Category: Asia

Turkmenistan Geography

Turkmenistan Geography

Turkmenistan is located in the south of Central Asia. In the west the country borders on the Caspian Sea. The northern neighboring countries are Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with the Amu-Darja forming the border river to the latter. In the south the country borders on Iran, here the ridges of the young and seismically active Kopet Dag Mountains form the borders. Turkmenistan shares the southeast border with Afghanistan. With a maximum east-west extension of 1,300 km and a maximum north-south extension of 540 km, the area of ​​Turkmenistan is around 490,000 km². As a bridging country between the states of the former Soviet Union in the north, the states of the Caucasus in the west and those of the Middle East in the south, Turkmenistan has a potentially important transit function, which, however, can only be implemented to a limited extent at present.

State name: Turkmenistan

Constitution: The current constitution was unanimously adopted by the Turkmen parliament in summer 2016 on the proposal of the President. The previous constitution was passed in summer 2008 – also at the request of the President and also unanimously.

Population: Between 3.7 million (last census 1991), 5.1 million (CIA World Factbook, also: United Nations) and 7.0 million (official government data)

Population growth: between 1.14% (CIA World Factbook) and 6% (official government figures).

Capital: Ashgabat

Head of State: Gurbanguly M. Berdimuhamedow (since February 14, 2007)

Basic data: CIA – The Factbook, UN data country profile Turkmenistan, Library of Congress: a Country Study: Turkmenistan, Foreign Office on Turkmenistan

Deserts and semi-deserts: 90-95% of the country’s area

Total precipitation: 75 – 130mm

Average minimum temperature (January): -5 to -8 °C (extremes <-20 °)

Average maximum temperature (July): +35 to + 40 °C (extrema > 45 °C)

Due to the very low humidity, a daily temperature difference of over 30 °Can be reached in summer (under 10 °C at night and over 40 °C during the day). With an annual average of around 28 to 34 °C, temperatures of up to 70 °C are reached directly above the ground. In terms of surface temperature and average maximum values, the Karakum is one of the hottest deserts in the world. To the north is the Karakum through the Amu-Darja bounded in the east by the foothills of the Hindu Kush, in the south by the Kopet Dag Mountains and in the west by the Caspian Sea. Rainfall falls, if at all, from December to April. Outside of the irrigation oases in the north and east, the desert is hardly populated (the population density of about 0.15 people per square kilometer or 0.00071% of the population density reached in Germany). Only a few oasis villages reach more than 200 residents.

Foothills region: 4 – 8%

Total precipitation: 200 to 300mm

Average minimum temperature (January): -1 to -4 °C (extremes <-10 °)

Average maximum temperature (July): +35 to + 38 °C (extremes> 40 °C)

The foothills form a favorable area due to the relatively high amounts of precipitation compared to the rest of Turkmenistan in combination with the relatively fertile pediment areas. Some of the largest cities in the country can be found here and the region is also characterized by a high population density outside the major centers.

Mountains > 1,500m: 1-2% of the land area Total

precipitation: around 200mm

Average minimum temperature (January): -4 to – 20 °C (extreme: unknown)

Average maximum temperature (July): 15 to 20 °C (extreme: unknown)

The west of the Kopet Dag Mountains reach up to the level of Balkanabad, but here only protrude a few hundred meters from the mighty pediment. Even further to the west the mountains sink into it. In an easterly direction, the mountains gain in height and reach their highest height at Ashgabat at almost 3,000m. Due to an advance of the Iranian border, the mountain ridge lies even further east within Iran. The foothills of the Hindu Kush in the extreme southeast of the country hardly reach heights of more than 750m and only in a few places do the mountains rise above 1000m. The slopes are flat here, corresponding to the wide pediment areas. Apart from a few deeply cut valleys southwest of the capital, the mountain region is uninhabited. Few villages have more than 500 residents.

Most of the once dense network of weather stations have now been abandoned, so that current weather reports and reliable climate diagrams are only available from a few locations.

Raw materials

According to Petwithsupplies.com, Turkmenistan has the fourth largest gas reserves in the world and with the South Jolotan gas field one of the largest contiguous gas fields in the world. Most of the development took place during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Since 1991 only a few investments have been made in new exploration and extraction techniques. The transport infrastructure is also in need of renovation. Chinese companies have established themselves as the largest donors in this regard in recent years, while European companies have so far mainly been awarded concessions in the technically more demanding offshore sector.

Although Turkmenistan has also on deposits among others Sulfur, potassium, magnesium, limestone, gypsum, cement and basalt. However, the individual sites are relatively small, so that Turkmenistan does not play a significant role here on the world market. A comparison with the other states of the former Soviet Union shows that the Turkmen deposits were not considered to be of greater relevance. All raw material deposits are in state hands.

With the exception of the natural gas and oil deposits, the Turkmen raw material deposits have not yet been systematically developed. The only known exception are two cement factories in the south of the country. The export share of the sum of all non-petrochemical raw material products is less than 1.5% of total Turkmen exports.

Turkmenistan Location

Sightseeing in Dubai

Sightseeing in Dubai

Dubai is the most popular travel destination in the United Arab Emirates and magically attracts visitors with its great beaches, impressive buildings and numerous sights. Without a doubt, Dubai is a city of superlatives that can offer countless highlights and attractions.

The range of luxury hotels is also gigantic. Hardly any other city in the world has as many high-class resorts as the metropolis on the Persian Gulf. Many holidaymakers decide to stop over on their way to Asia, but the emirate is also becoming increasingly popular as an independent holiday destination.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Dubai. See map of Dubai on DigoPaul.

Dubai - Burj Al Arab - Helicopter View

1. Burj Khalifa – At the Top

At 828 meters, Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and the absolute landmark of Dubai. Once in the city of superlatives, you should definitely enjoy the view from the Burj Khalifa. The impressive structure is one of the most famous sights in Dubai and is visited by thousands of holidaymakers every day. Tickets for the Burj Khalifa are available in different categories and price ranges.

We strongly recommend booking online in advance, as there can be long queues at the ticket counters on many days and there are often no driveways available at all. Even if the “At the Top / Sky” ticket grants access to the 148th floor and includes some extras, we feel that the normal “At the Top” tickets for the viewing platform on the 124th and 125th floors are sufficient. The whole city is at your feet here!

2. Desert tour in Dubai

Of course, a desert safari should not be missing from the most important sights in Dubai. There are also different options and price ranges here, but the processes are essentially very similar. You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to a Bedouin camp in the desert, where there is initially the option of camel rides or a small quad tour. Meanwhile, the tire pressure in the off-road vehicle is let out and shortly afterwards the rapid journey through the dunes begins.

A desert safari at the gates of the metropolis Dubai is an unforgettable experience, but not for the faint of heart. After the adrenaline rush, head back to the Bedouin camp, where a delicious barbecue buffet as well as a fire and belly dance show are usually waiting for you. VIP tours usually include service at the seat, particularly comfortable seats and drinks. Recently, self-drive safaris have also been offered, in which you sit behind the wheel of an off-road vehicle.

3. Dubai Fountain

Below the world-famous Burj Khalifa, one of the many free sights in Dubai will enchant you every evening with the “Dubai Fountain”. The impressive play of colors and water is coordinated with various romantic and traditional Arabic songs and the choreography of the fountains shooting up high in front of the gigantic building is unique in the world. The model was based on the famous Las Vegas fountains, which of course were surpassed in Dubai.

The show already takes place twice every lunchtime, but the special romantic atmosphere in the evening is particularly recommended. Secure a spot right on the water about 15 minutes before you start for the best view. The fountains of Dubai take place every evening between 6 and 11 p.m. every half hour. If you want to get closer, book a boat trip on the lake or a spot on the new floating boardwalk for an additional charge.

4. Burj al Arab

Along with the Burj Khalifa, Burj al Arab is one of the most famous buildings in Dubai. It is a 321 meter high luxury hotel and one of the city’s main attractions. The Burj al Arab was built in the shape of a sail and houses one of the most luxurious 6-star hotels in the world. It is located on an artificially created island and is actually only open to hotel guests. A good photo spot can be found on the public beach in front of the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Ask your taxi driver about Umm Suqeim Beach (Sunset Beach), there you will find a popular bathing beach with the imposing Burj Al Arab in the background. Or you can book an official visit to the luxury hotel by booking yourself for a sumptuous tea time or a cocktail in the bar of the Burj Al Arab. Since a reservation in advance is absolutely necessary, we recommend booking an official tour, which usually also includes the hotel transfer.

5. Dubai helicopter flight

The view from a helicopter high above the roofs of the city gives you a very special perspective of the sights in Dubai. The mostly 10 to 25-minute tours reveal exclusive views of the palm island The Palm Jumeirah, the unique skyline of Dubai and the aforementioned luxury hotel Burj Al Arab. Of course, Burj Khalifa, the tallest building, cannot be overlooked and is almost omnipresent.

The helicopter tours, during which you experience Dubai like a rock star from a bird’s eye view, usually start near the famous Atlantis The Palm Resort or a helipad near Jumeirah Beach. From here you have interesting views of the beaches on the Persian Gulf and the many spectacular buildings from the very first second. The longer tours also include a flight over the old Dubai Creek and other highlights such as the World Islands.

what are you watting for

6. Atlantis The Palm with Water Park & ​​Aquarium

The great Atlantis The Palm Resort is another of the many landmarks of Dubai, after all there is no commercial that does not show the impressive luxury resort on the famous Palm Island. Families with children in particular love the hotel and book directly there for their vacation if the budget allows. Because the Atlantis The Palm is not just a hotel resort, but is also home to several important sights in Dubai.

In addition to several pools and a great sandy beach, the hotel also has its own shopping street. This is where the Lost Chambers Aquarium is located, where the recreated ruins of Atlantis and up to 70,000 marine animals including large sharks can be admired. On hot days, the Aquaventure Water Park is the top address for young and old on the Palm Island. The countless slides, lagoons and adventure pools make boredom a foreign word.

7. Dubai Marina and Speedboat Tour

The Dubai Marina is not only one of the most expensive residential areas, but also an extremely exciting nightlife area for tourists. There are great restaurants and cafés here during the day and stylish bars and clubs with good music in the evening. Couples love a long walk through the marina, which can also be ideally combined with the neighboring “The Walk” on Jumeirah Beach, where there are other restaurants and numerous boutiques.

A special recommendation is a boat trip to the sights of Dubai. Because exploring from the water is a particularly exciting way to experience the fascinating backdrop of the city. Directly in the heart of the Dubai Marina, boat tours are offered by several providers, one of our absolute favorites is The Yellow Boats Dubai. First it goes relaxed through the high skyscraper of the marina, shortly afterwards at full throttle out to sea with many photo stops!

8. Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates

Shopping is actually a matter of course in Dubai, even if many products are not cheaper than in Germany. But the seemingly endless selection of luxury shops and stores from the lower price ranges make a shopping spree in the Emirates extremely exciting for many visitors. In addition, there are often very good sales offers and numerous brands that have still not found their way to Germany.

The best place to go for shopping is of course the gigantic shopping center of the Dubai Mall directly below the Burj Khalifa. Here you will find more than 1200 shops on several floors, one of the largest cinemas in the world, a real ice rink, a huge aquarium and much more. But the Mall of the Emirates, which is home to the quirky attraction Ski Dubai with a ski slope, has a great range of shops and is well worth a visit.

9. Gold and Spice Souks

Even if Dubai, with its glittering facades and world record buildings, stands for modernity and technical progress like no other city, Deira, Dubai’s second oldest district, still has the old flair of 1001 Nights to marvel at. The spice and gold market in Deira is one of the most visited attractions in the metropolis, although we have to admit that the visit is now not unreservedly recommended.

Many traders have meanwhile started to throw around German phrases (“cheaper cheaper,“ Aldi Aldi ”) and thereby destroy a bit the actual charm of the souks. The Gold Souk is also not a classic marketplace, but rather a shopping street with various gold shops. So it lacks a bit of the oriental magic of a real market, but the best thing is to get your own personal picture of it during a visit.

10. Excursion to Abu Dhabi

We discussed for a long time in the editorial office whether we should include a day tour to Abu Dhabi. Because Dubai itself is so rich in sights that it would easily be enough for a TOP20 list. Nevertheless, we ultimately decided on Abu Dhabi, as the capital presents a completely different impression of the Emirates. And the list of attractions in Abu Dhabi is long, so don’t miss a tour:

From Ferrari World to the Formula 1 track on Yas Island to the legendary Emirates Palace. From the view of the elegant Etihad Towers over the paradisiacal Saadiyat Beach to the newly opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum. From the Corniche to the Falcon Hospital to the impressive Sheikh Zayed Mosque. If you have enough time and are in the mood for more great experiences, take the chance and explore the neighboring emirate as well. You will not regret it!

Cooling Off

Sightseeing in Cyprus

Sightseeing in Cyprus

Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean with a long and eventful history. From here you can quickly get to Turkey by ship, and trips to Greece and Egypt are also possible. The capital, Nicosia, is today the only European capital that is divided into two parts: the southern part belongs to the Republic of Cyprus and the northern part belongs to the Turkish Republic of Cyprus.

Likewise, the country is divided into two parts, the north and south. Hence, the people on the island speak Greek and Turkish. In addition to the idyllic nature and beautiful beaches, there are many historical sights, monasteries, castles and Roman ruins on the Mediterranean island.

In the following we present you the most exciting tours, most beautiful attractions and best sights in Cyprus. See map of Cyprus on DigoPaul.

Aphrodite's Rock (Rum Bucolic Ape)

1. Roman ruins of Kourion

Kourion was once the city of the ancient kingdom of the same name. The remains that are still preserved today all date from Roman times. The Roman ruins of Kourion are among the most impressive archaeological sites on the island of Cyprus. One of the most important testimonies of the Roman city is the Greco-Roman amphitheater, built in the 2nd century BC.

The theater is still used for open-air events, especially in summer. In addition, some houses have been excavated in the city, in which well-preserved floor mosaics have been found. In the house of Achilles, for example, mythological scenes are shown and in the house of the gladiators the bloody games are depicted. There is also a thermal bath, a Roman agora and an early Christian basilica.

2. Salamis and the royal tombs

The ruins of Salamis offer further archaeological sights. Most of the ruins in Northern Cyprus date from the late Roman and Byzantine periods. The city is said to have been founded by heroes of the Trojan War. Over time, it became an important center in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Here, too, there is a theater that once had space for 15,000 people, a thermal high school with magnificent marble columns and the remains of two early Christian basilicas. The necropolises represent a special find. It was already known about them, why the area was combed by looters. At the beginning of the excavation in 1957, however, a “royal grave” that had not been plundered was found.

3. Cyprus Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a bathing bay between Polis and Paphos. The name comes from the crystal clear water and the pure, white sand. The bay is about ten kilometers from the town of Latchi and can only be reached on foot or by boat. The water should turn into a dark blue at certain times and then into a bright turquoise, depending on the sunlight.

The average depth of the water is one to one and a half meters, and you can wade through the water up to 80 meters in a relaxed manner. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular sights of Cyprus, there are always boats from Latchi to the beach. The idyllic Latchi is also worth a visit.

4. Ómodos in the Tróodos Mountains

Ómodos is a tranquil little village with only a few hundred inhabitants, located on the southern slope of the Tróodos Mountains. The village is one of the most beautiful sights in Cyprus. Ómodos is surrounded by numerous vines and is also famous for its knitting.

In the center there is an old and beautifully designed monastery. Incidentally, it is worth taking a hike through the entire Tróodos Mountains. In the many small towns there are traditional and beautifully decorated churches. It’s a great opportunity to explore the interior of Cyprus.

5. Kolóssi Castle

Kolóssi is a medieval castle near the village of the same name. It was built in 1210 by the Knights of the Order of St. John and served as the Grand Master’s quarters. The current shape is based on the reconstruction by the Grand Master Louis de Magnac. The square castle is 23 meters high and the walls are 2.5 meters thick. The castle is entered via a drawbridge, an ornamental cast bay window protects the entrance to the interior.

The entrance leads directly to the dining room. From there you can inspect the rest of the Kolóssi rooms: the dining room, the living rooms, the kitchen. A staircase leads to the flat roof. There is an old mill and a sugar factory nearby, as well as a small church that used to serve as a castle chapel for the knight.

Aphrodite's Rocks, Cyprus

6. St. Hilarion Castle

The Byzantines also built their castles on Cyprus. First a hermit settled here in Northern Cyprus. Then a church was built here, finally a monastery and in 10/11. In the 19th century, the Byzantines built a fortress here. The complex, which was popularly known as the “Castle of 1000 chambers”, was supposed to guard the pass road from Kyrenia to Nicosia.

In 1191 St. Hilarion was conquered by the crusaders and finally handed over to the Franks. In the 13th century it was converted into a summer residence. The castle offers an excellent view over the sea. When the weather is good, the ships can be seen leaving the Turkish side. In addition to the view and the historical ruins, there is also a museum up here.

7. Karpaz Peninsula

The Karpaz peninsula in northern Cyprus is an insider tip for nature lovers. Here you can hike extensively in largely untouched nature. Then there are the peaceful beaches. The peninsula is still largely undecided in terms of tourism, but to explore the peninsula you have to bring some initiative and a thirst for adventure yourself.

Karpaz is a very sparsely populated area with a varied landscape. A highlight is the “Golden Beach” of Karpaz, one of the most picturesque sights of Northern Cyprus and at the same time the most beautiful bathing beach in the northern half. In addition to the largest population of turtles, there is also a breeding facility for the endangered animals, which can be visited.

8. Akámas Peninsula

If you want to go to the west of Cyprus and still want to roam through nature, you should visit the Akámas Peninsula. For a long time this part of the country was almost untouched. Almost no buildings were built here, and no tourists visited the area. 186 species of birds, 16 species of butterflies, monk seals, snakes and other species of reptiles cavort on the Akámas Peninsula.

Many species are not found anywhere else in Cyprus. The flora is also more than interesting, especially cypress and eucalyptus trees grow here. The Akámas peninsula is above all a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers who want to enjoy nature far from the beaten tourist paths.

9. Paphos – City of Culture

The city of Paphos can look back on a long history. Supposedly here, near the rock of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love rose from the sea. Since the 15th century BC The city was settled, later captured by the Romans, plundered by the Arabs and finally conquered again by the Crusaders. Then it withered into a sleepy fishing village.

Until once Roman mosaics were found in the ground. Due to the restructuring of Cyprus after the division, the country’s second largest airport was built here. Today Paphos is the island’s first capital of culture. Many relics from Roman times could be found, the Ptolemaic royal tombs of Nea Paphos are among the exciting sights.

10. Kýkko Monastery in the Tróodos Mountains

The Kýkkos Monastery is located at an altitude of 1100 meters in the Tróodos Mountains. The monastery was founded in the 11th century by the hermit Isaias after this hermit cured the then governor Manuel Voutoumetes of gout. As a thank you, the hermit received an icon of Mary from Constantinople, which is said to have been made by the Evangelist Luke himself.

The icon is still in the monastery today, covered by a wooden board with silver and gold fittings. This jewelry was a gift from the Byzantine emperor himself. Even today, the magnificent monastery attracts pilgrims from the Orthodox world. At the same time, the complex and the museum, in which many religious artefacts are exhibited, can also be visited as a tourist.

Touching sunset (Tobias Van Der Elst)

Burma River Cruise – Upper Irrawaddy And Chindwin

Burma River Cruise – Upper Irrawaddy And Chindwin

Hardly any other country is surrounded by so many secrets as «the golden land» Burma. Hidden behind the bamboo curtain for decades and only opened to foreign visitors for a few years, Burma is considered the most original travel destination in Southeast Asia. Golden pagoda domes sparkle in the sunlight, picturesque villages pass by in slow motion while the ship glides leisurely on Burma’s lifeline, the Irrawaddy. Although the modern age is gradually arriving, Burma is shaped by deep religiosity and traditions. See Countryaah for more countries starting with letter B.

Burma River Cruise - Upper Irrawaddy And Chindwin 3

Best travel time: The Upper Irrawaddy is best traveled after the rainy season from October to February. Only then will the river have enough water and be navigable.

Travel time: 18 days

Tip: In addition to this route, there are many other river cruises with other destinations and / or shorter travel times. We are happy to advise you on the routes and dates to find the perfect river trip for you.

Day 1: Zurich – Mandalay
Flight from Zurich via Bangkok to Mandalay.

Day 2: Mandalay
In the afternoon, arrival in Mandalay and transfer to the ship. Free time. Welcome cocktail on board in the evening.

Day 3: Mandalay – Amarapura
City tour in Mandalay, the last legendary capital of the Burmese Kingdom, with a visit to the famous Mahamuni Pagoda, the Shwenandaw Kyaung teak monastery, various handicraft workshops and a gold leaf production workshop. In the afternoon bus excursion to Amarapura with a visit to a silk and cotton weaving mill. Walk on the longest teak bridge in the world, the U Bein Bridge.

Burma River Cruise - Upper Irrawaddy And Chindwin 2

Day 4: Mandalay In the
morning, the second part of the city tour in Mandalay. In the afternoon a boat trip upriver through the third and longest of four bottlenecks in the course of the Irrawaddy. Presentation of Burmese traditions and customs on the sundeck.

Day 5: Nwe Nyein In the
morning, visit the spectacular pottery in Nwe Nyein, where 200 liter water pots are made and distributed across the country by water. Afternoon boat trip with lectures on board. Passing the Anyathihadaw Pagoda in the middle of the river upstream and again downstream in the evening after the ship has turned.

Day 6: Mingun – Sagaing In the
morning visit to the famous Mingun temple, the facade of which has a prominent crack. Here is one of the largest hanging, still intact bells in the world. In the afternoon bus excursion to the beautiful Sagaing Hills with their over 1000 sanctuaries and hermitages. The place is a center of Buddhist piety and meditation. Visit to the Sun-U-Ponnya-Shin-Pagoda from the 14th century and visit to a nunnery.

Day 7: Pauk Taw
After breakfast, walk in Pauk Taw, a small village right on the Irrawaddy bank. The Pauk Taw community consists mostly of small farms. In the afternoon cruise down the river with a lecture.

Day 8: Amyint – Monywa
The residents of Amyint always look forward to international visitors. During a walk in the morning an insight into the typical Burmese village life is given. Afternoon bus excursion through the lively port city of Monywa on the Chindwin with a visit to the Thanbodi Temple.

Day 9: Monywa – Phowin Taung In the
morning, the second part of the city tour in Monywa and visit to the Phowin Taung caves, where impressive wall paintings can be admired. In the limestone caves there are over 400 niches with Buddha statues which were built between the 14th and 18th centuries. In the afternoon boat trip upriver.

Day 10: Kani
Morning walk through the picturesque village of Kani, a typical small community on the banks of the Chindwin. On foot we climb the pagoda hill for the view. Afternoon boat trip through the narrower, upper part of the Chindwin.

Day 11: Minkin
Visit on foot to the two villages Kan and Kyi Taung Oo. With its teak monasteries, the place is one of the most interesting places in Burma in terms of art history. The monasteries there are decorated with impressive wood carvings and golden wall paintings.

Day 12: Kalewa – Masein – Mawleik
Morning city tour in Kalewa, the most important port city on the Chindwin for trade with India. Continue upstream past Masein with its many small pagodas on the hill. In the afternoon in Mawleik, walk through the city and to the local market with rickshaws, Burma’s typical vehicle. Many buildings from the colonial era are still preserved. The city was the administrative center for the upper Chindwin region during this period.

Day 13: Gazet
Walk in Gazet, a small riverside village with only about 270 houses. The hospitality of the residents is impressive. Afternoon boat trip down the river.

Day 14: Bagan
The former, historical royal capital Bagan is one of the largest archaeological sites in Southeast Asia with over 3000 Buddhist sacred buildings made of brick. First part of the city tour by horse and cart in the afternoon. After dinner traditional puppet show on board.

Day 15: Bagan
Second part of the city tour by bus in the morning with a visit to some of the most important temples and pagodas. In the afternoon, a bus excursion to other selected sights and a visit to a traditional lacquerware factory. In the evening a farewell cocktail on board.

Day 16: Bagan – Yangon
Disembarkation early in the morning and transfer to Bagan airport. Lunch in a local restaurant in Yangon. Then transfer to the hotel and check-in. In the late afternoon bus excursion to the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, the landmark of the former Burmese capital.

Day 17: Yangon – Zurich
Breakfast in the hotel and check-out. Then start of the second part of the city tour in Yangon with a visit to the Scott market with its countless shopping opportunities and a photo stop at the city center. Lunch in a local restaurant. Further sightseeing in the afternoon. Then transfer to the international airport in Yangon and flight back to Zurich via Bangkok.

Day 18: Zurich
Arrival in Zurich early in the morning and individual journey home.

Burma River Cruise - Upper Irrawaddy And Chindwin

Beijing Travel Guide

Beijing Travel Guide

According to Countryaah, Beijing is the capital of China and represents both Chinese modernity and history. Beijing’s countless beautiful and fascinating attractions tell of the incredible history of ancient China.

Examples of Beijing’s most interesting destinations include:

Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City

Beijing

Tiananmen Square is a large square in the center of Beijing, especially commemorated by the 1989 protests. Today, life in the square is less dramatic.

The square is said to be large enough for a gathering place of as many as a million people. People gather in the square in the morning and evening to watch the rise and fall of the Chinese flag. There are several attractions in the square. For example, you can visit the mausoleum of Mao Zedong, where the embalmed body of a former Chinese leader still rests.

To the north of Tiananmen Square is the entrance to the Imperial Palace area, the Forbidden City.

The palace is reminiscent of the heyday of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Ming and Qing emperors ruled the “Middle Kingdom” from this magnificent monument from 1420 until 1911, when the last dynasty was overthrown.

The palace was intended only for the use of the emperor, his family, and senior officials, and intrusion into the palace area resulted in the death penalty. This is why the palace area got its name “Forbidden City”.

The Forbidden City is one of the best preserved and most beautiful palaces in China. The palace is said to consist of as many as 9999 rooms. The number of rooms was deliberately limited to less than a thousand because there were believed to be a thousand rooms in heaven, and the emperor was feared to run into trouble with the gods if he dared to seek similar glory on earth.

Today, the entrance to the palace grounds is adorned with a portrait of the great President Mao, and the palace itself has been converted into a huge museum where you can see imperial buildings, throne halls and majestic gardens.

The great wall of China

Beijing Great Wall

The Great Wall of China runs north of Beijing and extends from the Yellow Sea in the east over the mountains to the vast Gobi Desert in the west.

The wall, which consists of several different walls of reality, is a unique gem of architecture and is considered one of the most impressive architectural achievements in world history. The Great Wall of China was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.

China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang united the country in 221 BC. and founded the first dynasty. The separate smaller walls previously built by order of the emperor were merged into a single defensive wall against the northern Mongols. Many later dynasties continued to build the wall for more or less hundreds of years, until during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) the wall took its present form.

Today, the huge wall is largely ruined, but a lot of time and resources have been spent restoring certain sections.

Mutianyu is one of the best preserved parts of the wall. Here, the wall meanders along the mountain ridge, and can be reached either by walking or along the cable car by gondola lift. The scenery from the wall is breathtakingly beautiful.

Beijing parks

Beijing has several beautiful parks and recreation areas that serve as green oases amidst the hustle and bustle of the big city.

One of the most famous is the Temple of Heaven Park in eastern Beijing. The emperor and his court traveled here once a year, e.g. to sacrifice to the God of heaven and to pray for success in the harvest in the temple of heaven. At that time, a poor harvest could mean the extinction of the entire dynasty.

Beihai Park, located west of the Forbidden City, is one of the best-preserved imperial gardens. In the middle of the park on the top of a small hill stands a beautiful white pagoda, which is a symbol of the whole park. Lake Beihai covers a large part of the park area.

To the north of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Jingshan Park. The hill rising in the middle of the park is built entirely of muscle power, and from its top the Imperial Army was once able to keep an eye on enemies coming from the north. Jingshan Hill is the highest point in all of Beijing, and in clear weather offers spectacular views over the Forbidden City from its top.

Beijing’s parks are definitely worth a visit. In the parks you can see local taiji enthusiasts, singers, dancers and mahjong players. In the parks you can see a glimpse especially of the life of the older generation in the city.

Other experiences in Beijing:

Beijing has a huge amount to see and do for many days. Our tours include the following destinations:

  • A short distance outside Beijing is the picturesque, UNESCO-protected Summer Palace, an imperial park on the shores of Kunming Lake. During the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Hovi spent much of the year here. Attractions in the Summer Palace include beautiful temples, gardens and, of course, a lake that freezes in winter so that it is possible to walk on it.
  • The city is fascinating with hutongs that are worth exploring on a rickshaw ride. Hutongs are old blocks with narrow Chinese-style streets and alleys. While many hutongs have disappeared in recent decades, some have been refurbished into trendy shopping streets. One example of these is Nanluoguxian, which is full of charming cafes, bars and small shops selling e.g. clothing and arts and crafts.
  • Beijing offers countless culinary experiences. For example, try Peking duck, which is a local specialty. The tender duck meat with its crispy skins is cut into thin slices on the table and eaten with small pancakes, spring onions and a delicious sauce.
Trips to Indonesia

Trips to Indonesia

Why travel to Indonesia?

TRIPS TO INDONESIA 4

The island nation of Indonesia includes nearly 18,000 islands, and the country stretches from the Asian continent all the way to Australia. In addition to its geographical scope, Indonesia is also an incredibly diverse country historically and culturally, making it an excellent travel destination.

As an independent country with name starting with I listed on Countryaah, Indonesia is located on the ring of fire in the Pacific. The ring of fire is called the zone along the Pacific coast where strong volcanic activity occurs.

In Indonesia, skyscrapers stretching into the sky, fabulous temples, stunning tropical sandy beaches, some of the finest coral reefs in the world, fascinating nature and a culture unparalleled in diversity await you.

For a traveler touring Indonesia, there is plenty to see and experience for even months. However, the four islands in the middle of the island nation are the most interesting in Indonesia. Each island is unique, and a mere short journey from island to island feels like arriving in a whole new country.

TRIPS TO INDONESIA 3

Our tour in Indonesia

Our tour of Indonesia focuses on one or more of four fascinating islands: Bali, Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi.

Below you can read more about tours to different islands:

Bali

TRIPS TO INDONESIA 2

Bali is known as the “Island of the Gods” and is undoubtedly one of the gems of Indonesia. Bali is a small island that offers great experiences: stunning nature, beautiful Hindu temples and white sand beaches where you can spend the beach vacation of your life.

We currently have several different trips to Bali in our selection, one of which combines a tour of Java and a beach holiday in Bali. For some tours, it is also possible to combine a trip to the Komodo Islands or the Gili Islands.

For a trip to Bali, you can experience e.g.

  • Ubud, which is the cultural center of Bali and a real must-have on your journey. Ubud has a beautiful location amidst lush mountains and emerald green rice terraces. Explore the city on a bicycle tour or visit the nearby craft villages.
  • Beautiful Hindu temples that you cannot avoid seeing as there are thousands of them on the island. For example, visit the Besakih Temple, Bali’s most important and sacred temple, or the Tanah Lot Temple, which is located in a scenic location by the sea and is Bali’s most famous landmark.
  • Bali also offers many animal and nature experiences. Bali National Park is home to an extremely endangered Balinese woman. The park is also great for hiking. On Menjangan Island, you can snorkel on the world-famous coral reef, and on Lovina Beach, playful dolphins await you.
  • Bali’s beaches are unique. End your trip to a beach holiday in Sanuri, whose kilometers of sandy beaches make it one of Bali’s most popular beach resorts.

Java

Java is one of the most populous islands in the world, but if you travel outside the big cities, it’s not easy to believe. Java is also located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Wherever you go in Java, you can be sure to see stunning scenery, beautiful rice fields and conical volcanoes rising in the background.

On the way to Java you can experience e.g.

  • Yogyakarta, the soul of Java. The city’s attractions include several different Palaces, such as the Sultan’s Palace in Kraton, colorful markets and a thriving arts and crafts tradition, the best known example of which is the batik dyeing technique.
  • Visit the impressive and UNESCO-protected Borobudur Temple northwest of Yogyakarta. Completed in the mid-8th century, Borobudur is one of the largest Buddhist shrines in the world.
  • The impressive volcanoes of Java are not to be missed! Experience an atmospheric sunrise on Bromo Volcano and climb to the top of the smaller Ijen Volcano on a clear blue crater lake at 2,300 meters.

TRIPS TO INDONESIA 5

Sumatra

Sumatra is Indonesia’s largest island, with its unique nature, tropical rainforests, rivers and lush volcanic landscapes offering plenty to see and do.

On the way to Sumatra you can experience e.g.

  • Gunung Leuser National Park, one of the main attractions of Sumatra. The national park is known for its dense rainforests, inhabited by highly endangered Sumatran ranges. In the park you can get to see these fascinating animals in their natural environment.
  • Also worth a visit are the 120-meter-long Sipisopiso, one of Indonesia’s highest waterfalls, and Toba, the world’s largest volcanic lake.
  • Meeting of local tribes. In Batak Karo villages, you can see traditional siwaluh Jabo long houses, which can accommodate up to 12 families. The tribe is especially known for the boat-shaped roofs of their houses.

TRIPS TO INDONESIA

Practical information about Vietnam

Practical information about Vietnam

  1. The climate of Vietnam

According to Bridgat, Vietnam is a long country with a climate that varies greatly depending on the location. The weather is usually difficult to predict, so you should always carry an umbrella or raincoat.

There are two monsoons in Vietnam, the southwest monsoon and the northeast monsoon, both of which affect the weather. The southwest monsoon runs from April to September and brings with it moist and hot weather. The northeast monsoon, on the other hand, lasts from October to April, when the weather is drier but cooler.

Northern Vietnam (Hanoi – Sapa – Halong Bay): In
North Vietnam, e.g. the capital Hanoi, the Sapa Mountains and Halong Bay. The area in the subtropical climate zone has two seasons:

The dry season lasts from Hanoi and Sapa from November to March, while the dry season in Halong Bay starts as early as October. December, January and February are the coldest and driest months in North Vietnam. So Sapa can be quite cool during the winter months, so it’s worth booking something warm to wear if you’re visiting the area at this time of year.

The rainy season lasts from Hanoi and Sapa from April to October, and in Halong Bay the rainy season ends a month earlier. The wettest months are July and August, and the most rainfall is in the Sapa region.

Hanoi weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 19 19 23 26 31 32 32 32 31 28 24 21
Average. lowest temperature 15 15 18 21 24 25 26 26 25 22 19 15
Precipitation e.g. 10 30 50 100 150 190 210 200 160 100 60 30
Weather statistics for Sapa area (Lao Cai): OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 13 14 18 21 24 24 24 24 23 20 17 15
Average. lowest temperature 7 8 11 13 16 18 18 18 16 13 11 8
Precipitation e.g. 14 38 56 117 219 219 301 339 243 116 59 24
Halong Bay weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 20 21 23 27 30 30 31 32 31 28 24 21
Average. lowest temperature 14 15 18 21 24 24 25 25 24 21 18 15
Precipitation e.g. 3 22 53 57 175 172 201 265 190 54 12 23
Average seawater temperature 19 19 20 22 27 29 31 30 29 27 25 22

Central Vietnam (Hué, Hoi An and Da Nang):
Central Vietnam is home to e.g. Hué, Hoi An and Da Nang. Here, too, there are two seasons:

The dry season begins in January and lasts until August. The weather is warmest from May to August.

The rainy season lasts from September to December, and during this time the northeast monsoon brings a lot of rain to the area. During the wettest months, more than 200 mm of water enters.

In terms of weather, the best travel months in Central Vietnam are February, March and April, when rainfall is at its lowest, but temperatures are still pleasant. However, the number of tourists is highest in December-January, when many spend the Christmas holidays.

Note that between August and November, typhoons can occur in Central Vietnam.

Hué weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 19 19 23 26 31 32 32 32 31 28 24 21
Average. lowest temperature 15 15 18 21 24 25 26 26 25 22 19 15
Precipitation e.g. 10 30 50 100 150 190 210 200 160 100 60 30
Hoi An / Da Nang Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 24 26 28 31 33 35 34 33 31 29 27 25
Average. lowest temperature 19 20 22 24 25 26 26 25 24 23 20 20
Precipitation e.g. 92 32 30 34 56 99 90 104 297 526 363 206
Average seawater temperature 24 23 24 25 28 29 30 30 30 28 27 25

South Vietnam (Phan Thiet – Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc):

The city of Ho Chi Minh City, the beach resort of Phan Thiet and Phú Quoc Island are located in South Vietnam. There are two seasons in the area:

The dry season lasts from December to April. Temperatures are generally consistently high throughout the year, but the warmest months are April and May.

The rainy season lasts from May to November. The southwest monsoon will bring wetter weather when it comes, but temperatures will still remain quite high. The rains typically hit the afternoon hours. Most rains are received between July and September. In Ho Chi Minh City, it rains the most from June to September, while in Phan Thiet the wettest months are from September to November.

Ho Chi Minh City Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 32 33 34 34 34 32 32 32 31 31 31 31
Average. lowest temperature 22 23 24 26 26 25 24 25 25 24 23 22
Precipitation e.g. 10 10 10 40 140 180 190 170 190 160 120 40
Phan Thiet Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 28 29 30 32 32 31 31 31 30 30 29 29
Average. lowest temperature 21 22 23 25 25 24 24 24 24 23 23 22
Precipitation e.g. 40 15 27 59 153 190 192 197 223 253 202 120
Average seawater temperature 25 25 26 28 29 29 29 28 28 28 27 26
Phu Quoc Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 31 31 32 34 33 32 31 31 31 31 30 30
Average. lowest temperature 22 22 23 24 24 24 24 24 24 24 23 22
Precipitation e.g. 40 36 80 130 193 266 290 398 296 276 212 104
Average seawater temperature 27 28 29 30 30 30 29 29 29 29 28 28
  1. When should you travel to Vietnam?

Vietnam can travel all year round, but because the country stretches from north to south for more than 1,650 kilometers across two climatic zones, weather conditions can vary greatly depending on location and time.

The best time to travel varies depending on which country you want to travel to and what you want to see and experience.

North Vietnam

One of the best times to travel to Hanoi is from September to November. By this time, the weather in the capital is usually clear, the sun is shining, rainfall is declining towards the end of the year and daytime temperatures are rising to around 20 degrees.

In Halong Bay, the sky is clear and daytime temperatures are most comfortable when it is autumn or spring in Finland.

It is worth traveling to Sapa in March-April, when the weather is sunny and light rain, while in October-November it is cooler but clearer.

Central Vietnam

The best time to travel to Central Vietnam is from February to April, when temperatures are pleasant and rainfall is low. If you like warmer weather, you can travel to Central Vietnam between May and August. However, be prepared for more rain as the year progresses.

South Central Vietnam

In this part of Vietnam, the weather is warm all year round. The best time to visit the Nha Trang area is during the dry season from January to August.

South Vietnam

In South Vietnam, temperatures are high all year round. The best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh City and Phú Quốc Holiday Island is from December to April, when the area is dry season.

Please note that the guide above is indicative and recommendations are subject to change at any time.

  1. Languages

The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, but the tourist is doing well in English as well.

  1. Visa

As a Finnish citizen, you must have a valid Finnish passport. The passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry.

Finnish citizens need a visa to Vietnam. You must apply for an e-visa, which is valid for a maximum stay of 30 days in Vietnam.

The visa is applied for via the official e-visa website https://visaonlinevietnam.com/apply-vietnam-visa-form, and the application must be accompanied by a scanned image of the passport and a passport image (max. 1024 KB). In addition, the application must be filled with some personal information as well as your address in Vietnam. We recommend that you enter the name and city of your first hotel. The hotel name will appear on your booking confirmation.

The visa costs $ 25 and is paid online when the application is submitted. So have your credit card ready before you apply. You will receive a confirmation of your application by email. You will also receive a unique registration code in bold (20 characters) in the email.

You will receive an e-visa within 3 working days and you can check the status of the visa processing at: https://visaonlinevietnam.com/check-status. To do so, you must provide the registration number you received in the confirmation email, as well as your email address and date of birth. A printed e-visa will be taken on the trip and presented with a passport to the entry officer upon arrival in Vietnam.

We recommend that you apply for a visa in good time.

If you have any questions about your visa, please contact the Vietnamese Embassy:

Vietnam Embassy in Finland
Kulosaarentie 12
00570 Helsinki
Finland

Phone: 09-622 99 011
E-mail: [email protected]

The visa rules can be checked on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .

  1. Currency

According to Countryaah, the Vietnamese currency is the Dong (VND). The Dong is a protected currency, which means that it is not possible to exchange it in advance. We recommend that you bring some US dollars in cash, which you can exchange at an official exchange point upon arrival in the country. Ordinary credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are becoming more common all the time, and there are ATMs in larger cities. The credit card is usually used as a means of payment in hotels, many restaurants and shops. The farther you get from cities, the less often a credit card is valid.

  1. Price level

The price level in Vietnam is generally low. The guide below applies to cities. In rural areas, prices are usually even lower and the range is smaller.

  • Food:
    – Meal at the street
    restaurant 10000 VND – Restaurant serving Western food 100000 VND
    – Restaurant serving Vietnamese food 40000 – 100000 VND
  • Drinks:
    – Soft drink 8000 – 15000 VND
    – Beer 8000 – 20000 VND
    – Juice 30000 VND
    – Water 10,000 VND
    – Spirits and cocktails 60000 VND
  • Other products:
    – Shorts / t-shirts 80000 – 200000 VND (always remember to bargain when buying clothes)
    – DVDs 15000 – 30000 VND
    – SIM cards up to 50000 VND
    – Cheap phone 200000 – 300000 VND
  1. Drink money

Tipping is welcome, but you can, of course, decide for yourself how much to give or whether to give at all. Below are the indicative amounts:

  • Piccolo: 1-2 USD per room
  • Cleaner: $ 1 per day
  • Guides: $ 5 – $ 10 per day / person depending on service
  • Drivers: $ 2 – $ 5 per day / person depending on service
  • Restaurants: In modern restaurants, the service fee is sometimes included in the price, and therefore there is no need to pay a separate gratuity. Drink money is not expected in traditional restaurants, but if you wish, you can leave some small money on the table when you leave.

In our gratuity guidelines, amounts are given in U.S. dollars, however, on-site gratuities are paid in local currency.

  1. Time difference

The time difference between Vietnam and Finland varies depending on whether Finland has summer time or winter time.
In summer +4 hours: when the clock is 12 in Finland, in Vietnam it is 16. In
winter +5 hours: when the clock is 12 in Finland, in Vietnam it is 17.

  1. Electricity

There is no specific standard for voltage or plugs in Vietnam. The voltage can thus be anything between 110 and 230 volts. Plugs can be double- or three-pronged, round or flat, depending on where you happen to be. So make sure you take the adapter with you if you need to charge a laptop, mobile phone or camera, for example.

  1. Telephone and internet

According to AllCityCodes, the international dialing code for Vietnam is +84. In Vietnam, making and receiving a call can be expensive. Check your mobile phone coverage and prices with your mobile operator.
Larger cities have internet cafes, and most hotels have WiFi.

  1. Security

Vietnam is generally a safe destination. Crime against tourists is usually limited to pickpocketing, but it is possible to avoid falling victim to theft by exercising caution and using common sense. Avoid using expensive jewelry and displaying large sums of money in public. When you always follow the safety instructions in this guide, you don’t have to worry unnecessarily.

  1. Meals and beverages

Vietnamese food is healthy, fragrant and delicious. Vietnamese food culture has been influenced by French, Thai, Chinese and partly also Indian cuisine. The most popular dish is “pho,” which is called the “soul of the earth”. Pho is a rice noodle soup that is eaten every day, especially for breakfast. It is available everywhere in restaurants and street eateries. Don’t be afraid to try the dishes of the street restaurants, as they often offer really delicious taste experiences. Worth tasting are, for example:

  • Nem ran aka Cha gio (deep fried spring roll with varying fillings)
  • Banh Chung (a cake made from rice flour, usually wrapped in banana leaves, for example, and steamed)
  • Cha lua or gio lua (low fat pork paste)
  • Banh cuon (steamed spring rolls wrapped in rice flour dough)
  • Banh mi (baguette stuffed with Pasteija or egg)
  • Mi brought Thit bo / ga (noodles and beef or chicken)

Use only bottled water as drinking water. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere. Never drink tap water.

  1. Your luggage

We use many different airlines on our trips to Vietnam, so the amount of baggage allowed can vary for both checked-in suitcases and hand luggage. Baggage information can be found on the flight ticket. You can also contact us if you have any questions about our luggage. If your trip includes a domestic flight in Vietnam, the maximum amount of luggage is 20 kg.
Make sure you have all the essentials in your hand luggage. Essential goods include passports, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money, prescriptions and vital medicines. In addition, you should pack a camera, binoculars, computer and tablet, as well as chargers and adapters in your hand luggage.

Due to the air conditioning, it can get cold on the plane, so pack a warm sweater or windbreaker in your hand luggage.

  1. Airport transfers

When you arrive at the airport in Vietnam, you will be met by our local representative, who will be identified by a sign bearing your name in the Arrivals Hall. You will also be transported to the airport on the day of departure. The departure time of the transfer on the day of departure will be notified to you upon arrival in Vietnam.

  1. Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing cultural and etiquette differences is one of the pleasures of traveling, and it is important to respect these differences. The saying goes “in the country the way of the country,” and that’s why we’ve put together tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your trip to Vietnam.

  • If you’re angry, don’t let it show up. Showing irritation or frustration by shouting or rude behavior is extremely bad and degrading behavior, and it never results in any good.
  • Avoid pointing with your finger, as the gesture is perceived as offensive and demeaning. Use your whole hand instead.
  • Avoid public displays of affection, such as hugging or kissing, as they are considered offensive. It is extremely rare to see couples walking hand in hand.
  • Avoid wearing shorts, short bottoms, and sleeveless shirts, especially in temples, shrines, and places with few tourists.
  • Always take your shoes off when you step into a private home or temple.
  • Never go naked for a swim or sunbathe without a swimsuit, as it is considered completely unsuitable – even on the beaches.
  • Take off your headgear when you enter the temple or address older people, authorities, or monks.
  • Touching a child’s head is believed to bring bad luck (Vietnamese clap their shoulders or arms instead).
  • Chopsticks should not be left in an upright rice bowl, but should be placed next to the bowl. Namely, the chopsticks in the rice bowl resemble incense, which is lit in temples in memory of the dead.
  • Always use either hand or just the right hand when handing something to the other or when you are being handed something. Never use only the left hand.
  1. Gifts and Grants

Vietnam is still a very poor country in some areas, which is why our local partners have given us the following guidelines on how to deal with donations and giving money:

  • NEVER give money to beggars, especially children. Giving money to beggars reinforces the impression that begging is an acceptable way of life. If children make money by begging, parents would rather send them to the streets to earn than to school.
  • The exception is the elderly and the disabled, who can be given a few coins.
  • NEVER give sweets to children you encounter in rural villages during the trip
  • Try to get rid of the idea that the gift should be material. Most often, just a smile, being together and making friends are the best gifts.

Practical information about Vietnam

Practical information about Laos

Practical information about Laos

  1. The climate of Laos

According to Bridgat, Laos has a tropical climate and high temperatures all year round. However, the weather may vary somewhat between lowland and highland regions and between north and south. The year of Laos can be divided into two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season.

The dry season lasts roughly from November to April. Temperatures are pleasant during these months, there are plenty of sunny hours and little rainfall.

Towards the end of the season, temperatures start to rise, and by the beginning of the rainy season it may already be really hot.

The rainy season lasts from about May to October. The rainy season is warmer through the dry season – and naturally wetter. Rain rains usually come heavy during the night or early in the morning, but they rarely last longer than a couple of hours. Rainfall, on the other hand, purifies the air and makes nature green.

Despite the rains, the temperatures are quite high these months.

Luang Prabang Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 27 31 33 34 34 32 32 32 32 31 29 26
Average. lowest temperature 14 16 18 21 24 25 24 24 23 21 18 14
Precipitation e.g. 15 19 30 108 147 258 228 289 173 126 40 10
Vang Vieng weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 28 31 33 34 33 32 31 31 31 31 30 28
Average. lowest temperature 14 15 18 21 23 24 24 23 23 21 18 14
Precipitation e.g. 9 18 49 174 369 489 840 662 508 115 44 23
Vientiane weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 28 30 33 34 33 32 31 31 31 31 30 28
Average. lowest temperature 16 19 22 24 27 25 25 25 24 23 19 17
Precipitation e.g. 8 13 34 85 246 280 272 335 297 78 11 3
  1. When should you travel to Laos?

Laos has a lot to see all year round.

The dry season (c. November to April) is the time of the high season in Laos, when the weather is warm, sunny and light rain. The rainy season (from May to October), on the other hand, is usually very hot, and rainfall is more abundant and common. On the other hand, at this time of year, nature is greener and there are fewer tourists.

  1. Languages

The official language of Laos is Lao, but the tourist is doing well in English as well. The Lao language is also written with its own writing system, which may seem impossible to understand from the Western. The following is a list of some useful words and phrases:

Hello: Sabaidee
Thank you: Khob Jai
Thank you very much: Khob Jai lai lai
Yes: Chao
No: Bor
Not fiery: BorPhet
Sorry: Khorthod
Goodbye: La gone

  1. Visa

As a Finnish citizen, you need a visa to Laos. You will receive a visa at the airport upon entry. As always when traveling abroad, you also need a valid Finnish passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after leaving Laos.

You will need a passport, 2 passport photos and $ 30 cash for a tourist visa.

  1. Currency

According to Countryaah, the currency of Laos is KIP (LAK). Kip is a protected currency, which means that it is not possible to exchange it in advance.

We recommend that you bring some US dollars in cash (preferably large banknotes such as $ 20, $ 50, and $ 100 banknotes) that you can exchange at an official exchange point. Be prepared that you cannot exchange large dollar bills for smaller dollar bills. Therefore, we recommend that you also bring some US dollars in small banknotes (1, 5 and 10 USD).

In many places, dollars (baht near the Thai border) are preferred. General credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard are accepted at Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane, where ATMs are also available. Outside the cities, ATMs are scarce, and credit cards are not valid in very many places.

  1. Price level

Laos is generally one of the cheapest countries in the Far East, especially in terms of local products. However, this does not apply to imported goods, whose prices are usually even higher than in neighboring countries. The guide below applies to cities. In rural areas, prices are usually even lower and the range is smaller.

  • In street places:
    Noodle soup 15000 kip
    Noodles with pork or chicken and vegetables: 15000 kip
    Baguette: 15000 kip
  • In restaurants:
    Restaurant serving western food, from 45000 kip
    Restaurant with fixed Laotian menu, from 60000 kip
  • Drinks:
    Soft drink: 7000 kip
    Beer (Laotian bottle) 12000 kip
  • Other products:
    T-shirt / bag 30000 – 150000 kip
    Phone 200000 – 250000 kip
    SIM card 10000 – 30000 kip
    Bicycle rental 20000 kip
  1. Drink money

Gratuities are welcome, but you can, of course, decide for yourself how much gratuity you give. Below are the indicative amounts:

  • Piccolo: 1 USD
  • Cleaner: $ 1 per day
  • Guides: $ 5 – $ 10 per day / person depending on service
  • Drivers: $ 3 – $ 5 per day / person depending on service
  • Restaurants: In modern restaurants, the service fee is sometimes included in the price, and therefore there is no need to pay a separate gratuity. Drink money is not expected in traditional restaurants, but if you wish, you can leave some small money on the table when you leave.

In our gratuity guidelines, amounts are given in U.S. dollars, however, on-site gratuities are paid in local currency.

  1. Time difference

The time difference between Laos and Finland varies depending on whether Finland has summer time or winter time.
In summer +4 hours: when the clock is 12 in Finland, in Laos it is 16. In
winter +5 hours: when it is 12 in Finland, in Laos it is 17.

  1. Electricity

In Laos, the voltage is usually 230 V. In most places, the plugs are double-ended. Other types of plugs can be used, so book an adapter for the trip.

  1. Telephone and internet

According to AllCityCodes, the international area code for Laos is +856. In Laos, making and receiving a call can be expensive. Check your mobile phone coverage and prices with your mobile operator. If you need to make frequent or long calls or want to send a lot of text messages, it may be smart to get a local SIM card. Larger cities have internet cafes, and most hotels have WiFi.

  1. Security

Laos is generally a safe destination. Crime in general and crime against tourists in particular is relatively low, and problems can always be avoided by caution and common sense. Avoid using expensive jewelry and displaying large sums of money in public.

Laos was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War, and large quantities of landmines were buried in the country. Especially in the eastern parts of the country – that is, far from tourist destinations – there are still unexploded Ordinance (UXO) and areas where mines have not been cleared. However, these areas are located far from the areas we travel on and outside of tourist areas in general. In the Valley of Pots, we ONLY visit areas where bombs and landmines have been cleared. When you always follow the safety instructions in this guide, you don’t have to worry unnecessarily.

  1. Meals and beverages

Traditional Laotian cuisine uses plenty of game, wild boar and freshwater fish. The freshness of the ingredients is very important and the Laotians are happy to cook their own meals from the very beginning. Almost all dishes use spices such as galanagal and lemongrass, and all meals include a fish sauce called padaek. The words related to the dishes are:

  • Laap: a traditional dish consisting of heavily seasoned and marinated, sometimes also raw meat and / or fish and roasted rice. Also known as larb.
  • Khao niao: porridge rice or so-called sticky rice. (As in neighboring countries, rice is a staple food in Laos. Sticky rice is typically preferred here, which is mashed and rolled with fingers into small balls that are dipped in sauce.)
  • Tamarkhong: papaya salad
  • Markphet: chili

Use only bottled water as drinking water. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere. Never drink tap water. Always make sure the ice cubes are made from bottled water.

  1. Your luggage

We use many different airlines on our trips to Laos, so the amount of luggage allowed may vary for both checked-in luggage and hand luggage. Baggage information can be found on the flight ticket. You can also contact us if you have any questions about our luggage. If your trip includes a domestic flight to Laos, the maximum amount of luggage is 20 kg.
Make sure you have all the essentials in your hand luggage. Essential goods include passports, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money, prescriptions and vital medicines. In addition, you should pack a camera, binoculars, computer and tablet, as well as chargers and adapters in your hand luggage.

Due to the air conditioning, it can get cold on the plane, so pack a warm sweater or windbreaker in your hand luggage.

  1. Airport transfers

When you arrive at the airport in Laos, you will be greeted by our local representative, who will be identified by an Asiatours.fi sign in the Arrivals Hall. You will also be transported to the airport on the day of departure. The departure time of the transfer on the day of departure will be notified to you upon arrival in Laos.

  1. Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing cultural and etiquette differences is one of the pleasures of traveling, and it is important to respect these differences. The saying goes “in the country the way of the country,” and that’s why we’ve put together some advice and tips to help you get the most out of your trip to Laos.

  • If you’re angry, don’t let it show up. Showing irritation or frustration by shouting or rude behavior is extremely bad and degrading behavior, and it never results in any good. If you lose your temper, you will also lose your face, and that is a horror for the Laotians.
  • Avoid pointing with your finger, use your whole hand instead. Pointing with a finger is considered offensive.
  • Avoid public displays of affection, such as hugging or kissing, as it is considered offensive. It is extremely rare to see couples walking hand in hand. On the other hand, it is common to see male or female friends walking hand in hand.
  • Never go naked for a swim or sunbathe without a swimsuit, as it is considered completely inappropriate – even in a closed hotel area.
  • Always take your shoes off when you step into a private home or temple.
  • The Laotians greet each other by putting their hands together (fingers are not interleaved) and with a slight bow. It is polite for the younger person to greet first. In the case of foreigners and in connection with transactions, a (European) handshake is also acceptable.
  • Avoid touching another person’s head. The head is considered a sacred part of the body, and touching the head with the hand is believed to bring bad luck.
  • Always use either hand or just the right hand when handing something to the other or when you are being handed something. Never use only the left hand.
  • Avoid wearing shorts, short bottoms, and sleeveless shirts, especially in temples and places with few tourists. A visit to the temple should at least cover the knees and shoulders.
  • Take your shoes off before you enter the temple.
  • If you are sitting in front of a “dain” (Buddha Shrine), see that your feet are pointing away from the Buddha.
  • Women are allowed to hand over to a monk or receive an object from a monk, but women must never touch the monks.
  • Show respect when visiting the temple: turn off your cell phone, take your headphones off, speak at a lower volume, and avoid loud conversation.
  1. Local means of transport

The infrastructure in Laos is excellent, but getting around can take time. It is common in Laos to use both taxis and subsidies, and the price of the trip is always negotiated. There are also motorcycle taxis in Laos. We do not recommend using them, as it is not uncommon for a motorcycle taxi to have an accident. Also, many travel insurance companies do not cover potential accidents if you use a motorcycle taxi.

  1. Gifts and Grants

Laos is still a very poor country in some areas, which is why our local partners have given us the following guidelines on how to deal with donations and giving money:

  • NEVER give money to beggars, especially children. Giving money to beggars reinforces the impression that begging is an acceptable way of life. If children make money by begging, parents would rather send them to the streets to earn than to school.
  • The exception is the elderly and the disabled, who can be given a few coins.
  • NEVER give sweets to children you encounter in rural villages during the trip
  • Try to get rid of the idea that the gift should be material. Most often, just a smile, being together and making friends are the best gifts.

Practical information about Laos

Practical information about China

Practical information about China

  1. China’s climate

According to Countryaah, China is one of the largest countries in the world that start with C, and therefore its climate is very different across the country. Northern China is located in a temperate climate zone, while the southern parts of the country have a subtropical or even tropical climate based on Bridgat.

China generally has the same four seasons as Finland:

  • Spring: March to May
  • Summer: June to August
  • Autumn: September to October
  • Winter: November to February

In practice, the duration of the seasons varies depending on the region.

Beijing:
Beijing is located in a temperate climate zone.

Winters are cold and dry, while summers are humid and warm. There is very little rain in spring and autumn and the temperatures are pleasant. January is the coldest month, and the wettest months are July and August.

Beijing weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 2 4 11 20 26 30 31 30 26 19 10 3
Average. lowest temperature -9 -7 -1 7 13 18 22 20 14 7 0 -7
Precipitation e.g. 3 6 9 26 29 71 176 182 49 19 6 2

Xi’an:
Xi’an is located in a temperate climate zone.

As in Beijing, in Xi’an the winters are cold, dry and occasionally foggy and the summers very warm and humid. Autumn and spring are usually relatively light rainfall, with most rains coming towards the end of summer and early autumn.

Xi’an weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 5 8 13 21 26 30 31 30 25 20 12 6
Average. lowest temperature -4 -2 3 9 14 19 21 20 16 10 3 -3
Precipitation e.g. 10 10 40 40 70 60 100 70 110 60 20 10

Shanghai:
Shanghai is located in a subtropical climate zone.

Winter is dry and cold in Shanghai, but not quite as cold as in Beijing. Although night temperatures often fall below zero, snow rarely rains. In summer, temperatures are very high, and every now and then the mercury pains up to 40 degrees. There are also heavy rainfall during the summer months. Autumn and spring are lightly rainy, respectively, and the temperatures remain at pleasant readings. Note that in the fall, temperatures can fluctuate quickly.

Shanghai weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 8 9 13 19 24 27 32 32 27 22 17 11
Average. lowest temperature 0 2 5 11 16 20 25 25 20 15 9 2
Precipitation e.g. 39 59 81 102 115 152 128 133 156 61 51 35

Chengdu:
Chengdu (Southwest China’s Sichuan Province) is located in a subtropical climate zone.

The climate is mild, and even the coldest months of the year are pleasantly warm here.

The weather is warmest and wettest in summer, especially in July and August, when the air can be even sweaty hot. Winters are not as cold as the rest of the country, but high humidity and fog can make the air feel really colder. Early spring is still cool, but temperatures are constantly rising towards summer. The high temperatures in early autumn, on the other hand, gradually cool as winter approaches. Spring and autumn have in common a variation of weather: there may unexpectedly be a few cooler days between warm days, and vice versa.

Chengdu weather statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 10 11 15 21 26 28 29 29 25 21 16 11
Average. lowest temperature 3 5 8 12 17 21 22 22 18 15 10 4
Precipitation e.g. 10 20 20 50 100 110 200 190 130 40 20 10

Yangshuo:
Yangshuo (in the province of Guanxi, one of the southernmost in China) is located in a subtropical climate zone.

Yangshuo’s climate is slightly warmer than Shanghai, but correspondingly much wetter. The winter months are the driest, and in winter the temperatures are pleasantly mild. In summer and mostly also in spring it rains a lot and often. Autumn is relatively warm, with little rainfall than in winter.

Yangshuo Weather Statistics: OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 11 14 17 23 28 30 33 33 31 27 21 15
Average. lowest temperature 4 8 11 16 20 23 24 24 21 17 11 6
Precipitation e.g. 53 81 114 224 312 293 200 186 83 85 69 44

Sanya, Hainan Island:

Hainan Province is located in the southernmost part of China.

The beach resort town of Sanya is located here in a tropical climate zone. Hainan, like mainland China, does not have four seasons, instead the year is divided into a dry season and a rainy season.

  • The dry season lasts from about November to May, when the weather is dry and evenly warm
  • The rainy season lasts from about June to October, when the weather is warmer but correspondingly wetter

Typhoons can hit the island from time to time, most often between July and September.

Sanya weather statistics, Hainan Island OAK PEARL PAINTING APRIL MAY SUMMER HAY LIFE AUTUMN MUD MARRAS CHRISTMAS
Average. highest temperature 26 26 28 30 32 32 31 31 31 30 29 27
Average. lowest temperature 17 19 21 23 25 25 25 25 24 22 21 18
Precipitation e.g. 8 13 19 43 142 198 193 222 251 235 58 11
Average seawater temperature 23 23 23 26 29 30 30 29 28 27 27 25
  1. When should you travel to China?

China is a year-round travel destination.

Popular tourist seasons in China are autumn and spring, when the weather is pleasantly warm and rains less frequent than in winter or summer. However, sandstorms can occur, especially during the spring months.

The resort town of Sanya on Hainan Island is warm all year round. If you want to avoid the rains, head to Sanya during the dry season, when the temperatures are pleasant and the rains are low.

  1. Languages

There are several recognized languages ​​in China. The most common of these is Mandarin Chinese, spoken by 70% of Chinese. The Chinese writing system is based on punctuation and is the same for all recognized languages. This means that Chinese can read the same newspapers regardless of whether they live in Beijing, Lijiang or Suzhou.

The Chinese are proud of their language, and it is especially gratifying to hear tourists use local words or sayings. By learning a few simple words like hello (nĭ hăo), thank you (xiè Xie) and goodbye (zài jiàn), you will almost guarantee your Chinese conversation partner to smile.

  1. Passport / visa

Passport:

As a Finnish citizen, you must have a valid Finnish passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after leaving the country.

Please note that you may have problems entering if your passport is reported lost but found again later. In the worst case, entry into the country can be denied altogether. We therefore recommend that you obtain a completely new passport before your trip, if this has happened.

Visa:

Finnish citizens need a visa to China. Tourist visas must be applied for at the Chinese Visa Application Service Center in Helsinki and are valid for 3 months from the date of issue.

You can apply for a visa no earlier than 3 months before departure and no later than 1 month before departure.

Before applying for a visa, we recommend that you go through the application guide carefully step by step.

Please complete the following before starting the application process:

  • Passport
  • A digital passport photo that meets certain requirements.
  • An invitation letter will be sent to you at the same time as your booking confirmation

The visa application is completed online.

The application has 10 parts. You will need e.g. upload your digital passport photo, provide personal information and information related to your education and work, tell us about your previous trips, and provide the license number of our local partner and the addresses of your accommodations. This information can be found in your invitation letter.

Once you have completed the application, you must make an appointment at the Visa Services Center in Helsinki for a personal visit. You can book an appointment here . The address of the center is Salomonkatu 17 B, 3rd floor, 00100 Helsinki, and it is open for visa applications on weekdays from 9:00 to 15:00. Please note that the visa center is closed on Finnish and Chinese public holidays. Read more about opening hours and Chinese holidays here .

Be sure to print your visa application before visiting. In addition to the completed visa application, you will need confirmation of your time, a copy of your passport information and photo page, a physical passport photo (color photo), a copy of your invitation letter and a copy of your flight ticket.

Before you visit, you must also decide whether you want to pick up your completed visa yourself or whether it will be mailed to you. If you choose to send the visa by post, you will also need to bring an envelope with your name, address and tracking number, which has been prepaid.

When you arrive at the visa service center, go to the check-in desk first. You will receive a queuing number from the counter. When your number is dialed, go to the appropriate counter. At this point, it is important that you notify immediately if you wish to receive your visa in the mail and provide the officer with an envelope with your name, address, tracking number, and sufficient stamps. Once you have provided all the necessary documents and answered any questions, you will be fingerprinted if you are 14-70 years old and have not applied for a visa to China in the last five years. You will then receive a queuing number at the payment counter. Payment must be made on the same day you submit your visa application. You can pay either in cash or by card. After payment, you will receive a so-called “pick-up form” which you must bring with you when picking up your visa if you have not requested that the visa be sent by post.

If you are unable to pick up your visa yourself, a family member or friend can pick it up for you. To do this, you must write a power of attorney and give the collector a copy of the receipt required to obtain a visa. The visa collector must also present a photo ID.

When you receive your visa, check that all the information is correct.

Of course, you are always welcome to ask us as well.

  1. Currency

According to Countryaah, the official currency of China is the renminbi (CNY).  You can change money at home before you go or until you arrive. In this case, we recommend that you book US dollars with you in cash and exchange them at an official exchange point upon arrival in China. Credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are only accepted as payment methods at hotels, so make sure you always have enough cash with you. There are cash dispensers (ATMs) in all cities where you can withdraw money with international cards. However, they are few and far between, and many vending machines only accept Chinese credit cards. International cards are accepted at ATMs of the following banks: Bank of China, China Merchant’s Bank and ICBC.

  1. Drink money

The provision of gratuities is common and is also expected to some extent. In general, tips are given according to the quality of the service.
Below are the indicative amounts:

  • Piccolo: 1-2 USD per room
  • Cleaner: $ 2 per day
  • Guides: $ 5 – $ 10 per day / person depending on service
  • Drivers: $ 2 – $ 5 per day / person depending on service
  • Drink money is not expected at small local restaurants and street kitchens, but at international restaurants, you can leave a drink at the table, which should be at least $ 1-5, when you leave.

In our gratuity guidelines, amounts are given in U.S. dollars, however, on-site gratuities are paid in local currency.

  1. Time difference

Despite its huge size, China has only one time zone. The time difference between China and Finland varies depending on whether Finland has summer time or winter time.
In summer +5 hours: when the clock is 12 in Finland, in China it is 17. In
winter +6 hours: when it is 12 in Finland, it is 18 in China.

  1. Electricity

In China, the mains voltage is 220 V, and sockets can be found at each output. So book with you an adapter that allows you to charge your mobile phone and camera, etc.

  1. Telephone and internet

According to AllCityCodes, China’s international area code is +86. In China, making and receiving a call can be expensive. Check your mobile phone coverage and prices with your mobile operator.

Larger cities have internet cafes, and most hotels have WiFi. Note that the internet is heavily censored in China, and many Western media services such as Google, Dropbox, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, HBO and Netflix have been blocked. We recommend that you download a VPN service to your smartphone from the App Store or Google Play if you want to continue using your favorite pages during your trip.

The WeChat instant messaging app is a popular option in China, and it has become as important an online service for Chinese people as what Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube are in the West. The WeChat app is used to communicate with friends and co-workers, and the concept of email is slowly starting to lose its foothold in the country. WeChat differs from Facebook, for example, in that the app is linked to a user’s bank account, so it is also possible to pay for purchases with a QR code, which is a kind of barcode.

  1. Security

China is generally a safe country for tourists, and crime against tourists is usually limited to pickpocketing. Being a victim of theft is often avoided by following general caution and using common sense. Avoid using expensive jewelry and keeping large sums of money on display. Always follow the safety instructions in this guide.

  1. Meals and beverages

Chinese food culture is geographically divided into many different cuisines. In northern Beijing, hearty dishes are preferred, and the local specialty is Peking duck. The more southern Guangzhou cuisine, or Cantonese cuisine, favors colorful vegetables and a variety of meats, fish and seafood. Located in the East, Shanghai Cuisine is famous for its delicious fish and seafood dishes. Western Sichuan cuisine, on the other hand, uses a wide variety of strong spices.

In addition to Peking duck, popular dishes include dumplings, which are a Xian specialty, and Kung Pao chicken, which is native to Sichuan. Chinese cuisine is also known for tasty soups and fried noodles, which are seasoned with e.g. eggs, vegetables and meat.

China’s most popular drink is tea. You will soon find that many Chinese carry their own thermos, which they fill on the tea many times during the day.

Interpreting a Chinese restaurant menu can be difficult, as menus are not available in English in nearly all restaurants. Today, however, there are many different translation applications available that can be of great help during your trip. We recommend the Waygo app, which can “read” Chinese menus with your smartphone camera and translate them directly into English – and doesn’t even require an internet connection.

Food is inexpensive in China, and the price of a good meal at a local restaurant is usually from 2 euros upwards. A bottle of water costs about 30 cents, and for a glass of tea, juice or beer you only have to shell out just under or just over 1.4 euros.

  1. Toilet culture

Chinese toilet culture can be an experience in itself. Hotels and large / international restaurants have western toilets, but most public toilets (including trains) are traditional Chinese toilets, which are practically a “hole in the floor” type. There are lockable toilet cubicles in some places, but sometimes you may have to deal with a toilet where there is no door at all. Please note that toilet paper or soap is not always available, so we recommend that you bring toilet paper, wet wipes and hand towels with you.

  1. Your luggage

We use many different airlines on our trips to China, so the amount of baggage allowed can vary for both checked-in suitcases and hand luggage. Baggage information can be found on the flight ticket. You can also contact us if you have any questions about our luggage. If your trip includes an internal flight, the maximum amount of luggage is 20 kg.

Make sure you have all the essentials in your hand luggage. Essential goods include passports, airline tickets, insurance documents, credit cards, money, prescriptions and vital medicines. In addition, you should pack a camera, binoculars, computer and tablet, as well as chargers and adapters in your hand luggage.

Due to the air conditioning, it can get cold on the plane, so pack a warm sweater or windbreaker in your hand luggage.

  1. Airport transfers

When you arrive at the airport in China, you will be greeted by our local representative, who will be identified by a sign bearing your name in the Arrivals Hall. You will also be transported to the airport on the day of departure. The departure time of the shipment on the day of departure will be notified to you upon arrival in China.

  1. Etiquette and cultural differences

Experiencing cultural and etiquette differences is one of the pleasures of traveling, and it is important to respect these differences. The saying goes “in the country the way of the country,” and that’s why we’ve put together tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your trip to China.

  • If you’re angry, don’t let it show up. Showing irritation or frustration by shouting or rude behavior is extremely bad and degrading behavior, and it never results in any good.
  • Handshakes are rare, and instead are greeted with a little bow.
  • Always use either hand or just the right hand when handing something to the other or when you are being handed something. Never use only the left hand.

Practical information about China

Bali or Thailand – which would you choose?

Bali or Thailand – which would you choose?

Let us guess – you’re here because you’re dreaming of a trip to either Bali or Thailand.

Both destinations offer stunning cultural attractions and nature experiences, beautiful sandy beaches and delicious taste experiences.

But which one should you choose, Bali or Thailand?

We can help you make a decision.

Unique travel destinations

Bali and Thailand are both great Southeast Asian resorts.

Where Bali is one of the most popular travel destinations in the Indonesian island nation, Thailand has for years been one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world.

Bali offers a lot to see and do in a relatively small area, while Thailand is a big country that offers a myriad of different experiences from north to south.

But which one is more suitable for you?

Bali travel experiences

Amazing experiences

Southeast Asia is full of travel destinations that offer more amazing experiences than each other. There is also no shortage of culture and nature in Bali or Thailand.

Bali travel experiences

Bali weather

Bali has a lot to see and do in a small area. Time is not guaranteed to be long, and Travel time between different destinations is always fairly accurately predictable.

The most important cultural experiences in Bali are the many impressive temples on the island, which have also given Bali the nickname “Island of Thousands of Temples”. Most Balinese are Hindus, and religion is visible everywhere. On the streets you can often see small sacrificial gifts, which may include e.g. incense, flowers, biscuits.

In addition to cultural experiences, Bali offers incredibly great nature experiences. The rugged scenery of the famous Batur volcano comes into its own when viewed from a vantage point in the Kintaman plateau. Also worth seeing is the 20-meter-high Red Coral Waterfall, which bursts down from a lush mountain wall. The rice terraces of Tegalalang are man-made, but they can still be said to be among the most stunning natural landscapes in Bali.

Travel experiences offered by Thailand

Travel experiences offered by Thailand

Starting with letter A listed on Countryaah, Thailand is a big country that offers a variety of exciting experiences. The size of the country also means that journeys from one destination to another are longer than in Bali.

There is no shortage of cultural experiences, at least in the country’s capital Bangkok, where you can enjoy the market atmosphere, visit the Golden Grand Palace or sail the canals of the Chao Phraya River, which are still important transport routes for locals. Further north, you can embark on an interesting train ride on the Death Railway, visit a tribal village, hop on a bicycle saddle in the country’s old capital, Sukhothai, or learn how to cook Thai food on a cooking course.

Thailand also offers great nature experiences. One such is the Golden Triangle near the Myanmar border. Formerly known as the center of the opium trade, the area has beautiful valleys, mountains and rainforests, and in the middle of it all flows the mighty Mekong River. At the southern end of the country, you can visit Khao Sok National Park, known for its diverse fauna, beautiful lakes, pulping rivers and steep limestone mountains.

Beach life

When we talk about Bali or Thailand, many come to mind first for their stunning, miles of sandy beaches and turquoise crystal clear sea water.

Both destinations provide an excellent setting for a relaxing beach holiday.

Bali beaches

Bali beaches

Bali and the surrounding small islands have beaches for all tastes and all kinds of beach destinations.

The beaches of Sanur in southeastern Bali are wide and golden. In Sanur, you can laze in peace on the beach, knowing that all amenities are at your fingertips. There are many hotels, restaurants and bars along the seafront promenade. When hunger or thirst surprises, food and drink are always found nearby.

Located on the north coast of Bali, Lovina Beach is known for its dark lava sand and calm waters. However, Lovina’s biggest attraction is the playful dolphins, which you can watch on an early morning dolphin safari.

The small tropical Nusa Lembongan is just a 45-minute boat ride from Bali. The island is the perfect destination for a beach holiday ending with a tour if you want to see a little more of Indonesia before returning home. Nusa Lembongan makes it easy to relax, recharge your batteries and enjoy the white sandy beaches, as well as the clear waters surrounding the island, perfect for snorkelling.

Thai beaches

Thai beaches

The coast of southern Thailand is long and has countless picturesque paradise islands in front of it.

One of the best sandy beaches is located on the island of Koh Nga , which is like a little piece of heaven. There is no traffic noise or large crowds of tourists on the island, as there are few hotels. The stunning scenery of the island creates the perfect setting for an enjoyable beach holiday.

One of Thailand’s most popular beaches is Nang Thong Beach in Khao Lak, north of Phuket . Khao Lak is a great choice if you want to combine a beach holiday with amazing nature experiences that you can experience in Khao Sok National Park, for example.

Last but not least, Chaweng Noi Beach , located on the island of Koh Samui and exudes a relaxed island atmosphere. Here you can relax with a good book and cool drinks or go out and try a wide range of water sports.

Food

Asian cuisine is colorful and full of exciting flavors. In both Bali and Thailand, the basic pillars of cooking include rice, noodles and fresh vegetables.

Balinese food

Balinese food

Fried rice or nasi goreng and fried noodles or mie goreng are Balinese classics usually served seasoned with vegetables and meat or crabs. In most cases, an egg is also included, and sprinkled with salted peanuts, fresh spring onions and small dried anchovies, which gives the food a delicious mouthfeel!

Chicken satay is another dish that Balinese know how to prepare. Almost every beach restaurant grill has a long row of chicken skewers that are marinated in coconut milk and seasoned with countless delicious spices. In addition to chicken, satay skewers are made from beef, pork and goat – and in some places also fish.

Thai food

Thai food

Thai food is incredibly varied and delicious in the mouth! If you feel like you are a washable foodie, Thailand will impress with the Guarantee.

Pad Thai is a world-famous noodle dish made from rice noodles, aromatic spice sauce, meat and vegetables. The recipe sounds simple, and it is, but it tastes heavenly good! Pad Thai is a favorite food for many Thai travelers, and no wonder.

Green and red curry are also an integral part of Thai cuisine. Green curry is stronger, and green chillies are used for curry paste. Traditionally, eggplant and Asian basil are chopped into curry leaves. Red curry otherwise resembles green curry, but red curry paste is made from milder red chilies.

Weather

Most travelers to Southeast Asia dream of tropical temperatures, sunny days, and warm bathing waters.

Both Thailand and Bali are year-round travel destinations that are always warm. However, when planning a trip, you should take seasonal variations into account.

Bali weather

According to Bridgat, Bali has two seasons – a dry season and a rainy season.

  • The dry season runs from April to September. In the dry season, temperatures are high, the sun is shining and there is usually very little rainfall. So Bali is a good option if you are planning to travel on a summer vacation.
  • The rainy season lasts from October to March. At this time, the weather is a little more whimsical, and heavy rain showers are not uncommon. However, rains rarely continue throughout the day. Often the rains come at night, with rainy days during the day.

Weather in Thailand

Weather in Thailand

Thailand is a long country that stretches about 1650 km from north to south. This means, of course, that the weather varies a lot depending on where you are in the country.

Thailand can be divided geographically into four parts, which are Northern Thailand, Central Thailand, Eastern Thailand and Southern Thailand.

In northern, central and eastern Thailand, the year is divided into three seasons, which are the hot season (late February to May), the rainy season (May to October) and the cool season (mid-October to early February). Check Bridgat to see weather and climate in Thailand.

In southern Thailand, the year is divided only by the dry season and the rainy season. They, on the other hand, coincide at slightly different times depending on whether they are on the east or west coast.

  • On the West Coast Islands (Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Mook) the dry season starts in November and lasts until March
  • On the east coast islands (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan), the dry season begins in January and lasts until September.

Which destination should you choose?

Bali and Thailand are both excellent resorts that offer a huge amount of things to see and do.

The choice of trip is influenced by many different factors, but we hope that our comparison will help in decision-making.

At least one thing is common to both Bali and Thailand: a relaxing and adventurous vacation is guaranteed in both.

Bali or Thailand

Asia Travel Guide

Asia Travel Guide

Cambodia

Cambodia

According to Countryaah, the Kingdom of Cambodia is located on the Gulf of Thailand. It is bordered by Laos to the north, Vietnam to the east and Thailand to the west. The capital Phnom Penh is located in the center at the confluence of the mighty Mekong and Tonlé Sap rivers. In the center of the country there is an enormous fertile central plain, which is surrounded and protected by mountains. In it lies the Tonlé Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The Mekong, one of the ten longest rivers in the world, flows through the east.

Cambodia emerged from the empire of the Khmer, who left us the mystical Angkor. Its ruins, above all Angkor Wat – the largest temple complex in the world – are under UNESCO World Heritage protection.

Climate:

In Cambodia, which is characterized by a warm and humid tropical climate, the monsoon ensures a rainy season from April to September. The subsequent drying time is significantly cooler. The proximity to the equator ensures warm temperatures all year round.

Best travel time:

The dry season between October and March is recommended for traveling to Cambodia. During this time, the tropical climate is well tolerated by travelers. But the months of the rainy season also have many advantages. The number of travelers is significantly lower – this is most evident when visiting the Angkor temples. The wet season should be used for tours in the rainforest. In general, these months are always a very exciting time for photographers and price-conscious travelers.

Laos

Laos

According to Bridgat, Laos, with its capital Vientiane, borders China to the north, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, Thailand to the west and Myanmar to the northwest. In the north, across the border to Thailand and Myanmar, lies the legendary “Golden Triangle”.

This small country will stay in your memory long after your visit, because numerous facets reflect the old traditions. In the so-called Wats, the monasteries with their gold-plated temples, the pulse of the country beats up and down the country. In Luang Prabang, the most beautiful city in Laos, it is definitely worth spending several days.

Laos was able to keep its typical character and the friendly people and the leisurely pace of daily life mean relaxed travel. With Central European haste you will only reap a puzzled smile here.

The country is characterized by mountains and rivers and therefore has lush vegetation. On the Mekong, the country’s lifeline, Laos can be traveled in a different, leisurely way. The still little traveled south offers a paradise for nature lovers with the Bolaven Plateau and the 4000 islands in the Mekong.

Climate:

The climate in Laos is determined by the cooler and drier northeast monsoon from November to April. This brings pleasant temperatures and a not so extremely humid climate with it. The southwest monsoon dominates the climate from May to October. There is sometimes a relatively high level of humidity and short but heavy rains.

Best travel time:

The best time to travel are the drier months between October and March, when the temperatures are pleasantly warm and the humidity is lower. For the north, the time between April and June is recommended. The “green season”, the rainy season, is particularly interesting for photographers, nature lovers and price-conscious people. Laos’ flora can then be admired in all its splendor.

Vietnam

Vietnam

Vietnam is home to over 90 million people. It is bordered by China to the north, the South China Sea to the east, and Cambodia and Laos to the west. The landscape in the south of Vietnam is shaped by the Mekong Delta, in the north the legendary Halong Bay is enthroned.

The Republic of Vietnam is known for its rich cultural heritage and great nature experiences. One of the many reasons why Vietnam travel has never been as popular as it is today. Treasures from various dynasties and a rich French colonial heritage await you on your journey in the land of “Uncle Ho”.

The elongated country is made for traveling on different routes from north to south. If you are interested in a trip to Vietnam, you should also consider Laos and Cambodia – because there are unique travel routes that perfectly combine the three countries of Indochina.

Climate:

The north has a temperate tropical climate with a cool season from November to April and hot temperatures from May to October. In principle, one can speak of four seasons in our senses in North Vietnam: spring, summer, autumn and winter. The south is predominantly tropical. Throughout the year, temperatures in South Vietnam are relatively constant at around 25 to 35 degrees. It is generally a little cooler from November to January. From February to May it is rather hot with almost over 30 degrees. A longer rainy season can be expected between May and October. In the south one can therefore speak of two seasons, the rainy and the dry season. The cloud pass north of Da Nang forms the weather divide between North and South Vietnam.

Best travel time:

A general distinction is made between two travel times for Vietnam: With dry, not too hot temperatures, the period from November to March has already developed into the main travel time in Vietnam. During this time there is an extremely pleasant climate, which makes the tour through Vietnam much easier for us tourists. In addition to the main season, the rainy season with its rather hot and humid climate from June to August also has its charm. Because it usually only rains for one to two hours, mainly in the afternoons and evenings. This leaves enough time throughout the day to fully enjoy the Vietnam trip.

Southeast Asia Travel Guide

Southeast Asia Travel Guide

Myanmar

Myanmar

Myanmar, the former Burma, is more original than any other country in Asia. According to Countryaah, there are 11 countries in Southeastern Asia. Myanmar is one of them. Every Myanmar traveler raves about the warmth of its residents and the fabulous sights of former royal cities, from dreamy beaches and evergreen mountain landscapes. The former capital of the largest Southeast Asian country, Yangon, is usually the gateway to the country and has the most extensive inventory of colonial buildings in the entire region. Located on the Indian Ocean and with the mighty Irrawaddy, which flows through the country like a lifeline from north to south, a visit to the “big four” Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Lake Inle offers a multitude of cultural sights and unspoiled nature.

Climate:
Myanmar is characterized by a warm tropical climate with a monsoon season between May and September. Due to the sheer size of the country, however, the monsoon phase migrates and so there is always at least one region throughout the year that is pleasant, warm and dry. Temperatures range on average between 25 degrees Celsius in December and up to 30 degrees in April.

Best travel time:
There are three seasons. The high tourist season coincides with winter and is between October and February, as the weather in Myanmar at this time corresponds to European high summer. From March it will be very hot, sometimes up to 40 degrees Celsius, depending on the region. After the water festival in mid-April, there are the first rains, which finally lead to heavy monsoon rains from mid-May in the rainy season that lasts until September. It is a common misconception that the rainy season is unsuitable for tourists. On the contrary: only those who spend most of their time in Yangon can expect heavy rains there. The further you go inland, the more you will be surprised by the green landscapes and the clear, clean air. In addition, the prices for overnight stays are significantly cheaper in this off-season, the sights are less visited, and a short downpour then comes as a pleasant refreshment. A trip in the mountainous Shan State becomes a special experience when the tropical vegetation blossoms while you go hiking in the vicinity of Inle Lake or near Hispaw, for example.

Indonesia

Indonesia

The island kingdom of Indonesia is one of the most diverse, interesting and densely populated countries on earth. On the around 17,000 islands of the archipelago, there is an abundance of ways of life, animal species and natural phenomena that are rarely found in such a bundle in a single state. Located on the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire – directly on the Sunda Arch – active volcanism in particular shapes the image of the islands and people’s lives, while the seas and coasts are populated by an incredible variety of fish and marine life.

The islands of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, West Papua and Java are the largest land areas in the archipelago. The relatively small Java can be seen as the beating heart of the Indonesian multi-ethnic state, as the capital Jakarta is also located there. The last refuges for the red-skinned orangutans are on Sumatra and Kalimantan. In addition, many animal species on the islands are endemic. The bizarre proboscis monkeys can only be found on Kalimantan, as well as the black crested monkeys of Sulawesi. A multitude of Asian tigers, rhinos and elephants still live in the forests of Sumatra, and the cute tarsier can be seen on Sulawesi.

West Papua (also Irian Jaya) – the Indonesian part of the island of New Guinea – is considered one of the least explored areas of our planet. Covered by impenetrable rain forests and swamps, a number of ethnic groups still live here. In West Papua, isolated tribes are suspected to this day.

In addition to these large Indonesian main islands, Bali should be mentioned above all, which is a destination of longing for many travelers due to its Hindu character and good tourist infrastructure. But the Moluccas, Raja Ampat or the Lesser Sunda Islands are definitely worth a visit.

Climate:

In Indonesia there is an equatorial-tropical or monsoonal-tropical climate. A distinction is made between two seasons, which are determined less by temperature and more by the amount of precipitation. Because the specific weather events are very complex and vary from region to region.

Indonesia is one of the largest rainforest areas in the world. Borneo, Sumatra, West Java, Papua, the Moluccas and Sulawesi have an always humid tropical climate. Temperatures hardly fluctuate in the course of the year and averages between 25 ° C and 27 ° C. With a relative humidity of 95% and prevailing calm one also speaks of tropical humidity. In the rest of Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands and the Aru Islands, the monsoons determine the climate. It ensures consistently high temperatures, but these can fluctuate from 6 ° C to 12 ° C within 24 hours. The northeast monsoon predominantly carries dry air and thus triggers a dry season (called winter monsoon). In this time of low precipitation, the trees shed their leaves and go through a kind of rest phase, in which the so-called monsoon forests (light, green forests with a pronounced herbaceous layer) arise. The southwest monsoon absorbs moisture over the warm sea and leads to high precipitation over the mainland, which can reach up to 50 mm per day and often lead to flooding.

The best time to travel to Bali is from April to October. During the rainy season or the monsoon, there are short and heavy rains that are even stronger and longer in the interior.

Best travel time:

Pleasant temperatures and rarely rain can be expected in Indonesia between April and October. In the rainy season, the precipitation can sometimes restrict progress on site.

Thailand

Thailand

According to Bridgat, Thailand is a country located in Southeast Asia. It is a kingdom with around 64 million inhabitants. It borders the countries of Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia. The Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand also form natural borders. Thailand, which was called Siam until 1939 and for a short time after the Second World War until 1949, is the only state in Southeast Asia that was able to defy colonialism. For this reason, the name Thailand was adopted, which translated means “land of the free”.

Climate:

The north of the country belongs to the humid savanna climate with tropical features, the more humid south is determined by the tropical monsoon climate. The extreme south of Thailand even has a humid rainforest climate. In the north there is a dry season between November and April, which is subject to the northeast monsoon, while the southwest monsoon brings enormous amounts of rain and oppressive humidity from June to October.

Best travel time:

After the rainy season, the Thai landscape blooms and the temperatures go back to pleasantly warm values ​​of 25 to 30 degrees. It is therefore advisable to travel between November and March. In April and May it is simply too hot in Thailand, between June and October it rains in large parts of the country.

East Asia Travel Guide

East Asia Travel Guide

Mongolia

Mongolia

According to Countryaah, Mongolia is a huge landlocked country in Eastern Asia. It is more or less between Russia and China with an average altitude of 1500 m. From the taiga in the north to extensive steppes in the central part to deserts in the south (Gobi) there are different types of landscape. Nowhere in the world is more image material taken than here – in a country with over 300 days of sunshine per year and a color spectrum that is second to none. The high mountains are in the western part of the country – in the Altai, where the Kazakhs (mostly Muslims) are at home. Most of the rest of the country’s population follows the Tibetan Buddhist faith. Wide and deserted areas in the west enable the snow leopard, for example, to regain population.

Climate:

Mongolia is a country of extremes. There is a strongly continental climate. The humidity is very low, 80-90% of the precipitation falls from May to September. With over 260 sunny days a year, Mongolia is one of the sunniest countries in the northern hemisphere. Long arctic winters are normal, even in the Gobi desert the snow remains until April. Elsewhere, lakes are frozen until June. Summers are generally warm with an average of + 20 ° C. In the Gobi, however, you have to expect extreme temperatures of over + 40 ° C. As soon as the sun has set, the thermometer shows quite cool and fresh conditions.

Best travel time:

In the months of June to September the wide steppe is wrapped in a lush green. This is the time for round trips and trekking trips. Winter starts in October and lasts until mid-May. From October to April temperatures drop to extremely cold levels and snowstorms sweep across the country. Desert tours through the Gobi Desert should be scheduled in September, before it is too hot. Animal observations (takhis or snow leopards) can best be carried out in March.

Tibet

Tibet

This is what the Tibetans wish for and greet each other and also the foreign travelers. Due to the geographical conditions, in almost complete isolation from the rest of world events, a completely independent Buddhist-Lamaist high culture developed on the Tibetan plateau over thousands of years. At its head was and is the Dalai Lama, who is revered as God-King. The first European adventurers who managed to penetrate this legendary country reported of deeply religious people, wild nomadic tribes, people whose culture looked like they came from a distant past, of a peaceful but also feudal social structure. That was at the beginning of the 20th century! However, even then the country became the plaything of one of the greatest powers on earth. With the invasion of the People’s Liberation Army in 1951, the tide turned for freedom-loving Tibetans and their country.

Climate:

The highland climate is typical for Tibet, there are very sunny days and the temperatures differ extremely between the north of the country (Tibetan plateau) and the deeper south. The average temperature in Lhasa (southeastern Tibet) is 8 degrees Celsius.

Best travel time:

With the exception of winter, there are opportunities to travel to Tibet all year round. The drier, mild months of September and October are considered to be very cheap for trips to Tibet. For those who have no problem with the high temperatures, May and June are also well suited, as the following months of July and August are very rainy. In November the temperatures drop again before the very cold winter between December and February sets in.

China

China

According to Bridgat, China is a country located in East Asia. China, the land of the rising sun, impresses with gigantic dimensions and enormous diversity. With a history of over 5000 years, the Middle Kingdom is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. While modernity has long since found its way into the pulsating cities, the traditional way of life can still be found in the villages and small towns. Highlights such as the Great Wall of China, the Imperial Palace as a forbidden city, the Terracotta Army, the Silk Road, the Yangtze cruise or a journey on the sky train from Beijing to Lhasa are famous all over the world. But China has a lot more to offer. Nature lovers can experience the Huangshan Mountains and its bizarre rocky worlds, the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan, the picturesque karst hill landscape near Guilin, the rice terraces of Longsheng and of course the impressive mountains of the Himalayas on the border with Tibet, impressive landscapes. Let yourself be inspired by the rich historical heritage and discover the different facets in the land of smiles. See AllCityPopulation for country flags of China and other countries in Asia.

Climate:

Due to its expansion, China combines numerous climatic zones. While the summer in most regions of the country is warm to sometimes hot, the winter expresses itself regionally differently: extremely cold in the north and Inner Mongolia as well as in Tibet, much milder in the south and southwest of China. The north-east of the country has a continental climate, dry desert climate determines the west. In Tibet there is a cool mountain climate with temperature extremes, in the east up to the Yangtze a moderate monsoon climate, while the southeast is characterized by subtropical and tropical zones with heavy summer rainfall.

Best travel time:

The optimal travel time for China depends heavily on the respective region and the associated climate zone. Tourists should consider the periods May to June and September / October, as the temperatures are still pleasant at this time and there is hardly any precipitation. In autumn you also bypass the tourist high season. Summer and winter are rather unsuitable for a trip to the north or central China, as extreme temperatures and humid conditions are to be expected. Monsoon rains make the south unattractive between May and September.

 

South Asia Travel Guide

South Asia Travel Guide

Pakistan

Pakistan

According to Countryaah, Pakistan is located in Southern Asia. Pakistan is a tremendously diverse and interesting travel destination that unfortunately receives far too little attention in this country. It offers fascinating evidence from all epochs of human history as well as breathtaking landscapes and mighty mountains. The state of Pakistan emerged in 1947 from the predominantly Muslim parts of British India, while the areas with a mainly Hindu population and parts of Kashmir were added to today’s India.

In northern Pakistan, the Hindu Kush, the Karakoram and the Himalayas meet the three highest mountain ranges on earth. In the heavily glaciated Karakoram, north of the Indus, lies the K2, at 8,611 m the highest point in Pakistan and the second highest peak on earth. South of the upper Indus, the country has a small part of the Himalayas with the eight-thousander Nanga Parbat. Five of the world’s 14 eight-thousanders are on Pakistani territory.

Climate:

Pakistan is dominated by a continental subtropical climate, the temperatures change both during the day and during the year. The precipitation also differs from the coast to the lowlands to the high valleys.

Best travel time:

For active tours in the north Pakistani mountains, the European summer from June to mid-September is recommended. Trekking tours are not possible in the transition seasons, but locations near the valley are easy to travel to. Then there will be pleasant temperatures in the rest of Pakistan. The winter, on the other hand, is simply too cold and some regions cannot be reached due to the snowfall.

Maldives

Maldives

The Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, is a chain of islands made up of several atolls and over 1000 islands to the west of Sri Lanka. Of the countless islands, only 220 are inhabited. The islands are overgrown with palm trees and breadfruit trees and are surrounded by endless sandy beaches and idyllic lagoons. The flora and fauna of the sea with its biodiversity and the colorful coral banks is a real Eldorado for divers and snorkelers.

Climate:

Tropical climate with constant warm temperatures between 28 and 31 ° C all year round – that’s the Maldives. There is also a rainy season here, which is between April and mid-October. With water temperatures between 26 and 28 ° C, the islands are a popular travel destination for bathers. On the beach, the continuous mild breeze provides a pleasant cool-down.

Best travel time:

Due to the warm temperatures, the Maldives is a year-round destination. There are a few relatively drier months between late October and February that are popular with diving tourists. The months of April to mid-October are considered unfavorable for a beach holiday because it is then rainy and windy. For diving, however, you can go to the west side of the atolls at exactly this time. Surfers prefer to use the rainy season. B. can also observe manta rays and whale sharks.

Bangladesh

Bangladesh

According to Bridgat, Bangladesh is a country located in South Asia. The largest mangrove area on earth, huge rivers in Asia, cultural heritage, ethnic minorities, pulsating markets as well as amiable and happy people – Bangladesh touches and awaits you with a full life, adventure and paths far away from mass tourism!

With the Sundarbans, Bangladesh and India share the largest mangrove forests in the world. The three huge rivers Brahmaputra, Ganges and Megha flow into the Bay of Bengal, which is completely adjacent to the south of Bangladesh. In addition to Myanmar in the southeast, the rest of the country is surrounded by five Indian states. With the capital Dhaka, Bangladesh has one of the fastest growing megacities and with Cox’s Bazar one of the longest beaches in the world.

Climate:

The tropical climate of Bangladesh is influenced by the southwest monsoons. The rainy season, from June to October, the cool season, from November to February, and the hot and dry summer, from March to May, are the three main seasons.

Cyclones can occur in March, April and October.

Best travel time:

The optimal travel time for Bangladesh is in the cooler season after the monsoon rains between November and February. Because of the very humid and hot conditions as well as the massive impediments from the monsoons and tropical storms, travelers should avoid the other months of the year.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

It is impressive how the island state can inspire with its incredible diversity in relation to its size. Not even as big as Bavaria, Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean offers an indescribable wealth – breathtaking flora and fauna, ancient cultural history and warm people. The landscape ranges from palm-fringed sandy beaches to the rainforest to the highlands and the dry plains. The former Ceylon was considered one of the centers of ancient Buddhism. Today the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation in which, in addition to Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam are major religions. According to AllCityPopulation, the biggest city of Sri Lanka is Colombo with a population of 752,993.

Climate:

The climate in Sri Lanka is mainly influenced by two monsoons. The south-west monsoon brings intense rainfall to the south-west and west coast from mid-May to the end of September, while the east and north-east of Sri Lanka remain dry during this time. In the east and northeast, the rainy season is between October and mid-April. The central mountain region is considered a climate divide.

Best travel time:

Due to the opposite monsoon seasons on the east and west coast, Sri Lanka can be visited all year round. The months between May and September are ideal for the east of the island. If you travel to the west and south of Sri Lanka to swim, you should choose the period between December and April. Thanks to its consistently warm temperatures, the north is an attractive travel destination almost all year round; the probability of rain only increases in November and December. If you want to travel the entire island, you should especially choose the transitional months between dry and rainy seasons.

Bhutan

Bhutan

Bhutan is a country with a fascinating landscape and culture. The small (last) Himalayan kingdom offers its visitors a multitude of sights and a great diversity of nature. The cultural heritage of this country is immense and far from fully explored. Through centuries of isolation and the restriction of entry possibilities, the Bhutanese culture has been able to remain almost unadulterated. The government of Bhutan is pursuing the course of soft quality tourism to protect the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the country. The preservation of nature is also one of the main concerns of the Bhutanese government. The country is listed in the top 10 top quality travel destinations in the world. A trip to Bhutan is a unique travel experience!

Climate:

The climate in Bhutan is very different due to the different altitudes in the individual parts of the country. While the south has a subtropical to tropical climate with high temperatures and abundant rainfall during the monsoons, the valleys of central Bhutan have a moderate climate with cool winters and warmer summers. In the high mountains, the winters are extremely severe and the summers are rather cool.

Best travel time:

The best travel time is the relatively dry periods between March and May and from mid-September to mid-November: Then spring beckons with blooming carpets of flowers and autumn offers a very good view of the white peaks against a deep blue sky. Due to the heavy rainfall, one should avoid the monsoon season in the months of June to August.

West Asia Travel Guide

West Asia Travel Guide

Armenia

Armenia

According to Countryaah, Armenia is a landlocked country in western Asia and, together with Georgia and Azerbaijan, forms the threshold to Asia. The country located in the Lesser Caucasus is today only a “remnant” of the once huge settlement area of ​​the Armenians, which extended over large areas of Anatolia and Northern Persia. Today less than 1/3 of the ethnic Armenians live in the mother country. With the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Armenia gained its independence. The capital of the country is Yerevan. Due to its visa-free regime and great hospitality, Armenia has an increasing number of tourists. Find more details about the country in our Caucasus brochure.

Climate:

The mean altitude of the country is 1800 m and 90% of the area is above 1000 m. Overall, the climate here is continental, with hot, dry summers and cold winters with little snow. The two surrounding seas, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, ensure a climatic balance and prevent even greater temperature fluctuations. Due to the differences in altitude in the individual provinces, there are small local microclimates.

Best travel time:

The best time to travel to Armenia is from the beginning of May to the end of October with warm, sunny days and mild nights. The winter is very cold in many places. The months of February to mid-April are suitable for ski tours and winter sports in the mountains.

Georgia

Georgia

According to Bridgat, Georgia is a country located in West Asia. Georgia offers a multitude of different landscapes in a very small space. And the Georgians themselves are a proverbial hospitable people, whose culinary magic was legendary in Soviet times. Like Armenia, Georgia also has an eventful history. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country gained its independence. Georgia is slowly regaining its position as the former center for tourism in the USSR. With its high mountains, the Black Sea coast and its wine-growing areas, it attracts more and more tourists and globetrotters. Visa-free travel and good connections to Europe point the way in the tourism industry. Find more details about the country in our Caucasus brochure.

Climate:

Georgia offers a wide range of vegetation zones with a subtropical climate on the Black Sea coast, an alpine climate in the High Caucasus and a continental climate in the semi-desert in the east of the country. Relatively mild winters and warm, long summers with high humidity are typical of the coast. In the mountains, on the other hand, the climate is comparable to that of our Alps.

Best travel time:

Hikers and mountaineers come to the Caucasus from June to mid-September. Culture lovers visit Georgia between May and mid-October. However, the summers are very hot in the lower elevations. Winter sports fans go to the winter sports areas from April to mid-May. The annual grape harvest takes place from mid-August to October. This period forms the high season for tourism.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Climate:

Saudi Arabia is one of the driest and hottest countries on earth. The low rainfall is even lower in the interior of the country, in the Rub-al-Khali desert it often does not rain for years. The desert climate causes striking differences in temperatures. Accordingly, maximum values ​​of 50 degrees Celsius are reached in summer, while night temperatures can drop to below zero, especially at high altitudes in the mountains. On the coast of the Red Sea there are summer temperatures of up to 45 degrees, which feel uncomfortably humid due to the high humidity (up to 80%). Even in the winter months, temperatures of up to 30 degrees can be reached during the day.

Best travel time:

Due to the extremely high temperatures of up to 40 degrees in summer, the winter months from November to February are recommended for trips to Saudi Arabia. Then the daytime temperatures average between 23 and 27 degrees, the nights can be significantly cooler.

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates are scenically and culturally fascinating. With its artificial island, opulent hotels and buildings, it has a strong recognition value. Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, is the second largest city in the country and an important industrial and cultural center. The country borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman. In addition to the magnificent Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the 7 other Emirates are also worth seeing. For example, Fujairah, located on the coast, where you will find first-class snorkeling and diving conditions, or Ras-al-Khamiah with its excellent terrain slopes and hiking routes in the wild Hajar Mountains. See AllCityPopulation for country flags of United Arab Emirates and other countries in Middle East.

Climate:

Subtropical, hot and dry desert climate is typical for the United Arab Emirates. In the warmer and dry months between May and October, maximum temperatures of 40-50 ° C are possible, in the second half of the year they still reach 22-30 ° C, whereby the nights in the desert can be very cold. Both in winter and at the beginning of summer, the country is covered by the sandy and dusty northwest wind Shamal. The coast of the Emirates has an extremely high humidity of up to 90%.

Best travel time:

The period between November and April can be regarded as particularly suitable. In the other half of the year, the intense radiation from the sun, high temperatures and the humid conditions in the country make traveling in the United Arab Emirates difficult.

Israel

Israel

So small and yet so multifaceted. The Holy Land is a melting pot of nations and the center of the three great world religions. But Israel’s geographic diversity is also impressive. It is bordered by three seas: the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Dead Sea.

Climate:

The climate can be roughly divided into two parts, the Negev desert in the south and the north of the country. The north has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild, humid winters. The daytime temperatures in summer can reach up to 30 ° C and high humidity. In contrast, the Negev and Jordan Valley have a desert climate. Rain falls here very little or never. The nights in the desert are quite cool whereas the heat between March and October often reaches 40 ° C.

Best travel time:

Israel can be visited at any time of the year. However, temperatures in most regions are mildest in spring from March to May and in autumn from September to October.

Oman

Oman

Oman shows itself as a country from 1001 nights: the oldest market in Oman in Muscat, the most beautiful mountain village Misfat al-Ibriyin, the highest mountain Jebel Shams, the oldest and largest fortress in Bahla (UNESCO) and the contrasting Wahiba desert are there just some of the highlights the Arab country has to offer. The diversity and beauty of the Omani landscape, characterized by rugged mountains and lush green wadis, springs with crystal clear water, picturesque adobe villages, extensive terraced fields and endless dune formations deepen this impression and make Oman an exclusive travel destination.

Climate:

Northern summer temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius and, on the other hand, mild winters characterize the subtropical climate of Oman. The interior is characterized by a desert climate and hot summers of up to 50 degrees. In the south, the average tropical temperatures reach around 30 degrees in summer.

Best travel time:

The winter months with less precipitation between November and mid-March are recommended for trips to Oman, in contrast to the humid and hot summer months, pleasant temperatures of around 25 degrees prevail.

Central Asia Travel Guide

Central Asia Travel Guide

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan

When one speaks of the Silk Road, one often has images of the oasis cities of Khiva, Bukhara or Samarkand in mind. The Central Asian interior is embedded in almost 2/3 of the Kyzylkum desert. Fertile plains can be found in the Fergana Valley, in the far east of the country. The two largest rivers in the country are the Amur Darya and the Syr Darya. The environmental catastrophe at the Aral Sea can be traced back to the massive diversion of water from the two rivers to manage oases. Uzbekistan is a country for culture enthusiasts. Nowhere in Central Asia are there so many monumental structures and blue domes as in Uzbekistan. A very well developed tourist infrastructure makes traveling through the country very pleasant. The world famous Registan of Samarkand is the symbol of the country. Tashkent, the capital,

Climate:

Uzbekistan has a strictly continental climate. The summers are extremely hot but dry, which makes peaks above 50 degrees bearable. Winters are dry and very cold.
Rain only falls in the spring and autumn months.

Best travel time:

The classic cultural tours usually take place between April and early June and between mid / late August and late October. Then it is not too hot for a tour of the historic old towns. Overland trips through the desert are then also not too strenuous. Nevertheless, you can also travel to the country in the winter months. On the other hand, the warmer and dry summer months of July and August are suitable for hikes and excursions in the rather unknown Uzbek mountains.

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan

According to Countryaah, Turkmenistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia and was a Soviet Socialist Republic until independence in 1991. About 95% of the country’s area is taken up by the Karakum Desert. Little is known about the country itself to this day. News and information almost never get outside. The capital Ashgabat is an oasis in the truest sense of the word. All of the country’s ministries and important banks are located here. This city is bursting with splendor. The country shows its enormous wealth here.

Climate:

In Turkmenistan there is a continental climate everywhere with extremely hot summers and very cold winters. Due to the low humidity, temperatures above 55 degrees can still be tolerated. There are significant temperature differences between day and night and from season to season.

Best travel time:

In Turkmenistan, the spring months of April and May and autumn between September and mid-November are recommended for tours. The hot summer and very cold winter months are unfavorable for traveling overland. The blooming desert makes spring especially attractive as a travel period.

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan is located in the high mountains of the Tienshan, the highest peaks of which reach over 7000 m. The border with China also runs across the 7,439 m high Pik Pobedy, the highest mountain in the country and the second highest peak in the former USSR. In the south of Kyrgyzstan rise the Alai and Transalai mountains and the foothills of the Pamir. Overall, more than 50 percent of the state’s area is higher than 2500 m. After all, glaciers and permanent snow cover three percent of the country’s area. Issyk Kul is the largest lake in Kyrgyzstan. The population is mainly concentrated in the Tschüi valley in the north and the Fergana valley in the south as well as around the large lake Issyk Kul. The southern end of the country is formed by the Alai mountain range with Pik Tandykul (5544 m) as the highest peak. The Naryn, Tschüi and Talas are among the most important rivers in the country. Up to an altitude of 1500 m, the land consists of steppe, which, however, has been made arable through extensive irrigation systems. From 1500 m, alpine meadows and pastures dominate, which reach up to the snow fields and glaciers. The forests are located at altitudes of 1500 to 4000 m above sea level. NN and are home to about 120 tree and shrub species. With only four percent forest area, Kyrgyzstan is one of the least forested countries in Asia. According to AllCityPopulation, the capital of Kyrgyzstan is Bishkek with a population of 976,734.

Climate:

The climate of Kyrgyzstan is characterized by dry and continental hot summers and cold winters. The daily temperature fluctuations are significant. In the south of the country, temperatures of 45 ° C are measured in summer, while temperatures can drop to minus 18 ° C in winter. The sunny weather is typical (247 sunny days per year!). The amount of precipitation varies between 100 ml and 1000 ml. Heavy snowfalls occur especially in January, but February is already milder again.

Best travel time:

Kyrgyzstan has a continental dry climate with very cold winters and dry, hot summers. Spring and autumn are best for visiting the lower elevations of Kyrgyzstan. The months of April and May ensure a blooming season across the country. In September and October, however, is harvest time, during which the markets are filled with fresh fruit and vegetables and the forests are colored in autumn. At both times the temperatures are pleasant in contrast to the hot summers and cold winters. In turn, the months of July and August are best suited for hiking and trekking tours in the high mountains. The average temperatures are then around 20 to 25 ° C and even above 3,000 m, mostly up to 15 ° C. In winter, snowfalls make many mountain regions inaccessible. In the lowlands it is bitterly cold. However, if you want to go to Kyrgyzstan for skiing, you should come during the long and snowy ski season from December to April.

Tajikistan

Tajikistan

According to Bridgat, Tajikistan is a high mountain country in Central Asia. More than half of the country’s area is at an altitude of 3000 m or higher. Tajikistan has borders with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, China and Afghanistan. The mighty Pamir with peaks over 7000 meters dominates the east of the country. The land is rich in water, but due to the relief, only a few areas can be used for agriculture. Tajikistan is becoming more and more the focus of trekkers, mountaineers and adventurers. Highlights are undoubtedly the Fan Mountains in the east as well as the Pamir and Pamir Highway.

Climate:

The climate is extremely continental (cold winters and hot summers). Tajikistan is also characterized by large differences in altitude, which in turn causes different climatic zones. The mountain valleys in the Pamirs are more or less cut off from the rest of the country in the winter months. In the lower parts of the country it can get very hot in summer. 45 degrees or more are not uncommon in July and August.

Best travel time:

The cities of Dushanbe, Khudjand and Pendschikent can be easily visited from April. Tours there are also possible from October to mid-November. Generally in summer too, but then it’s incredibly hot. You can drive on the Pamir Highway from May, but you always have to expect extreme weather conditions. There can still be a lot of snow on the passes. The autumn storms set in in the Pamir highlands as early as October and it can get uncomfortable. Mountain tours in the high mountains can only be carried out from mid-June to mid-September. Good equipment and clothing are essential for any trip to Tajikistan.