Blog : Malaysia

Southeast Asia on Average Scores Poorly in Environmental Sustainability

Southeast Asia on Average Scores Poorly in Environmental Sustainability

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019 published by the World Economic Forum shows the ASEAN collectively scores 3.8 out of 7 on factors that contribute to the environmental sustainability of the T&T industry. In spite of that, the Region has an advantage over North Africa in price competitiveness.

 

Java Island, Indonesia / Photo: Zak Noyle, Foundation for Deep Ecology

All things considered, Singapore is ranked number 17 in the world. Malaysia comes in at 29, Thailand 31, Indonesia 40, and Vietnam 63. Brunei Darussalam ranks number 72, and the Philippines 75 while Lao PDR and Cambodia take number 97 and 98, respectively. Myanmar is not analyzed in the 140- country/economy report. Interesting results:

Environmental Sustainability, and Natural Resources

Individually Thailand, Indonesia, Lao PDR, and Cambodia score lower than the regional average of 3.8 on factors contributing to the sustainable development of the T&T sector. Interestingly Thailand gains 4.8 in natural resources management, outscoring the global average after its decision to close the famous Maya Bay to allow coral restoration and marine life recovery in the Phi Phi Islands National Park.

Mekong River in Laos / Photo: Raymond Richards

Air Transport Infrastructure, and Human Resources

Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand also outscore the global average in air transport infrastructure, and human resources/labor market. However, there’s still room for improvement in their ground and port infrastructure.

Business Environment, Safety and Security, Health and Hygiene

Cambodia fares badly in world average rankings, especially in infrastructure and factors contributing to the business environment, safety and security, as well as health and hygiene.

Plastic Pollution in Myanmar / Photo: Stijn Dijkstra

The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report provides a valuable tool for policy-makers and businesses to anticipate emerging trends in global T&T industry. For the ASEAN Region, it’s a key engine of growth. The role of tourism is obvious in the Thai economy. The country saw a record 38.3 million tourists in 2018, up 7.5% from 2017. Another 41 million visitors are expected in 2019. Meantime, a Mastercard survey placed Bangkok number one city on the Global Destination Cities Index for the third time in 2018.

Find out more at: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-travel-tourism-competitiveness-report-2019

 

10 ASEAN PROJECTS WIN A+ AWARDS IN ARCHITCTURE

10 ASEAN PROJECTS WIN A+ AWARDS IN ARCHITCTURE

Our warmest congratulations to architects from the ASEAN on winning ten A+ Awards in architecture for 2019. Their outstanding works include six projects from Thailand, plus one each from Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.

///ASEAN///

Story: Samutcha Viraporn / Photo: Architizer

Hosted by the online architecture community Architizer.com, the A+ Awards come in two categories; “Jury Winners” which are handpicked by reputable judges, and “Popular Choice Winners” judged by public votes. The ten A+ Award winners from the ASEAN are:

 

Commercial / Office – Low Rise (1-4 Floors)

IDIN Architects Office / Designed by IDIN Architects, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

The home of IDIN Architects Co, Ltd is arranged in three parts; the office, the business owner’s residential unit, and a café open to the public. It’s a layout that strikes the right balance between privacy and the busy movement in Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek neighborhood. The low-rise building sits peacefully ensconced in a lush oasis. Its blackened exterior is covered in Japanese Yakisugi, cypress plank cladding traditionally charred to enhance a natural appeal. The café on the ground floor boasts a touch of Modernism that’s evident in a beautiful mix of steel, glass and concrete component parts.

 

Commercial / Showrooms

Organicare Showroom / Designed by Tropical Space, Vietnam

Popular Choice Winner

Tropical Space is an architectural firm expert in old-fashioned brick construction. Their project involved converting a 1975 brick building into a modern showroom for fish sauces and homegrown brands of organic products. Steel frames and bricks are the main materials used to improve interior and exterior design, as well as create shelving to suit every display need.

 

Concepts / Plus-Architecture + For Good

Heartware Network / Designed by DP Architects, Singapore

Popular Choice Winner

Promoting team spirits among youth organization volunteers, the design by DP Architects creates a platform of cooperation and change in behavior conducive to a positive environment that lies at the core of the Heartware Network. Its engagement ideas have enabled the charitable youth organization to connect with more than 1,500 young people per year.

 

Concepts / Plus-Architecture + Living Small

3500-Millimeter House / Designed by AGo Architects, Indonesia

Popular Choice Winner

A building 3.5 meters wide and 17 meters long is home to an architect, his wife and a son. The house walls, staircase and built-in furniture share the rigid supporting structures that enclose them. The façade that stands facing West is built of perforated metal sheets and polycarbonates to protect from the summer sun. Clever design ensures the interior living space is well lit and airy.

 

Concepts / Plus-Architecture + Renovation

Kloem Hostel / Designed by IF (Integrated Field), Thailand

Jury Winner

Kloem Hostel is built by combining three adjacent old houses into a single entity. The two Thai houses at either end are beautifully renovated. The building at the center transforms into a loft that serves as common area and relaxed hangout reminiscent of the Thai lifestyle in former times.

 

Details / Plus-Architecture + Facades

Little Shelter Hotel / Designed by Department of Architecture, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

A small hotel in Chiang Mai boasts a façade that’s reminiscent of fine crafts. The calm and beautiful face gets its inspiration from wooden roof tiles that are symbolic of Northern architecture in olden days. A reinterpretation of handicrafts in a modern context, the intricate design of wood and polycarbonates adds a unique charm to the principal front overlooking a street.

 

Hospitality / Hotels & Resorts

Bunjob House: House of Flow / Designed by NPDA Studio, Thailand

Jury Winner

The Bunjob House is a vacation destination nestled in a family-owned coconut grove on beautiful Pha-ngan Island in the Gulf of Thailand. Its façade consists of curved concrete slabs that draw cool breezes from the ocean resulting in thermal comfort in the interior living spaces. The slabs also protect the building during a thunderstorm. Casings made of coconut trees leave their marks on the concrete texture that blends into the natural surroundings.

 

Residential / Apartments

Hachi Serviced Apartment / Designed by Octane Architect & Design, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

The project’s most outstanding feature is the façade that’s designed to promote a healthy home life despite being in an apartment complex. The exterior architecture of the building reflects well on the type of design, balance and symmetry of the interior space.

 

Residential / Private House (XL >5000 sq ft)

Cloister House / Designed by Formwerkz Architects, Malaysia

Jury Winner

The design gets its inspiration from the courtyard house typical of long established Chinese architecture. Adapted to blend with modern tropical style, the layout consists of a framework of nine regularly spaced rooms partially open to connect with the outdoors. The building in Johor state, southern Malaysia occupies 45,000 square feet.

 

Residential / Interiors

Y/A/O Residence / Designed by Octane Architect & Design, Thailand

Popular Choice Winner

Increased natural light provides the perfect focal point in the interior reminiscent of the house with a courtyard. It’s a great way to let light create depth in the interior space. The project consists of three separate buildings; a two-level house, guest accommodation building, and car garage.

 

For a complete list of winners of the 2019 Architizer A+ Awards, please visit: https://awards.architizer.com/winners-gallery/?type=51

Thailand Will Be Home to the Region’s Largest IKEA Store

Thailand Will Be Home to the Region’s Largest IKEA Store

The new IKEA store in Johor, Malaysia was dubbed Southeast Asia’s largest when it opened for business four months ago. That’s about to change as the candidate for the top spot will open in Thailand in a matter of days.

/// Thailand ///

 

The world-renowned, Swedish-founded furniture retailer will launch its newest, largest store in Southeast Asia in Bang Yai, Nonthaburi on March 15. It will be the country’s second IKEA store that’s geared towards meeting the needs of people in Nonthaburi as well as outlying districts in Bangkok’s Northwest.

IKEA Bang Yai will be the Swedish chain’s largest store in Southeast Asia come March 15.

The newest retail establishment in Bang Yai spreads over a surface of 50,278 square meters, compared to 46,700 square meters at the IKEA Tebrau store in Johor. The Malaysian store was opened on November 16, 2017.

The IKEA Bang Yai store is partially solar-powered. Its solar arrays comprising 4,548 photovoltaic cells mounted on the rooftop are capable of producing 1.5 megawatts per year, or about 13% of the building’s electricity needs. It is LEED certified for quality and achievement in green building features.

Unlike other IKEA retail establishments, the Bang Yai store has cashier stations on every floor. The new design enables shoppers who are short on time to get in and out of the store faster.

Bird’s eye view of the IKEA Tebrau store in Malaysia

IKEA’s world largest store is located in South Korea. Opened in December 2014, the IKEA Gwangmyeong has 59,000 square meters of business space. The chain retail establishment has six stores in Southeast Asia — two in Singapore, three in Malaysia, and one in Thailand. The Bang Yai store will be number 7 in the region.

 

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Different Names Same Good Food / Anyone for a Yong Tau Fu?

Different Names Same Good Food / Anyone for a Yong Tau Fu?

In Malaysia and Singapore, the popular noodle soup is known as “Yong Tau Fu”. In Thailand, it goes by the name “Yen Ta Fo”. Different names for the same good food!

A mix of crispy fries is readied for a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu.

Originally a part of traditional Hakka cuisine, the scrumptious noodle soup is enjoyed by many people across peninsular Southeast Asia. Particularly in Malaysia, it has pride of place among top 100 dishes with a national heritage status.

 Yong Tau Fu has been among many big hits on the menu for hundreds of years. Its various recipes were brought in by the Hakka people, one of major groups who migrated into the Region from southeastern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu with a side dish of crispy fried condiments. They can be added to soups or eaten with dipping sauces.

As its name implies, the recipe is made of tofu stuffed with ground pork and then deep-fried to give it a distinctive crispy flavor. It is the perfect match for a bowl of soup, good with dipping sauces, and makes a delicious accompaniment for noodle. Nowadays near-original versions of Yong Tau Fu can still be found everywhere in Malaysia.

Meantime, the Thais like their Yen Ta Fo slightly different from the original. They treat it as a noodle dish that comes either with or without deep-fried tofu. Instead, the Thai recipe features fish balls, pleasantly crisp calamari, pig’s blood cakes, and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach. Some Yen Ta Fo joints offer pork-stuffed tofu, while others may do without it entirely.

Known as Yen Ta Fo, the Thai noodle meal with its signature pink soup is served with pig’s blood cakes and tender shoots and leaves of water spinach.
Hakka noodle, as the Thais call it, is a variation of the Yen Ta Fo recipe.

The Thai version is distinguished by the signature pink soup that gets its color from fermented red bean curd. The Thais also like their Yen Ta Fo with a variety of condiments, including taro fries, shrimp balls, jellyfish, and wood ear, aka black fungus. Some like their Yen Ta Fo the Thai way in spicy chili soups. A lot of people confuse Yen Ta Fo with a similar recipe without the pink soup. Although made with the same ingredients, the latter is known as “Kuaytaew Khae”, literally Hakka noodle.

Ingredient of Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu
Be spoilt for choice! There’s nothing like a full-course Yong Tau Fu served Malaysian-style.

Traditionally, a Malaysian-style Yong Tau Fu begins with first-course meals consisting of a mix of crispy fries, such as tofu, purple eggplant, stuffed meals, and sweet pepper, aka bell pepper. It’s hard to beat a good dipping sauce to start with. Then it’s time to eat them with a soup and add noodle to complement a great meal. Yong Tau Fu is ranked among Malaysia’s top 100 dishes with a national heritage status, along with other big hits such as Nasi Lemak (a rice dish cooked in coconut milk with anchovies and hot sauces), Nasi Ayam (chicken rice), and Ketupat (rice dumpling in palm leaf pouch).

Queueing for a Yong Tau Fu in Singapore. If you’re patient, it will get to your turn.
(Left) A Singapore-style Yong Tau Fu comes in a noodle soup. (Right) Crispy fried anchovies, locally known as “Ikan Bilis”, add flavor to a Yong Tau Fu meal.

In Singapore, where Yong Tau Fu is a culinary success story, rice vermicelli is served on a plate along with a bowl of spicy soup called Laksa. It is recommended to try this with Chee Cheong Fun, a rice noodle roll that comes in either dry or wet versions. There are plenty of Yong Tau Fu joints to be found. The price is reasonable, but keep in mind the line is rather long. If you are patient, it will get to your turn. Enjoy your meal! 

 

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10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia

10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia

Do you fancy a walk with Komodo dragons, or cave exploring, or taking selfies on a stunning rice terrace? Do you feel like making a trip to see snow-capped mountains? Here are ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the ASEAN that might interest you.

In all the Region is home to 38 sites on UNESCO World Heritage List. They are selected for providing, among other things, significant natural habitats, exceptional beauty of the landscape, outstanding example of human settlement, unique cultural tradition, flora and fauna, evidence of earth’s history, and the conservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

The sites range from Komodo National Park, where Indonesia’s rare megafauna roams freely in the wild, to spectacular rice paddy terraces in Bali and the Philippines, to examples of outstanding land-use and sea-use in Vietnam. Living ASEAN presents ten sites that you might want to put on your next itinerary.

 

Photo: loveandroad.com
Photo: Bahnfrend

– Komodo National Park / Indonesia –

Komodo National Park is located within the Lesser Sunda Islands at the center of the Indonesian archipelago. The site was established in 1980 for the purpose of conserving the world’s largest lizards and their habitats. Proceed with caution. Although Komodo attacks are rare, the animal can be aggressive towards humans at feeding time. The giant lizard eats almost any kind of meat. They scavenge on carcasses of animals especially deer. The volcanic islands have been named one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.


 

Photo: Chris Wary
Photo: pixabay.com

– Kinabalu Park / Malaysia –

A beautiful place to go climbing in Southeast Asia, Kinabalu is among Malaysia’s first national parks. The 4,095-meter-high Mount Kinabalu is the centerpiece of the park. It was designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 for its outstanding universal values and biological diversity. Located in Sabah State in the northern part of Malaysian Borneo, Kinabalu National Park attracts thousands of mountaineers each year.


 

Photo: sondoongcave.org
Photo: sondoongcave.org
Photo: vietnamtourism.com

– Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park / Vietnam –

Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park in north-central Vietnam is known for its pristine mountain landscape, tropical forests, rich wildlife habitats, limestone karsts, and a vast network of caves. Son Dong, the biggest cave, was discovered by a local named Ho Khanh in 1991. A joint Vietnamese-British team explored the caves in 2009. The national park was open to the public for the first time in 2013.


 

Photo: thingstodoinbali.com

– Jatiluwih Rice Terrace, Bali / Indonesia –

The Jatiluwih rice terrace in Bali showcases one of the most complex methods of agriculture and water management systems that have existed since the ninth century. Cut into the mountainside, the beautiful paddy fields get its water supplies from a system of canals and weirs, known as Subak. It’s the living embodiment of a traditional philosophy known as Tri Hita Karana, or the three reasons of prosperity; namely, harmony among people, harmony with nature, and harmony with God. It’s a truly amazing place to visit if you are nature lovers.  


 

Photo: indonesia.biz.id
Photo: xplorea.com
Photo: xplorea.com
Photo: xplorea.com 

– Lorentz National Park / Indonesia –

Lorentz National Park in Papua, Indonesia, was named after the Dutch explorer who visited the island in the early 1900s. The largest protected area in Southeast Asia, Lorentzt was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 for a wealth of graphic evidence of earth’s history. It’s one of the most ecologically diverse parks in the world encompassing a full array of ecosystems from marine sanctuaries and mangroves to tidal and freshwater swamp forests, as well as rainforests, tundra, and equatorial glaciers. 


 

Photo: panthera.org

– Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complex / Thailand –

The vast forest complex that covers six provinces is home to four national parks and a wildlife sanctuary. The site stretches from the Cambodian border in the east, to Khao Yai National Park in the west. Khao Yai itself lies largely in Nakhon Ratchasima and includes parts of nearby provinces such as Saraburi, Prachinburi, and Nakhon Nayok. The complex ecosystems provide natural habitats for 2,500 species of flora and 800 species of fauna. Recently a streak of 18 tigers were discovered and photographed by hidden cameras. Parts of Khao Yai National Park have been set aside for tourism and has facility for wildlife watching at night.


 

Photo: visitphilippines.org 
Photo: visitphilippines.org

– Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park / the Philippines –

Tubbataha Reefs is a marine park at the center of the Sulu Sea. Its two reefs are said to have existed for 15 million years. The North Reef spans 15 kilometers that serves as nesting sites for sea birds and marine turtles. The South Reef is 6 by 3 kilometers. The pristine coral islands boast extensive lagoons that serve as habitats for marine species, such as whale sharks, sting rays, spiny lobsters, leopard sharks, giant jacks, barracudas, parrot fish, hammerhead sharks, guitar sharks, snappers, lion fish, tortoise, clownfish, grey reef sharks, and manta, a devil ray that’s sometimes seen leaping high out of the water. 


 

Southeast Asia’s Car Market Updates

Southeast Asia’s Car Market Updates

Here’s an update on Southeast Asia’s automotive markets at the close of 2017. Used cars made up the largest sector in the car markets of Myanmar, and Cambodia. Thailand ranked number 12 among the world’s top motor vehicle producers. Indonesia was the largest car market in Southeast Asia. Region-wide, Toyota reigned supreme as the bestseller except in Malaysia, which was happy to stick with homegrown brands.

The ASEAN car market represents a diverse assortment of brands and a great deal of variety in the way member countries respond to their specific needs. The mix includes thriving homegrown brands, world-class motor vehicle producers, as well as heavens for new and pre-owned cars and trucks.

 

Toyota Avanza is Indonesia’s bestseller among SUV’s and APV’s.

– Thailand and Indonesia –

Thailand and Indonesia are major regional economic players. Indonesia boasted the largest automotive market, while Thailand ranked number 12 among the world’s leading motor vehicle producers. In 2017, its total production was expected to top two million units, of which more than half were exported. A slight decrease in 2017 export volumes was more than offset by a 12-percent increase in the internal car market.

The Toyota Hilux pick-up truck reigns supreme in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia.

The Thai automotive industry has been a success story since 2000. The country produced a little over 400,000 motor vehicles in that year. Toyota Hilux has long been the bestselling model especially in the provinces throughout Thailand. Apart from carrying goods and agricultural products, the truck was used in various forms of human transportation. But for people living in or near the city, Toyota and Honda cars were the preferred choices.

Indonesia, the ASEAN’s largest automotive market, ranked number 17 among the world’s top motor vehicle producers. Its 2017 production was expected to far exceed 1.2 million units, up from 1,177,389 in 2016, during which 1,048,134 new units were sold on the domestic market. Sport utility vehicles (SUV), all purpose vehicles (APV), and larger trucks were the favorites, considering Indonesia had the largest population in the ASEAN.

Bangkok ranks number 2 among the world’s cities with bad traffic jams. At the same time, Thailand is an automobile manufacturing hub in the ASEAN. / Photo: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

The two countries are grappling with the same problem – traffic congestions.  A TomTom traffic index ranked Bangkok, and Jakarta number 2, and 3, respectively, among the cities with the worst midtown traffic snarl-ups. It was a high price to pay since it was the automotive industry that generated incomes from exports, employment, and tax revenues. As technology advanced, both countries were hoping to count on electric cars and new urban public transport to improve traffic flow.


 

Motor vehicles designed for left-hand-side driving cause much difficulty in Myanmar, which had adopted right-hand-side driving since independence. / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

– Myanmar and Cambodia –

It was a different situation in Myanmar and Cambodia. Strong economic growth in recent years has seen sharp increases in demands for pre-owned motor vehicles. In both countries, new cars accounted for less than 10 percent of total sales in 2016, during which Myanmar imported as many as 120,000 secondhand vehicles from Japan. Here Toyota Probox was the favorite. Trouble was the all-purpose vehicle from Japan was designed for driving on the left side of the road (the steering wheel being on the right-hand side).  After independence, Myanmar had changed to move traffic in the right side of the path. If you are front seat passengers, watch out for passing and oncoming vehicles when you get out of the car in Myanmar. Judge the space available when getting off the bus, because you could find yourself in the middle of the road.

Suzuki Carry truck

To solve the problem, the Myanmar Government has enacted a law banning the importation of secondhand automobiles designed for driving on the left side of the road. But it would take a long time to see any results. To meet an increasing demand for new automobiles, Suzuki has recently opened a factory in Myanmar. In 2017, it produced 2,700 Suzuki Carry trucks, of which about 1,000 units were sold in the domestic market. In big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, more new cars from Europe and Japan continued to make their presence felt, albeit very slowly.  

Secondhand cars are everywhere in Phnom Penh. / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

Meanwhile in Cambodia, secondhand Toyota Camry and Lexus SUV’s were the favorites among people in urban areas. The country imported pre-owned automobiles mostly from the United States, Japan, and the Middle East. In the small new-car market, the Cambodians generally preferred the Toyota brand with pick-up trucks being the all-time bestsellers. The same was true in nearby Thailand and Laos, where the light-duty trucks were used to carry both farm products and human passengers.


 

The homegrown brand Perodua Axia is Malaysia’s bestseller.

– Malaysia –

The only ASEAN country with successful homegrown brands, Malaysia boasted the third largest automobile market in the Region. Here, new car sales exceeded 580,000 units per year with the Perodua taking the largest portion of the market. (UMW Corporation held 38 percent of shares in the Malaysian car manufacturer.) Perodua sold about 200,000 cars per year, far outranking Honda which sold a little over half that number. Proton, another homegrown Malaysian brand, came in third place, while Toyota in fourth.  


 

Singapore halts car population growth and concentrates on developing urban public transport. / Photo: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

– Other ASEAN Member Countries –

Keep an eye on the Philippines, whose automobile market grew by a whopping 20 percent in 2016. The same was expected in 2017, during which new car sales were expected to be about 450,000 units. Singapore was an entirely different story. It was government policy to keep new car sales growth below 0.25 percent. Meantime, it was focusing on proper maintenance of existing automobiles and developing urban public transit, for which Singapore has already invested US$22.9 billion.

 

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10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

10 Inspiring Modern Tropical Houses

Living ASEAN has selected our favorite houses in the ASEAN for 2017. Of course, all of them present practical solutions for living in the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, including a bamboo house in Thailand, a concrete block house in Thailand and a modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Check them out!


THAILAND // A BAMBOO HOUSE EMBRACED BY NATURE

A bamboo house with contemporary appeal sits immersed in its natural surroundings. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD, and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of a peaceful country setting.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/a-bamboo-house-embraced-by-nature/

 

Concrete Block House
THAILAND // CONCRETE BLOCK HOUSE

Intanon Chantip, INchan atelier architect and owner of this HUAMARK 09 building, designed it to test theories he’d arrived at through intense study and experience. He wanted the architecture to tell its own story through the charm of materials that change over time. Intanon and his wife Tharisra Chantip bought this a 30-year-old, 80 square wa (.8 acres) property in the Hua Mark district, demolishing the old house to erect a new four-storey mixed-use building with usable space of 490 square meters and combine office, residence, and art studio.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/concrete-block-house/

 


VIETNAM // MODERN TROPICAL HOUSE IN HO CHI MINH CITY

The architecture of this modern tropical house in Ho Chi Minh City is perfectly suited to the hot, humid climate, with an imaginative counterpoint of plants, greenery, and airy openings keeping it shady and pleasant inside and out.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/modern-tropical-house/

 

Waterside Home
THAILAND // WATERSIDE HOME

This waterside tropical house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen in bygone times. From outside it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/waterside-home/

 

Wooden Thai House in the Lanna Tradition
THAILAND // WOODEN THAI HOUSE IN THE LANNA TRADITION

This Lanna Thai house of wood is built based on ancient local traditions. It has a simple, relaxed, and open look. Natural breezes blow all day long through its exquisite form, full of the charm of conservation-friendly Lanna craftsmanship.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/wooden-thai-house-in-the-lanna-tradition/

 

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MALAYSIA // BOX-SHAPED HOUSE WITH THE TEXTURE OF MEMORY

This box-shaped house uses architecture, architectural elements, and coordinated interior design to tell stories of the present and the past. The house is located in the Petalang Jaya district of Selangor, Malaysia. This is a district of single homes, but with little space to put up a large house. Still, architect Dr. Tan Loke Mun rose to the challenge of house owner Kenneth Koh and tore down the former structure here to build a new 3-storey home in its place.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/box-shaped-house-texture-memory/

 

Living with Cats in a Beautiful House
MALAYSIA // LIVING WITH CATS IN A BEAUTIFUL HOUSE

Ever wonder why this is a dream house for kind pet owners and their feline companions?.

“I live with my wife and our seven cats in this house,” said Chan Mun Inn of Design Collective Architects (DCA). “There used to be only four, but I adopted more cats. So I ended up with seven of them. They were the reason that we left our old apartment and built a new home in the suburb.”

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/living-with-cats-beautiful-house/

 

Brick house For a Tropical Climate
VIETNAM // BRICK HOUSE FOR A TROPICAL CLIMATE

This rectangular brick home in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is designed for “hot and humid,” open to natural light and cool from air currents constantly streaming in and out through the bricks. Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh, the owners here, are newlyweds who wanted a small house with a straightforward design for pleasant living. They had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/brick-house-for-a-tropical-climate/

 

Box-Shaped House with a Tropical Style Garden
THAILAND // BOX-SHAPED HOUSE WITH A TROPICAL STYLE GARDEN

Box-shaped design highlights a perfect blend of form and function, plus an exotic Tropical style garden. The result: A lovable livable home with a panoramic view from the bedroom.

“This house was not built to be photogenic,” said Patchara Wongboonsin, architect at POAR, when asked about his outstanding design. The 350-square-meter, modern cube-shaped house took two years in the making.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/box-shaped-house-tropical-style-garden/

 

Modern House in a Forest Setting
THAILAND // MODERN HOUSE IN A FOREST SETTING

The architect uses clever techniques to make this modern house look like it’s crafted entirely of wood. When her family wanted to build a new house in Thailand’s Northeast, Kanika Ratanapridakul was assigned the task of project architect. It was the first time she had to work directly with local builders and suppliers. Things didn’t go as smooth as planned, but the mission was accomplished – eventually. The key to success lay in being a bit more flexible to ensure things got done right and on schedule.

Read more: http://livingasean.com/house/modern-house-forest-setting/

 

 

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There’s More to New Year Than January 1

There’s More to New Year Than January 1

For peoples across the ASEAN, New Year means more than the first day on the new calendar. Whether it’s Songkran, Thingyan, Choul Chnam Thmey, Tet, or Nyepi, the happy day is publicly acknowledged with enthusiasm and joy. As celebrations kick off, traveling can be difficult. We think it wise to plan ahead. Here’s the period the New Year Festival is traditionally celebrated around the ASEAN in 2018. Have a safe journey!

A public procession celebrating the Thingyan Festival, Myanmar / Photo: Tayzar

The New Year Festival differs from country to country across the ASEAN. It’s part of a tradition that has been in existence long before the advent of the new calendar. The happy day goes by different names — “Songkran” in Thailand, “Thingyan” in Myanmar, “Choual Chnam Thmey” in Cambodia, “Tet” in Vietnam, and “Nyepi” in Bali. It’s publicly acknowledged with enthusiasm and festivity that has transformed into the Region’s timeless attraction. If you’re planning a visit during the holiday season, we think it wise to plan ahead. Here’s the period the New Year Festival is traditionally celebrated around the ASEAN in 2018.

An elephant and tourists splash each other with water at the scene of a Songkran event in Thailand. / Photo: JJ Harrison

Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia share a common culture when it comes to celebrating New Year. The season of goodwill and festivity is based on Buddhist/Hindu beliefs that they received from India. It’s celebrated around mid-April in keeping with the Buddhist solar calendar. The occasion marks a change of seasons from cold to hot, which coincides with the rising of Aries in ancient astrology.

Over time, each country has developed its own system of beliefs associated with the beginning of a new year. The Myanmar version is concerned with the elephant-headed deity Ganesh, son of Shiva, who is worshipped as the destroyer of obstacles and patron of learning. In Thailand, the beliefs center around the legend of Thao Kibil Prom, a deity who was beheaded after losing a bet on intelligence games. The two stories reflect elaborate systems of Buddhist/Hindu beliefs about cleansing rituals, to which the Southeast Asian mainland is greatly indebted. Over time, the use of water to rid a person and place of something deemed unpleasant or defiling has evolved into a tradition, which later transformed into a popular water festival that we see today. 

The Thingyan water festival in Myanmar / Photo: Tayzar

– Myanmar –

Thingyan is the most widely celebrated festival in Myanmar. Traditionally, it was a public holiday that usually lasted about ten days to allow the people plenty of time to travel, celebrate the water festival, and reunite with families in far-away provinces. Just recently the holiday period has been cut short despite opposition from some sectors. As for 2018, the Thingyan Festival is scheduled for April 13 through 16, and culminates in Myanmar New Year’s Day on April 17. In Yangon, the water festival centers around Kandawgyi Pet Lann Road, and Kabaraye Road.

 

A bucket and a water pistol are absolutely necessary if you plan on taking part in the water festival celebrating Thailand’s New Year come mid-April. / Photo: Takeaway

– Thailand –

Thailand’s traditional New Year, known as Songkran, falls on April 13 through 15. In Bangkok, the water festival takes place on various locations, such as Khao San Road that’s popular among foreign tourists, and Silom Road that’s favorite among the general public including the gay community. In fact, a good time is had by all during Songkran, and it’s not limited to just the two spots mentioned. Up north, the province of Chiangmai is mega rich in Songkran tradition. Tourists, both local and foreign, traverse thousands of miles to converge in the city during the high season.

 

Songkran Festival in Laos / Photo: Njambi Ndlba

– Laos –

The people of Laos start celebrating Songkran or Pi Mai Lao (literally Lao’s New Year) on April 13. Take time to relax since April 14 through 16 is the official public holiday. It’s a slice of paradise for those impressed by warm, sweet, and welcoming hospitality unique to the Lao PDR.

 

A gong and tom-tom procession heralds the Cambodian New Year. / Photo: Rdghalayini

– Cambodia –

For 2018, the Cambodian New Year or Choul Chnam Thmey falls on April 13 through 16. The annual event is celebrated with a multitude of joyful festivities and merit making ceremonies in Buddhism. People often confuse Choul Chnam Thmey with the Cambodian Water Festival, which is an entirely different event. The Water Festival, known as Bon Om Touk, is celebrated with row boat racing in the capital Phnom Penh usually in October or November each year.

ASEAN Tourism / What a Difference a Slogan Makes!

ASEAN Tourism / What a Difference a Slogan Makes!

Since 2013, the ASEAN as a whole has attracted upwards of 100 million visitors from across the globe. Slogans appear to have a significant role in motivating the potential tourists and travelers to make a visit. While we have grown familiar with our amazing memorable phrase, other countries have theirs. Let’s see what works across the Region.

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Floating Market, Thailand / Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand

According to the 2016 World Economic Forum report, the ASEAN Region “continues to be one of the most exciting parts of the global economy, having grown by around 5% a year in nearly two decades.”

The WEF report said that about 104 million foreign travelers visited the Region in 2015, while ASEANstats.org, a division under the AEC Department of the ASEAN Secretariat, put the number in excess of 108 million. Of this, nearly 46 million or 42.2 percent were travelers from within the ASEAN membership. Meantime, the Region welcomed about 18 million travelers from China. A forecast indicated the number could top 20 million in 2017.

Slogans appear to have significant impact on the tourism industry. Many countries have seen great success for they provide a glimpse into pretty much everything a destination has to offer, from natural and cultural attractions to food to history and the people. All the good attributes are encapsulated in a single striking phrase.

Since 1998, “Amazing Thailand” has been the short and sweet slogan that worked best for the Kingdom. It contributed to propelling Thailand to the ninth place among the World’s Top 10 International Tourism Destinations in 2016, during which it drew up to 32.6 million foreign visitors. 

Phi Phi Le, Thailand / Photo: Tourism Authority of Thailand
Breakfast is served Singapore style / Photo: Sittisak Namkham

At the same time, WEF’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Singapore as Southeast’s most tourism-friendly country, followed by Malaysia and Thailand in second and third places.

As for Cambodia, the tourism industry accounts for 28.3% of GDP and counting, thanks to Angor Wat being the country’s landmark attraction.

The Philippines has seen success in tourism as a result of having many beautiful islands, while Indonesia thrives on rich and diverse natural attractions.

Myanmar is coming back strong, albeit with a few hiccups in the areas of accommodations, conveniences, and modern amenities.

Indonesian version of the Monkey King Photo: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangoon, Myanmar / Photo: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

For your reading pleasure, here’s a list of tourism slogans from around the Region. Check it out.

Brunei – The Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures

Cambodia – Kingdom of Wonder

Indonesia – Wonderful Indonesia

Laos – Simply Beautiful

Malaysia – Truly Asia

Myanmar – Let the Journey Begin

The Philippines – It’s More Fun in the Philippines

Singapore – Your Singapore

Thailand – Amazing Thailand

Vietnam – Timeless Charm

Fresh fish in Laung Prabang market, Laos / Photo: Samutcha Viraporn

 

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Bangkok Is Top Global Destination City, Continued Growth Forecast for 2017

Bangkok Is Top Global Destination City, Continued Growth Forecast for 2017

Bangkok was at the highest place on the chart of Top Ten Global Destination Cities attracting 19.41 million visitors in 2016, outranking London, Paris, Dubai, and Singapore. A Mastercard index released recently showed the Thai capital benefited the most from international travel, while further growth in visitor arrivals were in the forecast for 2017.

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Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Bangkok / Photo: Tanakitt Khum-on

 

Visitor Volume

The Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index predicted that Bangkok’s visitor arrivals would increase by 4.0 percent in the 2017 calendar year, while Singapore was forecast to move up one notch growing by 2.6 percent and outranking New York (at minus 2.4 percent). Meantime, Kuala Lumpur was likely to post a strong 7.2 percent gain in visitor arrivals for 2017, enabling it to keep its eighth place on the chart.

Kuala Lumpur / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

From 2009 to 2016, two ASEAN cities also saw strong growth in visitor arrivals, namely: Jakarta up 18.2 percent, and Hanoi up 16.4 percent. Of all 132 destinations across the globe, Osaka was at the top with a whopping 24.0 percent growth in overnight visitor arrivals during the 8-year period.

Overall, international visitors to leading global destination cities increased in the 2016 calendar year. As for 2017, Tokyo’s visitor numbers were forecast to increase by as much as 12.2 percent, making it the strongest growth in visitors among the top ten.

 

National Gallery Singapore / Photo: Sitthisak Namkham

 

Cross-border Spending

The Mastercard index was more than just a ranking of top destination cities across the globe. Apart from international visitor volume, it also looked into tourist spending that contributed to furthering economic growth of countries. For the 2016 calendar year, Dubai was at the top with overnight visitors spending $28.50 billion, followed by New York ($17.02 billion), London ($16.09 billion), Singapore ($15.69 billion), and Bangkok ($14.08 billion), all in USD. Destination cities benefited greatly from tourism. Shopping accounted for 22.9 percent of tourist spending, local service 21.5 percent, and food and beverages 20.6 percent).

Royal Palace, Bangkok / Photo: Aphirux Suksa

Reference:

https://newsroom.mastercard.com/digital-press-kits/mastercard-global-destination-cities-index-2017/

https://newsroom.mastercard.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Mastercard-Destination-Cities-Index-Report.pdf

 

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