Dispatches from Asia

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Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Myanmar

chris with guide The following is a guest post by Chris Crampton, ICS Sales Representative for the UK and Ireland. Last year, Chris embarked on an epic 10-day tour of Myanmar (formerly Burma). . . a country which has only been opened to tourism for less than 5 years.

Myanmar is a country that defies categorisation. It’s not perfect, but I can say that although I’ve travelled widely, there are few destinations that have worked their way into my soul as this one has.  Whether you’re talking about the astonishing sights and sounds of Bagan, the colonial history and astounding pagoda of Yangon, the rich tapestry of Mandalay, the rural beauty of Pindaya and Lake Inle, or the perfect unspoilt beaches of Ngapali, Myanmar is a country that demands to be visited. . . it insists on being seen. Now that I have returned home, so I thought I’d put up a few practical hints and tips if visiting the country. Read more

ICS Travel Group joins Traveller Made

Traveller Made.NETICS Travel Group is pleased to announce that we have joined Traveller Made®.

Traveller Made® is an invitation-only network community of travel designers dedicated to providing unique and exclusive bespoke journeys to travellers looking for different and original experiences, requiring skilled and knowledgeable advisors who are committed to fully servicing their clients.

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Lanna Songkran Traditions

The Thai New Year festival known as Songkran in celebrated all over Thailand. Some regions – particularly in the north and in the south – have a few differences which create their own unique local flavor.  The Lanna region in northern Thailand around the cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai is one of those places.

The name “Lanna” means “Kingdom of a Million Rice Fields” and we’ve created this handy infographic to show you some of the Lanna traditions that you will see during the next few days. Read more

Songkran 2016

One of Thailand’s biggest celebrations is Songkran…New Year according to the traditional Thai calendar.  The Buddhist ceremony of Song Nam Phra (which literally translates “Pouring Water on Monks”) is performed in many homes and offices around the country, including at our own office in Bangkok, Thailand.


After this ceremony, people began having fun by throwing the leftover water at each other. Since temperatures can often reach 40°C during this time of year, a splash of cold water was both fun and a welcome relief from the heat. It was this habit which expanded into the nationwide holiday we observe today.

The Songkran festival has become one of the most popular and internationally famous festivals in Thailand.

Chakri Day

Chakri Day, ThailandToday, Thailand celebrates Chakri Day… a national holiday officially known as ‘King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke the Great Day and Chakri Dynasty Memorial Day.’

Chakri Day commemorates the establishment of the Chakri Dynasty by Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (Rama I) in 1782 whose first act was to make Bangkok the capital of Siam.  The day recognises the contributions of all the kings in the dynasty and is usually observed by the the current King presiding over religious ceremonies held at the royal chapel.

This holiday always falls a few days before the Songkran festival so many people to travel in preparation for the Songkran festivities.  Government offices, schools, banks and ICS Travel Group will close, but most other businesses open as usual on this day.


Go to Thailand

AUSSIE UPDATE: Free Visa for Australian Citizens Visiting Indonesia

Australia Indonesia

AUSSIE UPDATE: Free Visa for Australian Citizens Visiting Indonesia

The Indonesian government has granted a free visa to Australian citizens for visits of up to thirty (30) days.

Australian citizens who visit Indonesia for more than thirty (30) days are still required to apply for a visa.

We’ll see you soon, mate!


[video] On the Right Track: A Special Train Ride

Do you love trains?  Recently, ICS Travel Group had the opportunity to design a very special, custom itinerary for train enthusiasts. Working with Scott McGregor, this route steamed through the train stations and railways of Myanmar.  The whole trip was great “enter-train-ment.” Read more

Balinese Nyepi Day 2016

Nyepi Day, Bali IndonesiaBalinese New Year – known as Nyepi Day – falls on Wednesday, 9 March 2016. Our Indonesia office will be closed from 8 – 10 March 2016.

Nyepi is known as “Silence Day” because on this day the island of Bali is completely silent for 24 hours. The Nyepi Day will start at 6:00am on 9 March and will end at 6:00am on 10 March.
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Maha Shivatri

By Indianhilbilly (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Maha Shivratri

By Indianhilbilly (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Today, our friends in India and parts of Nepal celebrate Maha Shivratri (which literally translates to the ‘Great Night of Shiva’). . . a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. It is the day Shiva was married to Parvati.

During this Hindu festival, devotees stay awake at night and offer prayers to the Lord. It is believed that the people who fast on this night and offer prayers to Lord Shiva bring good luck into their life.


If you would like an experience a truly magical land, try our epic 10-day journey through Rajastan, India.

Explore Rajasthan