Monday, February 6, 2023

Thailand

Thailand Flag

"Land of the Free"


Why visit Thailand?
Known for ancient ruins, architecture, beaches, birdwatching, canals, culture, cycling, fishing, freshwater angling, golf, islands, mountains, nightlife, outdoor markets, rivers, scuba diving, shopping, snorkeling, temples, trekking, tribe villages, vineyards, water sports, white-water rafting, and yachting.



Wat Phra That Choeng Chum Woriwihan, Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. Photo Credit: naturepost/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Carved water buffalo bells, custom clothes, custom shoes, gold, lacquerware, painted umbrellas, pottery, silk, sand paintings, temple bells, temple rubbings, and tribal weavings. 
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Chok (porridge). Guay Teow (soup).Hor Mok Ma Prow Awn (seafood curry). Kao Ka Moo (stewed pork). Khao Phat (rice dish). Khao Soi (soup). Khao Tom (soup). Kway Teow (soup). Pad Kra Prao (pork dish). Pad Woon Sen (stir fry). Pla Kapung Neung Manao (lime fish). Mango Sticky Rice (dessert). Pad Phuk Tong (stir fry punpkin). Pad See Eiw (noodles). Som Tam (papaya salad). Yam Nua (beef salad). Yam Pla Dook Foo (fried catfish).
  • Local Drink to Try: Change (beer). Cha Yen (iced tea). Mekong (whiskey). M150 (energy). Nom Yen (pink milk). Oliang (iced coffee). Sangsom (rum). Singha (beer).


Phi Phi Islands, Thailand. Photo Credit: kmarius/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Earliest evidence of rice growing dates back to 2,000BCE.
  • One of the most visited countries in Asia.
  • Royal birthdays are treated as national holidays.
  • The king's anthem plays before every movie, and everyone respectfully stands.
  • Critics of the King can be incarcerated for 3 - 15 years.
  • Formerly known as Siam.
  • Has 156 national parks.
  • Has the 2nd largest economy in Southeast Asia.
  • Each day of the week is associated with a color.
  • Among the world's 10 countries impacted by climate change vulnerability with extreme weather and rising sea levels.
  • Elephant Art School (Chon Buri) sells paintings created by elephants.
  • Home to the world's smallest mammal, Kitti's Hog-Rosed Bat.
  • Siamese cats are native and believed lucky.
  • Cyclist enjoy Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, and Khao Yai National Park.
  • Highly ranked in medical tourism.
  • Thai cuisine is one of the most popular in the world.
  • Home to over 200 golf courses and considered the "golf capital of Asia".


Phang Nga Bay (aka: Ao Phang Nga National Park & James Bond Island), Thailand. Photo Credit: Arek Socha/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Bankok International Film Festival, Bo Sang Umbrella & Sankhampaeng Handicrafts Festival, (February) Burapa Bike Week, Chiang Mai Flower Festival, Maya Music Festival, Phuket International Blues Rock Festival, (March) King's Cup Annual Elephant Polo Tournament, (April) Pattaya Festival, Poy Sang Long Festival, Phuket Bike Week, Songkran Festival, Wan Lai Festival, Water Festival, (May) Chiang Mai Inthakin City Pillar Festival, Ko Samui Yacht Regatta, Rocket Festival, (June) Ghost Festival, Hua Hin Jazz Festival, Rocket Festival, (July) Candle Festival, Koh Samui Regatta, Phuket Yachting Race Week, (September) Jay Festival, (October) Buffalo Racing Festival, Naga Fireballs Festival, Vegetarian Festival, (November) Elephant Roundup, Lantern Festival, Lopburi Monkey Banquet, Noy Krathong Festival, Surin Elephant Festival, Yi Peng Festival, (December) Wonderfruit Music & Arts Festival, (December) Concert in the Park, and King's Cup Regatta.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Magha Puja, Chakri Memorial Day, Coronation Day, Farmer's Day, Vesak, Queen Suthida's Birthday, King's Birthday, Asalha Puja, Queen Mother's Birthday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej Memorial Day, King Chulalongkorn Day, King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Birthday, Constitution Day, and New Year's Eve.


Ko Nang YuanKo Nang Yuan, KoPhaNgan District of SuratThani Province, Thailand. Photo Credit: Tudsaput Eusawas/Pixabay 



Good to Know 
  • Most popular visited islands are Koh Samui, Patong, and Phuket.
  • Popular beaches are Ao Nang, Had Yao, Kata Beach, Khao Lak, Railay, and Ton Sai.  
  • Rafting Season is from May - October.
  • Sun is strong, so wear a hat and use sunscreen.
  • Rafting is popular at Kek River (Phitsanoluk), Mae La Mao River (Tak), Mae Taeng River (Chiang Mai), Pai River (Mae Hong Son)
  • Dry Season is prone to high temperatures and humidity.
  • Mango Season is March - July.
  • Avoid purchasing or use of hashish, marijuana, or opium.
  • The bottoms of your feet should not be directed towards anyone including temples.
  • Culturally the head is considered the most sacred and should not be touched by others.
  • Non-lethal military equipment, night vision scopes, and/or protective vests are not permitted.
  • Petty crime is known to occur bag-snatching, burglary, and pick-pocketing.
  • Isan (northeast) is the least tourist region.
  • Prevalent Diseases: Chikungunya, Cholera, Dengue, Hepatitis A & B, Influenza, Japanese Encephalitis, Malaria, Melioidosis, Rabies, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, and Zika.
  • Request taxi drivers to use their meter otherwise agree on the fare before departure.
  • English speaking medical care providers are rare.
  • Between February - April agricultural burning is known to occur.
  • Purposely tearing a Thai banknote (THB), with the image of the King, is punishable up to 15 years in jail (Lèse Majesté).
  • Bar and entertainment venues are known to overcharge.
  • Avoid southernmost provinces: Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala, 
  • Monsoon Season is mid May - October.
  • Prostitution is illegal.
  • Avoid operators requesting to hold your passport as collateral for motorcycles, jet ski, and/or vehicle rentals.
  • Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Lampang, Nan, and Samut Sakhon are known to pose air quality issues.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated, safety inspections do not commonly occur.


Wat Rong Khun (aka: White Temple), Pa O Don Chai, Thailand. Photo Credit: Adissapong Praphantanathorn/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA not required for visits under 30 days.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required from select countries. 

Subject to humidity, high temperatures, monsoons and tsunamis.

  • Best Time to Visit: November - March
  • Coolest Months: November - February 
  • Hottest Months: March & April
  • Peak Season: November - March


River Market, Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: Jörg Prohaszka/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Ayutthaya Historical Park, Ban Chiang, Dong Phya Yen Mountains, Khao Yai National Park, Luang Prabang, Sukhothai Historical Park, and Thungyai–Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries.


The Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand. Photo Credit: Sasin Tipchai/Pixabay 



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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Tanzania

Tanzania Flag



Why visit Tanzania?
Ideal for experienced international travelers seeking to experience architecture, beaches, birdwatching,  deep sea fishing, game reserves, hiking, national parks, safari, scuba diving, tribal culture, water sports, and wildlife.


Karatu, Tanzania. Photo Credit: Michelle Raponi/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Beaded jewelry, carvings, chests, colorful fabrics, decorated gourds, gems, red checked blankets, soapstones. tribal art, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Chapatti (flatbread). Duckling Dar es Salaam (delicacy). Halau (dessert). Gali (porridge). Mandazi (dough snack). Mchuzi wa Biringani (eggplant dish). Mchuzi wa Samaki (fish dish). Mishikaki (beef kebabs). Mshikaki (marinated beef). Ndizi (plantain dish). Ndizi Kaanga (dessert). Nyama Choma (grilled meat). Samaki (fish). Ugali (corn flour). Vitumbua (sweet bread). Wali na Nyama (rice dish). Zanzibar Pizza.
  • Local Drink to Try: Kibo Gold (beer). Serengeti Lager (beer). Tusker (beer).


Photo Credit: Nici Keil/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • A 6 million year old fossil (Pliocene Hominid) was discovered.
  • Oldest (4 and 2 million years ago) remains were found near Lake Olduvai.
  • One of the oldest continuously inhabited areas on Earth.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, is the tallest mountain  (19,341 ft) in Africa and the highest mountain in the world.
  • World's only source of semi-precious stone, tanzanite.
  • Kalambo Falls (Rukwa) is the second highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa.
  • Superstitious belief that cutting off the limbs of albinos will bring wealth.
  • Most linguistically diverse country in East Africa.


Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Photo Credit: Rainer Braehler/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (January) Wanyambo Festival, (February) Kiliman Adventure Challenge, Kilimanjaro Marathon, Sautiza Busara Festival, (March) Nyama Choma Festival, Swahili Cultural Festival, (April) Serengeti Migration, (May) Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival, Travel & Tourism Fair, (June) Children's Festival, (July) Mwaka Kogwa Festival, Serengeti Cultural Festival, Zanzibar Cultural Festival, Zanzibar International Festival of Cinema, (August) Bullfighting, (September) Bagamoyo Arts Festival, (October) Bagamoyo Arts Festival, (November) Zanzibar Beach & Water Sports Festival, and (December) Swahili Fashion Week.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, Zanzibar Revolution Day, Karume Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Union Day, Labour Day, Eid al-Fitr, Saba Saba Day, Nane Nane Day, Nyerere Day, Islamic New Year, Maulid Day, Independence Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.

Photo Credit: Jürgen Bierlein/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Not considered accessibility friendly destination.
  • Hiking is popular on Kilimanjaro, Mahale Mountains, Mount Hanang, Mount Meru, and Udzungwa.
  • Poor road conditions.
  • Malnutrition and poor nutrition exists.
  • Retail shops tend to close in the middle of the day for rest.
  • Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
  • Rail service has frequent cancellations or delays, and tends to be slow. 
  • Homosexuality is illegal and punishable up to 30 year in prison.
  • Has 2 Rainy Seasons: March - May and October - December.
  • Lightweight clothing is recommended.
  • Airport infrastructure is considered poor condition.
  • Light jacket may be required after dusk.
  • Exercise caution when traveling between Julius Nyerere International Airport  (JNIA) and Dar es Salaam.
  • Traffic moves on the left.
  • Wear long trousers and socks to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Dress casually but conservatively.
  • Robbery is known to occur at airports, bus stations, hotels, and on the street.
  • International Drivers License required.
  • Legal drinking age is 18.
  • Car rentals require a third-party liability insurance with deca postedl in the front window.
  • Thieves are known to hold victims until they provide passwords for credit/debit cards and drive around town to deplete their accounts at all available ATMs.
  • Use of Traveler’s Check requires the original receipt and identity proof.
  • Most visited national park are Manyara, Serengeti, and Tarangire.
  • Popular tourist attractions are Lake Manyara National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tarangire National Park, and Zanzibar.
  • Tourism industry is unevenly regulated, safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not routinely occur. 
  • For your protection, avoid use of debit cards.
  • Drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.
  • Do not stop in unpopulated areas.
  • Exercise caution in the Coco Beach area of Touré Drive.
  • Recommended to travel in convoys, if possible.
  • Witch doctors are banned from practicing.
  • Photographing airports, bridges, government building, hospitals, industrial sites, military installations, and/or schools is not permitted.
  • Avoid dusk or evening walking around Arusha area.
  • Illegal to export any animal or animal parts.
  • Non-residents may not export Tanzanian Shillings (TZS).
  • During Ramadan (holy month) avoid chewing gum, drinking, eating, or smoking in public.
  • Foreigners are known to be targeted for fraudulent diamonds, gemstones, gold, minerals, and other natural resources.
  • Avoid use of microbuses and three-wheeled taxis.


Photo Credit: Mugwe Thomas/Pixabay 



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination required from select countries. 
  • Currency Restrictions for Entry/Exit: $10,000USD.


Photo Credit: Jürgen Bierlein/Pixabay 


  • Best Time to Visit: June - September
  • Coolest Month: May - August
  • Hottest Months:  November - February
  • Peak Season: May - October

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Photo Credit: Wayne Hartmann/Pixabay 



Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Kilwa Kisiwani, Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Selous Mapumziko Lodge, Serengeti National Park, Songa Mnara Island, and Stone Town. 


Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Photo Credit: Bill Kasman/Pixabay 



Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet TravelYour one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tajikistan

Tajikistan Flag



Why visit Tajikistan?
Ideal for the adventurous travelers previously visited Central Asia seeking an undiscovered gem for hunting, lakes, local markets, mountaineering, mountains, religious sites, and scenic vistas.


Khatlon Region, Tajikistan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Carpets, ceramics, clay whistles, pottery, and tiles.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Damlama (stew). Fatir-Maska (bread). Hurbo-Nakhud (chickpea soup). Laghman (soup). Lubiyova (bean soup), Mantu (dumplings). Mastobai Gelakdor (meatball soup). Oshi Palov (meat dish). Sambusa (stuffed pastry). Shakarob (salad). Shurbo (soup).
  • Local Drink to Try: Baltica (beer). Cholob (yogurt), Shirchay (tea).


Khorugh, Tajikistan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Smallest nation in Central Asia.
  • Has only 1 major airline (Somon Air).
  • Sarazm means “where the land begins”.
  • The Dushanbe Tea House was gifted (1988) to Boulder, CO.
  • National sport is gushtigiri, a form of traditional wrestling.
  • Has 1 ski resort (Varzob).
  • Home to the longest valley glacier outside the Polar region (Tajikistan National Park).

Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 



Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (March) Navroz, (April) Sayru Guli Lola, June) Atlas & Adras, (July) At Chabysh Festival, Roof of the World Festival, (September) Food & Balloon Festival, (October) Didor Film Festival, Music Festival, and (November) Festival of Pilaf.
  • Holidays: New Year's Day, International Women's Day, Nowruz, International Labour Day, Victory Day, National Unity Day, Independence Day. Constitution Day. Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.


Photo Credit: Александр/Pixabay 



Good to Know
  • Cash only economy.
  • USD before 1983 are not accepted.
  • Cuisine is a blend of Chinese, Middle Eastern, and Russian.
  • Lacks tourism infrastructure.
  • Credit cards are rarely accepted.
  • Avoid tap water consumption.
  • Traveler’s checks are not accepted.
  • Drug trafficking is considered a major source of income.
  • Popular for hunting for bighorn sheep.
  • Medical care is below our Western standards.
  • Landmines are known to exists along Afghan-Tajik and Uzbek-Tajik borders.
  • Has zero tolerance for alcohol related incidents. 
  • Carry your passport with you at all times.
  • Year round requires a sweater in the evening.
  • Avoid Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border.
  • Illegal to photograph buildings, military or security interests.
  • Avoid exploring at night.

Botanical Garden, Khorugh, Tajikistan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay



This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with 3 months of validity upon return, two blank pages for entry and exit stamps.
  • Tourist VISA required for visits beyond 30 days.
  • Currency Restrictions for Exit: $3,000USD.

Subject to air pollution, avalanches, earthquakes and dust storms.

  • Best Time to Visit: March - May & September - October
  • Coldest Months: November - March
  • Hottest Months: June - September
  • Peak Season: June - September

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Proto Urban Site of Sarazm and Tajik National Park.


Vrang, Tajikistan. Photo Credit: Makalu/Pixabay 



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                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.   

Monday, January 30, 2023

Syria

Syria Flag



Why visit Syria?
Best known for ancient history, archaeology, architecture, bathhouse, biblical historical sites, cafes, clubs, culture, desert scenery, medieval ruins, mountains, waterskiing, and windsurfing.



Krak des Chevaliers, Al-Husn, Syria. Photo Credit: Iyad Al Ghafari/Pixabay 



At a Glance
  • Souvenirs to Buy: Arabic music, brocade, caftans, calligraphy goods, carpets, ceramics, embroidered tablecloths, hand blown glass, leather, metal goods, mosaics, mother-of-pearl inlaid wood, olive-oil soap, opal jewelry, silks, silver, straw goods, water pipes, wooden backgammon sets, and wood carvings.
  • Local Cuisine to Try: Baklava (dessert). Khubz (flatbread). Kibbeh (spiced meat). Mujaddara (lentil dish). Labneh (yogurt). Shanklish (cheese). Shawarma (meat slices). Sujuk (sausage). Tabbouleh (salad).
  • Local Drink to Try: Al Shark (beer). Arak (spirit). Jallab (fruit Syrup). Qamar al-din (apricot juice). 

Photo Credit: Amani Sharaa/Pixabay 



Fun Facts
  • Damascus is the oldest capital in the world.
  • Archaeological finds (Palmyra) date back to the Neolithic Period (10000 BC - 2200BC).
  • Home to one of the most well preserved medieval castles (Krak des Chevaliers) in the world. 
  • Male USA citizens of descendants are required to complete military service or pay the exemption fee.


Apamea (Afamia), Syria. Photo Credit: Iyad Al Ghafari/Pixabay 


Special Holidays/Occasions
  • Annual Events: (July) Cotton Festival, (September) Arabic Book Fair, and Silk Road Festival.
  • Holidays: Independence Day, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha.


Photo Credit: Iyad Al Ghafari/Pixabay 


Good to Know
  • Has no tourism infrastructure.
  • Women can be arrested "under suspicion of immoral behavior", being alone in a room with a man who is not her husband or being in a residence where alcohol/drugs is being consumed.
  • Considered one of the best historical sites in the world.
  • Prone to dirt, dust, and litter.
  • Hotel bills are paid in USD.
  • During the Christmas Season, Christian Carolers perform in the winding alleyways in Damascus' Old City.
  • Retailers in Souks tend not to close for lunch.
  • Work week is Saturday - Thursday.
  • Known hardships surrounding housing, infrastructure, medical facilities, power, schools, and water utilities.
  • Traveler’s Checks are not accepted.
  • Currency can only be exchanged by licensed money changers.
  • Toilet paper is usually disposed of in a trash can.
  • During Ramadan (holy month) avoid drinking or smoking in public.
  • Due to surcharges, avoid charges for drinks and food to your hotel/resort bill.
  • LGBTQI+ is punishable up to 3 years in prison.
  • USA banks will not process ATM transactions, funds must be transferred through Western Union.
  • Americans pose a high risk of being a hostage or kidnapped..
  • Charges a Departure Tax at its land and sea borders.
  • Between December - March it is rainy.
  • Prevalent Diseases: Hepatitis A, Measles, Polio, Tuberculosis, and Typhoid.
  • Summer Season (June - August) temperatures can exceed 100F.
  • Dress moderately with arms and legs covered.
  • Due to theft, hand carry your shoes into the mosque.
  • Karnak buses require 1 day advance reservations.
  • In smaller towns, Microbuses only depart when they're full.
  • Requires an International Driver's License.

This international destination requires:
  • A valid passport with six months of validity upon return and one blank page for entry stamp.
  • Tourist VISA required.


Palmyra, Syria. Photo Credit: Pixabay

  • Best Time to Visit: April - June & September - November
  • Coolest Months: November - March
  • Hottest Months: June - September
  • Peak Season: March - April & September

Your Must-See & Do
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Aleppo, Ancient City of Aleppo, Busra, Citadel of Saladin, Damascus, Krak des Chevaliers, and Palmyra.


Citadel of Aleppo, Aleppo, Syria. Photo Credit: Dianne Ket/Pixabay 


Ready to embark on custom and personalized services, your journey begins with Louvet Travel

Your one stop source: Accommodations I Air I Car Rentals I Cruises I Disney Excursions I Tours I Transfers I Travel Insurance I Villa Rentals


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"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" Saint Augustine


                                        All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.  

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