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  • Map of Japan | Japan Regions | Rough Guides | Rough Guides
    Japan is a captivating mix And whether you want to seek out the best sushi around Tsukiji visit cutting edge galleries in Kanazawa or explore the stunning alpine region of Central Honshū use our map of Japan below to get to grips with one of the world s most intriguing countries Take a dip at a hot spring resort town such as Dōgo or Sukayu Onsen or experience the best skiing and snowboarding in Niseko The sense of history and tradition is tangible in Japan trace the development of Buddhism in the former capital of Nara and gawp at the monumental bronze buddha of Tōdai ji one of the Seven Great Temples head to Nikko where you ll find the wonderfully extravagant Tosho gu shrine or wander around Himeji Castle a remnant of Japan s samurai past Find out more about Japan Interactive Japan Map Regions of Japan Click the links below to find out about your chosen region 1 Tokyo 2 Around Tokyo 3 Northern Honshū 4 Hokkaidō 5 Central Honshū 6 Kyoto Nara 7 Kansai 8 Western Honshū 9 Shikoku 10 Kyūshū 11 Okinawa Related Ebooks Rough Guide Audio Phrasebook and Dictionary Japanese View Guide The Rough Guide

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/maps/asia/japan/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Places to Visit in Japan | Where to go in Japan | Rough Guides
    on another planet Prepare to be pleasantly disorientated as you negotiate this fascinating land where ancient gods customs and craftsmanship are mixed up with cutting edge modern technology futuristic fashions and up to the second style High speed trains whisk you from one end of the country to another with awe inspiring punctuality In the suburbs of a sprawling metropolis you can catch sight of a farmer tending his paddy field then turn the corner and find yourself next to a neon festooned video games parlour One day you could be picking through fashions in a boutique designed by an award winning architect the next relaxing in an outdoor hot spring pool watching cherry blossom or snowflakes fall depending on the season Few other countries have in the space of a few generations experienced so much or made such an impact Industrialized at lightning speed in the late nineteenth century Japan shed its feudal trappings to become the most powerful and outwardly aggressive country in Asia in a matter of decades After defeat in World War II it transformed itself from atom bomb victim to economic giant the envy of the world Having weathered a decade long recession from the mid 1990s Japan is now relishing its soft power as the world s pre eminent purveyor of pop culture with the visual mediums of anime and manga leading the way In the cities you ll first be struck by the mass of people These hyperactive metropolises are the place to catch the latest trend the hippest fashions and must have gadgets before they hit the rest of the world It s not all about modernity however Tokyo Kyoto Ōsaka and Kanazawa for example also provide the best opportunities to view traditional performance arts such as kabuki and nō plays as well as a wealth of Japanese visual arts in major museums Outside the cities there s a vast range of travel options from the UNESCO World Heritage listed Shiretoko National Park in Hokkaidō to the balmy subtropical islands of Okinawa and you ll seldom have to go far to catch sight of a lofty castle ancient temple or shrine or locals celebrating at a colourful street festival In common with all developed countries Japan is not a cheap place to travel in or to but there s no reason why it should be wildly expensive either Some of the most atmospheric and traditionally Japanese places to stay and eat are often those that are the best value There s been significant price cutting in some areas in recent years particularly airline tickets which now rival the famed bargain rail passes as a means to get to far flung corners of the country It s not all perfect however The Japanese are experts at focusing on detail the exquisite wrapping of gifts and the tantalizing presentation of food are just two examples but often miss the broader picture Rampant development and sometimes appalling pollution are difficult to square with a country

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/japan/?wpfpaction=add&postid=50039 (2016-02-16)
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  • Explore Destinations | Travel Guides | Rough Guides
    Korea Sri Lanka Taiwan Thailand Vietnam See all destinations Japan Overview Introduction Where to go When to go Getting there Getting around Accommodation Food and drink The media Festivals Sports and outdoor activities Culture and etiquette Shopping Travel essentials Inspiration Things not to miss Features Gallery Explore Tokyo Around Tokyo Northern Honshū Hokkaidō Central Honshū Kyoto Nara Kansai Western Honshū Shikoku Kyūshū Okinawa Shop Ebooks Travel Insurance Hostels Explore Explore

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  • Laos Facts | About Laos | Rough Guides
    Insurance Hostels Fact file Show Related Guides Hide Related Guides The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia On A Budget View Guide The Rough Guide to Laos View Guide The Rough Guide to Taiwan View Guide The Rough Guide to Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Bangkok View Guide The Rough Guide to Nepal View Guide The Rough Guide to Seoul View Guide The Rough Guide to First Time Around The World View Guide The Rough Guide to Shanghai View Guide The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka View Guide Laos Fact file The Lao People s Democratic Republic whose capital is Vientiane is Southeast Asia s only landlocked country Modern Laos covers more than 236 000 square kilometres yet has a population of just under 7 million A constitutional monarchy until 1976 Laos is today a one party dictatorship and one of the world s last official communist states It is also one of the world s poorest countries heavily reliant on aid Life expectancy is a rather paltry 57 years and there s a young population with the average age just 19 5 years Lowland Lao Lao Loum comprise approximately seventy percent of the population upland Lao Lao Theung and highland Lao Lao Soung roughly twenty and ten percent respectively within these broad definitions there are many smaller divisions Chinese and Vietnamese are a small but economically significant portion of the population The national language is Lao a tonal language closely related to Thai although the written scripts differ English is the most spoken European language Laos is a predominately Buddhist country and follows the Theravadan school of Buddhism in common with neighbouring Thailand Burma and Cambodia Around thirty percent of the population particularly those in the highlands follow animist beliefs Read More Things not to miss Explore Laos

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  • Where to go in Laos | Rough Guides
    long walks in the countryside the town is best known for its wild tubing scene and is undoubtedly the country s party capital for young backpackers From here the mountainous old Royal Road to Luang Prabang rollercoasters through some of Laos s most stunning scenery The more intrepid can indulge in a road and river expedition through Laos s northwestern frontier stopping off in the remote outpost of Sayaboury home to a large portion of the country s diminishing elephant population Despite the ravages of time the gilded temples and weathered French Indochinese shophouses of tiny cultured Luang Prabang possess a spellbinding majesty that make this Laos s most enticing destination Though increasingly touristy the dusty side streets Mekong views and quiet mornings still lend the city plenty of charm Most visitors combine a stay here with a couple of day trips to the sacred Pak Ou Caves two riverside grottoes brimming with thousands of Buddha images and to beautiful Kouang Si waterfall the perfect spot for a refreshing dip on a hot day A few hours north up the emerald Nam Ou River from Luang Prabang is the quiet town of Nong Khiaw picturesquely surrounded by towering limestone peaks and a great base for trekking and kayaking in the region Just a little further up the river and only accessible by boat Muang Ngoi is a popular travellers spot where it s hard to drag yourself away from the temptation of spending your days soaking up the views from a hammock Following the river even further north is one of the greatest highlights of a trip to Laos passing through stunning scenery on resolutely local boats to get to Phongsali from which you can explore further into the isolated far north or join an overnight trek to local hill tribe villages Improved roads means that it s now a lot easier to explore the far north an often spectacular region that is home to a patchwork of upland tribal groups Luang Namtha and the easy going village of Muang Sing are both centres for treks to nearby hill tribe villages while the former also offers kayaking opportunities Downriver from here is Houayxai on the Thai border from where you can join a slow boat down the Mekong for the picturesque journey south to Luang Prabang Lost in the misty mountains of the far northeast Hua Phan province was the nerve centre of communist Laos during the Second Indochina War and remains well removed from the Mekong Valley centres of lowland Lao life The provincial capital Sam Neua has a resolutely Vietnamese feel hardly surprising when you consider its proximity to the border and though it has a rather limited tourist infrastructure there s a certain charm about the place once you dig a little deeper The main reason for a stay here is to visit Vieng Xai where the communist Pathet Lao directed their resistance from deep within a vast cave complex and where the last Lao king was

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  • When to go to Laos | Rough Guides
    Budget View Guide The Rough Guide to India View Guide The Rough Guide to the Philippines View Guide The Rough Guide to Tokyo View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide The Rough Guide to Thailand s Beaches Islands View Guide Rough Guides Snapshot Vietnam Hanoi View Guide The Rough Guide to Taiwan View Guide The Rough Guide to China View Guide Laos When to go November to January is the best time to visit lowland Laos when daytime temperatures are agreeably warm evenings are slightly chilly and the countryside is green and lush after the rains However at higher elevations temperatures are significantly cooler sometimes dropping to freezing point In February temperatures begin to climb reaching a peak in April when the lowlands are baking hot and humid During this time the highlands are for the most part equally hot if a bit less muggy than the lowlands though there are places such as Paksong on the Bolaven Plateau that have a temperate climate year round Due to slash and burn agriculture much of the north including Luang Prabang becomes shrouded in smoke from March until the beginning of the monsoon which can at times be quite uncomfortable and of course doesn t do your photographs any favours The rainy season generally May to September affects the condition of Laos s network of unpaved roads some of which become impassable after the rains begin On the other hand rivers which may be too low to navigate during the dry season become important transport routes after the rains have caused water levels to rise Note that the climate in some northern areas notably Phongsali and Hua Phan Sam Neua can be surprisingly temperamental even in the hot season so you could have one scorcher of a day followed

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  • Getting there | About Laos | Rough Guides
    and less spontaneous than if you travel independently but are worth investigating if you have limited time or a specialist interest Booking through a tour company in Laos will undoubtedly save you money compared to booking in your home country for details of recommended tour operators Flights from the UK and Ireland Most flights from the UK and Ireland to Laos will involve a change of plane at Bangkok an alternative route is via Vietnam though this requires a change of plane in France or Germany first In total flying to Laos from the UK will take at least fifteen and a half hours though this varies greatly according to connection times flying on Thai Airways to Vientiane is usually the quickest option Flying from Ireland will involve changing planes at least twice once in London or another European hub and again at Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City with a journey time of at least eighteen and a half hours Because of the lack of direct flights prices are generally high throughout the year Expect to pay at least 750 from London and 900 from Dublin though prices often rise over 1000 1500 respectively With flights to Bangkok alone significantly cheaper from 450 600 it s worth considering travelling overland between the Thai capital and Vientiane by train Flights from the US and Canada Flying to Laos from North America usually involves one stop in Bangkok if travelling from the west coast and two stops often Hong Kong and Bangkok from the east coast Expect journey lengths of at least nineteen and twenty three hours respectively Fares from the west coast start at around 1200 while you should expect to pay upwards of 1500 from the east coast From Canada prices begin at Can 1300 for Vancouver departures Can 1700 from Toronto Flights from Australia New Zealand and South Africa Flights from Perth to Laos are via Bangkok while those from elsewhere in Australia may go via Vietnam or Hong Kong the latter requiring an additional change at Bangkok average journey time is around thirteen hours from Perth and sixteen hours from Sydney depending on connections Flights from Perth start at around Aus 1000 Aus 1200 from Sydney a cheaper alternative could be to fly the budget airline Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur from where you can connect to Vientiane From New Zealand flying to Laos involves at least two stops usually in Australia Hong Kong Vietnam or Bangkok the journey takes around nineteen hours and fares start at around NZ 1900 Expect a journey upwards of nineteen hours if flying from South Africa with at least two stops en route Prices start at around R8500 Getting there from neighbouring countries Landlocked Laos is easily accessed from most of its neighbouring countries either overland or by flying Note that visa on arrival is not available at all overland entry points for details and check locally for the most up to date information From Thailand Lao Airlines operates flights from

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  • Entry requirements | About Laos | Rough Guides
    can those entering from certain places in Vietnam Nam Khan Bo Y Tay Trang Cau Treo and Lao Bao and China Mo Han Only US dollars are accepted as payment and a passport sized photo is required If you forget the photo border officials will usually turn a blind eye for an extra 1 Note that passport holders from a number of countries including Pakistan Turkey and Zambia are not eligible for visas on arrival and must obtain one in advance for a comprehensive list see w tinyurl com 3ykrvyy To cross into Laos from all other points including Cha Lo in Vietnam you ll need to arrange a visa before arriving at the border Like visas on arrival pre arranged tourist visas allow for a stay of up to thirty days Prices are generally a little higher though especially if you pay a tour operator to help you out so avoid buying one unless your border crossing demands it If it does visas can be obtained directly from Lao embassies and consulates At the Lao embassy in Bangkok thirty day visas cost 1 400 baht for nationals of the UK US and Ireland 1 200 baht for those from Australia New Zealand and South Africa and 1 680 baht for Canadians You ll need to take two passport sized photos with you but provided you apply before noon processing can usually be done on the same day Advance visas can also be obtained at the Lao consulate in Khon Kaen in the northeast of Thailand or through one of the many travel agents concentrated on or around Khao San Road However prices and processing fees can vary wildly Wherever you choose to get your visa bear in mind that Lao visa regulations and prices are subject to frequent change The Lao embassy in Hanoi and consulates in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang can also issue visas but it s important to note that the prices charged vary from place to place and the regulations and conditions change frequently Lao visas issued in Vietnam are also significantly more expensive than those issued in Thailand Extending visas Visa extensions are fairly easy to obtain but you ll need to plan ahead if you want to avoid overstaying your visa there s currently a 10 penalty for each extra day you spend in the country The cheapest option is to visit the immigration office on Hatsady Road in Vientiane before your visa expires Here visa extensions are issued at the cost of 2 per day and the maximum length of extension is fifteen days Alternatively you could leave the country and enter again which might work out cheaper if you re planning to extend by twenty days or more or pay a local travel agent to arrange the visa extension for you Generally this is more expensive with most vendors charging around 4 per extra day required Thirty day business visas that have the potential to be extended can also

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