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Travel update: the Mourning Period of King Bhumibol in Thailand

Posted: 20 Oct 2016

On Thursday 13th October, Thai authorities announced the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The 88 year old Monarch, the world’s longest serving head of state, reigned for 70 years and was revered as a father figure to the people of Thailand. This is a time of deep sorrow for the Thai people and a 30 day national mourning period is being respected across the country. Prime minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha announced several measures of national mourning, including public officials and offices displaying their mourning through uniforms and flags flying half mast.

Understandably tourists travelling in Thailand, and those planning to over the coming month, are concerned about how this will affect them. The Thailand Tourism Authority is encouraging travellers to carry on as normal and to not change their travel plans. All they ask is for travellers to demonstrate respect for the Thai people, by refraining from behaviour that may be interpreted as disrespectful or disorderly, and to have patience during this time.

Here are Buffalo Tours recommendations for those visiting the country until November 13th:

Travel
Increased security measures have been put in place at Thailand’s international airports. The Airport Authority of Thailand advises that passengers arrive no later than three hours before their scheduled departure during this time.

Large numbers of people from other provinces will be travelling to Bangkok to pay their respects and thus transport hubs will be busier than usual. Authorities have similarly increased security in bus/train stations and ports to facilitate those travelling around the country.

Tourist attractions
Tourist attractions will mostly remain open having closed in the first few days after HM’s death, with the exception of Wat Pra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace in Bangkok. These two sites will open again after October 31st.

The weekend walking street and Night Market in Chiang Mai will now be open as usual but with restrictions on light and sound.

We recommend that you check individual websites for local attractions, or ask your travel agent or hotel, prior to visiting to avoid disappointment.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has released a list of cancelled events, festivals and concerts on their news website:
http://www.tatnews.org/tat-updates-on-the-status-of-events-and-festivals-during-the-mourning-period/

Restaurants and bars
Restaurants and bars have been encouraged to stay open but ultimately it is up to the individual establishment to make decisions on closures. Again, it is worth checking beforehand and this list may provide useful for some of the more popular spots in Bangkok:
http://www.khaosodenglish.com/life/arts/2016/10/14/whats-canceled-closed-open-bangkok-mourning-period/

Thailand’s famous nightlife will be most affected. All entertainment venues, including bars, have been asked to reconsider their operating hours during this time and an 11pm curfew is being recognised by many.

Events
Thailand celebrates many traditional and cultural events throughout the year and many will continue to take place, although the manner of celebration may change as a mark of respect.

Most significantly, Chiang Mai municipality had announced the cancellation of the Loy Kratong and Yi Peng festivals this year. However, Loy Kratong (12-15th of November) is back on but without its famous parade, music and fireworks. Locals and travellers will be able to release lanterns in memory of the King. Yi Peng is currently still cancelled.

Personal behaviour
We advise all travellers to continue to enjoy the beautiful country of Thailand whilst remaining respectful for the mourning period. It is especially important to exercise patience and consideration of the Thai people, and to refrain from behaviour that will be in direct contrast to the potentially somber mood.

While many Thai people will be wearing simple black and white dress, it is not necessary for tourists to follow. However, we do advise you to dress as modestly as possible. If you would like to display your solidarity with the mourning of Thai people, wearing a black ribbon is appreciated as sign of respect for the late king.

It is likely to be weeks before the official funeral takes place but it will likely mean a country-wide ‘shutdown’ of up to a week. When dates are announced we will provide you with more information.

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Travel update:

Posted: 5 November 2015

Following increased seismic activity in Indonesia, Ngurah Rai International Airport, Lombok International Airport and Banyiwangi Airport have all been closed until tomorrow morning, November 6.

Buffalo Tours will not be sending vehicles to pick up guests from the airport or hotels for cancelled flights. Please advise your guests to check with their airlines for an updated flight status, and advise us of the revised flight details.
  
Buffalo Tours strongly suggests that guests contact their airlines or travel agent for further clarification on flight changes. We will keep you updated with further information as it comes to hand.

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Travel update:

Posted: 3 November 2015

Due to Indonesia's recent increase in volcanic activity across the country, we'd like to update you on the current situation.
 
Mt Bromo Mountain - East Java:
 
Mt. Bromo is on high alert from 1 November 2015,  with a safe radius around Mt. Bromo set on 1 kilometer from the crater. Visitors can still do a tour of Pananjakan sunrise and down to the sea of sand near Mount Bromo. Treks to the crater are suspended until further notice.
 
Banyuwangi - East Java:
 
The hiking route to the crater of Mount Ijen near Banyuwangi, East Java Province was temporarily closed yesterday due to increased volcanic activity. This means no visitors are allowed to the crater until further notice. According to the report from the Ijen Volcano Monitoring Post, seismic activity at Mount Ijen has increased in the past week.

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Travel update:

Posted: 29th October 2015

The Myanmar government has announced that as of November, payments in USD will no longer be permitted.  This will not impact upon travellers entering Myanmar as you are still able to exchange foreign currencies at recognized outlets, such as banks, airports and bureau de change centres.

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Travel update: Tropical Storm VAMCO affecting Central Vietnam 14th Sept

Posted: 14th September 2015

Please note that there is a tropical storm currently affecting Central Vietnam, including the tourist destinations of Da Nang and Hoi An. Flooding is expected and touring may be affected in the coming days. All flights in and out of Danang from 11.00AM till 18.00PM today have been cancelled due to this storm. Weather in Hue is a little rainy but flights are coming in and out as normal.

Our operation teams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are monitoring the situation closely and will manage any touring disruptions on the ground directly with clients. Should you have a booking affected, the Buffalo team member in charge of your booking will make contact with you directly.

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Travel update: Car explosion in Central Bangkok

Posted: 18th August 2015

At 19:00 local time (12:00 GMT) 17th August an explosion occurred in Bangkok, close to the Erawan Shrine in the capital's central Chidlom district.

Buffalo Tours are monitoring the situation and in contact with our customers on the ground. We have successfully accounted for our clients in Bangkok. Likewise, all of our staff are safe and accounted for. Our operations team have been working tirelessly contacting clients throughout the night.

We will keep our clients in-destination updated on the situation. We have cancelled all Bangkok city touring for this morning. We are continuously monitoring and deciding on touring activities today. Transfers and  excursions out of Bangkok will operate as usual. Furthermore we recommend our guests to avoid the Ratchaprasong Intersection and to follow travel advice from their respective countries' embassies.

If you require further information or updates about your passengers, please contact our Bangkok office:

Bangkok Office: 0841386228
Calling from abroad: +66841386228
Email: operations.bkk@buffalotours.com

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Travel update: Typhoon Soudelor in China

Posted: 7th August 2015

Typhoon Soudelor is expected to strike South East part of China in 48 hours from 6th August. The area is in close proximity to Guangzhou, one of our tourism destinations. We are monitoring all the arrivals and departures on the ground, and working closely with our local office to minimize effects on our touring activities, while keeping guest safety in the forefront. Please note there might be some delays or cancellations of domestic and international flights arriving or departing from Guangzhou.

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Travel update: Myanmar Flooding

Posted: 3rd August 2015

Our operational team in Myanmar has advised that extreme flooding and landslides are impacting travel movements throughout the country.  High water levels have resulted in road closures particularly in rural areas and some hotels have reportedly closed.  Our team is monitoring the situation and will provide updates as they come in.

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Travel update: Bali International Airport is up and running

Posted: 23rd July 2015

Good news for Bali-bound travellers: Bali International Airport is once again up and running, with domestic and international flights running as usual from 23rd July 2015.

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Travel update: About volcano eruption in Indonesia for Bali-bound travellers

Posted: 15th July 2015

Operations at both Ngurah Rai International Airport Bali and Lombok International Airport are back to normal after reopening last Sunday and Saturday respectively. However, as eruptions at Mount Raung are still ongoing, the Indonesian transportation authority said there is still possibility for the airports to close again if the winds blow volcanic ashes towards the airport.

In any case, you are encouraged to check with their airlines before going in or out of Indonesia. In the meantime, we're continuing to monitor the situation and will provide you updates as new events arise.

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Travel update: Volcano eruption in Indonesia's Mt Raung

Posted: 13 July 2015

Due to the volcano eruption in Indonesia's Mt Raung, many flights into and out of Indonesia are delayed (especially the main tourist hub of Bali)

Latest News: due to the eruption of Mt Raung, (DPS) Bali, (LOP) Lombok, (JBB) Jember and (BWX) Banyuwangi airports are experiencing long delays and many flights are cancelled depending on changing weather patterns. Please contact your airline to confirm your flight status.

If you have information about guests travel details, please pass this on to us by emailing us at operations.bali@buffalotours.com with the following information:
· GUEST NAME
· FLIGHT CENTRE BOOKING NUMBER (EG: IH/123456)
· NEW FLIGHT NUMBER
· NEW FLIGHT DEPARTURE TIME

We continue to monitor the situation and will update our guests when we receive further information. For departing guests who have been affected by the cancellations, we will do our best to get them to the airport and be as resourceful as possible. For guests who are yet to arrive, we will do our best to give them the transfer type that they have requested.

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Buffalo Tours Kicks Off Asia Pacific Expansion with Launch of Singapore Operations

Posted on 15th January, 2015

Buffalo Tours, a leading destination management company in Asia, today officially launched its operations in Singapore, marking the start of an aggressive Asia Pacific expansion plan to double its geographical footprint and increase customers eight-fold.

With the increasing trend towards travellers wanting to “live like a local”, there is a rise in demand for more authentic holiday experiences. Destination management companies in the travel industry, like Buffalo Tours, have responded with innovative offerings that provide travellers the chance to enjoy hidden gems alongside traditional tourist attractions.

The Singapore office will focus on delivering authentic and unique customer experiences that reflect the diverse local culture, as well as act as a hub for the company’s operations in Singapore and Malaysia. Buffalo Tours’ expansion plans are expected to achieve an increase in inbound customers in 2015 from 60,000 to more than 500,000, while growing its footprint from five to 11 markets by April 2015, with the addition of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Japan, and South Korea.

“Travellers today are increasingly discerning and eschew cookie-cutter options, opting for customised itineraries with more local and authentic options. As the leader in the travel industry, it is our duty to ensure that we provide our partners and customers with a comprehensive range of products and options to stay ahead of industry trends,” said Tran Trong Kien, CEO and General Manager of Buffalo Tours and parent company Thien Minh Group (TMG).

“The launch of our Singapore operations is the first step in our regional expansion, and a very timely development with Singapore celebrating its 50th anniversary, as well as having been listed as the top destination to visit by multiple industry sources.”

Led by Singapore and Malaysia Regional General Manager, Caroline Tan, who brings in over 28 years of experience in Tourism industry, Buffalo Tours Singapore will provide bespoke tours, excursions, transfers and other “at destination” services to tour operators and travel agents throughout the region.

Buffalo Tours Singapore is a joint venture by Vietnamese travel and hospitality company Thien Minh Group (TMG) and Flight Centre Travel Group (FLT).

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