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Destination Guide


Thailand

Thailand is situated in the heart of the Southeast Asian mainland, covering an area of 513,115 sq.km. and extends about 1,620 kilometres from north to south and 775 kilometres from east to west. Thailand borders the Lao People's Democratic Republic and the Union of Myanmar to the North, the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand to the East, the Union of Myanmar and the Indian Ocean to the West, and Malaysia to the south.

Thailand was known for centuries by outsiders as Siam - a country as remote and exotic as Japan and China. It first made a real impression on the West at the end of the 17th century through the reports of a series of inquisitive Frenchmen. They were not the first Europeans to spend time in the kingdom, however. The Portuguese sent an envoy to the capital in 1511, shortly after they seized Malacca, joining resident Chinese, Japanese, Malays, and Persians to make the Siamese capital one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the vast region now known as Southeast Asia. Modern and predominantly Buddhist, it is a Southeast Asian kingdom whose ancient equilibrium and present standing mingle in evolving harmony.

Substantially, Thailand's distinctive and unparalleled characteristics stem from Indian and Chinese influences (harmoniously blended by Thai eclecticism), rich ethnic diversity, abundant natural and human resources, over seven hundred years of cherished independence, and a traditional culture delicately tuned to the time-honored Buddhist non-confrontational approach to life, and ideals of charity, tolerance, and loving kindness.

Tourism Authority of Thailand

Philippines

Philippines is made up of 7,107 islands covering a land area of 115,739 sq. m. (299,764 sq. km.). Main island groups are Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Capital is Manila. Time Zone is GMT + 8 hours.

The Filipino is basically of Malay stock with a sprinkling of Chinese, American, Spanish, and Arab blood. The Philippines has a population of 76.5 million as of May 2000, and it is hard to distinguish accurately the lines between stocks. From a long history of Western colonial rule, interspersed with the visits of merchants and traders, evolved a people of a unique blend of east and west, both in appearance and culture.

The country is marked by a true blend of cultures; truly in the Philippines, East meets West. The background of the people is Indonesian and Malay. There are Chinese and Spanish elements as well. The history of American rule and contact with merchants and traders culminated in a unique blend of East and West, both in the appearance and culture of the Filipinos, or people of the Philippines.

The Filipino character is actually a little bit of all the cultures put together. The “bayanihan” or spirit of kinship and camaraderie that Filipinos are famous for is said to be taken from Malay forefathers. The close family relations are said to have been inherited from the Chinese. The piousness comes from the Spaniards who introduced Christianity in the 16th century. Hospitality is a common denominator in the Filipino character and this is what distinguishes the Filipino. Filipinos are probably one of the few, if not the only, English-proficient Oriental people today. Pilipino is the official national language, with English considered as the country's unofficial one.

Hospitality, a trait displayed by every Filipino, makes these people legendary in Southeast Asia. Seldom can you find such hospitable people who enjoy the company of their Western visitors. Perhaps due to their long association with Spain, Filipinos are emotional and passionate about life in a way that seems more Latin than Asian.

Philippine Tourism Authority

United Arab Emirates

United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven emirates; Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah and was formally established on 2 December 1971. The capital and the largest city of the federation, Abu Dhabi, is located in the emirate of the same name.

Four-fifths of the UAE is desert, yet it is a country of contrasting landscapes, from sand dunes to rich oases, rocky mountains to fertile plains.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) occupies an area of 83,600 sq km along the south-eastern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Qatar lies to the west, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Oman to the north and east.

The United Arab Emirates, one of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations, has all the ingredients for an unforgettable holiday, sun, sand, sea, sports, unbeatable shopping, top-class hotels and restaurants, an intriguing traditional culture, and a safe and welcoming.

Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

Egypt

Located dominantly in North Eastern Africa, the Sinai Peninsula forms a land bridge with Western Asia. Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.

Home to one of the world's greatest civilizations, a unified kingdom arose circa 3200 B.C. and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia leaving behind some of the greatest architectural legacies and treasures known to mankind.

However, Egypt is much more than Pyramids and monuments. It is also, hip night spots, luxury hotels and five star restaurants. It is romantic cruises down the Nile on festive river boats, a night at the grand opera is a cultural experience like none you have ever experienced. Egypt is a land bustling with life, sound, visual beauty and excitement and for thousands of years, it has been the playground of emperors and kings.

Cairo, the Triumphant City, known officially as al-Q?hirah is one of the world's largest urban areas and offers many sites to see. It is the administrative capital of Egypt and the center of Arab and Western civilization. You will find spectacular sights, such as the Great Pyramids of Giza on the very edge of the city, ancient temples, tombs, Christian churches, magnificent Muslim monuments, and of course, the world famous Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Cairo also provides marvelous cultural experiences, including art galleries and music halls, such as the Cairo Opera House. It is an amazing city full of life and movement, almost 24 hours everyday, it is a modern, yet an ancient city.

For the shoppers, Cairo offers an incredible selection. Shopping ranges from the famous Khan el-Khalili souk, (or trinkets bazaar) largely unchanged since the 14th century, to modern air-conditioned centers displaying the latest fashions. All the bounty of the East can be found there. Particularly good buys are spices, perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, brass and copperware, leatherwork, glass, ceramics and mashrabiya. Some of the famous street markets include Wekala al-Balaq, for fabrics, including Egyptian cotton, the Tentmakers Bazaar for appliqu?-work, Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments with the Camel Market, all providing a truly fascinating experience. This is, and has been for over a thousand years, a shopper's paradise.

The Official Site of The Egyptian Tourist Authority