Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue March 2011

Dear friends,

 

Tourist arrivals to the Asian region are on the increase. Many countries across the region are reporting sharp rises in visitor arrivals for the first two months of 2011.

 

Asian Trails is happy to note that we are at the receiving end of this robust rebound in travel. Our offices across the region have reported positive growth in the number of tourists and MICE visitors to their markets.To quote a few of our Managing Directors:

  • Roger Haumueller, Asian Trails Thailand: “Last year Thailand welcomed 15.84 million visitors. The percentage of short- and medium-haul Asian tourists is increasing, and contributed 61.26% of total arrivals.”

  • Emir Cherif, Asian Trails Malaysia: “… January and February were busy months for us and a good start to the New Year.

  • Thomas Carnevale, Asian Trails Myanmar: “The past three months have been quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The tourism industry is prospering again, and we could call it a boom, judging from the number of tourist arrivals.”

  • Thuy Tien, Asian Trails Vietnam: “The year 2011 also started well for us. We have seen an increase in arrivals from overseas in January and February, and the forecast for the remainder of the year looks positive.”

  • Philippe Conod, Asian Trails Laos: “We are very pleased to report that tourism in Laos has gone back to a positive trend. The last months of 2010 and the beginning of the present year are very promising.”

We are continually improving and increasing our range of products and services to meet with this increasing demand.

 

Here’s to more HAPPY TRAILS!

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 
 

 
 

  THAILAND
 
A note from Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER
 

Dear Friends,

 

Tourism is on the rise again to the “Land of Smiles”. Last year, Thailand welcomed 15.84 million visitors. The percentage of short- and medium-haul Asian tourists is increasing, and contributed 61.26% of total arrivals.  Fastest growing markets to Thailand are Russia, India and Iran.

 

We also noted an increased demand for MICE. Apart from the established MICE destinations of Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai we see a growing demand for Krabi and Ko Samui. With the increased number of luxury resorts, fine dining restaurants and excursions to the surrounding islands and marine park, Ko Samui is our hot tip for MICE.  Please let us know if you wish to have a proposal with new out-of-the-box ideas.

 

HAPPY TRAILS! 

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

  DESTINATION INFORMATION
 

MERIT-MAKING CEREMONY

 

Roger Haumueller (pictured centre), Managing Director of Asian Trails Thailand, presided over the merit-making ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new office of Asian Trails Samui on 17 February 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

  ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
 

“EXPLORE” FOR THE DISCERNING TRAVELLERS

 

Asian Trails has launched the new concept “EXPLORE” –  a series of “out-of-the-ordinary” tours, suitable for all categories of travellers. both individuals and small groups. This is a programme for people who do not want to experience what everyone else is doing. It is for seekers of a truly authentic and sustainable travel experience in the great outdoors, of local customs and charming hospitality, flavourful traditional cooking, stimulating art and intriguing architecture. We list below some examples of the “EXPLORE” programmes.

 

 

EXPLORE:  BANGKOK CANALS ROUTE

 

Depart by car to the River City boat landing for a boat trip to visit the Chinese Shrine on the river bank near Wat Anongkharam. The shrine was constructed more than 200 years ago during the Thonburi period. The tour continues to the Queen Mother former house, which is now a memorial museum to the late Queen Mother. Next are visits to Wat Santa Cruz and the local village of Kudi Chin, with a stop at a local bakery. Return to the boat and journey continues to Wat Rakang, which has a unique triplex scripture hall that is over 200 years, and was once the house of King Rama I when he was Chao Praya Chakri. Visit other historical sites in the temple. Drop off at Phatravadee Theatre, with lunch at the Supatra River House Restaurant. 

 

For more details and booking  please click here
 

EXPLORE:  FLOATING MARKET BIKE RIDE

 

Depart by minibus southwards to start the bicycle exploration of the Mae Klong Delta area at Damnoen Saduak floating market, the biggest and most colourful in Thailand. The experience starts with a long tail boat ride to a riverside temple, before continuing through plantations of coconut and aloe vera and fruit orchards, traversing quiet back roads and jeep trails. Stops are made to visit temples and admire the scenic countryside. Typical Thai lunch at a riverside restaurant on the banks of the Mae Klong before cycling back to the starting point at the floating market. Transfer back to hotels in Bangkok.

 

For more details and booking  please click here
 

EXPLORE:  AYUTHAYA HISTORICAL PARK: SEGWAY RIDE TOUR

 

This is an alternative new and fantastic way to discover Ayuthaya, Thailand's timeless city. The special one-day historical trip is not to be missed as it takes you on exotic routes through Ayuthaya province, a World Heritage Site, on a Segway PT., the first self-balancing electrical personal transporter. Glide through the scenic countryside including visits to Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Wat Phra Sri Sanpet, Wat Thammikarat and Wat Lokkayasutharam. This is an intimate, memorable and unforgettable experience.

 

For more details and booking  please click here
 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 

SIRIPANNA VILLA RESORT & SPA CHIANG MAI

 

Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa Chiang Mai is a new hotel, built in the traditional Lanna style. Historic symbolism blends effortlessly with the innovative design at this resort.

 

The 74 spacious and exquisitely appointed rooms and villas are elegantly understated and designed in contemporary Lanna style with private balconies, outdoor seating pavilions and private roof top terraces. Essential elements of Lanna arts and culture are incorporated in the architectural design and interiors of this boutique hotel rooms. Each room type intertwines specific references to the past with a modern twist. Hand-picked teak furniture, traditional Thai oil paintings and classic ceramic pottery contrast with the amenities and comforts of the most luxuriously modern resort, including in-room WiFi Internet.

 

For more details please click here
 

NOVOTEL BANGKOK FENIX SILOM

 

Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom is centrally located in historic Silom near the Sathorn business district and sits conveniently close to the Sirat (FES) Expressway, offering easy access to the airport.

 

Featuring 216 stylish rooms with two modern premier floors, an excellent restaurant and a bar, the hotel offers a comfortable stay for business and leisure guests. Positioned adjacent to the Silom Village, Novotel Bangkok Fenix is just minutes walk from the BTS station with the Patpong entertainment area nearby.

 

For more details please click here
 

BURI RASA SAMUI

 

Buri Rasa Samui is strategically located and is a 15- minute drive from Samui airport. Although secluded, it is conveniently situated within walking distance of the main shopping, entertainment and nightlife attractions of Chaweng Village.

 

Be pampered and uplifted by the ease of living in unpretentious informal luxury amid one of nature’s masterpieces. Enjoy delicious food in a natural setting overlooking a stunning white sand beach and endless pearlescent sea. Rooms are a charming blend of traditional Thai style and modern facilities. Romantically draped four-poster beds and covered terraces add to the feeling of space and calm in your own private sanctuary in paradise. All rooms are equipped with telephone, television and hairdryer, and feature large well-appointed bathrooms.

 

  For more details please click here
 

TRUE SIAM HOTEL BANGKOK

 

This is a 3-star boutique hotel with 65 stylishly designed rooms. It is located about a 5-minute walk from the sky train at Phayathai Station with two stops at Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Center Point, Pratunam Market and MBK shopping arcades. A variety of entertainment and dining venues are also within walking distance, making True Siam Hotel Bangkok suitable for both long and short term stays. The hotel features a distinctive all-day restaurant serving Asian and European cuisine in a contemporary setting, and a beer garden with a chic setting that is ideal for drinks and entertainment.

 

  For more details please click here
 

INTER CONTINENTAL HUA HIN RESORT

 

Inter-Continental Hua Hin Resort is perfectly located on prime beach-front along Petchakasem Road, and only 2 hours’ drive or a swift 35-minute flight from Bangkok. The region is famous for its beaches, historical attractions and golf courses. Thai royalty visits Hua Hin frequently and is home of the Summer Palace.

 

The resort features 119 rooms, three beach-front villas with private plunge pools and a range of suites. Golfers will want to play a round at the one of the area's spectacular courses, including The Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, Thailand's first championship course, the challenging Palm Hills Golf Resort and Country Club in nearby Cha-Am or the Springfield Royal Country Club designed by Jack Nicklaus, which offers serene valley views. Visit Chatchai night market for the best bargains or go horseback riding near Hua Hin Beach.

 

For more details please click here
 
  

ANGSANA LAGUNA PHUKET

 

The management agreement of Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket between Starwood and the owning company will cease on 30 June 2011. The hotel will discontinue its affiliation with Starwood Hotels & Resorts worldwide, Sheraton Overseas Management Corporation and The Luxury Collection brand. It will close for refurbishment from July until end November. It will reopen in December 2011 under a new name - Angsana  Laguna Phuket”.

 

 

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

PATTAYA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2011

MARCH 2011: 18.00 HRS – MIDNIGHT DAILY

VENUE:  PATTAYA BEACH, PATTAYA CITY

 

Pattaya City International Music Festival features food, floral floats, beauty contests, stalls selling local delicacies and a spectacular fireworks display on the beach. There are also free concerts, performed by local and international artistes.

 

 

KING'S CUP ELEPHANT POLO TOURNAMENT 2011

MARCH-APRIL 2011
VENUE:  ANANTARA GOLDEN TRIANGLE RESORT, CHIANG RAI

 

The highly popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament takes place from March to April in the northernmost region of Thailand known as the Golden Triangle. The first day of the event features an opening parade and blessing ceremony to showcase the culture of the Golden Triangle. Taking part in the parade are northern traditional-style dancers, hill tribe villagers in traditional costume, elephant spirit men (Khru Ba Yai) and colourfully-decorated pachyderms. The parade marks the kick-off of the week-long competition held on the banks of the Ruak River, which divides Thailand from Burma.

 

This tournament was launched by Anantara Resort in Hua Hin in 2001. During the first five years the event took place in the Royal seaside town of Hua Hin. In 2006 it moved to the Golden Triangle and was hosted by Anantara Resort Golden Triangle.

 

The tournament is a charitable event, which raises money for the benefit Thailand's elephants.  These magnificent animals are a key symbol of Thailand’s history, and nothing but utmost respect is given to them. All proceeds are used for their welfare, sustenance, employment, mahout training and medical treatment.

 

 

MIRACLE OF KHAO PHANOM RUNG - THE ASCENT OF KHAO PHANOM RUNG, “HOME OF THE GODS”

ASTRO-ARCHAEOLOGICAL PHENOMENON AT PRASAT HIN KHAO PHANOM RUNG

APRIL 2011

VENUE:  PHANOM RUNG HISTORICAL PARK, CHALERMPHRAKIAT DISTRICT, BURI RAM PROVINCE

 

In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology mountains are believed to be homes to the gods. Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung, a magnificent temple sanctuary set on the summit of Phanom Rung Hill, was built between the 10th and 13th centuries. According to the stone inscriptions in Sanskrit and Khmer found at the site, the original name of the temple complex is Phanom Rung, Khmer for “big mountain”. A religious sanctuary dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva, Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung symbolises Mount Kailasa, the heavenly abode of Shiva. Phanom Rung Hill rises 350 metres above the surrounding plain.

 

 

SI SATCHANALAI ORDINATION PROCESSION

19 APRIL 2011

VENUE:  SRISATCHANALAI DISTRICT, SUKHOTHAI PROVINCE

 

The Si Satchanalai ordination procession on elephant back is a colourful traditional ceremony of the Tai Puan tribal people who settled in Ban Haat Siao Village in Si Satchanalai district. The tradition, which dates back some 150 years, features a spectacular procession of between 20 to 30 young Buddhist novices dressed in elaborate costumes. Each novice rides on the back of a beautifully decorated elephant as the procession makes its way to Wat Haat Siao temple for the mass ordination ceremony. When the procession arrives at Wat Haat Siao the Pho Thao (village elder) helps the novices from their mounts and leads them to worship. The event is held annually on 19 April.

 

 

POI SANG LONG

APRIL 2011

VENUE: WAT MUAI TAW, AMPHOE MUEANG (MAE HONG SON PROVINCIAL CENTRE), MAE HONG SON PROVINCE

 

The Poi Sang Long ceremony in Mae Hong Son is a Buddhist novice ordination ceremony, but is unlike any other ceremony of its type in Thailand. Young boys, aged between 7 and 14, are ordained as novices so they can spend time studying Buddhist doctrines. It is believed that by pursuing ordination for their parents they gain merit. With deep reverence for the Buddhist religion the local residents in Mae Hong Son province are of the view that the celebrations should be as grand as possible.

 

The origins of this festival lie in Buddhist legend. It is believed that the tradition follows in the footsteps of Prince Rahula, Buddha's son, who gave up his worldly life to follow his father's spiritual teachings. Prince Rahula became the youngest ordained monk and the first novice in Buddhism. Subsequently it became a tradition for young boys to be ordained so they can undertake the study of Buddhist teachings.

 

As the colourful Poi Sang Long ceremony is unique to Mae Hong Son province it attracts spectators from near and far.

 

 

SONGKRAN SPLENDOURS 2011 - THAI NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS

6-12 APRIL 2011

VENUE:  THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY

 

This is time when time-honoured Buddhist customs and ancient Buddhist merit-making traditions are carried out by Thais throughout the country. They incude bathing ritual in which lustral water is sprinkled over Buddha images and the building of sand stupas decorated with colourful flags and flowers - seen at the nine royal Buddhist temples on Rattanakosin Island.

 

There is also a procession of the highly revered Phra Puttha Sihing Buddha image through the streets of Bangkok.Phra Puttha Sihing Buddha is believed to be the spiritual guardian protecting the local community from harm. The procession  presents an opportunity for local residents and visitors of Buddhist faith to make merit. Scented lustral water is poured over the image as a gesture of respect.

 

 

KRABI ROCK & FIRE INTERNATIONAL CONTEST 2011

APRIL 2011

VENUE: RAILAY BEACH & TON SAI BEACH, KRABI

 

Krabi province on the west coast of Southern Thailand is home to some of the world’s most spectacular coastlines. It has a unique karst landscape with craggy limestone hills, jagged cliffs, steep vertical limestone pillars and rock faces, and oddly-shaped rock formations overlooking the emerald waters of the Andaman Sea. It offers about 600 rock-climbing routes, which present challenges to rock climbers of various levels of skills and experience.

 

The towering cliffs of Railay Beach and Ton Sai Beach attract rock climbers from all over the world and have steadily gained fame as one of the world’s premier rock-climbing destination. It is thus the perfect venue for the Krabi Rock and Fire International 2011. in April.

 

In addition to its natural beauty, Krabi also offers excellent service infrastructure, making it a popular destination for island, beach and adventure holidays.

 

 

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  LAOS
 

A note from Managing Director Philippe Conod

 

Dear Friends and Partners

 

We are very pleased to report that tourism in Laos has gone back to a positive trend. The last months of 2010 and the beginning of the present year are very promising.

 

Thanks to an increased hotel capacity, the partial renewal of Laos Airlines fleet, and some very fast recovering markets tourism in Laos can look at the future with confidence. The challenges will be to control the evolution of the prices and the quality, and to try to increase the number of qualified and good speaking language guides, which it the weak point of our country

 

Asian Trails’ management and team will set priorities to reach these ambitious targets,

in order to meet the expectations of our partners

 

In this edition we would like to share with you some product update from the south of Laos, as a result of a very recent inspection trip

 

We wish you all a successful year 2011

 

Philippe Conod & Bjorn Schimanski

 

 

 

  ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
 

CHAMPASSAK

 

After a succesfull Zip Line activity close to Vientiane, which we featured in a prior newsletter, Green Discovery developed a very spectular jungle hotel that can only reached by zip line. The surroundings are absolutely stunning, taking advantage of the breathtaking Tad Fane waterfall. A via ferrata, canopy walk, abseiling down the waterfall and a overnight stay in your own tree house are all included. There are two days and three days tours to choose from. The company has built a total of six tree houses.

 

 

CHAMPASSAK – PAKSE

 

Located just 7km outside of Pakse town, Ban Chompet is a small village in the middle of nowhere

It would not be of any interest for our clients if it was not the site of a just finished immense Buddha statue, which can also been seen when landing at Pakse airport. This village is famous for its Buddha statues and worth a visit to see how the Buddhas are carved out of stone purely by hand

 

 

 

HERITAGE HOUSE LUANG PRABANG

 

This beautiful traditional Lao house is under renovation to convert it to a museum under the patronage of the UNESCO Commissio. Therefore, it will not be used for Baci ceremony anymore

 

 

 

 

 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION

 

  LUANG PRABANG - new

Luang Say Residence

 

Luang Say Residence  is the latest addition to the top end hotels and resorts in Luang Prabang.

Located just outside the town’s centre this brand new hotel has a lot of colonial charm and is very tastefully decorated with much attention to details There are also 20 Pioneer Suites in five individual pavilions, which are named after the region’s French explorers. There are also four Explorateur Suites set in the main Residence. The hotel also  has a  large outdoor pool and a fully stocked stylish bar

 

 

 
 

PAKSE - NEW

Sisouk Residence

 

Sisouk Residence is located right next to the famous Sinouk Café in the centre of Pakse town. This renovated town house, where most of the 11 children of the famous Sinouk family were born, is now a nice new boutique hotel very convenient for FITs  The hotel has 13 rooms decorated with a lot of wood and built in a traditional style. Most of the rooms have a balcony overlooking to the nearby river

 

 

 
 

CHAMPASSAK – KHONE ISLAND

Sala Don Khone

 

This boutique hotel, which has different room categories ranging from floating rooms to a renovated French residence, has expanded. It now has six rooms in the French residence (three new) and 11 Ban Lao Classic rooms (three new). The added room inventory gives more choice to the  limited accommodation on Khone Island.

 

The sitting area at the river has also been enlarged and upgraded, together with a small museum that houses the island’s history.

 

 

SPECIAL PROMOTION – SALANA boutique hotel

 

Promotion: Stay 3 nights, pay for 2

 

Validity: 1 May-31 October 2011 

 

The brand new Salana Boutique Hotel, located right in the heart of the capital Vientiane, offers 36 beautifully decorated and furnished rooms and large suites. Just off the main street and a few minutes from Fountain Square, Salana offers perfect value for money

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

WAT PHOU FESTIVAL

 

We announced the Wat Phou Festival in the January newsletter edition of TRAILBLAZER, but then did not have the chance to see it for ourselves. We just did and we would like to share this special festival with you. 

 

This year the festival was held for five days – 14-18 February. It is held annually to commemorate the listing of Wat Phu in Champassak as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

 

The festival offers a very interesting mix of folk fair and religious ceremony. The first four days did not attract many of our Western clients due to its very, very loud music as local musicians competed with one another. However, the last day that coincides with the full moon is a must-attend event especially for people who stay in the south.

 

At one point in the evening all the fun and noise stopped. All those present held a candle and incense in their hands, which they carried up the hill to the central Wat Phou temple. Buddhist monks chanted prayers, while local people from all over the province knelt down and prayed. The whole area is lit by 50,000 candles, which made it a very special place to be in!

 

 

 

  AIRLINE INFORMATION
 

LAO AIRLINES

 

Lao Airlines’ fourth ATR73-500 made its debut at Vientiane’s Wattay International Airport after a two night, three day flight from France where it was manufactured. The new plane replaces an older ATR73-200.

 

Lao Airlines now has eight aircraft – four MA60 and four ATR72-500 which fly on domestic and international routes

 

 

 

  RESTAURANTS & VENUES
 
  TIP OF THE MONTH

Nadao Restaurant in Pakse

 

Nadao Restaurant has filled the gap for a good French restaurant in Pakse as it serves tasty French cuisine and also good Lao food! Located right in the centre of town, close to the Champassak Grand Hotel our clients now do not have just to rely hotel food if they want to taste some good French and local cuising.

 

 

 
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  CAMBODIA
 

 
A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

Gala dinner and train ride through Phnom Penh for AT Cambodia’s guests

 

Asian Trails Cambodia organised a memorable evening during ASEAN Tourism Forum in January 2011 for its valued clients and partners.

 

A special train from the Royal Cambodian Railways (which is not yet in operations) transported the guests for the 10-minute ride from the maintenance area to Phnom Penh central Railways Station. The latter was transformed for the occasion into a gala dinner venue, complete with an amazing circus show from the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak and a unique performance from the dancers of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia. 

 

 

 

  DESTINATION INFORMATION
 

LOW WATER LEVEL AFFECTS SIEM REAP-BATTAMBANG (RETURN) BOAT TRANSFERS

 

The Sangker River in Battambang and the rivers and canals leading to the Tonle Sap Lake are currently experiencing unusually low water level. As a result we have to offer an alternative to our guests’ itinerary as proposed in our programmes, and also to those who are traveling by boat from Siem Reap a Battambang or vice-versa. The journey may now take up to between nine to 10 hours according to the direction of travel and the difficulty of the navigation. It may even take up to 11 hours with transfers to smaller flat boats. Please note that even small boats are now experiencing difficulties in navigation because of the very low water level.

 

 

 

  ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
 

SROK YEUNG ECOTOURISM SITE

 

Srok Yeung or “Our Ecotourism Site” is a community-based recreational area located at the foot of Phnom Krom Mountain near the Tonle Sap Lake. Situated only 20 minutes from the town's airport, visitors are offered a unique opportunity to experience nature and traditional rural lifestyle with the charm, elegance and comfort of an international-standard hotel while helping to diversify local livelihood and reduce poverty. With four small lakes covering 26 hectares Srok Yeung Ecotourism Site offers a wide range of activities - fishing, boating, cycling and riding on ox or water buffalo-carts (operated by local villagers). Future plans include a football field, a mini-golf course, a cooking school and luxury resort accommodation.

 

 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 
  Siem Reap

ALILA TO MANAGE  THE SOTHEA IN SIEM REAP

 

The stylish all-suite resort will be rebranded as Alila Sothea, and marks Alila’s first foray into Cambodia. The resort is renowned for its architecture, which blends contemporary design with details that reflect Khmer traditions, and its charming interiors and beautifully landscaped environment. With its emphasis on intimate spaces and exquisite design The Sothea makes a perfect addition to the Alila portfolio.

 

 

 

ANGKOR VILLAGE HOTEL CLOSES FOR RENOVATIONS

 

Angkor Village Hotel will close from 25 April to 15 October 2011 for an upgrading exercise, which will involve replacing the six budget rooms with two new suites. As the renovation work will be noisy and dusty the hotel’s management has decided to close Angkor Village Hotel during this period. The sister property, Angkor Village Resort & Spa, will remain open as usual.

 

 

EXPLORERS HOUSE SIEM REAP

 

The Explorers House Siem Reap is a clean and modern artistic decor boutique guesthouse, especially designed for travellers who want a comfortable and friendly stay in beautiful Siem Reap. Its air-conditioned rooms suit all budgets. The Cafe serves Western and Asian cuisine, which also caters to Halal visitors. There is a bright common area to enjoy the peace and quietness of the area. Explorers House is only a five-minute walk from all the action of the Old Market and Pub Street.  

 

 

BONG THOM HOMESTAY

 

Bong Thom Homestay is a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience - you get to live in a Cambodian home and be part of the rural Cambodian lifestyle. This Khmer-style house is located near a community of Cambodian farmers in the Banteay Srey area, giving you a glimpse into the ecotourism activities carried out there.

 

For more details please click here
 
 

KEP

THE VINE RETREAT

 

The Vine Retreat is an ecologically conscientious guesthouse and organic farm nestled at the foot of a small range of jungle entrenched mountains called Phnom Voar. The southern vista presents a panoramic sprawling view  over an idyllic rural countryside and the surrounding Kampot pepper and tropical fruit plantations. The guesthouse provides the perfect atmosphere for visitors to relax and forget about the rest of the world, whilst offering easy access to all of Kep and Kampot’s attractions.

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

KHMER NEW YEAR

14–16 APRIL 201

 

The Khmer New Year is one of the most important holidays and major celebrations in the Cambodian culture and society. It is based on the lunar calendar, and is celebrated for three days in a row when Cambodian people welcomes in the Year of the Rabbit.

 

This time of year also represents the end of the harvest season. People spend time visiting family and friends, as well as offer alms and donations to the Buddhist pagodas. Please note that some local markets and businesses, and the Royal Palace will be partly closed during throughout the Khmer New Year celebrations.

 

 

VISAK BOCHEA DAY

26 APRIL 2011

 

Often referred to as “Buddha's Birthday”, the holiday actually celebrates the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha. The faithful visits pagoda, make offerings and engage in charitable and reverent acts.

This is a colourful and busy day at the pagodas throughout the Kingdom.

 

 

 

  AIRLINE INFORMATION
 

INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TAX

 

The international Passenger Service Charge (PSC) is USD 25 per international adult passenger and USD 13 per international child passenger for issued ticket on/after 21 January 2011 for travel period on/after 1 April 2011. The PSC is included in the price of the air ticket with effect from these dates.

 

 

EXCESS LUGGAGE SERVICE AVAILABLE

 

Excess luggage service is now available at Phnom Penh International Airport and in Siem Reap Town Office. World Angkor Transport, a member of World Baggage Network, is offering a personalised service for Excess Baggage and Personal Effects Services. The company’s website allows passengers to immediately translate the estimated excess luggage weight into rates (in US dollars).

 

For more details please click here
 

MYANMAR AIRWAYS LINKS YANGON  WITH SIEM REAP-ANGKOR

 

On 23 February 2011 Myanmar Airways International (MIA) launched services linking Yangon (Myanmar) with Siem Reap (Cambodia) using an Airbus A320 aircraft.

 

Flight 8M-401 departs Yangon at 09:00 and lands in Siem Reap at 11:10. The return flight leaves Siem Reap at 12:10 and lands in Yangon at 13:20. The flights are operated twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This schedule is valid from 23 February 2011 to 26 March 2011 (winter schedule)

 

 
SKYWINGS ASIA AIRLINES OPERATES SEOUL/INCHEON-SIEM REAP CHARTERS
 

Skywings Asia Airlines started charter flights between Incheon in South Korea and Hanoi (return) from 18 February 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  RESTAURANTS & VENUES
 
  PHNOM PENH
LE PISTOU

 

Le Pistou is a genuine French Provencal restaurant with its chef, Chris, hailing from Marseilles in the South of France. He has introduced the special flavours of the region to the restaurant’s cuisine with garlic, olive, rosemary, thyme and other herbs indigenous to Provence featuring in the cooking.

 

Le Pistou’s decor is very pleasant with soothing colours, which evokes a typical sunny home of Provence. Guests enjoy a pleasant warm French welcome, fine cuisine at reasonable prices, and a large choice of wines from Provence and the Cotes du Rhone vineyards.

 

 
  SIEM REAP
LA CABANE/LA CUISINE D’ANTONIN
 

Located in a quiet lane along Vat Prohm Roath Pagoda nearby Steung Siem Reap River, the newly opened La Cabane/La Cuisine d’Antonin

offers a choice of simple and tasty Khmer and French cuisine. Set menus are available with affordable drinks from the Bar.

 

The restaurant’s decorations and colours are inspired by the colours of the Buddhist flag. Antonin, the French chef from southeast France, was previously in charge of the cuisine at Les Orientalistes.

 

 
SBAEK-TOHCH – PUPPET SHOW AT SANDANN HOUSE
 

An interesting performance not to be missed is the 45-minute Sbaek-Tohch (small puppet) performance by the young students of the one-class room primary school of L’Ecole du Bayon located in the compound of Angkor Thom. You may watch the performance in the afternoon a morning visit to the school.

 

The puppet show is staged at a traditional Cambodian house located in Sadann Village in the outskirt of Siem Reap. The story relates the “Life of Lord Buddha Siddharta Gautama”. After the show enjoy a sunset cocktail drink on the terrace, before proceeding to a fine dinner either on the terrace or in the garden illuminated with flicking torches and candles. The show is a charitable event.

 

 

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  VIETNAM
 
A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien
 

Vietnam started ‘”its own’” New Year last month by celebrating its traditional “TET from 2 February to 7 February. 2011 is designated as the Year of the Cat (whereas in China it is the Year of the Rabbit). This year’s “TET” was one of the longest ever with five public holidays.

 

We had a very high number of clients travelling during this busy period. All our operations went smoothly and our clients were able to enjoy the unique experience of being able to see the Vietnamese celebrating their “TET”.

 

The year 2011 also started well for us. We have seen an increase in arrivals from overseas in January and February, and the forecast for the remainder of the year looks positive.

 

Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the country’s official tourism body, has also, for the first time, designated tourism as an economic spearhead targeting a GDP contribution of 4.5% from the sector. Once it has been defined as a key sector, tourism will hopefully receive its deserved attention from policy-makers and given the respective growth opportunities.

 

Vietnam is officially targeting 5.3 million international arrivals and 30-31 million domestic tourists for 2011, generating revenue of approximately USD5.65 billion. As a “kick off” for this promising year Vietnam has officially launched its new logo-symbol with the slogan, “Vietnam - A Different Orient”, following the campaign of “Vietnam-the hidden charm”. We hope we will not to be seen anymore as “hidden”, but as a powerful player in the South East Asian tourism industry.

 

We at Asian Trails Vietnam are ready to welcome your clients with new products, tours and hotels. We take this opportunity to thank you for your continuing support!

 

 

 

  DESTINATION INFORMATION
 

VIETNAM TOURISM’S NEW LOGO-SYMBOL

 

On 26 January the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) held an award ceremony for the logo-symbol designing contest for the National Tourism Promotion Programme over the 2011-2015 period.

 

The first prize went to the designing team of Cowan Vietnam Company, which came up with a new logo-slogan “Vietnam – a Different Orient”.


According to the organising board the new logo was inspired by the star in Vietnam’s national flag and shows the renewed vitality of a newly emerging Vietnam with its unique national identity. The slogan also reflects the uniqueness, independence and new vision of Vietnam, which is one of Asia’s most attractive tourist destinations.


The contest aims to promote Vietnam’s image and attract more international visitors within the framework of the tourism development programme from 2011-2015 and the tourism development strategy from 2010-2020. In the 2010-2020 period the tourism sector expects to raise the number of international visitors by 10-15% and domestic visitors by 15-18%.

 

 

VITOURS LAUNCHES HELI-TOURISM IN DA NANG

 

Vietnam Tourism Joint Stock Company – Vitours recently launched Heli-tourism in the central city of Da Nang. This new service aims to provide visitors with panoramic views of Vietnam’s breath-taking landscape, such as the beautiful Cham Island, Ly Son Island and My Son holy land from the air.

 

The Northern Aviation Service Company provides the 24-seater MI 17, MI 172 helicopters, and the 12-seater EC 155 B1 helicopter for the tours.  

 

 

 

  ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
 

PARTICIPATE IN VOLUNTARY WORK WITH ASIAN TRAILS

 

In January 2011 Asian Trails Vietnam planned, organised and executed a special voluntary work programme for a big group from Israel. The activities included the painting of the house of Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Foundation (HCWF) in District 7. (HCWF is a local NGO, which helps to protect children in difficult circumstances from HIV/AIDS.)

 

The group had a great time painting the two-story house and giving it a fresh and clean look. The children also participated by preparing the respective templates for the special patterns. The more artistic members of the group assisted the children in drawing some special patterns like clouds, flowers and sun. The volunteers and the children had a wonderful time painting the house and enjoying the snacks and drinks.

 

This is a good example of how voluntary work can help foster lively interaction between the volunteers of such programmes and the local community.

 

We at Asian Trails Vietnam are more than happy to help organise such voluntary work programmes. Please contact our MICE/special tours team to provide you with more information.

  

 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 

SAPA PETROL HOTEL’S EARTH-BREAKING CEREMONY

 

On 2 January 2011 Petrolimex Sapa JSC held an earth-breaking ceremony for the construction of Sapa Petrol Hotel in the town of Sapa.

 

The 4 star hotel will have 55 rooms on completion. It is built on the same land of the ancient Hoang Lien Hotel. Total area is 1,110sqm and will include four floors and a basement. Total investment in the hotel is estimated at VND 65.3 billion (USD 2.1 million).  

 

 

FLAMINGO DAILA RESORT

 

Flamingo Daila Resort, located about 80 minutes from the city centre and about an hour from Hanoi airport, has the potential to be an ideal venue for MICE and special interest groups when it is completed within this year.


The resort has luxury villas, meeting rooms and all the necessary facilities to meet the demands of its guests. The surroundings are beautiful with pine forests and the lake. The green spaces can be used for team building and special activities. An artificial beach by Dai Lai Lake has been finished  

 

 

NEW PARADISE YACHTS

 

Paradise Cruise has just added new luxury vessels, Paradise Yacht I & II, to keep up with the demand for upscale cruise on Halong Bay.

 

Paradise Cruise guarantees its clients an unforgettable experience on the cruise with a flexible itinerary, which explores  “hidden” spots of Halong Bay. Enhancing this experience are a personalised butler and a crew providing professional service.

 

The yachts are open for charters for a minimum of six persons to a maximum eight persons, with extra beds provided. Amenities on board include a cosy dining room and bar, spacious sundeck and modern kitchen for those who are passionate about cooking. With its sumptuous and comfortable accommodation a cruise on these luxury yachts is both enjoyable and relaxing.  

 

 

DE L’OPERA DELAYS OPENING TO JUNE

 

De L’Opera Hotel, an Accor hotel that was originally scheduled to open on 10 December 2010, has delayed its official opening to June 2011. According to Accor, the delay is due to some details in the rooms that do not reach Accor's standard.

 

This hotel is part of Accor’s new product line, “Mgallery”, with La Veranda in Phu Quoc as the first MGallery property in the country.

 

De L’Opera will feature 107 rooms with three restaurants and bars. it is strategically located in Hoan Kiem district, the downtown and commercial centre of Hanoi. It is set along a street filled with Vietnamese fine art galleries and some of Hanoi’s main tourist attractions, with the Opera house just around the corner.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on the hotel and its rates.

 

 

RENOVATIONS AT GRAND HOTEL SAIGON

 

Due to major renovations and construction Grand hotel announced temporary closure of all services in the New Wing from 1 March to 30 September 2011. Other services such as guestrooms in the Ancient Wing, Chez-Nous Restaurant, swimming pool and the poolside bar remain operational.

 

By the fourth quarter of 2011 the hotel expects to have 233 rooms, which will be a combination new and ancient French style, a grand ballroom and F&B outlets to cater to big events and groups.

 

To guarantee the utmost satisfaction to our clients Asian Trails recommends new bookings at Grand Hotel Saigon be made only when it is fully renovated.

 

 

GINGER IN HALONG BAY UNDERGOING MAINTENANCE

 

Ginger will carry out an intensive maintenance of its fleet and will stop operating some of its vessels from 1-30 May

 

1. Halong Ginger: From 1 May to 31 May 2011. It will be back to normal operations on 1 June 2011.

2. Halong Jasmine: From 1 July to 31 July 2011. It will be back to normal operation on 1 August 2011.

3. Halong Violet: From 13 September to 30 September 2011. It will be back to normal operation on 1 October 2011

 

Meanwhile, the top deluxe day boat, Halong Sunset, started service on 10 February 2011.

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

PERFUME PAGODA FESTIVAL

8 FEBRUARY 2011 –END OF SPRING MONTHS

 

This is Vietnam’s biggest and longest annual festival, which starts with the opening of Huong (Perfume) Pagoda on 8 February or the 6th day of the first lunar month. The festival lasts throughout the three spring months, welcoming more than one million pilgrims and tourists each year.


Built in the late 17th century Huong Pagoda is located in My Duc District, about 60km from downtown Hanoi, on a historic site that has a large number of pagodas, temples and caverns filled with spectacular stalactites. The Huong Tich Cavern has the autograph of Lord Trinh Sam, dating back to 1770, describing the cavern as the most beautiful cave in the country.

 

Sightseeing trips to the pagodas, temples and caves are the main attractions during the festival, as well as ceremonies to ask favours from Lord Buddha.  

 

 

 

  AIRLINE INFORMATION
 

DIRECT DA NANG-HONG KONG CHARTERS

 

National flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, and Hong Kong’s Vietlink International Travel Company have launched direct charter flights linking Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang and Hong Kong.

 

Using Vietnam Airlines’ 184-seat Airbus A321 aircraft the charters operate every Tuesday and Friday from 26 November to 3 May. Flights from Hong Kong to Da Nang take off at 19:20 and arrive at 20:00. From Da Nang the flights take off at 15:30 and arrive in Hong Kong at 18:15. Total flying time between the two cities is one hour and forty minutes.

 

This new service is expected to boost the development of tourism in Da Nang and Hoian, as well as the rest of Vietnam.

 

  

 

  RESTAURANTS & VENUES
 

BANG LANG RESTAURANT’S NEW LOCATION

 

Bang Lang Restaurant in Hanoi has moved to a new location at 411 Au co road, Tay Ho district. The restaurant, now housed in a colonial-styled building, has 220 seats for diners. Its backyard is reserved for a water puppet stage, which can serve up to 60 spectators. For group tours a private water puppet show can be organised, followed by a Vietnamese dinner at the restaurant

 

 

 

 

  STAFF UPDATE
 

DANKESCHON HERR CLAUDIO F. KELLENBERGER, WELKOM DE HEER GERBEN BLOEMENDAAL

 

Gerben Bloemendaal (pictured right) has been appointed General Manager of Asian Trails Vietnam from 1 March 2011. He succeeds Claudio F. Kellenberger (pictured left), who left the company after more than two-and-a-half years to pursue new career opportunities.

 

Gerben has 10 years’ experience in the tourism and travel industry in the areas of operations, sales and marketing. In his last employment he was in e-commerce, online marketing and product development management. He studied Business and Tourism Management at Saxion Academy in Holland and completed his education with courses on economics and finance. In his new role as General Manager Gerben is responsible for overseeing all operational, service quality control and product development activities of Asian Trails Vietnam.

 

We wish Gerben all the best and great success and satisfaction in his new role. We also thank Claudio for his service with Asian Trails Vietnam, and wish him success in his future professional endeavours.  

 

 

 

  ANY OTHER NEWS
 

ASIAN TRAILS’ NEW DANANG OFFICE

 

Our office in Danang has relocated to a new building, about 50m from the old office. The phone and fax numbers and email remain unchanged.

 

Address: 18 Hoang Van Thu street, Hai Chau Dist, Danang

Phone: +84 511 3561348

Fax: +84 511 3561349

Emergency number: +84 (0) 913 40 99 99 (Mr.Minh – Office Manager)  

 

 

 

 
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  CHINA
 
 
A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

China always appears in the news with big numbers, such as “Shanghai is planning to open the tallest hotel in the world,” or “Beijing is going to have a new airport to absorb the tens of millions passengers travelling to the capital city.”

 

Asian Trails China is also happy to announce some “big” news. We are expanding and moved to a new and bigger office on 1 March. it is in the same building as the previous office - Scitech Tower – but is now on the 14th floor. 

 

 

  

 

  DESTINATION INFORMATION
 

NINGXIA PROVINCE

 

Our General Manager made a site inspection of Ningxia Autonomous Region last year. Ningxia’s main cities are Yinchuan (the capital) in the north, Zhongwei in the west and Guyuan in the south.  They are linked by excellent and fairly empty expressways. Total distance from Yinchuan to Lanzhou is more than 600 km, mostly along the mythical “Jing Zang Expressway” linking Beijing to Lhasa across Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai.

 

Kempinski has opened a hotel in Yinchuan in July 2010 and is the first international 5-star property in the region. There are expressways to link the different sites. The airport is modern and has flights to key cities in China. The Yellow River, the Great Wall and the mythical culture and civilization of the Xi Xia Kingdom, which was literally burnt down to the ground by Djenghis Khan in the 13th century, are the key themes to attract visitors. Central to this is the iconic image of the Royal Mausoleum of Xi Xia (pictured left).

 

Recommended are visits to the Ming Great Wall at Shuidonggou (with a unique underground maze to hide troops) located near the airport and Mount Sumeru Grottoes in the south on a branch of the ancient Silk Road

 

Another theme is the Yellow River, which meanders through the region and can be seen in different places, including Shapotou where the desert meets the river. Unfortunately the area has been overdeveloped commercially to meet the needs of the domestic visitors.

 

Future developments may include expansion to the railway and expressway system, which would make a combination of Ningxia-Gansu a good option on the ‘eastern Silk Road’ theme.

 

In general, a two-night stay in Yinchuan in between visits to Beijing and Xian, would be ideal for discerning travellers who wish to experience “something different”. The area has a predominantly Muslim population, so be prepared to eat a lot of mutton!  

 

 

XUZHOU

 

We also explored the city of Xuzhou, located in the extreme north of Jiangsu province on the border with Shandong.  An express train links Xuzhou with Beijing, a journey of between five to six hours.

 

Liu Bang, first emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), was born in Xuzhou. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty Xuzhou became part of the Kingdom of Chu, a principality ruled by relatives of the royal Liu family. The tombs of the royal rulers were recently excavated near Xuzhou.

 

After the Yellow River began to change course during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD), heavy silting at the Yellow River estuary forced the river to channel its flow into the lower Huai River tributary. The region became barren thereafter due to persistent flooding, nutrient depletion and salination of the once fertile soil.

 

The area was the site of the final critical battle in the Chinese Civil War - the Huaihai Campaign in 1948-49. The capitulation of Chiang Kai-shek at Xuzhou to Chinese Communist forces eventually led to the fall of the then capital, Nanking.

 

Xuzhou has a great “fengshui”, with a large lake reminiscent of the West Lake in Hangzhou, surrounded by many different hills that give it a beautiful setting. The tombs of the kings of Chu, as well as the Xuzhou History Museum, are well worth a visit.  One of the tombs has a small size terracotta army (one of the three in China, together with Han Yangling and Qin Shihuang Tombs in the Xian area), part of which is known as the “underwater terracotta army” as it was discovered on the bottom of a lake.

 

The best hotel here is the New Century Grand Hotel, a resort-style hotel located on the lakeside.  A stopover at Xuzhou could be planned for guests travelling by train or road (expressways) from Beijing to Nanjing, or from Xian to Shandong province.

 

  

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 

CHANGE IN HOTEL MANAGEMENT

 

Two hotels have changed management from 1 January 2011

  • Beijing Courtyard Marriott (pictured left) has now become Penta Hotel.

  • Beijing Holiday Inn Lido in now Metropark Lido.

 

 

WORLD’S HIGHEST HOTEL

 

Shanghai Jinjiang International Hotels is planning to build the world's highest hotel – the Shanghai Tower J-Hotel. It will occupy floors 84 to 110 of the 121-storey, 632-metre high Shanghai Tower that is due to be completed in 2014

 

The Shanghai Tower J-Hotel will be higher than the Park Hyatt in the 492-metre Shanghai World Financial Center and the soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, which will occupy floors 102 to 118 of the 490-metre high International Commerce Center in Kowloon.

 

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai remains the world's tallest building at 828 metres.

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

LANTERN FESTIVAL

 

On 17 February we celebrated the Lantern Festival (Yuan Xiao Festival). This falls on the 15th day of the first month of the Lunar year in the Chinese calendar. It officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.

 

In ancient times the lanterns were fairly simple as only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. Today, however, lanterns are embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in shapes of animals. In some region and countries, this festival is also regarded as the Chinese version of St. Valentine's Day, a day celebrating love and affection between lovers of Chinese tradition and culture.

 

On this day the Chinese eat a special delicacy, "yuan xiao tang", which is rice flour balls filled with sesame in a sweet broth.  

 

 

 

  STAFF UPDATE
 

 

NEW STAFF

 

Asian Trails China welcomes four new members to its team in March. They are Ms Michelle Hao (pictured top left) as Administrative/HR Supervisor, Mr. Robin Yin (pictured top right) as IT Manager, Ms Socheata Sun (pictured bottom right) as MICE Manager (formerly Manager of Asian Trails Sanya office) and Ms Laura Yang (pictured bottom left) as reservation clerk.

 

We wish them good luck in their new jobs.  

 

 

 

  ANY OTHER NEWS
 

WORK ON BEIJING’S NEW AIRPORT SET TO START

 

Construction of Beijing’s second airport is likely to start this year. The new airport, with a planned capacity to handle at least 60 million passengers a year, is expected to shoulder part of the traffic pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport.

 

The capital’s current airport is the world’s second largest in terms of passenger traffic, handling 73.9 million passengers last year, almost reaching its planned capacity of 76 million passengers by 2015.

 

According to an official comment, “it is now impossible to add even one more flight to the tight daily schedule of the capital airport”.

The new project will require an investment of 100 billion Yuan (approximately USD 15 billion). It is said, not officially, that the location of this new airport would be in Daxing district in southern Beijing.

 

This is one of the 11 new airports that the China Civil Aviation plans to build in 2011.

 

In 2010, 267 million passengers travelled by air, up 16% from 2009. In 2011 the number is expected to increase to 300 million passengers.

  

  

NEW OFFICE

 

On 1 March 2011 Asian Trails China moved to its new office.

 

New Address & Contacts:

ASIAN TRAILS CHINA

Suite 1401, Scitech Tower

22, Jianguomenwai Avenue

Beijing 100004 - China

Tel : + (86) 10 6515 9259

Fax : + (86) 10 6515 9293

Email : res@asiantrailschina.com

 
 
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  MYANMAR
 

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

The past three months have been quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The tourism industry is prospering again, and we could call it a boom, judging from the number of tourist arrivals. The months of January and February saw, for the first time in years, some hotels being sold out, as well as fully-booked flights on the main tourist circuits.

 

As a further boost to the industry Myanmar Airlines International (MAI) has announced the start of twice-weekly flights from Yangon to Siam Reap. ,  Details of this new service is under the “Airline Information” section of this country report.

 

We can truly rejoice with this new upswing trend and hope that this trend will continue.

 

I take the opportunity to thank all of you for your support and look forward to meeting you at ITB in Berlin this month.

 

Best regards,

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

  DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

MYANMAR ELECTS NEW GOVERNMENT

 

On 31 January 2011 the newly-elected Maynmar government adjurned for the first time. During the week-long session it elected the state president and two vice presidents.

 

 

 

 

 

  ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
 

MRAUK U – HIDDEN TREASURE OF MYANMAR

 

Mrauk U, the capital of the last unified Arakanese Kingdom, is our choice for our regular destination inspection.

 

The trip included a one-night stop in Sittwe, with the opportunity to visit the busy fish market. The following day we boarded our boat to Mrauk U. One of the trip’s highlights, apart the magical atmosphere of the temples, was the river journey to the border of the Chin State border. We also visited two typical Chin villages, where some of the famous tattooed women live.

 

Mrauk U Prices Resort is still the best choice for accommodation and service in the area. It also serves as excellent gateway to sightsee various places of interest, either by jeep, bike or horse cart.

 

 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 

DAT TAW GYAINT WATERFALL RESORT – PYIN OO LWIN

 

Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall Resort, a new luxury hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin (formerly known as Maymyo), recently had its soft opening.

 

The hotel consists of 18 teak furnished bungalows with a private wooden bathtub on the terrace, offering a spectacular views of Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall. With its beautiful setting the resort is an ideal place for honeymooners. Different sport activities, such as soft trekking and biking tours, are available.

 

 

 
  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

1ST WANING DAY OF TAGU13-16 pril 13 _ 16 APRIL 2011

VENUE: THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY

 

A four-day festiva, ending 16 April, held on the eve of Myanmar New Year to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous year with water. Young people go out to enjoy themselves by throwing water at each other, while the elders take shelter  in monasteries and precincts of pagodas.

 

 

 

  

  AIRLINE INFORMATION
 

MAI LAUNCHES DiRECT YANGON- SIAM REAP FLIGHTS

 

MAI (Myanmar Airways International) launched two times weekly direct Yangon-Siem Reap flights on 26 February. The new services, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, shorten travel time between the two cities. They will also make multi-countries tours more attractive in the future.

 

REP-RGN 8M 402    12.10-13.20

RGN-REP 8M 401    09.00-11.10

 

 

ASIAN WINGS STARTS OPERATIONS

 

Asian Wings, a new Yangon-based airline, has started operations to major domestic airports in Myanmar. Its inaugural flight (8W 89) from Yangon airport took off on 28 January.

 

The fleet of the all economy class airline consists of two 68-seater ATR72-500 aircraft. Both aircraft are insured via Pana Harrison Pte Ltd Singapore and reinsured through Lloyd's London.

 

Asian Wings fills the gap left by the suspension of Yangon Airways in December 2010.

 

 

 

  STAFF UPDATE
 

SHWE ZIN LEAVES ASIAN TRAILS MYANMAR AFTER 11 YEARS

 

Shwe Zin, our Ticketing Supervisor, who has been with Asian Trails Myanmar for 11 years left the company at the end of February. She followed her husband, who has a new job assignment in a town in upper Myanmar.

 

We thank Shwe Zin for her excellent and professional work during her tenure with the company. We wish her all the best in her future endeavours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  ANY OTHER NEWS
 

RV YANDABO - LUXURY MANDALAY- BAGAN DAY CRUISE

 

Yandabo, a pottery village, is the name chosen for the new luxury day cruise boat on the Irrawady River. The wooden local style boat has a capacity of up to 25 passengers and operates downstream from Mandalay to Bagan on scheduled departures every Tuesday and Friday. The boat also boosts a restaurant, bar, sundeck as well as a small souvenir shop.

 

 

 

APOLLO SCANDINAVIA’S FIRST GROUP TO MYANMAR

 

We welcomed the first Apollo Scandinavia group to Myanmar on 24 January. Our general manager, Mrs. Khin Myat Sandar, and reservation staff greeted the participants on their arrival in Yangon. They offered each guest a jasmine flower garland.

 

Visitors from Scandinavia to Myanmar have been on the rise in the past few months. The increasing number of booking requests confirms the positive travel trend from this market to Myanmar.  

 

 

MMC FUN RUN

 

The MMC (Myanmar Marketing Committee) Fun Run is designed to enhance interaction between members of the industry and to raise funds for forthcoming marketing activities.

 

The third edition of MMC Run took place in Kandawgyi Park on 29 January. Hundreds of participants from the hospitality travel and tourism industry took part. The staff of Asian Trails Myanmar has been participating in this run since its inception, and every year they have great fun during the event.  

 

 

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  MALAYSIA
 
A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF
 

Warm Greetings from Malaysia!

 

The Chinese New Year has just passed and it was my first experience and a real eye opener on how it is celebrated in this part of the world. It is fascinating how the different races can come together and partake in this celebration where there is plenty of food and drinks including the traditional tossing of “raw fish salad” for good luck and prosperity.

Moving on, January and February were busy months for us and a good start to the New Year.

 

Our “Asian Department” is up and running and I am pleased to say that we have received our first bookings for FIT and Groups. We have created some new packages and products for the Asian market and believe that they will make a big impact in the very near future.  We have also focused a lot more on MICE, and materialisation is good. We intend to put more emphasis on this with new exciting products to showcase Malaysia better.

In order to be more proactive we have started our internal newsletter, which is sent out whenever necessary to update our partners on a more regular basis.

 

All in all, I had the opportunity to understand the operations in Malaysia better and I have shared with some of my colleagues over here, I feel pretty much at home already in this wonderful country. I'm now looking forward to ITB where I hope to catch up with many of our agents and also to meet new ones.

 

I'm optimistic that 2011 will be an even better year.

 

Best regards

 

Emir

Malaysia, Truly Asia!

 

 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 

TOP HONOURS FOR HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG

 

Malaysia’s most rocking hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Penang, is one of the trendiest according to globetrotters. The results are in and Hard Rock Hotel Penang is proud to be honoured the ”Top 10 Trendiest Hotel in Asia” on TripAdvisor 2011 Travellers’ Choice Awards, ranked at number 3.

 

The modern and stylish Hard Rock Hotel Penang at Batu Feringgh is unlike other conventional beach resorts. Since its opening just over one year ago the hotel has successfully defined a new meaning to lifestyle resorts in Penang, which embraces music, energy and its own unique philosophy for the rocking soul.

 

At the entrance of the vibrant lobby every guest is welcomed by the iconic Hard Rock logo created with chandelier-like lightings, bringing a high level of energy to the main entrance. This contemporary design is enhanced with a check-in counter that features a reception bar concept. The hotel features a modern structural design with a rockin’ edge, tricked up interior designs enhanced with over 500 pieces of original memorabilia from rock stars around the world. 

 

Hard Rock Hotel Penang boasts 250 chic rooms and suites with unprecedented views of the hill and sea. One of the most popular room categories is the Lagoon Deluxe Room. Being the first in Penang, the Lagoon Deluxe room is another innovative creation where one can jump right into the pool from the room’s deck!

 

The hotel also features a magnificent 26,000 sq ft free-form swimming pool — the largest swimming pool in Penang with water slides and a sunken pool bar called The Shack. Other facilities include the alfresco Pizzeria, Hard Rock Cafe, Rock Spa, Body Rock, Lil’ Rock Kids Club and Teens Club.  

 

 

RECLASSIFICATION OF ROOM TYPE AT MERITUS PELANGI BEACH RESORT & SPA

 

Effective from 1 January 2011 Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa has reclassified its room type as listed below:

 

•  Superior Garden view to Garden Terrace
•  Deluxe Lake view to Lakefront

•  Deluxe Pool view to Pool Terrace

•  Deluxe Sea facing change to Beachfront

 

 

NO SMOKING POLICY AT PARKROYAL PENANG

 

Parkroyal Penang Hotel has enforced a no-smoking policy in the resort premise in line with local and international regulations. All guestrooms are now non-smoking. However, the resort provides two smoking terrace zones on each floor for smokers. Guests staying in rooms with balcony are requested to smoke only in that area.

 

 

 

WESTIN KUALA LUMPUR UNDERGOES MAINTENANCE WORK

 

The Westin Kuala Lumpur is conducting some necessary maintenance work on its water pipes commencing January 2011. The hotel is working closely with a consultant to ensure that the project is seamless and there is minimal disruption to all guests during the maintenance period. The work areas are cordoned off from guests and the schedule has been designed whereby any work with potential noise impact is carried out during 12pm to 4pm daily. Work is expected to be completed by May 31, 2011.

 

 

BERJAYA REDANG RESORT – RENOVATION UPDATE

 

Berjaya Redang Resort officially reopened on 1 March 2011 after successfully completing its first few phases of renovations. The upgrading work sees a downsize of room accommodation to keep up with the intimate, boutique-style ambience. The 155 suites and rooms are currently equipped with finer touch of quality and services. The remaining 35 suites are currently undergoing restoration, which includes some structural works, electrical, plumbing, painting, decorating, furnishing and fittings, with expected completion in June/July 2011. The resort and its facilities operate as normal during the renovation period.

 

The new concept of renovation at the resort reflects on its family-friendly services, where all accommodation is designed to allocate two persons per room with the exception of certain room types to accommodate a baby cot for an infant of up to two years of age. Families are also encouraged to stay in family friendly interconnecting units for the luxury of space and convenience. With Berjaya Redang Resort’s wide selections of rooms and suites overlooking the lush garden, as well as ocean and bay views, guests find solace in these serene surroundings. They rooms are also equipped with must-have amenities such as individually controlled air-conditioning, LCD TV and bath with separate rain shower cubicle.

 

 

BERJAYA LANGKAWI RESORT - RENOVATION UPDATE

 

The Berjaya Langkawi Resort has successfully completed its first few phases of renovation, with the introduction of new Rainforest Chalet and Rainforest Studio rooms. These new room category see a complete new concept with increased space and comfort including new closet and cabinet space to flat screen televisions on the wall, as well as changes in colour, style and lighting.

 

The remaining renovation work will be carried out in phases. The refurbishment includes site mobilisation, structural works, plumbing and electrical, wall and floor finishes, and furniture and fittings. Due to the enormous size of the resort covering over 74 acres of land, the renovation work will be executed section by section. Expected date of full completion is end May 2012.

 

 

SHANGRI-LA’S RASA RIA RESORT UPGRADES

 

Shangri-La is embariking on upgrading of its Garden Wing rooms from mid-March 2011 to reflect Shangri-La’s commitment to continuously provide outstanding facilities to all its guests. While the rooms are 14 years old and the last refurbishment was in 2004, this enhancement programme is targeted to offer guests the finest beach resort rooms available in Borneo.

The upgrading exercise involves two phases :

 

Phase One

This will involve 71 of the 330 rooms of the Garden Wing at the resort. The works are expected to start on 15 March and will be completed by 30 June 2011. There will be some disturbance in the initial stage, particularly between 15 to 30 March.

 

Phase Two

This will involve 259 rooms, the Lobby and Lobby Lounge. Work will begin on 1 September until end February 2012. Like Phase One there will be some disturbance in the initial stage, particularly between 1 to 30 September. There will be minimal impact to guests staying in the Ocean Wing as this block of accommodation is separated from the Garden Wing. The phasing of the upgrading has been planned to minimize the disturbance to guests and no guest accommodation in Garden Wing is directly adjacent to any work being undertaken.

 

During this period Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort will continue to operate as usual with uninterrupted service to ensure guests’ comfort and convenience. The resort has given its assurance that every effort will be made to reduce the impact of this programme.

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

MIRI INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

12-15 MAY 2011

 

The annual Miri International Jazz Festival will be held in four venues instead of one this year. There is change not only in the venues but also the name of the event itself. It will now be known as Borneo Jazz. This change is to reflect the growing stature of the festival among leading jazz festivals in the region. The word ”Borneo” gives a unique positioning of Sarawak among jazz music aficionados. With this, comes a reimaging to reflect the vibrancy of the festival and the destination.

 

Performers are slated to perform at venues including Parkcity Everly Hotel and Miri Marriott Resort & Spa from 12-15 May. Please contact us for bookings or for more information.

 

 

NATIONAL CRAFT DAY 2011

23 FEBRUARY -7 MARCH 2011

VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR CRAFT COMPLEX

 

Craftsmen from all around Malaysia participate in this event, which aims to promote and market crafts and products directly to domestic and international consumers. Activities include craft sales, exhibitions, sales missions, fashion shows, cooking demonstrations and many more.

 

 

RAPTOR WATCH WEEK 2011

12 -13 MARCH 2011

VENUE: TANJUNG TUAN, PORT DICKSON

 

Bird watching enthusiasts can delight in spotting hundreds of migratory raptors flying across the Straits of Malacca on their annual journey back to the northern hemisphere. Tanjung Tuan is an excellent venue to catch this natural spectacle.

 

 

MALAYSIA GP SALE

15 MARCH-15 APRIL 2011

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Fantastic bargains and discounts await shoppers in this nation-wide sale carnival. Held to complement the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix,
the hottest race in the country, the sale has unbeatable offers and sizzling hot deals on everything from fashion, electronics, accessories and much more.

 

 

GENDANG NUSANTARA FESTIVAL
APRIL 2011

VENUE:  MBMB SQUARE, AYER KEROH

 

A must see event, which showcases a variety of percussion and drum music from all over the world.

 

 

 

 

SQUID JIGGING FIESTA
APRIL 2011-JULY 2011

VENUE: REDANG ISLAND

 

The South China Sea is teeming with squids and the methods of jigging have remained the same for generations. What used to be a source of income has now becoming a popular recreational activity for all people of all ages.

 

 

MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL SHOE FESTIVAL
7-10 APRIL 2011

VENUE: PUTRA WORLD TRADE CENTRE (PWTC)

 

From glamorous stilettos to stylish sandals, classic pumps and trendy boots, the festival takes visitors on a fascinating journey into the world of designer footwear.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA WATER FESTIVAL (FISHING CARNIVAL) - LANGKAWI WATER FESTIVAL
8-10 APRIL 2011

VENUE :  LANGKAWI

 

Cool the tropical heat with some water sports. Enjoy jet ski races, parasailing, kayaking, yachting, boat rides, fishing and other fantastic activities.

 

 

 

PETRONAS MALAYSIAN F1 GRAND PRIX
8-10 APRIL 2011

VENUE:  SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT

 

Catch the blazing action at one of the most challenging tracks in the world. With its extreme hot and wet conditions, the Sepang International Circuit tests the skills of the world’s finest racers to the limit. Be there to witness the action, live!  

 

 

MALAYSIA WATER FESTIVAL (FISHING CARNIVAL) - LABUAN INTERNATIONAL SEA CHALLENGE (LSC)
22-24 APRIL 2011

VENUE :  LABUAN

 

Cool the tropical heat with some water sports. Enjoy jet ski races, parasailing, kayaking, yachting, boat rides, fishing and other fantastic activities.  

 

 

REGATTA LEPA

22-24 APRIL 2011

VENUE: SEMPORNA, SABAH

 

Regatta Lepa is a water festival first held in 1994 to commemorate the tradition of building the Lepa-Lepa - a boat used by the Bajau people (sea gypsies). The Lepa is a cultural legacy inherited by the Bajau from many generations ago, and is believed to originate from the Bajau fishing community.  

 

 

12TH SABAH ADVENTURE CHALLENGE

22-24 APRIL 2011

VENUE : SABAH

 

Witness gutsy participants from all across the globe take on the challenge of the oldest established multi-day adventure race in Asia. The gruelling three-day event will assess teams in multiple challenges such as bamboo rafting, tyre tubing, mountain biking and trail hiking as they race across 120 kilometres in the highlands of Sabah. The race will also test contenders in skills like using a topographic map, repairing a broken-down bicycle and changing a flat tyre. This is the true test of the endurance of the human mind, body and spirit!  

 

 

SABAH FEST - A CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA
30 APRIL-1 MAY 2011

VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH

 

Sabah Fest is the state’s most anticipated cultural event where its ethnic groups display a rich and colourful kaleidoscope of culture and traditions. The fest is the prelude to the state-wide celebration of Harvest Festival, a unique assembly of Sabah’s colourful culture presented through dance, music, fashion and food, which is a must-see.  

 

 

 

  AIRLINE INFORMATION
 

FIREFLY’S INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM KLIA

 

Firefly’s Boeing B737-800 aircraft will commence services to South East Asian destinations out of the KL International Airport (KLIA) in the third quarter of 2012.

 

The carrier, which has been operating with ATR 72-500 turboprops out of Subang Airport, recently launched its twice-daily flights from KLIA to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and Kuching in Sarawak. The frequency will increase to thrice daily for Kota Kinabalu and four times daily for Kuching in the coming months.

 

Firefly’s fleet size will increase to 13 B737-800 aircraft by 2012, up from the current two now, and will increase to 50 by 2015.

 
 

AIRASIA X’s  KL-PARIS SERVICE EASES SEAT CRUNCH

 

AirAsia X launched four-weekly direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Paris, on 14 February. Malaysian inbound tour operators hailed the new service as a huge opportunity to cater to an under-tapped market.


Malaysia Airlines also has services between Kuala Lumpur and Paris. The additional 1,308 seats weekly, provided by AirAsia X, will ease the supply crunch during peak travel periods such as the European summer and winter season.

 

 

AIRASIA X’S DISCOUNTED PREMIUM CLASS OPTION

 

AirAsia X has partnered Boston-based Optiontown to give passengers an opportunity to fly business class at a far lower fare. The service, called Upgrade Travel Option, is available on all AirAsia X longhaul flights out of its Kuala Lumpur hub.

 

The opportunity for upgrade to a premium class seat is calculated based on factors including seat availability, passenger profile and previous upgrades acquired through the service. It creates a “win-win situation for all parties”, as it allows partner airlines to sell all their business and first class seats, provides travel agents an opportunity to offer value-added service to passengers, and gives passengers the chance to fly business class at as much as 75 per cent discount. To qualify for a possible seat upgrade, passengers need to register at Optiontown's website and pay a one-time fee, which will fluctuate according to demand.

 
 

AIR MAURITIUS ADDS SHANGHAI VIA KUALA LUMPUR

 

Air Mauritius plans to use Malaysia as its hub of operations for future expansion plans in North Asia and South-east Asia.

The airline’s newest is the Mauritius-Kuala Lumpur-Shanghai service, which  will commence on 1 July. The once-weekly flight uses the Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which has 24 business-class seats and 251 economy class seats.

 

Air Mauritius currently operates twice-weekly services to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and thrice-weekly services to Hong Kong. Shanghai will be the airline’s fourth destination in Asia.

 

 

 

  ANY OTHER NEWS
 

LEGEND OF THE SEAS ADDS MALACCA TO ITINERARY

 

Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas added Malacca to her array of Asian destinations, with a maiden call to the city on 9 January.

 

The ship’s shore excursions in Malacca included shopping tours, tours to a palm oil and rubber tree plantation, and a city tour of the Dutch Square, St. Paul’s Church and A'Famosa where one can learn about Malacca’s Dutch and Portuguese colonial past.

 

  
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  INDONESIA
 
A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler
 

Two months have already passed since the peak season, when Bali especially experienced a massive wave of tourists arriving from all parts of the world during the festive season. It has been quieter since then for us, which allows us to finalise some pending projects. Our team also uses this period to prepare for another busy and bustling high season, which will kick off in early May and will last until November. New guides are currently recruited, new hotels inspected and also new product ideas developed.

 

One of our projects is to purchase two brand new eight-seater minibuses for transfers and round trips in Bali. Additionally, our Yogjakarta office will move to a new and more convenient location, and we will add one more staff to the existing team. We are also working in cooperation with a Bali-based recycling company to recycle all the water bottles we give to our clients in a move to reduce negative impact to the island’s environment. Language courses are also conducted for our staff. Our reservations team is exploring Indonesia on educational trips to improve their knowledge. More details on our products and our projects are in the reports below.

 

 

 

  ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
 
VIP CRUISES

 

With the addition of the first real VIP cruise, Asian Trails Bali may now tempt you to charter the yacht, Merry Makin, for your own private cruise.

 

Built in the renowned yard of Grand Harbour Rudy in Taiwan the boat is outfitted with twin 1,000HP Mercedes M.T.U. diesel engines. The boat has a crew with the experience to match the pedigree of the vessel. The French captain has logged countless miles on the oceans of the world and her Indonesian executive chef and chief steward started their careers in some of the most prestigious hotels in this country. There are two marine engineers who make sure that all systems run like clockwork and are maintained in peak condition. 

 

For half or full day charters 'Merry Makin can take up to 20 passengers. There are three staterooms complete with own bathrooms on board, so the vessel comfortably carries six passengers on extended overnight voyages covering several days.  

 

Tailor made programmes can be arranged. For more information contact

 

For more details please click here
 

KOMODO CRUISES

 

The schooner, Atasita, was designed to be the most attractive Indonesian “phinisi” schooner afloat with just one specific purpose - to explore the very best of the underwater treasures of Indonesia.

 

Launched in 2007 Atasita was handcrafted by experienced Indonesian shipwrights from the best available hardwood from keel to topmasts. The epitome of traditional beauty, Atasita offers five well-appointed staterooms on a raised cabin deck. All are fully air-conditioned and have an ensuite bathroom. What sets this shipboard accommodation apart from most other traditional schooners is these cabins do not just have portholes, but all have full size windows (with marine grade glass), which offer a panoramic view of the ocean and the scenery outside. All cabins have large cupboards, ample storage space and a mini safe. Atasita unabashedly caters to the luxurious top end of the international leisure market.

 
 

BALI HAI CRUISES’ NEW PONTOON

 

Bali Hai Cruises have installed a new pontoon in Lembongan Bay at Nusa Penida. Reef Cruise guests use the new pontoon to enjoy a variety of water-sports, including snorkeling and semi-submersible rides.

 

The pontoon consists of a main deck, sun deck and built-in underwater observatory. It also has a shaded, comfortable area with access points for snorkeling, diving and banana boat rides. Six self-enclosed changing rooms with fresh water showers allow guest to change and freshen up before joining the late afternoon cruise back to Bali. Two toilet facilities are connected to an eco-friendly waste water treatment plant reflecting Bali Hai's corporate commitment to sustainable tourism. The most interesting feature is the 35-metre water slide, which allows guests to descend from the top of the pontoon into the clear blue sea. Guests can also practice flips off a fixed diving board. Another interesting feature is the scuba access through the centre of the pontoon for ease of entry into the rich coral depths that surround Lembongan Island.

 

 

 

  HOTEL INFORMATION
 

W-HOTEL WAOWS BALI

 

WHEN?

We are very happy to share the news that W Retreat & Spa Bali - Seminyak is ready to rock & roll the island! The hotel is now ready to receive bookings, starting for the period of stay from 15 April 2011 onwards for all Retreat categories.

 

WHERE?

W Retreat & Spa Bali-Seminyak is a new found wonderland along the shores of Seminyak - the pulse of trends, chic restaurants, clubs, fashion and art. The place where MAGIC comes alive!

 

WHAT ELSE?

Dive into surreal fantasy with the latest playground on this captivating “Island of the Gods.” The W’s Whatever/Whenever Team is looking forward to Ice you and your clients’ minds with W Bali Whimsical experience!

 

 

ANANTARA BALI ULUWATU

 

Anantara Bali Uluwatu, located in southwest of Uluwatu, is set to welcome guests from June 2011. It is a complex resort with the combination of suites, villas and penthouses - perfect for all segment markets, be it FITs, honeymooner, families, meetings and incentives or weddings. Support facilities include the wedding chapel, meeting rooms, children facilities, spa and swimming pool with a specious poolside deck. 

 

The room collection consist of 74 sea view suites, private pool villas and duplex penthouses. Room dimensions range from 84 square metres for the smallest condos to 350 square metres for villas. The four-storey ocean view condominium building offers one-bedroom suites, while the villas comprise two- or three-bedrooms, and all include private pools of approximately 3 x 12 metres long.

 

 

TOUCH DOWN AT KURA KURA RESORT

 

The Kura Kura Resort, off the northern coast of Java, will begin daily flights from Semarang to Kura Kura Resort and vice versa with guaranteed departures. The new service will be available from 1 May until 31 October 2011.

 

The island resort also announces it will maintain operations during winter, starting 1 November 2011 until 31 April 2012. During this period it will operate only a limited number of rooms - three pool villas and two cottages, until further notice. Services during the winter month will remain the same as during the high season.

 

 

NEW ROOMS AND ADVENTURE WATER PARK

 

Hard Rock Hotel announces its brand new refurbished rooms, which feature a fresh modern look. The rooms are now re-equipped with new rock mattresses, pillows, duvets, bed sheets, flat screen TV, iPod docking station and hifi system with CD player.

 

The hotel has also launched the Adventure Water Park with two water slides, ready for children to plunge into the biggest pool in Bali. Along with the water play ground the children are in for a stay filled with splashes at Hard Rock Hotel.

 

 

 

  FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
 

UBUD WRITERS AND READERS FESTIVAL

5-8 OCTOBER 2011

 

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is set to begin in Ubud on the 5 October and will last for four days. Held for the seventh time, this year’s theme is “Cultivate the Land Within”. This is taken from the epic poem Gaguritan Salampah Laku by Balinese artists Ida Pedanda Made Sideman. Considered one of Bali's greatest Kawi-Wiku, poet-priest, Ida Pedanda Made Sidemen penned numerous significant literary works, officiated at religious ceremonies and was an acknowledged expert on traditional architecture. He died in 1984 at the age of 126!

 

 

  

  AIRLINE INFORMATION
 

MANDALA AIRLINES GROUNDED

 

Indonesian low-cost carrier Mandala Airlines suspended all flight operations from mid-January. It revealed debts of IDR800 billion (US$87 million). The Jakarta-based carrier operated international services to Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as numerous domestic routes. The airline has grounded all flights until it is able to restructure its debts or have interested buyers.

 

 

 

   

  STAFF UPDATE
 
JAVA OVERLAND

 

Following the success of previous inspection trips Asian Trails once again sent six of its staff for a five-days Java inspection. Focusing on the Yogyakarta-Bali overland route the trip started out with two full days in Yogyakarta, the cultural heart of Java, Yogyakarta. On the inspection itinerary were some of the most renowned sights in and around the city, such as Borobodur, Prambanan and Sultan Palace. They also visited new attractions that included Taman Sari Water Castle and the Monggo chocolate factory. The group also enjoyed the famous Java coffee at selected authentic Java cafes.

 

Leaving the cultural heart the group boarded a train for the seven-hour journey to Surabaya. enjoying amazing landscapes and scenes of local villages along the way. In Surabaya the group visited the ancient Majapahit Hotel, followed by the Sampoerna house that  displays the “Kretek Cigarette”, the Indonesian version of Marlboro. A four- hour drive took the group to Tosari Village on the slopes of Mount Bromo. Early next morning it was a trip up to Mount Bromo’s crater to watch the sunrise at Pananjakan.

 

Last stop of the trip was Ijen National Park and the crater of the 2,883 metre high volcano. The trek up to the crater is 3.2 kilometers long. The trek is also used by sulphur miners caring loads of up to 100 kg of sulphur mined at the edge of the turquoise crater lake. The view is stunning and well worth the 2.5 hours trek. From Ijen the group returned to south Bali before sunset 

 

For tailor-made programmes and quotations please contact our Java experts

 

For more details please click here
 
BONJOUR ASIAN TRAILS
 

Asian Trails, in cooperation with Alliance Francaise, conducts its first French class with 10 students. The first class started early in the morning on 8 February.

 

The course is held twice a week with focus on verbal training in connection with tourism related topics. Once the participants are familiar with the conversational level, they will move on to simple reading and writing. The course is to help both the staff and guides to gain knowledge of the French language and further develop their skill in serving clients and agencies better.

 

 
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