Sunrise – 1 Year on From the ASIA Launch

Nearly a year has passed since Early Bird Sunrise registration began for the coveted new.asia domain extension, the Early Bird Sunrise period (SR2a) was the first opportunity for commercial entities to register a.asia extension. Prior to this, registration was limited to Asian governments wishing to submit their public bodies and culturally or economically important domains during the pre-Sunrise period.

Throughout the commercial Sunrise period, entry was limited to those companies with registered trademarks trading in on of the 72 Asian countries as defined by ICANN, the period was split into four sub-periods which ran consecutively with the entry requirements becoming less stringent over time, and finally closed for new registration on January 31 2008. On March 26 2008 the.asia Go Live registration period started allowing anyone around the world to buy a.asia domain, and prompted a wave of speculators to begin buying up cyber real-estate from web hosts in the hope that a few companies with sloppy marketing departments had missed the Sunrise window.

So why is the.asia extension so important, when the region has functioned perfectly well over the years with.com and the other Asian regional extensions?

Put simply.asia provides a unifying sense of economic identity for the region which has over 500 million internet users (compared with 315 million in Europe and 253 million in the USA) a number which is growing steadily all the time as the cost of technology decreases..asia also allows companies to demonstrate an online presence and expand in to a region with one of the fastest moving economies in the world. That said how many companies have taken advantage of their newly acquired domains and actually set up a live site, well fewer that you would expect, a search of the obvious key players (Pepsi, Ford etc) returned “error page not found messages” Toyota the third largest Asian company according to Business Week’s ‘Top 25 Asian Companies’ have not set up a.asia page, Sony the seventh largest Asian company’s site is “under construction” and 7eleven the mini-market of choice for the region has their domain ‘parked’ in fact of the well known international brands only Honda seems to have a fully functioning.asia domain. So why this reticence to embrace.asia? Do we expect to see a wealth of new.asia sites before the end of the year? Or, are the big players just happy with the fact that they have secured their plot and are now content to sit on the fence while the price of the cyber real estate rises around them?

On thing does seem certain – this area is bound to take off eventually, and although the transition is slow it is gradually happening, with millions of quality domain names still on offer it could be time to speculate and buy your company’s piece of.asia before somebody else does.

Asia Cheap Travel, Screw the Research & Planning!

One of the biggest problems that I face when planning Asia cheap travel is trying to set the main things that I want to do and then to come up with a reasonable time frame and importantly for me a cheap travel budget that is realistic to the goals that I have identified. Research is the key to having a great vacation or an OK holiday, screw this part up and regret it you will. Time and money always being the major influences for me as a professional Cheap Charley, I want the best chance of having a great time so I work it hard before I go on the road.

I go to the travel blogs for my main research once I have an idea where I want to go to, one that I lean on is Travel Blog.org. The people that write on that particular blog have no financial reason to give you slued information and they tend to be more seasoned travelers than the great majority of new guys on Thorn Tree. I look to see what they did and see if it interests me, always keeping in mind that I do not want to follow exactly the hobbit trail, otherwise why bother, just read about it. Now it is safer to follow exactly what other people have done but the surprises that you encounter sometime good, sometimes bad are the stuff that stick in the old cranium.  

For instance the clock tower in Mandalay in Burma Myanmar, why bother unless you need to set the time on your watch, for me it was a waste of time, we did however have a great time at a restaurant that had duck and goose hanging in the window which was not a tourist place as it was not listed anywhere just down the street, just a regular local restaurant that we stumbled into just because the stomach said a stop was in order.  I did really dig sitting in the Savoy hotel having tea which is listed and the time in Bagon was priceless. I tell everyone that they need to make Bagon a priority if they are going to be in that part of the world. Had I did proper research, I would have know that the boat only runs on certain days between Mandalay and Bagon, Major Bummer! The boat was really cool looking when we checked it out on the dock after taking the boring flight because the planner in the research phase missed that one.

Time is always a nuisance, so I recommend that you plan so that there be flex days when you can get the cheap travel on demand, usually bus or train segments, and then if you find a place that really interest you, you can hang longer and really dig into a place. Quiananmen South of Tiananmensquare in Beijing was one of those places for me that created a dilemma as I had a really cheap flight to Bangkok on Air Asia out of Xiamen , which was a very cool place worthy of more time, but I was having such a great time in the Quiananmen Market section to the south of Tiananmen square that I wanted to stay in that area longer, which I did, and was rewarded late at night just before the cheap noodle place closed, to watch a local family restaurant dynamics at the end of the day. The bus boy dishwasher was worked about something and he was letting everyone know in a voice that would not be out of place between me and my precious pussy cat “Mangler”  when I am standing on her tail as she is shredding my leg with her razor sharp mouse killers between the bathroom and my morning coffee, anyway, the fur was flying and the  back and forth was hilarious as they kept at each other with about 6 staff all interacting for about 5 minutes and at the end of the day they all started laughing, now I don’t speak any Chinese but have been involved in that kind of tit for tat and for me that was the highlight of the trip, as I connected with that family group intimately as the fly on the wall contentedly slurping my excellent late night local noodles.

Money is the other thing that I spend a lot of time researching. I ran a small business and the rule of thumb that I learned is that you should have 2.5 times the budget that you think you need and for cheap travelers this is a bit higher than you want to hear I am sure but I would suggest that you have 1.5 available and that you have a reserve of at least 1 times more should something unplanned for happen, nothing worse than being a stranger in strange land making the universal rabbit ears distress signal with your pockets. 

Credit cards are good but bless that little Murphy’s impish soul, in times like these they can shut off for no readily apparent reason and if that is all that you are counting on life can get really interesting. I suggest that you have lined up in advance some back up like a rich uncle or other family member that you know will step up should the need arise. Major tip: People that owe you money are not good bets! Have your checking, saving, debit, Visa, MasterCard card information ready so that they can either do a bank to bank transfer or make a payment direct to your credit card. . American Express works great, but if you qualify you wouldn’t be reading this now would you! The safest bet is having a debit card with a easy pin as you can have someone make a direct cash deposit to your bank and then you get immediate access via a cash point or ATM.   Today banks have real people hours so the longest possible time would be 48 hours.   They can also make a Visa or MasterCard payment but they still might not sort you out and turn you back on if they know you are broke and playing in Asia instead of working hard to pay their legal loan sharking rates, and it usually has at least a 3 day wait.

I send all that banking information to a email account that I can get to from anywhere label it baby pictures or something else totally boring and send it to a Gmail my preference or Hotmail or Yahoo email account so that you can get at it. I also scan a copy of my passport and visas that are in it that you will need on your travels and my drivers license or ID card this makes a for an easy ID if you should lose your passport at the embassy or a bank.

Hey if I see you in Asia with the old look at the rabbits in my pants trick I know that you skipped the planning and I will gladly help you out with some good advice like put a bell on your precious pussy cat!

Wonders of SouthEast Asia

History meets the contemporary and brings out a beautiful combination in Southeast Asia. This chunk of the continent is home to the best tourist destinations, with a variety of landscapes all over. Tourists fall in eternal love with Southeast Asia, all thanks to its sun-kissed beaches, jungles, lush green peaks and a variety of climate changes. To add a cherry to the top, Southeast Asians are known to be the friendliest hosts and would accommodate to the needs of the tourists in the most hospitable ways.

Planning to explore the Southeast chunk of Asia? Here we’ve picked the best travel destinations for you. Whether this is a family trip, backpacking adventure or your anticipated honeymoon, Southeast Asia would delight you a great deal!

1. Cambodia
The land of Cambodia is famous worldwide for its tourism and textiles. The country is home to attractive temples that would most certainly draw your attention. Angkor Wat, also known as the City Temple is the most popular among these. Since it dates back to the 12th century, touring the temple is an amazing way to explore Cambodia’s past. The Bayon Temple and BanteaySrei are some others that are most often admired by tourists. On the Gulf of Thailand lies the wonderful Sihanoukville and its white sand beaches. The Silver Pagoda stands out for its architecture and the gold Buddha statues. Cambodia is warm nearly all year round, leaving tourists with more choice of when to visit the country.

2. Thailand
If there’s one destination you can’t miss in Southeast Asia, it would probably be Thailand! You must have heard of the great Phi Phi. It is located close to Phuket, and is the ultimate spot for beach lovers because of the million activities the archipelago supports. Once you’re in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, do not miss the Grand Palace. The amazing architecture of the gigantic palace and its majestic lawns would leave you awestruck! If you can allow yourself more time in the country, explore its Northern side. The traditional ways of the hill tribes will amuse you a great deal along with the endless adventures the landscape offers. For your eyes to witness the most breathtaking views, take the rail journey from Thai to Burma. Along with the picturesque views, learning more about the history would keep you entertained along the way.

3. Laos
The landlocked land of Southeast Asia has attracted tourists because of its landscape and unique culture. When in the Northern Laos, explore LuangPrabang. This town was listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Despite being small in area, its beauty is matchless to any other part of Southeast Asia. Backpackers would fall in love with VangVieng. The city is famous for the endless adventures it offers and also stands out for the limestone karst hills. The serene atmosphere of the city makes it a perfect tourist spot. Tham Kong Lo is an amazing limestone cave on the PhuHin Bun River. It is considered one of the most special wonders of Southeast Asia. If you’re looking for adventures, it is a must to visit these caves.