Tag Archives: india

The French are polite – so take that you English pig-dogs!

French Taunter

According to a Reader’s Digest survey New York, Zurich and Toronto are the world’s most polite cities and Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest and Mumbai the world’s rudest. Paris, unfortunately, did the stereotype of the rude Frenchmen no favours by managing no more than a mid-table finish of joint fifteenth with London. Even Sydney managed to do better, matching the Milanese as the 24th rudest city.

Three measures were used to test each cities rudeness quotient:

1) Walking into public buildings 20 times behind people to see if they would hold the door open for us.
2) Buying small items from 20 stores and recorded whether the sales assistants said thank you.
3) Dropping a folder full of papers in 20 busy locations to see if anyone would help pick them up.

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[Via Expedia]

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Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

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[Image by Classroom III]

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (13th of May)

Travel Tips of the Week

John Flinn, SF Gate: Travel Light Means Fewer Clothes, Wash Your Own

A great guide to washing clothes quickly with only a sink.

General

For everyone determined to make the most of their holiday time Bootsnall has five destinations where the summer sun just don’t set (literally).

Bravenewtraveler has some suggestions for avoiding getting lost in a new city.

Wired’s How To Wiki has an excellent guide to buying a digital camera.

Matador has some tips for visiting indigenous peoples.

The Americas

Intelligent Travel has some tips for finding the authentic Flushing in Queens, New York. The Guardian has some tips for free things to do in New York.

SFGate has a guide to LCC’s in Mexico.

Europe

Eurocheapo has some cheap places to see Michelangelo’s work in Florence, including the sadly overlooked Bargello. In Krakow they suggest five free things to do and for good measure they have five great places for a picnic in Paris.

Coach travel in Europe can be a more economical alternatives to the fabled Eurorail pass. itravelnet rounds up the low coast bus services in Europe and surveys European bus passes.

The Guardian has a guide to the Isle of Man. Ask a Local on High Culture on a Low Budget features Mike from London.

Nick Trend in The Telegraph claims to list Venice’s top ten budget (well less than £130 a night) hotels.

With the Champions League final around the corner The Guardian has some suggestions for Moscow.

Rick Steves has a very entertaining audio discussions about Rome and Istanbul.

Asia

9000 Hours in Saigon has a guide to Vietnamese titles

Frommers has an audio guide to South Korea with Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee, author of Frommer’s South Korea.

MSNBC has some tips for first time visitors to India.

Thailand is pretty cheap to begin with, but Budgettravelguide has some tips for making it even cheaper.

Travel Blogging – is that thing still around? has some tips for dealing with Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Stuff.co.nz has some tips for seeing Singapore with children.

Africa

Frommers.com Podcast discusses Namibia.

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[Sunset in Iceland by Deivis, Coach image by orisfrancesco.com, NAIA image via alexyra]

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (26th of April)

Travel Tips of the Week

Gadling: Big in Japan: 5 mistakes made by first-timers in Japan

In a country where using the word “no” displays ‘as much social grace as a bovine’ and “toilet slippers” should be kept out of the kitchen some cultural tips come in handy.

General

ContikiNational Geographic has a list of the world’s top guided tours. Continki gets nary a mention.

Patronising quote of the week goes to Flight Centre’s marketing manager in The Age’s tips for using budget airlines to get around the place:

“We have people who have spent time on the internet to put their own itineraries together, and then come in to talk to our agents,” Bowman says. “That’s when the agent might say, ‘Are you aware that flight to London goes in to Luton and not Heathrow?’ The response is usually, ‘So what does that mean?’

“That’s when we need to explain all the details that the customer has not found on the internet.”

In our experience workaday wage slaves simply LOVE receiving bulk emails from you gloating about the simply wonderful time you’re having in exotic climes. If that hasn’t been you’re experience Traveler’s Notebook has some tips for writing emails the folks at home will actually want to read.

Intelligent Traveler has a guide to guides; five tips on how to pick a guidebook. Vagabondish goes one better with four alternatives to let you dispense with the darned things for good.

MSNBC makes taking children on a plane trip sound a marginally less complex operation than Dunkirk, while the Perrin Post has the Top Ten Toyless Ways to Occupy Kids on Planes without alcohol OR Prozac.

‘To have tasty and nutritious food on board, and be the envy of your fellow passengers, you need to bring your own. With advance planning, you can eat like a King or Queen on the plane.’ How to eat well at 30,000 feet via Beat of Hawaii featuring lots of Tupperware.

James Wysong has some tips for navigating customs: no fruit, no jokes, no phones and no porn are apparently the secret to avoiding being patted by down by your friendly neighbourhood customs officer. Hardly seems worth it.

Vagabondish has 12 clever and creative uses for a digital camera on the road.

The Americas

TorontoThe Times recommends six destinations in the United States, while Intelligent Travel has an excellent guide to taking teens to NYC. 10 free things to do in LA from Frommer’s.

Toronto is oft-overlooked even by travellers to Canada. Peter Greenfield has an introduction to its lesser known attractions.

Get closer to nature with five gems for the eco-tourist in Costa Rica.

Europe

The New York Times spends 36 hours in Naples where incredible history, garbage and toxic mozzarella meet.

About.com has a list of the five worst wookie rookie France travel mistakes. You’ll feel like Captain Cook with PeterGreenberg’s secret spots in Paris and The Times Undiscovered France: Poitiers. Alexander Lobrano reckons it’s possible to eat well in Paris. We remain unconvinced.

KrakowThe Guardian’s Blog by Blog section has some really interesting and unusual tips for things to do in London

The Telegraph has published a Madrid city guide, and claims to have a list of Madrid’s best budget hotels (£44+). To get there the Independent has some tips on tourist trains in Spain.

Eurocheapo has five free things to do in Krakow.

Whether or not to get a Eurorail pass can be a difficult business, here are some tips as to when it is likely to represent a decent deal.

YogaAsia

Business Week (of all places) has a list of India’s top five yoga centres.

Seth Mydans has some tips for Singapore hawker fare, street food heaven.

Viator has some tips for Kuala Lumpur.

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[Contiki image via Glenn Ross on Flickr, Toronto image via Photofusion on Flickr, Krakow image via astilly on Flickr, yoga image via premasagar on Flickr]

Leaving soon: the five o’clock service from Paddington to Bangladesh

An intrepid traveller will soon be able to leave London for Brussels, Cologne, Vienna, Bucharest, Istanbul, Tehran, Quetta, Lahore, Amritsar, Delhi and Calcutta before reaching the end of the line in Dhaka according to a report from The Times.Indian Train Station

Rail enthusiasts with a sense of adventure and 23 days to spare will be able to travel by train from London to Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, when a new link opens later this year.

The 7,000-mile Trans-Asia railway will follow one of the old Silk Roads through Istanbul, Tehran, Lahore and Delhi.

It is already being described by train buffs as “the world’s greatest railway journey” and will be longer than the Trans-Siberian railway, which spans 5,772 miles.

Under a United Nations-sponsored scheme, Pakistan and Iran will link up their lines in the coming months to join the sub-continent’s track to that of Europe for the first time.

The UN said the link would open up new trade routes within Asia and give the former Soviet republics of central Asia rail access to Iran’s strategic sea port at Bandar Abbas on the Gulf.

Last week, senior Indian officials met their Iranian counterparts in Tehran to discuss progress. India has already earmarked £90m to extend its vast rail network towards its border with Burma. From there just 218 miles of missing track stands in the way of an overland rail journey from London to Singapore.

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[Photos Eileen Dehil via Flickr]

You may have missed… (14th of April)

Pacific Airlines, Vietnam’s second-largest carrier will be renamed Jetstar Pacific as part of a joint venture with the QANTAS subsidiary that will also lead to a fleet of 30 leased Airbus A320 aircraft being based in the country by 2014.

A woman has died in Brisbane this morning after falling from a stationary plane at Brisbane International Airport.Fresco

‘It feels as if someone has taken a huge sack of invaluable works of art and dumped them into the building, letting them fall as they may’. Can anybody match the Italians for their cheerful indifference to gorgeous ancient works of art? If in Rome check out ‘a treasure trove of breathtaking paintings, frescos, mosaics and sculptures from the heyday of Roman Empire — most borrowed from museums in Naples and Pompeii” currently being exhibited within spitting distance of Termini.

Jet Airways has delayed the planned launch of a Bombay – Shanghai – San Francisco service until June ‘to finalize the regulatory process’. Meanwhile AirAsia XXX is wearing a look of studied indifference to the collapse of Oasis – declaring it remains confident it will start flights to London – just not this year.

Cone of SilenceThe chatter leaking out from under the Australian Government’s cone of silence insist that the “security incident” which delayed a plane in Melbourne for half an hour on Saturday night was a ‘misunderstanding‘ which is NOT bureaucrat speak for ‘stuff up’. But we’ve already said too much.

Does anything say ‘peaceful’, ‘tranquil’ and no longer the source of extreme tension between two quarrelling nuclear armed nations like golf courses? Kashmir can’t think of anything so it’s going with parks for ‘flog and chase’.

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Around the forums…

Fodors

Ethics of visiting Karen in Thailand

Heated discussion as to whether it is ‘acceptable’ to share meals in Europe

Extensive trip report through Germany: From Mosel to Munich

Frommers

Getting off the beaten path in India

Thorn Tree

Thai immigration has apparently become stricter about requiring proof of onward travel

How much to pay for beer in Thailand and various attractions thoughout South East Asia.

Is Nancy Chandler’s map of Bangkok decorative, useful or both

Interesting thread on the practice of outdoor funerals especially in Vietnam and Singapore

Does giving candy to children encourage begging?

Europe by campervan

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