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Ulan Bator

Despite its reputation as a fallen dynasty, Mongolia still remains a country of wonder and mystique. The country’s capital is Ulan Bator, a city of 1 million people. The city sits on the north central part of the country, Mongolia’s industrial, financial, and commercial hub. It recently grew into the country’s manufacturing center in the 20th century.

Ulan Bator is a city of smiling women and grunting men, people raised in hardship while living amidst spectacular scenery. The city is also a city of culture, one that has remained untouched by the modern world due to its inaccessibility. At first glance the city is gloomy, dingy, and gray, but its people are just the opposite, teeming with color and vibrant hospitality. Ulan Bator is a painfully honest city, where you can find poverty in the streets, former nomads trying to find their luck in the country’s capital amidst smiling children wearing the traditional colorful Mongolian attire. Think about this while you reflect at the Gandan Monastery, one of the many monasteries in the area. You can also immerse yourself in Mongolian history by visiting any of the city’s museums. A trip to Mongolia is not complete if you do not experience the Naadam, the country’s most famous festival. See a swirl of colors and witness the artistry of Mongolian nomads as they perform in horse racing, archery, and wrestling events.

You can get around by taxi, since taxis are pretty cheap at T300-350 per kilometer. Buses charge lower at T200 ($1 is equal to 1380 Mongolian Tugrik), but they are slower and typically go on fewer routes. Walking is another option, especially if you want to explore the city center first. Petty robbery is the main problem for tourists in Ulan Bator, always secure your belongings when walking or touring in groups. The best time for a visit is from June to September.

Tourists can obtain a visa for Mongolia places where a Mongolian consulate is present. If planning to stay at Mongolia for more than 90 days, an entry visa is required. Registering with the police is required when planning to stay for more than 30 days.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, a vibrant, rich city teeming with 7.2 million of Malaysia’s population. The Greater Kuala Lumpur, or the Klang Valley, is Malaysia’s legislative capital and the home of the Petronas Twin towers, two of the tallest buildings in the world.

Kuala Lumpur, KL to most Malaysians, is a distinct fusion of various Asian influences, as well as the modern and the old, the cheap and the high-end. The city is a bustling metropolis, its fast but charming pace seen in the hawkers and street vendors ready to sell you whatever you need at the city’s commercial place and in the colors, sights, and sounds of the Central Market. Experience the same in a subdued setting in the evenings at the Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown where you can bargain-hunt to your heart’s content. If you are looking for one of the biggest shopping malls just visit the Mid Valley Megamall for all your needs. If you a whole street of shopping malls, in combination with the cities best restaurants visit Jalan Bukit Bintang. When you are looking for a night out in Kuala Lumpur hit Jalan P. Ramlee area for a lot of clubs and discotheques of which Beach Club and Aloha are the most popular. For a the beauty of nature, you can head over to the Botanical Gardens, where you can experience the lush tropical jungle right in the heart of the city.

Getting around Kuala Lumpur is a breeze. You can get from point A to point B by bus, train, or taxi. Be careful for taxi hassles and persist on using the meter. You can visit KL anytime, as the weather is fair and sunny anytime of the year. Tourist season in Kuala Lumpur peaks in the dry months, which are June and July. This is also true for the months of October to January, which is the festival season. If you are planning to visit KL during these months, make your reservations in advance. Kuala Lumpur is generally safe, with petty thieves and pickpockets the major cause of worry for most tourists especially in crowded areas.

One only needs an international passport and other internationally recognized documents to enter Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur. Your passport must have a validity period for at least six months at the date of entry. American citizens receive a 90 days visa upon arrival. Visitors will also be asked to provide proof of adequate funds for the trip as well as return or forward travel documents.


Shopping in Thailand can easily turn into a addiction since it’s capital Bangkok is the shopping destination that passed by shopaholics paradise Hong Kong years ago. Ten’s of giant luxurious shopping along with 24 hours markets for bargaining turned Bangkok to be the leading shopping destination in South East Asia. Another upcoming shopping destination within Thailand is Chiang Mai which night market attracts thousands of tourists a day.

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Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city, is a late 20th century addition – a 1960s replacement to the former capital city of Karachi. It is found northwest of Pakistan, in the Potohar Plateau. This modern city is populated by more than one million people.

Islamabad is a popular tourist destination and there are several historical and unique places that are worth a visit. You may visit the Shah Faisal Mosque and the Islamabad Museum for a taste of culture. If you are bringing along a child, you can relax at the Islamabad Zoo. Going around both Islamabad and Rawalpindi, you will better understand the differences between these twin cities. Islamabad’s organized layout can be seen through its right angles, sophisticated restaurants, and overall subdued suburban look. This is in comparison to Rawalpindi’s sprawling streets that still possess some 19th century overtones.

You can reach and depart from Islamabad through the Islamabad International Airport. Before touring the city, you can take advantage of the airport’s tourist information center. You can also book a bus through a travel agency; air-conditioned buses are available. Another option for traveling by land is a train ride, in which you have to book reservations. Islamabad can be cold or sweltering hot. If it gets too hot, you can escape to the mountain of Muree for some cool air.

To visit Islamabad, you need a temporary entry visa, a tourist visa, or a business visa to Pakistan. You also need a valid passport to stay in the country. You may extend your stay in Pakistan if you have a business visa. To get a business visa, however, you need an invitation from your host in Pakistan. You will also be asked to submit a business letter of responsibility. Whatever type of visa you apply for, make sure to completely fill up the corresponding application forms.


Vientiane, Laos is considered Southeast Asia’s largest village. The capital city is so-called the largest village in Southeast Asia because it is a cross between a tiny city and a big town. Vientiane can be found near the Mekong River’s shores. Its Asian location and added French influences create a truly exotic, unique feel – perfect for tourists looking for something unusual. Populated with just about 465 thousand citizens, tourists are truly welcome in this friendly Laos capital.

A camera will prove to be valuable in a place such as Vientiane. With so many sights to relish, you may find yourself capturing very Asian scenes such as noodle stalls and even a taste of French in some of the city’s crumbling mansions and its Champs Elysees-like central boulevard. Even your taste buds will rejoice because Vientiane offers international dishes, including delectable French cuisine. The quiet friendliness of the city also helps you to enjoy everything more.

You can reach Vientiane through Lao Airlines, Thai Airways International, and Vietnam Airlines. You may also book a ferry or a cargo boat from Luang Prabang or other nearby cities. On land, you can ride air-conditioned buses at approximately US$7 per three hours. If you want to feel more immersed into the city, you can rent a bicycle or a motorcycle for a day or two. Though Vientiane makes a lovely picture, make sure you read the fine print before signing anything regarding travel documents, especially for your accommodation package. The temperature in this city is usually hot so bring light clothes.

You will need a visa and a valid passport to visit Vientiane, Laos. You may also need to book your trip through a travel agency and have your arrival pre-approved by an agency in Laos. Not only that, you also need to have a bank account with a minimum of US$400 deposit. Payment for fees, confirmed hotel reservation, and proof of return travel may also be needed for you to be given a visa.


Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta, dubbed “The Big Durian” is an interesting travel destination. The streets may get hot and smoggy but Jakarta is popular for its ability to conjure a hodge-podge of interesting details. A melting pot of cultures and lifestyles, Jakarta can offer both decadent and refined, the earthy and the soulful. Its city proper is populated by more than eight million; the metro is home to more than 13 million citizens.

Jakarta is home to polite, traditional people. Beneath the slums, you’ll see plenty of surprises. Walking along the streets and conversing with the locals will allow you to see a glimpse of the Indonesians’ desire to overcome one of their nation’s biggest problems; poverty. A melting pot of different cultures, traversing the streets of Jakarta may mean rubbing shoulders with people of Bataks, Ambonese, Timorese, Balinese, and Madurese origins.

Jakarta’s main airport, the Soekarno-Hatta Airport, is named after Indonesia’s very first president and vice-president. The country’s largest airline is the Garuda Airlines. Within Jakarta, you can pamper yourself with a limo ride, which may be metered or paid by the hour. The ride can cost as much as 150 thousand rupiah. You may actually save money via a taxi; you do not have to tip the taxi driver but you are required to tip your limo chauffeur. If you want to experience Jakarta at its hottest, visit in July; the temperature can rise up to 88 degree Fahrenheit. January is milder, with a temperature range of 73 degree Fahrenheit to 84 degree Fahrenheit.

You are required to get a visa to Indonesia. A tourist visa will allow a stay of up to 30 days. The VISA will be stamped on your passport upon arrival for a small fee. Only those from ASEAN countries are exempted. Your passport must also be valid for at least six months upon arrival.


North Korea projects an eerie landscape of near-empty wide spaces. The grey, nondescript buildings do not help diminish the look. However, this landscape actually attracts tourists who want to experience mystery and a sense of nervous excitement by visiting the country’s capital, Pyongyang. Pyongyang, meaning “flat land”, is found near the Taedong River. Its population is approximated at 3.8 million people.

What makes Pyongyang a little bit different from the rest of North Korea is that it is considered the country’s receiving area. It is a showcase city built to impress approved visitors. Designated guides are eager to treat you to a series of beautiful sights. Walking around is best so that you can truly enjoy the cityscape.

When you go around Pyongyang, you will be most likely accompanied by a guide. This is especially true if you plan on riding the city’s metro trains, buses, or trams. Your guides will also prefer taking you to the two approved metro stations. Note that buses and trams can be pretty overcrowded while the metro is fast but has limited reach. If you do not want to brave the bus masses or to be restricted by the metro, you can always book a taxi; your guide will be riding with you, of course. In July, expect mild temperature averaging at 70 degree Fahrenheit. January temperature, on the other hand, can be frigid – dipping up to 9 degree Fahrenheit. Touring the streets of Pyongyang is better during the summer months.

You will not be able to get a visa to North Korea in the United States. Instead, you need to go to either Beijing or Shenyang in China to apply for a visa. You will be getting a North Korean Visa plus a Chinese Double Entry visa to be welcomed in both North Korea and China.


Celebrations were almost prohibited in the strong-communistic period. Only political feasts were an exception. Since Doi Moi the Vietnamese got back to feasting again. Festivals involve impressive wealth of colors, a lot of spectators and a colorful program.

The Vietnamese calendar is a mix of the sun calendar (Western Gregorian year of 365 days) and the moon calendar. A moon year has 355 days. The Vietnamese moon calendar is a match with the old Chinese moon calendar and they started counting 2637 years before our calendar. The sun calendar is established through the republican revolution of 1912.

Vietnam celebrations & festivals include,

Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. People feast for a whole week (three official festival days): family meetings, annual fairs, parades and lots of presents. Since a few years fireworks are forbidden. If one can afford it, people let the champagne corks pop. This is for the Vietnamese our form of Christmas. When you travel through Vietnam in this period, you should take full hotels, transportation, sights and closed shops into account.

Thanh Minh, the fifth day of the third month is dedicated to the ancestor honouring. Graves are decorated with flowers, incense candles and paper objects.

Phat Dan, on the eight day of the fourth month the Vietnamese celebrate the birth date of Buddha. Religious people spend this day in the pagoda that is decorated with lanterns. In the evening processions are held.

Tet Doan Ngu, the highest point of the sun Is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month. The Vietnamese believe that their energy reaches its highest point. They offer gifts to the angry spirits that spread diseases. They throw dolls into fire as a sacrifice for the god of death.

Trung Nguyen, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month people celebrate the movement of the soul. In houses and temples people give sacrifices in form of gifts and food to the restless souls of forgotten dead.

Trung Thu, this is a feast for children on the fifteenth day of the eight-month. In a procession the children walk through the streets with lanterns in the shape of boats, unicorns, dragons and more.

Birth date of Confucius, the 28th day of the ninth month.

Thong Tan Tet, this is the celebration of the harvest on the tenth day of the tenth month. Children will give their parents presents, patients to their doctors, pupils to their teachers and so on.

Oc Om Bok, on the fifteenth day of the tenth month the Khmer people in the south of Vietnam have their traditional celebration of the harvest. They hold spectacular boat races, in Soc Trang for example. In the next night they have the ceremony in honor of the moon, Le Cung Trang.


Delhi (दिल्ली) also pronounced as Delli is the capital city of India. Delhi is one the globe’s oldest cities counting well over 5.000 years. In the city’s long existing it has been destroyed and rebuilt 11 times, slowly but surely traditions being set side by side with local boom in dot com and business outsourcing centers especially in the Gurgaon area. Delhi’s population has rise to well over 16 million people.

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Seoul is the capital and largest city of South Korea. The city is located on the basin of the Han River in the country’s northwest. Seoul’s influence as a leading business and cultural center contributes to it’s major global city status. The population of over 10 million people ranks the city to one of the biggest in the world.

The city of Seoul contrast lies in the heart of the city and has given the Korean capital its distinctive character. Where else on this globe you will find a modern city walled by 14th century gates? New age technology has built this city and plays a larger role among the youth, while old school merchants and fortunetellers still earn their living on the busy streets.

Travelers interested in Seoul’s history can find it the many museums and palaces spread over the city. Those who want to go fashion shopping in the sparkling malls or hunt bargains on the street markets. Food is widely available and diverse, from local foods to international and vegetarian cuisine. For entertainment lovers there’s plenty of destinations as well, you won’t have to be bored from morning till late night.

American citizens just need a valid passport for a trip to Seoul which allows them to stay for maximum of 30 days. There after a visa is required. Other nationalities may require a visa when visiting Seoul. Spring, from April till June is the best time period for traveling to Seoul.