Chiang Rai, Thailand

Oh look, another temple! Ken next took us to Wat Haus Pla Kung, a temple with a strong Chinese influence. There was an enormous statue of the (a?) goddess of mercy, visible well before we arrived at the temple. There was a new temple under construction, and we did go look at the old one, […]

Click on the link for more beautiful pictures
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Ayutthaya, Thailand

Sweet, tropical Thailand…. It’s only been nine days since I left, and my heart aches to be back under your warm sun, eating your delicious food and (dare I say) back on your trains exploring… On our second day in Thailand, we walked around and found a restaurant. The owner was a young person who […]

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Laos – Mekong River: A Journey of a Lifetime

Taking a long boat into Laos is about the cheapest way to get there from Thailand… its also two days long. A highlight of my trip in South East Asia. The natural beauty of the landscape and the culture of the people, make the two days seem like two hours.

via Mekong River: A Journey of a Lifetime

Once in Ha Long, Vietnam

Here are some things you can do or see in Ha Long Bay city. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and popular travel destination in Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam. We had some time to travel around and see this beautiful city here are a few places and things we liked. Shopping You have the night market, […]

via Once in Ha Long, Vietnam — two portuguese girls

Ayutthaya – the Rome of Asia

I stayed 4 days in Ayutthaya and I loved the town. Being a close one day tour destination from Bangkok I´m glad I stayed longer. The town is small but big enough to walk around the whole day, rent a bicycle and explore the area, temple by temple. Khmer culture is widespread but I also […]

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Elephants, Treks and Rafting in Chiang Mai

So you’re in Asia, Chiang Mai to be exact, and you are planning on going to see the elephants. Good idea! Now I bet you’re wondering which tour to do? Who to sign up with? One of my absolute favourite day trips i’ve done during my travels would be the elephant, trek and rafting trip […]

via Elephants, Treks and Rafting in Chiang Mai

How to get a Cambodia Visa

If you are holding any Southeast Asia country passport (Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and Myanmar), congratulations! You do not need a visa for Cambodia, which means, you can just walk thru the border and get stamped easily. For travellers from other countries, you can either get the visa done before […]

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Thailand – Yen Sira Phro Phra Bori Ban exhibition to honour late King Bhumibol

HIS Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn will be invited to preside over the opening of the exhibition “Yen Sira Phro Phra Bori Ban” on Friday, which will be staged in honour to the late monarch, HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The exhibition will be held at Sanam Luang, and feature the late King’s royal works and some of his personal items.

PM’s Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck, secretary of the command centre monitoring the mourning period for the late King, revealed yesterday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha would issue the invitation to the new King.

Since the passing of the late King, a huge number of people dressed in black have flocked to Sanam Luang each day to queue for the opportunity to pay their respects to him and lay prostrate before his body in the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall at the Grand Palace.

 Tomorrow, a biking event in tribute to the late King will start at 6am. According to the government’s Public Relations Department, the bike route stretches from the Provincial Electricity Authority headquarters in Chatuchak to Ngam Wong Wan Road, through Pongpetch Intersection, Tao Poon T-junction, Saphan Sung, Rama V Road, the Chitralada Royal Villa compound, Wat Benchamabophit Intersection, the Equestrian Statue of King Rama V, Rajdamnoen Avenue and the Phan Phiphop Lila Intersection, before ending at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus.

On the same day, the 6th Thailand International Half Marathon will take place from 4-8am. Around 4,500 runners are expected to fill the route between Rama VII Bridge and Elevated Borommaratchahonnani Road.

The public are encouraged to avoid these routes as traffic will be blocked from entering them when these events are held.For more details, call the 1197 hotline.

Source: TheNation

Myanmar boosts incentives for infra development, labour-intensive projects

An advertising billboard of Ooredoo in Yangon. Foreign investment, particularly in the telecoms sector, continues to flow into Myanmar.

Myanmar boosts incentives for infra development, labour-intensive projects

THE MYANMAR Investment Commission, a government body to facilitate both foreign and local investment, has planned plans to provide more incentives for investors in the two areas that are crucial to the country’s growth, labour-intensive industries and infrastructure development, a senior official said.

According to Aung Naing Oo, secretary of Myanmar Investment Commission and director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, the MIC will also encourage agricultural-based industries, aside from its two priorities.

He also explained about the two things MIC would look at before allowing any investor to do business in Myanmar.However, he said proposed investments had to meet standards. “First, any investment must be in line with our existing laws and regulations. Second, we prefer quality investments rather than trying to improve on the quantity level. For example, if a mega project may bring negative impacts to the country, we do not think it is a good investment,” he said.


LEDSIGNZ

Other things that the government investment agency takes into consideration include a project’s prospects for profitability, how it can improve the national income and revenue, while creating job opportunities. The MIC also considers how a proposed project sits in the international and local market situation, generates demand for domestic consumption, makes use of innovation, and results in the application of relevant technology. A project must also have arrangements to minimize environmental and social impacts.

 During the new government’s term,From April to early October, the MIC has approved 45 foreign investments totaling more than $400 million and 22 citizen investment projects worth about $100 million.

and Ks170 billion.By August 31, Myanmar had approved 1,131 firms from 45 countries for investments of $64.4 billion. China stands as the top investor with 141 firms that have committed to invest $18.1 billion, followed by Singapore (214 firms, $13.5 billion) and Thailand (98 firms, $10.6 billion). Among the Top 10 investors are Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Malaysia, the Netherlands, India and Vietnam.

Oil and gas, power, and manufacturing are the sectors in which Myanmar receives the most FDI. These three sectors are followed by transport and communications, real estate, mining, hotels and tourism, livestock and fisheries, agriculture, industrial estate, construction, and other services.

By September, the commission has allowed more than 46,000 local investors and over 5,000 foreign investors to do business. To cope with the increasing activity, MIC staffing was increased from 200 to more than 500 staff during the administration of President Thein Sein.

With the opening of its regional office in Hpa-An township in Kayin state on October 6, MIC now has nine branches, and two more branches will be opened by the end of this year, in the Bago and Magway regions.

“We hope to open branches in every state and region by 2017. If we can expand our network by opening new branches, things will get easier when we do investigation on project sites,” Aung Naing Oo said. He said he was confident that the MIC has the capacity to keep away dirty money.


LEDSIGNZ

“It is impossible to invest in Myanmar with black money, because we usually check the financial documents of all the companies, whether they register under the Foreign Investment Law or with Myanmar Citizens Investment Law,” he said.

Applicants’ finance is thoroughly checked, starting with their bank statements. Only transactions through banks are accepted, and this is under the monitoring of the Central Bank of Myanmar.

“It is really hard to transact black money via recognised banks.”

For investment by local entities, MIC cooperates with the Internal Revenue Department to check if the applicants pay taxes. The commission also has to report to the Home Affairs Ministry if a proposed investment exceeds 100 million kyat (Bt2.6 million), in case the ministry wants to check if money laundering is involved.

“Every investor has to attach necessary documents whenever they submit investment proposal. For example, if an investor submits a proposal to invest 10 million kyat but his bank account shows he possesses less than the proposed budget, we usually investigate how he will earn the remaining amount of money. This may involve a loan from an international organisation or a commercial bank and we may assess how he will manage to pay the interest etc,” Aung Naing Oo said.

Scrutiny in 2 steps

He said a project is scrutinised in two steps. “First, by MIC staff and secondly by the investment proposals assessment committee, which consists of high-ranking officials from relevant departments including ministries of commerce, labour, industry, construction, forestry and environmental conservation, the customs department, the internal revenue department, etc.” he said

“They also review the projects from their own perspective. If all of us are not satisfied with the proposal, we usually ask the investors for clarification and some necessary documents. Only when we all are happy, we will allow them to do business in Myanmar,” he said.

Aung Niang Oo noted that Myanmar welcomes all kinds of investment proposals. But the MIC may be unfamiliar with some projects and has to seek opinions from ministries, which sometimes lead to delays in the approval process.

Issuing permits is merely part of the MIC’s responsibilities. After issuing the permits, it has to check if the investors have followed their commitments in the proposals. This monitoring is the most exhausting process, the official said.

“Nowadays, we have more things to do than ever. We also have to help investors with their exports and imports after they receive the permits. So, our staff are usually super busy. That checking is usually carried out on weekends,” he said.

An investor who does not honour their commitments is liable to four types of penalties. First, a warning will be issued, then incentives like a tax holiday could be revoked. In some cases, a company’s operations will be suspended until the investors can satisfy the MIC. Lastly, a company can be blacklisted.

During the previous government term, two Korean garment factories were forced to shut down businesses for failing to follow the rules.

Source: TheNation