India & Laos Agree Direct Flights

The governments of India and Laos have signed a new agreement that paves the way for direct flights between the two countries.
The Hindu reports that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) penned on Friday will enable airlines of both countries to operate direct flights, and Anil Wadhwa of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, was reported saying that airlines would now explore the possibility of new routes.
“I think there was more ….

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‘New’ Crackdown On Visa Runners: Thai Immigration

Reports of a ‘crackdown’ on border runners along the Thai/Cambodian border first started surfacing over the weekend when several Thaivisa members posted about not being allowed to re-enter Thailand on visa-exempt entries.
On Monday evening, Thaivisa spoke to an Immigration officer based at Chaeng Wattana who confirmed that renewals of 15/30 day visa exempt entries are not allowed.
The source, who did not ……

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Bus Services Relocate As Work Begins On New Terminal

All buses are now operating out of two temporary stations to pave the way for the construction of a new 12-storey building to house the inner city bus station near the Morning Market in central Vientiane.
However, the relocation to an area near the existing site has led to traffic congestion in the area, causing members of the public to complain about the new arrangements.
Tuk-tuks must also be relocated as part of efforts to minimise the …..

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Luang Prabang Gets Aboard E-bus Project

The UNESCO World Heritage town Luang Prabang this week officially launched its E-Bus Project along with an electric vehicle station.
The E-bus Project currently involves over 30 electric buses including 14 buses provided as a grant from the Japanese government and around 20 buses operated by the Lao Green Company. The buses will be driven along …..

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Nong Khai Immigration Tightens Screening Measures

Immigration officials in Nong Khai province have exerted greater vigilance at the border checkpoint, as police continue to search for those behind the Ratchaprasong bombing.
Nong Khai Immigration Chief Police Colonel Panlop Suriyakul Na Ayutthaya has instructed police officers to be more rigorous in screening and monitoring foreign nationals that enter and leave Thailand. He singled out the …..

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Modern Ferry Terminal Planned For Vientiane

The Vientiane Public Works and Transport Department and the Chittaphong Group are working on the survey and design of a modern ferry terminal, to be built in front of the Landmark Hotel in Sisattanak district after being approved by the Mayor of Vientiane.
The ferry terminal will be a modern tourist facility and will also facilitate the import and export of goods between Laos and Thailand.
The development is likely to include a …..

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Vangvieng Visitors & Income Growing

The recent flooding has not affected revenue earning from tourism in the Vangvieng district of Vientiane province, while the number of tourists has continued to go up.
The restaurants, guesthouses and bungalows along the Nam Xong River have seen very little loss and they are now able to go all out again.
Well-known activities such as tubing, kayaking and boat tours on the Nam Xong have now returned to ……

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“Five Countries, One Destination”: Five Nations Jointly Market Their Tourism Industry

Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam have agreed to jointly market themselves as “Five Countries, One Destination” in a move to bring more tourists to the region and integrate their tourism industries.
The move will contribute to reinforcing the tourism campaign in Laos, allowing international tourists to know more about Laos and its incredible tourism sites through the united marketing campaign by ….

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Laos And China To Build Bridge To Thailand As Part Of Railway Project

Laos and China will jointly build a bridge linking the Southeast Asian nation with northeastern Thailand as part of a U.S. $7.2 billion high-speed railway project that has been delayed by numerous setbacks for more than four years, a Lao government official said.
Officials from both sides agreed to construct the bridge over the Mekong River to link Laos with Thailand’s Nong Khai province during a meeting in which they resolved to build the much-delayed rail line from Kunming in south China’s Yunnan province to the Lao capital Vientiane.
The decision was made when a Lao delegation led by …..

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Google Unveils First Street View Imagery Of Vientiane

Google Maps now offers 360 degree views of streets which form top attractions in the Lao capital for locals and tourists alike.
The new imagery allows users in Laos and around the world to view and navigate through 360-degrees of street-level imagery in the country’s capital city.
In areas where Street View is available, street-level imagery can be accessed by dragging the orange ‘Pegman’ icon on the right-hand side of the map onto a blue highlighted street. In the new Google Maps, people can also search for local destinations and, where available, access Street View imagery from the imagery carousel that sits at the ……

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ICAO Red-Flags Thailand’s Aviation Safety Standard

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on Thursday “red flagged” Thailand for failing to solve significant safety concerns (SSC) on aviation standards within the 90-day deadline after receiving a warning.
The action follows an audit by representatives of the UN agency of the Department of Civil Aviation’s air transport safety certification for Thai-registered airlines in February.
The ICAO found conflict of interest in that the ….

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No Services To Attapeu Airport

Passengers hoping to fly to or out of Attapeu’s brand new international airport are in for a long wait as there are no firm plans to offer domestic flights.
Vientiane Times quoted Lao Airlines’ senior official, Phuttasone Vannasack, saying the airline had conducted a year-long survey of people who might want to fly between Vientiane and Attapeu, but very few responded positively so no flights are currently planned.
No surprises in the airline’s assessment, although critics may point out that the airline has ….

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Single Visa Now Available For Cambodia and Thailand

Cambodia and Thailand have joined hands to increase foreign and inter-ASEAN tourism under the “Two Kingdoms, One Destination” tourism pact.
Tith Chantha, secretary of state at Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, said Cambodia and Thailand have already created a single-visa option for tourists looking to explore both countries in one trip.
“Now, we’re joining with Thailand to promote Two Kingdoms, One Destination. It will make it much easier for tourists who don’t want to visit only one country during ……

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Edmonton Woman Wants Answers After Bloody Scene In Laos Airport

When Nara Pech called family in Canada for the last time, he said he was stuck at the Laos airport.
“They want me to leave the airport,” he said hurriedly, his voice recorded on a family member’s voicemail sometime after he was dropped off at the airport on Jan. 21.
“They don’t want anybody to know that I’m here. Tell them that the drivers, the taxi drivers, and everything are involved in this. The security guards, everybody. They’re trying to …..

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Body Found In Laos River Search: British Boat Tourist

A body has been found in the search for a missing woman who vanished after a boat capsized on a river trip in Laos, south-east Asia.
Johanna Powell, from Cardiff, was reported missing on Saturday. The 37-year-old, a BBC Wales picture editor, was on a tourist boat on the Mekong River near Pak Beng.
Her brother-in-law Dean Price said the family was told she was asleep when the boat hit a rock in rapids causing it to tip, take on water and ….

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The Elephant Caravan Laos 2015

A team of 12 elephants will walk about 630 km across the Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces, passing through elephant populated areas and cultural sites and disseminating both environmental education material and art performances in towns and villages.
Elephants are a source of pride for the Lao people and it is urgent to reactivate the public support for the species. On the road, the caravan will stop daily in villages it crosses. Theater, music and performances will be ….

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Luang Prabang Listed Among World’s 11 Most Romantic Wedding Destinations

Luang Prabang has been highlighted as a world-class popular tourist destination once again after an Australian travel website listed the World Heritage site among 11 of the world’s most romantic wedding destinations.
Laos’ well-known tourist destination was number five among the 11 destinations shown on the Qantas Travel Insider website.
Paris, France came first followed by ….

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Govt Plans To Say Goodbye To Wattay Airport

The Lao government expects that it will soon grant a licence to a local and a Chinese joint venture to carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a new international airport in Vientiane.
“The project will be about 35km from the city centre along Road No 13 South,” Mr Yakua said.
The study is expected to take at least two years to see if the area is suitable, after which the department will …..

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Elephant Festival Highlights Xayaboury’s Hidden Lifestyle

The annual elephant festival which took place over last weekend was successfully concluded leaving a lasting impression of the training the elephants had received and the skill of their mahouts.
The culture and lifestyle of the province was also prominently featured at the festival.The 9th annual elephant festival was held from February 13 to 15 at the stadium in Xayaboury district, Xayaboury province. It was officially opened on February 14 by Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong and attended by other …..

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Chinese Tourists To Laos Rise Sharply, Drop in European, Japanese Hits Market’s High End

Laos will have to work harder to attract high-end tourists after decreasing arrivals from major sources Europe and Japan impacted the luxury end of the sector in 2014.
Arrivals from Europe and Japan declined in 2014 after consecutive increases over the previous four previous years from 2010.
The number of tourists from Europe travelling to Laos dropped slightly from …..

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Bangkok Sukhumvit Shakedown: Questioning Thai Police Integrity

It was about 9pm on a weeknight in March last year, and Mat, an American business consultant, was trying to hail a taxi on Sukhumvit Soi 36 when he was stopped by six policemen on motorcycles.
Mat was completely sober, drug-free and dressed like a typical foreigner, in a T-shirt, cargo shorts and flip flops.
“You smoke ganja mai?” one of the officers asked, referring to marijuana, while pressing his index finger and thumb to mimic smoking a joint. Without asking permission, the officers removed …..

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Vietnamese Bank Official (Almost) Makes Off With Lao Buddha Statue

A Vietnamese bank executive managed to get his hands on a Buddhist statue believed to be about 500 years old from a Lao Buddhist temple in the capital Vientiane—but only for five hours.
It all started last year when the chairman and general director of the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) headquartered in Hanoi, visited Ongtue Wat in Mixay village near the Mekong River in the capital’s Chanthaburi district. He was accompanied by a ….

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Lane Xang Avenue To Have Makeover

The Lane Xang Avenue improvement and beautification project is set to kick off once a feasibility study has been completed under the supervision of Vientiane authorities.
The project will include the construction of symbols relevant to the history of Vientiane’s main thoroughfare such as elephants, while electricity poles will be painted green in line with one of the city’s official slogans.
Other related works include repaving the sidewalks, painting ……

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Bangkok Shakedown: Tourists Report Increased Harassment By Police

Over recent weeks there has been a sharp increase in reports of police harassment, intimidation and flat-out extortion in the Sukhumvit area, usually between Thong Lor and Asoke. While stories of the Bangkok police engaging in less than exemplary behavior are not new, and no official statistics for ‘on-the-spot fines’ exist, there does seem to be a policy of targeting foreign males in prime tourist areas at the …..

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Ascott Opens First Somerset Serviced Residence In Laos

CapitalLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence business, The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has opened Somerset Vientiane, its first serviced residence in Laos, after completing the first phase of a progressive refurbishment and rebranding exercise for the former Parkview Executive Suites.
The official opening of Somerset Vientiane took place on Tuesday evening in the capital.
Somerset Vientiane is the first international branded serviced residence in the ….

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Americans In Thailand Warned After Release Of CIA Report

Release of U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program:
U.S. citizens in Thailand should be aware that release of declassified versions of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s report of the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program could prompt anti-U.S. protests and violence against U.S. interests, including private U.S. citizens.
U.S. citizens should pay attention to their surroundings and take ….

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Vangvieng Considering New Party Precinct, Safety Permitting

Authorities in Vangvieng district of Vientiane province are now considering the establishment of a specially zoned area for entertainment venues and late night trading, according to district officials.
“We are now working on the outline of a plan for zoning a specific entertainment venue precinct where visitors can enjoy food, drinks and partying 24 hours a day,” Vanvieng Tourism Office Head told …..

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Thailand Wants Wristbands, Curfews & Electronic Tracking Devices For Tourists

Thailand’s tourism minister said on Tuesday that identification wristbands would be distributed to tourists following the murder of two British backpackers earlier this month that has raised fresh concerns over tourist safety.
Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul said she had approached hotels over the idea of handing out wristbands to help identify ….

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Lao Coffee Festival 2014

To celebrate the tremendous development of the Lao coffee sector and to further promote the unique Lao coffee to the domestic and foreign markets, Lao Coffee Association is organizing the 1st Lao Coffee Festival, from 24 – 26 October 2014 at the Arawan Riverside Hotel and Champasak Grand Hotel in Pakse.
The Lao Coffee Festival will include various activities like exhibition of Lao coffee products, seminars on topics on production background of Lao coffee, present state of the world coffee trade, trends in prices, production ….

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J&C Services’ 6th Anniversary Special Package “Luang Prabang”

During the month of September J&C will celebrate its 6th anniversary with special promotions and offers for our clients and readers.
Our first promotion is a Special Package Deal offering a 3 night stay at Hotel Villa Deux Rivieres in Luang Prabang. Located in the heart of Luang Prabang, the ancient former capital of Laos, this unique boutique hotel is situated in the centre of the UNESCO World Heritage area, with the main historical places of interest and attractions within walking distance.
The J&C Special Package includes:

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Inpeng Culture & Entertainment Park: Vientiane’s Newest Attraction

The National Ethnic Cultural Park (NECP) has been transformed and is now called “Inpeng Culture & Entertainment Park” which includes a large water park with beer gardens, restaurants, cafes, souvenir stores and a museum as well as the former Ethnic Cultural Park.
Our J&C team spent a fun day at the new water park, which includes many different pools, all of them with different sizes & shapes, and also different depths; there are also pools dedicated to …..

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Kiwis Caught With Fake Notes Drawn At Vientiane International Airport

Two young women from New Zealand narrowly escaped spending three months in a Thai prison after they were found in possession of counterfeit American dollars.
Casey Hanson, 21, and her friend Megan Taylor, 24, said the group withdrew US$1000 (NZ$1135) at Vientiane International Airport in Laos on June 30 and US$300 of that was changed into kip, the local currency. The group spent seven days in the country before travelling to Bangkok where Hanson and Taylor exchanged US$100 into Thai baht before heading to a mall to exchange a further US$500. At the mall, red flags were raised about the authenticity of ….

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No More Visa Runs: Thailand

FOREIGNERS WHO do regular visa runs in order to extend their stay in Thailand have less than a month before a crackdown by the authorities to enforce immigration laws more strictly.
From August 13, people will not be able to re-enter the country, regardless of their choice of transport.
The Immigration Bureau has already instructed officials to deny entry to foreigners doing visa runs as a measure to stop the …..

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Bangkok Warns Of Risk Of Legionnaire’s Disease

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) yesterday urged hotels and shopping malls to clean their air-conditioning systems as a precaution after a recent random check found that several hotels had legionella bacteria, which could pose a risk of respiratory diseases.
BMA explained that a random check on hotels, malls and cinema theatres had found some premises with dust, bacteria and fungi, but ….

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Rocket Festival Stirs Flight Safety Fears

Lao Airlines sought permission from Aerothai to change its flight paths in Thailand during the Buddhist Lent festival due to safety concerns
Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) wants stricter measures put in place to limit the height of traditional bang fai, or Isan rockets, to make it safer for aircraft.
The agency is increasingly concerned with threats to aircraft safety posed by illegally modified rockets, which can reach as high as ….

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Tough Choices Ahead for Laos Tourism

The country of Laos, a virtual hermit nation until 1986 when it opened its doors to tourism is now finding it very difficult to control the reigns of the tourism chariot its mounted. According to the country’s Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism some 3,779,490 foreign tourists arrived in Laos last year, a year that the government had set a target of 3.4 million for.
So high were 2013’s arrivals that they even exceeded the forecast for 2015 (3,750,000 visitors). Since 84 percent of those visitors were short haul travelers from neighboring countries, the yield hasn’t matched the …..

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Tourism Potential Draws Top Hotel Chains To Laos

At least 40 hotels, including five international chains, are scheduled to open in Laos over the next five years as the country becomes a more popular tourist destination.
IInternational brands Ramada, InterContinental, Crown Plaza, Sofitel and Marriott are set to open hotels in the capital by 2019. Three global brands – Mercure, Ibis and Best Western – have already opened their doors in Vientiane, and one regional brand has entered the World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang.
Furthermore, 25-30 three- and four-star hotels are set to open in the capital, with some in ….

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Hip Hideaways: Laos’ Premier Boutique Hotels

With tourism on the rise in Laos, more and more distinctive hotels are opening their doors to visitors seeking impeccable hospitality, with flair and comfort to match. Take advantage of the current low-season price points to beat the crowds for a stylish escape at a luxurious getaway, right on your doorstep.
Whether you’re looking to pamper yourself with a signature spa treatment, laze by the pool with cocktail in-hand, or relax after a day of adventure, Sabaidee Magazine has handpicked a few of the country’s most exquisitely placed and unique ……

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Travellers Warned Of Violent Bag Snatching And Muggings In Laos

The UK Foreign Office has warned travellers of a rise in violent bag snatching and muggings in Laos, a country known for its traditional values and sleepy atmosphere
The idea that tourists are increasingly becoming the targets of crime is perturbing but coincides with a growing interest in visiting the landlocked country.
“Petty crime, including bag snatching, occurs frequently and is becoming increasingly violent, especially in tourist areas….

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Centara Moves Into Laos With 5-star Grand Hotel In Downtown Vientiane

Leading Thai hotel operator Centara Hotels & Resorts is to have its first hotel in Laos in 2017 with the opening of the luxurious five-star Centara Grand Hotel Vientiane.
Located in the downtown district of the Laotian capital of Vientiane, the hotel will be designed in a French colonial style. Centara will manage the new-build property under a management contract.
The hotel is owned by a well-known Laotian company and is being developed under ….

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