General Information On Countries

CHINA

TIMEGMT + 8. Beijing time is standard throughout China.

AREA:  3,705,406 miles² (9,596,960 km²)

POPULATION: 1.35 billion. 

CAPITAL: Beijing (Peking)
Population: 20.7 million
Chongqing is the largest urban area, with a population of more than 34 million.
Shanghai has a population of 24 million 

MYANMAR (BURMA)

TIME: GMT + 5 and half Summer Time

POPULATION: 48.7 million

AREA: 676,552 km²(261,218 miles²)

CAPITAL: Naypyidaw 

LANGUAGE : The official language is Burmese; however, regional languages: Jingpho, Kayah Karen Chin Mon Rakhine Shan are also spoken.

HEALTH: No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in Myanmar and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. Please consult with your usual doctor or a doctor specialiSed in tropical countries before traveling.Medical facilities are rather limited in Myanmar (Yangon has the best facilities) and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling. Such an insurance should cover the cost of an evacuation flight out of Myanmar (most of the time to Bangkok) which are sometimes necessary.
Money( EXCHANGE, ATMS)
Myanmar is a cash-based society 

Travellers Cheques: Travellers Cheques currently CANNOT BE USED or exchanged in Myanmar.

Currency: The currency in Myanmar is the Kyat (pronounced 'chat') and comes in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 kyat. As in many countries of the area, the US Dollar is the most useful currency to carry but we recommend for travellers to exchange some money into kyat. In many local restaurants and shops, kyat is the only method of payment allowed.

There is a parallel official currency the FEC (Foreign Exchange certificate), which can be used (as you use cash US Dollars) to pay hotels, flight- train tickets, souvenirs, meals etc. It is at par (1:1) with the US Dollar but make sure to spend it before leaving Myanmar as it is valid only in Myanmar

RELIGION: Buddhism is the dominant religion in Myanmar and over 85% of the population practice it. The monastery is the traditional focal point of village life in Myanmar and monks rely on villagers for donations of both money and food. Every boy in Myanmar is expected to spend sometime as a monk. The remainder of the population are Christians, Muslims and animists.

VISAS: A visa is COMPULSORY to enter Myanmar.  A 28-day tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors. The current  regulations for entering Myanmar are: Individual visaThis visa is issued by a Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. An invitation letter is not mandatory, and it usually takes 3-5 working days to issue this visa.


Any other information can be supplied on request

TAIWAN

TIME: GMT + 8 hours

AREA: 22,621 miles² (36,193 km²) Taiwan is 254 miles (394 kilometres)  long by 89.5 miles (144 kilometres) wide. The Central Mountain Range bisects Taiwan along a north-south axis; about two-thirds of the island is covered with forested mountains. Jade Mountain (Yushan), with an elevation of 3,952m (12,966 feet), is the highest mountain in East Asia. The rest of the island is made up of foothills, terraced flatlands, coastal plains, and basins. Over the past fifty years, Taiwan has experienced remarkable economic success and a spectacular rise in living standard.

POPULATION: The Population of Taiwan is over 23 million (Wikipedia 2013). Most of the people originally migrated to Taiwan from the Chinese mainland

CAPITAL: Taipei  with a population of about 2.6 million (Wikipedia 2013). The city is the political, cultural, and economic centre of the island.

LANGUAGE: Mandarin Chinese is the official language in Taiwan. The most commonly used foreign language is English.

CLIMATE: Taiwan's climate is subtropical, with average annual temperatures of 22°C in the North and 25°C in the South. Summer, June through September, is usually warm and humid, with temperature ranging from 25°C to 34°C.

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the airport, government-authorised banks, tourist hotels, and large department stores. Major credit cards and traveller's cheques are acceptable at large stores, restaurants, and international tourist hotels. Taxes/Tipping: A 10% service charge and 5% value-added tax are automatically added to room rates and meals. In general, tipping is not needed. 

VISAS: Entry Visas: Holders of United Kingdom passports can enter Taiwan without a visa for up to 90 days.

VIETNAM

TIME:  GMT + 7 hours

POPULATION: 90.3 million (Wikipedia 2012). 

AREA: 207,006 square miles 
CAPITAL: Hanoi 2.6 million (Wikipedia 2009).
CLIMATE: Vietnam is large enough to have several distinct climate zones.The North has four distinct seasons, with a comparatively chilly winter (temperatures can dip below 15°C in Hanoi), a hot and dry summer and pleasant spring (March-April) and autumn (October-December) seasons. In the Central regions the weather is somewhere in between, only just to confuse things here the rainy season is in the summer, not the winter.The South is hot, humid and tropical, with temperatures hovering in the 25-30°C all year round, but it rains the most from May to November.
TOURIST VISA: Most visitors to Vietnam, except citizens of Nordic or ASEAN countries, South Korea and Japan, require a visa in advance. A single-entry tourist visa valid for 30 days costs around €35 (although exact fees vary depending on issuing country) and takes around 4-7 days to process; express visas take 2-3 days at twice the price. Visas are now generally valid for all entry and exit points.

LANGUAGE: Vietnamese, spoken by most of the population, is a tonal language and definitely not easy to master. It is written in a Latin-based script, making maps and signs relatively easy to understand. More than 20% of the modern Vietnamese vocabulary originally came from Chinese, so travellers fluent in other East Asian languages may find some similar words.

Many young people have a basic grasp of English. Many young people have a basic grasp of English. It is not uncommon to meet young people who learned English in school, especially in the South. French, although not widely spoken anymore, is still used by many older Vietnamese people who were educated in French.

LAOS
 

TIME: GMT + 7

POPULATION: 6,5 million

AREA: 91,400 miles²(236,800 km²)

CAPITAL: Vientiane 

LANGUAGE : The official language is Lao; however, many tribal languages are also spoken. French, Vietnamese and some English are spoken.
RELIGION:   The majority of the Lao people are Buddhists. 
ELECTRICITY:  220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin flat or round plugs.
SOCIAL CONVENTIONS:  Religious beliefs should be respected. Lao people should not be touched on the head and women should not touch monks. Handshaking is not that usual; Lao people greet each other with their palms together and a slight bowing of the head. Take care when discussing politics and related subjects in conversation so as not to cause offence. Shorts or revealing clothes are not always acceptable. Shoes must be removed when entering a religious building or somebody's home. It is a legal requirement to carry an ID document or a passport, and fines for not having one for presentation on demand can be high. The Lao government prohibits sexual relationships, including sexual contact between foreign citizens and Lao nationals, except when the two parties have been married in accordance with Lao family law. Penalties for failing to register a relationship range from fines to imprisonment.
PASSPORTS : Passport with at least six months remaining validity required by all nationals. 
VISAS: Required by all nationals except citizens Luxembourg for a maximum of 15 days.
Note: A 15-day visa on arrival is now available for nationals arriving at Vientiane Airport, Luang Prabang Airport or Friendship Bridge.

CAMBODIA

TIME: GMT + 7

AREA: 69,900 miles²(181,035 km²)

POPULATION: 14,95 million

CAPITAL: Phnom Penh. Population: 2.2 million (Wikipedia 2010)

LANGUAGE:  Khmer is the official language and spoken by 95% of the population. Chinese and Vietnamese are also spoken. French was widely spoken until the arrival of the Pol Pot regime and is still taught in schools, but English is now a more popular language to learn among the younger generation.
RELIGION:  95% Buddhist (Theravada), the remainder Muslim and Christian. Buddhism was reinstated as the national religion in 1989 after a ban on religious activity in 1975.
ELECTRICITY:  220 volts AC, 50Hz. Two-pin plugs are in use. Power cuts are frequent.
SOCIAL CONVENTIONS: Sensitivity to politically-related subjects in conversation is advisable. Avoid pointing your foot at a person or touching someone on the head. Women should keep their shoulders covered and not wear shorts when visiting pagodas.
PASSPORTS: Passport valid for at least four months after date of return from Cambodia required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. Passport must be valid for six months if applying for an e-visa.
VISAS : Required by most nationals
Note: Visitors arriving by air can obtain a visa for stays of up to 30 days on arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport Phnom Penh or Siem Reap International Airport, Angkor. Visas are also available from Immigration at the border posts of Bavet, Poi Pet and Koh Kong. E-Visas can now be obtained on-line.

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