crime linked to the current economic crisis.
ITIS Travelers have cancelled a scheduled research trip to Indonesia for the time being.

R
Feb 11 1998 Reuters: Phnom Penh
Cambodia: Mosquitoes are the common enemy
Cambodian co-premier Ung Huot said Mosquitoes not former Maoist rebels, were the enemy of his country's people after a friendly meeting with a former Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary....Ung Huot said that the government and the former guerrillas were now at peace, and the common enemy was malaria. I support Ieng Sary's campaign to kill mosquitoes and not to kill people Ung Huot told reporters.

I
Feb 8 1998 Paul
Prices in Bali, Indoneisa Our family are fairly frequent 'tourists' to Indonesia; just back from Bali returned January 15th). At that time local prices still did not reflect the catastrophic fall in the Rupiah. Shopping everywhere was excellent. I doubt that will continue. Wholesale prices must rise as retailers restock and retail prices will begin to spiral. For the moment it's a Shoppers' Paradise.
Guide recommendation I would HIGHLY recommend an independent Balinese Guide (tertiary qualifications in Tourism and Hospitality) who has started his own business, focussing on West Bali,but able to set up itineraries anywhere. Our whole family had one of the best days we've had in Bali with him.
His name: Dedy. Phone 62(361)231677.Fax 62(361) 774825; Address: Jalan Pulua Bungin 17, Br Puseh - Pedungan Denpasar - Bali. He speaks excellent English and is thoroughly professional.
Cheers and best wishes

I 23 Jan 1998 Takase
Vietnam: Update Departure Tax US$10
Current Exchange Rate US$1=13,000VD
1/27-1/30 New Year's Holiday in Vietnam.
Please keep it in mind as many shops will be closed.

I
Jan 19 1998 Makoto
Thailand: Inflation Many high-class hotels and discount travel agencies are quoting prices for rooms & flight tickets in US$.

? Jan 10 1998 Sudo
Laos: Please let me know about the summer season (rainy season). I'm planning to visit Laos this summer. I heard that it is rainy season there, so please tell me about the transportation in rainy season and whether it is possible to travel or not.

I

?

Dec 1997 miki
Biman airlines: Stopover in Dhaka (Bangladesh)
To those who take Biman and stop over at Myanmar
If you fly with Biman to India or Nepal,via Myanmar. This will involve 1 nights transit in Dhaka. Usually you will get a free nights hotel accommodation. However you can NOT stay in Hotel without a hotel voucher and if you have an open ticket, they do not give you the voucher. I'd like to know whether this is still Biman policy.(96/1)

I Jan 12 1998 taka, taka3@pop16.odn.co.jp
General info: Refund of lost or stolen T/C's
Many travelers believe that they can get a refund easily when they lose or have their T/C's stolen. It is not always so. When the amount is large or if you have had a refund before. It has been reported that it takes time or your claim may even be rejected. The common problem is that budget travelers are suspected of making a false claim. 3 questions that are often asked by the T/C company are: 1) is this the first time you have made a T/C refund? 2)where are you staying? and 3) what is your occupation? If your answer is no to the 1st question,the name of a cheap hotel/hostel to the 2nd question and I don't have a job to the 3rd question, then you might encounter problems in getting a refund.

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