Phuket’s beaches revived to former beauty

Phuket-Beach-ThailandThe ruling NCPO (National Council for Peace and Order) in Thailand has put operations in place to clean up Phuket’s beaches.

The country’s largest island and a huge magnet for tourism, Phuket has suffered from squatters occupying its beaches with sunbeds, umbrellas and tables, while setting up stalls to sell various items to passers-by.  The developments are helping return Phuket’s beaches to their former glory, when picture-perfect arcs of golden sand were visible.  The removal of obstructions has opened up the beach creating more room for families to set up picnics and visitors to enjoy.  The beaches in Cherng Talay were first on the list in part of the NCPO ‘clean up’ operation.  Plans have also been drawn up and officers deployed to re-zone the beachfront in order to combat future encroachment, starting with Kamala beach.

Phuket is home to a selection of the world’s most spectacular beaches, graced with powder-soft sand and beautiful palm trees framed against a backdrop of rolling hills covered in lush jungle.  Discover these newly rejuvenated beaches with World Discovery as we explore Phuket, its history, the Andaman Sea and beyond.

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Insider’s market guide to Saigon

Hoi An marketSaigon’s markets provide insight to a parallel life that co-exists alongside the modern face of the city.  While throngs of visitors flock to Ben Thanh, which is undeniably beautiful, it doesn’t convey the genuine traits and atmosphere of a local Vietnamese market – of which there are many in Saigon.

The markets just outside the city centre communicate the story of another life, that of Saigon’s local people, less influenced by tourists and focusing on the trade of goods between each other.  These bustling, vibrant and colourful markets reveal unchanged traditions that have lasted centuries, where friendly haggling and the opportunity to meet with friends prevail.  World Discovery’s Vietnam office has carefully selected five markets to create a ‘Top 5’ list where visitors can experience authentic Vietnamese markets and venture off the tourist map.

Our experienced guides will happily lead the way into places few other visitors set foot.  Contact World Discovery for details.

What you need to know before travelling to Morocco

MARRAKECHMorocco is situated in North Africa, just ten miles from the Southernmost tip of Europe.  With a great mix of historic cities, world-renowned street markets, hot weather and friendly, welcoming locals it’s no wonder that Morocco is on many people’s to-do lists when it comes to travelling. However, there are a few things worth knowing before you head off to experience the mystique of Morocco; read on to keep safe and get the most from your trip:
• Visa requirements: If you hold a valid passport from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland and most of the EU then you won’t need a visa to enter Morocco.  It is important to point out, however, that your passport needs to be valid for at least six months from the date that you enter Morocco.
• Health: There are no vaccinations required prior to travelling to Morocco, and there’s little to concern yourself with whilst you’re over there as the country is clean and sanitary.  As with most foreign countries it’s always advisable to drink bottled water rather than tap water just in case, and take the usual precautions against things like stomach upsets and sunburn.
• Safety: Violent crime is not a major problem in Morocco but it’s always best to avoid unfamiliar areas after dark and don’t carry large amounts of cash or valuables around with you.  Petty crime such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching is fairly common, so be vigilant and look after your belongings at all times.
• Political situation: There is a general threat from terrorism in Morocco following the French intervention in Mali.  Since 2011 there have been demonstrations and protests occasionally across the country, most of which have been fairly peaceful.  You can find out more information from gov.uk before travelling.
• When to travel: Spring in Morocco is lovely; very lush and green.  Summer and winter can be quite extreme in their temperatures so check the weather for the time of year you wish to travel if you want to avoid scorching heat.  Morocco is a Muslim country which observes the Ramadan festival; in 2015 this falls between June 18th and July 17th.  Many restaurants and cafes are closed during the day throughout Ramadan as religious locals will be fasting.
• Bartering: Merchants will tend to inflate the cost of an item when dealing with tourists as you are expected to barter with them to lower the price. To avoid being drawn into a barter situation simply say “tan shouf” which means “just looking”; and if the price is too much just politely walk away.  Whenever you do buy goods or services it is customary to tip; e.g. taxi drivers, tour guides, restaurant bills etc.