Friday, August 17, 2007

Thailand, Germany and Austria

There is a world of difference between Thailand, Germany and Austria. The climate in Thailand is tropical and hot, but cooler in the northern part of Thailand. While Germany is quite near to the North Pole, the coastal parts of Germany is moderate and is generally without sustained periods of cold or heat. The inner parts of Germany is continental, marked by greater diurnal and seasonal variations in temperature, with warmer summers and colder winters. A great part of Austria is covered with mountains with high peaks alternate with deep-cut valleys. Because of this geographical feature, the weather conditions are not easily predicted and depend strongly on altitude and location.

An agreement signed in 1984 between Thailand and Germany have led to close cultural ties between the two countries, with Goethe Institute in Bangkok leading in cultural exchange and promoting the German language in Thailand. Many partnership have also been formed between universities and colleges in Germany and Thailand. Bachelor and Master programmes in Germany are not uncommonly taught in English which has helped greatly Thai studying in Germany. Further, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) have a studies advice center in Thailand and offers a large number of scholarships to Thai students.

As for Austria, there was a 3-year project involving the transfer of knowledge on organic farming between Austria and Thailand with exchanges of students and staff of both universities.

There are thus many excuses for Thais to visit Germany and Austria which are neighbours, both to experience the difference in the weather, the environment, the culture, the food, and for educational purposes. This is made easier by the ease of travel between Germany and Austria, especially the easy availability and great frequency of air flight between the two country, particularly between its capital, Berlin and Vienna.

The national airlines of Germany, Lufthansa, fly direct to Vienna from Berlin. Lufthansa frequently have special web only deals plus a 'happy hour' page where visitors can bid for flights where you can get cheap fares. There are also a number of budget airlines operating low-cost flights between the countries with Air Berlin flying to Vienna from Dortmund, Hamburg and Duesseldor, Germanwings flying to Vienna from Cologne-Bonn and Sky Europe flying from Stuttgart to Vienna via Bratislava, which is just 50km away. From Bratislava, you can board a SkyShuttle bus to Vienna for just an extra €10.

With the easy transport plus the wide varieties of cheap flight, it will be a very difficult to resist the temptation to visit the two neighbouring countries. But of course, you will need accommodation, best arranged for ahead of arrival. A good site to do that online is Billige Hotels in Deutschland Unterkunft (Approved German hotels accommodation). If you intend to stay in Berlin and you can read German, try Hotels in Berlin. For an English version, go to Hotels in Berlin.

Similarly, for Vienna, go to Hotels in Vienna and Hotels in Vienna if you are more comfortable with English.


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