I am happy to share
with you the news of several new hotel openings in Thailand.
With many new hotels in the pipeline in Bangkok, the nations
capital will continue to be among the most competitive cities in
the world. In December last year we had a very exciting new
attraction in Bangkok - Madame Tussauds Bangkok. This new
attraction is conveniently located on the 6th floor of the Siam
Discovery shopping mall.
Qatar Airways and
Turkish Airlines have decided to extend their flights from
Bangkok to Vietnam, which is ideal for our clients who wish to
do a stopover in Bangkok before or after a visit to Indochina.
added a new route, Phuket-Samui-Trat, which offers new
possibilities to combine the islands of Phuket, Koh Samui and
I would like to
take this opportunity to wish all of you a wonderful New Year
and all the best for 2011!
SPEEDBOAT TRANSFERS: KRABI-PHI PHI-KRABI
transfer service by speedboat is in operation between Ao Nang
and Koh Phi Phi, cutting the journey time to 40 minutes.
operated by Ao Nang Orchid Travel, departs from Ao Nang at
11.30am with the return journey from Koh Phi Phi at 2.30pm.
Pick up and drop off for clients staying at the Zeavola, Phi Phi
Island Village, Holiday Inn Resort and Phi Phi Natural area is
at each hotels beach front.
CABINET APPROVES PHUKET BT2.6BIL CONVENTION CENTRE
Thailands Cabinet has approved plans for the construction of
the long-awaited International Convention and Exhibition Center
(ICEC) in Mai Khao. Construction is likely to get under way in
mid-2012. Under the current design the Bt2.6 billion centre on
the 150-rai plot of state land would include a convention hall,
exhibition hall, 200-room hotel and a 100-room accommodation
facility for government officers and staff.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
ASIAN TRAILS24/7 B2B WEBSITE OPERATIONAL
Asian Trails B2B
is now fully operating 24/7 services for hotel online solution.
This makes it easier and faster for our partners to make hotel
bookings with just a few clicks of the mouse, and in real time
for instant bookings, automated pricing and issuing of
vouchers. Online instant bookings for transfers and excursions
are also available.
When you visit
you will need to input on agent code, user name and password. If
you do not have your login details please contact your personal
Asian Trails Assistant.
If you do not have an account with us yet please click on join
us, fill in your company details and we will email the login
details to you. Once you have entered your agent code, username
and password and click on sign in, it will take you to the
world's favourite wax museum opens its
attraction in Bangkok in December 2010. With over 75 wax figures
and brimming with interactive experiences, this is much more
than just a wax museum. You can photograph every figure in the
museum, mingle with the A-list on the red carpet, challenge your
sport heroes as well as get on stage with your favourite pop
with island magic and truly Thai charm at Anantara Bophut Resort
& Spa on stunning Koh Samui are now embellished by elite
signature style with the launch of 20 new exclusive suites and
pool villas. Complementing the resort's existing 106 rooms and
suites guests become immersed in an ambient heritage of island
life, with the iconic resort designed as a traditional southern
Thai village, embraced by mature jungle landscaping. Nestled on
Bo Phut Bay, a short stroll from the authentic village charms of
Fishermans Cove, Anantara Bophut is a convenient 15-minute
journey from Koh Samui International Airport.
IBIS BANGKOK RIVERSIDE
Riverside is a place where great value meets great views.
Bright, modern and simple the hotel is strategically located on
the Chao Praya River with ferry and sky train services just five
minutes away, and a free shuttle to the BTS station. It offers
266 newly built rooms, one restaurant, one bar and a swimming
pool alongside the river.
Fenix Silom is located in historic Silom near the Sathorn
business district, and conveniently close to the Sirat (FES)
Expressway, offering easy access to the airport. Featuring 216
stylish rooms with two modern premier floors, an excellent
restaurant and a bar the hotel offers a comfortable stay for
business and leisure guests. Positioned adjacent to the Silom
Village, it is just a few minutes walk from the BTS station
with the Patpong entertainment area nearby.
The elegant Hilton
Pattaya is situated above the new 250,000sqm Central Festival
Pattaya Beach, which has over 300 international shops and
restaurants, a 10-screen cinema and a bowling alley. The airport
is only 90 minutes away. The rooms are spacious and equipped
with balconies, HD LCD TVs and high-speed Internet access. The
executive rooms offer panoramic views of the surrounding area
from the Executive Lounge. Its restaurant, Flare, serves
succulent seafood while Drift, the Lobby Lounge, is ideal for
cocktails. Facilities include a landscaped outdoor Infinity
Pool, 24-hour fitness centre and a spa that is due to open in
March. Recreational activities are available near the hotel,
including golf, water sports and horse riding.
Hilton Pattaya is
also an ideal hotel for hosting conferences and events as its
magnificent ballroom has an outdoor balcony and breath-taking
beach views. Complementing this are contemporary audiovisual
equipment, a business centre and professional catering and
The Shore at
Katathani is a luxury beach front pool villa resort on Kata Noi
Beach in Phuket. It is a natural fusion of indoor and outdoor
living where time has no meaning beyond the pleasure of every
moment. Feel stress melt away as you relax in natures arms and
experience a seaside retreat of boundless splendour that will
inhabit your memories forever.
villa Banyan Tree Samui combines the best elements of a tropical
getaway with pristine white beaches and sun, while just 19 km
from Samui International Airport. Overlooking the sapphire
waters of scenic Lamai Bay the resort is nestled in a series of
cascading terraces on a private hill cove in the south-eastern
coast of Koh Samui.
The resort is an
ideal retreat from the bustle of the outside world and is a
secluded haven where days pass in a gentle flow of tranquillity,
serenaded to sleep by the deep blue swells of the Gulf of
Thailand and cool sea breezes. Pampering features abound
including iconic dining venues, the island's largest individual
infinity pools in the villas and The Rainforest, Koh Samui's
only hydrotherapy wellness facility.
W Retreat Koh Samui
is an island within an island and an ultimate haven where day is
spent relaxing and night for celebrating. An epitome of a
tropical retreat and resplendent with warm charm it awakens at
night and ignites the nocturnal. Gastronomise at Namu on the
island's most stunning setting, or savour delicious fare at
Kitchen Table. The health-conscious buffs you can SWEAT® it out
or get WET®, then unwind at W Lounge or laze AWAY® at the spa.
The Jim Thompson
Farm tour is a unique journey into a world of culture and
eco-tourism, which will fascinate visitors with what it has
to offer - from giant pumpkins to an expansive field of
sunflowers and blossoming cold-climate flower gardens. Other
key attractions are sericulture and silk-weaving
demonstrations, as well as an insight into the traditional
Isan way of life and its rarely seen cultural performances.
To complete the tour sample Insan dishes with an impressive
menu to choose from. A visit to the Jim Thomson Market is
recommended to shop for local merchandise and fresh farm
THE ROYAL TROPHY 2010 - EUROPE VS ASIA GOLF
7-9 JANUARY 2011
VENUE: AMATA SPRING COUNTRY CLUB BANGKOK, THAILAND
The Royal Trophy Europe vs. Asia Golf Championship is a
unique, emotionally charged and passionate competition
between the continents of Europe and Asia in a team
match-play format. The Royal Trophy features eight-player
teams from Europe and Asia respectively, each led by a
non-playing captain. The two Continental teams compete for
stewardship over the Royal Trophy, which is graciously
donated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.
The three-day competition features a total of 16 matches
including foursomes, four-ball matches and singles.
PHUKET INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW
6-9 JANUARY 2011
VENUE: ROYAL PHUKET MARINA, PHUKET ISLAnd
The Phuket International Boat Show is the event to go to for
all boating needs. On show is a large variety of
international boat brands from super yachts to powerboats,
sail boats, speedboats and dinghies. Visitors are welcomed
to inspect and buy any of the vessels, which take their
Boat brokers and dealerships will represent the best-known
brands from around the world at the show. Among the brands
are Azimut, Bavaria Yachts, Beneteau, Benetti, Boston
Whaler, Chris Craft, Corsair Marine, Cranchi, Custom Line,
De Birs, Fairline, Ferretti Yachts, Fontaine Pajot, Formula,
Hanse, Horizon, Jeanneau, Lagoon, Majesty Yachts, Mustang,
Nautor's Swan, Northrop & Johnson, Oryx, Pershing, Prestige
Yachts, Princess, Riva, Riviera, Sea Ray, Seawind
Catamarans, Silvercraft, Sunseeker and Windy Boats. Locally
built boats from Cata Thai, Composite Catamarans, Sunnav and
Seat Boat will also be on display.
KING MENGRAI FESTIVAL 2011
25-31 JANUARY 2011
VENUE: CHIANG RAI - THE MONUMENT OF THE KING MENGRAI
The festival is staged annually to pay homage to King
There is also a fun-filled aspect to the festival, which
features a local product fair, stage shows and a variety of
entertainment to create an air of festivity.
Exhibitions, organised by state and private sector
organisations, reflect the enthusiastic participation of the
local community to show their pride in local traditions.
BANGRAKS CHINESE NEW YEAR FESTIVAL
3 FEBRUARY 2011
VENUE: YAOWARAT, BANGKOK
Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration in Asia and is
celebrated by Chinese communities throughout the world. It
is traditionally a time for family, friends and loved ones
to visit one another and exchange gifts. it is also a time
for families to get together and have the traditional
reunion dinner on the eve of the New Year.
The Chinese New Year celebrations in Bangkok are among the
biggest in Thailand. The main hub for the celebrations is in
the city's bustling Chinatown area along Yaowarat Road. This
is a great time of the year to visit this exciting city as
the streets are filled with the sights, sounds and smells of
local delicacies, with the incessant firing of firecrackers
adding colour and vibrancy to the entire area. Other events
include traditional lion and dragon dances, cultural
exhibitions and a large fireworks display. Chinese New Year
also celebrates the imminent arrival of spring and is the
time for new beginnings. It is thus traditional to settle
old debts and set children off to a good start to the year
with gifts of angpows (money in small red envelopes).
CHiaNG MAI FLOWER FESTIVAL
4-5 FEBRUARY 2011
VENUE: BUAK HAAD PARK, CHIANG MAI
The annual Chiang Mai Flower Festival is the biggest flower
festival in Thailand. It is a spectacular celebration set in
Chiang Mais Buak Haad Park. This is a must attend event for
all lovers of flowers. Be fascinated by beautiful
flower-decorated floats and a magnificent tapestry of floral
splendour that seems to blanket the landscape. There are
also agricultural exhibitions, floral contests and sale of
home-made products by local housewives.
One of the festivals highlights is the grand floral parade.
The floats, sponsored by companies and organisations, are
beautifully decorated with elaborate flower arrangements,
with some carrying an eco-tourism message. The parade
culminates in the annual beauty competition to crown the
citys Flower Queen, who will represent the flower growers
and exporters as an Ambassador of Goodwill.
This annual show is also a showcase of exotic orchids and
flowering plant, which thrive.
in Changi Mais temperate climate. During the cool season
months from mid-November to February the flowers are in full
bloom, thus earning this northern province the title of
Rose of the North. Whether you go to Chiang Mai for its
flower festival in February or any other time there will
always be beautiful flowers to greet you wherever you go.
BANGRAKS VALENTINE DAY
14 FEBRUARY 14 2011
"District of Love", and on 14 February it is a magnet for
amorous Thai couples, even though St. Valentine's Day is an
imported Western concept. Thais embrace festivals whatever
their origin as long as they are sanuk (fun). So
countless hotels, restaurants and nightlife venues in
Bangrak will be celebrating romance with promotions and
parties. Even the local council gets in on the love theme.
On this day the country's highest concentrations of couples
register their marriages at the District Office. It is a
good-natured scrum as hundreds of brides and grooms, many in
elaborate costume, declare their betrothal in public. This
informal spectacle is an amusing photo opportunity, never
missed by the local Thai press and television.
AIRASIA LAUNCHES PHUKET-BALI FLIGHTS
launched four times weekly Phuket-Bali flights on 17
December 2010. The new service,
Airbus A320 aircraft with a seating capacity of 180
passengers, is the only direct connection between the two
island resorts. The flights are on Mondays, Wednesdays,
Fridays and Sundays. The service may be increased to daily
flights, depending on the load factor.
BANGKOK AIRWAYS STARTS PHUKET-SAMUI-TRAT SERVICE
launched its new Phuket-Samui-Trat flight service on 2
December 2010. With this extension to the carriers existing
Phuket - Samui service. it is now easier for holiday-makers
to travel from Phuket to the resort island of Koh Chang. The
four times weekly round trip flights aboard a 70-seat
twin-turboprop ATR 72 aircraft are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays,
Fridays and Saturdays. Outbound flights depart Phuket at
12.55pm and arrive in Trat at 3.40pm. Inbound flights depart
Trat at 4.15pm and arrive in Phuket at 7.10pm.
AUSTRALIAS STRATEGIC AIRLINES TO FLY TO PHUKET
carrier Strategic Airlines will
launch non-stop direct flights to Phuket from Melbourne and
Brisbane in February. The full-service carrier will offer
twice-weekly flights from Melbourne to Phuket starting from
22 February 2011. The services, using an Airbus A330
aircraft with both business and economy classes, are on
Tuesdays and Fridays. The decision by Strategic to fly to
Phuket follows Virgin Australias decision to end its Phuket
The airline will
start twice-weekly flights to Phuket from Brisbane on 24
February, with the services on Thursdays and Sundays.
MAHAN AIR FLIES TO PHUKET
Mahan Air, a
private Iranian airline, launched non-stop service from its
hub in Tehran to Phuket on 6 December 2010. The once-a-week
flight is on Mondays from Tehran and on Tuesdays from Phuket.
seven-hour plus flight departs at 9.30pm and arrive in
Phuket 8am the following day. From Phuket the flight departs
at 10.40pm and arrives in Tehran at 3.10am the following
day. The service is on a 243-seat Airbus A300-600 aircraft
in a two-class configuration
This is the
second scheduled flight from the Middle East to the resort
island, following Qatar Airways decision to serve Phuket as
an extension of its Kuala Lumpur service al earlier in the
same month. Mahan Air
currently operates six
weekly flights to Bangkok.
operational difficulties in the first quarter of this year, such
as the temporary closure of Pakze airport, slash-and-burn smoke
side effects in the Luang Prabang area, low water in the Mekong
River and political troubles in Bangkok, tourism in Laos has
recovered well and 2010 will show a good result
development in the hotel industry has reached an interesting
speed and new properties, such as Alila Luang Prabang, The
Luangsay Residence, Le Palais Juliana and Shinta Mani have
opened or are on the verge of opening their doors in the
Heritage city. There is now an interesting choice and capacity,
mostly in the upper class range
industry looks with confidence towards the future, and the Lao
population and tourism staff are eager to welcome new visitors
Sabaidee and Chokdee Pimai (Happy New Year)
Philippe Conod & Björn
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
Pakbeng Lodge & Luang Prabang LPQ 3 boat
Starting from 10 January you can book a cruise
on the Mekong as a joint tour on the comfortable Luang Prabang 3 boat. In
combination with an overnight stay at the Pakbeng Lodge we have created three
rewarding new tours, which offer a less costly alternative especially for FITs.
Spend an extra day for some light trekking in the beautiful surroundings of
Pakbeng and enjoy an exciting elephant ride.
Departures are every Monday from Luang Prabang
and continue to Huay Xay every Wednesday or Thursday. In the opposite direction
you can travel to Pakbeng on Thursday and Saturday. Continue to Luang Prabang
every Sunday. Tours can also be booked in combination with a traditional boat.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
ELEPHANT FESTIVAL - PAKLAY
The Paklay district
will host the annual Lao Elephant Festival for the second
time. This year the event will be held over three days -
18, 19 and 20 February.
Prettying up will
be around 50 elephants, all competing for the prestigious
title of Elephant of the Year. Expect to see
colourful elephant processions, elephant bathing, mahout
demonstrations, ancient Baci ceremonies, traditional
blessings by monks, live performances by Lao and foreign
artistes, night markets, fun fair and much more.
CHAMPASSAK - VAT PHOU
To commemorate the 10th
anniversary of the listing of the Vat Phou temple complex as a World Heritage
Site festivities will take place from 14 to 18 February. Performers from
Cambodia, Thailand, India and Vietnam will celebrate the anniversary, followed
by an alms-giving ceremony on the morning of 18 February. However, the real
highlight will be on the same night when 40,000 oil lamps will light up the
grounds of the ancient Khmer and Cham temple an event that also coincides with
the full moon.
LUANG PRABANG NEW HOTEL
Juliana, which has the same owner as Juliana Phnom Penh
Hotel, opened its doors last November. It is located on the
outskirts of Luang Prabang, about 4 km from the city centre,
in the middle of a large garden. It offers 44 Deluxe Rooms
and 4 Executive Rooms, with most offering a nice view
towards the swimming pool. All rooms have free WiFi, TV,
air-conditioning and a safe deposit box. In the coming weeks
nine villas and two Grand Deluxe Suites will open. This
is the perfect place for those looking for comfort and
LUANG PRABANG SPECIAL PROMOTION
TIP OF THE MONTH
Villa Maly, Luang Prabang
Villa Maly offers a
three-night stay, while paying for two nights. This offer
includes a Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Nava Mekong.
offer is valid every day from 16 April to 30 September
2011. Terms and conditions apply.
LUANG PRABANG AWARD-WINNING HOTEL
Residence Phou Vao
Phou Vao, an Orient-Express retreat hotel in Luang Prabang,
was one of only seven hotels hand-picked by lifestyle
magazine, Tatler, as one of its top hotels in the
world for 2011, winning the prestigious award for Enduring
Excellence. The annual Tatler Travel Awards are one of the
most revered awards in the hospitality industry,
travel industry professionals, and high profile
personalities all attending the event, hosted at the Hotel
Ritz in London.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Tourism is a major industry in
Laos, which helps to boost income and infrastructure for local communities.
However, too often the money made remains in tourism and benefits only those who
are directly involved in the industry.
Laos is one of the least developed
countries in the region and we, from Asian Trails Laos, would like to make a
difference by assisting some projects, which, we feel will really help those who
are either too poor or too far away to benefit from the current economic growth
Laos is experiencing.
The mother and child hospital in Vientiane and the Swiss Laos Hospital Project
have created a birth kit to ensure clean and hygenic birth instruments for rural
areas. Each kit costs only USD2.00 and helps to significantly decrease diseases
like typhus among infants and their mothers.
Please contact us if you would like
to receive further information or if you like to participate in this project!
Year as we have just welcomed a new year. For Asian Trails
Cambodia 2010 was much better then expected at the beginning. We
do hope that 2011 will be more successful. I together with my
Cambodian team wish all of you a joyful Merry Christmas and a
healthy and peaceful New Year 2011.
BORDER NEAR PREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE TO REOPEN
Thailand and Cambodia are set to reopen their border
crossings near the disputed Preah Vihear temple after a
lengthy closure, an army source said. The governor of Si Sa
Ket and the Cambodian governor of Preah Vihear province have
discussed the matter, and the crossings near the ancient
Hindu temple and a nearby disputed 4.6sqkm area are expected
to reopen. This would be the first time both the Thai and
Cambodian crossings have been open simultaneously since July
2008, when the Preah Vihear temple was granted UNESCO world
heritage status under Cambodian stewardship.
RESTORATION OF TA KEO TEMPLE BEGINS
restore Ta Keo temple in Angkor Archaeological Park has
The restoration work will
be taking approximately eight years to complete (2011-2018)
under the financial support of 40 million Yuan (about USD 6
million) from the government of the Peoples Republic of
China," said Bun Narith, director general of Apsara
Authority, which is in charge of the management, protection
and conservation of Angkor Archaeological Park, at the
opening ceremony of the restoration work.
Ta Keo temple was built by
King Jayavarman V and Suryavarman I from the late 10th
century to the early 11th century, and both kings have
dedicated this temple to Hinduism. The monument of Ta Keo
temple comprises of three level pyramids consisting of five
rectangular terraces and five upper towers. The temple is
located in the central zone of the Angkor archaeological
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
VICTORY DAY OVER
7 JANUARY 2011
This holiday commemorates
the fall of the Khmer Rouge régime on 7 January 1979. It
honours the people who were killed in the genocide and those
who sacrificed their lives in restoring peace to the
country. Colourful ceremonies are held at the Independence
Monument (Vimean Ekareach).
19 JANUARY 2011
Day is an important Buddhist celebration, which marks a
spontaneous gathering of 1,250 monks to listen to Buddhas
sermons. The gathering is attributed to four miracles
occurring nine months after Buddhas enlightenment, on the
day of the full moon during the third lunar month. At this
miraculous gathering Buddha preached a seminal sermon
philosophy is founded.
Bochea is a colourful festival with monks gathering at
the temples and praying from Buddhist scriptures. The
wats (temples) are filled with Cambodians who come to
pray and offer tributes of food to the monks.
The pagodas are quite active
and colourful on this day.
ASEAN TOURISM FORUM IN PHNOM PENH
The ASEAN Tourism Forum
(ATF) is a cooperative regional effort to promote the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region as one
tourist destination. This annual event involves all the
tourism industry sectors of the 10 member nations of ASEAN
namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR,
Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and
Vietnam. As the annual convention of the ASEAN tourism
industry ATF promotes the exchange of ideas, review of
industry developments and joint formulation of
recommendations to further accelerate the growth of ASEAN
tourism. ATF also provides a platform for the selling
and buying of regional and
individual tourism products of ASEAN member countries.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
3 FEBRUARY 2011
As this is first new moon in
the Chinese Lunar Calendar it is an important celebration
for Cambodians of Chinese origin. Although Chinese New Year
is not an official public holiday in Cambodia the people
still celebrate this occasion with great joy. One of the
busiest and most popular pagodas and venues on this
auspicious day is Wat Phnom, especially at midnight on
Chinese New Years eve.
This year we celebrate the
Year of the Rabbit, considered to be a lucky sign. The
rabbit is a private animal and a bit introverted. People
born in the
Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly
individuals who enjoy the company of good friends. They are
good teachers, counsellors and communicators, but also need
their own space.
BOSBA PANHS CONCERT IN ANGKOR
25-26 FEBRUARY 2011
To promote Cambodia as a
destination and showcase the Kingdoms finest musical
13-year-old young Khmer soprano and one of the countrys
Living National Treasures, will stage unique concerts at
Angkor Wat Bayon Temple (Siem Reap) on Friday 25 and
Saturday 26 February 2011:
Angkor, Tribute to the Masters.
Special guests from Paris, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala
Lumpur, San Diego and San Jose (USA) will come to Cambodia
for these performances. Part of the profits from this
evening will be donated to the Foundation for Khmer Arts to
support artists in need.
To pay tribute to both known
and unknown Khmer artists, the surviving master artists and
international musicians are joining
bosbaPANH for an
exceptional performance. They will take the audience on a
musical journey spanning 900 years from Queen Indradevi,
spouse of King Jayavarman VII the great builder of Angkor
Thom to Her Majesty Queen Sisowath Kossamak Nearyrath
Sereivoddhana, late mother of His Majesty King Father
Norodom Sihanouk. Both queens have fostered the arts of
Angkor. During the two concert nights Bayon Temple comes to
life with an elegant display of lights and sounds. Against
this breathtaking backdrop, classical and contemporary
performers will create a unique artistic experience.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT
DANCES BY CHILDREN OF BASSAC AT PHNOM PENH
Children of Bassac is a company
of 24 dancers aged 16 to 21,
created in 2003 by Leng Sithul, a traditional theatre
singer. All the companys members live in the Bassac
community. They perform traditional and folk dances
representing Khmer life. In 2005
the dancers joined with the Cambodia Living Arts
organisation specialising in the promotion of Cambodian arts
and culture. The Association envisions Cambodia as a country
known for its vibrant arts and culture in the year 2020. A
sense of pace, creativity and energy on stage has made the
Children of Bassac one of the Kingdom's upcoming
major actors of the Cambodian art scene revival.
Performances are on every Thursday at the Phnom Penh
National Museum until April 2011.
ANGKORS TETHERED BALLOON SUSPENDS OPERATIONS
The company, which handles
the Angkor Tethered Balloon, has decided at the end of
October 2010 to temporarily close down the bookings and
flights of the tethered balloon until March 2011 due to
SOFITEL PHNOM PENH PHOKEETHRA SOFT OPENS
The new Sofitel
Phnom Penh Phokeethra, which soft opened in December last
year, is situated on the Bassac riverside amidst landscaped gardens in the citys
old quarter. This stunning strategically located 12-storey
colonial style hotel is close to key attractions, embassies
and the central business district. Along with 201 luxurious
rooms and suites, with Mekong or Bassac river views, this
beautiful hotel offers an array of chic restaurants and
bars, an upscale spa, two swimming pools, a sports club and
the finest conferencing facilities in Cambodia.
rooms in this new boutique hotel have all the modern
facilities guests would expect from a hotel of this class.
All the guestrooms
are non-smoking. Each room has air-conditioning, bathrobes, in-house movies, desk, hair-dryer and
wireless Internet access. Guests at Circa 1 also enjoy a
wide range of facilities such as coffee shop, bar, laundry
service, room service and safe deposit box. There are
numerous leisure facilities to help the guest unwind and
they include massage, outdoor activities, swimming pool and
a garden. The hotel creates a balance of rich culture and
modern conveniences to ensure a memorable stay right in the
heart of Phnom Penh.
AIR FRANCE TO LAUNCH PARIS-PHNOM PENH FLIGHTS
Air France will
start operating commercial flights between Paris and Phnom
Penh from 28 March 2011. The three times weekly flights will
make a stopover in Bangkok, Thailand.
Paris-Phnom Penh flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays
and Fridays, while the Phnom Penh-Paris flights
on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
the new service Air France demonstrates its confidence in
Cambodias economic potential and its determination to
further develop a strong regional presence. The airlines
return to Cambodia will enhance the countrys growing
transport links with Europe. It is also a testament of Air
Frances confidence in the traffic growth potential between
France and Cambodia.
we would like to highlight our MICE department and the
interesting, innovative activities we have created for your
teams building programmes.
becoming more and more popular, not only for incentives but also
for events and, in particular, for team building activities. As
most of us spend at least a third of our life at work it is
important to create and maintain a healthy, conducive working
environment especially when working as part of a team. We at
Asian Trails in Vietnam have recently created a wide range of
teaming building activities to help you and your clients to
much fun you and your co-workers will have on a boat race along
the beautiful beaches of Danang and Hoi An, or playing
volleyball at Titov Beach surrounded by the multi-form islets of
Halong Bay. And what about a treasure hunt along the bustling
streets of Hanois Old Quarter? Or a pillow fight among the team
members in the middle of Saigon (called a flash mob by the
experts), capturing the attention and stares of pedestrians
and believe us when we say there are always crowds of people on
the streets of Saigon!
and special tours team is happy to show you our ideas and
creations for your next incentive or event in Vietnam. Please
contact us for details.
Kellenberger to leave Asian Trails Vietnam
We wish to inform you with regrets that Claudio Kellenberger,
General Manager of Asian Trails Vietnam, is leaving the company
as of March 2011. After two-and-a-half years in Vietnam, Claudio
will relocate to Myanmar to pursue a new challenge. We thank
Claudio for his contributions to Asian Trails Vietnam and wish
him success good luck in his new venture. We will inform you of
his successor in a later issue of TRAILBLAZER.
CON DAO ONE OF WORLD BEST SECRET ISLANDS
magazine, Lonely Planet, has listed Con Dao, the
small archipelago 180km southeast of Vietnams coast, among
the Worlds Best Secret Islands. Also on the list are
exotic destinations including Socotra (Yemen), Torrest
Strait Island (Australia) and Iles de Salut (French Guiana).
Con Dao is
still an undiscovered pearl, attracting off-the-beaten track
individual travellers. It now has a luxury boutique resort,
Six Senses Con Dao, which opened two months ago.
TOP 25 RESORTS IN ASIA
Vietnam has the honour of having a number of its hotels listed among
Conde Nasts Top 25 Resorts in Asia, all making it to
the top 20. The hotels are Life Resort Hoi An, The Nam Hai
(Hoi An) and Evason Ana Mandara (Nha Trang). Park Hyatt
Saigon and Sofitel Metropole. The survey covered the 100 top
hotels in Asia.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
XIN CHAO SHOW IN HO CHI MINH CITY
(welcome in Vietnamese) is a new circus-style production
with elements of traditional dance, martial arts and circus
acrobatics with its origins in Vietnam. The 90-minutes is in
three parts highlighting Vietnams history the creation of
Vietnams myth, the cultural epic of the Trung sisters and
the grand finale, painting of a modern portrait of
traditional characters in Vietnamese daily life and culture.
Over 50 talented Vietnamese dancers, martial artistes and
circus acrobats are performing in this exciting and dynamic
show. A show not to be missed. Daily performances at 6pm at
the 23 September Park in District 1.
LONG BEACH ANCIENT VILLAGE PHU QUOC
resort is latest addition to the ongoing demand for 4 star+
accommodations on the island of Phu Quoc. It celebrated its
soft opening in December 2010. Located on one of the finest
stretches of beach in Phu Quoc, the resort is built along
the design of a traditional Vietnamese village. It offers 72
rooms on two floors and restaurant/bar.
conjunction with its soft opening Long Beac Ancient Village
Phu Quoc is offering special promotional rates from now
until March 2011. Please contact us for further information.
HILTONS SECOND PROPERTY IN VIETNAM
Hilton Danang Hotel is the second property in Vietnams
hospitality market under the Hilton brand, with the first
property in Hanoi. The 25-storey hotel, estimated to cost
US$37 million, has 226 rooms and serviced apartments, a
17-storey tower building with 15,600 square metres of office
space and 10,500 square metres for a trading centre. The
hotels construction is expected to be finished by the last
quarter of 2012.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
TET 2011 VIETNAMESE NEW YEAR
New Year (TET) will be celebrated on 3 February 2011. As
usual, about five days before and after this date travelling
around Vietnam will not be entirely hassle-free as millions
of domestic travellers are heading home to their families,
filling up planes and trains, congesting bus terminals and
highways. All public services including banks,
administration offices, immigration/visa services and
related will be closed from 2 February to 7 February.
that visa applications cannot be processed during this
period. Kindly submit your applications to us no later than
15 January for them to be processed in time for your travel.
will be closed from 2 February (Wednesday) until 7 February
(Monday), reopening on 8 February (Tuesday). We will have an
emergency team on standby in all our offices. However, we
will not be able to process any booking requests or related
services during this period. Kindly send us all your
inquiries well in advance.
Vietnam Airlines: Daily Danang-Tokyo services
Airlines has launched a new daily flight between Danang and
Tokyo (Narita) via Ho Chi Minh City from 15 December, using
its brand new Airbus A321 aircraft.
Vietnam Airlines: Non-stop HCMC-Yangon flights
successful launch of flights between the capital city Hanoi
and Yangon on 1 March 2010 Vietnam Airlines started
three-times weekly non-stop service between Ho Chi Minh City
and Yangon, using an Airbus A320 aircraft with a capacity
of 160 passengers
CHARTERS FROM RUSSIA TO NHA TRAng
Air is operating weekly charter flights between Vladivostok
and Khabarov, Russia and Nha Trang, the first Russian
airline to offer such services. The charters are on the
Airbus A330 aircraft, and will help boost the tourism
potential of the two Vietnamese destinations.
XIN NIAN KUAI LE! GONG XI FA CAI! Happy New Year from the Asian
Trails China team!
2010 has been a busy year in China and we thank all of you for
your continuous support. After three years of operation Asian
Trails China now counts 40 staff in three offices, while a year
ago we were only 20 strong. China is celebrating Chinese New
Year next month and we are waiting for the 3 February to welcome
the Year of the Rabbit, which will last until 22 January 2012 as
per the Lunar Calendar. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the
Chinese Zodiac within the 12 animals signs.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
BEIJING-SHANGHAI HIGH SPEED RAIL TRACK LAID: The final
portion of tracks on the Beijing-Shanghai has been laid. At
1,318 kilometres in length the line is now the worlds
longest high-speed railway. Work on the US$33.3 billion rail
link began in April 2008 and is due to open in 2012. Travel
time between the two cities will be reduced to approximately
four hours from the current 10 when the railway is in
operations. Chinas first high-speed rail line was opened in
2008 connecting Tianjin with Beijing.
CHINA-LAOS RAIL PROJECT COMMENCES:
China and Laos will start construction of the first high
speed rail line between the two countries early this year,
as part of a project to link China and South East Asia.
According to reports, the link would be completed around
The railway is part of a broader plan to connect Kunming in
south-eastern China with Singapore, Thailand, Myanmar,
Cambodia, Vietnam and Malaysia. China already has a
high-speed rail network that stretches 7,531km across the
country as of November. It is expected to supply much of the
train technology for the project.
Put on your walking shoes or get on a bike and discover for
yourself the fast-disappearing hutong of the country's
The hutongs, or alleys, offer a glimpse of Chinese history,
local life and ancient architecture. Because of rapid real
estate development less than a thousand of Beijing's hutong
remain, down from at least 3,000 in the early 1950s.
THE LONGEST HUTONG: Dongjiao Minxiang, Dongcheng District
The history of this hutong dates back to the Yuan Dynasty
(1271-1368) when it served as an important passageway for
rice bound for the north and south of the country. In the
succeeding Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644- 1911) dynasties
it hosted offices of the imperial ministries. In the
early 20th century the hutong
was designated as an embassy zone, which explains the
foreign architecture of buildings here. They included the
former US embassy complex (built in 1903 that now houses
some impressive bars and restaurants in Qian Men 23), the
former British Royal Chartered Bank (built in 1919 and now a
hotel) and St Michael's Church built in 1901, still holding
THE OLDEST HUTONG: Zhuanta, Xicheng District
Zhuanta, off South Xisi Avenue, is more than 700 years old.
Its defining landmark is a brick tower, built in honour of a
Buddhist monk, and after which the hutong was named. Another
notable site is Yard No 84, the former residence of Lu Xun,
one of the greatest Chinese writers of the 20th
century. However, there is not much to see in the
HUTONG WITH THE MOST ARCHWAYS: Chengxianjie, Dongcheng
The hutong was renamed Guozijian in 1965 in honour of the
Imperial College, Chinas highest educational institution
and one of its most important buildings dating from the Yuan
and Qing dynasties. Beside it stands Confucius Temple,
established in 1302, where academics and emperors paid their
respects to eminent Chinese teachers and philosophers. The
alley, facing Yonghegong Lama Temple and lined with cafes
and souvenir shops, is a popular tourist destination.
Despite the hustle and bustle in the hutong its residents
seem oblivious as they concentrate on their card games, chit
chat with neighbours and do their daily exercises.
NARROWEST HUTONG: Qianshi, Xicheng District
It is easy to miss the passage to this dead-end hutong,
Beijing's narrowest at 70cm wide. Here, people coming from
opposite directions need to turn sideways to pass each
other. But at least they do not have to worry about cars
blocking their path. The reason why the hutong builders
scrimped on space lies in its name, Qianshi, meaning "money
market". It was the official currency exchange centre during
the Qing Dynasty and became home to banking firms during the
period of the Republic of China (1911-1949). The alley,
located west of Qianmen pedestrian street and north of
Dashilan commercial street, was apparently made narrow to
make it hard for thieves to escape. Few traces remain of
Qianshi's former bustling, prosperous life apart from barely
discernible bank names on the brick walls and couplets
wishing for "profits as high as the mountains" painted on
ROAD TO PARADISE
The Xiate Ancient Trail, one of
the most treacherous sections of the historic Northern Silk
Road, is famous for its flower-filled prairies, snow-capped
mountains and glacier-fed rivers. The best way to discover
this natures paradise is on horseback.
The Xiate Ancient Trail is in Zhaosu county - Ili Kazak
autonomous prefecture. East of the border with Kazakhstan,
Zhaosu conjures up images of endless grasslands against a
horizon of snow-capped mountains.
The trip starts in Sailimu Lake on an Ili horse, which is
bred in this area and famous for its speed and stamina. This
lake is Xinjiang's largest and highest alpine lake. The
Xiate Ancient Trail, with its precipitous cliffs and deep
valleys, offers the perfect terrain for bandits targeting
merchant caravans and was one of the most treacherous
sections of the Silk Road in the olden days. Now the trail
has acquired a new label - "Road to Paradise". Local
members of the Kazak, Mongolian, Xibe and Hui ethnic groups
attest to the trail's intoxicating beauty with tales handed
down through generations.
Travellers to Xiate have first to spend a few days on the
road, passing through Yining city as well as small towns
dotting the fringe of Zhaosu's mountain ranges. The rest
stops give visitors a chance to taste the local delicacies.
The Xiate Ancient Trail is definitely an experience for
those wishing to go "off of the beaten track".
TAI CHI AT MOUNT WUDANG (Central Hubei Province)
Mount Wudang is a Mecca for Taoists and martial arts
pilgrims keen to learn the way of the fist and tai chi.
Summer is the best season to have this experience.
The 21-year-old Wudang Kungfu Training Centre is the largest
and best-preserved Taoist compound on the mountain, which is
also the headquarters of the Wudang Taoist Association.
Under its leadership the association has drawn increasing
attention from kungfu enthusiasts seeking an alternative
destination to the Shaolin Temple. Interested travellers can
spend a month or more practicing kungfu, learning Taoist
philosophy and meditation under the tutelage of famous
kungfu masters. Daily routine may include a morning Taoist
scripture chanting session at 5.30am in the temple, morning
and afternoon training sessions in Wudang tai chi and Taoist
lectures in the evening. Visitors can also learn traditional
Chinese health care from Taoist doctors. It is said that
practicing Wudang kungfu develops one's character and body.
PLACE BEIJING CAPITAL AIRPORT
The hotel opened in October 2010. It has 372 spacious,
stylish guest rooms and suites that take high tech to new
heights, exciting dining options to satisfy both the
globe-trotting gourmand and the hungry holiday-makers. With
five unique dining experiences the hotel will not fail to
stir the senses.
Langham Place is strategically located, just one minute from
Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 3. Guests to the hotel can
thus avoid the stress of navigating the inner city and
arrive without feeling like one has just trekked the Silk
Road. The hotels enviable location gives easy access to key
districts and must-see sights. It is:
one minute from Terminal 3 at Beijing Capital
International Airport by complimentary shuttle bus,
which also runs between the hotel and Terminals 1 and 2.
a mere 10 minutes to the New China International
Exhibition Centre .
only 15 minutes from the City Centre by Express Train or
a 30-minute drive.
about 45 minutes to famous historical sites, including
Tian'anmen Square and the Forbidden City.
just an hour to the Great Wall and the Summer Palace.
The hotel opened October 2010
Situated just a minute by shuttle bus from the airport and
the Beijing Airport Rail Link, Hilton Beijing Capital
Airport Hotel is within 40 minutes of major tourist
attractions including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.
The hotel features some of the largest hotel rooms in
stylish and spacious rooms are sealed from the airports
noise by a sound-proof floor-to-ceiling window and a
humidifier, assuring comfort during Beijing's dry winters.
For relaxation there is a comfortable sitting area with
satellite channels on the 37-inch LCD TV, or use the work
area to check emails with high-speed Internet access. It
also offers 24-hour free hotel airport shuttle bus to all
terminals. For dining there is a choice of four stylish
restaurants with a total 32 private dining rooms.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
The most important festival in China will take place on 3 February 2011, and will herald in the Year of the
The Rabbit is a lucky sign. People born in the Year of the
Rabbit are private individuals and a bit introverted. They
are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of
good friends. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit
brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm
your nerves. It is a time for negotiations. Don't try to
force issues because, if you do, you will ultimately fail.
To gain the greatest benefits from this animal sign, focus
on home, family, security, diplomacy and your relationships
with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe,
peaceful lifestyle so you will be able to calmly deal with
any problem that may arise.
The Chinese people consider it a duty to return home during
this festival and have family reunions. Millions of Chinese
people will travel back to their hometowns or home villages
to spend the new year holidays with their families and loved
ones. The official holiday dates for this festival are from
2 to 8 February (inclusive).
Asian Trails China will close its offices from 2 to 4
February (inclusive) and will resume work on 7 February.
Placing of the Door Gods is an age-old tradition practised
in conjunction with Chinese New Year. In the days leading to
this auspicious day Door Gods are placed on the external
doors of houses.
This tradition dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907
AD). The Emperor was said to have fallen ill and had a dream
in which ghosts came to the palace in search of him. He
recounted this tale to his officials the next day and the
story quickly spread through the Imperial Court. To protect
the Emperor his two top generals stood guard outside his
bedroom door. The Emperor slept soundly in the knowledge
that he was protected by the two generals and had no further
dreams of the ghosts. However, after a few nights the
Emperor became concerned for the generals. He ordered that
two paintings be made, one of each general. Once completed
the Emperor had these hung on the door to his room and
relieved the generals of their nightly duties.
This tale soon became widely known and, in their eagerness
to have the protection of these "Door Gods" the common
people made their own paintings and placed them on their
doors. This tradition has continued until today.
DAY OF NEW LUNAR YEAR
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the
new Lunar Year when lanterns of all sizes, shapes and hues
adorn streets and houses. The festival had its origins
during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) when Buddhism
flourished in China. One of the Han emperors heard that
Buddhist monks would watch sarira, (remains from the
cremation of Buddha's body) and light lanterns to worship
Buddha on the 15th day of the 1st Lunar Month. He then
ordered the lighting of lanterns in the Imperial Palace and
temples to show respect to Buddha on this day. This Buddhist
rite then developed into a grand festival among the common
people, and its practice spread from the Central Plains to
the whole of China.
The tradition continues until today. \Excited children
carry lanterns, both self-made and purchased, on the
streets. People eat yuanxiao (rice dumplings) on this
day, and the festival is thus also known as the Yuanxiao
Festival. During the day there are performance such as
lantern dance and lion dance. When night falls the
brilliance of the lanterns is accompanied by the sounds of
fireworks, which are set off to mark the end of the New Year
festivities. The colourful festival attracts a lot of
Asian Trails China welcomes two new members to the team in the
new year - Michelle Hao, Administrative and HR Supervisor who
came on board on 4 January and Vivi Huang, Accounting Supervisor
who will join us on 17 January. We wish both of them good luck
in their new postings.
The months of
November and December were very busy here in Myanmar. The number
of arrivals is steadily increasing and we are confident this
trend will continue into the New Year. We would like to thank
all of you for your tremendous efforts in supporting us and
tourism in Myanmar in general. Please rest assured that in 2011
we would continue to provide you with outstanding services at
the most competitive prices available.
I would like to take
this opportunity to wish all of you a Happy and Prosperous New
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
ELEPHANT COACH TOURS TO TWANTE
Following the huge success of the half-day and full day city
tours in Yangon, Elephant coach has extended its range of
tours to Twante. This small town is noted for its pottery,
cotton-weaving and old Mon Paya complex. Twante, situated
24km from Yangon, makes for a nice half-day or full day
also hire the Elephant coach for transfers, as well as half
day and full day sightseeing in Yangon and Bagan. Longer
journeys will take travellers to the less visited south
Myanmar, namely Hpa-an and Mawlamyine. One of the most
exclusive trips on the Elephant coach is from Mandalay to
the Chinese border on the so-called old Burma road.
ELEPHANT CAMP NEAR NGWE SAUNG
pleased to announce that we are now offering visits to an
elephant camp on the way to Ngwe Saung. You will be able to
observe the elephants while they are carrying out small
tasks, bathing and getting fed. Short rides into the nearby
jungle are also available.
note that the elephants rest from noon onwards, so the visit
is only possible on the drive back from Ngwe Saung to
BAGAN PRINCESS HOTEL
The hotel is
located in Old Bagan near the archaeological zone. It
consists of 21 rooms, of which eight are deluxe rooms and 13
are superior rooms. All rooms have ensuite bathroom with hot
and cold water, TV with multi-channels, air-conditioning,
IDD telephone, in-room safe, mini bar and coffee/tea making
facilities. The hotels facilities include a poolside bar,
restaurant serving traditional Myanmar, Chinese and European
food, a beauty saloon offering different treatments and a
spa with massage at the guests discretion.
NEW OWNER FOR KANDAWGYI HOTEL
has been sold to the Htoo group of companies. The group
operates a chain of hotels under the brands, Myanmar
Treasure and Aureum, as well as an airline, Air Bagan.
As at press time
it is not known which of the groups two hotel brands
Kandawgyi Hotel will operate under or when the ownership
change will take place. Until further notice the hotel
continues to operate under its current name and with the
PRISTINE LOTUS RESORT INLES NEW PADOMMA LOTUS SPA
We are happy to announce a new spa at the Pristine Lotus
Resort in Inle, the Padomma Lotus Spa, which is managed by Jiivala Spa from Bali. The latter is a
well-recognised international spa company from Bali,
operating mainly in Asia and only in 5-star hotels and
resorts. A spa treatment at the resort is not just a
massage, but is also a great way to rejuvenate and destress
both mind and body.
Pristine Inle Resort has also upgraded its bar and terrace
overlooking the natural hot spring jacuzzi, which
complements the spa making it one-of-its-kind spa experience
with view of the sea
NEW SPA AND SWIMMING POOL FOR THANDE BEACH HOTEL
Hotel in Ngapali has recently upgraded its facilities to
include a lovely spa - an additional service for the hotels
guests to enjoy a wide range of relaxing and soothing
The hotel also
boasts a new pool, located opposite the lobby and behind the
dining room. The pool is for guests use at their
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Date : 17-20
Location : Taunggyi, Shan State
4-day ceremony ending 20 March
The Kakku Pagoda complex is a unique and extraordinary
structure as it is built of thousands of Shan-style thin and
slender pagodas in a compact and geometrical pattern. During
the four days of celebrations thousands of local tribal
people from the surrounding regions of Shan, Pa O, Palaung,
Lishaw and Dano flock to Taunggyi to enjoy and take part in
the annual festival.
YANGON AIRWAYS SUSPENDS OPERATIONS
Yangon Airways (pictured left)
has stopped operations on 3 December 2010 as its Airline
Operation Certificate (AOC) has been temporarily suspended.
We currently do not know when the airline will resume its
flights. Due to this development we will book our clients
either on Air Mandalay or Air Bagan.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
NEW MANAGEMENT AT LE PLANTEUR
Starting 1 January 2011 Le Planteur, the
well-known restaurant in Yangon, comes under a new
management headed by Lucia and Felix Eppisser (pictured
who bring a wealth of culinary experience with them. For the
past seven years Lucia and Felix have managed Rigiblick, the
gourmet restaurant, in the heart of Zurich, Switzerland.
Prior to their departure in June 2010 the restaurant was
awarded 18 Gault Millau points.
Commenting on the new team in a recent press statement Boris
Granges, proprietor of Le Planteur and Viewpoint in Nyaung
Shwe, said: The appointment of Lucia and Felix Eppisser and
the service for which Le Planteur is renowned will make sure
that it remains the top fine dining venue in Myanmar and one
of the best restaurants in Asia.
Felix is in charge of the kitchen, while Lucia is the
restaurants host. They offer a mix of European/Asian fusion
cuisine, which made them famous at the Rigiblick. Boris
remains the owner, but he will focus on new projects. We
will report on these projects as and
when they are ready to be announced.
ANY OTHER NEWS
busy month in November the staff of Asian Trails Myanmar
enjoyed an afternoon of bowling and other leisure
Trails Myanmars management organises staff outings on a
regular basis to motivate its employees, as well as for
cross-cultural exchange between the different departments.
CHRISTMAS CAROLLING AT OLD FOLKS HOME
On 23 December
some members of the Asian Trails Myanmar team went Christmas
carolling at the old folks home that is run by the Catholic
nuns, Little Sisters of the Poor. They sang carols such as Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bells, Silent Night,
as well as songs in their native language. They also
distributed cookies and wished all the inmates Merry
Christmas and Happy New Year". This is part of the companys
regular social activities.
I am proud to introduce myself to you. My name is Emir Cherif
and I am the new Managing Director of Asian Trails Malaysia. I
took over this position from Serge Huber who
had been the companys Managing Director for the last 10 years.
I wish him all the best going forward and thank him
for the well-organised and smooth hand over.
At the same time I take over a well-established team with great
experience and from different backgrounds, whom I believe are
our companys biggest asset. They definitely reflect the
diversity and richness of Malaysia. It is a real honour to be
part of the team.
Last year was a good
recovery year after the crisis and we now look forward to
welcoming 2011, which will be a year of opportunities for our
We recently launched
our specialised Asian department, which will be fully
operational in the coming weeks with a highly skilled and
experienced team. As we look forward to dealing with more
intra-Asian travellers we have created special packages to meet
their needs and expectations.
Last but not least,
I would like to wish you a happy and successful new year. I also
look forward to my first Chinese New Year in Malaysia.
Malaysia Truly Asia!
ANNUAL TRIP TO KUANTAN
The annual trip
was to Kuantan this year and Swiss Garden Resort hosted the
team. The partys theme was Stars Heroes and Legends and
had the team members dressed as their favourite movie or TV
characters, making the event extra colourful. There were
also games galore and lucky draws for hotel stays. It was a
fun and wonderful trip as it provided an opportunity for the
team to bond even better.
NAJIB AND MANMOHAN LAUNCH LITTLE INDIA
of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and his Indian
counterpart, Manmohan Singh, launched Little India in
Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur on 27 October 2010, strengthening
the deep ties between the two countries.
The sprucing up
of Brickfields was part of an urban project for greater
Kuala Lumpur and an initiative to create a dynamic, vibrant,
progressive and cosmopolitan city. This is now a new
Brickfields, which showcases to the world the Little India
NIKKO REBRANDS AS INTER-CONTINENTAL KUALA LUMPUR
Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts (IHG) will debut in
Malaysia in February this year with the rebranding of the
Nikko Kuala Lumpur into Inter-Continental Kuala Lumpur. The
473-room hotel is located at Jalan Ampang in the heart of
Kuala Lumpurs business, shopping and entertainment
the recent signing of the Holiday Inn Express in Kota
Kinabalu, Sabah IHG will have all its key brands operating
in Malaysia when this hotel is operational
UPDATE ON HYATT REGENCY KINABALUS
Kinabalu in Sabah
has completed its multi-million-ringgit guestroom
renovation. All the renovated rooms are fitted with modern
conveniences and feature a contemporary interior design,
which complements the tropics. All guests to the hotel are
now accommodated in the new rooms.
CITITEL PENANG COMPLETES REFURBISHMENT
has completed its refurbishment exercise. The newly
renovated Superior, Deluxe, Pinnacle and Executive Suite
rooms pamper guests with well-appointed amenities and
hotel is strategically located
in Upper Penang
Road, best known as the citys hip dining and entertainment
comfortably furnished rooms of various categories with
panoramic views of the islands north and south channels,
including the iconic Penang Bridge. Its convenient
accessibility to cultural and historical sites, quaint
shops, bazaars, shopping malls, local eateries and pubs and
its proximity to the citys commercial, government and
financial hub make Cititel Penang the perfect choice for a
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
INTERNATIONAL SURFING COMPETITION
7-9 JANUARY 2011
VENUE: CHERATING, PAHANG
Sun, sea and
surf! Cherating Beach beckons surfers with its fabulous
wind, waves and views. The monsoon season is a fantastic
time for action and adventure.
ROYAL LANGKAWI INTERNATIONAL REGATTA
11-15 JANUARY 2011
Venue: Langkawi Island
Catch the live
action as yachts from various countries challenge each other
on the high seas! This prestigious event draws yachtsmen and
sailors from across the region to try and outrace one
LE TOUR DE LANGKAWI 2011
23 JANUARY- 1 FEBRUARY 2011
Asias premier cycling event, Le Tour de Langkawi 2011, is
back! The race will go through seven states in Malaysia -
Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Negeri
Sembilan, Selangor and two Federal Territories namely
Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.
29 JANUARY 2011
spectacular event, Thaipusam is an annual Hindu festival
where devotees perform various rituals as acts of devotion
of penance and thanksgiving for Hindu devotees is held in
honour of Lord Muruga or Lord Subramaniam. The festival is
best experienced in Kuala Lumpur where the deity's jewelled
chariot is led in a mass procession through the citys
streets, culminating at Batu Caves. An unforgettable sight
is the thousands of devotees in a trance-like state carrying
body-piercing kavadis (ornate frames). Thaipusam is
celebrated on a big scale in Selangor, Penang, Melaka, Johor
Main venue: Batu
Caves temple, Kuala Lumpur
FEDERAL TERRITORY DAY
1 FEBRUARY 2011
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR, LABUAN & PUTRAJAYA
federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya
celebrate Federal Territory Day with exciting parades,
fireworks display, exhibitions and cultural shows. Most
events are open to the public and do not require entrance
CHINESE NEW YEAR
3-4 FEBRUARY 2011
Chinese New Year
marks the first day of the Chinese Lunar Calendar and is
celebrated over a 15-day period. Mandarin oranges and plum
blossom stalks are popular as decorations in Chinese homes
and shopping complexes for prosperity and good luck.
Animated lion and dragon dance performances accompanied by
energetic drums, gongs and cymbals add to the festive air.
On Chinese New Year's eve family members hold reunion
dinners followed by open house for relatives and friends.
CHINESE NEW YEAR OPEN HOUSE
13-14 FEBRUARY 2011
House is a national level celebration, which showcases the
culture and traditions of the Chinese community in Malaysia.
The event is open to all, both locals and foreign visitors.
This is an enjoyable event with lion and dragon dance
performances as well as a wide spread of Chinese New Year
PROPHET MUHAMMEDS BIRTHDAY
15 FEBRUARY 2011
celebrate Prophet Muhammads birthday or Maulud Nabi,
on the 12th day of the third moon in the Muslim Calendar.
Prophet Muhammad was born on 12 Rabiulawal in 570 AD. It was
after his death that Muslims started celebrating his
PASIR GUDANG INTERNATIONAL KITES FESTIVAL
15-20 FEBRUARY 2011
kites soar across the sky! The town of Pasir Gudang in Johor
will be in the limelight once again as participants from
over 25 countries showcase their kite-flying skills.
NATIONAL CRAFT DAY 2010
23 FEBRUARY -7 MARCH 2011
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR CRAFT COMPLEX
This event aims
to promote and market handicraft and products directly to
domestic and international consumers. Activities include
sale of handicraft, exhibitions, sales missions, fashion
shows and cooking demonstrations.
all over Malaysia will show off their skill during this
MAS LAUNCHES DIRECT KL-RIYADH FLIGHT
Airlines (MAS) launched a thrice-weekly direct service from
Kuala Lumpur to Riyadh on 17 December 2010, its second new
destination in Saudi Arabia in the same year. The first is
the twice-weekly service to Dammam via Dubai, which
commenced on 5 May. The new service to Riyadh will boost
travel between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. MAS also has six
weekly direct flights to Jeddah.
MAS UPS PHNOM PENH FREQUENCY
Airlines (MAS) has added two weekly flights to its daily
Kuala Lumpur-Phnom Penh service. The flights operate on
Wednesdays and Saturdays, arriving in Phnom Penh at 16.10
and departing at 17.10. The additional flights are to meet
the growing market demand for the route. MAS was the first
airline to operate at Phnom Penh International Airport when
Cambodia re-opened to the world in 1992.
FIREFLY TO COMPETE FOR REGIONS BUDGET TRAVELLERS
owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines and Malaysias only
community airline, is set compete head-on with low-cost
carrier, AirAsia, for budget travellers on domestic and
regional routes. It has acquired six Boeing 737-800
aircraft, able to fly up to six hours without refuelling, to
fly to capital and secondary cities within ASEAN, with plans
to grow the fleet to 30 aircraft by 2015. Operating from the
main terminal building of Kuala Lumpur International Airport
the B737-800 aircraft will have the "lowest operating cost
in Malaysia", which will translate into competitive
airfares. Firefly has, to date, confirmed only domestic
routes from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) and
AIRASIA X LAUNCHES PARIS SERVICE
AirAsia X, the
regions only longhaul budget carrier, will launch four
times weekly services from Kuala Lumpur to Paris, France on
14 February 2011 using the 327-seat Airbus A340 aircraft.
The French capital city will be AirAsia Xs second European
destination after London. The route will open up affordable
access between Malaysia and Europe for both ASEAN and
AIRASIA X FLIES TO CHRISTCHURCH
AirAsia X will
launch direct four times weekly service from Kuala Lumpur to
Christchurch, New Zealand from 1 April 2011. The flights
will open up routes and connectivity to New Zealand from
Malaysia, as well as from India, Thailand, Singapore,
Indonesia, China and London via AirAsia X's Kuala Lumpur hub
at the KL International Airport in Sepang.
RAVI IS NEW INBOUND MANAGER
Ravi Gopal came
on board last November as Inbound Manager for the Asian
market. He brings with him a wealth of experience, as he has
been involved with the tourism industry for over 25 years.
His experience covers sales, marketing, management and
product development in the international travel market.
SYAMIMI STRENGTHENS ACCOUNTS DEPARTMENT
Rossaidi, fondly called Mimi joined us in October as
Accounts Assistant. She has two years of working experiences
in a similar capacity.
We welcome Ravi
and Mimi to Asian Trails Malaysia, and wish them all the
best in their new jobs.
Yet another successful year comes to an end for Indonesias
tourism with arriving numbers topping even the record year of
2009. But it was not necessarily a good year if it comes with
tectonic and volcanic activities. First, was the closure of most
airports in Europe due to volcanic ashes coming from Iceland,
forcing many travellers to involuntarily extend their stays
(even though some of them did not mind at all). Then at the end
of October disaster struck twice at the same time in Indonesia -
a tsunami bringing destruction and misery to the remote Mentawai
island and the eruption of Mount Merapi, Indonesias most active
volcano. Both natural disasters did not put international
travellers in danger, but unfortunately many Indonesians were
heavily affected by the loss of their livelihood and, in some
cases, even their lives.
Following an appeal by the government to help the victims, Asian
Trails allocated a sum of money to buy food and other
necessities. Additionally, we collected old clothes within the
company and send them to Yogjakarta. Our dear representatives in
Java, Mr. Happy and Mr. Tono, visited the victims in their
temporary homes near Yogjakarta and distributed the purchased
and collected items to those in need. As of now there is a
decrease in Mount Merapis activities, and life around the
volcano is getting slowly back to normal. We fervently hope that
Merapi will remain quiet for many years to come.
On behalf of the Asian Trails Indonesia team I would like to
wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and all the best for
the coming year. Many thanks for your great support to us in
DESTINATION IN ASIA
At the annual Asia Spa Magazine award ceremony in Hong Kong,
Bali has once again emerged at the top position in the spa
world. The awards honour the Asian spa industry's top spa
personalities, destinations and products. This years event
with the theme, "Emerald Green", saw more than 400 of the
spa industry's top professionals attending the gala award
ceremony in Hong Kong.
Bali garnered the largest block of awards, with each of the
spas listed below bringing back to the island a coveted
Eco-Spa of the Year: Spa Alila, Alila Villas Uluwatu,
Asian Spa Capital of the Year: Bali, Indonesia
Spa Personality of the Year: Susan Stein, Jari Menari,
Spa Design of the Year: Oazia Spa, Oazia Spa Villas, Bali,
Spa's Therapist Team of the Year: Jari Menari, Bali,
Most Innovative Spa of the Year: The Spa at The Edge,
DEPARTURE AIRPORT TAX
Please be advised that the Indonesian government has raised
the departure airport tax for domestic flights. The increase
does not apply to all airports in Indonesia, but it affects
airports such as Bali and Yogyakarta. The new tax is
effective from 1 December 2010.
connections ex DPS:
connections ex AMI:
connections ex YOG:
connections ex UPG:
International connections ex DPS:
International connections ex AMI:
Rp 40.000 per person or USD 5.00 (current)
Rp 25.000 per person or USD 3.00 (current)
Rp 35.000 per person or USD 4.50 (current)
Rp 40.000 per person or USD 5.00 (current)
Rp 150.000 per person or USD 17.00 (current)
Rp 100.000 per person or USD 11.50 (current)
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
30 JANUARY 2011
The Indonesian Golf Association (PGI) will host the Bali
Junior Golf Tournament at the new Kuta Golf Pecatu course on
30 January 2011. With the aim to stimulate interest in the
game of golf among young people the tournament is open to
all amateur golfers under the age of 18 years. Bali has many
young golfers ready to take to the international stage once
they entered the adult league. The tournament also
showcases Bali to the international market as a destination,
which has the courses and services to meet the requirements
of golfers in all grades and leagues.
Venue: Kuta Golf Pecatu course, Bali
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
FOR TWO BALI RESTAURANTS
The prestigious Miele Guide has recognised two Bali
restaurants among its list of the top 20 Asian Restaurants.
In the award ceremony held in Macau Ubud's Mozaic was ranked
6th best, while Kuta's KuDeTa came in at the 18th slot. The
Miele Guide was created in 2008 to recognise Asia's best
chefs and restaurants. This annual publication evaluates
restaurants across the region and releases an annual ranking
and profiling of Asia's Top 20 restaurants.
Asian Trails Indonesia, together with Mozaic Restaurant,
offers weekly cooking classes that are hosted by master
chefs Chris or James.
A JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF PERFUMES
Discover the sweet smelling side of Indonesia by taking a
unique journey into the world of perfumes. Indonesia is one
of the worlds biggest producers of raw ingredients used by
the perfume industry
and is thus the perfect place to explore the making of
perfumes. Brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dior and
Jean-Paul Gautier use the finest Indonesian essences in
their perfumes. This is the very reason "L'Atelier Parfums
et Créations" designs a truly unique new experience in Bali
a Perfumery Studio - where you can create your own perfumes and discover the finest
essences Indonesia has to offer.
Please contact us at for more details on this new
The new Oasis Sanur is beginning to take
shape and is set for a soft opening on 1 April 2011. Below
are some fast facts about the new property, which will be
the third Oasis hotel in Bali.
4 star boutique
120 rooms comprising 66 deluxe rooms
(28sqm + 5sqm daybed balcony) 24 Lagoon access room (size 28sqm + own
bed pool direct to pool)o pool) 8 Rooms with private pool (size 28sqm +
28sqm private pool and deck 22 Duplex Suites (42sqm 2-storey room for 4
SPA, meeting room
AMBROSIA Restaurant & Wine Bar
SECOND HOTEL IN BALI FOR SANTIKA GROUP
Santika Kuta is the latest addition to the portfolio of
hotels in the Santika Group. It is located in bustling Kuta
located within walking distance of the famous beach and
shopping and entertainment centres. The 101 well-appointed
rooms are designed to give the guests an unbeatable
experience in this elegant hotel. Complete with lavish
bathrooms and entertainment equipment, a stay at the Santika
is highly recommendable.
GARUDA FLIES TO NEW HEIGHTS
Garuda Indonesia, the national carrier of Indonesia, has
been ranked as the best airline, for service among all
Southeast Asian airlines. The ranking, conducted by the
Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA), gave Garuda the
highest service score of 8.48, followed by Bangkok Airways
(8.4), Singapore Airlines (7.68), Thai Airways (7.32) and
Malaysia Airlines (7.0).
The prestigious reward is a milestone for the three-year
turnaround of Garuda. Not only has the airline gain honours
for its excellent service, it is also planning new routes to
USA and adds more routes to Europe, apart from the existing
service to Amsterdam.
STRATEGIC FLYING TO BALI
Australian carrier, Strategic Airlines, has informed of its
intention to fly between Brisbane and Bali beginning March
2011. The airline will service the sector two times a week,
on Wednesdays and Saturdays, using an Airbus A330 aircraft
that can accommodate 243 economy and 30 business class
passengers. Strategic will not be the only airline flying
the Brisbane-Bali route as Virgin Blue and Jetstar (via
Darwin) are already operating seven times weekly flights on
the same sector.
AIRASIA CONNECTS PHUKET WITH BALI
Thai AirAsia launched a new direct flight connecting Bali to
Phuket (Thailand) on 17 December 2010. The new service,
using the Airbus A320 aircraft with a seating capacity of
180 passengers, offers the only direct connection between
the two destinations. The four times weekly flights are on
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.