Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue July 2016

THE CEO STORY

CUSTOMS AND CULTURES OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been on my wish list for many years, and I was really happy when I could set a date in May this year to make my dream come true. I knew what I wanted my journey to be, focusing on a visit to the highlands and local stays in the villages with the inhabitants. However, I had to find the right partner to make this rather unconventional way of travel in PNG a reality. Philippe, the owner of a niche company that focuses on community tourism, convinced me he had the right connections to the local communities, and I asked him to arrange my journey.

The adventure started, after a transit stop in Port Moresby (PNG’s capital city) airport, when our domestic flight headed to the highlands to an airport near Mt. Hagen. On arrival we were welcomed by Vincent and Gubon, the father and son team from the Simbu tribe.

PNG is home to more than 800 languages and lifestyles, and an incredible array of colours and cultures. I noted on the aircraft that the local people looked and dressed quite differently from each other except for one common factor - they were mostly barefoot. This though in no way prepared me for the diversity of the people that I was to experience during my week in the highlands.

I set off in a Toyota Landcruiser with Vincent and Gubon driving first on dilapidated tarred roads, then on local gravel roads into valleys and eventually up into the mountains. We headed into the direction of Mt. Wilhelm which, at 4,509 metres, is the highest mountain in PNG. After driving in and out of several valleys we finally came to a stop on the roadside. From there it was a backpack on my back, and a further walk uphill to my first night stop in a village.

I was expecting a friendly welcome, but was not prepared for the 500 or more people waiting for me on top of the hill! It turned out that I was the official guest of that village for the night, and their only second foreign guest. After shaking 500 hands, an official speech by the village head, and my profound thanks for having me as their guest I was treated to a singsing.

If you had thought the carnival in Brazil was home to the most extravagant costumes and feathers anywhere in the world, think again. The singsing that was put on show for me was a festival of colours, parrots, feathers, face paint and jewellery. It is actually unfair to compare such an event to any carnival, as this is serious stuff. Every dress has a meaning, every feather must be at its right place, every song is an expression of joy or sorrow.

Stephen and his wife, who had just finished construction of the official village guesthouse, were in charge of my well being and were the nicest hosts I could possibly imagine. They cooked dinner with fresh vegetables from their garden, and joined me for talks around the kitchen table that lasted late into the night.

These moments spent with the local people are priceless, and often a personal highlight when I explore a new country or an unknown area. In a few hours one learns about the pleasures and the worries of the local people, their way of life, their ambitions, and how they see their future world. Being on top of that hill in PNG I felt I was in a world apart, almost like on another planet.

Travelling for a week through the highlands by jeep and on foot showed me the complexity of a country and society where the modern world has yet to clash with traditional customs and traditions. The clash is, sadly, probably not far away. Young people will eventually want to leave their villages and have a different life in the modern cities. They will not want to be farmers in remote villages, but be part of a world that is changing with technology, own an iPad, a television, or a modern home.

I cannot even begin to describe the complexity of the PNG culture that I experienced during my week-long stay. Almost every village has a different language and different customs. People looked differently, spoke differently and dressed differently. The common feature is almost everyone is barefoot, and most men outside the cities carry bush knives.

PNG has a notorious safety reputation, although I must say that I did not feel threatened or uncomfortable at any time. I felt safe staying in the villages, and I was warmly welcomed everywhere I went. I would not walk around at night in larger towns, but I did not encounter any danger or threats during my day visit to the town markets and Port Moresby.

A friend asked which part of the highlands I liked best, and which village had the most surprising culture. This is a difficult question to answer. I would have to say the mountain landscapes towards Tari town, the challenging mountain river crossings without bridges in Simbu province, and the treks through the jungle in search of the Birds of Paradise were spectacular.

Participating at a warrior’s funeral that we came across by chance was the experience of a lifetime. The photos and videos of the funeral procession alone will make for an article in National Geographic.

All the village stays were equally interesting, but the most unique was probably the stay in a house with the wigmen in a Huli village. Their intricate culture of making a wig from one’s own hair, which is used in complex ceremonies, combined with a unique way of life where men and women live in separate compounds was extraordinary.

I could write at least a 10-page story on my journey through PNG; this is just a sample of my adventure through this incredible country. If you like to have a more detailed account of my journey I will be happy to share photos and more information verbally.

Asian Trails does not have an office in PNG, but I will be happy to put you in contact with our DMC partners. On the other hand, Asian Trails offers tours to West Papua (Indonesia) operated by our office in Bali. West Papua is equally exotic, and a visit to the Baliem Valley and the surrounding villages is an incredible off-the-beaten-track experience.
 

Happy Trails! 

 

Laurent Kuenzle 

CEO 

Asian Trails 

 

   

QUICK LINKS 

 

 

  • THAILAND

  • LAOS

  • CAMBODIA

  • VIETNAM

  • CHINA

  • MYANMAR

  • MALAYSIA

  • INDONESIA

  •    

     

     

     

    THAILAND

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR CLAUDIO KELLENBERGER

     

    Dear friends,

    I would like to inform you that I have decided, after eight years in Asia and with more than seven of them with Asian Trails, to move with my family to New Zealand. We are excited to open a new different chapter in our lives and, at the same time, our daughter will enjoy New Zealand’s well-known education system.

    This is not yet good bye, as I will be around until end of October during which time I have the pleasure to hand over the management of Asian Trails Thailand to my successor Yves Van Kerrebroeck, our current Deputy Managing Director.

    I am very happy Yves has been given this opportunity since we have been working together for many years. I know Yves will continue to serve you and your esteemed clients in the way you expect from Asian Trails!

    Photo: Claudio Kellenberger (right) with his successor Yves Van Kerrebroeck
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    SIAM DISCOVERY, THE EXPLORATORIUM REOPENS


    The 18-year old Siam Discovery, which was closed since May 2015 for a 4 billion baht overhaul, has reopened with a new name - Siam Discovery, The Exploratorium. The mall is the country’s first lifestyle concept shopping complex, offering more than 5,000 international and local brands with community space to engage more than 100,000 potential visitors a day.

     

     

     

    PURPLE LINE - NEW METROPOLITAN RAPID TRANSIT (MRT)


    Purple Line, the new Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT), runs from Khlong Ban Pahi to Tao Poon. It is both the first MRT extension to another province and the system's first overground line. The public can get trial rides on the new MRT until its official opening on Mother's Day on August 12.

     

     

     

    3 MORE ISLANDS CLOSED TO PRESERVE THE ENVIRONMENT


    One week after Koh Tachai announced it would be closed completely to tourists, the Thai authorities have publicly declared a major cutdown of tourist activities on three more islands - Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai. These islands are off the coast of Phuket, and have been subject to over-visits by tourists. More than 60 speedboats carry tourists to these islands daily, harming the natural resources and accelerating the dangerous coral bleaching process.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    NEW! DINOSAUR PLANET, BANGKOK


    This newly opened “Dinosaur Planet” in the heart of Bangkok brings a new attraction to Empshere Sukhumvit 22. This attraction takes visitors back in time to the ancient world of dinosaurs, where they can experience various types of these majestic creatures. There are also exciting presentation techniques, activities, and world-class performances.
     

     

     

    X2 RIVER CRUISES


    X2 River Cruises brings the ultimate touch of luxury to tours and sightseeing on the famous rivers of Asia.

    The X2 River boat is a 30-foot Italian designed, Italian-made piece or art. Inspired by the Venetian taxi boat, it is a dedicated luxury river cruiser. It features real leather interior, full air-conditioning, refrigeration for drinks, and a sliding targa style roof for open-air sightseeing. It is powered by an Alfa Romeo turbo engine, similar to those used in Venice, providing quiet, powerful and reliable yachting.

    We offer river transfers, excursions, and boat charters on the X2 River boat. Contact us for programmes and rates at res@asiantrails.org

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    BANGKOK

     

    NEW – CHUCHAI BURI SRI AMPHAWA


    Chuchai Buri Sri Amphawa, set near the famous Amphawa Floating Market, is a luxurious and traditional property offering an exotic Thai experience. The architectural designs are influenced by the historic Kingdom of Siam. Located in the Traditional Communities Mall, it offers 18 exclusive uniquely stylish rooms with superb facilities and services. The iconic clock tower is the landmark of the hotel set on top of the shrine museum of Hindu sculptures.
     

     

     

    CHIANG MAI

     

    MARAYA HOTEL & RESORT


    Maraya Hotel & Resort is situated on the bank of Ping River opposite the ancient city of Wieng Kum Kam. Its perfect location allows guests to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere along riverside, while reaching Chiang Mai city centre and its highlight spots within a short time.

    The resort is designed under the 'Culture & Art' concept, which combines northern Thailand culture of the Lanna Kingdom with the art of Chiang Mai.

    The 18 exclusive rooms of Maraya Hotel & Resort are elegantly decorated in modern Lanna style and unique handicraft furniture. Decorative accessories and furnishings reflect Lanna traditions and are made from the highest quality materials. All rooms are equipped with separate bathtub, shower and toilet room. They vary in size from 35 square metres to 40+ square metres, and some have balconies overlooking the Ping River and the ancient pagoda. Both twin bed and king size bedded rooms are available, as is a set of connecting rooms for families (one with twin beds and one with king bed).

     

     

     

    SAMUI

     

    REBRANDED – NOVOTEL SAMUI RESORT CHAWENG BEACH KANDABURI (FORMER KANDABURI RESORT & SPA)


    Located near the lively entertainment centre at Chaweng, Novotel Samui Resort Chaweng Beach Kandaburi is still far enough for guests to enjoy the island’s peace and quiet. The 181-room hotel is located between the hills and beach, with the shallow waters of the bay within walking distance.
     

     

     

    PHUKET

     

    NEW – MAYA PHUKET HOTEL


    Maya Phuket presents a prestigious accommodation on Nai Yang Beach, exuding an intriguing blend of seamless design and a relaxing Phuket lifestyle experience.

    The hotel’s 83 exclusive guestrooms are perfect for tech-savvy travellers who can stay connected with free WiFi (available throughout the hotel), state-of-the-art room entertainment system, and a 40” high definition LED smart television.
     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALES 2016
    JUNE-AUGUST 2016
    VENUE: BANGKOK


    The Siam area in Bangkok, well known for its fabulous shopping, will be at the forefront of the Amazing Thailand Grand Sales. Taking part are Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery, Gaysorn, Emporium, and Central Chidlom. In fact there will be very few places in the city during this period where you will not see the red bag sign, which shows that the shop is taking part in the sales.

    As three months is a long time for any sale, Central World is running its main sales events from June to August with a special extravaganza.
     

     

     

    BUN LUANG AND PHI TA KHON FESTIVAL 2016
    JULY 6-8, 2016
    VENUE: LOEI PROVINCE


    The Phi Ta Khon Festival is the traditional identity of Loei Province. It is performed in part as a Buddhist merit–making holiday called “Bun Luang” to worship the spirits and the protectors of the villages. The Phi Ta Khon performance is an activity for community unity and social participation. The tradition is also related to Buddhism, as local people gather at temples to make merits and listen to the Dhamma talk.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    THE WHALF SAMUI – SAMUI


    The Whalf Samui is a brand new beachfront shopping plaza in Samui. With its retro architecture combining a mixture of eastern and western styles, it is a unique shopping complex with specialty shops offering a range of local and imported goods. It also houses cafes and restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, massage centres, spa, a tattoo shop, tourism services, and manicure and pedicure outlets. The food court offers a wide variety of food, from Russian cuisine to rice and curry dishes, Thai boat noodles, and other Thai delights. There is also a bank and currency exchange outlet.
     

     

     

    KRUA BOPHUT – SAMUI


    Krua Bophut is an authentic Thai restaurant located in the beautiful Fisherman Village on Bophut Beach. Its royal Thai design as a classically Thai house is decorated with wood carvings. The ambience, the serene indoor and the expanded outdoor allow guests to enjoy the tranquillity of the beach, the gentle sound of waves and the yachts against a background of beautiful music while dining.

    The restaurant is open daily from 13.00hrs to 24.00hrs.

     

     

     

    CARNIVORE STEAK AND GRILL – KRABI


    Carnivore Steak and Grill has established itself as the place in Krabi for lovers of red meat. The restaurant has the concept of serving meals that are prepared in simple ways with the best available ingredients and in generous portions.

    The restaurant’s Managing Director is Gidi, a Dutch national trained at the hotel school in Hasselt, Belgium

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

     

    NEW SPANISH-/ITALIAN-SPEAKING CUSTOMER RELATIONS REPRESENTATIVES


    We welcome Carol Fagone (top photo) and Marcello Bregoli (bottom photo), both Italian nationals and fluent in Italian and Spanish, to our customer relations team in Bangkok. Both bring with them a wealth of experience in the customer service field.

    With Carol and Marcello on board we will continue to provide outstanding services to our Italian- and Spanish-speaking clientele in and around Bangkok.
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     
     

    LAOS

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDREAS HOFMANN

     

    Saibaidee!

    It is the Green Season – a time when Laos’ landscape is lush and green, and prices are competitive. Enjoy the beautiful scenery while the sun shines, and join in exciting indoor activities when it rains.

    Laos does not have big picture-ready attractions, but it does have special places where you can see, feel, and experience up close and personal what this small South East Asian country has to offer. Visit the ethnology centre to practice Hmong or Akha artisan skills. Or go to Southern Laos (“Charming by Nature”) to live and work like a Lao fisherman for a day with the new Riverlife Experience, a new community based tourism project (see story in this report).

    For the next couple of months Laos will enjoy the Green Season with short heavy rains, usually in the evenings that turn the landscape into a fresh green paradise. The rivers are full of water, and ideal for kayaking around Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang. Butterflies are fluttering around the many waterfalls - don’t forget to stop by the Butterfly Farm near Kuangsi Waterfall for a visit. Down south the Khone Waterfalls, the largest in South East Asia, is at its most impressive during this season.

    What is even more fantastic during this period are the low season “low rates”, which make Laos an attractive destination for last minute travellers.

    Contact us today for your last minute offer at res@asiantrailslaos.com!

    Best wishes,

    Andreas Hofmann
    Managing Director
    Asian Trails Laos
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    BUTTERFLY FARM IN LUANG PRABANG FOR A FLUTTERING FUN EXPERIENCE

     

    The Kuangsi Butterfly Farm, situated 300m before the entry of the Kuangsi Waterfall, is a colourful and popular retreat. It is a nice getaway from the more crowded Kuangsi Waterfall, which is Luang Prabang’s most popular tourist attraction.

    Enjoy the beautiful garden near the river, and a smaller waterfall with hundreds of butterflies flying around it throughout the year. Relax at the small restaurant and fish spa with a cup of good coffee.

    Asian Trails Laos’ classic Kuangsi Waterfall excursion now includes a visit to or lunch at the Butterfly Farm.

     

     

     

    TAEC SPECIAL ARTISAN ACTIVITIES – HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE WITH LAO CULTURE

     

    TAEC invites groups of two to 12 people to join its skilled artisan teachers in creating their own one-of-a-kind Lao creation. The half‐day handicraft workshop is an excellent introduction to the country and traditions of the Lao culture. Choose from the following workshops ‐ Hmong Embroidery, Hmong Appliqué, or Kmhmu Basketry.

     

     

     

    RIVERLIFE EXPERIENCE IN CHAMPASSAK

     

    “If a man lives in a house on stilts, eats sticky rice and plays the khene (traditional instrument), he is Lao.” This saying of the Lao people is very much true for today’s life in Chapassak.

    Champasak is a province in south-western Laos near the borders with Thailand and Cambodia. The river Mekong forms part of its border with neighbouring Thailand and contains So Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) in the south of the province on the border with Cambodia.

    Asian Trails half-day Riverine Experience is an invitation from the local villagers to experience their rich and unique culture. Explore Southern Laos’ traditional way of life as a local, sailing through the meandering waterways of the archipelago by boat. Discover village life through the lens of Buddhism, and meet villagers who show you how they weave fishing nets and rice baskets, as well as the many ways of cooking sticky rice.

    To make your trip even more exclusive we only organise small groups excursions (5 people maximum), which benefit the local communities involved in the programmes.
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    LAFOLIE LODGE, DONG DAENG, CHAMPASAK — STAY 3, PAY 2

     

    The beautiful isolated La Folie Lodge sits on Don Daeng, an island in the Mekong River, a short hop from Champasak in southern Laos. It is offering a “Stay 3, Pay 2” promotion this low season. Enjoy the tranquil life on the island, go for walks or bike rides, or just laze around the swimming pool gazing at the languid Mekong River.
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     

       

     

    CAMBODIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

     

    Dear Partners and Friends,

    Asian Trails Cambodia’s team went to Battambang, Cambodia’s second biggest city, on its annual staff trip to discover the livelihood of farmers and their activities. We also enjoyed the fancy nightlife on the banks of the Sangker River for a memorable foodie tour. Not to forget the amazing performances of Phare Circus artists. All these activities and much more to experience yourself when visiting the Kingdom of Wonders!


     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    RATANAKIRI

     

    AIRAVATA: MAHOUT SCHOOL AND CONSERVATORY PROJECT


    Airavata, the elephant conservation centre, has proposed an alternative answer to the ecological problems, which the province of Ratanakiri has been suffering for many years.

    Airavata wants to protect the forest that is a refuge for elephants, and shares this exceptional heritage with travellers who come to discover more about the province. An eco-tourist centre will be developed soon in cooperation with the three villages, which are co-owners of the forest.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    TRAVELLING IN WHEELCHAIRS


    Travelling in a wheelchair can be extremely difficult in some countries, but this mode of transport is possible in Cambodia.

    There are special options to travel by tuk tuk in town, with even a visit to the spectacular Angkor Wat. We provide you with a personal guide experienced in disabled travelling, personal help at the airport, the right type of transport, and ground floor accommodation in hotels.

    For more information, contact us by phone or email and we will help you to explore Cambodia just like everyone.
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    SIEM REAP

     

    PHUM KHMER ANGKOR RESORT – VILLAGE STYLE ACCOMMODATION

     

    Phum Khmer Angkor Resort (www.phumkhmerangkor.com) is an idyllic ‘Khmer Village’ consisting of 46 traditional homes built in a unique architectural style. It is the ideal retreat for a holiday with its stylish decorated houses, fresh green environment, and fine dining cuisine.

     

     

     

    NEW POOL FOR ANGKOR PALACE RESORT & SPA


    Angkor Palace Resort & Spa has opened its second swimming pool. The infinity pool is located near the villas within the resort’s sprawling grounds. For use only by adults the new pool is the perfect place for guests to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
     

     

     

    NEW RESORT ON KOH RON SAMLOEM - THE ONE RESORT


    The bay of Saracens on Koh Rong Samloem (Sihanoukveille) is a good option for visitors looking for a simple beach experience and experience nature in Cambodia for a couple of nights. It has a number of new beach resorts including The One Resort and The Moonlight Resort (see below).

    The One Resort (http://www.koh-rong-samloem-island.com/one-resort.html) features a private beach, a swimming pool, 10 well designed air-conditioned bungalows, a restaurant, and bar lounge. Scuba diving and diving are available on request.
     

     

     

    NEW RESORT ON KOH RON SAMLOEM – THE MOONLIGHT RESORT


    Harmonious, eco-friendly, and affordable luxury are the basic principles that define the design ethos of the eco domes of The Moonlight Resort (http://www.moon-light-resort.com/). Situated on a beautiful white sand beach in front of crystal clear waters it is the perfect retreat for travellers. The resort’s friendly local staff is on hand to serve guests with healthy smoothies, a selection from the extensive wine list, or signature cocktails.
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR LAUNCHES NEW ROUTES


    Cambodia Angkor Air, a partner of Vietnam Airlines, launched twice weekly services between Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and Sihanoukville using an ATR 74 aircraft on June 17, 2016.

    The HCMC to Sihanoukvile flight (K6-839) is on Friday and Saturday with flight times at 14.35hrs-15.35hrs. The HCMC to Sihanoukville service (K6-838) operates on Friday and Saturday with flight time at 12.40hrs-13.40hrs

    Cambodia Angkor Air also inaugurated three times weekly flights between Siem Reap and Danang (Vietnam) on July 1, 2016. The flights are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, operating with a 70-seat ATR 72 aircraft. This new route links Siem Reap’s famed Angkor temples with Danang’s five-star resorts and golf courses and home of the World Heritage village of Hoi An.

    Flights on this new service depart Siem Reap at 14.30hrs, and arrive in Danang at 16.20hrs. The return flight takes off from Danang at 17.00hrs and arrives in Siem Reap at 18.25hrs.
     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    IT’S GOODBYE AND WELCOME AT ASIAN TRAILS CAMBODIA


    Asian Trails Cambodia said goodbye to Mrs. Kide OUK, who has been the company’s Finance Manager since 2013. Her replacement is Mrs. Chanthou Seng. We thank Mrs. Kide for her great contributions to the company, and wish her good luck. We welcome Ms. Chanthou and wish her success in her new posting within the company.

    ATC also bids farewell to Mrs. Benedict Ravel who will leave the company on July 22, 2016. Benedict has been the Deputy Managing Director for the past six years. We congratulate her on her record of achievement at Asian Trails, and wish her good luck and great success for her new challenge.

    Mr. Laurent SEVIAN (pictured), a French national, will take over Benedict’s duties as General Manager from July 25, 2016. His contact is: laurent@asiantrails.com.kh
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     

     

    VIETNAM

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

     

    Dear Friends,

    Ninh Binh is not a new destination. Thanks to its close proximity to Hanoi, only a two-hour drive away, and the magnificent limestone landscape in Tam Coc, Van Long and Trang An, often nicknamed as “Ha Long inland”, Ninh Binh is a popular destination for day-trippers from Hanoi.

    In the past years Ninh Binh has seen a lot of infrastructural changes including the opening of new big hotels, as well as smaller lodges and homestays. It also has luxurious properties including boutique resorts and special eco lodges that are suitable for leisure travellers, as well as incentive groups.

    The local authority has also invested in upgrading touristic sites with more construction and reparation, and opening new sites and tour routes such as Bai Dinh Pagoda, Trang An and several other boat-riding infrastructures.

    Blessed with great natural asset Ninh Binh will be able to attract more arrivals in the near future, particularly when the new King Kong movie (with shooting here) is released.

    The team at Asian Trails is offering Ninh Binh in a more authentic way, away from the main tourist routes. We highly recommend that you include at least one night in Ninh Binh, or sell it in combination with Mai Chau, Pu Luong and Ha Long to create a charming loop of beautiful landscape and diverse ancient cultures.

    Join us to renew the experiences in Ninh Binh.
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    AN AIRPORT FOR SAPA


    Sapa, the scenic town in northern Vietnam, will be more accessible with a new airport. According to local media reports, a proposal to construct an airport on 261 hectares of land close to Sapa has the support of several government ministries. Work may commence as early as the third quarter of 2016.

     

     

     

    QUANG BINH – REDUCED ENTRANCE FEES TO CAVES


    Quang Binh authorities will reduce the entrance fees to three caves by 30%. The new fees, to be imposed later this year, are aimed to attract more travellers to the province. The new prices will apply to guests who stay at hotels in the province.

    Located on the north central coast Quang Binh province is well known for its natural attractions especially the ‘Kingdom of Caves’, a complex of over 300 caves, in the Phong Nha–Ke Bang National Park. The park was recognised in 2013 as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO, leading to an upsurge in demand to visit this region.

    Please contact Asian Trails Vietnam for a programme to this region.
     

     

     

    VISA WAIVER POLICY TO BE EXTENDED


    Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has filed a proposal to extend its visa waiver policy for citizens of five western European countries for five years, while visa-free stays will be extended from 15 to 30 days.

    Currently German, French, British, Italian, and Spanish visitors can stay in the country for 15 days without a visa under a government ruling introduced on July 1, 2015. It expired on June 30 this year. A final decision and official announcement will be made soon. We will send a full update once the new ruling is announced.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    EARLY BIRDS IN NINH BINH — NORTH


    Staying in an eco lodge in the middle of Tam Coc Limestone Mountains and rice field, you have the chance to immerse yourself in nature

    Early morning, hop onto the bike and cycle around Tam Coc Valley. A 4km-ride takes you through a pleasant rural path, with farmers working in the nearby field. Wander a little bit further and you see the birds of Thung Chim, which is a large area consisting of a bird garden, lakes and facilities for tourists.

    Contact us for more information.
     

     

     

    EARLY BIRDS IN HOI AN – CENTRE


    As the sun rises the local Hoi An fishermen are returning home with their catch after a long and tiring night fishing in the Cua Dai Sea. With fishing skills handed down from father to son, their boats are laden with a wide variety of fish, crabs, shrimps and shellfish from the Cua Dai Sea. Meanwhile the fishermen’s wives are waiting at the dock to receive the catch, and offer it fresh for sale at the nearby bustling Hoi An market.

    Leave your comfortable bed at 4.30 a.m. and join us on a boat ride down the Hoi An River to a visit colourful local fishing village. Immerse yourself in the sounds, sights, and smells. The activities in the fishing village are daily rituals for the locals, but are probably something unusual for your Vietnam holidays.

     

     

     

    EARLY BIRDS IN SAIGON — SOUTH


    “When in Saigon, do as the Saigoneers do!” Waking up early is not what all travellers love to do while on holiday, but to feel the vibe of an energetic city like Saigon being an “Early Bird” is a worthwhile experience.

    Leave the hotel around 6.30 a.m. and walk up to the central park to join the hundreds of locals practicing morning exercises. Take a break at a nearby coffee shop where you witness an enchanting bird-singing competition. Continue the walk to a hidden local market and marvel at the wide array of tropical fruits and vegetables on sale in colourful stalls, and watch the locals shopping for fresh products.

    This is not only a quick sightseeing tour but, with the of the local guide, you can chat with the locals, as well as buy, smell and taste the snacks that Vietnamese usually have for breakfast.

    Contact us for a detailed itinerary.
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    FUSION RESORT PHU QUOC TO OPEN YEAR END


    Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is set to open at the end of 2016, adding a 5 star property to the island. Located in a private bay it has 94 bungalows and villas. The resort will feature unique offerings such as inclusion of all spa treatments, breakfast any time any place, and Fusionista programme.
     

     

     

    NEW: MERCURE BANA HILLS FRENCH VILLAGE


    The new Mercure Bana Hills French Village is the first AccorHotels property located on the mountains of central Vietnam. It sits 1,480 metres above sea level in an area once popular with French settlers wanting to escape the summer heat. It overlooks the picturesque mountains and diverse eco landscape of Danang. The resort is about a 30-minute drive from Danang, and is also accessible via a 5,800-metre-long cable car.

    Reflecting its French history, Mercure Bana Hills French Village’s design has been inspired by a 19th Century French village. It offers 494 European-style rooms, and is the perfect hideaway from the bustling city life.

     

     

     

    NOVOTEL SUITES DEBUTS IN VIETNAM


    AccorHotels brought its new Novotel Suites brand to Asia with the launch of the new Novotel Suites Hanoi. The hotel offers a choice of apartment-style units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom options, all equipped with kitchenettes.

    AccorHotels said the new concept is designed to provide comfortable stays for both short- and long-term guests, especially business clients.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    VIETNAM AIRLINES LAUNCHES DANANG-BANGKOK SERVICE


    Vietnam Airlines launched four times weekly flights from Danang to Bangkok (Thailand) on June 26, 2016. The one hour and 35 minute flights, operated with an Airbus A321 aircraft, are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.

    Flights depart Danang at 22.55hrs, and arrive in Bangkok at 00.30hrs. The return flights leave Bangkok at 01.45hrs and arrive in Danang at 03.20hrs.

    This new service follows Bangkok Airways that started its own Bangkok-Danang flights on May 25, increasing connectivity to one of Vietnam’s three main tourist regions.

     

     

     

    CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR’S NEW ROUTES


    Cambodia Angkor Air will expand its international network this year, with the launch of three new routes to Vietnam.

    The national carrier, which is part owned by Vietnam Airlines, has commenced new flights connecting the Cambodian coastal city of Sihanoukville with Ho Chi Minh City, and Siem Reap with Danang and Hanoi.

    The new Sihanoukville-HCMC route started on June 17, 2016, operating six times a week. This makes Cambodia Angkor Air the first airline to connect these two cities.

    On July 1, the airline commenced three times weekly service between Siem Reap and Danang. Both these routes are operated with the ATR 72 turboprop aircraft.

    Later in the year Cambodia Angkor Air plans to launch a new service linking Siem Reap with Hanoi.

     

     

     

    VIETJET LAUNCHES TWO NEW INTERNATIONAL ROUTES


    Vietjet Air, the fastest growing budget airline in the region, has launched two new international routes from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

    On June 1, 2016 the airline launched the daily HCMC-Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) flight. It departs HCMC at 09.30hrs, and arrives in the Malaysian capital at 12.25hrs. The return flight takes off from Kuala Lumpur at 13.00hrs and arrives back in HCMC at 13.55hrs.

    On June 22, Vietjet started flying from HCMC to Tainan on Taiwan’s southwest coast. The four times weekly service departs HCMC every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at 10.45hrs, and arrives in Tainan at 15.00hrs. On the return leg, the flight leaves Tainan at 16.00hrs and arrives back in HCMC at 18.15hrs.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    T PH (FOUR PALACES) SHOW IN HANOI


    This new show comprises performances of Hát Văn or Chầu Văn (spiritual singing). This is an art form related to Hầu đồng (mediumship) rituals to honour Mother Goddesses and Saint Tran, and is recently recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

    Statues and objects, commonly placed in popular temples in Vietnam, are displayed outside the hall of the theatre, giving a feeling that you are visiting a part of a temple.

    Please contact Asian Trails Vietnam for more information.
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     

       

     

    CHINA

       

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ZHANG XIAOLIN


    We are in full preparation for a busy summer, as there are now more direct flights from Europe to China. Cathay Pacific and Austrian Airlines have launched flights from Madrid to Hong Kong, and Vienna to Hong Kong respectively. Iberia has also commenced a direct flight from Madrid to Shanghai. Now the exotic flavours of China is just a direct flight away.

    We have created new programmes just for you to have a better experience of the amazing Chinese culture. We are ready to welcome guests from all over the world!
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    ZHANGJIAJIE TAKING YOU TO DIZZYING NEW HEIGHTS


    Zhangjiajie in China’s Hunan province — said to be the inspiration behind planet Pandora in Avatar — is set to open the world's longest, as well as the highest glass bottom bridge.

    Set against dramatic landscapes in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park the bridge spans two cliffs in the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon area. It is 430 metres (1,410 feet) long and six metres (20 feet) wide, and hovers over a 300-metre (984 foot) vertical drop. Designed by Israeli architect, Haim Dotan, the bridge also features the world's highest bungee jump, and serves as a runway for fashion shows. It is able to hold up to 800 people at any one time.

    Digital renderings of the bridge highlight the architectural firm's vision, which is to build a glass structure that fades into the clouds.

    In comparison the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the United States is 21 metres (69 feet) in length and stands 219 metres (718 feet) above the canyon floor. Canada's Glacier Skywalk in Alberta, which opened last year, extends 35 metres (115 feet) from the cliff and is 300 metres high.
     

     

     

    QUANZHOU, A QUIETER PLEASURE IN FUJIAN PROVINCE


    Many travellers visiting East China's Fujian province head straight to Xiamen, a seaside city widely regarded as the area's biggest tourist draw. But nearby Quanzhou, filled with culture and history, is worth a visit too.

    The Quanzhou Maritime Museum is an ideal place to learn about the harbour city's rich history. Not far from the museum is the majestic Qingjing Mosque, another admirable example of Quanzhou's tolerance of the world's religions. Also known as the Ashab Mosque, it was built to resemble a mosque in Damascus, Syria, in 1009 and is one of the oldest Arab-style mosques in China.

    The mosque is only a short drive away from the Kaiyuan Temple, the province's largest Buddhist temple, which is situated in Xi Jie (West Street) and close to Dong Jie (East Street). Both the mosque and temple are well-preserved distinctive arcade buildings, and are perfect for leisurely exploration.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    WANDA REIGN ON THE BUND — SHANGHAI'S FIRST 7 STAR HOTEL


    Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai has often been described as the world's only "7-star hotel," but it may not hold this claim for long as China is building hotels in this category too. One is Wanda Reign on the Bund, the first 7 star hotel in Shanghai.

    Located in the heart of Shanghai the hotel features spectacular views of the Bund, Huangpu River, and Pudong’s skyline. It is within walking distance to Yu Garden and the City God Temple, 42 kilometres from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, 16 kilometres from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport, and 6.4 kilometres from Shanghai Railway Station.

    Wanda Reign on the Bund features 193 luxurious rooms including 14 suites, which range in size from 45sqm to 288sqm. The rooms are digitally controlled and equipped with wireless control dashboards.

    There are five food and beverage outlets offering a variety of cuisine and ambience. They include Marc, a French fine-dining restaurant by two-star Michelin chef Marc Meneau, as well as another food joint run by top Japanese chef Kaiseki Yoshiyuki.
     

     

     

    NEWLY OPENED: HILTON YANTAI GOLDEN COAST, SHANDONG PROVINCE

     

    Located in the Yantai Economic and Technological Development Area the new Hilton Yantai Golden Coast overlooks Golden Beach. Most of its 409 rooms and suites offer views of the Yellow Sea.

    Hotel facilities include an executive lounge, three restaurants, private dining rooms, a bar, indoor swimming pool, 24-hour fitness centre and a rooftop tennis court. For MICE, the hotel boasts a function space of 3,900sqm including 12 meeting rooms and two ballrooms, both of which offer sea views.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    THE MOON FESTIVAL/MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL (PUBLIC HOLIDAY)
    SEPTEMBER 15–17, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA


    The Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important festivities in China.

    The celebration of this festival dates back to more than 2,000 years ago. During feudal times the Chinese emperors prayed to Heaven for a prosperous year, and they chose the night of the 15th day of the eighth lunar month to hold a ceremony in praise of the moon. This ancient custom became prevalent in the Tang Dynasty when people enjoyed and worshipped the full moon. In the Southern Song Dynasty, however, people sent round mooncakes to their relatives as gifts in expression of their best wishes of family reunion.

    Nowadays, The Moon Festival is an evening celebration when families gather together to light lanterns, eat moon cakes and enjoy the round moon. On that night the full moon is at its roundest and brightest and is a symbol for family reunion, which is why it is also known as the Festival of Reunion.
     

     

     

    NATIONAL DAY (PUBLIC HOLIDAY)
    OCTOBER 1-7, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA


    October 1 is the memorial day of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The grand ceremony that was held at Tiananmen Square on October 1, 1949 celebrated the formation of the Central People's Government of the brand new country. The following day the new government passed the ‘Resolution on the National Day of the People's Republic of China’, and declared October 1 as National Day. Ever since 1950 the Chinese people celebrate every October 1 on a grand scale.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES LAUNCHES DIRECT SHANGHAI- AMSTERDAM FLIGHT


    China Eastern Airlines has commenced a new direct service connecting Shanghai to Amsterdam (pictured).

    The flight departs Shanghai's Pudong International Airport every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 12.10hrs, arriving at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport at 18.30hrs. The return flight leaves Amsterdam at 20.15hrs on the same day, arriving in Shanghai at 14.00hrs the next day.
     

     

     

    ALITALIA LINKS BEIJING AND ROME


    Alitalia will launch a new direct service connecting Beijing to Rome on July 18, 2016. The flight will operate every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. It will leave Beijing at 09.15hrs, and arrive in Rome at 02.25hrs. The return flight operates every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, departing Rome Leonardo da Vinci (Fiumicino) Airport at 14.20hrs and arriving in Beijing at 06.20hrs the next day.
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     

       

     

    MYANMAR

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

     

    Yangon currently is having occasional rains, but the rest of the country enjoys beautiful weather with green lush landscapes. This is also the time when the tourist crowds are gone, and you have the sights of Myanmar all to yourself. The low season, or Green Season as we tend to call it, is a great time to enjoy the beauty of the country. Not only are attractions less crowded, prices are also cheaper.

    For us it is the time when we are busy preparing our DVD ROM, and are scouting for new products and ideas for our esteemed guests. You will find some of our ideas in this report.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    CLAN VI – BURMA BOATING’S NEW YACHT


    Clan VI, the new addition to Burma Boating’s fleet of vessels, has a beautiful interior with the finest woodwork finishing and classic elegant furnishings.

    The yacht can accommodate up to 10 guests. A full-beam master cabin located aft has private access from the main deck, a walk-in closet, ensuite toilet, and shower facilities. The two guest suites with queen-size beds and ensuite can be converted to a full beam family cabin. Three guest suites are at mid-ship and feature twin beds.

    Clan VI’s advanced sailing technology and impressive leisure and entertainment facilities make her the ideal charter yacht for socialising and entertaining with family and friends.
     

     

     

    CROSS BORDER TOURS


    Myanmar, like Thailand, being at the cross roads between India and China is in the perfect position for multi-country tours. We have sample itineraries for the following combinations: Myanmar/India, Myanmar/China, Myanmar/Thailand, Myanmar/Thailand/Cambodia/Vietnam, and Myanmar/Thailand/Laos Vietnam.

    Please contact Asian Trails Myanmar for detailed programmes.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NEW: FIRST IBIS STYLES HOTEL IN YANGON


    The newly opened ibis Styles Yangon Stadium has a unique, cosy yet personalised design. It offers 108 rooms with the new Ibis Bedding Concept, free WiFi, minibar, and buffet breakfast for two.

    Facilities in the hotel include a café deli, gym, rooftop restaurant and bar with amazing views of Yangon, a business centre, and six function rooms.

    ibis Styles Yangon Stadium is strategically located at Thinganyun township opposite the stadium. It is only 15 minutes by car from Yangon and 25 minutes from Yangon International Airport.
     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL
    OCTOBER 2–19, 2016: 1ST WANING DAY OF THIDINGYUT
    VENUE: INLE LAKE, SHAN STATE


    This is one of the holiest festivals in Shan State, Myanmar’s largest administrative unit. During the festival days four of the five sacred Buddha images, which are usually guarded inside the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, are carried around Inle Lake by a ceremonial barge to bless the various village monasteries. The barge is pushed forward by the unique leg-rowers of the lake, which is one of Myanmar’s most magnificent sights.

    For this year some rooms at the hotels around Inle Lake are still available.
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    FMI AIR EXPANDS SERVICES


    FMI Air (formerly FMI Air Charter), which is based at Yangon Airport, is expanding its services with the aim of becoming the number one premium domestic airline in Myanmar. Based at Yangon Airport, it used to fly only to Sittwe and Mrauk Oo. It now also flies to Bagan, Mandalay and Heho.

    The airline uses brand new Bombardier CJ-200 jet planes with a capacity of 48 seats for its flights. It also prides itself to be the only airline to have lounges at every airport
     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    SANON TRAINING RESTAURANT – BAGAN


    Sanon Training Restaurant is a spin-off from the well-established and well-known Friends international NGO of Cambodia. It trains disadvantaged youths of the Bagan area in hospitality business.

    Sanon is not only a training centre, but is also a functioning restaurant that can serve meals for groups of 30 or more. When next in Bagan why not pay a visit to the restaurant and discover more of this new venture?
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     

     

    MALAYSIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

     

    Dear Friends and Partners,

    Warmest greetings from Asian Trails Malaysia. As in every year we are approaching a time when prevailing winds blow up from the equatorial seas bringing in rains and storms in some parts of South East Asia. This is the South West monsoon, which generally starts around May or June. During this monsoon period the weather is marked with overcasting skies and sometimes intense rainfalls. However, against some common belief not all parts of the region are affected by this season.

    Malaysia is not only diverse in its culture, but also in its climate. When it comes to the rainy season there are three different regions: the eastern and western sides of Peninsular Malaysia, and the Malaysian part of Borneo. While the weather in Malaysia is uniformly hot and humid throughout the year (due to its close proximity to the equator), only the western side of Peninsular Malaysia is partly affected by the South West Monsoon. For those who do not mind occasional brief warm showers popular Malaysian islands in this region, such as Langkawi or Penang, are still worth a visit.

    However, the situation on Borneo and the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia looks totally different. During this period these regions are having the least rainy days of the year. Hence, it is the perfect time to visit Borneo’s spectacular nature parks or the dream-like islands dotted along Malaysia’s east coast.

    I would like to take the opportunity to highlight Malaysia’s islands. Out of the almost 900 islands, those on the east coast of the peninsular are considered as some of the most beautiful ones. It is surprising though that these pearls are still not as popular as Langkawi or Thailand’s islands.

    Have you heard of Pulau Lang Tengah, Pulau Rawa, or Pulau Redang? These are just a few of the truly amazing beach escapes you can find on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. They offer all you have ever dreamt of finding on an island paradise – crystal clear water, white sand that is as soft as powdered sugar, and tranquil green jungles. The best part is most of them still retain the Robinson Crusoe-esc secluded atmosphere with beaches just for you. So if you are in search for a paradise far away from the masses, the east coast islands are the places to go!

    Malaysia is worth a visit throughout the year. We look forward to welcome you any time.

    Emir
    Malaysia, Truly Asia!
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    LANGKAWI’S TOURISM PROMOTIONAL FEE


    The Langkawi Municipal Council has recently imposed a Tourism Promotional Fee to be collected from all hotel guests staying in Langkawi hotels. The imposition of the fee is based on the Trade By-Laws under the Local Government Act 1976 of the Kedah Darul Aman government. Hotels and resorts on the island have to collect RM5 (US$1.20) per room per night on behalf of the local municipal council. This fee is collected when guests check out.

    The exact date of implementation is pending decision by the Langkawi Municipal Council. The hotels and resorts in Langkawi will start collecting the fee upon receiving the official letter. As such, we would appreciate if you could inform your future clients of the fee to avoid any possible dispute.
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

     

    MANDARIN ORIENTAL KUALA LUMPUR – RENOVATION UPDATE


    Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur is currently renovating its guestrooms. The work is being carried out in phases, with only a few floors being renovated at a time. Sound buffer floors are blocked above and below the work areas to minimise any construction noise.

    The renovation phases are as follows:
    • Presidential Suite: June 9 to July 5, 2016 (noise works between 10 a.m.-6 p.m.)
    • Suites and Club Rooms: July 6, 2016 onwards (no significant noise expected)
     

     

     

     

    ONGOING CONSTRUCTION NEAR BUBU LONG BEACH RESORT


    Bubu Long Beach Resort on Perhentian Island in Terengganu informed its clients that construction at the neighbouring resort, Moonlight, is still ongoing. However, there is relatively less noise as the work is now in the third level and no machinery are used except for the excavator transporting construction materials from Moonlight’s store to the work site. Bubu Long Beach Resort is located in between the store and the construction site.

     

     

     

    EXTENSION TO THE DANNA LANGKAWI


    Tradewinds Corporation Berhad, the owner of The Danna Langkawi, is extending the resort with the addition of 10 beach villas, a new restaurant and bar, and a dedicated spa centre.

    The first phase of works commenced in June 2016, and is expected to be completed by November of the same year. Under this phase the existing pool bar will be demolished to make way for a new restaurant and bar. Proper hoardings are erected approximately eight metres from the edge of the outdoor jacuzzi, the furthest point of the main pool, during the construction period. These hoardings will be removed after the new restaurant and bar is ready in November 2016.

    Subsequently, construction of the villa continues with expected completion in November 2017. The remaining villas, which will be constructed, are even further away from the pool and the main building. As with the restaurant, there will be no piling for the villas and noise disruptions will be kept to a minimum.

    The Danna Langkawi is taking all necessary measures to ensure that any potential inconvenience arising from this development are managed and mitigated. Guest accommodations are allocated furthest possible from the construction site to minimise disruption.

    The hotel has already identified alternative rooms for guests who have booked in the affected rooms, and includes free upgrade where there is availability. Affected rooms are also removed from the inventory to ensure future bookings will be allocated in non-affected rooms.

     

     

     

     

    HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS DEBUTS IN MALAYSIA WITH PROPERTY IN KUALA LUMPUR


    Holiday Inn Express Kuala Lumpur City Centre is the first Holiday Inn Express brand in Malaysia. Located at Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur’s “Golden Triangle” the 383-room hotel is near the city’s major financial and commercial towers including the Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur Tower, Tun Razak Exchange and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. It is also within walking distance to shopping malls like Pavilion, Lot 10, Berjaya Times Square and Sungei Wang Plaza.

    The hotel offers Express Start Breakfast, 24-hour fitness room, self-service laundry room, Pay & Go counter, Internet stations, and free high speed WiFi.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    1MALAYSIA MEGA SALE SHOPPING CARNIVAL
    JUNE 15–AUGUST 31, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA


    The country's biggest shopping event offers mega shopping excitement and great entertainment.
     

     

     

    NATIONAL DAY EXHIBITION 2016
    JULY 16–SEPTEMBER 16, 2016
    VENUE: NATIONAL MUSEUM, KUALA LUMPUR


    In conjunction with Malaysia’s National Day celebration this exhibition recalls the country’s journey and fight to freedom from colonialism, as well as the many challenges faced to achieve independence.

     

     

     

    MALAYSIA AIDILFITRI OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION
    JULY 17, 2016
    VENUE: MELAKA


    Experience the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities at the Open House, a programme that brings people together to celebrate the country’s various festivals

     

     

     

    KK JAZZ FESTIVAL
    JULY 22–23, 2016
    VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH


    A much-anticipated jazz musical extravaganza that features a line-up of International and local artists. It is also a fundraising event to benefit various charities in Sabah.

     

     

     

    SABAH INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL
    JULY 25–30, 2016
    VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH


    Be entertained by international and local folk dances, which highlight the incredible diversity of cultures in this east-meets-west musical extravaganza.

     

     

     

    GEORGE TOWN FESTIVAL
    JULY 29–AUGUST 28, 2016
    VENUE: GEORGE TOWN, PENANG


    The George Town Festival is an annual international arts festival that turns the streets of UNESCO World Heritage Site George Town into a giant canvas. Taking part in the month-long festival are artistes from diverse fields including theatre, dance, circus, and puppetry. More than half the shows are by Malaysian and regional performers.

    The festival was inaugurated in 2010 to commemorate George Town being awarded a UNESCO World Heritage site. Into its seventh edition this year the festival has no central theme, instead offering a platform for all kinds of diverse art forms.

    The primary focus of the festival is to promote arts in the local and regional community and make culture accessible to all. As such prices of the tickets are kept affordable, and a large number of the events is free. Every year it also funds community and student tickets to encourage the love of arts in the Malaysian community.

     

     

     

    MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL DIVE EXPO 2016 (MIDE 2016)
    JULY 29-31, 2016
    VENUE: PUTRA WORLD TRADE CENTRE, KUALA LUMPUR


    MIDE 2016 is a premier show designed to build a high-end exhibition platform to expand the dive market. The show is also the meeting place for players in the diving industry.

     

     

     

    8TH ANNIVERSARY OF UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE CITY CELEBRATION
    JULY 30, 2016
    VENUE: BANDAR HILIR, MELAKA


    An annual event to commemorate the declaration of Melaka City as a UNESCO World Heritage City on July 7, 2008.

     

     

     

    KL INTERNATIONAL ORCHID BONSAI
    AUGUST 1, 2016
    VENUE: PERDANA BOTANICAL GARDENS, KUALA LUMPUR

     

    A dazzling showcase of different varieties of orchids and bonsai plants held at Kuala Lumpur’s beautiful Lake Gardens.

     

     

     

    PAMERAN SELSIUS
    AUGUST 1, 2016
    VENUE: GALERI REKA, BALAI SENI LUKIS NEGARA, KUALA LUMPUR


    This is a showcase of ceramic crafts by Malaysian and international artists.

     

     

     

    KUALA LUMPUR FASHION WEEK READY TO WEAR
    AUGUST 1, 2016
    VENUE: PAVILION KUALA LUMPUR


    Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week is the main platform in which Malaysian fashion designers can present their work on a huge scale.
     

     

     

    YANG DI PERTUAN AGONG EXHIBITION
    AUGUST 3- 15, 2016
    VENUE: ROYAL MUSEUM, KUALA LUMPUR


    The exhibition highlights the Royal Regalia, especially those used during the coronation of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
     

     

     

    RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 5-7, 2016
    VENUE: SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE, KUCHING.


    The Rainforest World Music Festival features musicians from around the world, showcasing traditional and original music as well as unique musical instruments.

     

     

     

    RHYTHM OF GAMELAN
    AUGUST 19-21, 2016
    VENUE: KOMPLEKS SUKAN NEGERI, KUALA TERENGGANU, TERENGGANU


    Gamelan musicians from all over the world gather in Kuala Terengganu to discuss and explore the finer nuances of the gamelan, a traditional instrumental ensemble of typically bronze percussion instruments. It also features a two-day workshop by professionals from Malaysia, Indonesia and Europe.

     

     

     

    START IN TIOMAN
    AUGUST 12-21, 2016
    VENUE: KAMPUNG GENTING, PULAU TIOMAN, PAHANG


    This event, divided into three categories, aims to boost Tioman Island as a diving paradise.

     

     

     

    MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL MASK FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 19-21, 2016
    VENUE: ESPLANADE KLCC PARK, KUALA LUMPUR


    The enigma and mysticism of masks is the focal point of activities during this inaugural festival. Participants are from Italy, Japan, China, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

     

     

     

    FESTIVAL BORIA
    AUGUST 20-21, 2016
    VENUE: FORT CORNWALLIS, PENANG


    This event aims to highlight Boria as one of Penang's traditional arts, advocating unity and interracial harmony.
     

     

     

    KUALA LUMPUR TRADITIONAL GAMES FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 20-21, 2016
    VENUE: TITIWANGSA LAKE GARDENS, KUALA LUMPUR


    A fun and educational festival where participants can enjoy the traditional games played by their forefathers. Try your hand at congkak or play the Malaysian hopscotch.

     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here

     

     

     

    INDONESIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

     

    The high season is in full swing and our offices are bustling with activity. Arrival numbers to Indonesia, in general, and Bali, in particular, continue to increase. For the first four months of this year the government reported 17% more arrivals then the previous year, which shows that Indonesia continues to increase in popularity.

    As you may have already noted I always try to promote regions outside of Bali - the “Island of the Gods” has so much to offer, and Indonesia is so much more than just Bali.

    I therefore took the opportunity to take a short flight from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Padang, the capital of West Sumatra, to rediscover the attraction on offer in the land of the Minangkabau, the name of the main ethnic group in this area. They are well known not only for their unique houses, but also for being a matriarchate and Muslim. It has been 16 years since my last visit and, except for a couple more buildings and roads, the beauty of this area is still very much intact. Based on this journey we will develop a unique new 3 days highlands and 3 days island Minangkabau package. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further details!

    Happy Trails and best wishes from beautiful Indonesia.

    Björn
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    PANTAI PINK – THE PINK BEACH SOUTH OF LOMBOK


    You have to get an insider’s tip to find the Pantai Pink or the Pink Beach in the south of Lombok. If you are visiting Lombok, and find your way to Pantai Pink you will be rewarded with a desolate quiet beach with pink sand that consists of coral. The view from the nearby viewpoint is spectacular, especially at sunset with the sun’s rays falling on the light pink sand – a sight that will take your breath away with its beauty.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    BREAKFAST WITH ORANGUTAN AT BALI ZOO – A FIRST IN BALI


    Breakfast in the zoo may be a common event, but breakfast with the orangutan is definitely one of a kind experience. This is possible at the Bali Zoo where visitors can eat breakfast like a king with the “king of the jungle” – the orangutan. Apart from getting up close and personal with these adorable animals, the breakfast itself is worth the visit too.

    Although breakfast with the orangutan is the highlight of the visit visitors are also allowed to feed the elephants, and take photos with gibbons and birds. So mark the Bali Zoo as one of the must-visit attraction on your visit to “Island of the Gods”.
     

     

     

    GUNUNG RINJANI TREKKING IN LOMBOK


    Mt. Rinjani or Gunung Rinjani is located on the island of Lombok, just a short flight from Bali. It is one of the 120 most active volcanoes in the world, and is the second highest with the summit at 3726 metres.

    For all trekking lovers Asian Trails Indonesia has 2 to 3 day trips to explore Mt. Rinjani, which will take you to the top of the volcano to see the amazing crater lake – a challenging, rewarding experience with the best of Indonesia’s amazing natural scenery literally at your feet.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    JANNATA RESORT & SPA UBUD, BALI


    Jannata Resort & Spa is a boutique property with tranquil valley views in the rural village of Sebali, just outside of Ubud. The resort is built in in harmony to the surrounding environment through a design concept, which respects Bali’s rich artistry and cultural heritage.

    Encompassed by lush greenery Jannata Resort & Spa features just 18 Deluxe Suites and two Pool Villas. It is an intimate setting for guests looking to escape the crowds of mainstream tourism. The property offers spa facilities and a restaurant.
     

     

     

    KAMANDALU UBUD, BALI


    Kamandalu Ubud has been thoughtfully designed as a preferred choice of accommodation for guests seeking a tranquil island escape. They enjoy access to multiple pools including an infinity pool, Chaya Spa, and the award winning Petulu Restaurant.

    The hotel also offers elegant meeting venues that are fully equipped for guests to meet or socialise in style. These are newly renovated and able to accommodate parties of up to 100 paxs

     

     

     

    NOVOTEL LOMBOK RESORT & VILLAS


    Novotel Lombok Resort & Villas is the essence of relaxation and tranquillity. The onside spa at the resort is the place to rejuvenate, relax, restore and revitalise after a day of trekking or outdoor activities. This is the perfect hotel for families or couples looking for a romantic getaway.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    SANUR VILLAGE FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 24-28, 2016
    VENUE: SANUR, BALI


    The Sanur Village Festival, into its 11th year, will take place this year from August 24 to 28 in Sanur. This is one of the largest community events in Bali and celebrates society.

    The festival showcases more than 100 performances such as cleaning the beach, reforestation, baby turtle release, surfing competition, jukung competition, fruit and ice carving, cultural parade, fishing tournament, photo competition and golf tournament. It attracts people from all over the world who also take the opportunity to enjoy Bali’s beautiful beaches, warm weather, and good food.
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    EU REMOVES LION AIR, BATIK AIR AND CITILINK FROM BLACKLIST


    The European Commission (EC) lifted three Indonesian carriers – Lion Air, Batik Air and Citilink – from its safety blacklist on June 17, 2016. This means the airlines are now allowed to fly to destinations in the European Union (EU).

    The EU assesses all airlines to ensure they are in line with international standards and procedures. Out of 65 airline companies in Indonesia today, only seven airlines are allowed to enter EU countries namely Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Premiair, Indonesia AirAsia, and now Lion Air, Batik Air and Citilink.
     

     

     
     

    Go back to top, please click here