Asean Connectivity

November 16, 2017 | admin


ASEAN Connectivity

Thailand – The Best Connecting Point for a journey in ASEAN

The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 is a major milestone in the regional economic integration of the ten Southeast Asian countries i.e. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. A key point of the AEC is it envisages free trade in goods and services, investment liberalisation and the free flow of skilled labor. See for more information.

Tourism represents an important component of the economy of all ASEAN countries especially in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, where it accounts for over 10 percent of GDP and contributes significant employment in their economies.
Each member country has been assigned as a Country Coordinator for certain industries with Thailand for tourism and air travel, as Thailand is geographically located in the centre of Southeast Asia with borders to four countries: Myanmar to the west and northwest, Laos to the northeast and east, Cambodia to the east and Malaysia to the south.

Air Transport

Thailand has a number of airports that service both domestic and international air traffic, as well as many more that only serve domestic flights.Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi (BKK) is Thailand’s largest airport and one of Asia’s hubs. More information, see
Donmueng International Airport is a hub for regional flights and the de facto low-cost airline hub. More information on Donmueng International Airport, see
Other main international airports in Thailand include Phuket (HKT), Chiang Mai (CNX), Hat Yai (HDY), and Ko Samui (USM). For domestic flights to smaller provinces, travellers must connect flights at Bangkok or one of the other international airports above.
Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi: Located 25km east of Bangkok CBD, Suvarnabhumi International Airport covers an area of 8,000acres and welcomes more than 500 international and domestic airlines. In 2015, the airport has welcomed 52,902,110 travellers. (according to Airports of Thailand PCL (AOT) and The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand). For the list of airlines, see

The most convenient means of transport to this airport are Airport Rail Link and taxi. If travelling by car, travellers are recommended to allow at least 2 hours for the journey from Bangkok CBD to the airport.

Airport Rail Link is an express rail connecting Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport to Bangkok CBD, operating during 06.00 – 24.00hrs. The 30min ride between Suvarnabhumi Station (Service at Basement B) and Phaya Thai Station (in Bangkok CBD), stops at 6 stations along the way i.e. Rajaprarop Station, Makkasan Station, Ramkamhaeng Station, Hua Mark Station, Baan Tubchang Station and Lardkrabang Station.

According to “SKYTRAX World Airport Awards 2016”, Suvarnabhumi International Airport is ranked #5 for Best Airports: 40-50 million pax per year.
Bangkok’s Donmueng: Located just over 21km north of Bangkok CBD, Donmueng International Airport services mostly domestic flights and flights within Asia. Travellers are recommended to allow at least 2 hours for the journey from Bangkok CBD to the airport.

Currently there are 15 airlines operating from here i.e.
1. Air Asia Berhad
2. Indonesia Air Asia
3. Thai Air Asia
4. Thai Air Asia X
5. Nok Air
6. Thai Lion Air
8. Scoot Airlines
9. Tiger Air Taiwan
10. V Air
11. Thai Smile We
12. Siam Air Transport
13. Orient Thai
14. Sabaidee Airways (New Gen)
15. Maldivian Airline
(according to
The most convenient means of transport to Donmueng Airport are Airport LimoBus Express and taxi, although some people take a train or a public bus.
Airport LimoBus Express is a 33-seat Limo Bus with free WiFi. There are 2 routes i.e. Donmueng Airport – Lumpini Park and Donmueng Airport – Khaosan Road. The service from Donmueng Airport operates from 09.30 – 00.40hr and departs every 30 minutes. The service from Lumpini Park and Khaosan Road operates from 04.00 – 20.30hr and departs every hour. The flat-rate fare is THB150. See for timetables.
Public buses which go to Donmueng Airport are no. 29, 510, 555, 59, 554,187, 538, 504 and shuttle bus A1 which runs between Donmueng Airport (stop at Terminal 1 and 2) and BTS Mo Chit Station.
Donmueng Train Station is located approximately 500m opposite the airport with a pedestrian crossing bridge to the 2nd floor of terminal 1. For more information, see
Free Transfer between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and Bangkok Donmueng Airport

The air-conditioned shuttle bus service is a direct service operated by Airports of Thailand (AOT) and the target time for the journey between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi and Donmueng is 50 minutes in good traffic and weather. Travellers, however, should allow at least 2 hours for travelling, as the service is free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis on the day and during rush-hour or in bad weather, the journey times may be longer. There are regular departures from 05.00-midnight in both directions. The bus departs from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Passenger Terminal 2nd Floor, Gate 3 and from Don Muaneng Airport, Passenger Terminal 1st Floor.

See for timetable and updates.

Airlines which operate direct flights from ASEAN member countries, Hong Kong and China to Thailand (as of May 2016):

From Brunei to Bangkok: Air Asia, Royal Brunei Airlines, Thai Airways
From the Philippines to Bangkok: Thai Airways, Cebu Pacific
From Laos to Bangkok: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Lao Airlines
From Laos to Chiang Mai: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Lao Airlines
From Malaysia to Bangkok: Air Asia,Egypt Air, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Ethiopian, Milano Air, Thai Lion Air
From Malaysia to Krabi: Air Asia
From Malaysia to Had Yai: Air Asia
From Malaysia to Chiang Mai: Air Asia
From Singapore to Bangkok: Air Asia, Thai Lion Air, Tiger Air, Scoot, Jetstar, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines
From Singapore to Phuket: Air Asia, Thai Lion Air, Tiger Air, Silk Air, Jetstar
From Singapore to Krabi: Air Asia, Tiger Air
From Singapore to Had Yai: Tiger Air
From Singapore to Ko Samui: Silk Air, Bangkok Airways
From Myanmar to Bangkok: Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Thai Smile, Myanmar Airways International, Nok Air, Bangkok Airways, Myanmar Airways International
From Myanmar to Chiang Mai: Bangkok Airways
From Indonesia to Bangkok: Air Asia, Thai Airways, Thai Lion Air, Myanmar Airways International, Garuda Indonesia
From Vietnam to Bangkok: Viet Jet Air, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Air Asia, EVA Air, Jetstar
From China to Bangkok: Air Asia, China Southern Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Srilankan Airlines, Thai Airways, Air China
From China to Chiang Mai: Air Asia, China Southern Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines
From China to Krabi: Air Asia
From China to U Tapao: Air Asia
From Hong Kong to Bangkok: HK Express, Air Asia, Srilankan Airlines, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Royal Jordanian
From Hong Kong to Chiang Mai: HK Express, Air Asia, Dragon Air
From Hong Kong to Phuket: Thai Airways, HK Express, Air Asia, Dragon Air

Cruise Travel in Southeast Asia

As we know, one of the most important transportation modes in tourism is cruise travel. Southeast Asia has always been a popular cruise destination with many rich exotic locations and heritage sites. The cruise industry in this region is growing well. With Myanmar opening its border to international travellers, many cross to the southern Myanmar port of Kawthaung (formerly Victoria Point) from Ranong in the upper South of Thailand.
Singapore has always been the main port for sea cruise in this region, with Thailand (e.g. Laem Chabang in Chonburi, Phuket, Ko Samui in Surat Thani), Malaysia (e.g. Langkawi, Penang), Vietnam (e.g. Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Halong Bay), Indonesia and Myanmar (e.g. Yangon, Mergui) often included on cruise itineraries.
Examples of companies operating cruises in this region include Royal Caribbean Cruises Princess Cruises, P&O Australia, Cunard and Holland America and Silversea
Travellers wishing to take a cruise along Mekong River to Laos have options of
a) go to Thai border town of Chiang Khong in Chiang Rai, cross the river to embark the cruise at Huay Xai in Laos, or
b) go to Chaloem Phra Kiat district in Nan, cross Ban Huay Kon-Muang Ngeun checkpoint and from there, travellers use a combination of boat and buses to Luang Prabang.
The journey time could take from 8 -10 hours to several days depending on the sizes of the vessel and the numbers of stop along the way. Examples of Mekong cruise operators are,

Land Transport

With the Asian Highway Network (AH), and East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), travellers can drive around Southeast Asia with relative ease. Along the way, travellers can explore historical sites, sites of natural beauty and other tourist attractions, as well as experience different cultures and civilisations.
The Asian Highway (AH) project is a cooperative project among countries in Asia and Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to improve the highway systems in Asia. Agreements have been signed by 32 countries to allow the highway to cross the continent, with connectivity as far as Europe.
East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) is an economic development program initiated to promote development and integration of four ASEAN countries i.e. Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The EWEC is created based on a 1,450km road with the west end at the port city of Mawlamyine (Myanmar), crossing Thai provinces of Tak, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun, Khon Kaen, Kalasin and Mukdahan and Laotian province of Savannakhet, Vietnamese provinces of Quang Tri, Thua Thiên–Hue Province and Dà Nang city at the eastern-most end.
Travellers can also drive from Thailand to Malaysia and continue to Singapore. There are several land checkpoints along the border of Thailand and Malaysia, the main road checkpoints are Padang Besar and Ban Dan Nok/ Sadao (TH) – Bukit Kayu Hitam (MY).
There are trains from Thailand to Laos and to Singapore via Malaysia.
Visitors travelling by train from Thailand to Laos should board a train at Nong Khai Station in Thailand and get off at Tha Na Lang Station, also known as Dong Phosy Station or Ban Dong Phosy Station, in Laos. The station is located 20km east of Vientiane and about 4km from the border between Laos and Thailand. The ride only takes approximately 15 mins and currently there are 4 trains daily (2 trains each way).

From Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore, There are daily trains from Bangkok to Butterworth in the north of Malaysia. The Thai railway system connects with the Malaysian system at two checkpoints i.e. Padang Besar and Su Ngai Kolok. Once in Malaysia, travellers can take a ferry to Penang or Langkawi or catch another train or bus to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
For travellers looking for something classic and luxurious, Eastern & Oriental Express Train could be an option. This is a luxury long-distance passenger train service, connecting Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Malaysia – Singapore (2,318km in total). The train is 500m long with 22 coaches. Qualified guides escort all sightseeing and excursions.

Room rates (all inclusive) range from:
1. Pullman Room Type at 73,000 baht/person
2. State Room Type at 100,000 baht/person
3. Presidential Room Type at 140,000 baht/person
There are Observation Cars for sightseeing by day and cocktails and entertainment after dark, a Bar Car serving cocktails with live music, Saloon Car with books and games, and all guest rooms are the equivalent of a 5-star hotel. See for details.

Must-See Attractions and Do’s & Don’ts for Each ASEAN Member Countries:


Brunei Darussalam is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo. Apart from its 161km coastline on the South China Sea, it is surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia. The land is divided by Brunei River into 2 parts with about 97% of the population and the capitol, Bandar Seri Begawan, on the larger western part. Oil and natural gas have been the basis of Brunei’s development and wealth since the late 20th century. The majority of the population adheres to Islam.
Australian passport holders receive a 30-day visit visa on arrival. The passport must have a validity of at least 6 months when entering Brunei. For more information, check or contact<>
Thai Airways, Royal Brunei, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Air Asia operate frequent flights between Bandar Seri Begawan and Bangkok.

Must-See Attractions

1. Istana Nurul Iman – Situated on a hill on the bank of the Brunei River south of Bandar Seri Begawan, this is the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei and the “world’s largest palace” according to Guinness World Records.
2. Jame’asr Hassanil Bolkiah Mosque – This is the largest mosque in Brunei, with 29 golden domes which symbolises the 29th Sultan of Brunei.
3. Brunei Museum – This is the national museum of Brunei, located in Kota Batu, about 5km from Bandar Seri Begawan. The exhibits here focus on Islamic art, Borneo ethnography, natural history, Brunei artifacts and the Brunei petroleum industry.
4. Kampong Ayer (Water Village) – This prehistoric village is known to be the largest water village in the world, with hundreds of houses built on stilts above the Brunei River.
5. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque – This mosque is located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei, and is considered as the major landmark of the country and one of the world’s most beautiful golden mosques. Its 28 domes symbolise the 28th Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien III.
6. Royal Regalia Building – This museum is home to the full regalia of the Sultan, including the crown and royal chariot, together with the massive collection of treasure.

Travel Tips

– Men should dress conservatively; women should keep shoulders and knees covered.
– Visitors are welcome in mosques outside prayer times, but conservative dress is required. Remove shoes when entering.
– The sale of alcohol is prohibited at most places, with exceptions of some hotels and restaurants.
– Smoking is prohibited both indoors and on public transport.
– Men shake hands with each other, but not with women.
– Do not touch anyone’s head or point at anyone.
– Do not order pork if dining with Muslims.
– Avoid public shows of affection, especially between sexes


Cambodia shares its west border with Thailand. From Thailand to Cambodia, visitors have options of;
a) traveling by car/ bus through Chong Jom Check Point in Surin, Ban Pak Kad or Ban Laem in Chantaburi, Ban Had Lek in Trat or, the most convenient one, Ban Klong Luek – Aranyaprathet in Sra Kaew or;
b) traveling by plane. There are frequent flights from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (Thai Airways) and Donmueng International Airport (Air Asia) to Cambodia.
Australian passport holders receive a 30-day visit visa on arrival. The passport must have a validity of at least 6 months when entering. For more information, check or email

Must-See Attractions

1. Angkor Wat – This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Siem Reap is Cambodia’s (or possibly Southeast Asia’s) largest outdoor tourist attraction. It showcases the magnificent remains of the capitals of the Khmer Empire.
2. Angkor Thom – Also in Siem Reap, Angkor Thom was the last, yet the greatest, capital city of the Khmer empire. It features a 9 km² square city surrounded by high walls with 5 impressive gates and 3 temples. At the centre of the city is Jayavarman’s state temple, the Bayon.
3. Phnom Penh – Located on the Mekong River, Phnom Penh has been the capital of Cambodia since French colonial time. French influence can still be seen today. Top attractions here include the Royal Palace and the National Museum. The night market or Phsar Reatrey is a good place to pick up handcrafted items and souvenirs.
4. Tonlé Sap – This is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake and one of the world’s richest inland fishing grounds. It has one of the world’s most varied and productive ecosystems and in 1997, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, deemed Tonlé Sap an ecological hotspot. The area is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and Cham communities, living in floating villages around the lake, most of them make their living by fishing.

Travel Tips

– Men should dress conservatively; women should keep shoulders and knees covered.
– Slow down when riding a motorbike past any temples. Remove shoes and hats when entering.
– Do not touch anyone’s head or point at anyone.
– Avoid public shows of affection, especially between sexes.
– Vaccinations against Typhoid Fever, Hepatitis A and B are recommended for travellers who plan to go to areas where environmental sanitation and personal hygiene may be poor. Malaria is still a risk in rural Cambodia. Strict care against mosquito bites is recommended.

The Philippines

The Philippines is located in the Western Pacific, comprising over 7,000 islands. Its capital is Manila, on Luzon Island. The country used to be colonised by Spain, then America. Catholicism is the dominant faith. With its rich biodiversity: beaches, mountains, rainforests, and diving spots, tourism is a major contributor to the economy.
Australian passport holders receive a 30-day visit visa on arrival. The passport must have a validity of at least 6 months when entering. For more information, check
Several airlines offer flights between Thailand and the Philippines e.g. Thai Airways, Philippines Airlines, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific Airlines, Kuwait Airlines.

Must-See Attractions

1. Tubbataha Reef Marine Park – This reef in the Sulu Sea has become one of the most popular dive sites in the Philippines because of its coral walls where the shallow coral reef abruptly ends giving way to great depths. The marine park is open to live-aboard diving excursions between the months of April to June when the weather conditions are best.
2. Banaue Rice Terraces – These magnificent farm terraces, carved from the mountain range about 2,000 years ago without modern tools, resemble giant steps reaching up to the sky.
3. Baguio – This mountain town on Luzon Island is particularly popular in summer due to its unusually cool weather. The highlights are Burnham Park, with gardens and a lake, Baguio Cathedral and Session Road, lined with shops, restaurants and entertainment options.
4. Boracay – Boracay is a small island, packed with beautiful beaches, great options for dining and nightlife, various adventures e.g. scuba diving, cliff diving, parasailing, motor biking, kite surfing, etc.
5. Chocolate Hills – Located on the island of Bohol, this natural tourist attraction features unusual geological formations: over 1,260 mounds, covered in grass, scattered throughout. The grass turns brown during the dry season, hence the name.

Travel Tips

-Respect for elders is very important. “Sir” and “Ma’am” are often used by the Filipinos, otherwise familial words like “Tita” for aunt, “Tito” for uncle are used for anyone much older than you, “Kuya” for brother or “ate” for sister are used for the younger or a little older ones.
-ATM machines are not easy to find in small islands


Laos is the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia and the Mekong River forms a large part of the western boundary with Thailand. The two countries share very similar cultures and languages.
There are several border crossings from Thailand to Laos:
Thai – Laos Friendship Bridge IV connecting Chiang Rai Province in Thailand to Bokeo province
Nakaxeng – Kaenthao (Loei Province in Thailand to Sayabouly Province)
Chaloem Phra Kiat – Muang Ngeun (Nan Province in Thailand to Xaignabouli Province)
Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge I connecting Nong Khai Province in Thailand to Vientiane
Bungkan – Pakxan (Nong Khai Province in Thailand to Bolikhamxai Province)
Thai – Laos Friendship Bridge II connecting Mukdahan Province in Thailand to Savannakhet Province
Thai – Laos Friendship Bridge III connecting Nakhon Phanom in Thailand to Khammouane Province
Chong Mek – Vangtao (Ubol Ratchathani Province in Thailand to Champasak)
The tourism industry has grown rapidly for Laos. Information about tourist visas can be found at The main international airports are in Vientiane and Luang Prabang with flights operated by Lao Airlines, Bangkok Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Air Asia, Thai Airways, Nok Air and China Eastern Airlines. Laos has no railways, except a short link to connect Vientiane with Thailand over the Thai– Lao Friendship Bridge in Nongkhai.

Travel Tips

– Dress conservatively, especially when visiting temples and sacred sites.
– Make sure to be respectful when attending the morning alms round as this is a practice of faith which requires calmness and reverence.
– Public displays of affection are impolite


Malaysia shares its north border with Thailand with 8 checkpoints in Narathiwat, Yala, Satun and Songkhla Provinces of Thailand. The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, with about half the population ethnically Malay, followed by Malaysian Chinese, Malaysian Indians, and indigenous peoples. About 60% of the population observes Islam as their religion.
Australian passport holders can stay in Malaysia for up to 3 months. The passport must have a validity of at least 6 months when entering. For more information, check
Visitors travelling between Thailand and Malaysia have options of road transport, train, sea transport and air transport. Airlines offering flights between the two countries include Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei, Air Asia and Singapore Airlines.

Must-See Attractions

1. The Petronas Twin Towers – Home to the headquarters of Petronas oil company, this construction is the world’s tallest twin-towers.
2. Cameron Highlands – Situated 1,500m above sea level, Cameron Highlands features little townships, flower gardens, tea plantations and Tudor-styled country inns. Popular activities here include bird watching, trekking and having a colonial-style high tea with scones.
3. Malacca – This UNESCO World Heritage Site city comprises of numerous historical places and buildings reflecting influences from Portugal, Dutch and British. It is located on the Malay Peninsula’s southwest coast.
4. Kota Kinabalu – It is one of Malaysia’s major tourist destinations and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and Kinabalu Park are the highlights with various species of wildlife.

Travel Tips

– A handshake should only be initiated by ladies.
– Head touching is considered impolite


Singapore is a very modern country with diverse languages, religion, and culture. The country is a major international transport hub in Asia, serving some of the busiest sea and air trade routes. In terms of tourism, Singapore is known for its shopping & dining opportunities and man-made tourist attractions.
Australian passport holders are required to scan their thumbprints each time they arrive and depart Singapore. Singapore authorities require all travellers (including those transiting Singapore) to have at least 6 months validity remaining on their passports. For more information, check
Many airlines operate frequent flights connecting Thailand and Singapore e.g. Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Air Asia, Tiger Air, Nok Air, Scoot. For a unique and luxury experience, try the Eastern & Oriental Express train. This is a luxury long-distance passenger train service, connecting Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Malaysia – Singapore (2,318km in total).

Must-See Attractions

1. Marina Bay Sands – The area represents all things modern and super-stylish, from trendy dining destinations to exciting leisure spots, world-class casino, theatre, shopping centre, luxury hotels, etc.
2. Singapore Flyer – With 165 metres above ground, this Asia’s highest observation wheel offers the most magnificent views of the city.
3. Orchard Road – Orchard Road is Asia’s most famous shopping street, with most shops open till late at night.
4. Universal Studios Singapore – This theme park features an enticing selection of attractions, rides and entertainment for families and thrill seekers.
5. Pulau Ubin – This village is a living showcase of what Singapore was like in the 1960s. The best way to explore this island village is either on a bicycle or on foot.

Travel Tips

– The fines for littering, chewing gum and jaywalking in Singapore are very expensive
– Chewing gum and any product containing nicotine or tobacco are not allowed to be brought into Singapore
– Singapore has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world. Any person importing, exporting, or found in possession of more than the certain quantities of drugs receives a mandatory death sentence.


Once a closed country, Myanmar has great tourist potential and attractions, from natural resources to unique cultural sites. The country shares an 1,800km long border with Thailand, from Chiang Rai in Thailand’s North to Ranong in the South.
Australian passport holders require a visa to enter Myanmar and can stay up to 28 days. More information, see
The most convenient way for travellers to enter the country is by air. From Thailand, visitors can enter Myanmar at one of the four checkpoints i.e. Mae Sai in Chiang Rai Province, Mae Sot in Tak Province, Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi Province and Ranong, or fly from Bangkok to Yangon or Mandalay. From Ranong, there are boats connecting Ranong with Kawthoung in Myanmar. The ride takes about 20 minutes and can be chartered individually or shared. Airlines operating flights between the two countries are Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Air Asia, Nok Air, Golden Myanmar Airline and Myanmar Airways International.

Must-See Attractions

1. Yangon is a former capital of Myanmar. It is home to the 99m tall Shwedagon pagoda, the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar.
2. Bagan or Pagan – It is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. The city was very prosperous during the 11th and 13th centuries. The remains of over 2,200 temples and pagodas can still be seen nowadays.
3. Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Burma before its colonialism. The city is home to Mahamuni Buddha Temple, which houses the image of Gautama Buddha. The pagoda is considered as the holiest pagoda in Mandalay. The early morning ritual of washing the Face of Buddha Image draws a large crowd of devotees everyday. The Great Image is also considered as the greatest in Burma next to Shwedagon Pagoda. A visit to Mandalay is incomplete without a visit to Mahamuni Pagoda.

Travel Tips

– A handshake should only be initiated by ladies.
– Shoes and socks must be removed when entering places of worship.
– Avoid walking over the shadow of a monk.
– Be very careful when driving in Myanmar as in Myanmar, most people have a right-hand-drive vehicle, although they drive on the right side of the road


Indonesia is the largest country in ASEAN, comprising of about 18,000 large and small islands. The main ones are Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea), and Sulawesi. The capital, Jakarta, is on Java and is the nation’s largest city. Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination for Australian travellers is Bali.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim majority country, at almost 90%
The Indonesian Government has introduced visa-free short visits (30 days) for Australian passport holders. The passport must have a validity of at least 6 months when entering Brunei. For more information, check
Airlines operating direct flights from Thailand to Indonesia include Thai Airways, Air Asia and Garuda Indonesia.

Must-See Attractions

1. Mount Bromo – This is an active volcano in East Java. The volcano belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in East Java.
2. Borobudur – This World Heritage Site in Yogyakarta is the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia.
3. Bali – Bali is Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination for Australian travellers. Besides its beautiful nature in the mountains as well as underwater, unique Hindu culture, Bali is known for its beach clubs.

Travel Tips

– A handshake should only be initiated by ladies.
– Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship.


Vietnam’s land is mostly hilly and densely forested. The northern part consists mostly of highlands, whereas the southern part is divided into coastal lowlands, the mountains and extensive forests. Vietnam is included in the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC); connecting Laos, Thailand (from Mukdahan Province to Tak Province), Myanmar i.e. connecting the South China Sea and India Ocean.
Australian passport holders can enter Vietnam with visa-on-arrival, when entering the country by air transport. All travellers must have at least 6 months validity remaining on their passports. For more information, check
From Thailand to Vietnam, visitors have options of road transport via Laos or air transport. Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Air Asia and Vietnam Airline offer flights between the two countries.

Must-See Attractions

1. Ha Noi – Vietnam’s former capital Hanoi features many well preserved ancient architectural works including the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples. Traditional handicrafts are also practiced in Ha Noi, such as bronze molding, silver carving, lacquer, and embroidery.
2. Ha Long Bay – Vietnam’s first World Heritage Site, Ha Long Bay features towering limestone pillars and scattered islets topped by forest which rise from emerald waters. Visitors have options of cruise-tours that include sleeping on board or day-tours.
3. Da Nang City – This ancient port town is located in middle of Central Viet Nam, between Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City. Attractions here include sandy beaches and historical remains.
4. Hoi An – Once a major port, now one of Vietnam’s most wealthy towns, a culinary mecca, World Heritage Site, Hoi An showcases its heritage on a beautiful riverfront location.

Travel Tips

– Drug laws in Vietnam are very strict and any person importing, exporting, or found in possession of illegal drugs could face a death sentence
– Photographing of state buildings is not permitted.
– Avoid public shows of affection, especially between sexes.

National Carriers of ASEAN Member Countries:

Thai Airways
Cambodia Angkor Air
Royal Brunei
Philippine Airlines
Malaysia Airlines
Myanmar Airways
Lao Airlines
Vietnam Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Garuda Indonesia Airlines

Airlines with Direct Flights from Australia to Thailand:

Thai Airways

Tourism Boards of ASEAN Member Countries:

The Philippines,