Engineers say Ho Chi Minh Metro system two thirds complete

Engineers say Ho Chi Minh Metro system two thirds complete

Contractors in charge of building a Metro train line for Ho Chi Minh City say it is two thirds finished. The nearly 20km-long line will run between the central Ben Thanh zone and eastern Suoi Tien District.

A good proportion of the overhead parts for the Skytrain sections have already been erected while the boring of tunnels for the underground part kicked off on Friday. This latter section will enable the Metro trains to travel between Ba Son and the Opera House and is scheduled to be completed in by June 2018.

Construction work began five years ago and, under the original terms of the schedule, should be finished in 2020. The Japan International Cooperation Agency says the Metro line will incorporate 11 stations.

Ho Chi Minh’s urban transport bureau issued a bulletin last week saying the line would be extended an additional two kilometres into Binh Duong. 12GO ASIA says current options for getting around the Vietnamese city are limited to taxi, moto-taxi, cyclo-rickshaw and green buses. 


Runners set to line up for popular Phuket marathon at the weekend

Runners set to line up for popular Phuket marathon at the weekend

Phuket’s Laguna Resort is the venue for this weekend’s island marathon. The resort has released a bulletin saying 7,000 competitors from 40 countries will be running in the 12th edition of the perennially popular event.

The runs take place over two days to avoid congestion on designated courses. On Saturday 3 June, people running in the two kilometre children’s heats, the five kilometre and the 10.5 kilometre runs will set off from the start line at the Laguna.
 
Competitors in the half and full marathons on Sunday will run early in the morning with start times scheduled for 04:30 and 05:30 respectively. After the prize-giving ceremonies, there is a barbecue buffet at the Laguna’s Angsana Xana Beach Club.

The Laguna Marathon courses take in landmarks such as Ban Don Temple and Sirinat National Park. There are always plenty of spectators on hand to cheer on the runners.

As well as being one of Thailand’s most beloved tourist locations, Phuket is famed for its eclectic annual calendar. 12GO ASIA says the Hungry Ghost Festival, Chinese New Year celebrations and yachting regattas are among the many enticements to pencil in a trip to Phuket.


Vietnam Mobifone and Facebook join forces to offer free access

Vietnam Mobifone and Facebook join forces to offer free access

Vietnam’s mobile telephone services provider Mobifone has inaugurated a programme giving users free access to Facebook. Subscribers with Mobifone SIM cards will be able to log into a slimmed down version of their Facebook accounts even if they have no credit or data balance remaining.

At a press briefing staged on Friday, Mobifone confirmed subscribers would be able to log into Facebook Flex as well as view content on Free Basics. When users log into Facebook on 3G they will get a prompt asking if they want to change to free mode. 

Facebook Flex only enables users to post comments and status, see profile images and access newsfeeds. To obtain full access to images and media content, the account holder has to switch back to data mode.

This simple switching mechanism means users can swap back and forth between the two modes and only pay when they access content which is not free. 12GO ASIA’s travel gurus say Mobifone SIM cards are sold at outlets at Vietnam’s two main air gateways, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City’s airports.


Phuket unveils blueprints for airport tramway link

Phuket unveils blueprints for airport tramway link

Authorities on Phuket have released a set of plans showing what the island’s airport tramway link will look like. The proposals contain images of the trams in addition to the confirmed route and how much passenger fares will be.

Construction work is due to start in 2018 on the first section of the line between the airport and Chalong. The budget to build this part has been set at THB23 billion and construction time is expected to be three years from the start date. 
 
Overhead tram lines will supply the power needed to propel the trams. The trams will be capable of speeds up to 100kmh but, according to the Thai Rath newspaper, restrictions of 20kmh to 40kmh will apply in built-up areas. 

Each tram will be made up of several bogeys and have a maximum capacity of 200 passengers. Outlines for the fare structures show passengers will pay a base fare of THB18 plus THB2.50 for each kilometre travelled.
 
The 12GO ASIA image of the Phuket tramway was supplied by the Thai Rath. 12GO ASIA offers a full choice of travel solutions when visiting Phuket. Travellers have a choice of train and bus from locations including Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Koh Samui and Singapore.


Vietnam airport offers cash incentives to attract airlines

Vietnam airport offers cash incentives to attract airlines

Management authorities at Vietnam’s Can Tho Airport say they are prepared to subsidise losses for airlines starting new routes. The team have put forward a proposal to the national Civil Aviation Authority which offers three different means of incentivising airlines to add the airport to their networks.

The first option is to subsidise any losses carriers incur in the first year of flying to Can Tho. The second is to pay for unoccupied seats on flights which are less than 70 per cent full and the last is to foot the bill for the first 30 per cent of seats on flights.

Can Tho Airport is a gateway to the southern Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Opened in 2011, the facility has struggled to attract airlines and, when it does, to keep them. Travel firms in the region say this is because Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport is only 180kms away and most people prefer to go there because it has better connections.

Can Tho Airport primarily serves domestic airlines flying to in-country destinations. 12GO ASIA offers convenience when flying international to or from Can Tho. We manage this with combination flight-bus tickets from locations including Bangkok, Singapore and Penang.


TripAdvisor 2017 awards name Angkor Wat as top global landmark

TripAdvisor 2017 awards name Angkor Wat as top global landmark

Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples have topped the table of global landmarks for TripAdvisor's annual awards. In the 2017 edition of the travel website’s Travellers' Choice Awards, Angkor Wat beat India’s Taj Mahal and St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City to take the coveted number one position.

Citing the temples as a mix of regal and otherworldly, TripAdvisor noted they were in a good state of repair and seeing them was a once in a lifetime experience.  TripAdvisor uses a tried and trusted formula to analyse reviews posted up by members.

The procedure takes into account the amount of reviews posted up for each genre of award. It also factors in the quality of the reviews. Deciding on the top 25 in each category is no mean feat. Just in global landmarks there were more than 700 landmarks spread over 80 nations.
 
The main complex at Angkor Wat temples is spread over 10,000 acres. The temples and other monuments were built between the ninth and thirteenth centuries. The main gate to the complex is a few kilometres from Siem Reap. 12GO ASIA offers reservations services for buses and planes to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and other key cities in Southeast Asia.


Torrential rain swamps major roads in Bangkok

Torrential rain swamps major roads in Bangkok

Heavy overnight rains left scores of roads and sois in Bangkok under knee-deep water this morning. The floods have resulted in schools and commercial businesses having to close for the day.

Drivers who usually commute to work were forced onto public transport as they could not get their cars out. The operators of the BTS Skytrain and the MRT Underground trains reported 30 per cent more passengers than usual during this morning’s rush hour period. 

The rains flooded major city thoroughfares including Sukhumvit Road, Vibhavadi Road and Chaengwattana Road. City officials noted that the Lat Phrao had been badly hit and many of its roads resembled rivers.

At present, some Lat Phrao roads are still flooded, but municipal workers are working on clearing debris from storm and drainage channels. The problem has been exacerbated as the city’s canals are already full and there is nowhere for last night’s rainwater to drain off to.

12GO ASIA says people heading to Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang Airport, Hua Lamphong Rail Station or any of the three main Bangkok bus stations should leave in plenty of time. The team notes that water is swirling along many roads and traffic is moving at a snail’s pace.


Yangon acquires new buses to operate airport shuttle service

Yangon acquires new buses to operate airport shuttle service

Yangon’s city transport division has confirmed it plans to use some of its new buses to inaugurate an airport shuttle service. Secretary Maung Aung told reporters planners were currently working on choosing the best options for routes between central Yangon and Yangon International Airport.

The doctor carried on by saying the first batches of a total order of 1,000 buses from China were due to reach Yangon before the end of the month. After arrival, planners are expected to announce which routes the buses will serve.

Doctor Aung said the airport links will be launched soon afterwards. The order for the new Yangon city bus fleet was split between two Chinese manufacturers.  Ankai and the Yutong Group are supplying 500 buses apiece as per the terms of contracts signed last month.

Yangon Airport is on city bus routes, but getting to the downtown district involves changing services midway. 12GO ASIA notes this currently leaves taxis as the only viable option for arriving tourists and business travellers.

12GO ASIA offers ticketing services for flights to Yangon from most major Southeast Asian cities. These include Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Singapore.


Bangkok Show DC mall to host Viral Fest Asia concerts in June

Bangkok Show DC mall to host Viral Fest Asia concerts in June

The organisers of the 2017 edition of Viral Fest Asia have released a line-up of the musical artistes scheduled to perform.  South Korean singing icon Rain and Thailand’s very own Hugo will be headlining at central Bangkok’s Show DC lifestyle and entertainment mall.

The duo will be the stars of a schedule that includes 20-plus different top Asian acts. Burin Grooverider, Somkiat and Bie the Ska are among other Thai acts on the schedule and will be complemented by the likes of Japanese pop band Flower and Weird Genius from Indonesia.

The theme for Viral Fest Asia 2017 is Everybody’s Going Viral. Show DC’s Oasis Outdoor Arena is the venue for the concerts. As well as music, attendees will be provided with other entertainment plus a varied collection of food outlets at which to sample fine Thai and international specialities. 

Viral Fest Asia debuted last year on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. The organisers said after the event that more than 8,000 music fans attended. ThaiTicketMajor says there are still tickets available for the Bangkok shows. 12GO ASIA is the best choice for tickets when travelling to Bangkok or most other locations in Southeast Asia.


Full steam ahead for China to Laos railway construction

Full steam ahead for China to Laos railway construction

Contractors in northern Laos say work on boring tunnels for a new railway line from China is progressing in leaps and bounds. In Luang Namtha Province, spokesperson Chanthachone Keolakhone says three tunnels on the route are up to 50 metres through mountains.

He carried on by saying the most significant progress had been made on the cross-border tunnel from Mohan in China to Boten. Although, some tunnels have been bored to significant lengths, there is a long way to go as the blueprints show a total of 75 tunnels along the route from Boten to the Lao capital city of Vientiane.

On its route south, the line will link Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. Apart from a very short stretch of line from Nong Khai in Thailand to Thanaleng, the 414km line is a first for Laos. Thanaleng is close to Vientiane and the plan is to eventually link the two sets of tracks.

Differences in track widths need to be ironed out first. Thai trains run on one-meter gauge tracks whereas the new China-Laos link is being built to the international standard of 1,435-millimetres.
 
12GO ASIA’s travel analysts are watching developments on the new railway line closely. When ground broke on the project on Christmas Day, ceremony attendees were told overland journey times from Kunming to Vientiane would be reduced to 10 hours. 


Seafood fest heading for Vietnam seaside town of Nha Trang

Seafood fest heading for Vietnam seaside town of Nha Trang

The Vietnames seaside resort town of Nha Trang will be the centre of activities to mark the Khanh Hoa Sea Festival next month. The 2017 edition of the fest features an eclectic range of entertainment and activities.

When this year’s dates were originally confirmed, the chairperson of Khanh Hoa People’s Committee stated more than 50 events had been scheduled. Le Duc Vinh noted that the likes of salangane swift nest rites, dragon dancing and visual arts performances were guaranteed to enthral.

As well as local performers, the schedule shows troupes from as far afield as Russia, Australia, Spain and Korea will be putting in appearances. Nha Trang College students will also be attempting to gain an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records by cooking up a gigantic cauldron of seafood porridge.

Visitors will have the opportunity of sampling signature Khanh Hoa seafood dishes as well. Khanh Hoa Sea Festival will take place between the 10 and 13 June. 12GO ASIA offers reservations choices for trains from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang as well as flights to the nearby Cam Ranh Airport.


Thailand sets new date for launch of Bangkok combo transport pass

Thailand sets new date for launch of Bangkok combo transport pass

Thailand’s Transport Ministry has named the date for the introduction of a long-awaited Bangkok public transport pass. Spokesperson Jiroot Visarnjit says Mangmoom cashless cards will be available from 1 October 2017, but will initially only be valid for use on selected services.

He carried on by saying the cards would be restricted to Bangkok’s two BTS Skytrain lines, MRT Metro Services, the MRT Purple Line and the Suvarnabhumi Airport Link. He explained that about a quarter of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority’s services would be covered by Mangmoom cards on D-Day.

Buses and ferries operated by the authority will gradually be added. The authority has previously noted engineers only have a window between 00:00 and 04:00 in which they can install the equipment needed to support the Mangmoom system.  

Mangmoom translates to English as spider. The 12GO ASIA travel team says the cards will allow Bangkokians and tourists to bypass queues at ticket booths and machines. An added bonus is slimmer wallets from not having to carry several multi-use cards around.


Thai national bus operator sets speed limits for rainy season

Thai national bus operator sets speed limits for rainy season

The deputy-director of Thailand’s state-run bus company says drivers will have to keep to lower speed limits for the duration of the rainy season. Nopparat Karoonyavanich told reporters yesterday the speed limit is 90kmh on intercity highways and normal straight roads.

The deputy-director of the Transport Company carried on by saying a lower 60kmh restriction applied on mountain roads or ones with lots of bends and curves. He explained that all drivers had been told to drive carefully on wet roads and obey rules pertaining to permitted times at the wheel.  

In what seemed to be a veiled warning, Mr Karoonyavanich stated that supervisors would be checking drivers were fit to drive and GPS monitoring used to ascertain they were following regulations. A Transport Company spokesperson had already noted the national Highways Department had promised to provide regular updates on road conditions. 

The Transport Company, or Baw Kaw Saw as it is referred to by Thais, serves destinations right across Thailand. Private companies such as Phet Prasert, GreenBus and Bangkok Busline often operate on the same routes. 12GO ASIA consolidates all options for the specified route to provide the best fares.


AirAsia adds Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani route to network

AirAsia adds Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani route to network

Thai AirAsia has announced a convenient addition to its ever expanding network of flight routes in Thailand. The budget carrier will inaugurate cross-country Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani flights on 23 June 2017.

AirAsia will utilise its fleet of Airbus A320 aircraft to serve the route. The aircraft are configured to carry 180 passengers.  Commenting on the forthcoming new route, Thai AirAsia commercial director Santisuk Klongchaiya noted that it was in line with the aim of encouraging domestic tourism.  

Timetables released by the airline show daily flights from Chiang Mai will depart at 12:05 and land in Ubon Ratchathani 90 minutes later. Return flights are scheduled to take off at 17:05 and arrive in Chiang Mai at 18:35.

The route provides convenience when travelling between Northern Thailand and the eastern Esarn region of the country. It also does away with the necessity of flying to Bangkok and having to take two flights to travel between the two locations.

Thai AirAsia recently launched direct Ubon Ratchathani-Pattaya services. 12GO ASIA offers ticketing services for this route as well as for buses between Chiang Mai and Ubon Ratchathani. Once the new flight route is operational, we will add it to our fast-growing portfolio of travel solutions.


Fledgling Cambodian airline to start Bangkok Don Mueang route

Fledgling Cambodian airline to start Bangkok Don Mueang route

Cambodia’s recently launched JC International Airlines has announced a new route to Thailand. The airline is all set to launch services between Phnom Penh and Bangkok Don Mueang Airport on 6 June 2017.

Although JC flies domestic routes and to destinations farther afield in Asia, the Bangkok route will be the first to one of Cambodia’s neighbouring Southeast Asian nations. The airline has not so far released timetables for the Bangkok flights, but did say it would be using one of its Airbus A320s on the route.

JC International Airlines inaugurated flight operations in March 2017 and currently flies five routes. 12GO ASIA noted that JC’s Bangkok flights would provide passengers with even more choices on this popular route between the capital cities of the two nations.

Thai AirAsia already flies from Don Mueang to Phnom Penh while Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways fly from Bangkok’s main air gateway, Suvarnabhumi Airport. 12GO ASIA offers a consolidations service which provides the best available ticket prices for all carriers on the date and route specified.


Floods swamp roads in northern Chiang Mai

Floods swamp roads in northern Chiang Mai

Police patrols in Chiang Mai reported that a number of the city’s main roads were flooded early today. Heavy rains lashed the Northern Thai city overnight and left parts of roads close to the River Ping impassable to all but 4WD vehicles.

Affected roads included Chang Klan Road and Charoenprathet Road. The water was so deep in places that traffic police were forced to close parts of roads and the sois (lanes) leading into them.

Chiang Mai municipal workers installed pumps on some flooded roads to expedite draining. Authorities in the city say the overnight rain coming on top of several days of higher than average monsoon season rainfall resulted in accumulated water on mountains such as the nearby Doi Suthep washing down into the valley.

12GO ASIA’s travel team notes that the city’s governor, Pavin Chamniprasart, has called a meeting for today. Attendees will formulate a plan of action in case of more rainfall tonight or over the weekend.  The Thai Meteorological Department says today will be mostly sunny and any storms tonight will be less severe.


Hua Hin water park offers low season special promo package

Hua Hin water park offers low season special promo package

Hua Hin’s Vana Nava themed water park is currently offering a money saving day pass. The price of an adult day pass includes unlimited use of the scintillating rides, chutes and pools, a voucher for lunch and a drink, a towel and locker rental.

The Vana Nava is themed on the jungle and features the likes of the adrenalin pumping Master Blaster and the vertical Aqualoop slide. Those looking to chill between the thrills will find Coconut Beach and the infinity pool are heaven reinvented.  

The THB1,200 pass includes a choice of everything from pad Thai noodles and fried rice to spaghetti carbonara for lunch and a full range of natural herb and fruit juices. An extra THB150 buys the ticket-holder access to Vana Nava’s legendary all-day buffet. 

Vana Nava is five kilometres from Hua Hin Train Station and the central areas of the Gulf of Thailand seaside resort. Buying tickets to Hua Hin is easy when choosing 12GO ASIA as we provide the choice of train, ferry, passenger van and bus from locations including Bangkok, Pattaya and Suratthani.


Vietnam aviation authority okays Terminal 2 for Cat Bi Airport

Vietnam aviation authority okays Terminal 2 for Cat Bi Airport

The Vietnamese Civil Aviation Authority has given the green light for a proposal to build a new terminal at Cat Bi Airport. The new terminal will enable the northern Hai Phong Province facility to expand and accommodate projected annual passenger numbers of eight million by 2025. 

Cat Bi is a hub airport for VietJet. The budget airline has been the driving force behind the move to quadruple current capacity from two million passengers a year. According to media outlets in Vietnam, the airline has pledged to put up 30 per cent of the capital needed to build Terminal 2.

The Development Bank of Ho Chi Minh City is providing the remainder of the capital needed. The Civil Aviation Authority says the only thing needed now is the final endorsement for VietJet’s funding proposals and then contracts can be put out to tender.  

Passenger numbers are soaring at Cat Bi Airport and climbed by more than 40 per cent last year. Between January and March, Cat Bi handled 538,000 passengers. Projections show that by the end of the year, the airport will already be handing more passengers than it was designed for.  

Cat Bi Airport is five kilometres from downtown Hai Phong and is the gateway to the ethereal attractions of Halong Bay. 12GO ASIA offers ticket reservations on direct flights to Cat Bi from Ho Chi Minh City as well as dual-leg services from the likes of Bangkok and Singapore.


Vietjet poised to launch direct Hanoi to Yangon flights

Vietjet poised to launch direct Hanoi to Yangon flights

People travelling between Vietnam and Myanmar will have an additional option once Vietjet inaugurates a new route in August. The Hanoi based budget carrier is set to launch daily flights between Hanoi and Myanmar’s former capital city of Yangon on the 31st of the month.

Outbound flights will depart from Hanoi at 12:05 and touch down in Yangon at 13:30. Return flights will take off from Yangon at 14:30 and arrive back in Hanoi at 16:55. All times are local and the actual flying time on each flight is 1 hour 55 minutes.

Since the inauguration of its first route on Christmas Day 2011, Vietjet has evolved into one of the airlines of choice for travellers in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. Among the airline’s current routes is a popular daily service between Ho Chi Minh City and Yangon.

Vietjet is one of the 12GO ASIA preferred partners. We offer advanced reservations services for Vietjet’s Ho Chi Minh City to Yangon flights as well as ones on other airlines’ routes throughout Southeast Asia. The advantage of booking with 12GO ASIA is that we provide comparisons with all travel choices on the same routes.


Bangkok to host debut midnight marathon on Saturday

Bangkok to host debut midnight marathon on Saturday

The inaugural Bangkok Midnight Marathon is scheduled to take place this Saturday. The first runners in the 42km full marathon will set off from the city’s landmark Rama VIII Bridge at one minute to midnight on Saturday evening.

Half marathon runners will sprint away from the start line three hours later. Those entered on the mini and micro marathons will start off at staggered intervals between then and 05:00.

Rama VIII Bridge is also the final destination for the runners. The route takes in key Bangkok thoroughfares including Ratchadamnoen Avenue and the Borommaratchonnani Road overpass as well as the renowned King Rama V Monument.

The organisers say the distances for the mini and micro marathons are 10kms and 5kms respectively. They also noted that runners from as far afield as the US, France and Ethiopia have registered to compete, but there is still late availability for those wishing to join the debut Bangkok Midnight Marathon.
 
The Bangkok Midnight Marathon website has additional details about registering to run. 12GO ASIA is the best choice when buying tickets to travel to Bangkok for this event or the many others on the city’s annual calendar.