As they say, variety is the spice of life and there is no
greater variety or "spicer" vacation than one in Asia.
This issue of TRAILBLAZER best illustrates the variety we're
talking about. Be fascinated by colourful festivals in Laos
and Myanmar. Embark on a mouth-watering culinary journey in
Cambodia. Cruise in style on the luxury yacht "Lili Marleen"
through Malaysian waters. Go off the beaten tracks to some
of the most fascinating destinations in China, Thailand or
Indonesia. Test your golfing skills in some of the most
beautiful golf courses in Vietnam.
The offerings are many, the choice is yours, and Asia is
A NOTE FROM DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR CLAUDIO F.
We are in
the middle of summer, temperatures are on the rise and so are
arrival numbers into the Kingdom. Thailand is also becoming more
and more popular during the so called low season", which turns
out to be a very good vintage 2012!
created Chinese Inbound department has already handled several
groups, with more than 200 clients, to Thailand visiting Bangkok
and Pattaya. We have added two new staff to the team in order to
keep up with the growing demand from this market.
milestone for Asian Trails Thailand was reached in June: Our
Indian department handled an incredible 2,100+ clients, with
groups as big as 400 participants - a truly challenging task for
our teams in the office and in the field!
We are busy
finalising our tariff for the upcoming high season and are
pleased to confirm that rates will increase only marginally, if
at all, leaving Thailand still of one of the best "value for
money countries" on the traveller's map. Please don't forget to
check our regularly updated hotel promotions and if you don't
receive them automatically, please contact us.
Last but not
least, we are making progress on our "IT-front" and will soon be
able to introduce to you our new B2B website including apps for
both the Android and iOS devices. In the meantime try out our
new mobile website, mobile.asiantrails.travel. Stay tuned!
Claudio F. Kellenberger
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
ASIAN TRAILS' NEW MOBILE PORTAL
delighted to announce we have launched our new mobile portal
mobile.asiantrails.travel where you and your client
have access to over 25 destination guides and over 1,500
hotel descriptions and pictures plus various tours and
packages. In addition, we have launched an app on the
Android market for the mentioned travel guides, and in July
the same will be available in Apple iTunes App store. Please
visit the Android market/iTunes store to download your free
Take a new
fantastic voyage through the culturally rich and enchanting city
of Chiang Mai through an unforgettable glided tour on a Segway
Personal Transporter (PT) - the world's first electric,
self-balancing personal transport vehicle. The two-hour tour
will glide and stop to visit the culturally significant
landmarks such as Wat Phra Singh, Thapae Gate, Wat Pan Tao, Wat
Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man and Three Kings Monument. The tour
operates four departures daily.
An eco-adventure tour and the
ultimate jungle experience in Phuket. Guests fly from tree
to tree on zip lines at speeds reaching 60 kilometres per
hour and at heights exceeding 40 metres. The site of the
thrilling Flying Hanuman is near the well-known Katu
Waterfall, surrounded by numerous species of trees,
including rubber trees, with small animals occupying the
80,000sqm of land.
The tour has minimal
impact on the environment.
Andaman Sea's scenic wonders and attractions on an overnight
trip on your own private yacht villas - the Wahoo Yacht
Villas. Comprising three private floating villas each
accommodates four guests, has full facilities including 24
hour onboard butler service, large bedrooms with ensuite
bathrooms, in-room and entertainment systems. The spacious
indoor and outdoor living areas let you to enjoy the
spectacular sunrise and sunset on and off the island.
Hotel Sathorn Bangkok is a new hotel, which opened on May 4,
2012. It is strategically located in the
business area, next to the expressway leading to Suvarnabhumi Airport - a 45-minute drive away. Its 390 rooms
are designed for functionality and equipped with luxury
amenities necessary for business and leisure travellers. All
rooms and suites offer fantastic views of the river or
Bangkok skyline. It has four restaurants, one lounge and an
infinity swimming pool. Its meeting facilities include a
spacious 1,200sqm event and conference centre spread over
two floors, a grand ballroom that can be divided into three
small rooms, three meeting rooms and two boardrooms all
with natural light and fully equipped with cutting edge
audio visual equipment.
Courtyard Marriott by Hua Hin the resort was rebranded and
reopened in April as
Novotel Hua Hin Cha Am Beach Resort and Spa.
It is located
between Cha Am and Hua Hin and 10 to 15 minutes' drive from
Hua Hin Airport and Hua Hin Night Market. All the 243 well
designed rooms have balcony with stunning sea view and
feature the standard amenities, including a desk LCD TV with
international channels, Internet access, tea- and
coffee-making facilities and safe. The resort's beachfront
outdoor swimming pool, Kids World, meeting facilities and
spacious tropical garden for team building activities make
it the perfect choice for families, couples and meeting
organisers. Its restaurants offer a large selection of
seafood - BBQ or ala carte - with wood oven pizza and Thai
cuisine in a casual seafront environment. The Lobby Lounge
serves cocktails and snacks, and is equipped with pool
Amari Hua Hin
is scheduled to open on July 1. Situated near the glittering
Gulf of Thailand the resort offers thoughtful accommodation
in an idyllic garden setting. It features 223 guestrooms,
ranging from well-appointed deluxe rooms to expansive suites
with private balconies offering mountain, pool or ocean
views. The rooms are stylishly furnished and complete with
all the modern amenities to ensure that you enjoy a truly
comfortable staying. Facilities include five restaurants,
Breeze Spa and salon, swimming pool, fitness club and six
meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 500 people.
luxury villa resort islocated on Menam Beach
surrounded by nature and encircled with mountains. All the
36 private pool villas and suites have one, two and three
spacious bedrooms designed in modern tropical style with
elegant decorations and quality materials in an East Asian
ambiance. The swimming pool is designed with an eastern
Asian style garden. The special jacuzzi is located on the
resort's impressing deck, and is the perfect place to relax
and enjoy the tranquil ambiance.
Kirikayan Boutique Resort is the new tropical resort, with
the thought of "Boutique Resort", located on Chaweng Beach.
Its modern style décor, which is perfect with "Asian Art",
can be seen everywhere along its corridor and in the garden
that is called "Art Avenue".
All the 32
stylish rooms have a tropical atmosphere with an open-air
jacuzzi and private sea view terrace. The resort offers
complimentary Wifi Internet and PC. Facilities include a
swimming pool. a children's pool and an open-air tropical
intoxicating blend of a luxurious, yet spirited, lifestyle
resort at Akyra Chura Samui.
stylish suites and rooms are designed with exceptionally
comfortable beds, power showers and in-room music
selections. The resort is a combination of understated
luxury and Asian chic mixed with a natural outdoors ethos,
in keeping with the resort's passionate, spirited style.
Facilities include two eclectic international restaurants, a
lavish spa, free Wifi, a well-stocked library and stylish
Yao has been voted as "Number 1 Escape" by Lonely Planet
2012 and the place to stay in the Phang Nga area. Set in
in the middle of
Thailand's Phang Nga Bay National Reserve area it
lavishly appointed studios and pool villas with king size
and twin beds. Relax
in a boutique environment with 400 metres of private beach
surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and tropical
meditation, jungle treks, kayak trips, island hopping,
elephant rides, biking, Thai cooking classes, photography,
tropical spa and fine dining. Communal dining is in the
Paradise Beach Bar or enjoy a drink at the Beach Lounge.
There is also in-villa dining, which is popular with the
guests. The resort is just one-hour drive from Phuket or
Trails for reservations and transfers from Phuket Airport
via the Yacht Haven Marina to Yao Noi island:
JULY 1-31, 2012
VENUE: KATHU OLD TOWN, PHUKET
Street Fair is held in Phuket at the Kathu Old Town area and
along the road in front of the old local shrine. The
festival features products and activities from 18 local
communities, which are proud to showcase their cultural
treasure in the form of parades and costume reflecting the
residents' old ways of life. The event is hosted by the
Kathu Municipality to promote local identity and
conservation among young people. Visitors to the festival
will also be encouraged to pay a visit to the Kathu Mining
Museum, which showcases the old tin mining era and displays
artefacts reflecting the old Phuket way of life especially
the mining industry.
JULY 15, 2012
VENUE: CENTRAL FESTIVAL PATTAYA BEACH, CHONBURI
International Marathon, held yearly, is one of the most
famous marathons in Thailand. Every year participants come
from all over the world to take part. The marathon comprises
three races - full marathon (42km), half marathon (21km) and
quarter marathon (10km)
PHUKET RACE WEEK 2012
JULY 1822, 2012
VENUE: EVASON PHUKET & SIX SENSES SPA, PHUKET
Regatta, organised by Image Asia Events, is expecting a
large number of competitors from Hong Kong, Singapore and
the Philippines. At least 30 race yachts will enter the
regatta, but late entries are still expected before the
starting pistol breaks the morning calm in the bay near
Evason Resort. Participants who do not have a yacht can join
a participating yacht as crew, or they can charter their own
yacht through one of the charter companies operating in
RATCHATHANI CANDLE FESTIVAL & INTERNATIONAL CANDLE
AUGUST 3, 2012
VENUE: UBON RATCHATHANI
The Candle Festival takes place as the seasonal monsoon
rains descends over the Kingdom, marking the beginning of
the Buddhist "rain retreat" and the Buddhist Lent, or "Phansa".
As Ubon Ratchathani province prepares for the Buddhist Lent
men with artistic skills set about the task of moulding and
sculpting Lenten candles. The candles are paraded through
the city centre on floats, each representing a local temple,
district or other institution. It is accompanied by the
usual paraphernalia of feasting and games, which are part
any Thai festival. This is a major event for both the locals
QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS (MOTHER'S DAY)
AUGUST 12, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT THAILAND
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit's birthday on August 12 is a
public holiday, celebrated nationwide as Mother's Day.
Individual people and organisations raise flags and
portraits of Her Majesty in Bangkok and all over the
kingdom. On Her Majesty's birthday, one of the best places
to join in the celebrations is on Bangkok's Ratchadamnoen
Avenue and the areas around the Grand Palace, which are
festooned with colourful lights, flowers and portraits for
this special occasion.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES, BANGKOK AIRWAYS CODESHARE
has inked a codeshare agreement with Malaysia Airlines on
selected domestic services, and international routes between
Thailand and Malaysia.
The codeshare on the domestic routes are Bangkok Airways'
Bangkok-Koh Samui (31 times weekly), Bangkok-Phuket (twice
daily), Bangkok-Chiang Mai (twice daily), Koh Samui-Phuket
(twice daily), and Koh Samui-Kuala Lumpur (daily). On the
international front Bangkok Airways codeshares on MAS' Kuala
Lumpur-Bangkok (thrice daily) and Kuala Lumpur-Phuket (twice
DRAGON AIR, THAI AIRASIA LAUNCH SERVICES TO CHIANG
FROM HONG KONG & MACAU
Dragon Air commenced four times weekly Hong KongChiang Mai
flights on July 1, 2012 using the narrow body Airbus A320
aircraft. This service will cater for the holiday period
until September 30, 2012. The airline is the only airline to
operate flights between Hong Kong and Chiang Mai.
has launched services between Chiang Mai and Macau, using
its brand new Airbus A320 aircraft. The flight departs
Chiang Mai at 4.15pm and arrives in Macau at 8.45pm.
THAI SMILE OPENS ONLINE BOOKING
Thai Smile, the light-premium brand owned and managed by
Thai Airways International, launched its website,
to open up its online bookings ahead of its inaugural
regional flight to Macau on July 7. Ticketing via travel
agents started earlier in the month. The airline will also
take over Thai Airways full service flights' to Krabi and
Surat Thani, as well as the service linking Chiang Mai to
JET AIRWAYS ADDS FLIGHTS TO BANGKOK & DUBAI
introduced a second daily service from Kolkata to Bangkok on May 10, and a fourth daily flight from
Mumbai to Dubai on May 18. The demand for Bangkok,
particularly in the summer holiday season, is very high and
the additional flight eases the overbooked flight capacity
SEBASTIAN PROMOTED TO NEW MANAGER INBOUND
We are happy to announce that Mr. Sebastian Kromberg has
been promoted to Manager Inbound. He has been working with
Asian Trails Thailand since 2007, and as Assistant Manager
Inbound since January 2008. We wish Sebastian success and
fulfilment in his
MAREK IS NEW ASSISTANT MANAGER INBOUND
Mr. Marek Bis, a Czech national, has joined Asian Trails
Thailand as the new Assistant Manager Inbound. He has been
working in the travel trade in Germany before moving to
Thailand where he recently finished his studies and earned
his B.A. in Hotel and Tourism Management. We wish Marek all
the best in his new role.
The coming months will be the season of festivals in Laos and we
have listed in this newsletter the most important festivals,
which you should not miss when you come to our part of the
world. (See "Festivals and Events").
After our successful CR event in January, which brought local
school kids from Vientiane to the forest for a weekend for
them to learn that wood is not
only good for toothpicks (see picture on the left), we
cooperated again with Kuoni to start an even more ambitious
programme. Read more of this project under the section, "Any
Other News", in this newsletter.
Travel adviCe for Vientiane during NOVEMBER 2012
We issued this advice in our March issue of the newsletter,
and we wish to bring this to your attention again.
This year the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will take place in
the Lao capital, Vientiane, from November 5-6. This is the
biggest event ever held in the country and most hotels will
be blocked during this period. The main meetings will take
place on November 5- 6, but hotels will be blocked from
November 4-7 with some even from November 1-7.
We do not want to take any chances and kindly advise you not
to book your clients into Vientiane during this period. Even
confirmed hotel bookings could be cancelled by the
government, as the rooms might be required for the Summit.
Our team will assist you in handling bookings, which may be
Travel adviCe for Vientiane during January 2013
The ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) will take place in Vientiane
from January 17-24, 2013. As industry professionals from
ASEAN and various parts of the world will converge in
Vientiane for the travel mart and conference it will be
difficult to confirm rooms for our clients during this
period. The Lao government has already blocked the major
hotels during this period. Even confirmed hotel bookings
might be cancelled by the government.
As usual our team will assist you in handling bookings,
which may affected.
LUANG PRABANG - VISA FAST TRACK SERVICE STOPPED
The popular fast track visa service at Luang Prabang Airport
has been stopped with immediate effect. All foreign visitors
from abroad must now present themselves in person at the
This means that no VIP or fast track visas will be available
at any entry point to Laos.
TIP OF THE MONTH - MY DREAM
BOUTIQUE HOTEL LUANG PRABANG
This beautiful 21-room boutique hotel, which opened
recently, is located just across the Nam Khan River and
minutes by bike from the centre of the city.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
LUANG PRABANG BOAT RACE
SEPTEMBER 15. 2012
VENUE: LUANG PRABANG
The race, which features boats speeding downstream on the
Nam Khan River, attracts large crowds. Rehearsals take place
a few days before the main event
VIENTIANE BOAT RACE
OCTOBER 31, 2012
The Vientiane Boat Race on the Mekong is held a day after
Boun Ork Phansa (October 30), which is the
end of the Lent Festival celebrated after the three-month
monk retreat during the rainy season.
For the race Vientiane's city centre will be closed to
traffic, and only motorbikes are allowed to park near the
bank of The Mekong River. For tourists it is very easy to
walk to the river and watch the exciting boat race, which is
on for the whole day, together with tens of thousands of
enthusiastic Lao people.
THAT LUANG FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 27-28, 2012
This is one of the largest festivals in Laos and every monk
in the country will try to be in Vientiane for the
celebrations. On the first day a large procession leads from
centre of Vientiane to That Luang Stupa, which is situated
on the city's outskirts. One of the largest alms giving
takes place the following morning. A fair around the Stupa
attracts crowds of people at night.
TWO NEW ATR AIRCRAFT FOR LAO AIRLINES
Lao Airlines inked an agreement in Vientiane on April 27 to
buy two ATR 72-600 aircraft from the French manufacturer ATR.
The first plane is due to arrive in Laos in November 2012.
and the second in June 2013.
Lao Airlines will be the first airline in the region to fly
the latest model of the ATR aircraft.
workshop - integrAting business skills into
The workshop was jointly convened by IUCN (a major nature
conservation organisation), Kuoni and Asian Trails Laos. Its
objective was to give business skills to NGOs and
organisations, which want to develop their own tourism
We invited 34 participants from Myanmar, Vietnam and Laos to
Vientiane for the workshop. We also invited instructors from
the region to talk on a variety of topics such as business
planning and financing, human resources, health and safety -
all issues that are important when running a successful
After three days in Vientiane the participants left for a
two-day field trip to Vang Vieng to see first hand
successful and not so successful eco tourism projects.
Asian Trails Laos will follow up on the project ideas, which
evolved from the workshop, and choose the best examples in
order to incorporate them into our programmes. This means
you and your clients will benefit from them in future.
pleased to share this good news with the gourmets and gourmands
- a triumphant team of toques returned to Phnom Penh clutching
the gold medals they won in the MBA Black Box Culinary Challenge
in Tasmania last month.
The team's fantastic achievement against stiff competition was
greeted with cheers and congratulations from gourmands across
Phnom Penh. It shows that
Cambodia has the talent, skills and creative mindset to take on
the best in the culinary world.
more on Cambodian kitchen please join a cooking class session,
enjoy the meal you cook and learn from top class chef some Khmer
grandma's secret recipe to amaze your family and friends.
PATA CAMBODIA CHAIRMAN, MR.
THOURN SINAN, INTERVIEWED BY ECONOMICS TODAY
The Pacific Asia
Travel Association (PATA) set up its first chapter in
Cambodia in February with Mr Thourn Sinan as its Chairman.
The chapter aims to help accelerate the fast-growing tourism
sector in the Kingdom. PATA organises large events every
year and can effectively promote the Cambodian tourism
Mr Thourn Sinan
was interviewed by Economics Today (May 7-13, 2012)
and in the interview he said that apart from the Angkor
temples, which are already well known, Cambodia has 440km of
pristine coastline, the scenic Mekong River, the Preah
Vihear Temple, agro-tourism possibilities and many other
assets. Tourism is a central pillar of the Cambodian economy
with almost three million visitors last year (12% of GDP in
2011). It generated about 350 000 direct jobs and millions
of indirect jobs.
Bird eye's view of Preah Vihear Templ
BANTEAY CHHMAR COMMUNITY-BASED TOURISM (CBT)
Banteay Chhmar Temple is one of Cambodia's national
treasures. The Cambodian government, local authorities,
villagers and partners, such as Global Heritage Fund (GHF)
and Heritage Watch, are dedicating their time to the
temple's conservation and improvement of the local
community's livelihood. They are also working towards having
Banteay Chhmar listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The CBT's players are also helping to protect the cultural
heritage and environment, as well as increase income for
villagers through tourism activities, homestays and getting
them employed as tour guides and cooks.
DIRECT PHNOM PENH-BANGKOK PUBLIC BUS SERVICE
On June 14 the direct public bus service from Phnom Penh,
Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand, (and return) along national
road number 5, was inaugurated. The service, expected to
start in August 2012, will see 40 buses from Phnom Penh
traveling to Bangkok daily, and 40 buses from Bangkok going
to Phnom Penh.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
UPDATE: NEWS ON ATC'S WEBSITE
We wish to
remind you of the latest news on our website and check it
Once again Asian Trails Cambodia gets ahead of your needs!
Check out our new "Hotels in Cambodia" search engine, which
has been designed to assist you in finding hotels in the
country that best suits your needs. You can download the PDF
hotel fact sheet or create your own favourite hotel list.
Additionally, the site features hot deals and other useful
information. We welcome suggestions and feedback to help us
improve our services to you.
THE GOVERNOR'S HOUSE
The Governor's House is an exclusive boutique hotel embodied
in an original colonial-style mansion in the heart of one of
the most exclusive areas in downtown Phnom
was conceived and tastefully decorated by its owner, Alain
Garnier, a well-known name in the antiques and decoration
world for more than five generations. The hotel harks back
to a more leisurely time where people of taste sipped tea or
coffee, and partook of the finest under swaying palm trees
in a courtyard by a pool on balmy subtropical evenings.
Diamond Hotel is a luxury property
centrally located in the heart of Phnom Penh and just a few
minutes walk to the Central market and shopping centre. It
has 80 comfortable guestrooms and suites designed in Khmer
traditional style. The hotel is ideal for both tourists and
business travellers who enjoy modern facilities and
professional traditional Cambodian hospitality.
NAVUTU DREAMS RESORT & SPA
Navutu Dreams Resort and Spa is the creation of the owners
of the award winning boutique resort, Navutu Starts Resort
in Fiji. After managing the Fiji resort, which is also a
well-established Condé Nast property, the owners started a
new hotel venture in Siem Reap-Angkor, the Navutu Dreams
Resort and Spa. It spreads over one hectare of tropical
gardens and features a restaurant, a bar, two separate pools
(an 18m sports pool and a 120sqm lounge pool), a dedicated
tropical spa and a resident yoga teacher. The resort can
accommodate a maximum of 36 guests in 18 spacious
beautifully decorated rooms located in five separate
SHINTA MANI BOUTIQUE AND SPA RESORT
Shinta Mani, a
contemporary Khmer designed boutique hotel, is located in
the heart of Siem Reap, close to the riverside and about a
10 minute drive from the temple complex. Its 39 rooms, all
stylishly designed by Bill Bensley (also the designer of
Hotel de la Paix), offer modern facilities, mounted DVD &
LCD cable TV, iPod dock and complimentary wireless Internet
Shinta Mani, which means "open heart" in Sanskrit, supports
the less fortunate in the community through the education
and development of young adults. During your stay you will
have the opportunity to visit the Shinta Mani Development
THE ROCK ROYAL RESORT
Rock Royal Resortis
situated in one of the most beautiful spots in Kep city,
encircling six hectares of natural vegetation. The
affordable full service hotel features 120 spacious
guestrooms and 15 bungalows with executive floor lounge,
international buffet and the Green Coriander Restaurant
serving both Asian and European cuisine.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
PHNOM PENH CAREER FORUM 2012
Cambodian Career Forum was held at the
Convention & Exhibition Center in Phnom Penh from June
22 to 24, 2012. This is platform for university graduates to
meet their future employees and for companies to promote
their activities. This year's forum had three themes to make
it more dynamic and interactive. They are:
special afternoon dedicated
to meetings between professionals and participants
(graduates and students master)
networking among exhibitors, suppliers and their
information and develop professional or social contacts.
As one of the 50 exhibitors at the forum Asian Trails
Cambodia encouraged the young participants to seek a career
and gain working experience in Cambodia's promising tourism
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
PHNOM PENH - ELYXIR, CHAMPAGNE BAR AND RESTAURANT
Phnom Penh's newest nightspot, is a mix of a silver service
bistro with a
wine shop next door stocking
vintages rarely found in even the most well connected
On the other side is the club's after hours haven - a 25m
swimming pool bordered by cushioned seating, ferns and a
cocktail bar, giving it the aesthetics of a luxury spa. The
restaurant serves the best of Asian and Western cuisine to
satisfy even the most discerning palate.
Over the past
decades we have seen tremendous changes in the way people
travel, thanks to technological developments and globalisation.
On the other side, the words "off-the-beaten-track" seem to be
more and more in demand, as if the world had become so flat that
tourists wanted to invade its every inch. The concept of
authenticity is again put into question.
Recently we set foot
again in the land of Thai, a Muong ethnic minority, in Lac
Village that lies in the North West Mountains next to the
well-known Mai Chau Valley. For a few days we explored on foot
this hidden world of outstanding beauty. When night we sipped a
cup of tea by the window of a Thai stilt house, enjoyed the
rustic atmosphere and shared dinner with our host by the fire.
Sleeping on a grass-filled mattress on the floor of the wooden
stilt house under the mosquito net is not something we could do
every day, and this is what makes travel so fascinating and
bring senses to travel.
During our journey
through the area we realised travel is not of reach to all. We
just need to return to basics, take a deep breath with each step
taken along the hidden trails, listen to the breeze whispering
through the infinity rice terrace, admire the breath-taking
picture of thatched roof dotted on the green karst mountain
backdrop, and other visual delights
If you are looking
for the simple joys of travel and to be one with the land you
are exploring, we highly recommend a two days or three days
trekking holiday through the untouched Pu Luong Reserve. You
head up north from Ha Noi to Mai Chau, trek down through Pu
Luong and then end the journey relaxing on a junk in Ha Long Bay
- a great way to discover the Tonkin in all its diversity.
BIG TOURISM PROJECTS FOR BINH DINH
Binh Dinh, a
central province in Vietnam that is better known for its
capital city Quy Nhon, is developing five big tourism
projects. They are located along the Quy Nhon Sea coastline
(Cau River and Nhon Ly peninsula) and Cat Tien Town. Three
are wholly foreign-owned and will cost US$500 million. They
are the five-star Hon Ngoc Vietnam Resort (US$125 million),
Mui Tan artificial island (US$139 million) and the five star
Vinh Hoi Resort (US$250 million). All are currently under
projects are due to begin this year. They are Linh Phong
Pagoda, which is a spiritual-historical-ecological tourism
complex, and the Hai Giang Golf Course and Resort costing an
estimated US$144 million.
Capital city Quy
Nhon has a lot of tourism potential as it strategically
located between Hoi An and Nha Trang, and can be a base to
access to or from the Central Highlands. It, however, is not
on the main tourist trail and has not attracted many
visitors. This situation may change as it is now easier to
get to and leave from the city, and is ideal for tourists
who want to have a relaxing holiday in an
off-the-main-stream beach destination.
With the developments and investments Binh Dinh and Quy Nho
may just become star tourist attractions along the coastal
road linking Da Nang, Hoi An to Phan Thiet.
SAIGON GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB
The Saigon Golf & Country Club, Greg Norman's second Vietnam
golf project, is making fast progress. Located close to the
centre of Ho Chi Minh City the 18-hole golf course is
scheduled for completion by the end of this year. Its layout
is typical of Norman's trademark aggressive layout like the
Da Nang Golf Club - his first project in Vietnam - with
floodlit driving range and multiple practice greens.
NEW LUXURY BUS TO SERVICE HCMC AND PHNOM PENH
A luxury bus service between Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and
Phnom Penh was launched in May by the Cambodian Tourism
Ministry and NagaWorld Group with the opening of a
representative office iHCMC. This private-public
co-operation venture hope to attract more Vietnamese
tourists to Cambodia. The company has a fleet of 20 28-seat
luxury buses equipped video, massage seats and toilets) at a
cost of US$3 million. NagaWorld provides six return trips a
day from HCMC Phnom Penh. The company plans to expand the
bus service to two other Cambodian destinations namely Siem
Reap and Sihanoukville.
THE "BUNKER " OPENS TO THE PUBLIC
Forty years after the bombs stopped falling on Hanoi, and
less than one year after a chance discovery of an air raid
shelter in its back garden, the Sofitel Legend Metropole
Hanoi has cut the red ribbon on the excavated bunker as the
anchor attraction in a new Path of History tour. The 40sqm
bomb shelter has been preserved in its original state as a
tribute to the hotel's wartime employees, who ushered guests
into the relative safety of the underground chamber from the
mid-1960s through the Christmas Bombings in 1972. The
"Bunker," as it is to be known at the hotel, is open to
guests and staff as well as local Hanoians
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
FOREST FLOOR LODGE - UNIQUE ECO RESORT
Nam Cat Tien
National Park is located about four hours' drive east of Ho
Chi Minh City. This is one of the world's most important and
diverse tropical forests, but it has not attracted many
foreign tourists due to insufficient infrastructure
especially accommodation. Forest Floor Lodge was built to
address this need.
The Lodge is an
a unique eco hotel and resort that offers unique luxury
hotel accommodation directly on the perimeter of the
national park providing the perfect location for bird
watching and those with an interest in wildlife. Designed to
compliment the local habitat and built with the least
possible environmental impact, its accommodations include
river view tents and traditional Vietnamese bungalows. Each
tent comes as standard with bathroom, bedroom and large
balcony over looking the beautiful Ben Cu Rapids. The
bungalows nestled in amongst the trees provide two double
bedrooms each, with fully fitted en-suite bathrooms,
spacious bedrooms and private verandas looking out in to the
jungle of the park.
There are numerous activities in the national park for
nature lovers - bird watching, trekking, cycling to visit
tribal villages and a night safari. Or trek to Crocodile
Lake, one of the last places to see the endangered reptiles
in the wild, or visit the Wild Life At Risk Bear rescue
SOPHIE ART TOUR - SEEING VIETNAM THROUGH ARTISTS'
The half-day Sophie Art Tour takes a closer look at the
major shifts in 20th and 21st century Vietnam through the
eyes of artists. From the grand halls of Ho Chi Minh City's
Fine Art Museum to the fresh white spaces of leading
contemporary art galleries, this journey takes visitors from
colonialism to independence, and from Communism to
globalization. The tour is based on the personal experiences
of artists who studied, fought, witnessed and documented
major changes in 20th century Vietnam. This tour is not just
for art lovers but also for all those who want to gain a
deeper understanding of Vietnam's modern and contemporary
history. Currently the tour is conducted in English, and in
2013 it will be also be in French.
VIETNAM CLASSIC TOUR: UPDATED ITINERARY
From our survey the majority of our clients travelling on
this tour prefers to have dinner on their own because
personal taste varies, and also many couples like to have
some private time. Therefore, as of November 2012 we only
provide one welcome dinner on the first day in Vietnam, one
dinner on board of the Halong cruise and lunches during day
tour for clients' convenience. All other dinners will be at
the clients' own arrangements. A variety of restaurants and
eateries serving different types of cuisine are found around
HILTON TO OPEN SECOND PROPERTY
has signed a management agreement with Hoan Kiem Tourism and
Trading Company Limited to introduce the first Hilton Garden
Inn, and Hilton Worldwide's second property in Vietnam.
Scheduled to open in the second half of 2012 the hotel will
mark the debut of Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Worldwide's
mid-priced brand, in Southeast Asia.
Located in Hanoi's French Quarter the 11-storey Hilton
Garden Inn Hanoi is at the intersection of Tran Hung Dao and
Phan Chu Trinh avenues. It will have 86 bedrooms, an all-day
dining restaurant and a lounge bar, a 100sqm meeting room, a
spa and on-site car parking facilities.
BEST WESTERN PEARL RIVER HOTEL HAI PHONG
Pearl River has been recently been added to hotel selection
for Hai Phong, and is the only internationally branded hotel
providing four star service in keeping Best Western brand
The hotel, with 101 rooms and suites, is conveniently
located, offers a range of deluxe facilities in peaceful,
quiet surroundings with room overlooking the hotel outdoor
swimming pool and the serene landscapes typical of Vietnam.
It is the ideal base for day or overnight trips to Halong
Bay, which is 90 minutes' drive from the hotel, or for
connected trip to Cat Ba Island.
MGM GRAND HO TRAM TO OPEN IN JANUARY 2013
International, a leading resort destination company, will
open its first property in Vietnam - the MGM Grand Ho Tram.
Located at Phuoc Thuan, Xuyen Moc, Ba Ria - Vung Tau it is
scheduled to open on January 15, 2013. It will offer 541
luxury guest rooms, a full spectrum of world-class
amenities, a conference centre and a spectacular gaming area
consisting of 90 live table games, over 600 electronic games
and exquisite VIP facilities. This fully integrated luxury resort and entertainment centre
will add a new exciting destination in Vietnam.
FIRST IBIS HOTEL IN VIETNAM
Vietnam's first Ibis hotel, Ibis Saigon South Hotel, has
opened in District 7. The three star 140-room hotel, for
business and leisure travellers, offers free wireless
Internet access, tea- and coffee-making facilities and
in-room safe deposit box. Its Open Restaurant offers a wide
range of pastas and grilled dishes, with a 24-hour snack
menu available at the ground floor bar.
FUSION MAIA PHU QUOC, A WELLNESS RESORT
Tran Thai Real Estate Co. Ltd and NTSC Construction Co. Ltd
signed a contract last April for the construction of the
first phase of Fusion Maia Phu Quoc. This is a resort
project, which will offer five star international services
combined with health care and wellness programmes. The
project, spread over 41.01ha, is expected be operational in
2013. it is the second property in the Fusion Maia concept
after Fusion Maia Da Nang.
UPDATE: RENOVATION AT VICTORIA HOTELS & RESORTS
An Beach Resort & Spa
Following our previous announcement on the renovation of
Victoria Hoi An's lobby, we wish to inform you that the
hotel will reopen its lobby and Cham bar on July 15 instead
of June 30 as originally advised. This is due to the late
delivery of some imported materials required to finish the
project. During this time there will be limited disruption
to the resort's guests and all other services are available.
Victoria Can Tho Resort is renovating its bathrooms. The
works, from June 25 to September 30, 2012, and he renovation
areas are partitioned off. The works are carried out between
8am and 5pm daily, and the management has taken the
necessary measures to ensure minimal disruption for the
guests during the renovation period. Please contact us if
you need further information.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL EXPO 2012 (ITE HCMC 2012)
SEPTEMBER 1315, 2012
VENUE: HO CHI MINH CITY
International Travel Expo, Ho Chi Minh City 2012 (ITE HCMC
2012), is an annual travel exhibition presenting the perfect
platform for both local and international travel and tourism
organisations to collaborate and discuss inbound and
outbound tourism. It is the largest event of its kind in the
region and the only international exhibition supported by
the Government of Vietnam. The event was established in 2005
and designed to promote, not only the tourism market within
the region but also major tourist destinations around the
Trade days are on September 13 to 14 while September 15
September is for both the trade and the public.
SILKAIR LANDS IN HANOI
SilkAir, the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, has
launched its first flight to Hanoi, the airline's second
destination in Vietnam after Da Nang. The thrice-weekly
flights depart Singapore on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays
with same day return flights from Hanoi. The services are on
an Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft with business and economy
SilkAir's new service complements Singapore Airlines' daily
flights to Hanoi, and together they totalled 10 round trip
services a week.
AIR ASTANA TO CONNECT ALMATY WITH HO CHI MINH CITY
Astana is to launch three weekly services to Ho Chi Minh
City from Almaty by extending its Bangkok service. It has
four weekly flights to the Thai capital from Almaty. The
airline is in talks with Ho Chi Minh City Department of
Culture, Sports and Tourism to launch the service early next
Air Astana will join the 8th International Travel Expo, Ho
Chi Minh City 2012 (ITE HCMC 2012) from September 13-15 to
make contact with travel agents and introduce its services.
AIR MEKONG LAUNCHES DIRECT HANOI-CON DAO SERVICE
Air Mekong launched a new direct route between Hanoi and Con
Dao on May 19 to meet the increasing demand of tourists from
the northern regions to the southern historical island
during the summer months. The two-hour flight departs Hanoi
at 1pm every Wednesday and Saturday. The airline has since
increased the service to four times weekly. The carrier also
added the number of flights on the Hanoi-Phu Quoc route to
nine per week.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
ART GARDEN CLUB OPENS
Art Garden Club recently opened in Ho Chi Minh City. It is
conveniently located near the airport in a the quiet Nguyen Canh Di road. The café-restaurant is a real
art space, nicely decorated with painting and antique
objects excluding a Vietnamese atmosphere in comfortable
setting. Apart from dining guests can also learn painting
ore join in to cook some special delicacies.
Art Garden Club is a suitable venue for FITs and small and
incentive groups. it is also ideal for lunch for after
returning from a visit to the Cu Chi tunnels or before
leaving for the airport for their flights home.
High, located on the 50th floor of the Bitexco Financial
Tower - Strata, has officially opened its all-day casual
dining restaurant-cum-café. Guests can enjoy light snacks
throughout the day, along with Lavazza espresso coffee,
Ronnefeldt teas, fresh juices and smoothies, milk shakes and
a range of signature cocktails.
Afternoon Tea at Strata, dubbed "Saigon's Highest Tea" and
available daily from 2.30pm to 5pm, is a return to the high
tea tradition typical of British high society. For dinner
and lunch there is the Executive Boutique Buffet for lunch
and dinner. The buffet serves a range of high quality
offerings such as sushi, mixed cheeses, salads, sandwiches
and finger foods, as well as a selection of hot meals
including lemon chicken with rice, stir-fried mixed
vegetables and stir-fried noodles with beef.
Strata's three private rooms have been designed with
adjustable wall partitions to allow for various
configurations - three rooms, two rooms or one large room -
for business meetings, seminars, private dining/party or
cocktail functions. All meeting rooms have modern conference
facilities and a range of room set-ups is available.
ANY OTHER NEWS
ASIAN TRAILS' NEW OFFICE IN HO CHI MINH
We wish to inform all our clients that Asian Trails Vietnam
moved to new offices on July 2, 2012. Our new address is 9th
floor, HMC Tower, 193 Dinh Tien Hoang, District 1. Our phone
and fax numbers and email remain unchanged.
VIETNAM IMPLEMENTS VAT REFUND SCHEME
its VAT refund scheme for foreign tourists at two major
airports, Hanoi's Noi Bai and Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son
Nhat airports, on June 1 after a year preparing for the
scheme. The refunds are available at kiosks located at the
Foreign tourists can claim for refunds on goods worth at
least US$95 (VND2 million) for purchases made no later than
30 days from the time of arrival. They get 85% of the VAT in
Vietnamese dong with the remaining 15% transferred to a
commercial bank. The VAT is a standard 10% except for a
lower tax calculation on essential goods. A VAT collection
agency handles the process.
NEW SEA AND ISLAND RECORDS FOR VIETNAM
Bay in Quang Ninh Province has been recognised for setting a
national record for the bay with highest number of islets.
The 1,553sqkm UNESCO World Heritage Site consists of 1,169
islets of various sizes, 95% of which are limestone
outcroppings. This is one of nine national records related
to islands and seas, which have been recognised by the
Vietnam Book of Records (Vietbooks) to celebrate the Vietnam
Sea and Islands Week held in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province on
Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands, under the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, nominated the
records. Vietbooks also worked with www.tinmoitruong.vn - a
website featuring news and activities related on environment
- to present new seven records on the environment to mark
World Environment Day on June 6.
Trang Oceanography Institute in Khanh Hoa Province, which
maintains specimens of 20,000 sea and freshwater creatures
belonging to 5,000 species, is among five organisations that
have been recognised for their contribution to conservation.
Two geographical sites that have been recognised Ba Be Lake
at the foot of the Lam Son Mountain for the beauty of its
landscape, geographical features and biodiversity, and Thac
Ba Lake as the largest man made lake in the country.
Representatives of Vietbooks and www.tinmoitruong.vn will
continue their search for national records to increase
public awareness of the need to protect, conserve and
improve the natural environment.
The infrastructure development in China is ongoing, and we're
updating you in this newsletter on the numerous new hotels
opening all over the country including those in remote areas
that will contribute to the development of tourism there.
Airlines are also expanding their footprints in China with new
routes including a direct flight from Lijiang to Hong Kong and a
new European route for China Southern Airlines to London.
Asian Trails China wishes you a Happy Summer!
PANDA'S NEW HOME
A new centre to house the pandas is being built in Shenshuping, about 22km northeast of its original location
that was hit by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in 2008. It is
still located within the Wolong National Nature Reserve -
the first and largest of its kind in China for the
protection of pandas - but it lies outside Wolong town.
Sponsored by the government of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region the centre is scheduled to be
completed by the end of this year. The captive-bred pandas,
now housed in a temporary base in Sichuan, will return to
live in their new home once it is completed.
Just 50 kilometres north of Beijing is Silver Mountain
Pagoda Forest (Yinshan Talin), a place for travellers to
invigorate the mind and body. It is also a window into
China's interesting spiritual history. Located in Changping
district it was a former Buddhist prayer place. From as far
back as the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618) Buddhists came here to
perform religious rites. During the Ming (1368-1644) and
Qing (1644-1911) dynasties it was considered one of the
eight greatest scenic places in Beijing.
BEIJING - CONFUCIAN TEMPLE AND IMPERIAL COLLEGE
In June 2008 the refurbished Guozijian Street, which sites
the Confucian Temple and the Imperial College (Guozijian),
is opened to the public again.
The Confucian Temple was built in 1302 and was completed in
1306 during the Yuan Dynasty. Emperors of the Yuan, Ming and
Qing dynasties offered sacrifices to Confucius, whose
thinking, known as Confucianism, was the dominating ideology
for feudal China. The temple covers 22,000 square metres and
has three rows of buildings and courtyards.
The Imperial College was built 1308. It served as China's
highest institution of learning, as well as the
administrative organ for education during three successive
dynasties. It covers 28,000 square metres with three
courtyards arranged along a central axis.
BEIJING - FORMER RESIDENCE OF GUO MORUO
Two rows of pedicabs queue up on both sides of Qianhai Xijie
where Beijing's hutong tour starts. The drivers, dressed in
uniform khaki vests, either solicit business, gossip or just
sit around and leaf through newspapers while waiting for
On one side of the street stands Shichahai Sports School,
where kungfu star, Jet Li, was trained before shooting to
stardom. On the other side is a traditional quadrangle
compound, easily missed if not for the gilded characters on
the door lintel - "Former Residence of Guo Moruo". This is a
typical courtyard house in Beijing, with red pillars and
colourful wooden decorative elements at the entrance. The
courtyard is where Guo - a poet, dramatist, historian,
palaeographer and social activist spent the last 15 years of
his life. In the backyard are three exhibition halls
featuring his literary creations intertwined with his life
and modern Chinese history. In the front yard is a bronze
statue of this versatile cultural giant.
KASHGAR - XINJIANG PROVINCE
Many visitors to Kashgar, a city replete with historic and
exotic characteristics along the ancient Silk Road, may feel
like they are in North Africa or the Middle East. Uygur
women wear veils or headscarves and the men put on doppa or
white knitted caps. The bustling and noisy bazaars are
filled with the aroma of roasted mutton and cumin. The city,
especially its old town block, is filled with cluttered and
amazingly clean streets where motorcycles and minibuses
navigate their way along with donkey carts.
Cycling is the best way to see the city during summer, which
is dry and hot. First stop is Kah Mosque, one of the largest
of its kind in the country. The old town has a very distinct
characteristic yellow colour as the houses are made of
mudstone and wood. Some old houses look shabby externally
but amazingly clean and beautifully decorated inside. Newly
built houses and those under construction are also painted
with yellow mud on the external wall to keep to the original
feature of the old town. The big market offers dried fruits
and nuts, musical instruments, wooden or brass products,
clothing and textiles and various ornaments.
The last stop is the Tomb of the "Fragrant Concubine", one
of Emperor Qianlong's Imperial concubines during the Qing
Dynasty (1644-1911). According to legends, she exuded an
enchanting fragrance without using perfume. Uygurs believe
the concubine's fragrance came from her habit of bathing
with shazao (sand date) flowers.
Another upside on visiting Kashgar during summer is the long
day and short night. Following the Xinjiang time zone, which
is two hours behind Beijing, the city bathes in daylight
right up to 10pm.
DUSIT DEVARANA HAINAN TO OPEN IN 2013
The 300-room Dusit Devarana Hainan, scheduled to open in
2013, is uniquely located within the rare natural 93ºC hot
springs. The resort will showcase various spring water
features, from outdoor bathing pools to ensuite bathrooms
supplied with fresh hot and cold spring-water. A natural
mountain river cuts through the resort complex, giving it an
Located on Baoting's "Seven Fairy Mountain" approximately
80km from Sanya, the southernmost city in China on Hainan
Island, Dusit Devarana Hainan is designed as a low-rise
complex comprising villas and deluxe rooms. It will have two
restaurants serving Western and Chinese cuisines. Outdoor
activities available in the surrounding area include
mountain trekking and cycling. The resort will fit within
the Dusit Devarana brand focusing on its potential as a spa
and conference destination.
MOEVENPICK EXPANDS IN CHINA
A Chinese name and logo, a new Shanghai executive team, a
website in Mandarin and three new hotels under development
are paving the way for success in China for Moevenpick
Hotels & Resorts. It is known in the country as Rui Xiang
which means "brings you enjoyment and luck with Swiss
quality". This name and logo were created in collaboration
with brand specialists, Interbrand, and developed following
extensive customer research in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing
The company has three projects under development in China -
the 300-room Mövenpick Hotel Jiading in Shanghai, the
380-room Mövenpick Resort & Spa, Phoenix Island in Sanya
(both opening next year) and the Mövenpick Hotel & State
Guest House Chifeng in Inner Mongolia slated to open in
2015. With quality positioning and fast development
Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has the opportunity to capitalise
on the excellent Swiss image and become very successful in
MELIÁ INCREASES CHINA'S PORTFOLIO WITH GRAN MELIA
Meliá Hotels International has embarked on its expansion in
China with a new property - the 419-room Gran Meliá Xi'an.
It is the group's second property in China after Meliá
Shanghai. It also forms part of the hotel group's strategic
plan, to increase its footprints in Asia.
Gran Meliá Xi'an, located in the city's Qujiang New
District, is scheduled for a December 2013 opening. It will
have two restaurants, a bar, the Yhi Spa, a convention
centre and the Red Level, which is Gran Meliá's trademark
VIP floor. It will be the perfect location for both business
and leisure as Xi'an is China's ancient capital city, one of
the birthplaces of Chinese civilisation and is the start of
the Silk Road, the great trade route linking the East and
SOFITEL TO OPEN HIGHEST HOTEL IN GUIYANG
As part of its plans to expand its network across China,
Sofitel will open a new property in 2014 - Sofitel Guiyang
in the burgeoning city of Guiyang, Guizhou Province. With 57
storeys the new hotel will be the city's highest building
Sofitel Guiyang will feature 231 spacious hotel rooms and
suites, three restaurants including a rooftop all day dining
restaurant, two bars, a dividable ballroom, five inspired
meeting rooms of varying sizes, the group's signature So
SPA, fitness centre So FIT, and a swimming pool. It will
also have a Club Millesime executive lounge, complemented by
a fully equipped business centre and 100 parking stalls. The
stunning skyscraper will be the highest building in the city
with unhindered visibility from all directions.
Strategically located in downtown Guiyang and housed in the
upper and podium sections of the Guiyang International
Financial Centre, the hotel is an integral component to the
city's high-end shopping complex and office buildings. It is
just a 30-minute drive from Guiyang Longdongbao
International Airport and a 20-minute drive from the newly
built convention centre in Jinyang new district.
Guiyang is the provincial capital of Guizhou Province and a
major city in South West China, and has long been the
manufacturing base of Mao Tai, China's most famous liquor.
HILTON BRINGS WALDORF ASTORIA TO CHENGDU
Hilton Worldwide has signed a management agreement with
Chengdu Yincheng Property to develop western China's first
Waldorf Astoria in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.
Scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2016, the
300-room Waldorf Astoria Chengdu will be the fifth Waldorf
Astoria in China following the launch of Waldorf Astoria
Shanghai on the Bund in 2011, and the planned openings of
Waldorf Astoria Beijing (2013), Waldorf Astoria Baoting
(2015) and Waldorf Astoria Sanya (2016).
Located in the Chengdu Tianfu New Area, opposite Chengdu
Tianfu International Financial Centre, Waldorf Astoria
Chengdu will occupy the top 15 floors of a mixed-used
development, with service apartments in the lower part of
Hilton Worldwide has three other hotels in the pipeline in
Chengdu - Hilton Chengdu, Conrad Chengdu and DoubleTree by
Hilton Chengdu Longquanyi.
FIRST MANDARIN ORIENTAL HOTEL IN CHENGDU
The Sichuan capital of Chengdu will welcome its first
Mandarin Oriental hotel in 2015. Part of a prestigious
mixed-used development on a prime riverfront site, the
320-room Mandarin Oriental Chengdu will offer a 1,200-seat
grand ballroom, a 500-seat junior ballroom, a variety of
function rooms, various F&B options including a Sichuan
restaurant, a rooftop bar and tea lounge and a 10-room spa.
The hotel is part of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group's ongoing
expansion in China, which includes upcoming properties in
Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai Pudong.
SICHUAN AIRLINES LAUNCHES LIJIANG-HONG KONG SERVICE
On May 31 Sichuan Airlines launched thrice-weekly direct
flights from Lijiang (Yunnan Province) to Hong Kong. The
two-and-a-half hour flight operates every Tuesday, Thursday
Lijiang Airport was approved to operate as a hub airport On
March 6, the third in the province after Kunming and
Lijiang is also planning new flights to other national
tourist sites and Southeast Asian countries including a
service to Bangkok.
CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES FLIES DIRECT
China Southern Airlines started thrice-weekly Guangzhou-London flights on June
6. The service, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays are from Guangzhou Baiyun
Airport to Londons Heathrow. Operated using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft, this
is the first direct connection between Guangzhou and London, and the airlines
third non-stop European service after Paris and Amsterdam. The new route is
expected to foster greater economic and cultural exchange between the two
China Southern Airlines carried 80.7 million passengers in 2011, which is a 5.5%
increase over 2010, making it the largest airline in Asia measured by passenger
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
LOST HEAVEN RESTAURANT -BEIJING
The renowned Lost Heaven Restaurant, which has been pleasing
Shanghai diners for many years, has opened a branch in
Beijing. Located in the former US Embassy compound the
restaurant brings innovation to Yunnan ethnic cuisine by
combining various ancient cooking arts. The province's
ancient multi-ethnic elements and profound folk cultures are
the source of inspiration for the restaurant's creation and
design. Here you can experience this harmonious blend of
ancient cultures and partake in the distinctive dining and
arts only heard of in legends.
In creating the dining space, an Australian architectural
and design firm emphasised the clean, light filled and
thoroughly modern lines of what was once a television
factory producing the capital's first black and white TVs.
NEW TRAVEL CONSULTANT
Asian Trails China welcomes Leo Li as Travel Consultant to
its team. We wish him great success in his new appointment.
ANY OTHER NEWS
ASIAN TRAILS BEIJING OFFICE CONQUERS THE GREAT WALL!
June 28 staff from our office went on an overnight trip to
the magnificent Great Wall at Jinshanling. We left Beijing
early on Saturday morning and after a two-hour drive arrived
at our destination.
Spirits were high as we started a four-hour hike on one of
the most beautiful sections of the Great Wall. The weather
was perfect, not too hot with blue sky and some white
clouds. We had a picnic in one of the watchtowers, which
provided us with the necessary shade. Almost all the staff
made it to the end of the hike, after which we drove to an
eco-lodge by the Miyun reservoir for the rest of the day. A
barbecue dinner, which included famous local trout, awaited
us together with lots of ice-cold Qingdao beer. The eventful
day ended with karaoke in the open air. The following
morning the coach took us back to Beijing, with lots of
stories to tell and sore legs for days to come.
The past two months have been the busiest low season months
Myanmar has ever experienced. Influxes of business travellers
and delegations, as well as tremendous increase of booking
requests for the coming season, are keeping us very busy. We
encourage all of you planning to come to Myanmar to book as
early as possible and to be flexible in all aspects such as
accommodation, routing and related arrangements.
We also like to stress that travelling in the low season is no
problem whatsoever on a classic route (beaches are closed), and
we urge clients to come during this season where availability is
less of an issue.
We are highlighting the forthcoming festivals in this newsletter
under "FESTIVALS AND EVENTS", as festivals are great
opportunities to partake in the local traditions and culture
especially in Myanmar as they give an in-depth insight into
Several new suppliers with different products are entering the
market and are helping to increase the attractiveness of the
As always, we remain at your disposal for any clarification
needed and look forward to welcoming your clients to Myanmar.
ADVICE FOR TRAVEL TO MYANMAR
Political changes in Myanmar
have moved the destination into the spotlight during the
past nine months. Positive news resulting in the most
radical changes in the country after almost five decades of
military dictatorship are bringing hope for economic
development and a better life. These rapid changes, however,
are bringing difficulties to the tourism industry due to the
limited supply of hotel rooms throughout the country. The
present demand by tourists and corporate travelers outweighs
the extremely limited capacity, and we would like to give
the following advice for travel to Myanmar.
most difficult destinations are Yangon and Mandalay we
recommend an amendment to the itineraries, which are to
spend shorter time in these two cities. For example, instead
of an overnight stay in Yangon we suggest taking a domestic
flight to connect to an international flight or vice-versa.
Mandalay city tours are becoming less of an attraction, and
the condensation into a one day tour incorporating Amarapura,
Mingun and visits too ne or two temples is possible and will
cut one overnight stay. Some tour operators choose to avoid
Mandalay all together.
We recommend to book as many
clients as possible into our seat-in coach tours, which we
operate in English, German, Italian and Spanish. These
regular departure tours have space secured and guarantee a
speedy confirmation of FIT requests.
Despite the fact that many guide books recommend
not to travel to Myanmar during the low
season/summer months we instead suggest that more travellers
visit the country between April to September. While the west
coast, Yangon and the southern parts of Myanmar experience
strong monsoon rains the central and northern region
including Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake have little rain.
Furthermore, the vegetation is green and lush. During the
low season space is readily available except in Yangon where
capacity remains an issue throughout the year.
In general, it is to be expected that rates of
package tours for the next high season will increase by
between 100% to 300% compared to the 2011/12 high season
package rates. The increase will depend on the traveling
period, duration of travel, destination, hotel category,
room category and activities. The highest increases will be
for Yangon and Mandalay hotels, international branded
hotels, historical properties and boutique hotels.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
NGAPALI WATER SPORT CENTER
Asia Whale has set up the
first water sport center in the resort town of Ngapali. This
local company specialises in diving, snorkeling and kayak
trips in the Mergui archipelago since 2003.
The Ngapali Princess (pictured) will do day trips for
snorkelers and divers, as well as special trips for sport
fishing and dedicated kayak trips. The boat has a capacity
for a maximum of 45 passengers or a maximum of 20 divers,
and has a crew of five.
GREEN HILL HOTEL - YANGON
Green Hill Hotel
just opened in Yangon near the Kandawgyi Labout Lake, about
15 minutes walk from Shwedagon Pagoda. It has 100 deluxe
rooms and eight suite rooms. All rooms have Wifi Internet
access, individually controllable air-conditioning, ensuite
bathrooms, satellite TV, minibar and safe box. The hotel
also offers 24-hour room service and complimentary buffet
breakfast. It has a meeting room and spacious underground
HOTEL ASTER - MAYMYO
Hotel Aster, the latest addition to the large collection of
hotels in Maymyo, is located about three kilometres from the
Maymyo -Lashio route. It has 20 bungalow type rooms
comprising 16 deluxe and four superior. All the rooms have
ensuite facilities and are equipped with modern amenities
such as -lat screen TV. The bungalows are situated in a lush
spacious garden, which gives the hotel a tranquil
environment for guests to relax in.
NEW COO FOR AUREUM PALACE HOTELS & RESORTS/MYANMAR
Mr Russel Blagg is the new Chief Operations Officer of
Aureum Palace Hotels and Resorts, Myanmar Treasure Resorts
and Kandawgyi Palace Hotel. Originally from London, England
he brings with him a wealth of international experience
gained from being involved in hotel and resort development,
and operations in the hospitality industry both in Asia and
Europe. For the past six years Mr Blagg was General Manager
(CEO) of Indonesia's Pt Hanno Bali, an internationally
acclaimed and award winning company, where he was
instrumental in its success in resort development and
construction in the country.
HOTEL GOVERNORS RESIDENCE,
YANGON CLOSES FOR RENOVATIONS IN 2013
The Governors Residence will undergo major refurbishment
during the low season in 2013, and will close from May to
September of that year.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
MAJOR FESTIVALS IN MYANMAR
We would like to remind you that a few major festivals are
taking place throughout Myanmar in the next couple of
months. Please feel free to contact us for any offer in
connection with these special events.
AUGUST 27-31, 2012
VENUE: TAUNGBYONE, MANDALAY DIVISION
A six-day ceremony held to worship two Taungbyone spiritual
figures. It is a major gathering for spiritual mediums.
DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL/1ST WANING DAY OF THIDINGYUT
OCTOBER 16-NOVEMBER 2, 2012
VENUE: INLE LAKE, SHAN STATE
A 19-day festival during which four Buddha statues are
ceremoniously transported clockwise around Inle Lake on the
Royal Barge. One-leg rowed boat races are held throughout
THADINGYUT FESTIVAL/14TH WAXING DAY OF THADINGYUT
OCTOBER 2931, 2012:
VENUE THROUGHOUT MYANMAR
A three-day festival to mark the day Lord Buddha came down
from heaven after three months of observing the Buddhist
Lent. Buddha's return to earth is commemorated throughout
Myanmar with colourful
illumination offerings to the deities. The people also
celebrate the festival by hoisting balloons up to the sky.
BALLOON-FLYING FESTIVAL/WAXING DAY OF TAZAUNGMON
NOVEMBER 2328, 2012
VENUE: TAUNGGYI, SHAN STATE
A seven-day festival, which is a
typical "Pa-O" festival when hot
air balloons are released into the sky both day and night.
QATAR AIRWAYS TO RESUME DOHA-YANGON SERVICE
Starting from October 3,2012 Qatar Airways will
resume its flight from Doha to Yangon. Initially the flight
will operate three times a week, and will increase to a
weekly service from October 28. The airline is finalising
the exact schedule at time of writing.
ANY OTHER NEWS
OUTING TO NGWE SAUNG BEACH
After a successful and demanding season the staff enjoyed a
weekend, from April 27to 29.on the
beach in Ngwe Saung. It was also our annual staff party, and
we had a great time celebrating and enjoying the weekend
We were ground
handler for a private jet when the new Cessna Citation Mustang
C- 510 Jet piloted by our very own CEO, Mr Luzi Matzig, landed
at Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur when he came to attend the
recent PATA conference held in the city. The aircraft, which is
available for charter, provides a comfortable ride for up to
four passengers and can fly anywhere within Asia.
I'm pleased to say
that we're now in the position to handle any private jet
landing, including the arrangement of exclusive transport at any
airport throughout Malaysia.
We've also included
in our product range the "Lili Marleen", which is the biggest
yacht available in Malaysia and can accommodate up to 150 guests
on sunset or day cruises and a maximum of 50 guests for
overnight cruises. Please see our "ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE"
below for more details.
Last but not least,
Ramadan (the Muslim holy month of fasting) is just around the
corner and visitors to Malaysia during this time must visit one
of the many Ramadan bazaars set up during this month. They are
closed during the day, but come to life in the late afternoon as
food shops prepare for Muslims breaking their fast at sundown.
Malaysia Truly Asia!
Mr Luzi Matzig (standing left) with Mr Emir Cherif beside the Cessna Citation
MALAYSIA HOSTS MAJOR GOLF TOUR CONVENTION
recently hosted its first International Association of Golf
Tour Operators (IAGTO) Convention. The four day event,
comprising one-to-one meeting sessions, networking
opportunities and golf playing, saw buyers from 38 countries
and suppliers from 16 countries gathered to represent both
sides of the golf tourism business.
more than 200 golf courses set in a diverse landscape with
excellent golf courses in the cool highlands, by the beach,
nestled in the lush jungle and surrounded by gleaming
skyscrappers. Many of these international-class courses have
been designed by golfing greats who include Jack Nicklaus,
Robert Trent-Jones, Max Wexler and Ted Parslo.
Please contact us for more details as we now have some
fantastic golf packages available.
TOURISM MINISTRY TO LIST MALAYSIA'S 100 BEST
The Tourism Ministry will come up with a list of 100 best
coffeeshops in Malaysia to promote the nation's coffeeshop
trade internationally. The Malaysia-Singapore Coffeeshop
Proprietors' Association will help identify the coffeeshops
and prepare the list.
MELAKA FOCUSES ON CULTURE AND HISTORY TO BOOST
The Melaka government is focusing on the state's culture and
history to attract more tourists to the historical city.
More Melaka cultural and heritage-based destinations are
being set up for this purpose. The city's rich history is
not only from the Malay Sultanate, but also from the ancient artefacts found.
KUALA LUMPUR IN MINiATURE
The Kuala Lumpur
City Gallery, formerly the Old Kuala Lumpur Memorial
Library, is located right in the heart of Independence
Square (Dataran Merdeka).
This magnificent century old Moghul-India style architecture
faces the Square's iconic 100-metre flagpole and houses many
attractions. It features a walk-through gallery of the
city's history in print, pictures and film, as well as
intricate miniatures of its historical buildings. Exhibits
not to be missed are the world's largest KL Skyline
wood-veneer mural and the largest miniature replica of its
heritage enclave in Dataran Merdeka and Chinatown, which
mimic the areas at night. Travellers can peruse the tour
maps or go on a guided tour around the gallery.
The gallery is opened daily from 8am to 6pm daily, and
admission is free.
KLCC LAKE SYMPHONY FOUNTAIN REOPENS AFTER RM10MIL
The KLCC Lake
Symphony Fountain, on a 10,000sqft man-made lake, recently
reopened after a RM10 million (US$3.2 million) upgrade. It
now has modern, cutting-edge technology water displays with
energy-saving lights - an engineering design with individual
pump systems and integrated underwater LED technology. The
fountain features the profile of the national flower - bunga
raya (hibiscus) - whose open fan-shaped sprays dance, sway
and spin 360 degrees to form a myriad of water patterns. The
jets are affixed with a kaleidoscope of lights, which
twinkle and gravitate to the music. The fountain is switched
on every day at 8pm.
PART OF TAMAN NEGARA'S CANOPY WALKWAY CLOSED FOR
Part of the Canopy Walkway - 250 metres in length - in Taman
Negara (National Park), Pahang is closed for maintenance
until further notice. Currently, only 280 metres of the
walkway are opened. Work is expected to complete in July
2012, subject to weather conditions.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
ASIAN TRAILS MALAYSIA OFFERS "LILI MARLEEN" CHARTER
The "Lili Marleen" is a
three-masted yacht and can accommodate up to 150 guests on
sunset or day cruises, and a maximum of 50 guests for
Built in Germany in 1994, it is equipped with three VIP
Suites on the promenade deck and 22 Deluxe Cabins on the
lower deck. Each of the Suite and Deluxe Cabin is outfitted
with classical European furnishings and amenities. All
staterooms are air-conditioned and ensuite.
The "Lili Marleen" can go anywhere around South East Asia,
such as sailing through the Straits
of Malacca or
calling at historic ports and beautiful islands along the
Whether it is
just a sunset cruise, a full day cruise or a cruise in the
Andaman Sea for several days, the vessel and the crew are
entirely at our disposal.
Please contact us for more information.
ISLAND RESORT, KOTA KINABALU DELAYS OPENING TO
Gaya Island Resort, situated on Gaya Island in Sabah, has
delayed is opening to August 1, 2012. The resort, owned by
Malaysian conglomerate YTL Corporation, is part of a natural
marine conservation area.
SKYBAR AT TRADERS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR UNDERGOES
SkyBar, one of
top places to hang out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital
city, undergoes major refurbishment in early July. The
project, to enhance guests' experience, is expected to be
completed in October 5, 2012.
A new Hero bar
will be constructed along with a decked area, which will
accommodate an additional 100 guests and offers stunning
view of the Petronas Twin Towers. The 12 existing cabanas
will be reconditioned and an additional six will be
constructed at the western end of SkyBar. The DJ booth,
sound, lighting, staircase will also be upgraded to enhance
the atmosphere. Additional glass panels will be added to the
roof for additional inclement weather protection while
maintaining the open-air feature above the swimming pool. A
Big Ass Fan will be suspended from the roof to assist with
temperature control and guests' comfort, and existing
furniture will be replaced with the latest Dedon and LED
technology seating and tables.
The work will be conducted in three phases with a large
component prefabricated offsite. The area of focus will have
work conducted behind protective hoardings, and no work will
be carried out after 6pm through to the close of SkyBar.
Throughout the renovation period SkyBar, the swimming pool
and spa remain open for guests' use, and there will be
little or no impact to guestrooms.
FLAMINGO BY THE BEACH, PENANG GEARS FOR MIDDLE EAST
The Flamingo by
the Beach Resort in Penang has incorporated the following
facilities for the Middle East season
1) An in-house Arabic translator
2) In-room additional Al-Jazeera Channel
3) Information sheet available in Arabic
4) Additional Middle East food selection for breakfast
BEST WESTERN DEBUTS IN MALACCA
Best Western International (BWI) has opened Best Western
Wana Riverside Hotel in Malacca, as part of its ongoing
expansion in Malaysia. Located on the banks of the Melaka
River the 170-key Best Western Wana Riverside offers a mix
of superior, deluxe, grand deluxe, studio and executive
rooms, ranging in size from 29sqm to 40sqm. The hotel also
features meeting facilities for up to 400 persons, a sports
bar, and a riverside café.
TUNAMAYA BEACH & SPA RESORT, TIOMAN ISLAND OPEMS
Tunamaya Beach & Spa Resort on Tioman Island, a four star
private beach resort opened its doors on June 15, 2012. 60%
of the rooms are opened for sale. Work is currently ongoing
for the resort's facilities, which are expected to be ready
by end July.
UPDATE ON REFURBISHMENT AT MERITUS PELANGI BEACH
The Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort has announced the
completion of the refurbishment of its 104 luxurious rooms.
It will embark on the remaining phases of the refurbishment
from mid-July. The Resorts' Team will continue to manage and
ensure all guest inconveniences are kept to a minimum.
RENOVATION AT MUTIARA TAMAN NEGARA RESORT
The Mutiara Taman Negara Resort in Pahang has embarked on
the long awaited renovation exercise in phases beginning May
2012. The renovations are expected to complete in July 2013.
The exercise is planned with great care, taking into
consideration the smooth running of the resort and to ensure
minimal disturbance to the guests.
JAPAMALA TIOMAN UNDERGOES ENHANCEMENT WORK
JapaMala Tioman on Tioman Island is undergoing enhancement
and expansion works. The resort is building a new swimming
pool and all guests are assured that the existing pool and
other facilities are not affected. There is also no heavy
machinery used for the ongoing work so as not to disrupt the
resort's peaceful atmosphere and the guests' holiday
UPDATE ON TANJUNG RHU RESORT, LANGKAWI
We have latest update from the
project Team of Tanjung Rhu Resort on the property's ongoing
Rooms: Start/Finish Date: April 15-November 30, 2102.
Saffron Restaurant: Start/Finish Date: June 1- November 15,
Rhu Restaurant: Start/Finish Date: June 1- October 30, 2012.
FISHERMAN'S COVE RESTAURANT AT GAYA ISLAND RESORT &
PANGKOR LAUT RESORT
Please note that with immediate effect the minimum age
restriction at Fisherman's Cove Restaurant at both Pangkor
Laut Resort and Gaya Island Resort is 16 years old.
TANJUNG BUNGAH BEACH HOTEL, PENANG CLOSES FOR
The Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel, Penang has closed its doors
effective June 26 for a major makeover. No time frame has
been given for the project's completion.
MUTIARA BURAU BAY BEACH RESORT, LANGKAWI TO UNDERGO
The Mutiara Burau Bay Resort, Langkawi will embark on a long
overdue renovation in early 2013. In preparation for this
project the resort will stop accepting bookings effective
from January 19, 2013.
NEW SCHEDULES FOR PANGKOR LAUT RESORT'S SPEEDBOAT
Effective June 1, 2012 Pangkor Laut Resort has retimed its
departures for the scheduled speedboats, which ferry guests
to and from the resort. This rescheduling follows the
relocation of Pangkor Laut Resort Lumut office to Marina
Island Pangkor in December 2011.
Marina Island Pangkor is a man-made island linked by a
400-metre causeway bridge from the mainland and is poised to
be a premier waterfront township of Perak. The new Pangkor
Laut Resort office features comfortable, modern surroundings
which will enhance guests' arrival and check-in experience.
schedule as of June 1,2012:
Island to Pangkor Laut Resort: 0900hrs, 1300hrs, 1500hrs,
From Pangkor Laut Resort to Marina Island: 0845hrs,
1200hrs, 1300hrs, 1700hrs
JETTY TO LAGUNA REDANG RESORT RELOCATED
informed that the jetty to Laguna Redang Resort on Redang
Island has relocated from Shah Bandar Jetty to Merang Jetty
effective from 24 May 2012. The timing of the ferry is as
Jetty to Laguna Redang Island Resort:
Daily - 9.30am &
12.00pm (first come first serve)
From Laguna Redang Island Resort to Merang Jetty:
Daily - 9.00am & 12.00pm
FLAMINGO BY THE LAKE, KUALA LUMPUR OFFERS FREE
The Flamingo by the Lake, Kuala Lumpur is offering
complimentary scheduled shuttle service (two way transfers)
to Ampang Point, KLCC and Pavilion (Bukit Bintang).
Pre-arrangement is required with one day advance notice to
the hotel's concierge.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
INTERNATIONAL TOURISM NIGHT FLORAL PARADE 2012
JUNE 30 -JULY 8, 2012
VENUE: PREsINT 2, LAKE PUTRAJAYA, PUTRAJAYA
The Ministry of Tourism is organising the 1Malaysia
International Tourism Night Floral Parade themed, "Magic of
the Night". The event showcases a parade of lighted and
decorated boats floating across Putrajaya Lake to promote
the tourism attractions and icons of Malaysia and
international tourist destinations. A total of 13 local and
international boats parade across the Putrajaya Lake nightly
from 8.30pm to 9.30 pm, after which they are on static
display until 11.30pm. Entrance to the event is free. Do not
miss the opportunity to be at Putrajaya for the event as the
whole city is transformed into an enclave of beautiful
CONTEMPORARY ARTS TOURISM FESTIVAL
JULY 2012 -SEPTEMBER 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
This prestigious event, held for three months, gives an
insight into Malaysia's fascinating contemporary art scene.
The unique platform showcases both the established and
up-and-coming names in the art scene.
WORLD HERITAGE CITY CELEBRATION - GEORGETOWN
JULY 7, 2012
VENUE: ESPLANADE, PENANG
George Town in Penang was accorded the prestigious UNESCO
World Heritage List of Cities and Sights for its
"outstanding universal value" on July 7, 2008. The
month-long celebration features cultural and music shows,
traditional crafts demonstrations and exhibitions.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITY CELEBRATION - MALACCA
JULY 7, 2012
VENUE: BANDAR HILIR, MALACCA.
On July 7, 2008 Melaka was declared a World Heritage City by
UNESCO. Its heritage buildings, cultural enclaves and places
of worship are popular with history buffs and tourists who
come from all over the world to see them. Visit Malacca and
be part of the colourful celebrations.
RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
JULY 13-15, 2012
VENUE: SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE, KUCHING, SARAWAK
Tap to the rhythm of diverse ethnic music amidst the
magnificent rainforest of Sarawak. One of the largest
musical events in Malaysia, the Rainforest World Music
Festival celebrates world music with performances by ethnic
musicians from around the world.
JULY 15, 2012
VENUE: SHAH ALAM MATSUSHITA STADIUM, SELANGOR &
Bon Odori, a
Japanese custom to honour the spirits of one's ancestors,
has been celebrated in Japan for over 500 years. Selangor
and Penang are two of the states in Malaysia to host the
celebrations. The highlight is the customary Bon dance with
the performers dancing in a circle to the tunes of Tokyo-Ondo
JULY 20-AUGUST 19, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
As the holy month of Ramadan (fasting month) begins, stalls
and bazaars sprout throughout Malaysia, offering a wide
array of delicious fare for Muslims to break their fast.
WORLD LION DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP
JULY 20-22, 2012
VENUE: ARENA OF STARS, GENTING HIGHLANDS, PAHANG
World Lion Dance Championship is the most established
high-stilt lion dance championship in the world with the
best lion dance teams from around the globe competing for
the coveted award The bi-annual championship is entering its 10th edition this
year and is held
in conjunction with the organiser's 20th anniversary. Teams
rom around the world will battle it out as they make the
lions come alive with the beat of the drums and mesmerise
with their stunning acrobatic performances coupled with
synchronised agility. Don't miss out on this truly acrobatic
INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL
JULY 20-22, 2012
VENUE: SABAH CULTURAL CENTRE, PENAMPANG, SABAH
Dance troupes from around the world gather in the "Land
Below the Wind" for the Sabah International Folklore
Festival. This festival promises entertainment, as well as
education of the different cultures of the participating
DICKSON INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON
JULY 20-22, 2012
VENUE: PORT DICKSON, NEGERI SEMBILAN
Catch the live action as athletes compete in a test of
endurance and stamina. Challenges include swimming, cycling
and running. Do not miss this chance to be at Port Dickson,
the most popular beach destination on the west coast of
INTERNATIONAL YACHTING CHALLENGE
JULY 21-27, 2012
VENUE: MIRI, SARAWAK
The Borneo International Yachting Challenge, the first truly
international yachting event in the waters off Borneo, is a
joint effort of Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of
Labuan. It is organised under the auspices of the Malaysian
Yachting Association. This year's race is in its 9th season
and the start of the race has been timed to coincide with
the schedule of
Sail Malaysia Passage to the East Rally,
and more cruising yachts are expected to join in for some
Sail Malaysia Passage to the East Rally
(May-August) is a cruising rally, which takes place across
Malaysia, from Langkawi to Sabah. This is the fifth edition
of the rally. In Borneo, a joint format is organised with
the Borneo International Yacht Challenge, which incorporates
a week's regatta in Miri, Brunei, Labuan and Kota Kinabalu.
AUGUST 19-20, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a celebratory day as it signifies
victory for Muslims after a month of fasting from dawn to
dusk. On this special day Muslims attend special morning
prayers in mosques and visit the cemeteries of their loved
ones. Decked in their traditional finery, friends and family
from near and far come together to celebrate this joyous
occasion. There will be a variety of tasty delicacies to
make the celebrations memorable
PAHANG BILLFISH INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE
AUGUST 24-26, 2012
VENUE: KUALA ROMPIN, PAHANG
This annual event puts the small town of Kuala Rompin,
Pahang in the international limelight. The challenge draws
anglers from as far as the United Kingdom, United States,
Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.
MILLENIUM ENDURANCE RACE
AUGUST 29-SEPTEMBER 1, 2012
VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, SELANGOR
The Malaysia Merdeka Endurance Race (MMER), formerly the
Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race, is a 12 hours
event held annually at the
Sepang International Circuit
as part of the
Held annually since 2000, this year's race will be part of
the Japanese Super Taikyu Series.
AUGUST 31, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
Malaysia celebrates its 55th year of independence or
"Merdeka" this year. Events to celebrate this special day
include an open-air concert on the eve of Merdeka (August
30), and on the morning of August 31 a colourful parade will
be held. Every state in Malaysia celebrates Merdeka with
special events and parades.
AIRASIA X FLIES DIRECT TO BEIJING
Malaysia's longhaul budget carrier, AirAsia X, launched
direct Kuala Lumpur-Beijing service on June 22, 2012. With
this new route the airline terminated its Kuala Lumpur-Tianjin
service. Tianjin Airport is considered an alternative
airport as it is 80km away from Beijing, while the Beijing
international airport is 30km from the Chinese capital.
FIREFLY'S TWICE-WEEKLY KUALA LUMPUR-NANJING CHARTERS
Firefly, Malaysia's community airline, recently started
direct twice-weekly charter flights to Nanning in South
China from Kuala Lumpur and Penang. The flight from Kuala
Lumpur is on every Sunday, and from Kuala Lumpur via Penang
MAS STREAMLINES CABIN BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE
Airlines (MAS) streamlined its cabin baggage rules for its
domestic and international flights from May 15, in
preparation for its entry into oneworld, a global airline
Under the new guidelines guests travelling in Economy Class
are allowed one piece of cabin baggage with a maximum weight
of 7kg instead of 5kg. Guests in First and Business Class
have an allowance of two pieces of cabin baggage with a
maximum weight of 7kg each. Each cabin bag must not exceed
56cm in height, 36cm in length and 23cm in width. Apart from
the streamlined cabin baggage allowance each guest can bring
on board either a notebook/laptop or briefcase or a
binoculars bag. In addition, guests can also carry a small
handbag and a walking stick.
SINGLE IMMIGRATION/CHECK-IN COUNTER AT KLIA FOR MAS'
International Airport (KLIA) will provide immigration
clearance and check-in services through a single counter,
the world's first airport to provide such a service, when it
is operational in July. The counter will be exclusive to
Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) First Class and Enrich Platinum
The initiative is in line with KLIA's efforts to strengthen
its position as one of the top airports in the world in
terms of Immigration service. Passengers will be escorted
from the check-in counter by MAS personnel through a special
route to the departure area and will be given VVIP
treatment. Passengers travelling on MAS' new Airbus A380
aircraft in July are the first to enjoy this new service.
AIRASIA PHILIPPINES LAUNCHES MANILA-KUALA LUMPUR
AirAsia Philippines launched its first international flight,
Manila to Kuala Lumpur, on June 9, increasing the frequency
of the existing route to Kuala Lumpur currently offered by
AirAsia, its Malaysian shareholder. AirAsia, which owns 40%
of AirAsia Philippines, continues to operate its daily
flight between Clark International Airport, Pampanga,
Philippines and Kuala Lumpur.
FIREFLY OPENS UP KOTA BAHRU-JOHOR BAHRU CONNECTION
Firefly, the low-cost unit of Malaysia Airlines, launches
Kota Bahru to Johor Bahru flights, becoming the first
airline to provide direct air linkages connecting the south
and the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
FIREFLY FLIES TO CHRISTMAS ISLAND
Firefly introduces weekly scheduled charter service between
Kuala Lumpur and Christmas Island in Australia from July 7
this year. The service are on every Saturday, departing
Kuala Lumpur at 9.20am and arriving Christmas Island at
10.55am. The return flight leaves Christmas Island at
11.55am and arrives in Kuala Lumpur at 3.30pm. Firefly
will utilise the 162-seater Boeing B737-400 aircraft n this
MANDALA AIRLINES LAUNCHES JAKARTA-KUALA LUMPUR
Mandala Airlines, Indonesian budget carrier, has launched
its second international route connecting Jakarta and Kuala
Lumpur. The daily flight departs from Jakarta every
afternoon. The airline recently resumed operations after
being grounded for over a year.
AIRPHIL EXPRESS EXPANDS TO KUALA LUMPUR
Express, the budget arm of Philippine Airlines, has added
Kuala Lumpur to its regional network with a thrice-weekly
service on June 21, 2012. The flights, using the Airbus A320
aircraft, are from Clark International Airport, Pampanga,
Philippines to Kuala Lumpur.
SEAIR CONNECTS CLARK AIRPORT WITH KOTA KINABALU
South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) launched the inaugural
flight of its newest international route from Clark
International Airport, Pampanga, Philippines to Kota
Kinabalu, Sabah on May 1, 2012. The airline offers roundtrip
flights every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at
3.05pm-5.05pm for Clark-Kota Kinabalu, and 5.35pm-7.35 for
TIGER AIRWAYS BOOSTS FLIGHTS TO MALAYSIA, CHINA IN
Singapore's budget carrier, Tiger Airways, will ramp up
frequencies to Kuching (Sarawak) and Penang in Malaysia and
Haikou, China in August. For the forthcoming Hari Raya Puasa
holiday in Malaysia the airline's flights from Singapore to
Kuching and Penang will operate twice daily from August
17-26, 2012. Its Singapore-Haikou flights will be upped from
three to five times weekly for August.
KLM TO UP AMSTERDAMKUALA LUMPUR SERVICES
Dutch Airlines will add three weekly flights between Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia and Amsterdam, Holland, increasing the
number of weekly services on the route to 10. The extra
flights, part of the airline's northern winter schedule,
take to 68 the number of weekly connections KLM offers from
Australia to Europe through a codeshare partnership with
The three new flights from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam will
depart every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at 0950hrs
arriving in Amsterdam at 1520hrs. The additional flights
from Amsterdam will depart at 12.35hrs every Monday,
Wednesday and Saturday, arriving in Kuala Lumpur at 07.20hrs
the next day, to connect with onward flights to Australia.
KLM operates a combination of Boeing 777-200 and Boeing
747-400 aircraft between Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
NEW ORLEANS BAR & GRILL OPENS IN SUNWAY RESORT HOTEL
The Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, Kuala Lumpur has closed its
Avanti Italian Restaurant, and in its place is a new
improved restaurant - The New Orleans Bar & Grill. A new mix
of great food and entertainment, it encapsulates the essence
of New Orleans the outlet features Southern American cuisine
with Cajun and Creole influence for a soulful meal with
NEW ACCOUNTS ASSISTANT
Ivan Ong Chip Hong recently joined us as Accounts Assistant.
He has a degree in accountancy and his speciality is in
handling full set of accounts, especially in the field
relating to sales and purchase. We welcome Ivan to the team
and wish him the very best.
ANY OTHER NEWS
MULU NATIONAL PARK TO BE GAZETTED NON-SMOKING AREA
Government's move to gazette the Mulu National Park in
Sarawak, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as a non-smoking area
by 2017 is not expected to deter tourists, but instead could
encourage even more visitors to the park.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Malaysian
Health Promotion Board (MySihat) and the Sarawak Health Club
to promote the Mulu Heritage Smoke-Free project was signed
in May this year.
Our newest addition to our mini bus fleet started operations in
Bali just in time for the start of the high season. In addition
to the two existing seven-seater Suzuki Elf mini buses we have
just received another vehicle of the same type, but with a
longer chassis. The Suzuki Elf long version has space for up to
10 passengers, the driver and guide without carrying luggage.
Compared to other previous cars our new Elf fleet is equipped
with comfortable single seats including seat belts and spacious
All the three mini buses are used for smaller groups or large
families on roundtrips in Bali and East Java. Due to its narrow
body the Suzuki Elf is the ideal car (for 4-10 passengers) for
Bali's narrow roads. For couples we still offer a wide range of
different car categories such as Suzuki APV's (Regular), Toyota
Innova (Superior) and Toyota Alphard (Luxury). All the cars are
manufactured in Indonesia under joint venture companies of
Suzuki or Toyota.
ASIAN TRAILS INDONESIA WORKING WITH NPO TO BETTER
Asian Trails Indonesia has strengthened its cooperation with
the Non Profit Organisation (NPO), "Zukunft für Kinder"
(Future for Children).
While we are already organising trekking itineraries to the
remote villages of the Muntigunung area in northeast Bali,
where the NPO is active, we also offer our partners the
local products from their workshops. For example, locally
produced cashew nuts packed in a nice handmade rattan box
make a nice souvenir for guests visiting Bali. The income
from the sales goes directly to the villagers in this
impoverished area of Bali.
"Zukunft für Kinder" is a Swiss NPO that mobilises funding
in Switzerland towards implementing a development programme
in Muntigunung, focusing on water supply and livelihood
development. The aim is to enable approximately 5,500 less
privileged villagers to better their lives.
"The Samata" provides the highest standards of ultra-luxury
accommodation combined with a service that is both refined
and relaxed. Styled with traditional Phinisi charm it is,
without a doubt, the most beautiful 42- metre luxury yacht
to navigate the waters of Indonesia. It offers an atmosphere
of conviviality and casual elegance, offering passengers a
supreme combination of pure pampered comfort and exotic
The yacht accommodates up to 12 guests in complete comfort,
and is designed for those who enjoy the finer things in life
but prefer an unstructured holiday. Superb service,
individual attention, sumptuous cuisine, diving adventures
and abundance of space make for an unforgettable and magical
vacation. The day proceeds at your own pace, whatever that
may be. Indeed, the very notion of a rigid agenda of
activities is foreign.
AMANIKAN CRUISES RAJA AMPAT, PAPUA
Amanikan's Raja Ampat Expedition takes place on board
Amanikan, Amanresorts' custom-built 32-metre Phinisi coastal
cruiser. The boat is ideal for private cruises for one, two
or three couples or a family, and supports a crew of 10
including a dive instructor and a private chef.
An expansive master cabin sits at the rear of the upper deck
offering sweeping 270-degree views from the large private
terrace. The second spacious double cabin boasts a king-size
bed and a private balcony. A third smaller cabin offers twin
beds or a king-size bed. All three cabins feature
air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with double vanities,
showers and separate toilets. Large teak decks are equipped
with loungers and dining furniture for relaxing, sunbathing
and eating - either under the stars or protected from the
elements. Amanikan offers a menu of Asian and Western dishes
created by Amanwana's Chef, tailored to your preferences.
Amanikan's Raja Ampat expedition is a five- or seven-night
adventure through one of the world's most exceptional marine
areas. Renowned for its biodiversity Raja Ampat, or "The
Four Kings", encompasses over 40,000 square kilometres in
the northeast seas of the Indonesian archipelago where the
Pacific becomes the Indian Ocean. The resulting currents
stir up nutrient-rich water, which, along with the tropical
climate, nurtures magnificent coral reefs and unparalleled
Sanur is seeing its first luxury 5 star resort - The Regent
Bali - opening by the end of the year. A 95-key luxury
resort it features four acres of tropical gardens with 200
metres of beach and 24-hours butler service. The resort also
offers 25 Regent Residences.
The dining and entertainment outlets at the Regent Bali will
marry the resort's magnificent ocean views and tropical
setting, with two indoor/outdoor setting restaurants serving
local delicacies with both Asian and International flair, as
well as a lobby lounge and library lounge. Additional
amenities will include a large infinity pool literally on
the ocean, a children's pool, a kid's club, fitness centre
and a sunken luxurious spa with rooftop reflecting pools. It
will also offer a range of water sports and activities
delving into Bali's rich local culture and history.
MAHAGIRI VILLAS, SANUR
Located in Sanur, Mahagiri Villas has a heritage of royalty
within the Balinese as the people who reside here are from
regal blue blood. A seamless fusion of local traditional
designs yet stylishly appealing for the discerning
traveller, Mahagiri not only recreates Bali's unique
community but also complements it with true Asian efficient
The resort's 17 luxurious opulent villas have stylish
interiors whose décor is inspired by natural and
contemporary panache. Its restaurant, spa and gym and beach
club, only 10 minutes walking distance from the resort
proper, have just been completed.
Chill-axing is one of the best things to do at Mahagiri
Villas - guests can opt for a gazebo in a shaded corner or
simply laze comfortably by the inviting water.
EASIER ACCESS TO KURA KURA RESORT AND KARIMUN JAWA
The remote archipelago near the island of Java has become
easier to reach with new various alternatives of
Operating every day with a new eight-seater Grand Caravan,
which has now really improved our service, being able to
manage one passengers at a time. Flying time is
approximately 35 to 40 minutes.
There are now improved services to the island with the new
express Bahari from Jepara, which operates five times a week
(sailing time two hours) in addition to the ferry scheduled
service from Semarang. The latter is a good alternative for
clients with a low budget to visit our beautiful Island.
Kura Kura Resort can charter a beautiful private yacht
(brand new, 16m in length with three beautiful cabins),
departs from Jepara and arrives in front of the resort
(sailing time approximately 2 hours 30 minutes)
Semarang's improved air connections:
AirAsia launched a new daily Semarang-Kuala Lumpur service
earlier this year. The flight departs Semarang at 17.10hrs
and connects to the shuttle flight of Kura Kura Resort.
ANANTARA ULUWATU SOFT OPENS
Anantara Bali Uluwatu, located in southwest of the Bukit
Peninsula, soft opened on June 15 of this year. It is a
complex resort with the combination of suites, villas and
penthouses that is perfect for all market segments from FITs,
couples and honeymooners, families, meetings and incentive
to weddings Support facilities include the wedding chapel,
meeting room, children facilities, spa and swimming pool
with a specious pool side deck.
The resort has 74 sea view suites, private pool villas and
duplex penthouses, with sizes ranging from 84 square metres
for the smallest condos up to 350 square metres for the
villas. The four-storey ocean view condominium building
offers one-bedroom suites, while the villas comprise two- or
three-bedrooms. All have private pools of approximately 3x12
VILLA IDANNA PUCCI BY ALILA
Villa Idanna Pucci is set on a promontory overlooking the
spellbinding landscape of Sidemen Valley with its rice
terraces and forested hills leading up the sacred Gunung
Agung Volcano. A rare setting for total rejuvenation of body
and soul and for seeking solace with nature.
The villa offers two large bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms
and one children room - all under one roof with spacious
al-fresco seating areas and a well-appointed library. There
is no television to disturb the peace, but a wireless modem
is provided for data connectivity. There is a private
20-metre pool heated by the sun, from where you can watch
neighbouring farmers cultivate their fields. Services and
facilities include four local staff looking after you with
care while respecting your privacy. Daily breakfast and
dinner are prepared in a well-appointed kitchen on the
western side of the property. The resort also offers
in-villa traditional massage and laundry service.
THE TUSITA OPENS IN KUTA
The Tusita is conveniently located in the heart Kuta, Bali's
most famous beach, and 200 metres away from Discovery
Shopping Mall, Wana Segara and Kuta Beach. It has
85 rooms comprising deluxe and suite rooms. All the modern
styled rooms have air conditioning, private bathrooms,
fridge with minibar and complimentary Internet access.
PACIFIC ROYALE AIRWAYS TAKES FLIGHT
Pacific Royale Airways began
Indonesian domestic operations on June 11, 2012. The new
carrier operates as a full service airline and is a direct
competitor to the flagship carrier, Garuda Indonesia.
Operating a fleet of two Fokker 50 aircraft the airline's
domestic schedule includes daily flights from Semarang to
Bandung, Pekanbaru to Surabaya, Kerinci to Jambi and Padang.
Out of Batam it operates daily flights to Pekanbaru and
thrice weekly to Jambi.
Pacific Royal Airways expects to add another three F50s,
four Airbus A320s and one A330-300 to its fleet in the near