Asiawithfriendstravel's Blog

December 28, 2010

#FriendsTravel #China | #Thailand | #Asia | #India | #Egypt Discounts JESS Kalinowsky

CHINA PREMIERE SERIES – Starting from $3799+tax
Majestic China Panorama 13 Days 12 Nights (RPH) – $300 off per person
Majestic China & Yangtze River 17 Days 16 Nights (RPD) – $300 off per person
CHINA DELUXE SERIES – Starting from $1199+tax

China Discovery 9 Days 8 Nights (RDX) – $150 off per person
Yangtze Essence 11 Days 10 Nights (RDV) – $150 off per person
China Scenic 11 Days 10 Nights (RDZ) – $150 off per person
Golden Yangtze Discovery 14 Days 13 Nights (RDW) – $100 off per person + Cruise Suite Upgrade
Scenic Yangtze Discovery 15 Days 14 Nights (RDR) – $100 off per person + Cruise Suite Upgrade
Tibet Highland & Yangtze River 15 Days 14 Nights (RDT) – $100 off per person + Cruise Suite Upgrade
Silk Road Splendors 11 Days 10 Nights (RDS) – $150 off per person
Glories of the Yangtze 15 Days 14 Nights (RDD) – $150 off per person
ASIA SERIES – Starting from $1775+tax (International air inclusive)
Tantalizing Thailand 15 Days 12 Nights (RAM) – $75 off per person
Thailand & Angkor 14 Days 11 Nights (RAF) – $75 off per person
Exotic Asia 13 Days 10 Nights (RAB) – $75 off per person
Indochina Excursion 14 Days 11 Nights (RAA) – $75 off per person
Thailand Experience 9 Days 6 Nights w/Chiang Mai (RAC) – $75 off per person
Thailand Experience 9 Days 6 Nights w/Phuket (RAH) – $75 off per person
EUROPE SERIES – Starting from $2120+tax (International air inclusive)

Europe Delight 12 Days 10 Nights (REF) – $100 off per person
Italy Essence 10 Days 8 Nights (REI) – $100 off per person
Best of Eastern Europe 12 Days 10 Nights (RED) – $100 off per person
INDIA SERIES – Starting from $1799+tax (International air inclusive)

India Discovery 8 Days 6 Nights (RID) – $75 off per person
India Discovery + Dubai 10 Days 8 Nights (RIB) – $75 off per person
Enchanting India 12 Days 10 Nights (RIE) – $75 off per person
India Adventure 15 Days 13 Nights (RIA) – $75 off per person
Rajasthan Treasures 16 Days 14 Nights (RIR) – $75 off per person
EGYPT SERIES – Starting from $2099+tax (International air inclusive)

Egypt Discovery 10 Days 8 Nights (RGD) – $75 off per person
Egypt Discovery + Dubai 12 Days 10 Nights (RGB) – $75 off per person
Egypt Treasures & Alexandria 12 Days 10 Nights (RGA) – $75 off per person
Egypt & Sharm el Sheikh 12 Days 10 Nights (RGS) – $75 off per person

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December 21, 2010

#FriendsTravel #ThailandVacation Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky

Thailand Travel Guide

Royal Grand Palace, Bangkok

Royal Grand Palace, Bangkok © Thailand Tourist Board

From idyllic, unspoilt beaches with turquoise seas and pure, white sands to bustling cities sporting exotic markets and a vibrant, colourful nightlife, it is easy to see why Thailand has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for the adventurous and young at heart.

A turbulent, and often bloody history has left Thailand scattered with ruins, forgotten temples and deserted cities that reveal a rich tableau of past eras to those willing to explore.

Thailand’s booming tourist economy, driven largely by Hollywood (the country has been the setting for The Man with the Golden Gun, The Bridge over River Kwai and most recently Alex Garland’s The Beach) has resulted in the opening of a number of expensive and luxurious international hotels. Those looking for the rustic splendour of the beaches and islands will find plenty of cheap and comfortable accommodation.

The size and geographical diversity of Thailand provides for a variety of activities. Snorkelling, diving and a host of watersports are very popular around the Islands, while inland enthusiasts can trek into the mountains or cycle across the flat river areas of the northeast.

Thailand Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

#FriendsTravel Myanmar | Burma | Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky

Myanmar Travel Guide

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon © specialkrb

Myanmar, also known as Burma and fondly referred to as ‘the Golden Land’ because of the abundant use of gold leaf on its temples and buildings, is a country with a rich diversity of culture and people. Its impressive heritage spans over 2,000 years, reflected in some of Southeast Asia’s most opulently adorned temples and wats. Myanmar is situated along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea and its northern borders stretch all the way up to the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. One third of Burma’s perimeter is uninterrupted and undeveloped coastline.

This beautifully scenic country has a rocky political past. It was a British Colony from 1885 until 1948, and for the past 30 years a repressive military dictatorship, the Tatmadaw, has ruled its people. Because of the human rights situation in the country, international tourism can be seen as approval of the Burmese government, and the National League for Democracy in Burma has appealed to tourists not to travel to the country. However many argue that tourism can open the country up to the international community and therefore bring democratic reform to Burma. Those that choose to travel to Burma are encouraged to stay at privately owned guesthouses and to avoid government-affiliated enterprises.

Burma has one of the lowest tourist crime rates in the world, so travellers can relax in the knowledge that their trip will be untroubled. It is only recently making an appearance on the international travel scene due to its internal politics, but Burma’s unspoiled beaches, snow-capped mountains and jungle wilderness are all fast becoming an irresistible draw for the avid traveller.

Myanmar [Burma] Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky FriendsTravel LLP

Laos Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

Laos Travel Guide

Nam Khan river in Luang Prabang

Nam Khan river in Luang Prabang © wili_hybrid

Laos has been known since ancient times as Lan Xang, or Land of the Million Elephants, and offers visitors a glimpse of old Indochina. It is less developed than its Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese neighbours, and traditionally the most reserved, but offers natural beauty and shy hospitality combined with a mix of original Buddhist culture and French influences. It also shares its borders with Burma and Cambodia.

A mountainous, landlocked country, situated at the heart of South East Asia, Laos’ lifeline is the Mekong River that flows the length of the country, providing water for agricultural lands and a major means of transport. Vientiane, the unassuming capital, is situated on its banks, and the city provides a comfortable introduction to the charms of the country. Laos’s most enticing destination is the town of Luang Prabang, the former royal kingdom, with a legacy of splendid golden temples and whitewashed houses.

A troubled history of French colonisation, internal conflicts and assertive communism chased much of Laos’ population away in the 1970s and isolated the country from the outside world. Today, though, the doors stand open, and services for travellers are gradually being instituted so that visitors can enjoy an unrivalled look at the old-fashioned way of life of a country still largely unscathed by the harsh effects of mass tourism. Tourists willing to brave the lack of infrastructure will discover charming towns and rural villages, smiling, endearing people, splendid scenery, and a slow, relaxed pace of life.

Laos Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

Vietnam Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

Vietnam Travel Guide

Rice planting

Rice planting © Judith Duk

Verdant patchworks of rice paddies, pointed lampshade-style hats, a country ravaged by war, and economic repression – these are the international images of Vietnam, seen on worldwide television and read about in the newspapers. But there are other scenes to be found, ones of natural beauty, ethnic culture, and imperial history, of timeless traditional villages, idyllic sea resorts and dynamic cities.

Shaped like an elongated ‘S’, Vietnam stretches along the east coast of the Indochinese Peninsula and is likened by its people to a long bamboo pole hung with two baskets of rice, represented by the two fertile regions at either end of the country. Between the lush Red River Delta and the highlands in the north, known for their magnificent scenery and colourful hill tribes, and the agricultural plains and floating markets of the Mekong Delta in the south, lie miles of white sandy beaches, towering mountains, rivers and dense forests, and the thousands of bizarre rock and cave formations on the islands of Halong Bay.

The impact of Japanese and Chinese trade, French occupation and American intervention has left its stain on Vietnam, smeared over a period of more than two thousand years of recorded history. However, the country has also been left with a vivid legacy from different cultures evident in the character of its towns, as well as in the architecture and food. The quaint town of Hoi An, once a major trading port, boasts the perfectly preserved architectural influences of the Asian merchants from the north, while the broad leafy boulevards of the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are reminiscent of France. Menus offer Chinese variations of spring rolls, steamed dumplings and noodles. Hué is the old imperial capital of Vietnam with its royal palaces and palatial mausoleums, and nearby the battle sites of the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) are reminders of the brutality of war.

Ancient temples and colourful pagodas are scattered throughout the urban centres, while among them stand hotels of modern luxury, and the development of tourism infrastructure is a booming business. Vietnam is a perfect balance between ancient times and the here and now, a country that reveres its past heroes, a nation that has collectively put the woes of war behind it, and people who welcome visitors to their country with open arms and friendly smiles.

Vietnam Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

Cambodia Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

Cambodia Travel Guide

Kampong Speu

Kampong Speu © nicolas pascarel

For many travellers the allure of an unspoilt and little-explored country is irresistible. Emerging from a violent past of human rights atrocities, war and political instability, Cambodia is recovering from its past and slowly becoming a top destination on the South East Asian travel map. The magnificent temples of the ‘Lost City’ of Angkor are an irresistible attraction that, despite the dangers of unexploded landmines and the threat of rural banditry, is a must-see for any determined traveller.

Modern day Cambodia is the successor kingdom of the powerful Khmer Empire which ruled most of what is today Vietnam, Laos and Thailand from the 9th to 14th centuries. Although the country does not have the same volume of attractions as some of its neighbours, the Cambodian people are incredibly friendly, providing a welcoming embrace for travellers.

This fact in itself is amazing given the suffering that Cambodians had to endure during the three-and-a-half year reign of Pol Pot, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated two million people. The Khmer Rouge period under Pol Pot’s leadership, altered the face of the country. Overnight cities were emptied and property destroyed, the economy was left in shatters and so were the lives of countless families. This period between 1975 and 1979 represents a particularly dark one in the nation’s history.

Travellers to Cambodia can now enjoy many wonderful aspects of this country. Pleasurable moments can be had in the snatches of friendly conversations, in the tranquillity ushered in by Buddhist prayer or in the sounds of workers in the rice paddies. One can also search for the charms of the French-era capital city Phnom Penh, visit the tragic horrors of the Killing Fields or drift past sleepy riverside locations on a boat.

The scenery is beautiful and abundant, shaped by landscapes of lush green forests and jungles, banana plantations, agricultural fields and mighty rivers. People here live modest and simple lifestyles and the populace are largely rural. It is not a place of fast and efficient transport or luxurious hotels and resort living. Infrastructure is basic (much of it having been destroyed) and travelling between destinations can be quite an experience – fun for some and frustrating for others. The country’s world-class attractions and less-explored reaches, golden beaches and islands beckon the enterprising traveller, and make this unique destination the equivalent of a pearl in an unopened oyster.

Cambodia Travel Guide JESS Kalinowsky Friends Travel LLP

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