Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue July 2013

Dear Friends,

 

Community based tourism is growing in popularity among travellers worldwide - visiting a destination, using the services and buying products of the local people and, in the process help improve their livelihood and learn more about the local communities.

 

We in Asian Trails have been promoting community-based tourism in all the destinations where we have bases. An example is Menyali Village in North Bali, Indonesia. This small village, with its fresh air, is a typical community-based tourism destination offering a wide range of natural attractions and activities, as well as the opportunity to stay with the villagers and learn about their daily lives. Revel in the simple joys and, at the same time, do some good.

 

Read more about Menyali Village and of our offerings in this latest edition of TRAILBLAZER (July-August 2013).  

 

Happy Trails!

 

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Greetings from the high altitudes at the River Kwai! I had great fun trying out Thailand's newest tree top adventure park. I highly recommend this activity for our individual travellers, as well as for incentive groups who like a slice of adventure on their holidays!  

 

For health conscious travellers we have a new weight loss camp and health check up programmes.  

 

Our Incentive team has worked a range of new CSR activities throughout the Kingdom.  

 

For Bangkok visitors I would like to introduce the NANTA show, an excellent musical/acrobatic cooking show in casual surroundings in a very central location between Silom and Sathorn road. You will also find useful restaurant tips.  

 

Happy Reading!  

 

Roger Haumueller 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

BANGKOK LEADS IN MASTERCARD'S TOP 20 GLOBAL DESTINATION CITIES 2013

 

Thailand is extremely popular with tourists worldwide. This fact is recently reinforced by the Global Destination Cities Index released by MasterCard in the second quarter of 2013, proclaiming Bangkok as the city with the most international overnight visitors worldwide totalling close to 16 millions.

 

Bangkok is the first Asian city in this top rank position followed by London, Paris, Singapore and New York in 2013. According to MasterCard, the city's popularity is mainly due to the fast growing air travel connectivity, as well its combination of excellent hotels, interesting tours, good food, friendly service, excellent shopping - all at very attractive of prices.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

TREE TOP ADVENTURE IN KANCHANABURI


Located in Home Phutoey River Kwai Resort, the tree top adventure park comes with breathtaking views of the River Kwai and scenic backdrops of the mountains. The new European system of continuous life line secures you from beginning until the end of the course without the frequent unclipping of carabineers. This means a super safe safety system to let you spend more time to enjoy the adventure, and less on the equipment! The continuous life line system ensures your safety at all times.

Come on and swing by on our "Monkey Swing course" with 30 exciting stations - zip lines and games over treetops and across the lake. Ride a sky bike over the canopy of the trees or swing from tree to tree like a monkey in the jungle. Take a break on our giant platform and lay down on our huge hammock to take in the cool breeze and shade. The highlight - a giant zip line stretching over the whole length of the lake. After you manage the last stretch our staff will offer you refreshments to cool down after this amazing adventure.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

PALAPON - WEIGHT LOSS BOOT CAMP

 

Palapon was founded by a German martial arts master on the principle of providing the basis for mental and physical harmony by blending scientifically proven Eastern and Western disciplines. It offers a specific weight loss 'boot camp' with durations from a minimum of two weeks up to 12 weeks including tailor-made meal-plans, exercises, fitness tests and body measurements. Accommodation is in simple but cosy single cottages. These programmes are recommended for people who have tried several diets and weight-loss regimes without success.  

 

Palapon's success rate of over 90% of their clients losing at least 5% of their body weight within the first two weeks speaks for itself! Although the programmes are tailor made and personal care is being taken by the camp owner/manager, these packages are very affordable compared to similar programmes in Europe or the United States.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

MEDITOUR: 3-DAY HEALTH CHECK-UP PACKAGE

 

Bangkok has modern technology and equipment plus experienced doctors who are available for any situation. If an illness is diagnosed at an early stage it can be cured without much disruption to one's life. This is the reason for Asian Trails designing a Meditour package to encourage holidaymakers to visit Bangkok and have a health check-up at our selected award winning Phyathai 2 Hospital. It will provide you with a designated health check-up and health screening programmes. The hospital is staffed with a multi-lingual team, who provides coordinated service on all hospital procedures during your visit.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

NEW! NANTA MUSICAL SHOW

 

Nanta is a comic non-verbal musical show derived from the traditional Korean instrumental performance, "Samulnori". It uses the kitchen as its background with knives and other utensils transformed into musical instruments in the hands of the performers. The chefs thrill the audience with acrobatic cooking shows, a surprise wedding ceremony and an exciting dumpling challenge. Nanta is a must see for foreign tourists, and highly recommended for an amazing culinary night out.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

CSR INCENTIVE ACTIVITIES IN THAILAND

 

Do you wish to experience the "Land of Smiles" in a deep, interactive and engaging way and to feel closer to its amazing people? We have the answer for you - a wide range of Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) from Bangkok up to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, all the way down to Phuket and the ocean. There are community projects, special social aid programmes and green activities to help you learn more about Thai culture and traditions, while keeping in mind charity and responsible teamwork.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BANGKOK

CENTARA WATERGATE PAVILLION HOTEL BANGKOK

 

Centara Watergate Pavillion Hotel Bangkok is strategically located - a five-minute walk to Platinum Fashion Mall, seven minutes to Central World Shopping Complex, and a 10- minute ride to MBK Shopping Center. It is a 30-minute drive from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The air-conditioned rooms are fitted with a flat-screen satellite TV, safe, kettle and minibar. Shower facilities, hairdryer and free toiletries are included in the ensuite bathroom. Some rooms have bathtubs and DVD players. The hotel features two dining options, and also offers free Wifi.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

MODE SATHORN

 

Mode Sathorn, managed by Siam@Siam, is located in North Sathorn, right in front of the BTS Skytrain Station Surasak. It is accessible to all the major Bangkok attractions, as well as the shopping and nightlife areas around Siam and Sukhumvit by taking the BTS towards the national stadium.  

 

The hotel has 201 rooms spread over 22 floors. Guests can choose from five different room types - 23 Business Studio, 131 Deluxe Mode, 43 Executive Mode, 3 one-bedroom Suite and 1 Presidential Suite. All rooms are equipped with a small desk, LED flat-screen TV, chair and small stool, digital weight scale, four pillows, telephone (in-room and bathroom), minibar, safety deposit box, lighting control touch panel, free Wifi, tea- and coffee-making facilities for free use. In addition to standard services such as laundry & pressing service and 24hrs room service, the hotel also provides a 24-hour gym and business centre.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

HUA HIN

AMARI HUA HIN

 

Located 400 metres from the beach Amari Hua Hin offers elegant air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony and free Wifi. Guests can unwind by the pool or relax with spa treatments. Those who want to stay active can work out at the gym. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Hua Hin City and Hua Hin Night Market, and about 2.5 hours drive from Bangkok.

 

Rooms at Amari Hua Hin are tastefully furnished with contemporary decor. Each well-appointed room comes with a flat-screen satellite TV with a DVD player, a minibar and a safety deposit box. Free toiletries, a hairdryer and a bathrobe are included in the ensuite bathroom. Guests can enjoy breakfast at Mosaic and seafood specialties at Shoreline Beach Club. Other facilities in the hotel include a business centre, meeting facilities and a tour desk. Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with laundry and shuttle service. A baby-sitting service is also available, as well as a free shuttle service to the beach.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

KANCHANABURI

HOME PHU TOEY RIVER KWAI RESORT

 

Home Phu Toey River Kwai Resort in Kanchanaburi is built along the conserved traditional style of a log home but is fitted with modern facilities. This "boutique log cabin home" is ideal for families, couples and corporate travellers. Located on a large area by the River Kwai this nature friendly resort offers numerous nature friendly activities - from bird watching to jungle trekking, elephant ride, water bicycle, kayaking, mountain biking and camping. Guests can also visit the mineral hot spring, war museum and nearby attractions.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALE
JUNE 15-AUGUST 15, 2013
VENUE: NATIONWIDE

 

The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale offers visitors discounts of between 10-80% on a wide range of goods and other privileges at participating outlets that include department stores, shopping malls, King Power Duty Free, jewellery shops, golf courses, hospitals, airlines and online travel agencies. There are also discounts from participating merchants at selected tourist attractions in destinations including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Koh Samui. The annual event attracts many tourists from countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS LAUNCHES BANGKOK-KRABI SERVICE

 

Bangkok Airways has launched twice daily service connecting Bangkok to Krabi, using the 162-seater Airbus A320 aircraft. Departures from Suvarnabhumi International Airport are at 9.25am/5.20pm, while the return flights from Krabi International Airport are at 11.40am/7.40pm. The travel time is one hour and 25 minutes.

 

 

A380 JOINS THAI AIRWAYS' LONDON-BANGKOK FLEET

 

On December 1, 2013 Thai Airways' daily service between London Heathrow and Bangkok will be jet-propelled into the 21st century when the world's largest aircraft, the A380, operates on the route. The A380 (TG911) will fly daily London-Bangkok departing at 11.50 (ETA 06.10) with the return A380 (TG910) departing Bangkok at 01.10 (ETA 07.15). An A346 will operate on THAI's second daily flight: the TG917 departing London at 21.35 (ETA 15.55) and the TG 916 departing Bangkok at 12.50 (ETA 18.55).

 

 

 

AIR MACAU INCREASES MACAU-BANGKOK FLIGHTS

 

Air Macau is increasing its Macau-Bangkok flights from 11 weekly flights to operate 21 weekly from July 9, 2013. From September 1 the airline will operate 18 weekly flights on the same route.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

EAT ME RESTAURANT - BANGKOK

 

Eat Me Restaurant is nestled in a tucked away lane called Soi Pipat 2, just off Convent Road in Bangkok's bustling Silom district. A converted shophouse the building's redesign pays homage to the early European architectural Modernist movement of the 1920s. 

 

Conceptualised down to the cutlery by Kelly Wheatley, the owner of Lump Company Limited, the restaurant is divided into alcoves of intimacy joined by flowing corridors of movement minimally dressed with casual and sophisticated décor. Incorporating an element of art appreciation the interior is complimented by rotating art exhibitions by local and international artists curated by H Gallery - one of Bangkok's leading art establishments. The menu and specials are modified seasonally under the experience of head chef Tim Butler, a native of New York, and Cherie, who travels between Thailand and Australia. With an innate New World fervour to innovate the team constantly explores new avenues for sourcing the finest ingredients to include in their repertoire.

 

 

 

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LAOS

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJOERN SCHIMANSKI

 

Dear Partners and Friends,

 

It is now the low season, but the office is as busy as usual. Not only do we have to prepare the rates for next year and renegotiate contracts with our suppliers, but we also have once again done something big on the corporate responsibility side. We are very proud to be the only sponsor of the Lao Airlines football team! To inaugurate the cooperation we launched a friendly match between Asian Trails Laos and the Lao Airlines team in Vientiane. The smiling gentleman standing next to me (pictured) is Mr. Lay, our ticketing manager and one the best players at the match!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

NEW ROAD ACCESS BETWEEN NONG KHIAW & MUANG NGOI KAO

 

A new road, which is not asphalted, is now operational between Nong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi Kao. It takes about an hour to travel along this 26km road. Please note that during the rainy season only 4x4 vehicles can go through this alternative road between the two destinations. We can, however, use the popular river cruise on the Nam Ou.  

 

We also wish to inform that permanent electricity is now available at Muang Ngoi Kao.  

 

 

 

NEW bridge OVER THE MEKONG to open in SEPTEMBER


A new bridge spanning the Mekong River to link two provinces in Laos - Luang Prabang Province and  Sayabouly - will open in September 2013. It will also benefit Thailand by facilitating land travellers from Loei and Nan provinces travelling to Luang Prabang. The construction of the bridge started in 2009.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

KIRIDARA'S NEW PRIVATE HOUSES - LUANG PRABANG

 

Kiridara is launching two private houses in the centre of Luang Prabang. Enjoy the privacy and the butler service, which provides breakfast and assistance to meet your needs. These beautifully renovated traditional houses are ideal for families and friends.  

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for reasonable rates!

 

 

ANSARA UNDERGOES RENOVATION - VIENTIANE

 

Ansara, one of the most beautiful boutique-hotel in Vientiane, has begun its renovations. This 14-room property is adding in 14 rooms and a small swimming pool. Renovations started in May and are scheduled to finish before the end of the year.  

 

Due to the inconvenience caused the ongoing work the hotel is offering special rates until October 2013. 

 

 

 

PROMOTION: Villa Maydou, LUANG PRABANG

 

Special promotion during the low season for Villa Maydou, a boutique-hotel located in the centre of Luang Prabang.  

 

Discount available from May 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013  

 

Note: Villa Maydou is building new rooms to increase its room inventory.

 

 

 

PROMOTION: Burasari, LUANG PRABANG

 

Special promotion during the low season for Burasari, a newly-renovated boutique hotel located ideally on the bank of the Nam Khan River.  

 

Discount available from April 20, 2013 to October 31, 2013  

 

Note: The resort has a new cooking class on Thai and Lao cuisine.

 

 

 

PROMOTION: BEL AIR, LUANG PRABANG

 

Special promotion during the low season for Bel Air, a boutique hotel on the Nam Khan River and known for its beautiful garden.  

 

Discount available from May 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013  

 

Note: The hotel's restaurant was rebuilt and refurbished in May.

 

 

 

PROMOTION: Hotel de la paix & 3 nagas, LUANG PRABANG

 

Pay 2 nights, stay for 3

 

Validity: Until October 31, 2013.

 

 

 

PROMOTION: Kamu Lodge, LUANG PRABANG

 

30% off for this exceptional resort set in natural setting amidst pristine environment.

 

 

 

PROMOTION: Luang Say ResidenceS,  LUANG PRABANG

 

Pay 2 nights, stay for 3 in this luxuruous hotel in the centre of Luang Prabang  

 

Availablity: From May 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013

 

 

 

PROMOTION: Maison souvannaphoum, LUANG PRABANG

 

Pay 2 nights, stay for 3 in this luxuruous hotel in the centre of Luang Prabang.  

 

Availablility: From May 1, 2013 to September 30, 2013

 

 

 

PROMOTION: PAKbeng Lodge, PAKBENG

 

Special package for "the green season": 2 days + 2 hours' elephant ride at an attractive price.  

 

Availablity: From April 16, 2013 to September 30, 2013  

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

ASIAN TRAILS LAOS MAIN SPONSOR FOR LAO AIRLINES FOOTBALL TEAM

 

To inaugurate the new cooperation between Asian Trails Laos and Lao Airlines, Lao PDR's national carrier, we organised a friendly football match with a team from each company playing against each other. We lost 6:2!  

 

We hope this cooperation will deepen Asian Trails Laos' ties with Lao Airlines, and help us get the needed seats during the peak season!

 

 

workshop - integrating business skills into ecotourism operations

 

As a follow-up to the successful Business Skills for Ecotourism training that was held in Vientiane, Lao PDR in June 2012, IUCN Lao PDR and Asian Trails Laos organised a training workshop in Pakse for three days in March. The training brought together 25 participants from 15 organisations, which included WWF, IUCN and WCS.  

 

The workshop, conducted in the Lao language, was intended to bring together key ecotourism stakeholders in the local area. The goal of the follow-up training was to transfer business skills to community groups, NGOs, and government officials working to develop community-based ecotourism in Champassak, as well as adjacent Saravane and Sekong Provinces. Its other aim is to enable the participants to design and run successful ecotourism businesses, as well as to spark a discussion among all stakeholders on planning for the future of ecotourism in these provinces and how to market the region as an ecotourism hotspot in Laos.

 

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

 

Time for a break! Take off your necktie and business suits and dresses, put on your swimming suits, "tongs" and sunglasses! Dive and swim in the clear blue sea in the new small eco-friendly resorts and bungalows located in the small and tiny islands off Sihanoukville coast, and you'll experience the "cast-away" lifestyle and indulge in your "Robinson Crusoe" life you were craving for from your office desk! Cambodia has a lot to offer besides the Angkor temples!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

BATTAMBANG, ACHIEVING FAME THROUGH THE CIRCUS

 

Their names are Dina, Sothea, Sovanna or Vanthan. They are young men in their early 20s who share the same difficult background of living in poverty and having no parents. However, they are all animated with the same will of achieving a new life through art and share the dream of Phare Ponleu Selpak, one of Cambodia's most innovative cultural institutions.  

 

After Battambang, the Phare Cambodian Circus is now performing every evening in Siem Reap under a big top of 400 seats. Come share the laughs, the poetic moments, and the astounding and breathtaking circus performance at its best! Battambang is slowly becoming THE "Cultural City" of Cambodia!

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

PHNOM PENH

RAMBUTAN RESORT CAMBODIAN

 

Rambutan Resort Cambodian is an oasis in a city environment and consists of a city villa in Khmer style of the '60s and a newly built modern designed wing overlooking the pool. It is designed in a modern Asian style with all luxuries and the addition of locally crafted furniture, modular terrazzo surfaces, vibrant Asian art, Cambodian crafted silks, secluded balconies, alfresco private stone bathtubs and local tiles floors. The resort caters for the independent traveller who wants privacy and luxury. It is gay friendly and is closely connected with the local community.

 

 

 

SIEM REAP

 

KIRI BOUTIQUE HOTEL

 

Kiri Boutique Hotel is located just off of Angkor High School Road, about a kilometre from attractions such as the Pub Street and the old and new night markets. The guiding principle of the hotel's management is to provide excellent accommodations, amenities and service at extremely reasonable prices. The hotel is an idyllic retreat from the hectic city life, as well as a place from where you can experience adventure, rejuvenation, local culture and cuisine.

 

 

 

PARK HYATT SIEM REAP

 

Park Hyatt Siem Reap, an exclusive haven with private garden and/or swimming pool, will officially open on August 1, 2013. It offers 108 stylish guestrooms and suites. The architectural style of having restaurants and event spaces flow towards the courtyard with its ancient banyan tree will lend the Park Hyatt a refreshing residential feel. Its main restaurant, The Dining Room, offers cuisine of French and Indochina inspiration.

 

 

LE MERIDIEN SIEM REAP

 

Le Meridien Angkor is undertaking a soft refurbishment of the rooms, which includes repainting the walls and varnishing the floor. The project started on June 3, 2013 and is expected to complete by end of September.  

 

The refurbishment work is taking place in stages with the closing each wing accordingly. All the other facilities in the hotel, such as the restaurants and public areas, remain operational. The hotel's management has assured the ongoing project will not cause any inconvenience to the guests, and are taking all the necessary measures to ensure their comfort.

 

 

 

KAMPONG THOM

 

BRONZE LAKE RESORT

 

Bronze Lake is located between the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, off the beaten path and deep in the rice fields of Kompong Thmar. Novel to Cambodia its the grounds combine the elements of a spa-like resort and a family friendly amusement park, all within the 46 hectare plot. It is also eco-friendly as most of the materials used in its construction are recycled and reused. The resort offers private chalets on the secluded island in the middle of the lake and bungalows along the river - perfect for families and couples on a weekend getaway.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

PLAE PAKAA - CAMBODIAN LIVING ARTS' NEW PERFORMANCE

 

Cambodian Living Arts is presenting a series of three rotating shows at the National Museum of Phnom Penh, featuring a wide range of traditional performing arts. The three shows - Children of Bassac (classical & folk dance), Mak Therng (theatre & music), Passage of Life (theatre & music) - will be performed on alternate Friday and Saturday.  

 

Plae Pakaa is preparing the stage for performances during the rainy season by building a roof, and making the show a permanent one throughout the year. From May to September 2013 Plae Pakaa will perform twice a week, on Friday and Saturday, at 7.00pm at the National Museum. Starting October 2013, Plae Pakaa will again be on stage six times a week, from Monday to Saturday. 

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

CAMBODIA AIRLINES TO TAKE FLIGHT LATER THIS YEAR

 

Cambodia's Royal Group of Companies is entering into a joint venture with Philippine Airlines (PAL), Philippines national carrier, to launch a new international carrier later this year. The new airline will be called Cambodia Airlines.  

 

Royal Group will own 51% stake in the proposed airline, with Philippine Airlines holding the remaining 49%. Both airlines will have a code-share agreement on short and long haul destinations. Cambodia Airlines plans to spend US$1.5 billion to acquire up to 22 aircraft, a move that might see its fleet size surpasses that of national carrier, Cambodia Angkor Air.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

NEW BRANCH MANAGER FOR ATC SIEM REAP AND BATTAMBANG

 

Asian Trails Cambodia has appointed Mr Piset Chea as the new Branch Manager in Siem Reap and Battambang effective May 1, 2013. Mr Piset has a long working relationship with Asian Trails since its inception. He was the Senior Incentive and IT Officer in the Siem Reap office before moving to the Phnom Penh head office as Operation Manager. We wish Mr. Piset all the very best in his new posting.

 

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

Dear Friends,  

 

Summer holidays often conjure images of pristine beaches, turquoise waters, swaying coconut trees and tropical sunshine. If you are looking for such idyllic escapes then Vietnam's beaches are the places you should head to. Recently An Bang Beach in Hoi An and Bai Dai in Phu Quoc were listed in the world's top 100 best beaches. Con Dao archipelago is also highly recommended as a new hideaway for nature lovers. Northern beaches like Cat Ba Islands and Lan Ha Bay are great for relaxation, trekking, rock climbing and kayaking while enjoying the serene experience of staying in a small resort on an offshore island.

 

If you wish to enjoy attractions other than beaches we recommend Moc Chau Plateau, where you can stay in a charming traditional house of a Thai ethnic family, meet friendly local people and immerse into their authentic lifestyle.

 

We wish all of you a happy summer!

 

 

   

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

CONSERVATION/HERITAGE BODIES COOPERATE TO BOOST HUE'S TOURISM POTENTIAL

 

The imperial Hue City is known for its cultural heritage. However, for many years it has lost its competitiveness due to the lack of product innovation and tourist infrastructure. Recently representatives from the Hue Relics Conservation Centre and the Luang Prabang World Heritage Office signed an agreement to promote cooperation in managing, conserving and preserving their cultural heritage. The two parties agreed to share experiences in managing cultural heritage sites, organise cooperative programmes and strengthening human resources for heritage management and conservation.

 

Hue receives approximately 1.5 million tourists per year of which 700,000 are foreigners. In 2012 Luang Prabang recorded close to 300,000 international tourist arrivals. Both heritage cities are looking at good tourism growth through the cooperation of the two bodies.

 

 

 

AN BANG (HOI AN) AND BAI DAI (PHU QUOC) LISTED IN WORLD'S TOP 100 BEACHES.

 

An Bang Beach, 3km east of Hoi An City, has been ranked 86th in the world's top 100 beaches by CNN Summer Travel. The 4km long beach is known for its soft sand, gentle waves and friendly villagers. This is another good reason to attract more tourists to this charming town.  

 

In the same listing On Bai Dai (Long Beach) beach, located on Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Phu Quoc, was awarded the 93rd spot.

 

 

CON DAO ISLANDS: NEW DESTINATION FOR NATURE LOVERS

 

The Con Dao islands off south-eastern Vietnam have been included in travel magazine, Lonely Planet's nine most mysterious islands in the world. The archipelago, which consists of 16 large and small islands, is home to tropical rainforests and turquoise waters that boast an incredibly diverse array of marine life including dolphins, sea turtles and abundant coral reefs.  

 

The historic Con Dao is largely known as a "hell-on-earth" because it used to serve as a prison island for political prisoners during the French colonial era, when it was known as Poulo Condore. In later years the Saigon regime imprisoned political opponents in the infamous cells known as the "tiger cages". The old prison buildings are still standing, and are open to the public, as is a small museum tracing the island's history.  

 

Apart from the strong history Con Dao is a paradise for nature lovers. There are many nice trekking paths through the national park, and secluded beaches and peaceful bays for snorkelling and swimming. Renting a boat to go fishing in nearby islets is also an option. For those interested in wild life Con Dao is a place to watch sea turtles laying their eggs, red face monkey or many kinds of birds.

 

After a 45-minute flight on an ATR aircraft from Ho Chi Minh City, clients will arrive on Con Dao, and find a different world - of slow pace of life and tranquillity. In terms of accommodation tourists can stay at the top end Six Senses Con Dao or middle to budget class hotels in the town centre.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

ESCAPE TO MOC CHAU PLATEAU

 

Located 200km from Hanoi, and about a five-hour drive to the northwest along Highway 6, is the large plateau of Moc Chau. This is a new destination for travellers looking for off-the-beaten-track escapes to untouched nature and authentic lifestyle of the Thai and H'Mong hill tribes. Moc Chau is an ideal extension to a visit to Hanoi, or integrated into a northwest expedition that covers Son La, Dien Bien and Sapa.  

 

A two- to three-day homestay is the best way to immerse in the local culture. Accommodation is a charming and comfortable wooden house on stilts, renovated meticulously from a traditional house of the Thai people. Activities include exploring the surrounding villages, learning the culture of tea and the processing of regional products, and trekking through nice hill tribe villages.  

 

With its endless plum forests, fields of tea, dairy cows grazing leisurely on the immense green grass fields, and beautiful natural landscapes Moc Chau guarantees visitors an enjoyable and fresh experience.  

 

Contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

TOKYO INN ENTERS VIETNAM

 

Japanese hotel chain Tokyo Inn has announced an ambitious plan to build 100 hotels in Vietnam. President and founder of the Tokyo Inn Corporation, Nishida Norimasa, said the planned three-star category hotels would be similar to those of the firm's chain of 243 hotels across Japan. The group will focus on major Vietnamese cities with populations in excess of 100,000, and also target locations near airports and major transport hubs.

 

 

 

life heritage resort hoi an REBRANDS AS ANANTARA HOI AN RESORT

 

Life Heritage Resort Hoi An was rebranded as Anantara Hoi An Resort on April 15, 2013. In line with this rebranding there are changes in the room categories, which we will update you separately.  

 

As part of its expansion agenda Anantara intends to increase it current portfolio of 23 properties worldwide. The hotel group also sees Vietnam as a top destination for tourism.  

 

For more information, please contact us

 

 

MINI MAIA FOR CHILDREN AT FUSION MAIA DA NANG

 

Fusion Maia Da Nang has created Mini Maia for children to ensure they enjoy the Fusion Feeling, feel welcomed and important during their stay at the resort.  

 

In the rooms the young guests are welcomed with their own size slippers and bathrobes. To further enhance their well-being experience they can participate in fun learning activities including laughter yoga, creative Vietnamese hat decorating, cookies' decoration, cucumber facials, or dancing and singing as per the daily Mini Maia schedules. So while their parents enjoy the spa their children get to take part in interesting activities too.

 

 

HO TRAM STRIP'S FIRST INTEGRATED RESORT OPENS IN AUGUST

 

After rebranding from MGM Ho Tram, Ho Tram Strip's first luxury integrated resort will open in early August 2013. I will bring Vegas style entertainment to Vietnam. The resort has 541 rooms, 13 restaurants and bars, retail shopping, golf course, spa and swimming pools. Located about 2.5 hours from Ho Chi Minh City, the resort is ideal for MICE and groups due to its huge integrated facilities and service.  

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

LIFE HERITAGE RESORT HA LONG BAY CLOSES

 

The owners of Life Heritage Resort Ha Long Bay have made the difficult decision to discontinue its operation due to operational and financial reasons. The resort ceased operations on May 31, 2013. All bookings have been attended to and proper solutions provided.  

 

Please contact us for suggestions on private cruise experience.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

GHOST FESTIVAL/HUNGRY GHOST FESTIVAL
AUGUST 21, 2013 (15TH DAY OF 7th LUNAR MONTH)
VENUE: NATIONWIDE

 

Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, or Yu Lan in Chinese and Vu Lan in Vietnamese, had its origins in culture and Buddhism. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, which falls on August 21 this year. In all pagodas around the country there are prayer ceremonies to clear the souls of false charges, open-door ceremony to forgive the lost souls, souls offering, and food/alms- giving ceremonies. This is the day, which officially in Hades, the lost souls arrive to the living world to enjoy the food and offerings made to them. Every family prepares a feast and offer votive paper to ancestors and wandering souls.  

 

This is an important festival in Vietnam. People go to the pagoda to pay homage to their parents and ancestors. It can be implicitly considered as Vietnamese "Mother Day". If you join a service in a pagoda you may be offered a red rose if your parents are still alive, or a white rose if your parents have passed away.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

STEPHEN HOOPER IS ATV'S NEW GENERAL MANAGER

 

We are delighted to introduce Mr. Stephen John Hooper to our colleagues and business partners. A British national, he joined Asian Trails Vietnam as its new General Manager on June 3. He brings with him 23 years of experience in tourism, working in different roles including executive management positions. His experience will be of immense value to the operations of the company. Mr. Hooper's main task is to ensure smooth operations of ATV's three offices, and to upkeep our commitment to provide excellent ground services to all our clients.
 

 

GOODBYE PHILIP HILL, SOCHEATA SUN TAKES OVER AS MANAGER INBOUND

 

It is with regret we announce the departure of Mr. Philip Hill as Manager Inbound at the end of June 2013. Due to family reasons Mr. Hill has decided to pursue his career in another field. The management and team of ATV appreciate the great contributions he has made during his tenure with us, and we wish him success in his new venture.  

 

Ms. Socheata Sun, a French national who currently holds the post of Luxury Market Manager, is taking over from Mr. Hill. Many of you may have been in touch with Ms. Sun in her previous position, and she will likely meet you again very soon in her new role.
 

 

HO CHI MINH CITY SETS UP YOUTH VOLUNTEER TEAM TO HELP TOURISTS

 

Ho Chin Minh City’s authorities have plans to establish a tourist police force. But while they are being discussed the authorities have pioneered the launch of a new force to help tourists - the Communist Youth Union of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. The young volunteers are committed to assist tourists in the Pham Ngu Lao quarters, a well-known backpacker area for foreigners. 

 

The team includes 78 youths with good foreign language skills. They work on two shifts – from 8am to 11am and 2pm to 5pm on weekdays. From June 8 to December 29 the volunteers are available to provide tourism information and help prevent scams targeting tourists at three hotspots in the area: the T-junction of Pham Ngu Lao-De Tham, the crossroads of De Tham-Bui Vien, and 262 De Tham. Local authorities hope that this team will help promote the city as a safe tourist destination, and attract more international travellers.

 

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR KRIS VAN GOETHEM

 

Summer has now arrived in all of China, and the team is in full preparation for the busy summer months when many visitors will come to the Middle Kingdom. We are very excited with the in-depth itineraries we are allowed to compose for our guests, from the Silk Road to Tibet, and Yunnan across to Shanghai.

 

 

   

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

CHENGDU TO OFFER 72-HOUR VISA-FREE TRANSIT

 

Chengdu becomes the fourth Chinese city to offer 72-hour visa-free transit, which has been implemented in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Visitors from some 45 countries will be able to transit for 72 hours without a visa in Chengdu as long as they have a third country visa and valid air ticket. It has not been announced when the policy will take effect.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

A LIFE BY THE WALL

 

Not even a Chinese knows the Great Wall of China as well as Mr William Lindesay, British adventurer and writer. More than a quarter of a century has passed since his solo run along the Great Wall, an epic journey from the far west of China to the point where it meets the sea. To mark the occasion he has released a new book, The Great Wall Explained, with a series of stunning photographs and fascinating essays.  

 

Running the length of one of the Wonders of the World was a brave - some might say foolhardy - expedition, venturing into sparsely populated regions where there was little chance of help if the runner had a mishap. The Briton endured extreme heat, giant blisters and chronic fatigue during the gruelling run that took place in two parts - during spring and fall - to avoid the more extreme heat of midsummer. Along the way Lindesay was helped by friendly village folk who offered him shelter and sustenance although their initial reactions were always puzzlement, wondering why a tall Englishman had suddenly turned up at their isolated villages.  

 

Asian Trails China is well connected with Mr Lindesay. We can arrange talks or walks for special interest groups, as well as obtain copies of his book, The Great Wall Explained, as a gift for VIP travellers.  Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

EXPLORE JIANGXI

 

A recent expedition has taken our Managing Director, Mr. Kris Van Goethem, to the province of Jiangxi, south of the Yangtze River and west of Shanghai. This lesser known part of China offers a wide array of cultural and natural heritage - the mystical Sanqingshan mountain, nicknamed the little sister of Huangshan mountain; the ancient villages of Wuyuan county, known mostly for the yellow rapeseed flowers blossoming in March-April and attracting thousands of amateur photographers each year; the intangible heritage of Jingdezhen porcelain, where one can today still visit the ancient imperial kilns. Clients can look forward to a new Explore tour by Asian Trails China in our next DVD!

 

 

"HOUSE OF DANCING WATER" TO BE LAUNCHED IN BEIJING

 

"The House of Dancing Water" in Beijing will be co-constructed by the Beijing government and Melco PBL Group. Initial estimates of the proposed project's investment are reported at more than RMB50 billion. The large scale project measuring some 1.2 million square metres is planned to start its first phase in 2013, around the time of the Spring Festival. It would probably be located in or near the 798 Art Zone.  

 

The scale of the Dancing Water Theatre will be 2.5 times that of the one in Macau. It will be composed of five sectors - amphibious stage, fountain and lifts, air stage, multi-media screen and auditorium. The pool is said to hold 740 million gallons of water - the equivalent of 10 Olympic swimming pools. The pool in Macau by comparison reportedly holds 14 million litres of water - the equivalent of five Olympic swimming pools.

 

 

PINGYAO: SIMPLY MAJESTIC  -- CHANG FAMILY MANOR, YUCI COUNTY

 

The Chang Family Manor in Yuci county, Shanxi province, was first built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The 1,000-house manor is a witness to the family's past glory and a showcase of traditional architecture and artworks of brick sculptures. In its heyday the Chang family controlled 40 percent of Sino-Russia tea trade for about 20 years in mid-Qing Dynasty. They planted tea in Wuyi Mountain in Fujian province, and transported the tea to Kyakhta in Siberia through Zhangjiakou in Hebei province and Mongolian Plateau.  

 

The Chang family was famous for its education and studies of Confucian thoughts. They applied Confucian thoughts in business, and successfully passed its business and wealth down for nine generations.  

 

There are several ancient courtyard houses in Yuci, Qixian and Taigu counties, such as those that once belonged to Wang Family, Qiao Family and Qu Family. The Chang Family Manor is the biggest of them.

 

 

BEIJING WANTS TO HAVE A BITE OF HERITAGE LIST

 

The Chinese capital is trying to get its traditional snacks recognised as intangible cultural heritage items. Beijing has filed an application asking authorities to list more than 100 of its traditional snacks as national "relics". The move aims to prevent centuries-old culinary traditions from dying out, and to ensure better overall food value for consumers, according to Beijing's commerce commission.  

 

If successful, it would mean dishes such as aiwowo (sticky rice with a sweet filling), douzhi (mung bean milk) and doufunao (bean curd stew) would be enjoyed by future generations.

 

 

INNER MONGOLIA: DISCOVERING ANCIENT LAND AND CULTURE AT NADAM FAIR

 

Locals say the best time to visit the Inner Mongolia autonomous region is both in summer and winter when the twice-yearly Nadam Fair is held. While activities such as sacrificial rites, car racing and trade are held at the week-long celebration the three traditional games of wrestling, horse racing and archery are still the most popular. Unlike other wrestling matches the local contest has no weight divisions, and the one who falls first loses. It has few rules except for prohibitions on dragging legs, punching in the face, pulling hair and biting.  

 

Archery is an ancient sport in the region that originated in the 11th century. Contestants shoot arrows made from willow branches and vulture feathers to a round targets with gray, yellow or red rings. It was placed on the list of national intangible cultural heritage in 2006.

 

 

 

CHENGDU SPECIAL

 

CHENGDU 1: LASTING ALLURE OF HISTORIC WONDERS

 

The Dujiangyan irrigation system and Qingcheng Mountain are among the most famous tourist attractions in Chengdu. Considered to be the oldest water-control project still functioning in the world, Dujiangyan has stood the test of time for nearly 2,300 years diverting water to irrigate nearly 70,000 hectares of farmland in Sichuan province.  

 

The system was built in 256 BC to tame the frequent flooding of the Minjiang River. Close to Dujiangyan, Qingcheng Mountain has long been recognised as the birthplace of Taoism, China's ancient indigenous religion.  The sites were both included on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites in 2000.

 

 

 

CHENGDU 2: ALWAYS TEA TIME IN CHENGDU

 

It has been said that China has the best teahouses in the world, and Chengdu has the best teahouses in China. Together with Sichuan cuisine, tea is one of the most important aspects of daily life in the province. Locals have created their own culture for drinking tea, which includes distinctive teapots, teacups and tea ceremonies. There is no better way to see how the locals live than to visit one of Chengdu's countless teahouses. After one cup you will fall in love with the city.

 

 

CHENGDU 3:  HIDDEN CHARMS OF QUIET ALLEYS

 

In many Chinese cities life is hectic and fast paced, but Chengdu is a rare exception. Kuanzhai Xiangzi, with its collection of old architecture, is one of the best examples of how a free and easy lifestyle can co-exist with the hustle and bustle of a growing city. The alley is the only area featuring the rich architectural and social characteristics of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It consists of three traditional streets and courtyard houses - Kuan Xiangzi, Zhai Xiangzi and Jing Xiangzi. Each of them has a different style. One can spend an afternoon in an open-air teahouse or have some traditional snacks at Kuan Xiangzi.    

 

 

CHENGDU 4:  JOURNEY TO THE PAST IN HUANGLONGXI

 

Huanglongxi, with its well-preserved architecture of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, is one of China's top 10 water towns. In the millennia that have passed since citizens of the State of Shu (1046-316BC) first took up residence here 2,000 years ago, the town has developed into a tourism hotspot that attracts travellers, researchers and filmmakers from all over the world. Visitors feel as if they are travelling back in time as they walk on stone floors, and marvel at houses made of wood pillars and green tiles decorated with delicately carved windows and railings.    

 

 

 

CHENGDU 5: JINSHA, SANXINGDUI RUINS -- GATEWAY TO THE PAST

 

A visit to the ruins of Jinsha and Sanxingdui is an exploration of one of the most interesting ancient cultures in China. Jinsha rose to prominence around 1,000 BC and shares similar origins with Sanxingdui, which can be seen in the types of burial objects at the two sites although Jinsha had no city wall. The comprehensive display at the archaeological site uses modern technology to recreate the kingdom and its fascinating culture. Built some 5,000 years ago the ruins of Sanxingdui, about 50 kilometres away from Jinsha, are a gateway into a mysterious civilisation that once flourished in southern China.

 

 

CHENGDU 6:  SICHUAN OPERA - ANCIENT AND ARTISTIC

 

Sichuan Opera originated at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) when migrants flooded into Sichuan. Inscribed on the national intangible heritage list in 2006 this ancient art form is widely known for its less constrained singing than the more popular Peking opera. Dramas are blended with local dialects, customs, folk music and dances into a more humorous form of opera unique to Sichuan culture.

 

Face changing is the opera's highlight, a legacy from ancient times when it is said people painted their faces to drive away wild animals. Modern Sichuan Opera has perfected it into an art. The dramatic art and skill require a high degree of integration. Artists make their own masks and no one else knows how they work as one image flicks in front of another. Different masks represent changing demeanours and state of mind to show emotions and sudden switches in mood to achieve the artistic effect.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SWISSOTEL EXPANDS TO XI'AN

 

Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts has secured a contract with Shaanxi Puyu Industrial for the management of Swissôtel Xi'an, which will welcome guests in 2016. The 350-room hotel is located in the business area within the Xi'an National Civil Aerospace Industrial Base, which will have over 300,000 residences and more than 30 medium-to large-scale enterprises when completed. Guestrooms at Swissôtel Xi'an will range from 40sqm to 50sqm. It will offer four restaurants, function and banqueting space and recreational facilities, including the Purovel Spa.

 

 

 

ANGSANA TO OPEN HOT SPRING RETREAT IN TENGCHONG

 

Angsana Hotels and Resorts will launch its first hot spring destination retreat, Angsana Tengchong Hot Spring Village, in Tengchong, Yunnan province. Located in a valley, the resort will feature 28 suites with balconies and nine villas, each with private hot spring tubs, a spacious Angsana Spa and an array of 43 outdoor and indoor hot spring pools. There will be four dining outlets  - Chinese restaurant that serves Yunnan and Cantonese cuisine, wellness-focused café, lounge, and F&B kiosk for quick bites. This is the fourth Angsana resort to launch in China.
 

 

BEIJING HOTELS: MUSEUM-QUALITY WORKS ENRICH GUEST EXPERIENCE

 

As hotels now take on the task of representing a property owner's personal taste and meeting the aesthetic expectations of guests, some have become worthy equals of museums in both the quality and quantity of artwork on display. One of the latest examples is Hotel Eclat Beijing at Parkview Green. Opened on March 1, it is a steel-and-glass pyramid, reminiscent of Ieoh Ming Pei's design at the Louvre in Paris. The small luxury hotel has about 100 artworks ranging from sculpture to oil paintings and installations. More than a dozen adorn its lounge, making it an art gallery in its own right.  

 

While the Eclat has a museum-quality collection, the Regent Beijing has gone further by establishing a museum. The 10,000 square metre museum is said to house the largest collection of red sandalwood furniture in the world, even more than in the Forbidden City. The most impressive exhibits are models of traditional Chinese buildings, including the Corner Tower of the Forbidden City. Hotel guests can tour the museum free of charge.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

UPCOMING FESTIVALS, PUBLIC HOLIDAYS, SHOWS & EVENTS IN CHINA - 2013

 

FESTIVALS & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

• MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL: September 19 - Office closes for one day.

• NATIONAL DAY: October 1-7  (National Day is on October 1) - Office closes from October 1-3  

 

SHOWS & EVENTS

GUANGZHOU:

• Guangzhou Autumn Canton Fair: October 15-November 4

 

CHENGDU:

• PATA Mart September 15-17

• International Auto Show: September 15-22

• Western Expo: October 15-22

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

AIR CHINA INAUGURATES CHENGDU-FRANKFURT FLIGHTS

 

Air China launched direct flights from Chengdu to Frankfurt on May on May 19, allowing passengers easy connection to destinations within the Star Alliance network. The thrice-weekly services on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays are operated with the Airbus A A330-200 aircraft. The Frankfurt-bound flight takes off at 01.30hrs and arrives at 06.10hrs the same day. The return flight leaves Frankfurt at 14.00hrs and touch down in Chengdu at 05.40hrs the next day. Frankfurt is the headquarters of both Star Alliance and Air China's European operations.

 

 

 

SIA, SILKAIR SEAL CODESHARE PACT WITH SHENZHEN AIRLINES

 

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and its subsidiary, SilkAir, have signed a codeshare agreement with Shenzhen Airlines, giving passengers a choice of two flights on the route between Shenzhen and Singapore. According to the agreement, SIA and SilkAir will both add their codes to Shenzhen Airlines-operated flights, while Shenzhen Airlines will tag SilkAir services on the route with its code.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

SHANGHAI: IMPERIAL TREASURE DRAWS LOCALS BACK TO DINING AT THE BUND

 

Shanghai's landmark, The Bund, is often avoided by the city's locals looking for a place to dine. Imperial Treasure, a new addition to the galaxy of fine dining restaurants on the Bund, may be the exception and is drawing locals back to the Bund. The Cantonese restaurant is the first branch opened by Singapore's Restaurant Group outside of the island republic, and has quickly become one of the favourite dining rooms for Shanghai residents to celebrate special occasions. It not only boasts a vast 2,000sqm space, but also offers an exquisite collection of Cantonese dim sum, siew mai and sea food. The restaurant also offers a variety of delicacies including shark's fin, bird's nest and abalone cooked with the cream de la cream of ingredients by experienced chefs for diners looking for fancy or high-end cuisine.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

SARA TIAN IS NEW HR OFFICER

 

Asian Trails China has appointed Sara Tian as the new HR Officer. We wish her all the best in her new position.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

WEEKEND OUTING FOR ATC STAFF

 

In mid-June Asian Trails China had a staff outing to explore Beijing's surrounding sites. We first did a short trek on the Great Wall at Huangyaguan, then continued further east to explore the magnificent Eastern Qing Tombs. In the evening an exquisite banquet awaited us in a pavilion above a water pond. The evening ended with KTV. The following morning we visited Du Le Temple, which is more than a 1,000 years old dating back to the Liao Dynasty. It was a great weekend and the team spirit soared high!

 

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,  

 

Mingalabar from Myanmar!  

 

Cool breeze fresh windy days are coming along with the soft rains, which are just slowly moving into Myanmar. We call it "Green Season" of Myanmar, as rain is very important for the whole country especially for the Delta and the central parts. The rains make the areas greener, beautiful, nice and fresh, more evident during this time of the year where there are not many tourists.  

 

We have a few promotional programmes, which we are featuring in this report (see ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE). These should be good reasons for you to visit Myanmar.  

 

It is 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 happy that many of the existing hotels are now undertaking major or minor refurbishment to upgrade their facilities to better serve future clients. We are featuring some of them here in this newsletter (see HOTEL INFORMATION).  

 

Happy Green Season!  

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

INCREASE IN ZONE FEES

 

Bagan Archaeological Zone fee will be increased from USD10 to USD15 per tourist with effect from July 1, 2013. Inle Zone fee will be increased from USD5 to USD10 from October 1, 2013. The funds collected from the increased fees will be used for the marketing and promotion of Myanmar as a tourist destination

 

 

 

USE OF FOREIGN EXCHANGE CERTIFICATE CEASED FROM JULY 1

 

Following the announcement by the Myanmar Government a few months back, the use of the Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC) ceased from July 1, 2013.
 

 

 

M.S. HINTHA TO START MANDALAY-BAGAN SERVICE

 

The new luxury boat, M.S. Hintha, will run a regular ferry service between Mandalay and Bagan from October 16, 2013 until March 31, 2014. The boat's capacity is 36 passengers, with a guarantee of a reclining chair on the sun deck for every guest. The schedule is as follows:

 

• Mandalay-Bagan: Wednesday and Sunday
• Bagan-Mandalay: Monday and Friday

 

 

 

IRRAWADDY FLOTILLA CRUISES' NEW BOAT

 

Irrawaddy Flotilla Cruises has launched a new boat, Owner's River Yacht, and will operate it on a charter basis starting from January 2014. The itinerary will be designed according to guests' requirements. The boat is perfect for families and small groups. The vessel has a large Owner Suite and five guestrooms, all open on both sides. There is also a library, bar and outdoor dining. On board are the crew, a butler and an expert Pandaw chef.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS NEW "EXPLORE" PROGRAMMES FOR 2014

 

Asian Trails is adding new "Explore" programmes in Bagan with two new Honeymoon Packages - Classic Honeymoon and Relax Adventure Honeymoon - covering unique attractions of Myanmar. Additionally, Asian Trails' trekking programmes covering Shan State are also being reviewed so as to avoid the tourist crowds. Please see all details in our upcoming DVD rom 2014.
 

 

SUMMER PROMOTIONS 2013

 

Asian Trails Myanmar summer package: Taking advantage of the direct flights between Mandalay and Bangkok, Asian Trails Myanmar has launched a summer promotion package. The programme covers Mandalay and Bagan with extensions to Yangon and Shan State, with the trip starting from Mandalay. This will apply to all of our partner agents and for any new bookings until 30th September 2013.  

 

Yangon: Strand Yangon is offering a promotion  - stay 3 nights, pay 2 nights only - for new bookings until September 15, 2013 with a two weeks cut off day.   

 

Mandalay: Mandalay Hill Resort is offering 30% discount for new bookings until July 31, 2013, with a week cut-off date.   

 

Shan State: View Point Lodge in Nyaung Shwe is offering a promotion - stay 3 nights, pay 2 nights only - for new bookings during the month of September 2013.   

 

Myanmar Treasure Resorts Group: The Group is offering five different summer promotion packages between May to September 2013, including domestic flights with Air Bagan.   

 

Please contact Asian Trails Myanmar for further information for all the above promotions.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

HAN THAR GARDEN LODGE - BAGO

 

Han Thar Garden Lodge is a charming new boutique hotel in Bago, which opened recently. It presently offers two Deluxe rooms and four Grand Deluxe rooms. Another 12 Deluxe rooms will be completed before the coming winter. Facilities include a large lobby lounge, restaurant and swimming pool.  

 

Bago is a popular resort town about 80 km from Yangon, along the Yangon-Mawlamyine main road and an hour's drive from Yangon International Airport. It is perfect for guests who want to escape from bustling Yangon. it is also a convenient overnight stop for travellers returning to Yangon from Kyaik Hti Yoe, Mawlamyine or upcountry destinations before connecting to their international departure on the next day.

 

 

 

GOLD YADANAR HOTEL - MANDALAY

 

The hotel is ideally located in the heart of Mandalay's downtown, with easy access to Diamond Plaza, Mandalay Market and China Town. A typical six-storey Myanmar city hotel with simple and basic design it caters to both leisure and business travellers. It has 40 spacious rooms comprising 24 Superior rooms and the rest are Suites (three different suite categories). All have wooden parquet floor, individual air-conditioning system, mini-bar, satellite TV and bathrooms with hot/cold shower (Superior) and bathtub (Suite).
 

 

 

STRAND HOTEL - YANGON

 

The Strand, the only historical grand hotel of Myanmar, has ceased to be managed by General Hotels Management (GHM). It is now a joint venture between the government and a local management company, Myanmar Hotels International (MHI), which is the representative of Strand Hotel International-Hong Kong (SHI Hong Kong). SHI also manages two other hotels in Yangon - the pioneer Inya Lake Hotel and Thamada Hotel.

 

 

 

GREEN HILL HOTEL - YANGON

 

The 189-room Green Hill Yangon will become a Best Western International hotel later this year. It is strategically located near Karawaik Palace and Kandawgyi Lake, within 15 minutes' walk to Shwedagon Pagoda and a 10-minute drive to downtown. The hotel is now being assessed to be within Best Western standards. Best Western will also train the hotel staff.
 

 

 

AMAZING HOTELS & RESORTS - BAGAN, MINE THAUK, INGYIN GONE

 

Amazing Hotels & Resorts Group will be developing three new hotels - one each in Bagan, Mine Thauk (Shan State) and Inle.

• Hotel Amazing Bagan will be a boutique hotel with 41 rooms and is expected to open in November 2013.

• Hotel Amazing Mine Thauk will have 28 rooms.

• Hotel Amazing Ingyin Gone, a three star property, located next to Aureum Inle, will have 34 rooms and scheduled to be completed at the beginning of 2014.

 

 

 

INLE GARDEN HOTEL - INLE

 

Inle Garden Hotel is located on Ingyin Gone Village in Nyaung Shwe. It comprises one-storey villas, each measuring 624sqft and with veranda facing Inle Lake. The villas are constructed of hard wood, teak and pinewood. There will be 45 rooms ready for coming winter season. The hotel is the sister property of Thazin Garden Hotel in Bagan.
 

 

 

MARRIOT HOTELS & RESORTS PLANS TO OPEN PROPERTY IN MYANMAR

 

Many international hotel chains have expressed their wish to develop properties in Myanmar after the government allows more political freedom, loosens economic control and eases US sanctions. Among them is American hotel chain, Marriot Hotels & Resort, which is seeking an agreement for a property in Myanmar in the next six months. The hotel group is mentioned in the Tourism Master plan, which has listing of international hotel brands. We will advise on further developments.
 

 

PENINSULA GROUP TO DEVELOP FIVE STAR HOTEL IN YANGON

 

Yoma Strategic Holdings has signed a Head of Agreement with Hong Kong listed Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels (HSH) to redevelop the former Burma Railway Company building on Bogyoke Aung San Street in Yangon into a five star Peninsula hotel. HSH will reportedly take a 70% stake in the venture, which will require an extensive renovation of the colonial-era building.  

 

The hotel will be within the grounds of the Landmark Development, a mixed-use project containing residences and shopping malls that currently encompasses the area around the Grand Meeyahta Residences, just east of Bogyoke Market.

 

 

 

TRADERS HOTEL - YANGON

 

Traders Hotel, Yangon has completed the upgrading of Traders Café, the all-day dining restaurant, Summer Palace and function rooms. These upgrades are Shangri-La's commitment to continuously improve its facilities and services.

 

The upgrading resumes in September 2013 with the refurbishment of hotel rooms on the 5th, 13th, 14th and 15th floors. Renovation is scheduled to be completed end of December 2013. Work will be carried out from 9am to 6pm. No work will be carried out on Sundays and public holidays.

 

 

PARADISE HOTEL - NYAUNG SHWE

 

All superior rooms of the hotel are currently under renovation. Work is carried out from 9am to 6pm daily until the end of September 2013.

 

 

 

PARADISE INLE - INLE LAKE

 

Paradise Inle is undergoing major renovations from this summer. As the hotel has few operational rooms during the upgrading period it is only able to accept FIT clients but not groups, series and VIP. This is a major upgrade and will take about one-and-a-half year to complete.
 

 

 

PRISTINE LOTUS - INLE

 

Pristine Lotus is upgrading and renovating all guest services areas. Guestrooms are not available from mid June to mid-August 2013. At the same time the hotel is also expanding its inventory by another 70 duplex cottages on the other side of the hotel where there will be an additional reception, swimming pool and dining facilities. The extension is scheduled to be carried out until 2014. The hotel is expecting about 40 new duplex cottages and 50 villas to be in full operation from January 2014.

 

 

 

SEDONA HOTEL - MANDALAY

 

Sedona Hotel is converting two floors of offices into guestrooms after the expiry of their rental contract. Renovation work will be carried out for three months, from July to September 2013, to be ready for coming winter season.
 

 

 

FLORAL BREEZE - BAGAN

 

Floral Breeze is building another 14 rooms during this low season. Currently the hotel has 54 rooms. On completion of the extension in October 2013 there will be a total of 68 rooms.

 

 

 

AMAZING RESORTS - BAGAN & INLE

 

Amazing resorts in Bagan and Inle are carrying out their usual seasonal minor maintenance work during the low season from May to the end of July 2013. Both hotels are taking steps to minimise disturbances to the guests during the work period.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

 

 

TAUNGBYONE FESTIVAL
AUGUST 14-21, 2013
VENUE: TAUNGBYONE

 

This unique festival is held once a year in Taungbyone, about 45 minutes (32km) from Mandalay and lasts for five days, from August 13 to 21. Every year people from all over Myanmar gather to worship Taungbyone spiritual figures and pray for a prosperous future. This event also sees a gathering of spirit mediums at Taungbyone.

 

 

 

MANUHA PAGAODA FESTIVAL & HOLYMAN FESTIVAL (BODAW GU HTUET PWE)
SEPTEMBER 19 & 21, 2013
VENUE: MYINKABA VILLAGE & POPA, BAGAN

 

Manuha Pagoda Festival is usually celebrated on the full-moon day of Tawthalin (September 19) in Myinkaba Village in Bagan. Holyman Festival is celebrated on the waning day of Tawthalin (September 21) in Popa near Bagan. People from Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan visit both festivals during this period.
 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

NOK AIR UPS SERVICES

 

Nok Air is launching three new services:

• Mae Sot-Mawlamyine in September 2013.

• Mae Sot-Yangon in October 2013

• Bangkok-Yangon in November  

 

Tickets can be purchased on Nok Air's website and at 7-Eleven stores across Thailand, as well as ticket's booth at Don Muang Airport in Thailand. The airline plans to launch a direct flight from Chiang Mai to Bagan/Mandalay/Yangon.

 

 

 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS CONNECTS BANGKOK WITH MANDALAY

 

Bangkok Airways will launch a service between Bangkok, Thailand and Mandalay in September 2013. The four times weekly flights are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

 

 

 

AIRASIA FLIES TO NAY PYI TAW

 

AirAsia, Asia's largest low cost carrier, will launch daily flights between Bangkok, Thailand and Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar's capital in October 2013.

 

 

 

EVA AIR, CONDOR AIR CEASE OPERATIONS

 

Eva Air and Condor Air ceased operations to Myanmar from May 2013.

 

 

 

THREE AIRLINES ADD FLIGHTS TO PUTAO

 

Air Bagan, Air KBZ and Myanmar Airways (UB) will add a total of six flights a week to Putao starting from October 2013.
 

 

 

ASIAN WINGS STARTS YANGON-CHIANG MAI SERVICE

 

Asian Wings will operate Yangon-Chiang Mai (Thailand) flights from June 25, 2013. The service is on every Tuesday and Friday up to September 2013.
 

 

 

HONOUR FOR KBZ GROUP

 

The KBZ Group of companies, including Air KBZ, has been honoured with the award, "Best Corporate Governance in Myanmar 2013", by the President of Myanmar.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

THE MYTHS - YANGON

 

The Myths opened recently opened in Yangon. The restaurant serves Myanmar, Thai and European food with a variety of set menus and buffet available at reasonable rate. It has a capacity for 100 guests and is suitable for groups.

 

 

 

NERVIN - YANGON

 

Nevin opened in May and is located in Kandawgyi Park, facing to the Kandawgyi Lake. The restaurant serves Italian food and is the perfect venue for people who want enjoy a good Italian meal in a beautiful setting. It is especially ideal for gathering of friends or couples to have a meal in cosy surroundings.

 

 

 

UNION BAR AND GRILL - YANGON

 

Union Bar and Grill provides a relaxed atmosphere for coffee, breakfast (weekends only), lunch and dinner. It has a large central bar, banquet seating, intimate dining and a raised lounge. Blending West with Asian it offers a wide selection of wines including Myanmar wines. Clientele includes a mixed crowd of expatriates and locals. There is free Wifi. It opens daily from 10am till late.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

PHILIPP SCHUELLER IS ATM'S NEW INBOUND MANAGER

  

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Mr. Philipp Schueller, a German national, as Asian Trails Myanmar's new Inbound Manager. Philipp, who joined us recently, brings with him a wealth of international experience gained in various roles in the travel and hospitality industry in Greece, Spain, Egypt, Thailand and China. We warmly welcome Philipp to our team, and wish him all the best and great success in his new role.
 

 

 

ATM WELCOMES NEW FINANCE MANAGER, SEBASTIAN ALEX MENDONCA

  

We are happy to welcome Mr. Sebastian Alex Mendonca to the Asian Trails Myanmar team as Finance Manager. Sebastian has vast international experience in the finance field as he has served as Manager Finance in Kuoni India for seven years. We warmly welcome Sebastian to our team, and wish him all the best and great success in his new role.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

ANNUAL STAFF OUTING

  

We recently had our annual staff outing, which was a trip to southern Myanmar for a few days of days of team building.
 

 

 

 

FIRST AID TRAININNG IN BAGAN

 

Asian Trails Bagan, in collaboration with Bagan Red Cross Society, organised a two-day refresher course on First Aid Training on June 8-9. English classes and customer relations classes were also conducted for our station staff, drivers and guides during the last few weeks.

 

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Asian Trails Malaysia!  

 

This is a short note to welcome our new Malaysian Minister of Tourism, Mr Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz. We wish him success in his new position, and hope we can jointly develop further Malaysia's tourism industry by better positioning ourselves in the world as an exclusive destination in the South East Asian region and in the world.  

 

On another matter, last April we successfully managed a group from Eli Lilly Worlwide with 275 participants. Below is a thank you letter from our client:  

 

"Hello Emir,

 

I wanted to write you a note to thank you and the whole Asian Trail team who largely contributed for the great success of our program last week.  

 

Your flexibility and dedication was very much appreciated and key to the success of the program. Participants were very satisfied.  

 

It was nice to meet you all and hope to have the chance to work with you again in the future.  

 

Thanks and kind regards

 

Zeli"  

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my team for the extraordinary dedication and effort to make this group's visit a success. A special thank you goes to Ravi, our Inbound Manager, and Sara, our Operations Manager.  

 

Best regards,  

 

Emir Cherif

Malaysia, Truly Asia!  

 

 

   

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

BATIK WORKSHOP

 

Batik printing is a textile art of Malaysia, practised especially on the east coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. It is an ancient art form, which uses a wax-resistant dyeing technique to draw patterns on cloth, or in which a pattern is stamped in wax before the fabric is hand-dyed.  

 

You can make your own batik while visiting Kuala Lumpur. The Batik Workshop provides visitors a marvellous opportunity to experiment with batik and produce their own masterpiece. It is also a popular team building activity, whereby small groups (suggested eight paxs) make their own batik, and judges choose the best finished piece. The maximum group size for this activity is around 100 paxs.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BAYVIEW BEACH RESORT, PENANG RENOVATES

 

Bayview Beach Resort, Penang is carrying out phase two of its renovation programme, which sees a facelift for the superior and family rooms. Work is from July 8-10 and from July 17-21 July 2013, from 10am to 6 pm daily, with the renovation area sealed off. The hotel is operating as normal and no facilities are closed. During the renovation period the hotel is offering special promotions and discounts at the pool bar area.

 

 

 

MANDARIN ORIENTAL KUALA LUMPUR'S LOBBY UNDER RENOVATION

 

The lobby of Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur is undergoing a phased renovation from June 2, 2013 for a period of two months. The mangement is taking great care to minimise any disruption to the guests, and has set up a fully functioning temporary front desk.

 

 

 

RENAISSANCE JOHOR BAHRU OPENS

 

Renaissance Johor Bahru, Johor, Marriott International's latest and seventh property in Malaysia, has opened. The 345-room hotel is located in the township of Permas Jaya, near Johor Bahru city centre. It is also near the port and industrial area of Pasir Gudang, and within the Iskandar Development Region.  

 

Facilities in the hotel include four restaurants and bars, including Café BLD for all-day dining, Wan Li Restaurant for contemporary Cantonese cuisine, The Chocolate Cake Company for pastries, and lobby bar R-Bar. It features an outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, and seven flexible meeting rooms with state-of-the-art technology and natural lighting.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR FESTIVAL
JULY 1 -31, 2013
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR

 

An exciting annual event, the Kuala Lumpur Festival features a colourful line-up of activities and performances. Launched in 2006, the event has united Malaysians from all walks of life through the spirit of creativity and solidarity.

 

 

 

1MALAYSIA CONTEMPORARY ARTS TOURISM FESTIVAL
JULY 2- SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR

 

This prestigious event gives an insight into Malaysia's fascinating contemporary arts scene. The unique platform showcases both established and up-and-coming names in the industry.

 

 

 

BON ODORI FESTIVAL
JULY 6, 2013
VENUE: SHAH ALAM MATSUSHITA STADIUM, SELANGOR

 

Bon Odori (meaning Bon dance) is a festival held every summer in Japan as a reminder of one's gratitude to one's ancestors. The Bon Odori Festival in Selangor is one of the largest outside Japan. Organised by Selangor State Office, Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and the Japan Club of Kuala Lumpur the event is also a showcase of Japanese art, dance, food and drinks.

 

 

 

MELAKA, UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITY CELEBRATIONS
JULY 7, 2013
VENUE: BANDAR HILIR, MELAKA

 

On July 7, 2008 UNESCO declared Melaka a World Heritage City. History buffs and tourists from around the globe visit its heritage buildings, cultural enclaves and places of worship. Participate in the exciting anniversary celebrations to commemorate the historic occasion. The organiser of the event is Melaka Historical City Council/Melaka Museums Corporation (PERZIM).

 

 

 

PENANG, UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITY CELEBRATION
JULY 7, 2013
VENUE: ESPLANADE, PENANG

 

Penang (George Town) was accorded the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List of Cities and Sights for its "outstanding universal value" on July 7, 2008. The anniversary of this conferment is celebrated with a month of cultural and music shows, traditional crafts demonstrations and exhibitions.

 

 

 

PORT DICKSON INTERNATIONAL TRIATHLON
JULY 19-21, 2013
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. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Port Dickson, the most popular beach on Peninsular Malaysia's west coast.

 

 

 

RAMADAN BAZAAR
JULY 9-AUGUST 8, 2013
VENUE: NATIONWIDE

 

As the fasting month begins stalls and bazaars are set up throughout the country offering an array of delicious fare for Muslims to break their fast.


• Dates are subject to change

 

 

 

HARI RAYA AIDILFITRI
AUGUST 8-9, 2013
VENUE: NATIONWIDE

 

After fasting from dawn to dusk for a month Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a day that signifies victory for Muslims worldwide. 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 lots of tasty delicacies to make the celebrations memorable!

 

 

 

HARI MERDEKA (INDEPENDENCE DAY)
AUGUST 31, 2013
VENUE: NATIONWIDE

 

Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) commemorates the independence of the Federation of Malaya from British colonial rule in 1957. The day is celebrated with processions and special events nationwide.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

AIRASIA LAUNCHES SINGAPORE-MAKASSAR FLIGHTS

 

AirAsia launches four-times-weekly Singapore-Makassar flights on July 1 to meet market demand for the route, bringing AirAsia's Indonesian destinations to six. The service operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, leaving Singapore at 10.45hrs and reaching Makassar at 13.15hrs. Flights out of Makassar to Singapore are on the same days, leaving Makassar at 07.40hrs and arriving in Singapore at 10.10hrs.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES INCLUDES FUEL SURCHARGE IN FARES FOR SINGAPORE-FLIGHTS

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) included fuel surcharge on  published fares for travel originating from Singapore from June 1. The airline plans to introduce the surcharge inclusion progressively across its worldwide network. To date, it has done so for flights originating from New Zealand (2006), Sri Lanka (2011) and India (2013).

 

 

FIREFLY, MALINDO AIR COMPETE ON DOMESTIC ROUTES

 

Firefly, Malaysia's community airline, is facing stiff competition from Malindo Air, Kuala Lumpur based new hybrd carrier, when the latter commenced twice daily turbo-propeller operations to Penang, Johor Bahru (Johor) and Kota Bharu (Kelantan) out of Subang Skypark Terminal from June 3.  

 

To head off the competition Firefly has  launched the "Everyday Low Fares" campaign, which will run for an indefinite period. They are available online at the airline's website.  

 

Malindo Air reently took delivery of its first ATR72-600 aircraft with another five aircraft to be delivered from now till September. By December 2013 the carrier will have a total of 12 aircraft (Boeing 737-900ER) operating out of the KL International Airport (KLIA), moving to KLIA2 when the latter is operational, and six ATR72-600 turbo-propeller aircraft flying out of Subang airport.

 

 

MALINDO AIR INTRODUCES SIBU, MIRI AND TAWAU ROUTES

 

Malindo Air launched daily services between Kuala Lumpur and Sibu, Miri and Tawau on June 11, June 14 and June 26 respectively. All-inclusive economy fares start from RM98 (US$32) to Miri and Sibu, and RM138 to Tawau. Business class fares start from RM499.  

 

The new routes coincide with the delivery of Malindo's two Boeing 737-900ER aircraft, bringing its fleet size to four. The launch of these services effectively ends AirAsia's dominance on these routes for low-cost flights.

 

 

INDONESIA AIRASIA RAMPS UP SERVICES TO MALAYSIA, AUSTRALIA,

 

Indonesia AirAsia is ramping ups its services to Malaysia and Australia, reviving cancelled routes and stepping up frequencies. It increased the frequency of its Lombok-Kuala Lumpur service from four flights a week to daily from June 11. It will resume the thrice-weekly Denpasar-Kota Kinabalu (Sabah) flights on July 27. The latter was suspended a few years ago.  

 

To Australia, the airline relaunched its Denpasar-Darwin service with four times-weekly flights beginning July 1. The route was axed last year. Also from July 1 the carrier increased the Denpasar-Perth services from thrice daily to four times a day.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

MALAYSIA HAS NEW TOURISM AND CULTURE MINISTER

 

Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, 59, has been named Malaysia's Tourism and Culture Minister, with Joseph Salang Gandum as the deputy minister, in the new Malaysian cabinet announced by the Prime Minister following the 13th General Election on May 5.  

 

Mohamed Nazri entered politics in the early 90s, and was Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of parliamentary affairs since 2008. Salang was the deputy minister of Information, Communications and Culture.

 

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

Not far from the bustling city of Yogjakarta is the Dieng Plateau, which is home to some of Indonesia's oldest Hindu temples sitting at an altitude of 2,100 metres above sea level. The drive along plantations, rainforests and deep valleys is very scenic, and it is possible to return to Yogjakarta in the afternoon after visiting the Dieng Plateau.  

 

The temples at the Dieng Temple Complex were built during the 8th to 13th centuries during the Sanjaya Dynasty. They resemble the temples of Prambanan, but on a smaller scale. Apart from the temples the Dieng Plateau also has reserves of natural resources as it has an active volcano inside the Sikidang Crater.

 

The Dieng Temple Complex is a 30-minute drive from Wonosobo town or a 3.5-hour drive from Yogyakarta. About another 30 minutes' drive from the complex along on semi-paved and dirt road is Sikunir Hill from where you can catch a stunning sunrise. It is a 30-minute hike up the hill to reach the sunrise point. From here you can see at least four of the highest volcanoes in the area - Mt Merapi, Mt Merbabu, Mt Sindoro and Mt Ungaran. The sunrise tour is only possible if visitors stay the night  in Wonosobo, a small town on the foothill of the Dieng massive.  

 

Please contact us at res@asiantrails.co.id for more information on tours to the Dieng Plateau.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

COMMUNITY BASED TOURISM IN MENYALI VILLAGE, NORTH BALI

 

Menyali Village, located 15 minutes off the main road of Tejakula on Bali's northern coast, is a community-based tourism destination.  This small village, with its fresh air, offers a wide range of natural attractions.  

 

Visitors can trek to enjoy the green hills, which dot the south side of the village or the waterfall with clear waters. Learn how to play the traditional Gamelan musical instrument, dances, or cook Balinese food with the local people in their traditional kitchen. The elementary school in the village is open to visitors for them to interact with the students. Accommodation is cottage style and very simple, located among the villagers' houses. The comfort level is basic, but Menyali Village provides the real experience of Balinese village life.

 

 

 

SAIL KOMODO 2013

 

Sail Komodo 2013 is a major event in the village of Labuan Bajo and Komodo Island in the western part of Flores. It starts on September 5 and ends on September 7. Taking part are approximately 100 yachts on rally surrounding Flores and the neighbouring islands of Sumba, Alor and Rote. The event's highlight is the closing ceremony at Labuan Bajo, with Indonesia's President in attendance. The ceremony will feature a performance by 2,000 traditional dancers. We expect hotel occupancy in Labuan Bajo to be very tight during this period.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SOFITEL RETURNS TO BALI

 

After the rebranding of the former Sofitel in Seminyak to an MGallery, Accor's most luxurious brand is coming back to Nusa Dua, Bali. Sofitel Nusa Dua Bali is scheduled to open in April 2014. It is located on the Nusa Dua beach between Club Med and the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel. It will have 415 luxury rooms and suites featuring complimentary broadband Internet access, a fully stocked mini-bar and luxurious French bathroom amenities.

 

 

 

RIMBA JIMBARAN BALI OPENS IN SEPTEMBER 2013

 

Capella Hotel Group will open the sustainability-focused Rimba Jimbaran Bali within Ayana Resort and Spa Bali in September 2013. The eight-hectare property will debut its 297 rooms on Ayana's 77-hectare grounds, which overlooks Jimbaran Bay and is located 12km from Bali's airport.

 

Rimba translates to "forest" in Bahasa Indonesia, and reflects the hotel's focus on sustainability. This feature is incorporated through elements such as a rainwater harvesting and water recycling plant, lobby made of recycled wood from old fishing boats and driftwood, maximised usage of natural light within the hotel, handmade-brick walls, and furniture constructed from recycled materials.

 

 

 

REGENT'S FIRST PROPERTY IN SANUR, BALI

 

Regent Hotels & Resorts opened its first property in Bali, Regent Bali, on June 1, 2013. All the 95 suites are in operation, while the 25 villas are expected to open in September. The hotel is beautifully designed with very generous space where the lowest room category is 90sqm. A special rate is being offered during the opening period with validity until March 31, 2014.

 

 

 

AMARTERRA, ACCOR'S SECOND MGALLERY OPENS IN BALI

 

Originally scheduled to open under the Aston Umbrella, Accor took over the management of Amarterra two months ago and is currently rebranding it into a MGallery. The resort is located just behind Inna Putri Bali Hotel and next to the Ayodya, only 200 metres from the beach. A pure villa property the Amarterra features 32 one-bed room villas, six two-bed room villas and one three-bed room villa. All villas have a large pool and an outside living room right next to it. There is also a main pool with a small restaurant and a spa.  

 

Note: Amarterra still has villas available for the upcoming high season.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

AIRASIA LINKS SINGAPORE WITH MAKASSAR/UJUNG PANDANG

 

AirAsia, Asia's biggest low cost carrier, launches a new service from Singapore to Makassar/Ujung Pandang, the largest city in South Sulawesi, Indonesia following growing demand for this route. AirAsia Indonesia operates four times weekly service on this route from July 1, 2013 with its brand new Airbus A320 with a capacity of 180 seats. Makassar is AirAsia's eighth destination in Indonesia from Singapore.

 

 

GARUDA INDONESIA TO JOIN SKY TEAM IN 2014

 

Garuda Indonesia, flag carrier of Indonesia, will become Sky Team's 20th member in March 2014. After years of improvement the airline has met all criteria to join the alliance. Membership in the third largest airline alliance will strengthen Garuda's position in the international and domestic market. Besides Garuda only Vietnam Airlines is part of Sky Team in South East Asia. Other members in Asia are Korean Air, China Airlines or China Southern Airlines.

 

 

 

GARUDA INDONESIA RESUMES SERVICE TO BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND

 

After a long break Garuda Indonesia resumes flights from Jakarta and Bali to the Australian city of Brisbane, Queensland's largest city. The daily flights from Bali operate with a Boeing B737-800 NG aircraft. Garuda, after Virgin Australia, is the second carrier operating on this sector. The airline also operates flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

 

 

 

SINGAPORE AIRLINES, SILKAIR INCREASE FLIGHTS TO INDONESIA

 

Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary, SilkAir, are increasing their services to Indonesia this summer. SilkAir will introduce two new destinations - Semarang and Makassar. From July 29 it will operate three weekly flights (Monday/Wednesday/Friday) from Singapore to Semarang, capital of Central Java. From August 1 it will launch three weekly flights (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday) to Makassar in South Sulawesi.  

 

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines will increase its daily flights to Denpasar, Bali from three to four this summer.

 

 

 

JETSTAR LAUNCHES DIRECT PERTH-LOMBOK SERVICE

 

Jetstar will operate direct flights from Perth, Australia to the Indonesian island of Lombok in September. This will be the first time an Australian carrier operates direct services to Lombok, which is enjoying growing popularity in the Australian market. The four times weekly flights from Perth will land at Lombok's new Praya Airport. The airline will use an Airbus aircraft for the three-and-a-half-hour flight.

 

 

 

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