Everyone loves to have a go at predicting what might be happening just around the corner. We love Southeast Asia and travel in the region, so we’ve decided to have a punt at what we might see develop on that front over the year ahead. Disclaimer: All of the following was done without use of any tarot cards. Or chicken feathers. Or tea leaves.
The loons in charge of Burma will announce direct flights to Naypyidaw — from Naypyidaw. All incoming visitors who do not arrive at Naypyidaw will be required to engage an overland transfer to Naypyidaw in order to take a flight from Naypyidaw to Naypyidaw. This will be required before moving any further into the country. The airfare will be 150 euros. North American pesos are not accepted. Note the domestic airline that runs Naypyidaw-Naypyidaw flights is a non-governmental entity with no connection whatsoever to the junta.
The ever forward-looking, ever-caring Cambodian government will approve the first McDonalds outlet within the grounds of Angkor Wat. Set within the confines of the Bayon monument, the McDonalds will quench thirsts with “Pagan Pepsi” and fill tummies with the much anticipated “Jayavarman Burger Seven Stack” which comes with one slice of cheese and one slice of (Cambodian) beef for each of the seven reigns. The company has pledged to make minimal structural changes to the Bayon, noting that the second floor of the restaurant will be supported by restored teak taken from remote Khmer villages and only one quarter of the monument will need to be demolished.
The Indonesian government will announce the introduction of a Bogan Baru Visa (BBV). Valid for Kuta and Legian, it also allows for daytrips to other selected regencies including Gianyar (home to Ubud folks) but BBV holders are otherwise restricted to south Bali. The BBV is available only on flights from Australia and can be purchased with four empty VB cans (bogans under the age of 15 can swap a small bag of grass for the visa).
Laos will announce the cancellation of all further dam contracts after a detailed study reveals that the impoverished country could make far more cashola by floating stoned and drunk backpackers down the rivers than by damming them and flogging the hydro power to Thailand. A full “Tube Laos” map is expected in June 2012 – just in time for the wet season.
The Malaysian government will finally announce the Thai-Malay visa run service that doesn’t even require a visa run. Simply login to www.ireallydontwanttogotomalaysiaforavisarun.com, submit your passport details, and a Malaysia entry and exit sticker along with the corresponding Thai stamps will be mailed to you. Cost yet to be announced, but we’d guess about $5 more than a bus from Phuket to Penang.
Singapore will burst out of the closet, formally permitting hash bars, prostitution, gambling and chewing gum. Long hair, throwing butts on the ground, looking like a hippy and trying to wave down a taxi on the street however will remain punishable by caning.
In order to further protect the “extremely well-respected by every living soul on the face of the earth” monarchy, we’ve heard that 2012 will see the removal of the letters “K”, “N”, “G” and “I” from all computer keyboards across Thailand. The Crown Property Bureau plan to release a workaround in early January, but we’ve heard the system is a tap to the right, so “walking” becomes “wallonh”. Early testers say it’s not too difficult to master.
In early February the Vietnamese government will start taking enrolments for the first ever Vietnamese travel agent online spamming course. Six months of tuition will cover matters from impersonating real travellers and spamming message boards through to how to write a good fake hotel review and abusing intellectual property 101.
Google will go back to organising the world’s information — rather than their information before the world’s information.
Google will announce the release of the Google Toaster, Google Kettle, Google Oven and Google Fridge. All will be embedded within the Android OS allowing Android to further cement its position over iOS as the leading operating system — who cares if they never use a browser?
Tnooz will (finally) add the question, “How are you any different to the other X start-ups doing the same thing?” to their Tlabs questionnaire.
Bigger picture (Note: Okay, this is the only serious prediction)
People will continue to travel, explore new places and meet new people. They’ll learn new things — some good, some bad, but regardless one hopes they’ll have a rocking time doing it. Travel is awesome.
Travel is one of the best educations available on the planet and we strongly suggest all who can manage it embark on at least a PhD of it.
2011 has been a great year for travel and here’s hoping 2012 is even better. If you’re not already on the road, crank out the maps, grab some guidebooks and get travelling!
Best wishes to all and, to Travelfish readers, our deepest thanks, for being, well, Travelfish.org readers!