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International travel articles

Slow boat trip on Mekong river in northern Laos Slow boat trip up the Mekong river in northern Laos

Sunset over Lao Khammouane seen from Nakhon Panom Hinboun river and caving in central Laos

Hiking in the jungle of Khao Yai national park A day hike in the jungle of Khao Yai national park, Thailand

Mountains of Ramkhamhaeng national park, Thailand Trip to Ramkhamhaeng national park & Sukhothai historical park in northern Thailand

Boating on Chewlan dam lake in Khao Sok national park Chewlan dam lake at Khao Sok national park in southern Thailand
Travelling is no longer a thing for peoples with extra money. It has become a necessary activity for a proper life. It has become part of the life long study and progress. It actually means anything from leisure or pleasure, business, family holiday to friendship and experience exchange among peoples from different places and walks.

With better communication we usually find information about the places before we actually go. There are many channels for information. The most convenient, fastest and cheapest is of course Internet.

We also enjoy many different ways of moving about: by plane, by boat, rail or car and the connections are taking us to more and more places around the world. Each day thousands of new roads and vehicles have been built and delivered for use. The long distance communication has seen the revolution since the coming of Internet, and it is still evolving to take more of our life into it.

When we look at cross continent international travel of the last 100 years we see that in the beginning almost all the flow was from the wealthy regions (North America and Europe) to the poorer countries (Asia, Central and South America, Africa). It was because the peoples of the richer places had money that contained more value than the wealth of the folks in poorer region, most of the technology and means needed for traveling were invented and or made possible in the wealthier regions. It was also because it was very difficult for the citizens of the poor places to enter the richer countries.

At first glance at tourism, one might think that tourism makes economic profit for the peoples of the destinations. In reality, there are reciprocal and multi-directional flows of benefits. The visitors collect valuable information and records of the places they go, and build friendship with local peoples. We now understand that these are ones of the most important benefits for life. The host country peoples get employment, money income and work skills as well as knowledge that comes from afar.

With the better economy and technology, some of the Asian and South American countries are now sending tourists to the world. The continental flow of visitors still keeps the similar old trend but with increasing number from Asian riches to the west.

When we interviewed randomly selected sample of tourists from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia who visited Thailand between 2000 and 2010 what we found are:

  • Most of the visitors rated themselves as rich or at least above average in terms of incomes in their own countries
  • Most Myanmar visitors visited famous temples in Bangkok, and beaches and modern buildings such as shopping malls
  • Most Lao visitors visited famous beaches, and modern buildings such as shopping malls
  • Most Cambodian visitors visited modern and splurge places like shopping malls, and beaches
  • Most of the photos taken by the tourists are of themselves with backgrounds of beaches, city structures and famous temples
  • Almost none of the tourists went to small villages in the mountains or hiking and camping in the jungle
  • Only few Myanmar tourists said they had been to Cambodia, but none to Laos
  • None of Lao and Cambodian tourists said they had been to Myanmar
  • Between Laos and Cambodia we see few exchange of visits among the sample
That sounds like, apart from the peoples who come to Thailand for work and study; many of Myanmar, Lao and Cambodian tourists to Thailand come to see the modern life, and when they go home they bring with them that views.

Anyway we hope that more and more peoples will take responsible travel by studying about themselves, peoples of the other places and environment, inter-relation and its effects. It is also said that visitors should not take or buy samples of any matter and valuable materials for their own benefit or for research. The damage from tourism to the culture, dignity, social life, environemnt, unity and ownership of the destination places must be kept minimum.

We also hope that tourism will create more understanding and friendship among different peoples but less and less conflicts; and also the chance of (or) the right to travel should be available to all citizens of the world quite equally or fairly.

2nd April 2012

More photos from travels and trips in Laos, Thailand and Myanmar