Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue July 2015

THE CEO STORY

DISCOVERING THAILAND THROUGH THE MUSEUMS OF BANGKOK

Isn't it true that for many of us the sights that are closest to our homes are the ones we know the least? How many of us have really visited the tourist attractions in our own city despite recommending them to our friends and clients.

I, for one, have not been to many of the unique museums in Bangkok. It is in the spirit of discovering what's in our backyards and on the initiative of our new partners, Rock Around Asia, we filled one of our minibuses with Asian Trails Thailand managers and set off for a full day of museum visits in Bangkok.

I must admit that I have not heard of the Thai Labour Museum. You won't find it in any "to do lists", "must see sights", or listings of major guide books on Bangkok. A hidden little gem behind Makkasan Station, it claims to be the first and only labour museum in Asia. Don't expect to see any multiple-storey grand building. Instead the museum is inside a discreet house, which used to be the railway police station. Make sure you wear light clothing, as parts of the museum are not air-conditioned.

The museum gives a unique insight into the development of the modern Thai society, relating the story of the lower classes, as well as giving an equal account of Thailand's contemporary history. You learn how the Thai people changed from a partially enslaved population to be a free people living in this modern industrial age, what motivated the Chinese to migrate to the Kingdom, and how work ethics changed after Thailand became a constitutional monarchy. The museum also pays tribute to the Thai kings who implemented reforms that were far ahead of their times.

All inscriptions in the museum are in Thai and English. After an hour's tour of its east and west wing you will be well versed with Thai's contemporary history and the evolution of labour.

From history to medicine as we drove down to the Chao Phraya River, and crossed by boat to the Siriraj Medical Museum. For the Thai people this is one of the most well known museums in the country, and a compulsory field trip for most high school students in Bangkok.

Housed in several parts of Siriraj Hospital, the most interesting area for foreigners is probably the Tsunami Museum that is part of the Forensic Medicine section. Here are accounts of the activities of the hospital's doctors and nurses who travelled to the Phuket area on December 26, 2004 to help local hospitals cope with the injured and the dead from the devastating tsunami.

Here you will relive the valiant efforts of these selfless medical personnel in saving lives with vivid and, at times, disturbing descriptions of injuries, and how the doctors and nurses coped with the sheer volume of the injured. It is also sad to watch the pictorial accounts of the forensic teams toiling through the piles of bodies to identify the victims, and the techniques they used to do this.

There is screening of a comprehensive and touching documentary on the hospital's activities after the tsunami. I don't think anyone left the room without a tear in the eye.

The Forensic and Pathological part of the museum is not for the faint hearted. Unlike its western counterparts where explicit photographs and displays of the dead and wounded are not usually displayed, the Siriraj Medical Museum shows all these and mostly in colour. Expect to see graphic photographs of victims of train and traffic accidents.

Visitors may find some parts of this museum a bit too gruesome to visit, so plan which sections you wish to go to. A word of caution - the museum is a definite no go for families with young children.

Our next stop is BACC or the Bangkok Art & Cultural Center, which probably has the biggest impact on the art world in Thailand since its opening. It is located opposite the MBK shopping complex, a few steps away from the National Stadium skytrain station, and is one of the easiest museums to access in the city.

A number of halls are allocated to permanent exhibitions, but many are hosting temporary art shows that are quite interesting. Art is always a matter of taste, and the latter is pure individualism. What I like about the center is the mix of foreign and local art, local artists influenced by foreign elements, and foreign artists experimenting with Asian culture. I don't know if the foodie term of 'fusion' applies to paintings and sculptures, but if it does then the temporary exhibitions at BACC certainly fit this term. Check BACC's website for the schedule of exhibitions.

We have teamed up with Rock Around Asia to bring more meaning to museum visits and a wider context to the exhibits, as the company offers highly intellectual foreign and local experts for these visits. Their guides not only explain the museum's displays, but will also bring perspective and academic content into the tour. They are also experts on a large number of museums and sights in Asia. Working together, Asian Trails can tailor make unique experiences for special interest groups, academics, universities, and travellers with distinct interests.

Contact Asian Trails Thailand for further information.

 

Happy Trails! 

 

Laurent Kuenzle 

CEO 

Asian Trails 

   

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    THAILAND

     

     

    A NOTE FROM DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR YVES VAN KERREBROECK


    Dear Friends,

    It really is a pleasure to greet you this way after my first eight months with Asian Trails Thailand. It has been an exciting and fulfilling personal and professional journey so far.

    One of the many projects I'm proud to share with you is our renewed focus on truly distinctive products that offer a genuinely authentic, (inter)active and sustainable Thailand experience.

    As part of this, you will read more about our 'Expert Trails'-concept in this newsletter. They are a unique and meaningful way of connecting the traveller with our destination experts and offering a one-of-a-kind insight into their areas of expertise.

    Whether it's an in-depth exploration of Bangkok's diverse and vibrant art scene together with a French expat and gallery owner, a behind-the-scenes look at a local Muay Thai fight in the company of a former World Champion, or even a fun Chinatown street food walk with one of the city's renowned food bloggers; these experiences in art, sports, culture, history, food or photography, cannot just simply be booked online. They represent our commitment as local experts to offer you exclusive access to exceptional experiences in our destinations.

    You'll also find out more about our 'Sustainable Trails' where we actively promote local suppliers who offer truly sustainable and authentic experiences, which involve our guests in fun and meaningful community-based excursions and activities.

    These new dynamic and interactive experiences are part of our long-term investment into quality services for you and your clients.

    I thank you for your continued trust and support for Asian Trails Thailand, and I look forward to working closely together with all of you.

    Yves Van Kerrebroeck
    Deputy Managing Director
    Asian Trails Thailand

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    TRAVEL IN STYLE WITH ASIAN TRAILS' NEW VEHICLES

     

    We are pleased to announce the latest additions to our Asian Trails vehicle fleet, as well as private in-house Deluxe Transfers. We have selected three brand new Toyota Camry vehicles to transport our guests in comfort and style in and around Phuket. Having our own vehicles is part of our commitment to ensure the quality of both vehicle and driver to our guests.

    For more details and bookings, please contact res@asiantrails.org

     

     

     

    NEW EXPLORE! A DAY AS AN ARTISAN

     

    Get your creative groove on as this trip transforms you into an artisan. Become an apprentice of the lacquer ware craft that dates back to almost 200 years, and create your own masterpiece as souvenirs. Following that, pay homage or make merit in traditional Lanna style and enjoy lunch prepared by a local social enterprise.

    For more details and bookings, please contact res@asiantrails.org

     

     

     

    NEW EXPLORE! LOST TREASURE IN CHIANG MAI

     

    Chiang Mai is a historical city known for its nostalgic and historical charm. This Lost Treasure trip takes you to the local shops that still retain some old craftsmanship. You will see how decorative umbrellas are made, and find out how silverware and lacquer ware play a big role in the story of Chiang Mai.

    For more details and bookings, please contact res@asiantrails.org

     

     

     

    UPGRADED! 5-DAY SOUTHERN EXPLORER


    From November 1, 2015 Asian trails will make an amendment to its 5-day Southern Explorer tour. The reason for the amendment is the driving distance between Hua Hin and Khao Sok. Instead of going from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, the route will be changed to go to Hua Hin. This is to avoid the long drive from Hua Hin to Khao Sok, and the route will be shortened to go from Chumporn to Khao Sok within one day.

    For more details and bookings, please contact res@asiantrails.org
     

     

     

    UPGRADED! 6-DAY THAILAND CLASSIC TOUR


    From November 1, 2015, Asian Trails will offer a modified and more diversified version of the 6-Day Thailand Classic Tour. The tour's highlights include a long-tail boat trip in Ayutthaya, and visits to a folk museum and the Buddha statue factory in Pitsanulok. Ride on a horse carriage, and walk through the city of Lampang to visit its most remarkable houses in colonial style. Then visit a pineapple plantation, and enjoy the beautiful scenic view over the Phayao Lake. Additional features of the newly improved tour are visits to the White Temple in Chiang Rai, an orchid farm, an elephant camp, and Temple Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai.

    More details and bookings, please contact res@asiantrails.org

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    BANGKOK

     

    NEW - MÖVENPICK SUKHUMVIT 15


    Mövenpick Hotel Sukhumvit 15 Bangkok is a brand new 4 star hotel with 297 stylish, tech-savvy rooms and suites. Complimentary amenities include free WiFi connection, and 24-hour tuk-tuk shuttle service. Hotel facilities include a 20-metre rooftop pool and bar, 330 square meters of meeting space, and a cosy courtyard featuring a unique two-story waterfall.

     

     

     

    NEW - AMARA BANGKOK

     

    Amara Bangkok marks Singapore-based Amara Hotels & Resorts' first entry into the "Land of Smiles". The 250-room hotel is designed as a business and leisure hotel, providing guests with the experience of an "oasis in the city". It is located on Surawongse Road, parallel to Silom and Sathorn roads.

    The full service hotel will feature Amara's signature cuisine in a chic restaurant, a tranquil sunset bar by the rooftop pool for guests to unwind, a lobby bar, comprehensive facilities for MICE, as well as a state-of-the-art wellness level comprising a gymnasium.

     

     

     

    DREAM HOTEL BANGKOK

     

    Dream Hotel Bangkok is a beautiful boutique property, which offers guests a modern fusion of Western and Eastern styles. It is located in the heart of Sukhumvit (Soi 15), Bangkok's pulse for fashion, entertainment and business. The hotel features 195 guestrooms and suites. Facilities include Flava Restaurant & Bar, Flava Lite, a rooftop pool bar, and Oasis Spa.

     

     

     

     

    PHUKET

     

    LE CORAL HIDEAWAY BEYOND PHUKET

     

    Le Coral Hideaway Beyond Phuket is located on the west coast of Phang Nga on Natai Beach, about 25 minutes north of Phuket International Airport. It offers 58 luxurious rooms, each with view of the sea, comfortable beds, outdoor balcony, amenities by Molton Brown, state-of-the art entertainment, and 24-hour room service provided by LA PERLA. There are seven suite types with either direct access to the main pool or your own private pool, as well as personal butler service.

     

     

     

     

    KRABI

     

    NEW - MARINA EXPRESS FISHERMAN AONANG

     

    Marina Express Fisherman Aonang is the newest hotel in the Sugar Marina Group, which opened last April. Its design is based on the fisherman's way of life, and fits perfectly with the beautiful scenery at Ao Nang, Krabi. It offers 61 rooms and nine villas, all decorated in a fisherman's theme and equipped with comfortable double or single beds, and air conditioning.

     

     

     

     

    KOH MADSUM - SAMUI

     

    REBRANDED - U KOH MADSUM SAMUI (FORMER THE TREASURE KOH MADSUM)


    The Treasure Koh Madsum has been rebranded to U Koh Madsum Samui. The resort is located on Koh Madsum, one of Thailand's last untouched islands, south of Koh Samui. It offers travellers a unique tropical setting with uninterrupted views of the Gulf of Thailand and neighbouring islands.

    U Koh Madsum Samui is the ultimate escape from the hustle and bustle of today's modern world. It features 37 luxury villas comprising 8 Tented Villas, 16 Sala Villas, 8 Pool Villas, 4 Beachfront Pool Villas and 1 two-bedroom beachfront Pool Villa. All the villas are designed to be peaceful and relaxing spaces, surrounded by rich verdant foliage. They have private terraces or balconies and lounge areas, with in-room luxury amenities, rain showers and/or bathtubs.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALES 2015
    JUNE 15-SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
    VENUE: BANGKOK


    The Siam area in Bangkok, well known for its fabulous shopping, will be at the forefront of the Amazing Thailand Grand Sales. Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Gaysorn will all have sales during this period. Central World is holding its main sales events from June 15 to September 30, with a special 14-day extravaganza. Other shopping malls such as Emporium, Gaysorn and Central Chit Lom, will also be having special sales. During this period almost every shop in the city will be spotting the red bag sign, showing it is a participant in the Grand Sales

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    ETIHAD AIRWAYS UPS FREQUENCY ON ABU DHABI-BANGKOK ROUTE


    Etihad Airways added a fourth daily service between Abu Dhabi and Bangkok from July 1, 2015, operating with a Boeing B777-300ER aircraft. The new service increases the airline's round trip flights between the two cities to 28 a week and add 5,000 weekly seats to the route. Its good timing and convenient two-way connections is a boon for business travellers and holiday-makers coming to Thailand.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    RUEN URAI - FINE THAI CUISINE


    Ruen Urai is the signature restaurant of Rose Hotel Bangkok. Set in a century-old traditional Thai house built from golden teakwood, the restaurant serves exotic Thai cuisine inspired by the herbal medicine doctor who was the original proprietor of the house. Located on Surawongse Road right in the heart of Bangkok, its exotic and elegant ambience is perfect for a romantic dinner or a private party.

    Ruen Urai is open for lunch and dinner from 12 noon to 11 p.m.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    NIELS M. STEEMAN IS NEW E-COMMERCE & MARKETING MANAGER


    Niels Steeman, a Dutch national, has joined Asian Trails Thailand in mid- May in the newly created role of E-commerce & Marketing Manager. He is responsible for Asian Trails Group's online activities including social media and marketing.

    Niels has a diverse industry background including working in hotels, OTAs and DMCs in Europe and South East Asia where he held various management positions. He worked with Destination Asia for five years as its Group Product Director before joining Asian Trails.

    We welcome Niels and wish him success in his new role.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS CARES - CSR STAFF OUTING 2015


    In May this year our teams from Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi had their annual staff outing. It was not just the usual staff outing but was combined with a CSR activity.

    The day started up with a visit to Thai Rath Vithaya 29, a school in Phuket that Asian Trials support by providing school equipment and donations for other essentials. Later in the day we had he Beach Olympic, which was not only a lot of fun but also served as an ice-breaker for the new members in the Asian Trails family. The outing ended with an unforgettable full moon white party, bringing to a close a perfect day of bonding among team members and doing charitable work.

    We are very proud to support CSR projects as part of our spirit of caring and supporting the local communities and their well being.

     

     

     

    Mondo Travel Marketing represents Asian Trails for the MICE industry in Brazil


    As of the 1st July 2015, Mondo Travel Marketing, Walter Soares will be the exclusive representative for Brazil for all MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events) business for the Asian Trails Group of companies. In his new role, Mondo Travel Marketing will focus on the development of MICE business opportunities for Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. With an extensive knowledge of the Brazilian MICE business, Mondo Travel Marketing will represent a growing market segment for Asian Trails.

    " South East Asia is a new challenge in this new phase of Mondo, I am very happy to partner with Asian Trails companies operating in all these destinations', says Walter Soares.

    "We are very pleased to have Walter and Mondo Travel Marketing on board as one of our MICE representation offices. Asian Trails has demonstrated over the years that MICE have become a growing sector in our business model. Asia remains a highly attractive market for business corporations and multi-nationals, searching for excellent services and a broad array of MICE opportunities for its delegates", according to Laurent Kuenzle, CEO of the Asian Trails Group.

     

     

     
     

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    LAOS

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDREAS HOFMANN

     

    Sabaidee!

    The Green Season has started in Laos. For me this is the best time of the year to visit the former Kingdom of One Million Elephants and the White Parasol. The temperatures are cooling down, the air is fresh and, although it is raining intermittently the landscape is lush and green.

    Last month I visited Vang Vieng for a relaxed tour down the Nam Song by kayak. The river did not have a lot of water yet, and it was wonderful to enjoy the quiet nature. The town is now a very different place to a few years ago - the wild gap year students and their night-long parties are gone. Instead nature is once again the main activity there. Besides kayaking, you can swim in caves, do rock-climbing, cycle around the rice fields or, yes, go tubing.

    My recommendation is to combine a culture tour to Luang Prabang's UNESCO world heritage temples and cafés with some active sport in Vang Vieng around this time of the year!

    Happy Trails!

    Andreas Hofmann
    Managing Director Asian Trails Laos

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    SPECIAL PROMOTION: 7 DAYS /6 NIGHTS LAOS NORTH & SOUTH - CULTURE & NATURE HIGHLIGHTS


    The Green Season is a low-price season, even for five deluxe hotels in Laos. We put together an attractive summer promotion - 7 Days /6 Nights Laos North & South - a comprehensive tour that combines the northern and southern highlights of Laos, and includes the key cultural and natural experiences the destination has to offer.

    Travel to Luang Prabang, the Bolaven Plateau and 4.000 islands with a special price. Seven days and six nights are just enough time to have an intense programme, but still find some quiet time to enjoy the relaxed pace of life that is Laos' specialty.

    Northern Laos with Luang Prabang, the cultural centre of Laos, is famed for living Buddhist culture and French colonial heritage. Southern Laos has the Bolaven Plateau, which is home to some of the most impressive natural wonders in Laos as well as South East Asia; and Wat Phou, a small but significant Khmer temple that is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Experiential options (Baci Ceremony, traditional story telling and coffee roasting) offer an inexpensive way for making the tour more interactive and multi-sensual.

    Contact us at res@asiantrailslaos.com for rates and details
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    PROMOTION: LUANG SAY RESIDENCE - PAY2 STAY 3


    The 5 star luxury boutique hotel is set on 14,000sqm of land in lush and tropical gardens with great mountain views. It is just a 15-minute walk to the town centre.

    Accommodations are spread out within five pavilions holding 20 pioneer suites, with the main residence comprising four Explorator suites. Each suite offers twin or king sized beds draped with cosy netting, and boasts ample living space that includes a lounge area equipped with a writing desk and divan. Wooden trim adds a soft, elegant touch to the rooms and suites

     

     

     

    VICTORIA XIENGTHOUNG PALACE WINTER PROMOTION


    Xieng Thong Palace, the last residence of the royalty of Laos, is now a unique hotel located in the most tranquil area of Luang Prabang. Set besides the most revered Buddhist monastery, which was the royal temple Wat Xiengthong, and facing the Great Mekong River the hotel is one of the best choices for travellers to Laos.

    The hotel is within walking distance of the city's shopping district and the popular markets, as well close to Luang Prabang International airport. This architectural masterpiece, featuring 26 well-appointed rooms including 14 suites, combines intimacy, comfort, exclusivity with the personalised service and great attention to detail that makes it the distinctive choice among Luang Prabang's luxury hotels.

    For stays of two nights and above, there is a complimentary one set dinner for two persons/room. The promotion is valid from October 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 (blackout dates are two nights over Christmas on December 24 and 25, 2015; three nights over New Year on December 31, 2015 and January 1-2, 2016; six nights over the Lunar New Year on 9-14 February, 2016; one night over Easter 27 March, 2016).

     

     

     

     
     

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    CAMBODIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

     

    Dear Partners and Friends,

    Cambodia is both an authentic and an astounding destination in South East Asia. Its wonderful heritage, geographical diversity, and the kindness and simplicity of its people leave no one untouched by this beautiful country.

    Our creative team at Asian Trails Cambodia continues to design and select new products offering rewarding, fun and easy experience to the visitors.

    As always, we are looking forward to welcoming your guest in beautiful Cambodia!

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    ROMCHEIK 5 ART SPACE - NEW ART GALLERY IN BATTAMBANG.


    Romcheik 5 is the name of the neighbourhood of Battambang where in 2012 four young Khmer artists, aged 20 to 25 years old, established their joint workshop and studios with the help of a donor.

    Today, three years later, this space has been extended with the construction of a building that has a gallery and a small museum with a permanent collection of their best artworks. The Art Gallery is on the ground floor, and the Countryside Museum is on the first floor and rooftop.

    Romcheik 5 Art Space is open daily from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    NEW CULTURAL TOUR IN BATTAMBANG WITH PHARE PONLEU SELPAK


    Phare Ponleu Selpak offers a two-day tour in Battambang and its surroundings, mixing both visual and performing arts.

    The tour revolves around three core concepts:
    Discover Cambodian contemporary culture: Visit of Phare and encounter Cambodia's finest artists.
    Be an artist: Enjoy drawing and photography workshops by professionals, and create your own travel journal while exploring the authentic and underrated province of Battambang.
    Contribute to the revival of Cambodian Culture.

    For two days participants in the tour get the chance to transform into a contemporary artist, an explorer, and a philanthropist.

    Contact us for more information.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    SIEM REAP

     

    NEW 5 STAR LUXURY RESORT: PHUM BAITANG


    Phum Baitang is an elegant hideaway set within eight acres of lush gardens and paddy fields. It comprises 45 spacious villas - 25 with private terrace and 20 with private plunge pools. The wooden and stilted villas are inspired both inside and out by traditional Cambodian design, offering guests a unique experience in Siem Reap.

    A luxurious and tranquil Spa Temple offers seven treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and relaxation area. A yoga pavilion, fully equipped fitness room, and 50-metre long outdoor infinity pool complete the resort's leisure facilities.

     

     

     

    BATTAMBANG

     

    NEW PLACE TO STAY: BRIC- A-BRAC


    Bric-à-Brac is a stunning three-room boutique bed and breakfast, design showroom, and bar located in the heart of the city just two blocks from the river.

    Each of the three rooms on three floors is a design statement in itself. The rooms come with air-conditioning, a continental breakfast tray, daily water, free WiFi, ensuite bathrooms with hot shower, and semi-private balconies overlooking the street.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    ANGKOR EMPIRE FULL AND HALF MARATHON
    AUGUST 9, 2015
    VENUE: SIEM REAP


    The Angkor Empire Full and Half Marathon will take place inside Angkor Park. The race has four categories: full marathon, half marathon, 10-kilometre road race and three kilometres family run. Disabled people will also be able to compete. Whether you are a professional marathon runner or just enjoy running as a hobby, this event will be a great opportunity to discover or rediscover Angkor temples while attending a sport event for a worthy cause.

    Contact us for more information.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

    HONG KONG EXPRESS TO LAUNCH NEW SIEM REAP-HONG KONG SERVICE


    Hong Kong-based low cost carrier, HK Express, will begin new service to Cambodia from October 2015 with thrice weekly Hong Kong-Siem Reap service. The first flight will take off on October 1, using an Airbus A320 aircraft.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    ANGKOR APSARA VILLAGE THEATER TO CLOSE FOR RENOVATION


    Angkor Village Apsara Theatre will close for renovation and repainting from September 11 to 21, 2015. It will reopen on September 22.
     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    NEW SUPERVISOR IN M.I.C.E. DEPARTMENT


    Marjolaine Blouzard has been in charge of the M.I.C.E. department as its Supervisor since March this year after the departure of Sabrina Bertrand.

    Marjolaine is a graduate in Hospitality Management and Business Administration, and has been living in Cambodia for three years.

     

     

     
     

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    VIETNAM

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

     

    Dear Friends and Partners,

    Summer has arrived and it's time for us to take a short break before starting to work on tariff and brochures. Considering the global tourism markets we have not only try hard with all our negotiations to bring you best priced packages, but we are also coming up with distinctive travel experiences for your clients. For this reason we have sent our travel consultants and operations executives on a familisarition trip around Vietnam to gain more inspirations.

    Our team members trekked through Moc Chau, known as Land of Tea, stayed at the eco-lodge in Pu Luong, tasted the street food in Hamoi Old Quarter, cycled through the ancient villages in Hue, and immersed in the culture of the Cotu hill tribe to the west of Danang. They came back with more insights and ideas for new products, and will be happy to suggest to you more enriching options for holidays in Vietnam.

    Challenge our team, and let us make your trip uniquely memorable!

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    VIETNAM WAIVES VISA FOR FIVE MORE COUNTRIES


    Good news for Vietnam's tourism industry as the government has waived visa for five more countries - Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain. Effective July 1, 2015 nationals from these countries can enter the country for single-entry visit of up to 15 days.

    The exemption will be a boost to tourist arrivals to Vietnam, which has seen a drop in the number of foreign tourists through May by 13% compared to the same period last year. The tourism industry is confident the visa waiver will help to increase the number of tourist arriving from the five countries in the coming season.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NEW: MELIÁ DANANG (4*) - DANANG, CENTRAL VIETNAM


    The new 4 star Meliá Danang is located on the spectacular white sand Non Nuoc beach, which is among the top 10 beaches in Asia and one of the most beautiful in Vietnam. Strategically located the hotel is just an hour's flight from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, a two-hour drive from Hue, and a 20-minute drive from Hoi An.

    The 158 comfortable rooms and suites in four different categories are spread over five floors. There are also 10 villas with private pool facing green gardens with amazing views to the Marble Mountain or panoramic views over the ocean. All rooms are in contemporary design and each is equipped with a flat TV with satellite channels, safety box, air condition, coffee- and tea-making facility, minibar, and fully equipped bathroom with rain shower. There is also free WiFi.

    F&B facilities include The Market, an international restaurant, Blue Lounge, Gabi Beach and the Pool Bar.

     

     

     

    NEW: TIRANT HOTEL (3*) - HANOI


    Tirant Hotel is a new 3 star boutique hotel in Hanoi. Located in the city's Old Quarter, it offers 63 rooms. The hotel is ideal for leisure travellers, as it is near to some of the famous tourist attractions such as Dong Xuan Market and Hoan Kiem Lake.

    The rooms are modern and equipped with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay. Hotel facilities include a gymnasium, small swimming pool, and two restaurants. The Lake View Coffee Lounge offers stunning views over Hoan Kiem Lake.

     

     

     

    PARADISE LUXURY BOATS IN NEW DESIGN - HALONG BAY


    Paradise Cruises has just launched the new redesigned Luxury 3 boat in Halong Bay, with all its 17 cabins completely renovated. All the cabins can be converted into twin or double cabins. The restaurant, corridors and decks also had a facelift. Both the boat and the cabins are categorised as 5 star, similar to the Paradise Suite Boutique Hotel in Halong Bay.

    The other 3 Luxury boats will be redesigned in the same way, and their refurbished will be completed by end of August this year.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    HANOI HOME RESTAURANT -NEW UNIQUE FOOD EXPERIENCE


    The recently opened Hanoi Home Restaurant is located in the city's Old Quarters. Beautifully designed in old Hanoi style, it is furnished with wooden furniture and has a charming, warm and cosy atmosphere. The restaurant has a large selection of tasteful Vietnamese food and seafood. It also has an excellent wine cellar with a variety of wines from different parts of the world. Service is nice and friendly.

     

     

     

    NEW VINSTEAK HOUSE IN HANOI'S OLD QUARTERS


    Vinsteak House, a new elegant steakhouse, opened in the last week of June. It is located at Xuan Dieu Street in Hanoi near to the Sheraton hotel. This restaurant, with its beautiful rustic décor and a western style concept, has a capacity for 80 to 85 paxs. It offers a selective wine cellar, great food choice with five course set menus (six different types of food in each course), as well as ala carte service.

     

     

     

     
     

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    CHINA

       

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR KRIS VAN GOETHEM

     

    It is summer now all over China, and we are preparing to welcome the China summer holiday travellers from all over Europe and the rest of the world. We will see some rains in the coming months, and hope we don't get too many flight disruptions. Summer is also the high season for Tibet and the Silk Road.

    On the other side of the season, we have launched our first seat-in-coach programme to the Harbin Ice Festival in January with English- and French-speaking services. Do not miss this unique opportunity. Ask for our flyer if you haven't received it at res@asiantrailschina.com
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    FC BAYERN MUNICH TOUR OF CHINA

     

    We are the proud host of FC Bayern Munich sponsors, press and VIPs on the team's China tour in July that will take them to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. European football clubs are active again in China this year.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    CHINA REDRAWS GREAT WALL ROUTE AFTER NEW DISCOVERY



    New sections of the UNESCO-listed Great Wall of China have been unearthed on the border of Gansu province and the Ningxia Hui region, despite the belief that the wall did not pass through this area. The remains include nine separate sections of wall with a total length of more than 10 kilometres. They are believed to be part of an early section of the Wall built during the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC)

    In 2012, China revised the official length of the Great Wall to 21,196 kilometres, more than double previous estimates.

    Rather than being a continuous structure the Great Wall comprises multiple sections that were built over centuries, from around 700 BC to 1600 AD. It passes through 15 provinces and regions, from Liaoning in the east to Xinjiang in the west.

     

     

     

    SUZHOU'S GARDENS LISTED ON UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE LIST


    The classical gardens of Suzhou in Jiangsu province, which were former private estates, represent the highest level of China's traditional gardening and have set a benchmark for Chinese classical garden design.

    In 1997 nine of the gardens were included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The following four represent the best of Suzhou's ancient gardening art.

    The Humble Administrator's Garden is the largest classical garden in Suzhou, and is considered the finest garden in all of southern China.

    Lingering Garden, which was built in 1593, has been passed to many officials in the past 300 years. In 1964 it was listed by the State Council as one of China's four most famous classical gardens.

    Lion Forest Garden (pictured) was built in 1342 during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) by a Zen Buddhist monk in memory of his teacher. The name of the garden is derived from the lion-shaped rocks, which also resemble a lion in Buddhist sutras.

    Master-of-the Nets Garden was built in 1174. The name is an allusion to the simple life of a fisherman, which was admired by many ancient officials and scholars who romanticised it as an escape from worldly worries. It is regarded as the most exquisite Suzhou classical garden.

     

     

     

    HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL


    The Harbin Ice Festival, which originated from the Ice Lantern Show in 1985, has become one of the world's four largest ice and snow festivals along with Japan's Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada's Quebec Winter Carnival, and Norway's Ski Festival.

    The festival officially starts on January 5 every year. However, the locals celebrate the festival in the third week of December of the previous year because most of the ice lanterns, ice and snow sculptures are completed by that time. Depending on the weather conditions and activities, the festival usually last until the end of February.

    Ask for our flyer (at res@asiantrailschina.com) to book on one of our seat-in-coach departures in January 2016, combining the Ice Festival with the marvels of Shenyang.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NICCOLO CHENGDU


    Niccolo Chengdu is located at Chengdu's celebrated International Finance Square (IFS) within the Chun Xi Road business district, and has the city's most desirable and fashionable address.

    The hotel offers 230 spacious, luxurious guestrooms and suites whose sizes range from 45sqm to 200sqm. With fashion-inspired interiors by leading designers, and featuring natural textiles and leathers in subtle earth tones, there is an understated sophistication to all guestrooms.
     

     

     

    EXPERIENCE CONSCIOUS TRAVEL IN TIBET AT NORDEN CAMP:


    Norden Camp is the realisation of a dream by Yidam Kyap, a Tibetan nomad raised in the of his homeland grasslands, and his Tibetan-American wife Dechen Yeshi, to create opportunities for the Tibetan community in this pristine corner of China's remote Gansu Province.

    Norden Camp is overseen by Dechen and Yidam, whose relatives still live in this undulating, wildflower-strewn land located at a height of 3,200 metre (10,500 feet) above sea level. It offers priceless natural luxuries like fresh air, Himalayan fed river water, and vast expanses of emerald-tinged terrain along with Tibetan hospitality, authentic gastronomy and unexpectedly plush comforts.

    The campsite, a grazing area in winter for sheep and yaks, spreads across 11 hectares ringed by Himalayan foothills. On any given day, nomadic neighbours may host horse festivals or Buddhist celebrations. The Camp's guests are often invited to participate in these timeless traditions.

     

     

     

    OPENING OF SOFITEL XINING AND THE SEBEL XINING


    Accor will open Sofitel Xining (the city's first international brand hotel) and The Sebel Xining (the first Sebel serviced apartment property in China) on July 18, 2015.

    The two properties are located in the west of Xining city, Qinghai Province. They are 30 minutes away from Xining Airport, and one-and-a-half hours from Xi'an by air. Qinghai Lake, the world's largest inland lake, is an hour away from Xining city.

    Sofitel Xining's neo-Gothic style building has 492 rooms and suites, incorporating Chinese traditional hospitality with characteristic French artwork, music and dining. Amenities include Sofitel's trademark MyBed and, bathroom amenities by Lanvin and Hermès, and WiFi throughout the hotel.

    The Sebel Xining has 197 apartments, each with a kitchen, separate living area, and bathroom. A direct connection to Sofitel provides access to the hotel's restaurants and other services.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN CHINA 2015


    Dragon Boat Festival: June 20-22

    Victory over Japan Day: September 3-5 - The Chinese government ratified a national holiday for this year's celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II.

    Moon Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival): September 26-27

    National Day Holidays: October 1-7

     

     

     

    IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
    AUGUST 22-30, 2015
    VENUE: BEIJING NATIONAL STADIUM (BIRD'S NEST), BEIJING


    The 15th World Championship will be held in the Beijing National Stadium, commonly referred to as the "Bird's Nest" from August 22-30.

    The World Championships in Athletics is an event organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Originally it was planned to be held every four years, but this changed after the third edition in 1991 and it has since been run biennially.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    CHINA SOUTHERN FLIES BEIJING-AMSTERDAM ROUTE WITH A360 AIRCRAFT


    China Southern Airlines upgrades its daily Beijing-Amsterdam service with the deployment of an Airbus A380 aircraft on the route from June 2015.
     

     

     

    AIR CHINA ADDS NEW DIRECT FLIGHTS TO MELBOURNE AND MONTREAL

     

    Air China has launched a new direct Beijing-Melbourne (Australia) service. The four times weekly flights are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

    On September 29, 2015 Air China will launch a new direct route between Beijing and Montreal in Canada. The service will operate thrice weekly on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. The route will be Montreal's first link to Asia.

     

     

     

    SINGAPORE'S SILKAIR LAUNCHES DIRECT FLIGHT TO SANYA


    SilkAir's new Singapore-Sanya twice-weekly direct services are on Tuesdays and Saturdays, using a Boeing B738 aircraft. The flight takes off from Singapore Changi Airport at 7 a.m. and arrives in Sanya Phoenix International Airport at 10 a.m.

     

     

     

    UKRAINE international AIRLINES FLIES TO BEJING

     

    Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) has launched a new direct flight from Kiev to Beijing. Flights depart Kiev every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 12:00hrs, while the return services leave Beijing at 01:35hrs every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

    In June Asian Trails co-hosted a high-level MICE fam trip from Ukraine together with Marriott Hotels and Ukraine Airlines.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    STAFF OUTING IN DATONG


    The Asian Trails China team spent a long weekend in and around Datong in Shanxi province. We climbed Hengshan Mountain, which is the highest of China's Five Peaks at a height of 2016 metres. We explored the Hanging Monastery and marvelled at Yungang Caves. We had a fantastic weekend with lots of fun, as well as a grand lucky draw with prizes for all.
     

     

     

     
     

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    MYANMAR

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

     

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    Mingalabar from Myanmar!

    Cool breeze and fresh windy days are coming, along with the soft rains that are just slowly moving into Myanmar. We, in Myanmar, call this period the "Green Season", as rain is very important for the whole country and especially for the Delta and the central parts of the country. The rains make the areas even greener, more beautiful, and fresher. During this time of the year there is no tourist crowd, and we encourage travellers to discover Myanmar. These are all the good reasons to travel Myanmar now.

    It was great to see many new locally owned hotels and restaurants opening nationwide, which have successfully provided their services to their first customers last winter. We are glad that many of the existing hotels are now undertaking major or minor refurbishment to upgrade their facilities to better serve their clients. We feature some of the properties in this newsletter to provide more information on them.

    Happy Green Season!

    Thomas Carnevale

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    INLE LAKE JOINS THE UNITED NATIONS LIST OF BIOSPHERE SITES


    In a first for Myanmar, Inle Lake has been selected as one of 20 new sites added to the United Nations World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
     

     

     

    NEW VESSEL FOR HERITAGE LINE INDOCHINA



    Heritage Line Indochina, the luxury Collectors, Artisans and Hosts of luxury and boutique cruising in Southeast Asia, is proud to announce the latest addition to their fleet - Shin Arahan.

    Slated for launch in late 2015, Shin Arahan will ply the waters of the Irrawaddy River. The 65-metre, purpose built paddle-wheeler will have 23 elegantly appointed cabins, as well as spacious public areas and a host of upscale amenities.

     

     

     

    THE STRAND SET TO SAIL IN 2016


    The Strand is scheduled to set sail in the first quarter of 2016. The vessel has been tailor-designed to navigate Myanmar's rivers throughout the year by combining the latest technology and traditional materials. Equipped with a shallow draft and powerful engines, the ship can sail to scenic locations including the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers.

    All the rooms on the ship are of contemporary design, and feature a private French balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows, complimentary WiFi, international TV channels, individually controlled air conditioning and the legendary "The Strand" butler service.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    TREKKING AT NEW DANU TRAILS AROUND PINDAYA


    Danu Trails were developed for the adventurous and active tourists who want to experience Myanmar's culture, immerse themselves in nature, and get some physical exercise. They offer a great alternative to routes leaving from Kalaw.

    Please contact Asian Trails for detailed information.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    SUMMIT PARKVIEW YANGON ADDS NEW WING


    Summit Parkview Hotel, which celebrated its 20th birthday in June 2015, is adding in a new wing. The 251-room hotel will start work on a new 195-room wing in the next few months.

     

     

     

    STARWOOD HOTELS & RESORTS ENTERS MYANMAR WITH A SHERATON HOTEL


    Starwood Hotels & Resorts has signed its first hotel in Myanmar, and is now planning to seek further opportunities to expand across the country.

    The US-based hotel group has penned an agreement for a new-build Sheraton hotel in Yangon. Located close to Kandawgyi Lake, the hotel will feature 375 rooms, a spa, three F&B outlets, a swimming pool, fitness centre and 1,880m² of function space.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    HUMMINGBIRD - YANGON


    Sandwiched between two gaudy looking buildings, the whitewashed Hummingbird restaurant in Yangon is a grand sight in this relatively low-key area. Its carefully designed menu, with about 100 items, features starters, hot and cold tapas, mains and deserts - all with fresh and tasty flavour.

     

     

     

    RANGOON TEA HOUSE - YANGON

     

    Located on the lower block of Pansodan Road, Rangoon Tea House is a must-visit place for anyone looking to experience a typical tea house menu in a comfortable, yet authentic setting. Even though the interior feels slightly modern in style, the carefully restored space is reminiscent of the grand tea houses you would have found in Yangon during the British colonial heyday and in some parts of India.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    MS KHIN MYAT SANDAR LEAVES ATM AS GENERAL MANAGER


    Ms. Khin Myat Sandar has left Asian Trails Myanmar after nearly eight years of dedicated service. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to her for her long commitment for the benefit of the company. She will pursue new opportunites in Human Resource development.

     

     

     

    MS NAW EH MAY HTOO PROMOTED TO GENERAL MANAGER


    We are pleased to announce the promotion of Ms. Naw Eh May Htoo from Sales & Reservation Manager to General Manager. With her 15 years of dedicated service towards the company we are confident she will lead Asian Trails Myanmar to a successful future.

     

     

     

    GOODBYE TO FINANCE MANAGER, SEBASTIAN MENDONCA

     

    After two years of great contributions to the finance department of Asian Trails Myanmar, Mr. Sebastian Mendonca will move to our head office in Bangkok where he will work on a number of finance related projects. We would like to thank Sebastian for his dedicated work, and wish him great success in his new role.
     

     

     

     
     

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    MALAYSIA

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

     

    Dear friends,

    Warmest greetings from Kuala Lumpur!

    Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015, themed "Endless Celebrations", is a continuous round of themed events throughout the country that include cultural festivals, shopping extravaganza, international acclaimed events, eco-tourism, arts, music showcases, and food promotions.

    For those looking for a truly cultural experience, the current holy month of Ramadan (fasting month) is one of the best times to visit Kuala Lumpur. From mid-June till mid-July the city's streets are decorated with festive lights and filled with vendors selling delicious local food for the evening breaking of the fast. Houses throughout Malaysia, in the cities and the kampungs (local villages) are also brightly decorated with oil lamps and colourful lights. The end of Ramadan marks the start of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and is a great opportunity to visit some open houses. The locals are welcoming, and usually would not turn away visitors joining the celebrations!

    Summer is also the ideal season to enjoy the crystal-clear waters and the beautiful white sandy beaches of the islands off Malaysia's east coast. Perfect time to rest and relax to the tranquillity of Redang, Pehentian, Tioman or Rawa islands.

    Please do not hesitate to contact me or our reservations team should you be interested in visiting this colourful country that offers a unique and fascinating fusion of colourful festivals, gastronomic adventures, shopping splendours, and natural wonders.

    Kind regards,

    Emir
    Malaysia, Truly Asia!

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    HEART2HEART WITH BORNEO'S ORANGUTAN


    Heart2Heart with Borneo's Orangutan is a unique initiative, which allows people to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced and to actively participate in the primate's conservation in a single day.

    Participants learn from a dedicated team of Sarawak Forestry experts about the challenges of orangutan rehabilitation, get to work hands-on performing everyday conservation activities at Matang Wildlife Centre, then transfer to Semenggoh Wildlife Centre to see the result of successful orangutan rehabilitation. All participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their contribution to the conservation programme.

    This programme is ideal for associations and corporate groups, as well as families with older children.

     

     

     

    TRADITONAL ART OF MAKING CLAY ROOF TILES

     
    The roofs of traditional Malay houses in the northern Malaysian states of Kelantan and Terengganu are a marvel of simple design, yet remarkably intricate and beautiful. The terracotta tiles, known as Singhora, are made into a roof by simply hooking the curved tile edge into a wooden beam, one after the other.

    Today, only one maker of these tiles is left in the country. Each and every tile is still made by hand or feet. Visit this family-run enterprise and admire the women making the tiles with their feet like graceful dancers.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    POOL MAINTENANCE WORK AT FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON SANDAKAN, SABAH


    Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan, Sabah, is carrying out maintenance work at the pool to enhance guests' experience. The renovation is from June 15 to July 19, 2015. Work with minimal noise is carried out from 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. and heavy work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

     

     

     

    GAYA ISLAND RESORT RELOCATES GAYA LOUNGE

     
    Gaya Island Resort at Pulau Gaya off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, relocated the Gaya Lounge from Sutera Harbour Marina to Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal on June 1, 2015.

    The lounge is for the resort's guests' arrivals and departures, including speedboat transfers between the resort and Kota Kinabalu. Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal is about a 20-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

     

     

     

    SHERATON LANGKAWI BEACH RESORT REBRANDS AS CENTURY FOUR POINTS RESORT


    Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort on Langkawi Island was rebranded as Century Four Points Resort on June 1, 2015. The rebranding followed a change of management. The resort's address, telephone number and facsimile number remain the same.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    PENANG DURIAN FAIR
    JULY 1-31, 2015
    VENUE: ANJUNG INDAH, BALIK PULAU & PENANG TIMES SQUARE


    Durian lovers should not miss the Penang Durian Fair where the "king of fruits" is featured as the main item. Savour fresh durians that are categorised according to grades, as well as sumptuous delicacies made from this thorny fruit. Although it is an acquired taste for the uninitiated to eat this fruit, it will win the hearts of those who are brave enough to try it.

     

     

     

    HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI
    JULY 17-18, 2015
    VENUE: NATIONWIDE


    After fasting from dawn to dusk for a month, Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a day that signifies victory for Muslims everywhere. 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 numerous tasty delicacies to make the celebration memorable.

     

     

     

    GEORGE TOWN FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 1-31, 2015
    VENUE: ESPLANADE, PENANG


    George Town Festival is a month-long celebration of the arts taking place from August 1-31 throughout the UNESCO World Heritage Site of George Town, Penang. Showcasing an impressive array of local, regional and international acts, the festival has a packed programme of over 90 events including dance, drama, art, music and fashion.
     

     

     

    RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 7-9, 2015
    VENUE: SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE, KUCHING


    The Rainforest World Music Festival is a unique event, which brings renowned musicians from around the world together with indigenous musicians from the interiors of Borneo.

    Now in its 17th edition, the event showcases Sarawak's conservation efforts in preserving its rainforests through world music. It attracts tourists from countries such as Australia, US, UK, Singapore, India, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Canada, Norway, France and Japan.
     

     

     

    SABAH INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 8-16, 2015
    VENUE: NATIONAL DEPARTMENT FOR CULTURE AND ARTS, KOTA KINABALU, SABAH


    Enjoy a bit of culture in Kota Kinabalu as dance troupes from around the world gather as cultural ambassadors for the annual Sabah International Folklore Festival.

    The event aims to promote culture tourism, as well as provide a platform for participating countries to share their unique cultures through folk song and dance performances.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    JETSTAR ASIA MOVES TO KLIA2 TERMINAL


    All Jetstar Asia flights arriving and departing from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Malaysia will shift to the klia2 terminal from July 8, 2015.

    klia2, the world's largest purpose-built terminal dedicated for low cost carriers, is located less than two kilometres from the KLIA main terminal. It is accessible from KL Sentral, Kuala Lumpur's main transportation hub, via the KLIA Express and KLIA Transit. There are also free shuttle buses to both KLIA and klia2.

     

     

     

    LUFTHANSA OFFERS PREMIUM ECONOMY CLASS SEATS ON KUALA LUMPUR-FRANKFURT ROUTE


    Lufthansa is offering premium economy seats on flights between Kuala Lumpur and Frankfurt from May 29 until December 15, 2015. Travellers in this class can check in free of charge two bags, each weighing up to 23 kilograms. They can also access Lufthansa business lounges for a nominal fee of 25 Euros.

     

     

     

    AIRASIA LAUNCHES KUALA LUMPUR-GOA SERVICE


    Low cost carrier, AirAsia, will launch a new route connecting Kuala Lumpur to Goa, India, with three times weekly flights from August 27, 2015. This is the airline's second route to India launched this year after the Kuala Lumpur-Visakhapatnam service, which commenced in March.
     

     

     

    MALAYSIA PARTNERS WITH ETIHAD AIRWAYS TO BOOST TOURIST ARRIVALS


    Etihad Airways and Tourism Malaysia have signed a global partnership agreement to boost inbound tourism to Malaysia by leveraging the airline's global passenger network.

    Under the agreement, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and Tourism Malaysia will put into effect a range of joint marketing activities targeting Malaysia's leading inbound visitor markets - the UK, US, and Europe. There will also be a focus on the Middle East region, including activities in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait.

    Statistics from Tourism Malaysia showed that in 2014 there were more than 1.2 million tourist arrivals from these key markets, a 10% increase compared to 2013.
     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    A WARM WELCOME TO LISA JAMOIS


    Lisa Jamois, a French national, has joined Asian Trails Malaysia as MICE Manager. She has been in Malaysia since 2013. Her experience in events and meetings creation, planning, and management will help further develop the company's MICE business. We wish Lisa all the best in her new position.
     

     

     
     

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    INDONESIA

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

     

    The last months have been very busy for us, although we have not yet reached the peak season. We have successfully managed and run some big MICE movements from diverse countries like Germany, Colombia and the United States, in addition to our great FIT and GIT business.

    We also had some good internal initiatives like our office donation for Eastern Indonesia, and very interesting management training for our senior staff.

    The coming high season looks promising and the free visa policy, which finally has been implemented after so many rumours, will further increase arrival numbers to Indonesia.

    Last but not least, if you like coffee as much as I do, the next time you travel with us try our newest gift idea for your guests - a cold brewed organic Balinese coffee without the acidity, which usually comes with most coffee!

    Happy reading,

    Björn

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    INDONESIA OFFERS VISA-FREE ENTRY FOR 30 MORE COUNTRIES


    On June 13, 2015 the Indonesian government expanded the list of countries for which a free visa policy applies to a total of 45 countries. Under the new regulation permits are given for a 30-day stay in Indonesia, which cannot be extended or converted into any other type of visa. The free visa is applicable for tourism, business, family visit, social and cultural purposes.

    The following countries are granted a visa-free entry:

     

     Austria Denmark Kuwait Norway South Korea
     Bahrain Ecuador Laos Oman Spain
     Belgium Finland Macau Peru Sweden
     Brunei Darussalam France Malaysia Philippines Switzerland
     Cambodia Germany Morocco Poland Thailand
     Canada Hong Kong Mexico Qatar United Arab Emirates
     Chile Hungary Myanmar Russia United Kingdom
     China Italy Netherlands Singapore United States of America
     Czech Republic Japan New Zealand South Africa Vietnam


    The new regulation stipulates that only immigration units located at five airports and four ports are allowed to issue visa exemptions.

    The airports are:

    1. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta
    2. Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali
    3. Kualanamu International Airport in Medan
    4. Hang Nadim International Airport in Batam
    5. Juanda International Airport in Surabaya.

    Unfortunately not every international airport is authorised to apply the free visa regulation. Yogyakarta (JOG) and Lombok (LOP) are not in the above list.

    The seaports are:

    1. Sri Bintan Pura International Port in Bintan island
    2. Tanjung Uban International Port in Bintan island
    3. Sekupang International Port in Batam island
    4. Batam Center International Port in Batam island

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    INNOVATIVE GIFT: HAND-CRAFTED DOUBLE FILTERED ORGANIC BALI COFFEE IN A BOTTLE!


    Asian Trails Indonesia cooperates with Bootrap, a small new start-up based in Canggu, to present an innovative gift to visitors - hand-crafted organic Bali coffee in a bottle.

    The best local Kintamani Arabica beans are selected, roasted and ground especially for a special bold brew in a 12-hour steeping process. Only 100% Arabica beans and pure filtered water are used in the process without anything else added. This process results in an acid-free cold coffee without the need to add sugar or milk. Just drink it pure and chilled. The ideal takeaway gift from Bali for coffee addicts.

    We also offer to serve this unique beverage on our round trips through Bali. Let us know if you wish to have this service, and we will be happy to get this great brew for you and your guests.

    Note: Part of the proceeds from the sale of the coffee goes to solemen.org, an NGO helping the disadvantaged in Bali.

     

     

     

    AL IIKAI CRUISE



    Al Iikai is a two-masted wooden sailing ship, traditionally known as a Phinisi, offering scheduled and charter cruises around the Indonesian archipelago.

    Originally hand built in 2005, Al Iikai is completely refitted for comfort. The vessel is 37 metres long, and features a selection of eight cabins on three decks and sleeping up to 21 guests.

    For the 2015 season Al Iikai offers one scheduled nine-day cruise per month. There is the option of leaving the cruise after six days, as well as joining the tour for three days. The cruise departs from Bali to Lombok and the Gilis, before returning to Bali. In 2016 Al Iikai will add an additional route to Komodo.

    For further information, such as itinerary and schedules, please contact us.

     

     

     

    NAMASTE CRUISE


    Namaste Cruise offers nine-day snorkelling cruises from Bali to Komodo and return on board KM Bidadari, a traditional wooden Phinisi schooner. The vessel consists of four decks with six cabins in the lower deck and sleeping up to 18 people.

    One of the tour's highlights is discovering the famous Komodo dragons, the giant lizards that are usually compared with dinosaurs. Guests can also take part in various activities that include diving, snorkelling and kayak paddling.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    PADMA RESORT UBUD SOFT OPENS IN AUGUST


    Padma Resort Ubud in Bali will soft open on August 16, 2015. The hotel anticipates to be fully up and running on November 1, 2015.

    The hotel will feature 149 contemporary Balinese rooms and suites encompassed within a lush tropical landscape. It has 11 hectares of land, of which only one hectare is utilised for facilities. The remaining 10 hectares will be preserved for guests to enjoy the tranquillity of this laid-back retreat. It also offers a botanical garden, an infinity swimming pool, jogging track, as well as other lifestyle and wellness facilities.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    GARUDA TO INCREASE JAKARTA-AMSTERDAM FLIGHTS

     

    Garuda Indonesia will increase its flight frequency between Jakarta and Amsterdam (Holland) from five times to six times a week, starting from July 22, 2015.

    In addition to serving Jakarta to London via Amsterdam three times a week, the airline will have service from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore three times a week. Both services will be operated by a Boeing B777-300 ER aircraft.

    These changes will enable the airline to develop its connections with Singapore and Europe and offer greater choice to travellers. The additional service is part of the airline's strategy to meet travel demand, and to strengthen its position in the international market especially Europe.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE OVER INDONESIA IN 2016



    A total solar eclipse will take place over Indonesia on March 9, 2016. This phenomenon happens when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and at the same time the moon's diameter appears to be larger than the sun's. All direct sunlight is blocked, turning the day into darkness. This occasion is an experience not to be missed on your next holiday in Indonesia.

    Please note that the solar eclipse can only be seen in parts of Sumatra, Sulawesi, and the Moluccas and NOT in and around Bali or Java.

     

     

     

    MANAGEMENT TRAINING ON ANTI-CORRUPTION


    As part of the Kuoni group the staff of Asian Trails Indonesia recently participated in a short training on anti-corruption. Most of the staff has already completed an online training last year.

    The aim of the training is to increase awareness of corruption and to reduce it. With examples from daily business life, the staff learned how to detect possible risk of corruption and how to handle such situations by following a suggested process.

     

     

     

    DONATIONS FOR SUMBA


    In early April our General Manager visited Sumba, an island in eastern Indonesia. It is still unknown to tourists, but has beautiful beaches and is rich in culture. However, the local people are poor, as the land is dry and only certain corps can be planted. There is not enough water, no reliable electricity, or proper sanitary facilities.

    After this trip Asian Trails Indonesia internally called for donations to Sumba. The staff came together to help the local people with donations of second hand items such as clothes and shoes. Seven boxes of items were collected and sent to the island.

     

     

     

    WORKSHOP ON LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR MANAGEMENT TEAM


    Asian Trails Indonesia believes in the importance of leadership skills for the managers. To empower them we organised a day-long training course on leadership and motivation in May. The aim was to support the human resources development, and increase the motivation and productivity of our great staff.

     

     

     

     
     

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