Reisen in den Oster der Provinz Sabah vermeiden

Bei einem UEber­fall auf ein Tauch­res­ort auf der Ost-Sabah vor­ge­la­ger­ten Insel Pom Pom ist am 19. Novem­ber ein tai­wa­ne­si­scher Tou­rist getoe­tet und sei­ne Ehe­frau ver­schleppt wor­den. Die Frau befin­det sich wei­ter­hin in der Hand der Ent­fueh­rer.

Vor die­sem Hin­ter­grund hat das Aus­wa­er­ti­ge Amt am 26. Novem­ber sei­nen Sicher­heits­hin­weis zu Malay­sia erneut aktua­li­siert. Es raet nun von nicht unbe­dingt erfor­der­li­chen Rei­sen in den Osten der Pro­vinz Sabah ab und schreibt woert­lich:

Im Novem­ber 2013 wur­de ein aus­la­en­di­scher Tou­rist auf der Insel Pom-Pom/Sa­bah erschos­sen und sei­ne Frau ent­fuehrt. Dies war die ers­te Ent­fueh­rung in der Regi­on seit dem Jahr 2000. Es gibt immer wie­der Hin­wei­se, dass eine Gefa­ehr­dung der tou­ris­ti­schen Zie­le auch im Umfeld der ESSZONE wei­ter besteht. Alle von den malay­si­schen Sicher­heits­beho­er­den ergrif­fe­nen ver­staerk­ten Sicher­heits­vor­keh­run­gen koen­nen das Risi­ko von UEber­fa­el­len wegen der Groeße des betrof­fe­nen See­ge­biets in enger Nach­bar­schaft zu den Sued-Phil­ip­pin­nen nicht voel­lig ein­daem­men. Das Aus­wa­er­ti­ge Amt raet daher von nicht not­wen­di­gen Rei­sen in den Osten der Pro­vinz Sabah und die Inseln im angren­zen­den See­ge­biet ab.“

Faehrunglueck vor Pattaya

Bei einem Faehr­ung­lueck vor der Kues­te von Pat­ta­ya sind am 3. Novem­ber meh­re­re Men­schen ums Leben gekom­men. Unter den Toten befan­den sich auch Tou­ris­ten aus Russ­land und Chi­na.

Die dop­pel­sto­ecki­ge Faeh­re ken­ter­te auf der kur­zen Stre­cke zwi­schen der bei Tages­aus­flueg­lern belieb­ten Insel Lan und dem Fest­land. Ueber­ein­stim­men­den Berich­ten aus Thai­land zufol­ge war die Faeh­re mit ueber 200 Pas­sa­gie­ren an Bord deut­lich ueber­la­den.

Neuer Touristen-Zug in Südkorea

Süd­ko­rea bie­tet sei­nen Besu­chern seit Kur­zem eine neue Mög­lich­keit, die fas­zi­nie­ren­den Gebirgs­re­gio­nen ken­nen zu ler­nen, die im Lan­des­in­ne­ren lie­gen: der  Tou­ris­ten­zug ‘Cen­tral Inland Regi­on Tour Train’ bedient zwei ver­schie­de­ne Rou­ten durch die Gebirgs­re­gio­nen der Pro­vin­zen Chungche­ong­buk-do, Gang­won-do und Gye­ong­sang­buk-do. Der soge­nann­te O-Train fährt vier­mal pro Tag in der Haupt­stadt Seo­ul ab und ist dann ca. fünf Stun­den unter­wegs. Auf der 257 Kilo­me­ter lan­gen Stre­cke geht es nach Jeche­on, Yeong­ju und Taebaek und wie­der zurück. Der V-Train bie­tet eine kür­ze­re Rou­te für Eili­ge und fährt nur eine gute Stun­de vom west­lich an Seo­ul angren­zen­den Bun­che­on nach Cheo­lam. Der O-Train bie­tet in vier Wagen Platz für rund 200 Pas­sa­gie­re, die es sich sogar in einem Bord­ca­fé mit Pan­ora­ma­fens­tern gemüt­lich machen kön­nen. Der V-Train ver­fügt über drei Wagen; in einem davon sind die Sit­ze so ange­ord­net, dass die Urlau­ber direkt den Pan­ora­ma­fens­tern zuge­wandt sind.

Thailand Update – Sunday 30th October

Thai­land Update – Sunday 30th Octo­ber


 The situa­ti­on in Bang­kok remains very much the same as we repor­ted yes­ter­day, Satur­day 29th Octo­ber.

Suvarn­ab­hu­mi air­port remains open as nor­mal.  We recom­mend to allow addi­tio­nal time at the air­port for check in.

The cent­re of Bang­kok, whe­re the hotels, main tou­rist sites, shop­ping cen­tres and night­li­fe are­as are loca­ted, has not had any floo­ding. All ser­vices (such as power and water) con­ti­nue to ope­ra­te as nor­mal in the­se are­as and both the sky­train and the sub­way are ope­ra­ting as nor­mal.

While the­re has been some floo­ding near the river at high tides, the main hotels loca­ted along the Chao Pra­ya River con­ti­nue to ope­ra­te as nor­mal; howe­ver, no hotel shut­tle boats are allo­wed to ope­ra­te on the river.

We are not ope­ra­ting the Klong Tour and no boat trips are cur­r­ent­ly per­mit­ted on the Chao Pra­ya River. The muse­ums and Viman­mek Man­si­on are cur­r­ent­ly clo­sed. We are moni­to­ring the other tou­rist sites and will amend iti­ne­ra­ries accord­in­gly.

Are­as in the nort­hern sub­urbs of Bang­kok remain floo­ded. Cha­tuchak mar­ket will not ope­ra­te this wee­kend. Don Muang air­port has clo­sed and the air­lines which nor­mal­ly ope­ra­te from this air­port, Ori­ent Thai Air­lines and Nok Air, have relo­ca­ted their ope­ra­ti­ons to Suvarn­ab­hu­mi air­port.

Tomor­row, Mon­day 31 Octo­ber, is a public holi­day for government workers in Bang­kok and neigh­bou­ring pro­vin­ces. All com­mer­ci­al banks and most pri­va­te com­pa­nies will remain open during this time. Embas­sies such as the Ger­man, Bri­tish and Aus­tra­li­an Embas­sies will remain open.

The safe­ty of our cli­ents is our num­ber one prio­ri­ty and we are con­ti­nuing to care­ful­ly moni­tor the situa­ti­on regar­ding the floo­ding in Bang­kok and will pro­vi­de updates as nee­ded.

Other Are­as of Thai­land

The town and his­to­ri­cal park of Ayut­ha­ya remain floo­ded and no tours are ope­ra­ting, howe­ver the flood water is rece­ding. All boo­kings which inclu­de Ayut­ha­ya will be rerou­t­ed and we will inform the cli­ents and their tour ope­ra­tors. Train ser­vices to the north and south of Thai­land have been dis­rup­ted; howe­ver this does not affect our cli­ents as we do not inclu­de the­se train lines in any of our iti­ne­ra­ries.

The rest of Thai­land (Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Cha Am, Pat­ta­ya, Koh Samui, Phu­ket , Khao Lak, Phu­ket) has not had any floo­ding and all tours and packa­ges are ope­ra­ting as nor­mal.

Quel­le ICS

Indonesien Java Borobodur

A Won­der of Indo­ne­sia Histo­ry
The magni­ficent Boro­bu­dur temp­le is the world’s big­gest Bud­dhist monu­ment, an anci­ent site wide­ly con­si­de­red to be one of the world’s seven won­ders. Built in the 9th cen­tu­ry during the reign of the Syai­len­dra dynas­ty, the temple’s design in Gupta archi­tec­tu­re reflec­ts India’s influ­ence on the regi­on, yet the­re are enough indi­ge­nous sce­nes and ele­ments incor­po­ra­ted to make Boro­bu­dur uni­que­ly Indo­ne­si­an. This awe inspi­ring monu­ment is tru­ly a mar­vel. After a visit here you will under­stand why it is Indonesia’s most visi­ted tou­rist attrac­tion and a famous icon of Indonesia’s cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge.

Loca­ted on the island of Java, the temp­le sits majes­ti­cal­ly on a hill­top over­loo­king lush green fields and distant hills. It covers an enor­mous area, mea­su­ring 123 x 123 meters. The monu­ment is a mar­vel of design, deco­ra­ted with 2,672 reli­ef panels and 504 Bud­dha sta­tu­es. The archi­tec­tu­re and stone­work of this temp­le has no equal. And it was built wit­hout using any kind of cement or mor­tar! The struc­tu­re is like a set of mas­si­ve inter­lo­cking Lego blocks held tog­e­ther wit­hout any glue.

The temp­le has remai­ned strong even through ten cen­tu­ries of neglect. It was redis­co­ve­r­ed in 1815, buried under vol­ca­nic ash. In the 1970’s the Indo­ne­si­an Government and UNESCO worked tog­e­ther to res­to­re Boro­bu­dur to its for­mer majes­ty The res­to­ra­ti­on took eight years to com­ple­te and today Boro­bu­dur is one of Indo­ne­sia and the world’s most valu­able trea­su­res.

The temp­le is deco­ra­ted with stone car­vings in bas-reli­ef rep­re­sen­ting images from the life of Bud­dha. Com­men­ta­tors claim that this is the lar­gest and most com­ple­te ensem­ble of Bud­dhist reli­efs in the world, unsur­pas­sed in artis­tic merit.

This monu­ment is both a shri­ne to the Lord Bud­dha and a place for Bud­dhist pil­grimage. The ten levels of the temp­le sym­bo­li­ze the three divi­si­ons of the religion’s cos­mic sys­tem. As visi­tors begin their jour­ney at the base of the temp­le, they make their way to the top of the monu­ment through the three levels of Bud­hist cos­mo­lo­gy,

  1. Kama­dha­tu (the world of desi­re);
  2. Rupad­ha­tu (the world of forms); and
  3. Aru­pad­ha­tu (the world of form­less­ness)

As visi­tors walk to the top the monu­ment gui­des the pil­grims past 1,460 nar­ra­ti­ve reli­ef panels on the wall and the balus­tra­des.

The who­le monu­ment its­elf resem­bles a giant stu­pa, but seen from above it forms a man­da­la. The gre­at stu­pa at the top of the temp­le sits 40 meters above the ground. This main dome is sur­roun­ded by 72 Bud­dha sta­tu­es sea­ted insi­de per­fo­ra­ted stu­pa.

His­to­ri­ans sug­gest that the name of Boro­bu­dur comes from the Sans­krit ‘Viha­ra Bud­dha Uhr’ or the ‘Bud­dhist monas­te­ry on the hill’.

To see images of the magni­ficent Boro­bu­dur Temp­le, visit our Pho­to essay: Boro­bu­dur: The colos­sal Monu­ment of Bud­dha

Ultimate Underwater Expedition in Indonesia

Ulti­ma­te Under­wa­ter Expe­di­ti­on

The roaring engi­nes fixed to a lar­ge woo­den boat are final­ly quiet. Not­hing can be heard but the rif­ting litt­le waves, lap­ping against the vibrant paint on the sides of the ves­sel that grace­ful­ly slows down. Nati­ve birds hop on the tip of a small tree in one of the deser­ted islands in the distan­ce.

Raja Ampat or ‘Four Kings’, is the name given to the­se islands and comes from a local myth. The four major islands found here are Wai­geo, Miso­ol (which is home to anci­ent rock pain­tings), Sala­wati, and Batan­ta.

Under­wa­ter enthu­si­asts flock to this regi­on becau­se it offers the world’s best mari­ne sights. Two days ear­lier, some of the­se tra­velers had been at a dea­fe­ning cor­ner of a tou­rist trap in Bali. Once they took their flight to the bird head of the island of Papua ever­ything chan­ged as they embar­ked on a diving tour of a life­time. In the Raja Ampat islands, divers can explo­re ver­ti­cal under­wa­ter walls. The thrill of drift diving is ano­t­her gre­at chal­len­ge. The­se are the awe­so­me expe­ri­en­ces you will find in Raja Ampat.

Mean­while, on this tour several divers were well equip­ped and loo­ked advan­ced. The ter­rito­ry wit­hin the islands of the Four Kings is enor­mous, covering 9.8 mil­li­on acres of land and sea, home to 540 types of corals, more than 1,000 types of coral fish and 700 types of mol­lusks. This makes it the most diver­se living libra­ry for world’s coral reef and under­wa­ter bio­ta. Accord­ing to a report deve­lo­ped by The Natu­re Con­ser­van­cy and Con­ser­va­ti­on Inter­na­tio­nal, around 75% of the world’s spe­ci­es live here. When divers first arri­ve here their exci­te­ment is pal­p­a­ble. It’s com­mon to hear peop­le prai­se God as they take in the remar­kab­le sce­ne­ry. Others pre­fer to remain in silence taking in the over­whel­ming sight of so many islands with crys­tal clear water that soft­ly brushes over the white san­dy beaches.

Disi­ni bagus!”, says the fri­end­ly local gui­de who had been appoin­ted by the tour ope­ra­tor who runs an eco-lodge in Raja Ampat, indi­ca­ting that they have arri­ved at one of the most fan­tastic diving sites. On other days, this gui­de is just a simp­le fisher­man. The local fisher­men here are accusto­med to for­eig­ners and are fri­end­ly, espe­ci­al­ly when offe­red pinang (betel nuts) or some sweet can­dies. The­se are very popu­lar and offe­ring the­se sweets is con­si­de­red poli­te and a good way to win an instant smi­le. The fisher­men usual­ly eat this snack during Para-para Pinang, or soci­al chat­ting and exch­an­ging fun­ny sto­ries while chewing Pinang. In many respec­ts, like natu­re, cul­tu­re, and histo­ry, the­se fisher­men are clo­ser to the Moluc­cas.

No doubt about it, Raja Ampat is defi­ni­te­ly the richest place for fish that I have ever been.” --Dr G.R. Allen

I was like a five-year-old, see­ing a reef for the very first time. I was awest­ruck, held by the incredi­ble power of this richest reef. We must, with all avail­ab­le resour­ces, pre­ser­ve the beau­ty of Raja Ampat. This may be the last frontier.”--Michael Aw

I love the peop­le, I love the diving, it’s super! I’ve never been for a second time to the same dive desti­na­ti­on but now I’m thin­king about going back for the third time! Should I say more?” --Peter van Dalen

(The­se tes­ti­mo­ni­als are taken from www​.iri​an​di​ving​.com)

While the land­s­cape may look like a dream, this is not an illu­si­on. As you embark on your dive, the phra­se ‘Atten­ti­on to detail’ takes on new mea­ning as pig­my seahor­ses swim around your fin­gers. Man­ta Rays and wob­be­gongs will gli­de right by you. Tuna fish, giant tre­val­lies, snap­pers, and even bar­ra­cu­das are the­re to com­ple­te your under­wa­ter ‘mee­ting list’. Not to men­ti­on the fri­end­ly assi­stant of the dugong, and a busy col­league, the turt­le. Natu­ral and untouched beau­ty is the main attrac­tion here. With no unne­cessa­ry ada­ges, the sky, the lush islands, the sea, and ever­ything above and under it is genui­ne­ly say­ing ‘Wel­co­me to Raja Ampat Islands; your per­so­nal Dis­ney­land of diving sites’.

More fac­ts about the Raja Ampat Con­ser­va­ti­on Area:*

  • This area is home to 1,511 spe­ci­es of reef fish in the Bird’s Head Seas­cape;
  • 1,320 spe­ci­es of reef fish in Raja Ampat;
  • 75% of all known coral spe­ci­es in the world;
  • 10 times the num­ber of hard coral spe­ci­es found in the ent­i­re Carib­be­an;
  • In the Birds Head Seas­cape the­re 600 spe­ci­es of hard coral recor­ded;
  • 5 spe­ci­es of end­an­ge­red sea turt­les;
  • 57 spe­ci­es of Man­tis Shrimp;
  • 13 spe­ci­es of Mari­ne Mam­m­als;
  • And 27 spe­ci­es of ende­mic reef fish found only in that area

*accord­ing to a tour ope­ra­tor


Thailand Cambodia Conflict

The­re was a brief exchan­ge of fire bet­ween Cam­bo­di­an and Thai tro­ops yes­ter­day after­noon, but calm quick­ly retur­ned. The­re was no infor­ma­ti­on on whe­ther the most recent exchan­ge of fire at Preah Vihe­ar in Si Sa Ket pro­vin­ce had cau­sed any casu­al­ties.

The Cam­bo­di­an government has con­fir­med that Thailand’s Defence minis­ter has pul­led out of cease­fire talks that were sche­du­led to be held in Phnom Penh on Wed­nes­day.

Tens of thousands of peop­le have fled figh­t­ing bet­ween Thai­land and Cam­bo­dia over the past week with near­ly 30,000 peop­le living in 33 tem­pora­ry shel­ters in Thai­land.

This con­flict has had no effect on any of our tours ope­ra­ting in Cam­bo­dia or Thai­land as the area is far away from the popu­lar tou­rist desti­na­ti­ons.