According to breaking news from Viet Nam, no more visa is needed for Germans among others, if traveling to Viet Nam for no more longer than 15 days. This is good news for Germans, who like to travel the country from Ha Noi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south or vice versa.

The new regulations start on July 1, 2015. Until then, it was necessary to get an expensive visa from a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate abroad. Even a visa on arrival was very difficult to get.

It is hoped that other countries in Southeast Asia follow the example of Viet Nam to counterbalance a slump in tourist arrivals this year.

For further information, please contact GMS Media Travel Consultant Reinhard Hohler by e-mail: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein!

JAKARTA: In a bid to boost tourism, Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Tuesday signed the presidential regulation on visa-free travel for citizens from 45 countries, The Jakarta Globe reported.

According the Cabinet Secretariat website, citizen from those countries are allowed to stay for 30 days but the visit permit cannot be extended or changed to other stay permits.

Citizens from the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as well as from several other states could already travel to the country visa-free, but the complete list of visa-free states and territories is now:

Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar, Brunei, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Philippines, Chile, Morocco, Peru, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Russia, South Korea, Japan, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Mexico, United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and South Africa.

Australians, the third-largest group of foreign visitors after Singaporeans and Malaysians, will still need a visa to enter the country, although tourists can buy one on arrival.

The five international airports through which citizens of the 45 countries and territories can enter Indonesia visa-free are Soekarno-Hatta in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai in Bali, Kuala Namu in Medan, Juanda in Surabaya and Hang Nadim in Batam.

Sri Bintan and Tanjung Uban seaports in Bintan Island and Sekupang and Batam Center ports in Batam will also provide the facility.

Thailand’s female Minister of Tourism & Sports, H.E. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, marked the launch of the bilateral tourism co-operation between Thailand and Myanmar at the Shangri-La Hotel in Chiang Mai on May 14, 2015. In a hearty welcome speech, she addressed some 50 representatives of tour operators and media from European countries such as the UK, Sweden, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, also Dubai and the US, to experience the remarkable diversity of tourism products and services in the two ASEAN nations of Thailand and Myanmar together.

Actually, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, Myanmar together with Bangkok Airways are organizing the highly ambitious Mega Joint Familiarization Trip between Thailand and Myanmar from May 14-21, with an objective of promoting the two countries, as the two neighbors will move towards full implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of the year 2015.

“This joint FAM trip activity is one of the starting initiatives to promote the tourism growth of ASEAN. Many parts of ASEAN have never really been opened to the eyes of the world before, and by forming bilateral tourism co-operation with our ASEAN friends, we will be able to open up unseen, untapped beautiful tourism destinations altogether. As such, international tourists, who come to visit Thailand, will also be able to extend their vacation to explore the charming culture and various world-renowned tourist attractions in our neighboring countries”, the Tourism Minister explained.

Important to notice is the fact that Chiang Mai has been chosen as the host city for this joint FAM trip due to its readiness as the best location among the AEC including modern infrastructure, easy accessibility, variety of tourism products, and international standards of service. The FAM trip comprises a product briefing at Chiang Mai, followed by visiting some main destinations in Myanmar, including Mandalay, Bagan, and Nay Pyi Taw as the new capital of Myanmar, and ending in Bangkok.

In addition to the joint FAM trip, the bilateral tourism co-operation between Thailand and Myanmar will also extend to the joint tourism marketing activities at the upcoming Thailand Travel Mart Plus (TTM+) in Bangkok on June 3-5, 2015 and ITB 2016 in Berlin, Germany. The Thailand-Myanmar Joint FAM Trip comes under the “ASEAN for All” dimension, where in the initial stage Thailand has made the bilateral agreement with Myanmar, and is set to forming tourism co-operation with other ASEAN neighbors, especially with Lao PDR and Cambodia.

In an accompanied brochure called ASEAN Routes, the following “Highway Connectivity” from Chiang Mai is highlighted (amongst others):

  1. Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Mae Sai/Tachileik - Kyaing Tong in Myanmar
  2. Chiang Mai - Mae Sot/Myawaddy - Thaton - Yangon in Myanmar
  3. Chiang Mai - Nan - Huai Kon/Hongsa - Luang Prabang in Lao PDR
  4. Chiang Mai - Khon Kaen - Mukdahan/Savannakhet in Lao PDR - Vietnam
  5. Chiang Mai - Sa Kaeo - Aranyaprathet/Poipet - Siem Reap in Cambodia

Preparing for the ASEAN Trip, driving with your own car is still a problem. Presently, Lao PDR, Malaysia, and Singapore are the only countries that give motorists from other countries the freedom to bring their cars and drive. Also, apart from Myanmar which requires visas, ASEAN countries do not require visas. Furthermore, there are a myriad of flight routes, train routes, bus routes starting from Thailand and linking with the other ASEAN countries.

For further information, please go to:

BANGKOK -- Word of a sudden Thai-Chinese deal to cut a shipping channel across Southern Thailand evaporated quickly today.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesmen today disspelled media reports in his country that the two nations had agreed in principal to construct a THB941 billion (USD28 billion) canal across the Isthmus of Kra in southern Thailand as a new shipping route to shortcut the Straight of Malacca.

Spokesman Hong Lei repeated comments made by the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok.

It seems that China is now more interested to join the Dawei Deep Sea Port Project in Myanmar instead. 

Kra Canal

Looking for a sophisticated “bed and breakfast” deal in Bangkok’s most popular district for entertainment and shopping, go no further than to the new Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, which is ideally located on Soi 24, in the heart of Sukhumvit's business, shopping and entertainment district.

Hilton Sukhumvit

This Bangkok hotel has an artistic 1920s Italian-American design, with permanent ‘residents’ Jay and Daisy making regular appearances around the hotel to welcome guests. When I arrived early in the morning on March 2, after a long and winding bus-ride from Chiang Mai, I was welcomed with open hearts. Sensationally, the hotel with its 280 rooms was totally overbooked and I could deposit my luggage with the concierge to go on with my business meetings in the morning.

Checking in at 14.00 o’clock in the afternoon, I was accompanied to a superior room at the 5th floor, where an elegant guest room with separate shower, bath tube and toilet are the high standards for any “Hilton” hotel. Alternatively, you can relax and unwind in an executive room for access to the Executive Lounge, providing complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and two hours of meeting room use. An upgrade to a luxurious suite boasting a separate living room with a home theater system is possible. Wireless and wired internet throughout the hotel ensures you can stay connected throughout your stay. Soak up the warmth at “Lapse”, the sparkling rooftop infinity pool, and admire stunning views of the city, or energize with a workout in the 24-hour fitness center.

The hotel features two specialty Italian and Mediterranean restaurants, called Scalini and Mondo. The Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok also boasts seven unique meeting and event spaces, including the “Summit” on the 25th floor, with New York penthouse features.

Just a five-minute walk from the BTS Phrom Phong Station, guests can board on the Sukhumvit line to travel directly to leisure and shopping attractions, such as Terminal 21, CentralWorld and Siam Paragon. The popular “Emporium” shopping mall is just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel. Furthermore, Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok is conveniently placed within easy access to the expressway and international airports.

Highlights in the hotel:

  • Located in the heart of the Sukhumvit entertainment and shopping district
  • Five-minute walk from BTS Phrom Phong Station for easy access across Bangkok
  • Two Italian and Mediterranean specialty restaurants
  • New York penthouse features in the “Summit” on the 25th floor
  • Seven unique meeting and event spaces

What to do around there:

Located on the popular Sukhumvit Road, Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok boasts an ideal position in Thailand's vibrant capital city, directly within Sukhumvit’s entertainment and shopping district. Spend time at the luxurious Emporium Shopping complex, situated right next to the hotel, or pay a visit to the beautiful Benjasiri Park, just minutes away when walking towards Asoke Intersection. From there, walk along the “Golden Mile” between Soi 21 and 3, passing Terminal 21 and the busy Soi 11 with its network of restaurants and beer gardens. You can also re-route yourself at Siam Station to Taksin Bridge to experience Bangkok’s magnificent temples and landmarks along the Menam Chao Phraya River.

When I left the hotel in the morning of March 3, I could easily reach the important Eastern Bus Station of “Ekkamai” by sky train, where buses to Chonburi, Pattaya, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat leave by the hour. My special thanks go to Mr. Treamprom Klinhom alias Sunday, who is the Marketing and Communication Manager not only for Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, but also for Double Tree by Hilton Sukhumvit, which is its sister property at Sukhumvit Soi 26. He got his outstanding experience at Hilton Pattaya, before coming over to busy Bangkok.

Last not least, whatever your budget and style, the Hilton HHonors loyalty program has more than 4,000 hotels and resorts worldwide to meet your needs. Earn points towards free nights, receive member-only offers, and enjoy exclusive stay benefits to make your travels even more enjoyable, including Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and others.

For further information, please go to:

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