Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

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Indian Tourism: News & Discussion

Postby Rakesh » 05 Mar 2007 23:38


pradeepe
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Postby pradeepe » 06 Mar 2007 03:27

Any kind souls from our gods own country(come on, I know we have quite a few here) have recommendations for a weekend/3-4 day retreat packages. Yes, its too short, but I'll take what I get.

Been to Kovalam a long time ago as a child and loved the countryside. Would like to see the much talked about backwaters when I get a chance to breakaway for a few days when in India.

thanks.

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Postby Sanjay M » 06 Mar 2007 10:09

Can 'poorism' put India on the map?

http://www.smithsonianmagazine.com/issu ... esence.php

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Postby JE Menon » 12 Mar 2007 19:53

Mallus, someone help out pradeepe... I am clueless about this, unfortunately.

I myself need this information for an acquaintance. Was in Frankfurt this past week, and a senior exec in a multinational (he is half Indian/half Egyptian - yeah, go figure) was harassing me continuously for tips on a Kerala holiday. He wants to take his mistress somewhere he won't meet anyone who recognises him, and his wife won't follow :D

So someone with experience in touring God's own country, do the needful please.

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Postby jrjrao » 12 Mar 2007 20:09

JEM, check out this article:

Do you want fries with that McCurry?

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Postby Walker » 12 Mar 2007 20:37

pradeepe, JEM
This is the link to the official site of Kerala tourism. They have links on the bottom showing various packages offered by different tour operators.

http://keralatourism.org/index.php?zone=1&menu=10&

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Postby JE Menon » 13 Mar 2007 00:47

Tx guys...

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Postby hnair » 13 Mar 2007 03:01

Pradeepe, if you want a combo of beach + backwater, check out Varkkala, a bunch of cliff-backdrop beaches, about 50 kms north of Trivandrum airport. There are also a bunch of lagoons/backwaters around the place for houseboat experiences and Taj has a good hotel there. A fav of euro-israeli younger tourists, as can be seen from a lot of tattoo/piercing parlours etc in the place. BTW, the lagoons/backwaters do not have the bright green paddy field ambience of Allapuzha/Kuttanad, rather more of coconut plantation types. Location 8 43'36.09"N 76 42'21.29"E

Good NH connectivity from airport to this place (as well as Kovalam-poovar beach resort areas, which are 20 kms south, in the other direction, from the airport), along the same NH. Takes about 40-60 mins, depending on the craziness of the taxi chap.

JEM, looks like your acquaintance needs the isolation of the forests of Kerala (Spice Village, Carmelia etc). Or if he is ok with having an unobstrusive oars-man, in which case, the houseboats. Sets the rythm :D

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Postby JE Menon » 13 Mar 2007 03:38

Well, hnair's link, led me to another site:

http://www.varkalaonline.com/

which the rather ominous slogan: "The final destination of a tourist".

Now this is supposedly a tourism oriented site, but check out the copy (extracts):

"Despite the pristine beauty of the beach, it is clear that the Tourism Department has not paid much attention to the place. The drawbacks of Kovalam are evident in this place too. Heaps of uncleared garbage, staring and often pestering local lads, beach sellers and a stream that is an exit point for the garbage that passes through the beach are but a few things that would distract you from having a peaceful getaway."

"Most of the restaurants and places-to-eat are seasonal and spring up during the season. However, in the railway station and in the town one would find it difficult to spot decent restaurants. Oottupura Vegetarian Restaurant & Jicky’s Rooms at Cliff are the only vegetarian hotels in Varkala. The service is generally slow and don’t expect anything special. The food is ordinary."

"During the season, homes are transformed to internet cafes and kitchens to restaurants. Be vary about the fish you eat from restaurants. If you are not good at judging the freshness of seafood, it is better to avoid it than running for purgatives. All said and done, Varkala is a place that is not to be missed, whatever price you have to pay."

"Health risks: Cholera, dengue fever, dysentery, hepatitis, malaria, meningitis (trekking areas only) and typhoid"

Damn, that must have the tourists running en masse to the nearest travel agent.... I mean, I'm all for honesty but there's a limit :twisted:

I'm not kidding...that crap is up on that website, which it seems is aimed at attracting tourists :-? :P :-? :P :wink: :-o

Going by that write up, one would think Varkala is a bit of a challenge... although other links suggest it is a perfectly respectable tourist destination, not unlike most other such small-town get aways across the world...

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Postby Alok_N » 13 Mar 2007 04:24

JEM,

you missed this attractive feature right on the front page ...

My brother went swimming at a small beach town in Kerala called Varkala. My brother, who swam daily for hours at a time, drowned just offshore as a result of the strong tides and currents. There are no signs or lifeguards. Please be aware that the currents and tides are especially dangerous in Kerala and be careful.


"final destination" indeed ... :lol:

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Postby pradeepe » 13 Mar 2007 04:35

Thanks guys. I had got down to searching the various tourism portals after muttering a few choice wishes on BRites from gods own land :D

Varkala looks deadly :).

The last trip as a kid was heavenly, put up in our teachers house in a rubber plantation as part of a school tour. Only problem then was there was a single bathroom for about 20 kids, so we improvised :lol:

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Postby hnair » 13 Mar 2007 05:58

Yeah, that website is Mushy, "I will shoot if you visit" derringer to the temple thing :D

All seaside resorts will spring to life only during the october-feb "tourist season". That is why you see goofy ads like "come enjoy monsoon" etc during off-seasons from both Goa and Kerala tourism depts. Ayurveda/health based tourism was started by Kerala Tourism to attract year round tourists in the mid-90s because of this.

Varkala's Taj resort - the place I have been to is great. Excellent food too. And the surroundings are less developed than the over developed Kovalam beaches.

Make no mistakes - no open-sea beach (not protected by reefs) anywhere in the world is safe from rip-tides and undercurrents. Unless you are a local beach nut, you wont know the seasonal/tidal patterns. Have a chat with the beach shack people or local fisherfolk on the safety aspects before you get wet. And strictly adhere to the "crossed red flag" warnings. Kovalam beaches have lifeguards, year-round. Though a decent swimmer at that time, I almost lost my life during college times at the supposedly safe Kovalam beach and never disregarded warnings after that :twisted:

But give me Kovalam beach anyday - wetsuits and booties allow one only so much time in the CA waters before hypothermia sets in :evil: In Kovalam all you need is just the trusty old "fish net"(read "over usage") Tantex :D

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Postby AmitNangia » 13 Mar 2007 17:49

I don't know if this is the best place to post this whine, but here goes. I am one of those R2I types, and so far it's been great being back. The problem though is that GHQ & the brats hold another nationality. Thus began the trips to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division, to get visa extensions etc done. That office is horrible. The experience is nightmarish, and I dread our regular visits. Almost nothing is done right the first time. Utter chaos and incompetence. If everything goes right, it is a minimum of a 2 day affair. If they mess it up, a few more days are in order
The place is crawling with Pakis & B'deshis. They come in massive groups and usually have rather dubious personal hygeine. On top of that, they seem thoroughly islamized! A close second are the islamic Africans, with similar characteristics.
There is absolutely no system, and more often than not, it is completely overcrowded. There are huge throngs of people crowding around the various desks, and it is impossible to make your way through, or to hear your name if you decide to wait away from all the action. The concept of queues is non-existent. The loos are stinking and often overflowing. The attitude of the babus there also leaves a lot to be desired. Their behaviour is absolutely random, and no one will ever give you the whole picture. A little guidance and proper management can streamline the whole process and make the experience a lot less painful. Hassled tourists typically do not take back positive stories. As India progresses, more and more foreigners will come to visit, study, and work. We better put some good systems in place to manage them. There is not a single computer in that place. The back offices are a mountain of papers, and I have heard stories of misplaced files!
What is needed is a computerized system, with online applications. Or maybe even a separate agency to deal with all this. I hope someone takes notice of this and some remedial action is taken.

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Postby svinayak » 16 Mar 2007 04:33

A slice of oriental romance

R. Krishna Kumar
Image
The stone chariot in Hampi.

MYSORE: Karnataka's own palace-on-wheels that will connect heritage destinations across the State and unveil a slice of oriental romance to an international clientele is set to drive State tourism to a new high.

Riding the wave of popularity at the International Tourism Borse (ITB) Berlin, which concluded on Sunday, the State divulged its luxury train concept to a niche audience and tour operators specialising in luxury train tourism who sat up to take note that there existed a golden India beyond the Golden Triangle of Delhi-Agra-Jaipur.

ITB Berlin is reckoned to be the biggest and the most prestigious tourism mart in the world, and a positive impact there results in a bonanza for tourism sector of the region.

While the State made an overwhelming impact at the tourism mart and generated tremendous response as it showcased its diverse cultural heritage, the luxury train caught the imagination of the public and travel professionals.Tourism Commissioner Kumar G. Naik on his return from the ITB, told The Hindu that Karnataka derived tremendous exposure at the international tourism mart and helped create a positive profile.

The Karnataka team showcased its palace-on-wheels, now nearing completion, and if the feedback is any indication, then the State should roll out the red carpet and reap a rich harvest in due course.

Mr. Kumar Naik disclosed that the luxury train was nearing completion at the Integral Coach Factory, Perambur, and Pendse Associates, who also designed Maharashtra's Deccan Odyssey, are working on the interiors. The train will be aptly named so as to fire the imagination of the tourists and will emerge as a brand with popular recall value as in Royal Orient, Deccan Odyssey and the Fairy Queen.

Mr. Kumar Naik said they had not yet christened the luxury train, but had zeroed in on a few names of which Golden Chariot was one.

"It is after the chariot wheels at the World Heritage Site at Hampi, but no final decision has been taken yet. The luxury train will definitely chug out from this season starting September", he added.

The interiors of the trains will be simply out of this world and the consultants have visited Hampi and the Mysore Palace in a bid to pick up ideas that could be incorporated.

The rakes are going to cost Rs.32 crore of which the Karnataka Government is chipping in with Rs.16 crore while Rs.8 crore each has been sanctioned by the Centre and the Railways.

The itinerary is being worked out and the six-day seven-night tour will cover Bangalore, Mysore, Hassan (Belur, Halebeedu and Shravanabelagola), Hampi, Aihole, Pattadakal and Badami.

The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation is looking out for a project director to market the product to various stakeholders and oversee its management while efforts are on to outsource service providers to match the exacting standards that is expected to propel Karnataka tourism to a new high.

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Postby Vishy_mulay » 24 Mar 2007 22:12

Nice article on short vacation in India.
http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/tr ... ref=travel

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Postby rocky » 24 Mar 2007 23:52

Guys, I'm interested in doing some trekking in Sikkim from Yuksom onwards, in late April till mid-May.

I believe one is not allowed to trek alone there; plus it is hazardous to do so. So I am looking for trekking companies or independent guides who will basically double up as cooks.

Since I'm no high-flier, I have a modest budget. I plan to fly into Bagdogra, and then take the bus to Gangtok and them to Yuksom.

Does anybody have any suggestions?

I know there was a BRF member with beautiful photographs from Sikkim and the NE, but unfortunately I cannot remember his name (I am deeply sorry for that).

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Postby bala » 25 Mar 2007 02:21

Try this link. Travel India

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Postby Katare » 26 Mar 2007 05:14

This is nothing compared to big cruise destination/origination points like Miami but still a good begning and fast expansion.....

Cruise tourism gains momentum in India

"We expect 39-40 cruise ships this season as against 21 last year," said an official of Mumbai port, which has recently floated tenders for building a Rs 200-crore new cruise terminal.

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Postby ramana » 29 Mar 2007 03:10

Stop the presses!!!!
From Pioneer, 29 March 2007

Backpackers packed away

Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Foreign tourists spend more in India than in France

It could be the Incredible India campaign. Or just good old Indian hospitality. Tourists who come to the country stay on longer than they would in other tourist destinations. As a result, India earns more from each foreign tourist than even popular destinations like France.

A FICCI study released on Wednesday showed that despite infrastructure constraints, average foreign tourist spends more in India than in France. On an average, India earned Rs 65,085 from every foreign tourist. This is three times the tourist's expenditure in France and nearly double of average global earning at Rs 37,570.

The earning could be attributed to the fact that an average tourist tended to stay longer because of the size of the country and the variety of attractions, says the study on investment opportunities in hotel infrastructure in India.

The survey, however, warned that the benefit of higher earning will vanish if India was not able to put in place low-cost accommodation. Emphasising the need of building budget hotels to make for the swell in demand, the study warned that it will just be a matter of time that China and Singapore will gobble up the advantage of India if it did not wake up to its aggressively low-priced infrastructure development policies.

It has given example of how not to do business. The study pointed out that the hotel owners in their greed to cash in on the tourist rush to this IT hub, steeply increased the tariffs, forcing the professionals and business travellers to scout for no-frills accommodation alternatives. As a result, the occupancy level in the starred hotels slipped despite an unabated rush.

Most entrepreneurs smell an opportunity in building budget hotels. As many as 40 brands are expected to enter into setting up budget hotels in the next five to seven years, the industry study said. It called for single window clearance for these projects. Uncontrolled land prices and inconsistent taxation norms were other obstacles in the way of setting up tourism infrastructure.

Comparing hotel tariffs of India with the two countries, the study said India has highest tariff at about Rs 8,500 against Rs 6,250 in China and Rs 5,500 in Singapore.

Shanghai alone boasts of 1,35,000 rooms against a mere 1,05,000 rooms in whole of India. A country smaller than the size of Delhi - Singapore - has nearly half of India's total room capacity with figures standing at 48,000.

China also leads India in infrastructure development with 316 hotel projects in pipeline, almost double of India, which has 161 ongoing projects. Similarly, the room capacity target of China stands at 1,07,725 which is more than six times of India's 16,734.

Comparing India with rival tourist destinations China and Singapore in terms of tourist arrivals, the study noted that Singapore, despite its tiny size, gets twice the number of tourists and China gets more than ten times.

Against India's tourist arrivals figure of 4.3 million last year, China received as many as 46.80 million tourists and Singapore got 3.92 million, close to what the whole of India got in 2005.


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Postby rocky » 30 Mar 2007 23:17

Which websites would you reccomend for getting cheap flights within India? I'm looking for flights from Pune to Bagdogra. Thanks in advance.

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Postby Vipul » 31 Mar 2007 18:46


shyamd
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Postby shyamd » 31 Mar 2007 22:31

Ask your relative to book for you in the local agency. It is often cheaper than the websites, I have noticed. Or phone and book yourself.

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How bout some convenience and choice?

Postby member_10245 » 04 Apr 2007 12:27

The Local travel agent will give you a deal what suits himself.

Why don't you see all options displayed on a website like Travelguru and make your own choice.

I feel that's a much smarter way to book.

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Postby shyamd » 04 Apr 2007 17:34

That hasn't been my experience. Last time when I had to book a flight, I checked online and the price for the jet airways flight was like Rs4000. And I checked with local travel agent, I ended up flying in the same flight for Rs2800. Depends who you go to.

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Postby rocky » 06 Apr 2007 01:57

travelguru.com keeps showing flights that don't exist.

Yatra.com says one thing on their website and something else through email.

Has anybody tried makemytrip.com?

Basically my question is - is there any special rule for purchasing air tickets in India if you are a non-resident Indian?

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Postby Yogeshwar » 06 Apr 2007 05:07

rocky wrote:travelguru.com keeps showing flights that don't exist.


Basically my question is - is there any special rule for purchasing air tickets in India if you are a non-resident Indian?



The Kingfisher Airlines website does not take non-Indian credit cards. If you purchase with a indian credit card, you may be asked to produce some ID that is issued in India otherwise pay a higher fare as non-res.

The spicejet site allowed me to register a non-indian address and use anon-indian credit card. hope they don't ask for more $$ @ checkin


Jet airways will differentiate rates between Indian and non-Indian

NRI's should be ok by paying in INR. since their Passport would still be indian

SpiceJet has some routes at INR99 + 1,300 tax !!

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Postby Vick » 06 Apr 2007 05:14

Touting tourism
Tourism may seem the least of India’s worries, what with daunting deficiencies in infrastructure, education, health care and basic government services such as water and power. But tourism not only brings in valuable revenue but helps shape the world’s perception of a country and what it has to offer.

In a survey of Americans’ perceptions of India, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found that those polled ranked India dead last among nine countries in terms of future world influence behind China, the UK, Russia and France. Other countries expect India to rise but not by much. Surprisingly, India is not seen as a top source of innovation.

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Postby Victor » 06 Apr 2007 05:57

Charging non-Indian citizens , whether NRIs or not, 30% - 40% more at airlines, hotels, tourist spots is plain stupid and daylight robbery to boot. Simultaneously there is a cry for forinners (including NRIs) to invest in India :roll:. AFAIK, no other country, rich or poor, discriminates against non-citizens like India does. One would think that to attract forrin currency spenders, we should give forinners the same fare if not a better deal. This only makes sense to a total idiot but what else is new.

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Postby Vick » 06 Apr 2007 06:04

There are cases of people from NE being treated like foreigners.

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Postby shyamd » 06 Apr 2007 16:41

I remember when I booked Jet airways flight in INR, they told me at check in that I was only allowed 20kg. They said that if you pay in dollars you would be allowed 30 kg. But this was a number of years back. Don't know if the same exists today.

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Postby Bade » 06 Apr 2007 21:23

This happened to me 4 months back with Jet Airways.

I was able to book Kingfisher tickets on internet using US issued credit cards for the advertised fares in Rupees with no discrimination. Maybe, they have also wizened up and starting discriminating. :twisted:

Wasn't there a news link few months back stating the abolition of this 2-tier pricing for resident Indians and all others ? So what happened to all that ?

Only way to beat the system is to buy the tickets paying in Cash in India. If you use a US issued credit card in India (like I did in 2005) to buy a Indian Airlines ticket you still end up paying $$ rates.

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Postby rocky » 10 Apr 2007 04:22

Well it seems both Kingfisher and Spicejet seem to still allow you to buy tickets online from them. I wonder if there is any catch for non-resident Indians? This seems to be too easy to be true :eek:

There is absolutely no mention of special rules for NRIs and foreigners on their websites.

Strangely enough, Kingfisher has no email address where one can contact them!

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Postby abhishek » 10 Apr 2007 04:47

AFAIK, no other country, rich or poor, discriminates against non-citizens like India does



Are you serious?

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Postby bala » 12 Apr 2007 10:42

Hotel sector may see Rs 52,000-cr investment

Currently, India has some 1,975 hotels with over one lakh rooms. However, it is estimated that there is still a shortfall of about 1,50,000 hotel rooms.

It is estimated that over the next two years 70,000-80,000 rooms will be added across different categories throughout the country. A luxury deluxe room would require an investment of Rs 1-1.2 crore while the cost of a room in the budget category would be Rs 35-45 lakh, on an average, 70,000 rooms across categories would require an investment of Rs 65 lakh per room. Indian hoteliers are in expansion mode. They are now also focusing on non-metro tier-I cities. There is certainly a need for quality hotel rooms in India. Global players have expressed keen interest in investing in the hospitality sector.

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Postby vina » 12 Apr 2007 11:07

hnair wrote: Tantex :


OH MY GOD!!! Memories of childhood come rushing back.. Does that brand still exist in Desh ?

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Postby Singha » 12 Apr 2007 11:37

is it a brand of fishnet underwear ? in NE we know of it as a large pill one
takes to perform better...a curious classmate of mine got one from a older
gang of boys and ingested it after dinner. he claims he passed out and when
regained senses in morning found his mosquito net all torn and bedsheets
on the floor...said he prolly thrashed wildly from its effects.

there has been a silent revolution in terms of hotels and service in India
over the last decade. there are pretty decent small scale places in some
unexpected places now...desi hoteliers have realized people dont necessarily want the big traditional full service hotels now. they are willing to pay to rough it out in some style...no longer do u need to haul camping gear into
the wilderness...a prep team will have that ready...u can focus on designer
field clothes, light backpack, cameras, hats and follow precise directions into
the 'wilderness' wherein a steaming tea and chicken will be already grilling
on the spit. tent will be all ready. :D observed this recently...

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Postby shyamd » 13 Apr 2007 16:27

Bid to tap tourism potential in villages

S. Vijay Kumar

Visitors to have a feel of day-to-day rural activities


MADURAI: In an effort to preserve traditional practices and exploit untapped tourism potential in rural areas, the district administration has taken an initiative to develop infrastructure in select villages.

To begin with, Saranthangi in Parapatti panchayat has been identified where the village temple, pond and other amenities are to be developed at a cost of Rs.5 lakh. "The idea is to showcase local customs in the typical rural background. Tourism in Madurai should not be urban-centric as there is much more to see in villages," the Collector, S.S. Jawahar, said.

A tourism package is being evolved to attract visitors, including foreign nationals, to visit villages, interact with people there and have a feel of their day-to-day activities.

Villagers involved in traditional occupations such as pottery, weaving and cattle rearing will be encouraged. Unemployed educated youth in respective villages will be trained as tourist guides.

"The tourists will be received on the village outskirts and taken in bullock carts or horse-driven cars. They can see farm work, have traditional food and visit local temples. If the visit coincides with festivals, they can also witness folk dance and be part of the rural entertainment," he said.

Mr. Jawahar said that repair and development works at an estimate of nearly Rs. 10 crore would soon begin at the Meenakshi temple and Mannar Tirumalai Nayak Palace. Engineering and archaeological experts would meet on April 24 to fine-tune the work specifications.

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Postby Singha » 14 Apr 2007 18:37

http://www.thaifishingguide.com/weeklyp ... _2004.html

the thais have stocked a old tin mining quarry named bungsam lan lake near
bangkok with 50 varieties of fish including giant & mekong catfish. and for
a free, tourists can land whatever they want from there. neat huh ? look
at the fishing marina behind the subject in photo.

also in phuket they have people catch sailfish, tuna and in the mekong itself
they offer guides to snag the massive catfish.

rice & fish can be made to mint $$ :D

member_10519
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Nice website to see

Postby member_10519 » 25 Apr 2007 15:40

Hello, everybody, I found a nice website with property listings, check: http://www.fusedworld.com/Real_Estate/A ... php?t=3159 and see what can you learn from there!

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Chandigarh Restaurants

Postby Yogeshwar » 26 Apr 2007 06:41

Please recommend a good Restaurant in the vicinity of Rock Garden in Chandigarh that has great ambiance and of course good food (for Lunch). Something for non-Indian guests visiting India.


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