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International travel and your laptop

July 13, 2009

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about an Internet connection. That was a problem back in the days of dial-up modems, because phone systems vary between countries, and because your local ISP would have been one very expensive toll call. But ethernet and WiFi are international standards, and if your hotel doesn’t offer Internet access, a nearby café will.

The biggest issues you’ll actually have to face are bringing your laptop across international borders, and plugging it into a power socket.

You risk trouble every time you carry a laptop across an international border, and that includes returning home. Most countries allow custom officials to search anything you bring into their country, including the contents of your hard drive. They may even insist that you decrypt anything that’s encrypted. And different countries may have different definitions of espionage and pornography.

If there’s anything on your hard drive that might cause trouble, remove it before you leave the country: Make an extra backup, then securely remove it with a program like Eraser. If you’re going to need the information on your trip, email it to yourself or ftp it to someplace on the Internet from where you can retrieve it.

It’s all very silly, of course. You can’t physically take some kinds of data into the country, but once there, you can retrieve it from cyberspace.

There’s an additional issue waiting when you come home. If your laptop is fairly new (say, less than six months old), you may need to prove to your home country’s customs agents that you didn’t buy it overseas, in which case you’d have to pay a duty tax on it. Receipts or registration paperwork should do. See the U.S. Customs document Know Before You Go (PDF) for additional advise.

Now then, what about electricity? Once you leave North America, the electronic devices you take with you won’t be compatible with the wall sockets you’ll encounter. The plugs will have a different shape, and they’ll be designed for a different voltage.

Luckily, virtually all laptop AC adapters can handle a wide range of voltages, so that probably won’t be a problem. Examine the tiny print on the adapter for something like “V100-240,” which means it can take handle everything from 100 volts to 240. To my knowledge, every country on the planet has AC power in that range. North America uses 120 volts; Western Europe, 230. If you’re concerned, check the International Voltage Guide for the country you’re visiting.

If there’s no such information on your adapter, contact the manufacturer and ask about it. You can buy voltage converters if you need to, but for a laptop, you probably won’t.

Even if voltage isn’t a problem, the physical plug will be–these vary greatly from one country to another. You’ll need a power plug adapter, which should be easy to find and cheap to buy. In about two minutes, we found an All-in-One Travel Power Plug Adapter that supports several countries for only $6. Of course, we can’t tell you if it’s any good, however!

Read the original forum discussion at http://forums.pcworld.com/message/233923.



Travelling by air with your commode or shower chair

July 13, 2009

This article is relevant to Air travel for people with disabilities

Traveling with your commode or shower chair entails flying and having to deal with airline personnel and airport security – Be prepared!

You are, most assuredly, going to be confronted with one or more potential obstacles. First of all, know your rights! There are numerous resources available on-line from which you may easily glean the specifics using a keyword search for “airline and wheelchair”. For our purpose here, however, suffice it to say that your portable commode / shower chair is a “fragile medical device” which should be “gate-checked” and is not chargeable as passenger baggage. Having your wheelchairs “Gate-checked” means that you will take your portable commode / shower chair through Security, to the gate, and into and down the jet-way. From there, it may either be stored on-board in the closet separating the first-class cabin from coach, or taken down below and stored with your wheelchair in the cargo compartment. The latter method is far more likely, these days, as most airlines, in their efforts to maximize revenue, have eliminated the aforementioned closet and replaced them with more seating. Adequate on-board storage, however, may be available on some of the larger aircraft utilized in international flights.

Let’s walk through the process of successfully gate-checking your portable commode / shower chair at no charge:

Before leaving home, take the liberty of stuffing your portable commode / shower chair carrying case first, with all of your medical supplies and second, with whatever clothing, or anything else, you can squeeze in except for vessels containing liquids or gels. As you will not be charged for this particular item of baggage, you may as well save yourself a few more bucks by filling it up.

Upon arrival at the airline’s service desk, check-in with a representative. Do not check-in electronically at a computer kiosk. Check and, if required, pay for your regular baggage. You can review a chart of all the airlines and their fees at bottom of this article. Note that Southwest Airlines should be your preferred air carrier as, of this writing, Southwest remains the only airline that does not charge for your first checked bag.

Carefully label and tag all of your baggage and instruct the agent at the counter to provide you with gate-check (pink) tags for both your wheelchair and for your portable commode / shower chair. When you are told, (and more likely than not, you will be told), that you have to check your portable commode / shower chair as regular baggage, pay for it or are given a hard time for any other reason, it’s time to get assertive. First, tell the Agent that you have always had your shower chair gate-checked. Second, inform the Agent that the case contains “delicate medical equipment” which, if dropped, or if something is dropped on it, will result in damage requiring the airline to replace a $2,000 wheelchair. I guarantee that you’ll be handed a pink gate-check tag very quickly. Should you experience any further problem (which I have not), demand to speak with a supervisor and take names.

Proceed to the TSA security checkpoint. Inform TSA security personnel that your case contains your commode/shower wheelchair and that it will fit, (albeit snugly), through the x-ray tunnel. To date, following many such security checks, I have yet to have my carrying case opened for inspection.

With the hard part behind you, proceed to your gate, check-in with the Agent at the counter, make whatever seating changes you want / they can make and arrange for an aisle chair to be available, should one be required. When the Agent asks what’s in the case, repeat yet again, “it’s a delicate shower chair”. You will be boarded ahead of the other passengers. Airline personnel, for the most part, well-trained in handling disabled passengers, will assist you down the jet-way along with your portable commode / shower chair, transfer board and laptop computer. After they transfer you to the aisle chair and on to the aircraft, they will stow both of your chairs. Make sure that you take your wheelchair seat cushion on board as storing it in the non-pressurized cargo compartment could result in damage to the cushion. The foam cushions on your portable commode / shower chair will store in cargo without any problems. Finally, when making connections, make certain that both wheelchair and portable commode / shower chairs are brought up into the jet-way and that, one way or another, that they accompany you to your connecting flight where you will have to repeat the boarding process yet again.

Air travel for people with disabilities is a hassle and can be embarrassing and downright uncomfortable. Following the steps in the aforementioned process will not change this fact, unfortunately, though it will make it a little less miserable.



US Airways to launch new flights to Barbados from Philadelphia

July 10, 2009

US Airways said that it is launching additional non-stop flights from Philadelphia International Airport to Barbados this autumn and winter.

From 1 October, the carrier will operate four weekly flights on the route, which will increase to a daily service from 19 December 2009 until 17 April 2010.

Flights will be operate using Airbus A319 aircraft, with 12 seats in First Class and 112 seats in the main cabin.

Tickets for the services will go on sale on 12 July.



Which airlines are the most pet-friendly?

July 9, 2009

Petfinder.com compared airlines to see which ones are the best choices if you’re traveling with pets. You may remember our post a while back on Pet Airways, about which Petfinder says, “While Pet Airways didn’t make the rankings because they haven’t ‘hit the air’ yet, [we are] excited to see the promising airline take off.”

5. United Airlines – Non-Discriminating
United Airlines accepts small cats, dogs and birds in the cabin; rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs as checked baggage and other animals including parrots, cockatiels and ferrets, in United Cargo.

4. American Airlines – Zoo Trusted
American Airlines’ animal-trained staff is known for transporting animals from popular zoos in cargo.

3. Airtran – Budget-Friendly
Airtran is currently the least expensive airline to fly with your small pet; just $69 each way.

2. JetBlue Airways – Full-Service Pet Love
JetBlue launched its JetPaws program last summer and provides a pet carrier bag tag, two TrueBlue points each way, a welcome e-mail and a free pet travel guide.

1. Continental – Safety-First
Continental is proud of its PetSafe program, which has a 24-hour Live Animal Desk (1-800-575-3335), tracking the pets from origin to destination. It is pricier than other programs, but it’s climate-controlled, allows roomy carriers and has designated cargo staff.

“Petfinder names the top 5 most pet-friendly airlines of 2009” [Petfinder.com]

[Source: Consumerist.com]



Getting to and around in Scandinavian capitals

July 9, 2009

Copenhagen

Copenhagen

Scandinavia is a historical and geographical region in northern Europe that includes, and is named after, the Scandinavian Peninsula. It consists of the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark; some authorities argue for the inclusion of Finland and Iceland, in Scandinavia the term is, however, used unambiguously for Denmark, Norway and Sweden, which share a mutually intelligible language (a dialect continuum), ethnic composition and have close cultural and historic bonds, to a degree that Scandinavians may be considered one people.

Regardless of how the term Scandinavia is used outside the region, the terms Nordic countries and Nordic region are used officially and unambiguously to identify the nations of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland as well as the Danish territory of the Faroe Islands and the Finnish territory of Åland as politically and culturally similar entities.

Here’s a complete guide to getting to and around the Scandinavian capital cities of Copenhagen (Denmark), Stockholm (Sweden), Oslo (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Tallinn (Estonia).

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What happens if airline cancels your flight?

July 9, 2009

When you buy a ticket on an airline you enter into a contract with that airline. This contract of carriage spells out the obligations and rights of a carrier and a passenger. Some of the terms are set by the airline, while others are standard terms or terms provided by applicable law. Contracts of carriage can often be found on an airline’s Web site.

According to Department of Transportation data for 19 U.S. carriers, the airlines canceled 1.5 percent of their scheduled domestic flights in April, the most recent month for which the data is available.

The reasons an airline could change the time of your flight or cancel it altogether include weather, mechanical problems and shortage of crew. Some consumer advocates even speculate that airlines might cancel a flight if few people book tickets on it, though they acknowledge that would be hard to prove, and the airlines deny they would do that.

Here are tips to help you understand your options if your airline changes the time of your flight or cancels it.

There are no guarantees
Some airlines advises passengers that its schedules are subject to change without notice and that times shown on its tickets are not guaranteed. The airline may say it will not be responsible for errors or omissions in timetables or other representation of schedules.

Request a refund
Most airlines will refund the amount you paid for a ticket if they cancel your flight and can’t accommodate you on another flight that gets you to your destination on the day you were expecting. Most will not compensate you, however, for money you lost because your flight was canceled – such as missing a client meeting and not getting a big account. Remember that if you accept a refund and choose to buy a ticket on another airline, you will likely pay the walk-up fare, which is often significantly higher than the discounted coach seat you may have originally booked.

Try to negotiate
With fewer people flying, airlines are eager to generate loyalty and keep customers coming back. You may be able to use that to your advantage if an airline inconveniences you by canceling or rescheduling your flight.

Ask for a hotel room
American Airlines says that if a delay or cancellation was caused by events within its control and it does not get a passenger to his or her final destination on the expected arrival day, it will provide “reasonable” overnight accommodations, subject to availability.

Try to be rebooked
Some major airlines have interline agreements that allow them to easily rebook a passenger on another carrier. For example, under certain circumstances United Airlines may arrange for transportation on another carrier or a combination of carriers if it is unable to provide a new flight that is acceptable to the customer. In that case, the passenger would be entitled to the same class of service as the original flight at no additional cost.

Make sure your airline has your e-mail address or telephone number
… so it can alert you in the event that it cancels or reschedules your flight. There’s no hard and fast rule saying how much advance notice an airline must give you about a flight cancellation or schedule change. The last thing you want is to find out there’s a problem when you get to the airport. Delta Air Lines encourages its passengers to sign up for a service that sends them voice, text or e-mail alerts about changes to their flight. Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways have similar services. Some airlines also post the status of flights on their Web sites.



Priceline and Ticketmaster form partnership

July 9, 2009

Ticketmaster and Priceline.com Inc. announced Thursday that they would team up to offer travel services to ticket buyers, making Priceline the “Official Travel Partner” of the ticket agent.

The exclusive partnership allows Ticketmaster, a unit of Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., to provide customers various hotel, airline and rental car offers from Priceline.com.

The collaboration essentially gives the approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of Ticketmaster’s online customers that travel to events out of town a one-stop shopping experience as they can buy tickets to an event and plan their travel arrangements on one Web site.

Ticketmaster will have links and offers from Priceline on its Web site, such as Name Your Own Price hotel rooms, rental cars and airline tickets. It will also offer published-price travel services with comparision charts, maps, city attractions and hotel and restaurant reviews.

Ticketmaster president Eric Korman said, “Roughly 20-30 percent of tickets purchased on Ticketmaster.com are for events outside of the fan’s home market so providing a convenient conduit to affordable travel information and solutions will bring a tremendous new convenience that will enhance the entire event experience.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed.



Reasons to travel with a Kindle

July 8, 2009

You Don’t Have to Sprint to the Airport Newsstand
Before a flight you may face an abysmally long security queue. You may be worried that you are going to miss your flight and making a quick dash to the newsstand to pick up reading material is out of the question.

You can turn on the e-book reader’s wireless connection and buy the current editions of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Newsweek. Within a few minutes, each publication is delivered wirelessly to your Kindle 2.

You Can Comfortably Read a Newspaper in Coach
Have you ever tried to read a newspaper in a crowded coach cabin? You have to fold the paper just so, and then position your arms in a certain way, so your elbows don’t make contact with your seatmate’s teeth. That’s not the case with a Kindle. You can comfortably read papers, as well as magazines, books, and blogs, with ease, no matter how sardined you are.

You Can Read Documents and Web Content
If you’ve got a lot of work-related reading to do in flight, you’ve traditionally had two options: (1) Print out and pack what you need, which adds bulk to your carry-on bag; and (2) Read it on your computer, which depletes your laptop battery.

The Kindle gives you a much better option for reading documents and even Web content in flight–one that adds no additional weight to your bag because you don’t need to carry printed pages, doesn’t drain your laptop/netbook battery (so you can use your portable PC for something else, like watching video), and doesn’t require in-flight Wi-Fi.

To read documents on your Kindle 1 or 2, most files will first need to be converted to the Kindle’s native formats (.azw and .azw1). (The Kindle DX supports PDF documents as well.)
There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest is to e-mail your Microsoft Word files, PDFs, HTML pages, and other documents to your Kindle e-mail address. (If you didn’t set up a Kindle e-mail address, you can do so by signing in to Amazon’s Manage Your Kindle page.) The next time you turn on your Kindle’s wireless network, the document(s) will be automatically converted and downloaded to the device. The conversion process takes about 5 minutes, usually. However, Amazon charges 15 cents per megabyte for transferring documents to your Kindle wirelessly via e-mail. That’s not much, and the convenience is worth it. But if you plan to send dozens of documents on a regular basis, the cost can add up.

The other option is free but a tad more complicated. You e-mail the file you want to transfer to your Kindle address, but you add free to the address. For example, if your Kindle e-mail address is yourname@kindle.com, you’d e-mail the attached file to yourname@free.kindle.com.

Within a few minutes, you’ll receive an e-mail from Amazon Kindle Support. The e-mail will include a hyperlink, which, when clicked, will download the converted file to your computer. Now you can drag and drop the file into your Kindle’s Documents folder, when the e-book reader is connected to your computer via USB cable. Amazon outlines the steps for transferring documents and files to a Kindle on its Web site.

You can download travel guides
While traveling to destinations which you’ve never traveled before, you can purchase travel guides on the Kindle 2 and refer them as you go on to your adventure.
Check out travel guides available for Kindle and PDF downloads

The Wrap Up
Paying $359 or $489 for the Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, respectively, may be way too much for many people in this economy. But any device that can lighten your carry-on load, and yet keep business travelers productive and entertained during long flights, is worth considering, if your budget allows.

Tip: M-Edge’s Platform Jacket ($30) for the Kindle 2 does double-duty as a protective cover and book stand. You can prop up your Kindle 2 on your seatback tray and read almost entirely hands free (you’ve got to push the Next Page and Prev Page buttons, of course).

If you own an iPhone then you can also download the Kindle reader application for iPhone for free!



Tiger Airways launch new Melbourne to Sydney flight

July 7, 2009

The world’s third busiest travel route has welcomed a new player to the market, with Tiger Airways launching budget flights between Melbourne and Sydney.

From Friday, up to four daily services will run between Sydney and Melbourne, which is expected to add more than 500,000 visitor seats annually between the two cities.

While the Melbourne-to-Sydney flight route is already hugely busy, Tiger Airways managing director Shelley Roberts said it expectED the new flights would open up travel to a new market.

“Our expansion into this route is in response to overwhelming customer feedback in both cities. Now we’re bringing real competition to this incredibly popular route,” Ms Roberts said.

The flights will start from $39 (one way, including tax and charges).

Tiger commenced operations from Melbourne Airport in November 2007 and currently has four Airbus A320 aircraft serving 11 destinations from Melbourne.

Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas welcomed the announcement as a boost for the local economy, tourism and commuters.

[Source: TheAge.com.au]



Spring Airlines to sell standing room tickets

July 7, 2009

Spring planes will become “like a bus” in an effort to increase passenger load by 40%, due to a sharp influx of customers wishing to take advantage of Spring Airlines’ cheap rates. Chinese airline officials are considering an unusual request made by Spring Airlines: allow passengers to purchase standing room only fares on short flights at cheaper rates.

Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang defends the idea, saying that “for a lower price, passengers should be able to get on a plane like catching a bus, with no seat, no luggage consignment, no food, no water, but very convenient.” It is theorized that the Spring Airlines Airbus A320 would be able to accommodate up to 40% more passengers while cutting operating costs significantly if it were to allow standing-room fares.

Where safety is concerned, airline spokesperson Zhang Wuan explained that passengers would be strapped into a barstool-like seat during take off and landing with a safety belt that fastens around the waist. Zhang claims that Airbus has assured the airline that this seating proposal is perfectly safe.

Airline president Wang Zhenghua, in a statement given to Chinese television, that since the Vice Premier lent his support, the idea has been gaining momentum.

Questions, such as how airline staff will move through the standing passengers, and safety concerns regarding evacuation issues have not been addressed.



Air India launches multi-user four coupon ticket for economy travel

July 7, 2009

Air India, as part of its ongoing marketing initiatives targeting the corporate sector, has launched “Quick Returns” – a four-coupon multi-user ticket booklet for economy class travel on the domestic sectors at an attractive price of Rs 22,916, inclusive of all taxes. The tickets are being made available for sale from July 4 till July 11; and the travel is to be completed by September 20, 2009.

“Quick Returns” booklets will be valid for use on both IC and AI coded flights on all domestic sectors barring Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram, Delhi-Kochi, Delhi-Kozhikode and Delhi-Coimbatore. Members of the Frequent Flyer Programme will earn 100 Mileage points for each sector of travel under the “Quick Returns” scheme. Corporate Houses which have entered into deals with Air India are also eligible to purchase the “Quick Returns” tickets.

To facilitate easier use of four coupon booklets, the “Quick Returns” scheme allows change of name and the sector of travel on payment of Rs 1000 per coupon. The UDF charges, wherever applicable, will have to be paid by the passengers. The tickets are non-refundable.

The Quick Returns scheme comes soon after the closure of Monsoon Special Fares – valid from June 27 till July 3, under which tickets were sold between Rs 1750 and Rs 2500 for travel on 130 domestic routes. In June 2009, the airline had introduced a short term Business Class Super Saver four-coupon scheme priced at Rs 38,000, for boosting travel in the Executive Class.



Joshua Tree National Park, California

July 6, 2009
Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree

Landscape
Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park also includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. Five fan palm oases also dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds.

Climate
Days are typically clear with less than 25 percent humidity. Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high/low of 85 and 50°F (29 and 10°C) respectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60°F (15°C), and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at higher elevations. Summers are hot, over 100°F (38°C) during the day and not cooling much below 75°F (24°C) until the early hours of the morning.

Get there
Joshua Tree National Park lies 140 miles east of Los Angeles. It can be approached from the west via Interstate 10 and Hwy 62 (Twentynine Palms Highway). The north entrances to the park are located at Joshua Tree Village and the city of Twentynine Palms. The south entrance at Cottonwood Spring, which lies 25 miles east of Indio, can be approached from the east or west, also via Interstate 10.

Fees
Entry fee options are as follows: The Joshua Tree National Park Annual Pass, $30 for 12 months; vehicle entry, $15.00 for 7 days; walk-in entry, $5.00 for 7 days. Alternatively, the new National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass can be purchased for $80 and allows free entry to all National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Forest Service sites where entrance or standard amenity fees are charged for one year.

IMPORTANT: All fees must be paid in cash. They do not accept credit/debit cards.

Every campground has a unmaned post that says “Pay fees here” where you can collect the yellow envelope, write the details on it, put money in the envelope and place it in the secured box provided. 

Hidden Valley Campground. Put money in the yellow envelope and place it in the grey secured box

Hidden Valley Campground. Put money in the yellow envelope and place it in the grey secured box

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Air Arabia launches ticket & visa offer

July 2, 2009
Air Arabia

Air Arabia

Air Arabia, Sharjah’s budget carrier, has announced the launch of a special summer promotion, which offers roundtrip tickets to Sharjah, from any of the 46 destinations the airline currently serves, along with a one-month UAE tourist visa for just DHS 975 (approx $265) , inclusive of surcharges and exclusive of airport taxes.

The offer is valid for travel to Sharjah between June 15 and July 31 and return travel from Sharjah between July 16 and September 10, the airline has said.

Please note that we or our website are not responsible for any erroneous information; and we do not book tickets or apply for visas to any countries. It’s the responsibility of the website visitor to arrange and book their itineraries and visas.



Travel all around Turkey for 150TL

July 1, 2009

The Turkish State Railways, or TCDD, has announced a program offering three new cards for unlimited travel on certain types of trains during specified time periods.

The “Express Train Tour Card,” which costs 150 Turkish Liras, is valid for one month on super-express trains such as Başkent, Cumhuriyet and Fatih, as well as the blue train, express, regional express, rail bus and normal urban trains. For 500 liras, the “Compartment Train Tour Card” is valid for all trains on the Express Train Tour Card and also allows free rides for three days on train compartments with beds, with everything included.

The “High Speed Train Travel Card,” which costs 200 liras for students and 300 liras for all other passengers, is valid for one month on all trains in Turkey, with the exception of sleeper compartments.

A ride from Kapıkule to Kars
There are 42 provinces in Turkey where one can travel by train. The Eskişehir Express, leaving from Haydarpaşa Station in Istanbul at 7:10 a.m., offers the chance to discover Eskişehir’s museums of aviation and archeology as well as the Odunpazarı, Kurşunlu and Alaaddin mosques. From Eskişehir, train routes continue on to İzmir, Afyon, Konya, Adana, Ankara, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzurum, Kars, Diyarbakır, Tatvan and Kurtalan.

Travelers who stop off in Ankara can visit Atatürk’s mausoleum, the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, the Ethnography Museum, Beypazarı and Kızılcahamam. From the capital, one can continue on to Zonguldak and Karabük, Adana, Malatya or Kars on the rails. The “Güney,” or Van Gölü Express, leaves early in the morning and reaches Kayseri after midday. It is possible to leave for Sivas late in the evening without spending the night in Kayseri. The central city’s sights include the Ulu Mosque, Kale Mosque, Meydan Mosque, the Madrassa with Twin Minarets, Gök Madrassa, the Congress Museum, bridges, Turkish baths and inns. The Erzurum Express leaving from Sivas leads to Erzincan, home to plenty of historical monuments, including artifacts dating back to the Neolithic Age.

The Eastern Express or Erzurum Express may be used to travel to Kars to visit the Ani excavation site 42 kilometers away. Both of the express trains to Kars go back to Sivas, from where Samsun may be reached via the regional express. After visiting the city of Samsun, which was founded in the 7th century B.C., Amasya makes a nice stop on the way back to Sivas.

The provinces that can be visited with the new train cards include Istanbul, Edirne, Eskişehir, Ankara, Zonguldak, Kayseri, İzmir, Manisa, Adana, Mersin, Hatay, Gaziantep, Konya, Diyarbakır and Mardin.



“Smile Cards” for tourists in Bangkok

June 30, 2009

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced the launch of its Bangkok Smile Card project this July.

According to BMA Deputy Governor, Ms Taya Teepsuvarn, the BMA will introduce a boat pass, add information booths and designate certain roads as walking streets.

The “smile cards” are part of a wider campaign that tags Bangkok as a city of smiles. About 100,000 smile cards are to be produced for tourists to pick up at BMA information booths. It will offer discounts for attractions, shopping, dining, night sightseeing, spa, golf, massage as well as medical treatment.

Ms Taya said the BMA would work with Chao Phraya River boat operators to offer a one-day pass, priced at Bt150 (about US$5). It will enable tourists to board ferry services on the Chao Phraya River at a discount flat rate.

BMA also plans to redecorate existing information booths and build 13 new booths. It will ultimately have 28 BMA information booths once the project is completed. Another ambitious project involves setting up walking street zones in Samprang district, close to Ratchadamneon Road and Pak Klong Talat.

BMA has roughly Bt300 million a year to spend on tourism. The city welcomes about 27 million domestic visitors and 8 million international visitors who generate about Bt260 to Bt300 million in revenue.

For more information about destinations and festivals around Thailand, please call the TAT Call Center 1672.


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