Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue March 2012

Dear Friends,

 

Spring is here, a time for renewal and fresh beginnings. We in Asian Trails are doing just that - a new and bigger office in Malaysia, new staff (China, Malaysia, Myanmar) and new products and services (all offices) - to serve you better and provide your clients with a great holiday experience.

 

We are happy to say that all our markets are enjoying a boom in tourism business, with strong bookings for rooms and tourist services.  Please make your customers' hotel and flight reservations as soon as possible if you plan for them to visit any of the countries in the next few months to avoid disappointment.

 

Thailand and Laos are in for exciting times as they are the venues of major events. Bangkok will play host to the worldwide Rotary Convention from May 6-9, and we have received several stop sales from hotels for the event.

 

Laos is the venue for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) from November 5- 6 with over 3,000 delegates from 46 countries attending. This will be the biggest event ever held in the country. Hotels and related services are expected to be fully booked for the first two weeks of the month.

 

Please contact us if you require assistance for booking rooms and services, especially during the peak periods. We'll be in Berlin for ITB Berlin, so come by our booth at Hall 26.B/207, where we can attend to you personally.

 

Happy Trails!

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A note from Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,

 

I hope you had a good start into the first two months of 2012.

 

We have already received several stop sales from hotels during the worldwide Rotary Convention, which will be held in Bangkok from May 6-9. Since most of the participants will do pre- and post-tours there will also be a shortage of guides. We highly recommend you to book hotels and all services for the first two weeks of May as soon as possible.

 

I am happy to share some news on hotels, as well as new flight connections to our resort islands. For the first time Bangkok Airways will offer regular flights from Kuala Lumpur to Samui, and Thai Airway will also introduce non-stop flights from Delhi and Mumbai to Phuket.

 

Happy reading!

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

RV RIVER KWAI CRUISE

 

RV River Kwai Cruise will offer a TWO for ONE promotion in June 2012. The RV River Kwai, the first inland cruise ship in Thailand, is a newly built colonial style river cruiser based on designs used by the original Irrawaddy Flotilla that was founded in Burma in 1865. It carries a maximum of 20 passengers in 10 teakwood cabins (single deck). The cruiser offers a 4 days/3 nights year-round programme every Monday-Thursday and Thursday-Sunday on both upstream and downstream programmee alternately, as well as a 7 days/6 nights year round programme every Monday-Sunday.

 

The RV River Kwai opens up an entirely new area for river tourism in Kanchanaburi Province west of Bangkok. Every morning and afternoon there are land excursions to visit attractions along the river including temples, historic sites, Khmer ruins, waterfalls, war cemeteries, hot springs and the Bridge on the River Kwai. The cruiser is also available for special Golf Charter Cruises on request.

 

For further details, please visit www.cruiseasia.net

 

For booking on the "Two for one" promotion, please contact us.

 

For more details please click here

 

EXPLORE OF THE MONTH - FLIGHT OF THE GIBBON, CHONBURI

 

Experience the beauty, magic and adventure of Thailand's rainforest at Khao Kheow Open Safari in Chonburi, about 50 minutes from Pattaya Beach. High in the treetops of a pristine national park you glide through the jungle canopy via three kilometres of thrilling wire zip-lines, scenic sky bridges and adrenaline-inducing abseils. Along the way our highly trained and safety-minded Sky Rangers share their local knowledge of the rainforest flora and fauna that inhabit this ancient, biologically diverse wonderland. This educational full day adventure will certainly be a highlight of your trip to Thailand.

 

For more details please click here

 

SIAM NIRAMIT OPENS IN PHUKET

 

After six years in the making the "Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam" is showing to full house at Phuket's Siam Niramit Phuket Theatre. People are rushing to see this art and culture show to take advantage of a limited season. The enormous stage coupled with the sets, lighting, sound and special effects are world class. The performance, with over 100 performers and 500 different costumes, lives up to its reputation as "Thailand's Must-See Show".

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BANGKOK

NOVOTEL BANGKOK PLATINUM

 

Novotel Bangkok Platinum, located In the heart of Bangkok's fashion centre, is on top of Platinum mall that is about 10 minutes walk from Siam Square, Siam Paragon and BTS stations. Blending comfort and technology the hotel is the perfect choice for either a holiday or business trip. It features 283 well designed rooms with LED flat screen TV, and offers two bars, a restaurant, three meeting rooms, free Wifi Internet, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and indoor car park.

 

For more details please click here

 

SOFITEL SO BANGKOK

 

Sofitel So Bangkok is a 30-storey urban design hotel created by a reputable Thai architect and five Thai interior designers, with a touch of French elegance by Monsieur Christian Lacroix. It is located adjacent to Lumpini Park, close to business and entertainment districts and within easy access to the Lumpini Subway and Saladaeng Skytrain station. The hotel is about 25km from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

 

Sofitel So Bangkok offers themed accommodation inspired by the five elements of water, earth, wood, metal and fire. All 238 rooms and suites feature Apple® Mac mini with fully integrated entertainment and guest services, enhanced with the latest iPad in all suites. Guests can stay connected with broadband Internet and free WIfI throughout the hotel.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

SARABURI

NDOL  - STREAMSIDE THAI VILLAS

 

About an hour-and-a-half hour drive from Bangkok and 30 minutes before reaching Khao Yai National Park is a secluded streamside location, beautifully landscaped gardens and elegant accommodations. All these natural beauty collude to create Ndol - "a place of inspiration". This boutique hotel defines itself through its collection of Thai and Asian art and artefacts, showcased under the roof of the traditional Thai teak house.

 

The 15 exclusive villas spread out through the tropical garden and alongside the stream. Each individually decorated air-conditioned room has a marble ensuite bathroom with over-sized bath and shower, flat screen TV, DVD player and mini-bar.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

KHON KAEN

WISHING TREE KHON KAEN RESORT

 

Wishing Tree is a stylish new resort set in a peaceful riverside woodland habitat on the outskirts of Khon Kean (Isaan region). Its name is derived from and represents the provincial tree called the "Pick Shower Tree" (Cassia Bakeriana), which means providing support and preventing decline.

 

The resort embraces the natural beauty of the surrounding area with the added charm of the Chi River, lush greenery, traditional rice fields and the northeastern way of life.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

PHUKET

HILTON PHUKET ARCADIA RESORT AND SPA

 

Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa has reopened 128 of its newly refurbished deluxe-plus rooms. The refurbishment project in the Andaman B wing of the 664-room resort complements last year's upgrading of the premier beachfront Andaman A wing.

 

The newly upgraded Andaman B wing adjoins the resort's lobby and reception area, garden pool and Sails restaurant. It offers six room categories including 126 suites, four restaurants and a cafe, Thai spa with 15 treatment villas, extensive sports and recreation facilities, Ocean Beach Club, five swimming pools, three pool bars and a sports bar, Kidz Paradise, a business centre and meeting and convention facilities.

 

For more details please click here

 

BOAT HOUSE RESORT

 

Boat House Resort has reopened after more than five months of extensive renovations. Formerly known as Mom Tri's Boathouse the boutique hotel has been a landmark on Kata Beach for decades. Originally built by architect, ML Tridosyudh Devakula, it was recently acquired by Montara Hospitality Holdings that also owns Trisara.

 

New additions to the property include a rooftop sunset lounge, a new beach club, a spa and a large boutique with a gourmet cafe. French designer, Fredo Taffin, has combined the classical architectural symmetry with modern chic to create exclusive beach-front living and dining, and the perfect venue for relaxation.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

PATTAYA

HARD ROCK HOTEL

 

After 15 months of renovations the 10 year-old Hard Rock Hotel is back in action, sporting a new grown-up look that's the talk of Pattaya City. Located an hour-and a-half drive from Bangkok, the popular Beach Road resort now has something for everyone including 323 renovated rooms ranging from Rock-Star Suites and Deluxe Rooms.

 

It is the revamped facilities that impress most such as The Starz Diner, New Pizzeria, Soul Lounge, The Hard Rock Café, The Lil' Rock Kids Club, The Brand New Tabu Teen Club, Rock Spa and the Rock Shop, which is the place to pick up a Hard Rock T-shirt and other souvenirs.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

SUKHOTHAI

SUKHOTHAI HERITAGE RESORT

 

The low-rise boutique resort is styled with ancient Sukhothai architecture and eclectic interior design, inspired liberally by genuine Thai touch. It is conceptualised as state-of-the-art lodging establishment reflecting Thailand's golden past where guests are pampered amidst serene surroundings with its beautiful garden, lotus ponds and a large swimming pool.

 

The resort is also equipped with a full range of - meeting facilities. It is within easy access to Sukhothai's main attractions such as - Sri Satchanalai Historical Park, - Sukhothai Historical Park, and Bang Klang Historical Town. The resort is ideal a relaxing holiday, while enjoying vistas of the past.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

MAKHA BUCHA DAY
MARCH 7, 2012
VENUE: ALL TEMPLES NATION-WIDE

 

The Makha Bucha Thai holiday celebrates the most famous sermon of the Buddha, in which all the main Buddhist principles were first set out. It is held on the full moon of the third Lunar month in the Thai Lunar Calendar. For Thai Buddhists all full moon days (known in Thai as Wan Phra) are very auspicious and that when they visit local temple to pray and make offerings,

 

 

8TH WORLD THAI MARTIAL ARTS FESTIVAL & WAI KHRU MUAY THAI CEREMONY
MARCH 15-17, 2012
VENUE: NAI KHANOM TOM MONUMENT, PHRA NAKHON SI AYUTTHAYA STADIUM

 

For individuals trained in the ancient Thai art of boxing or "Muay Thai" the annual Wai Khru Muay Thai Ceremony held during the annual Thai Martial Arts Festival is the most important date on their calendar. Muay Thai boxers from around the world return to Ayutthaya, the venue of the events, to pay respect to their teachers and homage to the legendary Muay Thai folk hero, Nai Khanom Tom. Every year more than 300 boxers from 30 countries including the UK, Canada, Russia, Korea, France, Ukraine and South Africa, participate in the festival and show their appreciation for the beautiful martial art.

 

 

THE GRAND PATTAYA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2012
MARCH 16-18, 2012
VENUE: PATTAYA BEACH, PATTAYA CITY, CHONBURI

 

The Tourism Authority of Thailand, in conjunction with Pattaya City Hall and Thailand's biggest music labels, are bringing together leading music acts from around the world to provide the biggest music experience of the year in South East Asia.  The festival features food and floral floats, beauty contests, stalls selling local delicacies and a spectacular fireworks display on the beach. The free concerts features local and international artistes. The festival is on from 18.00hrs to midnight.

 

 

PHUKET INTERNATIONAL MARINE EXPO (PIMEX)
MARCH 29-APRIL 1, 2012
VENUE: ROYAL PHUKET MARINA, KHO KEAW, PHUKET

 

The Phuket International Boat Show (PIMEX) is one of the most interesting marine showcases in Asia. Last year it attracted 5,500 visitors over the four-day event with record numbers on the opening day. Seven boats and numerous luxury cars, with a collective estimated value of USD17 million, were sold. The 2012 PIMEX, at the Royal Phuket Marina, will cover over 2,000sqm of air-conditioned exhibition space and will feature on-water display boats.

 

 

SWEET GRAPE & BEST OF DAMNOEN SADUAK FAIR
MARCH 1-31, 2012
VENUE: WAT CHOTIKARAM PIER, AMPHOE DAMNOEN SADUAK DISTRICT, RATCHABURI PROVINCE

 

Ratchaburi Province, described as the "Land of Fruit and Thai Life by the riverside'", is situated in fertile agricultural heartland. Its rural landscape is characterised by lowland plains dotted with vegetable plots, plantations and fruit orchards nurtured by the Mae Klong River and its tributaries, waterways, and natural and man-made irrigation canals. The Fair presents an excellent opportunity to shop for good buys, particularly fresh agricultural products and native products from each of the sub-districts (tambon) of Ratchaburi participating in the One Tambon One Product - OTOP programme, which the Thai government is promoting.

 

 

 

SI SATCHANALAI ORDINATION PROCESSION ON ELEPHANT BACK
APRIL 7-8, 2012
VENUE: SRISATCHANALAI DISTRICT OF 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 20 to 30 young Buddhist novices dressed in elaborate costumes. Each monk 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. On arrival at the temple Pho Thao (village elder) help the novices from their mounts and lead them to worship.

 

 

 

 

 

SONGKRAN SPLENDOURS 2012/THAI NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS
APRIL 9-22, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT THAILAND

 

This is the most important festival to the Thai people as it heralds in the Thai New Year. Its highlight is a spectacular historical show about Songkran, also known as Thailand Water Festival. The people sprinkle water on the elders in show of respect and pay respect to Buddha images. The Songkran Festival was previously calculated based on Thai Lunar calendar, but in recent years is based on Western calendar. The festival falls on April 13-15 yearly, but the celebrations usually start before and end days after these dates that are also official holidays in Thailand.

 

 

KRABI ROCK AND FIRE INTERNATIONAL CONTEST 2012
APRIL 16-17, 2012
VENUE: RAILAY BEACH & TON SAI BEACH, KRABI

 

Krabi, with its 600 rock-climbing routes, presents numerous challenges for rock climbers with 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 premier rock climbing destinations. The 2012 Krabi Rock and Fire International Contest will feature two key contest categories - a lead climbing marathon and speed climbing. Krabi also offers excellent service infrastructure, making it a popular destination for island, beach and adventure holidays.

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

BANGKOK'S DON MUANG AIRPORT REOPENS ON APRIL 1

 

Operators of Bangkok's secondary airport, Don Muang International Airport, have scheduled it to reopen on April 1, 2012. The airport was severely inundated with waters during the recent floods in Thailand. The airport's runways were not damaged by the flood waters and are still strong, as verified by the Department of Highways. The Airports of Thailand (AOT) is carrying out repairs on the facility's infrastructure, with the repair bill estimated at about 20 million baht.

 

 

 

THAI AIRASIA FLIES TO COLOMBO

 

Thai AirAsia will start a daily Bangkok-Colombo service on March 1, 2012, making it the only airline to fly daytime flights to Sri Lanka's capital city. The daily flight will depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport at 06.25hrs and return from Colombo at 09.35hrs. The three-and-half hour flight will operate with the airline's newly acquired Airbus A320 aircraft with 180 seats.

 

 

THAI AIRASIA AXES NEW DELHI

 

Thai AirAsia will terminate its New Delhi flights at the end of summer schedule. The airline cited high operational cost and rising fuel price as reasons for terminating the service. It daily New Delhi service has been reduced to four flights a week with the last flight on March 24. This leaves the airline with only a daily service to Kolkata.

 

In a related development AirAsia Thai's affiliate, budget longhaul carrier AirAsia X, will also stop flying to New Delhi and Mumbai on March 23 and 1 February respectively, for the same reasons.

 

 

 

MAI SPREADS ITS WINGS

 

Myanmar Airways International (MAI) started a new daily flight on the Bangkok-Singapore-Bangkok sector from February 2012. It uses the Airbus A320 aircraft with 150 seats and A321 aircraft with 210 seats for this service.

 

 

 

 

THAI INTERNATIONAL'S FIRST AIRLINE IN ASIA TO LAUNCH BIOFUELS PASSENGER FLIGHT

 

On 22 December 2011 Thai International's flight TG104 from Bangkok to Chiang Mai became Asia's first passenger flight to use biofuels. About 100 students and teachers were guests on this flight, called "Pah Nong Tong Fah", part of the airline's initiative to promote environmental awareness among youths. This special flight is also to support the company's Travel Green initiative that is part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. Revenue from this flight went towards the development of renewable energy in Thailand.

 

 

UPDATE: THAI INTERNATIONAL'S SERVICES

  • Introduction of TG334 New Delhi-Phuket-Bangkok two times weekly flights with Airbus A330 aircraft, from March 25 to June 30, 2012 on Wednesdays and Sundays.

  • Introduction of TG344 Mumbai-Phuket-Bangkok two times weekly flights with Airbus A330, from April 16 June 15, 2012 on Fridays and Saturdays.

 

 

 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS' DIRECT KOH SAMUI-KUALA LUMPUR SERVICE

 

Bangkok Airways will begin a new direct daily Koh Samui-Kuala Lumpur service from March 31, 2012. The service will boost connections between the two destinations to 13 flights per week. The carrier will deploy an all-economy 138-seat Airbus A319 aircraft on the route, which will operate out of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The route expansion is part of Bangkok Airways' efforts to expand markets for Koh Samui that has direct links to three other Asian cities - Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong.

 

 

NOK AIR'S NEW PROVINCIAL LINK

 

Nok Air has started a new inter-provincial link between Phitsanulok and Chiangmai with an additional morning flight to its Suvarnabhumi-Nakhon Phanom service. This increases the daily frequency between the two destinations to two. The flight departs Bangkok at 08.20hrs and returns from the northeast border province at 10.00hrs. The second flight departs at 13.50hrs and returns at 1600hrs.

 

 

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LAOS

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

 

Dear Partners and Friends,

 

Laos is preparing for the biggest event ever held in the country - the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in November 2012 when 3,000 delegates from 46 countries are expected in Vientiane. The infrastructure is being improved for this event with the expansion of Vientiane Airport to handle more passengers. New hotels and a big conference hall are also being built in Vientiane in order to cope with the big inflow of visitors. We expect major disruptions of service and unavailability of hotel rooms during this period, so please heed our advice on travel arrangements tat we list in detail in the article under "Destination Information".

 

On a different note we, together with one of partners, are very proud to have funded a big charity event in Laos - the "Green Care" camp - for 35 students who spent a weekend learning about conservation. Read more about it in the section, "Any Other News".

 

Björn Schimanski

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

Travel adviCe for Vientiane during ASEM 2012

 

This year the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will take place in the Lao capital, Vientiane, from November 5-6. This is the biggest event ever held in the country and we expect most hotels will be blocked for the duration of the Summit. The main meetings will take place on November 5- 6, but hotels will be blocked from November 4-7 with some even from November 1-7.

 

We do not want to take any chances and kindly advise you not to book your clients into Vientiane during this period. Even confirmed hotel bookings could be cancelled by the government, as the rooms might be required for the Summit. Our team will assist you in handling bookings, which may be affected!

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

TIP OF THE MONTH - DINNER CRUISE ON NAVA MEKONG

 

Spend a relaxed and pleasant evening aboard the Nava Mekong. Leave Luang Prabang just before sunset for a short cruise downstream, watch the sun sinking into the waters of the Mekong River while sipping a cool drink. Before dinner there is a lovely local show with dances and music. Dinner is served while the boat is anchored facing the Luang Prabang skyline for the perfect view of the magnificent sunset.

 

Daily departures for the cruise, and private charters on request

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

SATRI HOUSE - LUANG PRABANG: SUMMER PROMOTION

 

Satri House offers a Summer promotion between April and October 2012.

  • Stay 4 night and pay for 3

  • Stay 5 nights and pay for 4

Enjoy this lovely property, just a few minutes from the heart of the World Heritage City

 

 

XIENGTHONG PALACE HOTEL- LUANG PRABANG: SPECIAL PROMOTION

 

Xienthiong Palace Hotel is offering a special promotion, valid from now until end October 2012.

  • Stay 3 nights and get a free transfer and a 6o-minute head and shoulder massage for two persons

  • Stay 4 nights and pay for 3

 

 

NEW: THE RIVER RESORT CHAMPASAK

 

The River Resort in Champasak offers villa-style accommodation! with 14 spacious Riverside rooms. Each room measuring 34sqm, has breath-taking panoramic view of the Mekong River from its bedroom and its wide Riverside terrace, and beautiful high mountain views and sunsets from its rear terrace. Its six spacious Pondside rooms have wide terrace views of the Mekong River and unique westerly views of the River's own rice paddies and the high mountain range, and sunsets behind the resort.

 

The resort's Riverside Sala include a comfortable lounge, open air dining offering Western and Thai/Laotian cuisine and barbecue parties, as well as a bar with all-day beverage and snack service. On the roof deck is a bar and dining area open to the skies, with magnificent Mekong River views. Other facilities include free high-speed Wifi, an infinity swimming pool and Laotian massage pavilion.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

LAO NEW YEAR
APRIL 13-15, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT LAOS

 

The Lao New Year is celebrated throughout the country. The very popular and animated Pimai Festival is part of the New Year celebrations and will be held all over Laos. Be prepared for lots of fun and be ready to get wet!

 

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

LAO AIRLINES' DISCOVERY AIRPASS PROGRAMME

 

Lao Airlines, in cooperation with Bangkok Airway, introduces the Discovery Airpass Programme that has a minimum of three and maximum of six segments, domestic and/or international.

 

In a related development, Lao Airlines introduces a three times weekly flight from Luang Prabang to Jinghong, which is the capital of Xishuangbanna Prefecture in China's Yunnan Province.

 

Please contact Asian Trails Laos for reservations or itineraries.

 

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

NEW VENUE - WINE 95, VIENTIANE

 

Wine 95 is a new sophisticated wine bar in Vientiane, which offers a wide choice of popular wines. As it is located in the middle of the most touristic area of Laos' capital city, it is popular with both tourists and locals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

ASIAN TRAILS' CHARITABLE WORK

 

Asian Trails Laos, in conjunction with Kuoni, funded one of the first "Green Care" camps in Laos. One school in Vientiane was selected for the camp. Thirty-five students together with their teachers, lecturers and animators spent the weekend in Phou Khao Kwai National Park, which is about two hours away from Vientiane. There, they learned, in a fun way, about the importance of nature conservation and that trees are an important part of the earth's biodiversity.

 

Most of the students, who live in the city, have not had the opportunity to discover the natural beauty of their country. The camp was an eye-opener for them to not only appreciate nature, but also to see the rich natural assets of Laos. The whole event was a big success, and the students loved their weekend communing with nature.

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

Cambodia is experiencing a surge and increase in visits from "tourists on a cruise" combining sea and river cruises. After enjoying the charm of the capital city, Phnom Penh, or the historical World Heritage Site in Siem Reap/Angkor, passengers embark on a river cruise crossing the big Tonle Sap Lake for a "once-in-a-lifetime" smooth and enjoyable boat trip that is on a rising path to success!

 

The river cruise boats that ply the Tonle Sap Lake and River and the mighty Mekong - the latter if cruising from Vietnam - have all the modern facilities and amenities on board, leaving just every single passenger to fully enjoy the slow motion sight-and-sounds of the Cambodian life-by-the-river!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

SAILING ROUND ISLANDS IN GULF OF THAILAND

 

Geography and people make the Cambodian coastline and island a superb maritime playground. In the world of sailing Cambodia is definitely the new and exciting sailing destination and playground of Southeast Asia.

 

The sailing area covers some 100 nautical miles of tropical coastline and pristine bays with some 30 beautiful islands to explore, from Koh Kong in the north to Koh Wai the southern outermost island. When sailing among these islands the only people you encounter are the locals from the few tiny fishing villages, living their lives as they have always done in the past. Explore the exotic tropical islands with their pristine white sandy beaches and crystal clear, turquoise waters and discover untouched coral reefs that shelter a myriad of tropical fish and marine life.

 

 

 

NO GALA DINNERS AT VAT ATHVEA AND BAK SEY CHAM KRONG

 

Apsara Authority has announced that Vat Athvea and Bak Sey Cham Krong temples are now no longer permitted to hold dinner events because of the ongoing refection works. Both temples are closed to the public until further notice.

 

 

 

 

CHANGE IN SIEM REAP-BATTAMBANG AND VV BOAT TRANSFERS

 

Due to the low water level of the Sangkèr River in Battambang and of rivers and canals leading to the Tonlé Sap Lake we are offering our guests an alternative to our guests' itinerary proposed in our programme, and who are traveling by boat from Siem Reap to Battambang or vice-versa.

 

The trip could effectively take between nine to 10 hours, depending to the direction of travel and the difficulty of the navigation (it could even take up to 11 hours with transfers on smaller flat boats). Please note that even small boats are now experiencing difficulties in navigating very low water level.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

KINGDOM BREWERIES

 

Cambodia is famous for its ancient temples hidden amidst mysterious jungles and its rich cultures. The Kingdom, however, has much more to offer. if you are looking for something different Kingdom Breweries is the answer, especially if you are a beer enthusiast or wants to know how this brew is manufactured.

 

Kingdom Breweries is located on the banks of the Tonlé Sap River on the site of the former Nestlé factory. Visitors can check out the state of the art brewery and learn how Cambodia's only premium beer is brewed and bottled. After the tour kick back and enjoy a frosty Kingdom beer at the Tap Room overlooking the river.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

  PHNOM PENH

 

NEW HOTEL - THE PLANTATION

 

The newly opened Plantation Resort & Spa is located behind the Royal Palace in the historical centre of Phnom Penh and just a two-minute walk from the some of the city's "must see" attractions.

 

Spread over half a hectare of land the Plantation offers services befitting a deluxe hotel. It has 70 rooms, a luxurious rooftop suite, spa, gym, poolside bar, restaurant and a meeting room. The pool has private cabanas on each side, some with private access.

 

 

WHITE MANSION

 

The White Mansion has 30 rooms and suites, which are among the nicest and largest in Phnom Penh. They are spacious and charming with elegant furnishing like rooms in a modern Cambodian mansion. They also offer a secluded atmosphere with comfort and elegance. The bathrooms are fitted with custom Italian marble, designed cabinetry, double washbasin, large shower and/or bath and faucets. The designer's aim was to bring a notion of privilege in an environment of different sensations such as calm, surprise, sensuality and conviviality.

 

 

LA MAISON D'AMBRE OPENS

 

The newly opened La Maison d'Ambre, a boutique hotel cum service apartments, created a buzz in the city with its concept. Each of the 10 apartments represents a country and its culture, and is decorated in modern style.

 

The rooms are elegantly furnished with modern furniture and amenities. It has a rooftop bar, which is the ideal venue for breakfast or an evening cocktail and immerse in the sounds of the city.

 

 

 

Siem Reap

BOREI ANGKOR'S NEW PRIVILEGE FLOOR

 

The Borei Angkor Resort & Spa recently unveiled its newly designed Privilege Floor located on the fourth floor, an additional service for its guests.

 

The 5 star resort has 19 elegantly decorated rooms and suites furnished with Cambodia's original silk products, assorted handicraft and wooden floor. Each has a private balcony that overlooks the tropical garden and swimming pool, and offers a stunning view of the sunset. Guests also enjoy exclusive benefits that include 24-hour private car with driver, 24-hour room service and two-hour daily cocktail at the Damnak Lounge from 5pm.

 

 

 

HOTEL DE LA PAIX TO CLOSE FOR RENOVATIONS

 

Hotel De La Paix, Siem Reap will be closed for renovations from July 1, 2012. Renovations are expected to take about nine month, but the exact period for the works is still being determined currently. We will keep you updated of the developments.

 

 

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT CHANGE FOR ALILA SOTHEA HOTEL

 

Alila Sothea Hotel, Siem Reap will cease to be managed by Alila Hotels and Resorts from March 31, 2012.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BATTAMBANG

MAISONS WAT KOR, NEW BOUTIQUE HOTEL

 

Maisons Wat Kor is a new boutique hotel in Battambang, about 15 minutes from the city centre, built in the heart of a traditional Khmer village. It consists of three houses with 10 rooms. One house is for the reception, restaurant and has two separate rooms, while the other two smaller houses have eight rooms.

 

The three houses are built according to traditional Khmer architecture, surrounded by a garden and has a swimming pool This is the ideal place to feel at ease in rural Cambodia, far from Angkor temples and busy Phnom Penh, in a preserved environment. The hotel aims at integration into the surroundings with respect to Cambodian Buddhist culture and developing a responsible eco-friendly tourism.

 

 

 

KOH KONG

 

KOH KONG BAY HOTEL

 

Koh Kong Bay Hotel sits on the banks the Tatai River and includes a 20-foot salt-water swimming pool on the hotel grounds. All the 19 rooms come with large, flat screen televisions, a mini-bar, room service and complimentary wireless Internet. Wifi Internet covers the whole hotel, from the cafe to the swimming pool to the rooms. The Pool Bar is a great place to have a cocktail while relaxing on a chaise lounge and watching the sunset. Other amenities include sauna, infinity swimming pool, massage and boat trips.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

KHMER NEW YEAR
APRIL 13-15, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

 

After the Chinese New Year of the Water Dragon, Cambodia will enter her very own Khmer Year of the Dragon - Chaul Chhnam Rong - which also marks the end of the harvest season.

 

Cambodians throughout the Kingdom enjoy a three-day holiday and spend time visiting family and friends, as well as offering alms and donations at Buddhist temples.

 

Please note that some local markets and businesses, and the Royal Palace will be partly closed during these dates. Suorsdey Chhnam Thmey!
 

 

THE ARTISTS AND CREATORS SHOW
MARCH 3-10, 2012
VENUE: "NO PROBLEM ", 55 RUE 178, PHNOM PENH

 

The Artists and Creators Show is a unique exhibition that invites visitors to participate in a circuit, which is to walk around the exhibits of the 20 participating Cambodian and international artists following a certain direction (a wandering) in the house and in the garden. Visitors will be"transported" to different universes where they can appreciate the works freely. This is an invitation to discovery, exchange and wonderment.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

CEBU PACIFIC TO LAUNCH MANILA-SIEM REAP SERVICE

 

Philippines' Cebu Pacific will launch thrice-weekly direct flights from Manila to Siem Reap starting April 19. This new service represents a breakthrough on the monopoly of transit services to Siem Reap. Travellers from Manila usually fly to Siem Reap via Bangkok or Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City with connecting flights on Bangkok Airways or Vietnam Airlines respectively.

 

In a related development, Cebu Pacific is looking to lease up to eight Airbus A330-300 aircraft to launch long haul flights of up to 11 hours in third quarter 2013.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

SQUARE 24, SIEM REAP

 

Square 24 is a contemporary stylish open-air restaurant in Siem Reap. It serves exquisite dishes cooked according to some of the best authentic Khmer recipes by a master chef. The restaurant can accommodate up to 80 guests, and is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It also caters to corporate events.

 

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

Spring has arrived in Vietnam. The dark and cold have left and in their place are bright sunshine and greenery. This is the time in Vietnam for young couples to plan their weddings and honeymoons. In other parts of the world young people are doing the same thing. To all these soon-to-be-wed couples we issue an invitation for you to come to Vietnam for your honeymoons and, at the same time, to have a holiday of their lifetime.

 

Over the past year Vietnam has become a premier holiday destination, rather than just an ordinary tourist spot, with its enhanced infrastructures, new luxurious beach resorts, newly restored heritage city hotels and more convenient long-haul air connections. Additionally, high-end suppliers have been more oriented to the concept of Vietnam's uniqueness, exclusivity and intimacy through products such deluxe resorts with their pool villas or private junks on the legendary Halong Bay.

 

We are thus confident that Vietnam has everything for newlyweds to have their dream wedding and honeymoon. We can professionally organise the wedding in various interesting settings and venues such as on board a wooden junk, in an ancient town, amidst the pristine surroundings of a tropical garden or on a white sandy beach that stretches for miles. Vietnam is indeed marking its mark as a honeymoon destination.

 

You can find all the romantic ideas, short stay packages or roundtrip specially designed for honeymooners in our forthcoming brochure ,"Honeymoons & Weddings in Vietnam",

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

HALONG'S TOURIST BOATS TO BE PAINTED WHITE

 

The authorities of Quang Ninh province have officially confirmed that all tourist boats in Halong Bay have to be painted white despite boat owners' disagreement According to the provincial People's Committee, all tourist boats must have white colour and brown sails. Those with dragon heads are permitted to paint them in traditional colours. From April 30, 2012 boats, which are not repainted will not be licensed to operate in the bay.

 

An official from the local Department of Transportation said that this measure aimed to strengthen state management over tourist transport activities in Halong Bay. Under this policy more than 500 tourist boats in the bay may have to "wear" white uniform and brown sail come April.

 

For more information, please contact us.

 

 

TRAM CHIM NATIONAL PARK - VIETNAM'S 4th RAMSAR SITE 

 

Good news for bird watcher and nature lovers. Tram Chim National Park has been recognised as Vietnam's fourth Ramsar site. The award recognises the fundamental ecological functions of a wetland and its economic, cultural, scientific and recreational value, according to park authorities.

 

In 1988 Xuan Thuy Natural Wetland Reserve in the northern province of Nam Dinh became the first Ramsar site. This was followed by the Bau Sau (Crocodile Lake) Wetlands and Seasonal Floodplains in the Cat Tien National Park in 2005. Last year the honour went to Ba Be National Park in the northern province of Bac Kan.

 

Tram Chim National Park (7,588 hectares) is home to 130 species of plants, more than 120 species of freshwater fish, 40 different amphibian and reptile species, and over 200 types of birds, of which 16 are listed as endangered. It is listed among the eight most important conservation areas for birds in Vietnam. With this recognition it is hoped that multiple conservation efforts will be put in place.

 

Tram Chim National Park is an interesting and educational experience for visitors looking for off-the-beaten-track holidays in the Mekong Delta.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

DUONG LAM VILLAGE - A NATIONAL RELIC

 

Duong Lam Village, in Ha Tay Province and about 60km west of Hanoi, is famous as the birthplace of two of Vietnam's kings - Phung Hung (761-802) and Ngo Quyen (896-944). After their death the local people built temples to worship the kings. It is also regarded as an "ancient town" as some of the houses there are over 400 years old. Many of the ancient houses, village alleys and traditional countryside ambiance have been preserved. The village was recognised as a national relic in 2005 by the Ministry of Culture and Information.

 

Tourists to Duong Lam are, however, given a rather superficial touch to this rich local culture and heritage due to time constraint and inadequate services. Asian Trails Vietnam has a programme, which presents the authentic "real" Duong Lam to our clients.

 

The experience includes biking through the villages, visiting communal houses (places of worship) and temples, as well as interacting with the local farmers working in the fields and the villagers. Discover the beauty of a typical wooden house, which used to be the home of a high class, wealthy family in the old days, and where its every detail is a reflection of authenticity. After lunch relax to a medicinal herb footbath or hand massage.

 

For more information, please contact us.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SUNRISE HOI AN RESORT OPENS

 

Sunrise Resort, a new addition to the luxurious beach resort of Hoi An, has opened. It is located along the popular Cua Dai Beach, next to the Golden Sand Resort, about 35km from Danang airport. It has 222 rooms, suites and beachfront villas in contemporary design and fitted with luxurious facilities. The resort offers enchanting views of one of the most stunning coastlines in the world.

 

For more information, please contact us.

 

 

UPDATE ON FURAMA RESORT DANANG

 

Over the last year Furama Resort Danang has been busy upgrading its facilities. The exercise is continuing and here is an update on the hotel:

• 10 twin rooms will be added to the current room inventory this year to increase the number to 106. Beds in these rooms, such as the Hollywood twin, can be used a double bed too, giving more flexibility in rooms arrangements for the guests.


• 31 new villas for high end guests and families, adding another accommodation type for the resort..


• A new spa - Cham Spa - is in the planning. It will connect the area between the villas and the main resort, making it a good choice for travellers looking for relaxation and rejunvenation on their holidays.


• Sofas in the airport's Domestic Arrival Terminal for hotel's guests - both individual or groups - to relax hile waiting for the airport transfer. The Furama also has an airport counter in the International Arrival Terminal to help guests with their luggage or attend to their queries.
 

 

 

HON TAM RESORT JOINS BEST WESTERN

 

Hon Tam Hotels and Resorts signed a brand franchise and management contract with Best Western International on December 17, 2011 for the hotel group to manage Hon Tam Resort at Nha Trang. The management change, effective January 1, 2012, is expected to bring this beautiful island resort to a new level of service and quality accommodation.

For more information, please contact us.
 

 

PARADISE PEAK CRUISES

 

Paradise Peak Cruises, launched on January 1, 2012 is a luxury vessel, which will satisfy even the most seasoned travellers cruising in Halong Bay. Worth about USD6 millions, with a length of 45 metres, the vessel is built of precious wood. It has four floors, eight suites, a magnificent dining room with 360-degree panoramic bay view, a library, movie theatre, spa and gym.

 

The smallest room has a total area of 42sqm, and every room is equipped with large screen TV system, private balcony overlooking the sea, as well as sofas for relaxing, reading and watching the sunrise or sunset.

For more information, please contact us.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

HUE FESTIVAL 2012
APRIL 7-15, 2012
VENUE: THUA THIEN HUE PROVINCE

 

The 7th edition of the Hue Festival in Thua Thien Hue Province is the highlight for the National Tourism Year 2012. The event is also to commemorate the 325th anniversary of Phu Xuan (Hue) when it was chosen as the capital of "Dang Trong" (the southern region of Vietnam) by Lord Nguyen Phuc Thai. It later became the country's capital under the Tay Son Dynasty and Nguyen Dynasty.

 

The festival is designated as the platform for the cultural exchange initiative of the Forum for East Asia and Latin America Cooperation. It also showcases the distinctive performances of Vietnam, especially Hue royal arts, presentations from different Vietnamese sub-cultures, and performances with cultural nuances by more than 20 leading art troupes from various countries.

 

The Hue Festival will be launched on April 7 and will end on the evening of April 15.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

KOREAN AIR ADDS DANANG TO ITS NETWORK

 

Korean Air launched twice weekly direct flights between Seoul (Incheon) and Danang on January 19. 2012, using the 145-seater Boeing B737-800 aircraft. This is the airline's third destination in Vietnam.

 

The new connection will help boost the influx of holidaymakers to Danang's famous beach and fill up the brand new luxury resorts in the area. Hopefully, this will also change the perception that Danang is a stopover destination for two nights' stay maximum as part of a round trip. Instead Danang, with all the assets befitting a world class beach destination, is worthy of a much longer stay.

 

 

EMIRATES FLIES TO HO CHI MINH CITY

 

Emirates will start a daily non-stop service to Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City from Dubai beginning June 4, 2012. It will be the second Middle East airline to establish air links to the Vietnamese business capital after Qatar Airways (November 2010). However, it will be the first carrier to operate non-stop from the Middle East.

 

The new service will be on the Airbus A330-200 aircraft in a two-class configuration on the route to Ho Chi Minh City, which is the airline's 124th destination. From October 28, 2012 this service will be operated on a Boeing B777-300 ER aircraft in a two-class configuration.

 

Operating as EK 390 the daily non-stop flight, with 27 Business Class seats and 251 Economy Class seats, will depart Dubai International Airport at 09.25hrs arriving at Tan Son Nhat International Airport at 19.20hrs. The return flight, EK 391, will depart at 20.50hrs arriving in Dubai at 00.45hrs the following day.

 

Emirates will use Dubai as a gateway to link Vietnam with its network of services from Dubai to points in Europe. Ho Chi Minh City offers tourists the ideal gateway to explore the wonders of Vietnam - shopping in the city, taking in the wonders of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Hoi An, island hopping on Halong Bay, relaxing on the beaches of Nha Trang, visiting the floating markets or dining in some of the finest restaurants of the Mekong River Delta.

 

 

BUON MA THUOT AIRPORT'S NEW TERMINAL

 

The new 1.5-storey terminal at Buon Ma Thuot Airport, a major central highland province, was inaugurated in December 2011. Built following the 4C standard set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the new terminal is expected to welcome about one million passengers per year. It can accommodate four flights with 400 passengers on Airbus A321 aircrafts or equivalent at peak times.

 

Currently, the Buon Ma Thuat Airport receives four flights daily on the Ho Chi Minh City - Buon Ma Thuat route, two flights from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and a flight between Buon Ma Thuat and Danang. Air Mekong also provides an additional connection  Vinh City. The new terminal is a real enhancement to facilitate the expected tourist influx to this lesser known region.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

RESTAURANT BOBBY CHINN SAIGON OPENS

 

Restaurant Bobby Chinn Saigon is located in the heart of District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. It is the flagship restaurant of renowned chef, Bobby Chinn. He is famed for delivering a dining experience of casual elegance with a modern global menu featuring signature dishes and recipes from his extensive travels with World Café: Asia.

 

The venue is designed to be multi-functional with the ability to continually change the layout and atmosphere for high-end group events or intimate romance/casual dinners. The restaurant also has an active bar and lounge. It caters to every event, from cocktail receptions for as few as 45 guests to large promotional branding events up to 300 guests.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

"VIETNAM - TIMELESS CHARM" - NEW TOURISM SLOGAN

 

Vietnam has a new tourism tagline, "Vietnam - Timeless Charm". The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) introduced it on December 27, 2011 as the country's official tourism branding for 2012 to 2015, replacing the old slogan "Vietnam - Hidden Charm".

 

The blooming lotus, with five striking coloured petals, in the "Vietnam - Timeless Charm" slogan represents the expanding growth of Vietnam's tourism industry. Designed by Vietnamese artist, Tran Hoai Duc, the petals' colours signify the diversity of the tourism products - blue for sea and island tourism, green for eco and natural tourism, orange and yellow for cultural and historical tourism, violet for adventure tourism, and pink for the hospitality and dynamic service qualities of the Vietnamese people.

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

Spring is on its way and the best travel season to China is back. Asian Trails China is happy to introduce in this newsletter some "off-the-beaten track" destinations within the country for travellers who want to discover new experiences. Developments like new hotels in these destination and air access from foreign air carriers make these, formerly inaccessible destinations, reachable.

 

The MICE business has been very successful in 2011 and, despite the global economic downtrend, looks very promising for 2012. Our creative team is on hand to introduce new ideas and venues available in our area for your meeting and incentives.

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

DIQING - THE LAST FRONTIERS

 

As the world gets smaller and travellers roam the planet looking for fresh places to visit, the trusted adage of leaving just footprints and taking just photographs still applies. The upside of visiting an emerging destination is pristine landscapes and the rare opportunity to experience the authenticity of a place before tourists overrun it. There are, however, trade-offs - the lack of a good transport infrastructure, rudimentary hotel service and poor medical facilities. With an adventurous attitude the benefits of exploring new places usually outweigh the struggles involved.

 

Diqing, in northwestern Yunnan, is a showcase for traditional Tibetan culture with monasteries, villages and dramatic terrain. It is about to become more accessible with an extensive road project expected to widen the current road to the township of Deqin. New tunnels will cut the current six-hour drive from Shangri-La to just three hours.

 

Diqing is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween Rivers run roughly parallel through steep gorges. This coming spring a small group of Tibetan-influenced upscale boutique hotels plan to open a handful of lodges, including one on a bluff with views on the Meilin Mountain Range.

 

 

MEDOG  - TIBET

 

Medog in Tibet, a remote county on the southern slope of the Himalayas, has transformed itself in just a decade from a sleepy, cut-off county to a prosperous and environmentally aware tourist destination.Until 1999 the only transport to reach this area was horses and human porters. The county, whose name means "lotus" in Tibetan, was cut off from the outside world by difficult terrain and a volatile climate. The changes for the past years have made this area accessible to tourists.

 

The Yarlung Zangbo River runs through Medog before flowing into India. Its population of 11,000 is made up of the Monba and Lhoba ethnic groups. For adventurers this region has long been regarded as one of the most challenging destinations to get to as access is by foot and involved climbing Galongla Mountain. In December 2010 the Galongla tunnel - part of the Medog highway project - was completed, and by 2012 allowed to connect with the county.

 

Medog Village is inhabited by the Lhoba ethnic group, comprising 89 households, with the houses made of wood. The 600 Lhoba villagers still follow a traditional way of life and they live by hunting and felling trees to build houses and cook. Today the Chinese Government, in an effort to stop the deforestation, is giving the Lhoba villagers compensations as an encouragement for them to switch to a more modern lifestyle and to stop hunting or felling trees.

 

 

QINGDAO, FORMER GERMAN COLONY

 

There is certainly truth in saying that Qingdao is a Chinese city with a German accent. The port city in the eastern part of Shandong Province owes much of its charm and quaintness to its German texture, cobble-stoned streets, red-tiled roofs, tree-lined avenues and an out-of-place Bavarian appearance adorned by century-old European architecture.

 

From 1897 to 1914 Germany administered Qingdao as a concession and expanded its infrastructure and harbour. The occupiers built the railway station and a sewage system, piped in spring water from Laoshan Mountain and set up a brewery to quench the thirst of homesick German soldiers. The most famous Chinese beer, "Tsingtao", comes from the brewery that was established in 1903.

 

Much of the town's original planning has been kept intact, and the architectural heritage eventually evolved into the backbone of Qingdao's booming tourism and a source of metropolitan pride. Strolling at leisure is the best way to explore the town, watch the oceanfront sunrise, enjoy the languid beach promenades and visit the old mansions in the German quarter.

 

Badaguan, meaning "The Eight Great Passes", is the former German residential area. Now filled with cafes and boutiques and with each of the spacious streets lined with a particular type of tree, it offer visitors a lush walk within sight of many European villas built during the German occupation.

 

Starting from the beautiful train station the traveller can visit many landmarks on foot, including a commanding Catholic cathedral, St Michael's Church. A few minutes southeast is the Protestant church built in 1910 in German art-nouveau style. To the east is Signal Hill where flags were once raised to direct ships in the harbour.

 

The most spectacular of German buildings is the former governor's residence, situated on the edge of the Signal Hill Park. It is now the Qingdao Guest House.

 

The jewel that crowns Qingdao's integration of Chinese wisdom and German influence is Tsingtao beer, China's proud export to more than 60 countries. With its magic ingredient of mineral water from Laoshan Mountain, the beer is famed for its delicate foam, crisp clarity and palatable flavour. Qingdao is more than just that famous malty brew, it is a charming mix of East and West.

 

 

MUDU - AN EMERALD ON THE YANGTZE

 

Many water towns in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River are famed for their picture-perfect landscapes, featuring crisscrossing water lanes with old arch bridges and houses. Mudu, near Suzhou in Jiangsu Province, is however the perfect place to savour the charms of these water towns.

 

The 2,500-year-old settlement is named after wood (mu) and rivers (du), and is full of culture and historical stories. More than 200 years ago the Imperial painter, Xu Yang, painted a long scroll depicting views of Suzhou and Mudu, a town of migrants at the time. There were groceries run by merchants from Hangzhou, salt from Yangzhou, silk from Suzhou and local specialties from Dongting of Suzhou. Even today traces of these stores, elegant gardens and simple stone bridges can still be found in the town.

 

Mudu is also the hometown of many celebrities. Between 1015 and 1902 there were 24 successful candidates in the highest imperial examinations, and 28 provincial graduates who were originally from Mudu. They were prominent in politics, economics, science and culture.  The one-hectare Yan's Family Garden is the former residence of Yan Jiagan, former "President" of Taiwan. The garden's magnolia trees is said to have been planted by Qing Dynasty's Emperor Qianlong when he toured the town and stayed in the house.

 

Much of the "real" Mudu is hidden behind closed doors. If one can be privileged enough to be invited into one of the houses he may find a private garden, with the owner hosting a poetry contest with his friends by the side of the pond.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

THREE RELIGIONS TOUR IN BEIJING

 

This is a half-day walking tour to the south of Beijing. It takes you to Bai Yun Guan Temple/White Cloud Temple (Taoist), Niujie Si Mosque (Muslim) and Fayuansi (Buddhist).

 

The Bai Yun Guan Temple in southwestern Beijing is the largest Taoist architectural complex in Beijing. it was once the headquarters for the Dragon Gate Sect. It was not until the early Yuan (Mongol) Dynasty that the temple was expanded on a large scale. The existing temple was rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty. Its complex is a series of multiple courtyards, which spread out on a central axis.

 

The Niujie Mosque was built in 995AD. It is Beijing's largest and oldest mosque, and the spiritual centre for the city's estimated 200,000 Muslims. The mosque occupies a site of over 6,000sqm and includes several buildings - the prayer hall, the Bang ge Lou (minaret), a six-cornered moon observatory tower and two pavilions with stone steles. The exteriors are designed in classic Chinese style, looking very much like Buddhist temples, but the interiors are more in traditional Arabic style. Both Chinese and Arabic inscriptions adorn the buildings. A small courtyard on the south side contains the graves of two Persian imams who preached in China in the 13th century.

 

The Fayuansi is one the oldest Buddhist temples in Beijing. It is situated in the Xuanwumen area in the city's southwest quarter. When the Temple was constructed in 645 it was dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in battles. It was rebuilt several times, and its name dates from 1734.

 

 

 

FORMULA 1 -  SHANGHAI

 

Formula 1 Shanghai will take place this year on April 13-15. Contact us for special Formula 1 packages including tickets for the race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

CROWNE PLAZA HUANGSHAN YUCHENG

 

Conveniently located in Tunxi District and only 7.2km from Huangshan Airport, Crowne Plaza Huangshan Yucheng is close to the famous Mount Huangshan, a World Heritage Site, and Hongcun and Huizhou Villages. It is the ideal location to visit the Huangshan area.

 

The hotel has 492 modern equipped rooms, two restaurants and a bar, 2,000sqm meeting facilities, swimming pool, fitness centre and spa.

 

 

LE MÉRIDIEN XIAMEN

 

Le Méridien Xiamen is the only international hotel located in the city mountain park of Xiamen - one of China's cleanest and most beautiful seaport cities on the southeastern coast of Fujian Province. Surrounded by open spaces and lush vegetation the hotel exists in a fine balance between an urban and natural setting.

 

Nestled on Xianyue Hill, about 15 minutes from the airport, the hotel commands breathtaking views of Xiamen Bay. It features 342 refined guestrooms including 12 villa suites, all with private balconies overlooking either the courtyard or the mountain. It has two restaurants and a bar. The Latitude 24 lounge serves a selection of sweets and homemade snacks, champagne, high tea, cocktails and the famous Le Meridien Illy coffee.

 

The hotel has 10 meeting rooms with over 2,000sqm of space. The pillarless Grand Ballroom, measuring 850sqm with a 10m high ceiling that lets in natural daylight. Other state-of-art facilities include an artistic gymnasium, indoor heated swimming pool, spa and a 360-degree full view tennis court on the top of a hill. Arrangements can be made for hill trekking or cycling at the Xianyue Park.

 

 

WESTIN PAZHOU

 

Westin Pazhou, located next to the Guangzhou International Convention & Exhibition Centre, opened in September 2011. It offers 325 rooms and suites equipped with large LED TVs, JBL iPod docks and high speed Internet access. The suites, which measure from 100sqm to 315sqm, feature L'Occitane amenities, 46-inch LED TVs and Bose sound-surround systems.

 

On the hotel's 42nd floor is the Panorama Room, which has 26m high floor-to-ceiling windows providing stunning views of the Pearl River and Guangzhou city's skyline.

 

The hotel is also tapping the corporate and MICE segments of the Pazhou, Pany and Nansha areas, and it has the facilities to meet their requirements. There are 10 meeting rooms covering a total of 3,000sqm, a 1,200sqm Grand Ballroom and six function rooms.

 

 

GRAND MERCURE URUMQI HUALING - XINJIANG PROVINCE

 

Accor has taken over the management of the 5 star Hualing Grand Hotel in Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang Province. It is now under the Grand Mercure brand and renamed as Grand Mercure Urumqi Hualing.

 

Located near Hongshan (Red Hill) Park and the municipal government in the downtown area, the 17-storey hotel has 245 rooms, four restaurants, a karaoke nightclub, spa, gymnasium and boutiques. It has a wide array of banquet and meeting rooms including a pillarless ballroom, which can accommodate functions for up to 400 guests and all the services befitting a 5 star hotel.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

GUANGZHOU FAIR
APRIL-MAY 2012
VENUE: GUANGZHOU

 

The Guangzhou Fair is the largest trade fair in the world and takes place in China in Guangzhou twice a year. The next one will take place in April-May 2012 on the following dates:

 

• FIRST SESSION: APRIL 15-19, 2012
• SECOND SESSION: APRIL 23 -27, 2012
• THIRD SESSION: MAY 1-5, 2012

 

Asian Trails China is offering all services including hotels reservations, airport transfers, transportation to and from the Fair ground, services of interpreters and excursions. We are also holding allotments in several hotels.
 

Contact us for further information.

 

 

QINGMING FESTIVAL
1ST DAY OF 5TH SOLAR TERM
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA

 

The Qingming Festival is also called "Tomb Sweeping Day" or "All Souls Day". The name "Qingming" denotes a time for people to go outside and enjoy the greenery of spring and tend to the graves of the departed.

On this day celebrants remember and honour their ancestors at gravesites. Young and old pray before the ancestors, sweep the tombs and offer food, tea, wine, joss sticks, joss paper accessories, and/or libations to the ancestors. These rites have a long tradition in Asia, especially among farmers.

The concept of filial piety or obedience to one's elderly or ancestors is a very important concept in Chinese culture. Traditionally the Chinese believe that the spirits of deceased ancestors will look after the family even when they are gone. Hence, offering of food and spirit money could keep them happy in the spiritual world and, in turn, the living family will continue to prosper through good harvests and more children from their ancestors' blessing.
 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

KLM's 5TH DESTINATION TO CHINA

 

KLM flies to the city of Xiamen in Fujian Province from February 2012. This is the airline's fifth destination in China. The twice weekly from Amsterdam are on Thursdays and Sundays. The airline's other four destinations in China are Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Chengdu.

 

Xiamen (formerly known as Amoy) is a major city on China's southeast coast (Taiwan Strait). The city has a population of about 3.5 million. It was a treaty port in the 19th century and one of the four original Special Economic Zones opened to foreign investment and trade when China began economic reforms in the early 1980s. It is also the departure point for visit to the inland Hakka villages, which are famous for their fortresses called "Tulou".
 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

NEW STAFF

 

We welcome Frank Zhou TO the online booking department, and Louise Liu and Alina Rong to the English-speaking department.

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The past season has been quite an exceptional one here in Myanmar. The tourism industry is prospering as never before, and we are really experiencing a tourism boom with the high number of tourist arrivals. Most hotels have been fully booked throughout the past months, as well as full flights on the main tourist circuits.

As a further boost to the hospitality industry Condor Airlines is resuming flights to Myanmar after several years of absence. We can truly rejoice with this new upswing trend, and hope it will continue into the future.

The tourism boom also brings its challenges especially in hotel rooms, which will be difficult to obtain in the future. We advise clients to book as early as possible or travel during the low season from May to September.

I take the opportunity to once again thank you all for your support, and look forward to meet many of you at ITB in Berlin.

Best regards,

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

PAUKAN CRUISES HALTS OPS DUE TO LOW WATER LEVEL

 

Paukan Cruises will temporarily stop their 2011-2012 operations, from April to June 2012, due to low water level. Cruises between Bagan and Mandalay and v.v. will resume from July 3, and the 10-day Grand Voyage long cruise on the Chindwin River from July 24.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

BALLOON SAFARI

 

Following the success of this experience for the past and present seasons another four multi-day Balloon Safari around Shan State and Bagan are planned for 2012. The Safari is six days long and features flights over Inle Lake, Pindaya and Bagan. This is a unique and unforgettable experience for even the most discerning travellers.

Please contact Asian Trials for dates and prices.
 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BEACH HOTELS CLOSE FOR RAINY SEASON

 

We would like to remind our guests that hotels in Ngapali (pictured left) and Ngwe Saung are closed during the monsoon months from May to September. During this period heavy rains occur along the coastline of Myanmar, and travelling to the beach and other areas along the coast is not recommended. All other major tourist attractions such as Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake region are open to visitors as usual as they have a mild climate with only scattered showers.

 

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

WATER FESTIVAL (THINGYAN) 2012
APRIL 13-16, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MYANMAR

 

The Water Festival, known as Thingyan, is held on the eve of the Myanmar New Year, which falls on April 17, to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous year with water. Young people go out to enjoy themselves and elders retreat to monasteries and pagoda precincts for prayers.

 

The streets of Yangon and in all cities and towns throughout Myanmar are thronged with people dancing, throwing water at each other and having a good time. The atmosphere is electric and people behave in a different way than usually during other times of the year. Please be aware that tourists are not spared having water thrown at them.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

CONDOR AIRLINES RETURNS TO MYANMAR

 

German charter airline, Condor Airlines, will resume flights to Myanmar with the launch of a new service to Yangon from Frankfurt from November 2012. The weekly service, on a Boeing B767-300ER aircraft, will fly via Phuket on its inbound flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

MES AMIS OPENS

 

Mes Amis, a new French restaurant located on the northern bank of the Inya Lake, has opened. Housed in an old colonial mansion and nestled in beautiful gardens, it offers the finest authentic French cuisine prepared with the highest quality ingredients.

 

 

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

PETRA KUEHL IS NEW RESERVATION SUPERVISOR

 

We welcome our new colleague, Petra Kuehl, (pictured left), to our team as Sales and Reservation Supervisor. She has been living in Myanmar for many years and brings with her a wealth of experience in tourism. She supports our reservation group to better respond to the ever-growing tourism demand in Myanmar

 

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

MMC FUN RUN 2012

 

The annual Fun Run organised by MMC (Myanmar Marketing Committee) took place this year around the Kandawgyi Lake on February 11. Two of our team out of 14, joined by our new staff, were among the first 10. Congratulations to all, and good luck for the 2013 edition.

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Kuala Lumpur

I'm pleased to inform you that we've moved to our new office and have settled in well. Our new address is:


Suite 7.01, 7th Floor, Wisma Mirama,
Jalan Wisma Putra, 50460 Kuala Lumpur
Telephone: +(603) 2141 5245
Fax: +(603) 2142 8333

We've also launched a new Explore product - the "Houseboat Cruise in Belum". This is a 3 day/2 night experience whereby you have the houseboat to yourself as you cruise in one of the oldest rainforest in the world. There is a host of activities, from jungle trekking to visiting a Rafflesia site, waterfall and an Orang Asli (indigenous people) village. You can do everything here or simply do nothing as you relax and soak in the magic of the rainforest.

Please contact us for full details of this fascinating package.

I'll be at ITB Berlin and I'm really looking forward to meet you. Our booth is at Hall 26.B/207. See you there.

Best regards

Emir
Malaysia, Truly Asia!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

COOL PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY IN KL'S TOURIST HUB

 

A fully air-conditioned elevated pedestrian walkway linking Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and Bukit Bintang, two major retail and tourism spots, is now opened.

The 562m long and five-metre wide walkway traverses the busy shopping/commercial areas of Jalan Pinang, Jalan Perak and Jalan Raja Chulan with escalator and staircase entry and exit points at strategic and convenient locations. It links the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre to Impiana KLCC Hotel, and the hotel to the Pavilion bridge crossing at Bukit Bintang. There is also a pedestrian tunnel from the concourse level of the convention centre, which links to the existing tunnel to the Suria KLCC shopping complex. The public can now travel on foot from Bukit Bintang and Raja Chulan monorail stations to the KLCC LRT station via Suria KLCC in cool comfort.

The RM100mil (USS33mil) project was financed by national oil company, Petronas, under its social contribution programme.
 

 

 

KLIA'S ERL EXTENSION TO KLIA2 READY BY OCTOBER

 

The ERL train extension from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to KLIA2 (new Low Cost Carrier Terminal) is scheduled to be up and running by October 31 this year. The journey between the two terminals will take about three minutes. The project is now 25% complete.

KLIA2's construction is expected to be completed in April 2013.
 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

EQUATORIAL HOTEL KL CLOSES FOR REDEVELOPMENT

 

Equatorial Hotel Kuala Lumpur will close its door on March 31, 2012 to undergo a comprehensive redevelopment programme. This will involve a reconstruction of the current property.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE: BELLA VISTA HOTELS IN LANGKAWI

 

The Bella Vista Hotel & Apartment in Kuah town has been renamed Bella Vista Resort & Spa Langkawi.

The Bella Vista Hotel Langkawi in Padang Matsirat opened on February 1.

 

 

 

 

 

RENOVATIONS AT ROYAL MULU RESORT

 

Royal Mulu Resort in the Mulu National Park, Sarawak, is currently under renovations. Due to the inconvenience caused during the work period the hotel is offering a special renovation rate, which is 10% off the current rate. Two beautiful Mulu knapsacks will also given to each guestroom as a token of appreciation.

 

 

 

 

MERITUS PELANGI BEACH RESORT & SPA REFURBISHES

 

Meritus Pelangi Resort & Spa in Langkawi is currently undergoing renovations from February to end May 2012. Undergoing refurbishment are guest chalets 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, Boat House Restaurant and Horizon Pool Bar. These areas are segregated, and renovations are carried out in phases to ensure the comfort and hospitality experience of the guests are not compromised.

 

 

 

 

FACELIFT FOR INTERCONTINENTAL HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR

 

The guestrooms and the main lobby of InterContinental Kuala Lumpur are currently undergoing renovations. Work is scheduled to be completed in May 2012, with the new look unveiled then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NAME CHANGE FOR PARADISE SANDY BAY

 

Paradise Sandy Bay in Penang has a new name, and is now officially known as Rainbow Paradise Beach Resort. Please note that there is no change in the management.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

RAPTOR WATCH WEEKEND
MARCH 10-11, 2012
VENUE: TANJUNG TUAN, PORT DICKSON

 

This is an excellent opportunity for avid bird-watchers to see thousands of migratory raptors flying across the Straits of Malacca in their annual journey back to their breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere. Tanjung Tuan is the perfect venue to catch this natural spectacle as these predatory birds stop here to rest. Visitors will get a rare chance to see goshawks, honey-buzzards, sparrow hawks and many other avian species.

 

 

1 MALAYSIA GP SALE
MARCH 10-APRIL 15, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

This annual shopping fest is held in conjunction with the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix (March 23-25). The "heat" of the 1MGP Sale will be especially felt in the Klang Valley where shopping malls and departmental stores will be offering great bargains and promotions. The shopping fever will also spread to other parts of the country like Penang, which will be joining in with its own version of the MGP sale and activities. So gear up for the race of the season and a colourful shopping festival, which brings you some of the best bargains!
 

 

 

4TH PUTRAJAYA INTERNATIONAL HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA
MARCH 15-18, 2012
VENUE: MONUMEN ALAF BARU, PRECINCT 2, PUTRAJAYA

 

Watch colourful hot air balloons float up the skies above Putrajaya. Themed "1 World, 1 Malaysia, 1 Fiesta" this event features 23 balloonists from Belgium, USA, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Malaysia and Japan.

 

 

2012 FORMULA ONE PETRONAS MALAYSIAN GP
MARCH 23-25, 2012
VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, SELANGOR

 

Catch the blazing action at the Sepang International Circuit, one of the most challenging tracks in the world. With Malaysia's extreme hot and wet conditions the circuit tests the skills of the world's finest racers to the limit. This year's race will see an unprecedented six world champions in the starting grid. Be there to witness the action, live!

 

 

 

MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL SHOE FESTIVAL
APRIL 6-8, 2012
VENUE: PUTRA WORLD TRADE CENTRE (PWTC), KUALA LUMPUR

 

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.

 

 

 

 

LABUAN INTERNATIONAL SEA CHALLENGE

APRIL 27-29, 2012
VENUE: LABUAN

 

Get cool in the tropical heat with some water sports at this festival. Enjoy jet ski races, parasailing, kayaking, yachting, boat rides, fishing and other exciting activities.

 

 

 

 

 

REGATTA LEPA
APRIL 27-29, 2012
VENUE: SEMPORNA, SABAH

 

Semporna comes to life with the Bajau seafarers unique Regatta Lepa, which is a competition of the most beautiful traditional sailboats. Witness telematches such as the boat-tug-war and kayak/boat races.

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

AIRASIA IS "VALUE AIRLINE OF THE YEAR"

 

Low cost carrier, AirAsia, has been named "Value Airline of the Year for 2012" by Penton Media's Air Transport World® (ATW), a monthly magazine covering the global airline industry.

AirAsia is the inaugural winner of this new category of awards. ATW said it chose AirAsia due to the carrier's trailblazing efforts in the low cost aviation industry. It praised AirAsia for having innovative solutions, efficient processes and a passionate approach to the business of connecting people, and serving the under-served markets.
 

 

 

AIR ASIA X LAUNCHES KUALA LUMPUR-SYDNEY SERVICE

 

Long haul budget carrier, AirAsia X, recently launched its Kuala Lumpur-Sydney direct service. One-way fare for the inaugural flight, which takes off on April 1, is RM199 (US$65), the lowest ever offered to Sydney by air from the Malaysian capital. Fares for Australians flying into Kuala Lumpur starts from A$99.

AirAsia X is already looking at Adelaide as the next city for its expansion in Australia.

 

 

AIRASIA X BOOSTS TOKYO SERVICES

 

Airasia X will increase the frequency of its Kuala Lumpur-Tokyo Haneda route from three flights weekly to six weekly effective March 23, 2012. The services will become daily from June 22.

The boost in the flights' frequency is part of the airline's realignment strategy, which focuses on increasing services to its core markets of Australasia, China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea
 

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES REINSTATES KL-SANDAKAN ROUTE

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) reintroduced direct service between Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Sandakan in Sabah on February 18, 2012 with 11 weekly flights.

The reinstatement of the service is due to strong demand for premium direct full-service connectivity between Sabah's second largest city and KLIA. The service also provides much-needed links to MAS' international destinations.
 

 

 

RUSSIA'S TRANSAERO AIRLINES DEBUTS IN MALAYSIA

 

Transaero Airlines, Russia's second largest airline, made its maiden landing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on December 31, 2011. It is the only Russian airline to operate into Kuala Lumpur with a weekly flight every Saturday from Moscow to Kuala Lumpur and vice versa, using the 225-seater Boeing B767 aircraft.

 

 

 

 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS CONNECTS KOH SAMUI WITH KUALA LUMPUR

 

Thailand's Bangkok Airways launches non-stop daily services between Koh Samui and Kuala Lumpur from March 2012. The regional airline, based out of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, began operations in 1986 and was Thailand's first privately owned airline. It operates a mixed fleet of Airbus A319, Airbus A320 and ATR-72-500 aircrafts

 

 

 

 

GARUDA UPS JAKARTA- KUALA LUMPUR SERVICE

 

Indonesia's national airline, Garuda Indonesia, launched a third daily flight between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta on February 19, 2012. The additional service uses the Boeing B737-800NG aircraft. It departs Soekarno-Hatta Airport at 14.30hr, arriving at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 17.35hr. The return flight departs Kuala Lumpur at 18.40hr, arriving in Jakarta at 19.45hr.

 

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

 

CHANGES IN JOB PORTFOLIO

 

Effective February 15, 2012 Brandon Lim (pictured left) assumed the post of Product Development and Quality Control Manager for Asian Trails Malaysia (ATMA). He was formerly the Contracting and Product Manager. In his new portfolio Brandon is in charge of inspecting new products and checking their quality.

In a related development Jennifer Loong (pictured left) takes over the contracting portfolio for ATMA from Brandon as Contracting Manager for Malaysia.

We wish both Bandon and Jennifer success in their newly assigned roles.
 

 

NEW INBOUND EXECUTIVE

 

Malathy Subramaniam (pictured left), who holds a Diploma in Hospitality/Tourism/Hotel Management, joined ATMA in November last year as Inbound Executive. Her previous experience includes handling online reservation, hotel bookings, tours and transportation.

We welcome Malathy to the team.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

SHOWCASE OF MAH MERI WOODEN SCULPTUREs

 

Malaysia's Tourism Ministry has adopted the Mah Meri cultural village in Selangor and is promoting it as an artisan village. This helps to showcase Mah Meri's beautiful wood sculptures and their skill in traditional woodcarving.

The main attraction of the village, which opened in July last year, is its collection of 11 internationally recognised spiritual and animistic wooden sculptures, which have earned the UNESCO Seal of Excellence. These and other of the tribe's finely handcrafted woodcarvings are on show at the RM3 million cultural village
 

 

 

DRAMATIC RESCUE OF RARE SUMATRAN RHINO

 

A dramatic helicopter rescue of a young and rare female Sumatran rhinoceros in Sabah on Christmas Day last year has boosted hopes for the survival of the species, which is facing extinction. The rhino, aged between 10 and 12 years and named Puntung, was first caught on December 18 in a joint operation by the wildlife department and the Borneo Rhino Alliance (Bora).

 

With an estimated 20 to 30 rhinos left in the wilds of Sabah, the capture and trans-location of Puntung gives conservationists another shot at breeding the species in captivity. It is hoped Puntung would mate with a lone captive male rhino, named Tam who was rescued in 2008, and placed at the rhino sanctuary. Since 1996 the Sumatran rhino has been listed as "critically endangered", which is just a step away from being extinct in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)'s Red List.

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

NORTH SULAWESI - REMOTE BEAUTY

As this year's ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) took place in the city of Manado, a rather unknown part of Indonesia, I have decided to write about North Sulawesi in this issue so those who did not attend the forum can get to know this remote but beautiful province of Indonesia as well.

Most of the participants at ATF would probably agree that while Manado itself does not offer many attractions for international visitors its surroundings are, however, very scenic. and some of Indonesia's best beaches and dive sites are in the proximity of the city.

Bunaken National Park can be easily reached by boat from one of the piers near the city. There are small resorts on some of the islands with the Siladen Resort being the best option. They offer nice wooden bungalows with all the necessary amenities, one pool, restaurant and bar plus, of course, a diving school.

Another group of islands is found further, note, on the inside the National Park. Right on the beautiful each of one of these island is the Gangga Island Resort, which offers the same facilities as the Siladen Resort. With their nice beaches and international standard we also recommend both hotels for non-divers and visitors looking for a relaxing and quiet holiday in a tropical beach environment.

Apart from the beaches on nearby islands, visitors to Manado can also spend a night in the cooler highlands of Minahasa and visit lakes, waterfalls or volcanoes.

Garuda Indonesia has daily flights to Manado from Jakarta and Makassar with connection to Surabaya or Denpasar.

 

Please contact us for more details on North Sulawesi at info@asiantrailsbali.com
 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

BUS-WAY BALI - A SUCCESS STORY


To cope with the success of the popular Bus-way Bali the company has ordered 10 new Trans-Sarbagita buses, which are expected to be delivered in late February 2012. The additional buses will bring the number of vehicles in service to 25, which will meet the capacity demand for the increasingly popular mass-transit system in Bali.

Currently there are two routes in the first stage of the network, which will expand in the near future. The first route runs from Batubulan Bus terminal (Gianyar) to the Bypass Ngurah Rai through Sanur and via Bali Gallery to Sunset Road, with the final destination at Central Parking in Kuta. The second route starts at the Central Parking in Kuta and runs along the Bypass Ngurah Rai to Nusa Dua. Operational hours are from 05.00hrs to 21.00hrs daily.
 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

SPA DELIGHTS IN KUPU KUPU JIMBARAN

 

This new programme of luxury spa treatments in Kupu Kupu Jimbaran is ideal for guests who wish to surprise their loved ones with the perfect gift to celebrate a special occasion during their holidays.

The treatment begins with a 60-minute Aromachologie Relaxing Massage, followed by your desired L'Occitane body scrub, then a relaxing L'Occitane Provencal Bath and ends with a 60-minutes customised L'Occitane facial. A therapist analyses your skin type and recommends suitable facial products for your needs. The treatment is followed by a sunset dinner in luxury surroundings on the beach of Jimbaran.
 

 

"TEXTILES OF INDONESIA" - VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY ON OMBAK PUTIH

 

"Textiles of Indonesia" is a new programme - a 9-day cruise on Ombak Putih, a small luxury ship with eight cabins, sailing to Flores, Lembata, Sumba and a string of smaller islands.

This cruise is unique as it only has one departure - starting on May 1 in Maumere in East Flores and ends on May 9 in Labuan Bajo, West Flores. It focuses on the ikat-weaving technique of the islanders and the products made from this intricate art (ikat means "binding'" or "thread/ knot").

The defining characteristic of the ikat-weaving is the dyeing of patterns into the threads by bindings before the weaving of the fabric starts. Some of the finest examples of this technique may be found on the islands of Flores, Lembata and Sumba where the women folk are commonly found behind looms weaving amidst serene surroundings against a background of megaliths and volcanoes. The colours of ikat reflect those of fish, corals, local spices and the stunning hues of the crater lakes of Kelimutu Volcano.
 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

FREE WIFI IN BALI HOTELS

 

Several hotels in Bali are offering their guests complimentary Internet access in the rooms, as well as throughout the property. The latest resorts to introduce free Wifi are InterContinental Jimbaran and The Laguna Resort & Spa

 

 

 

1ST JUMEIRAH HOTEL IN INDONESIA

 

Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts will open its first property in Indonesia - Jumeirah Bali - in early 2013. Located in the Pecatu resort area, just south of Jimbaran Beach, the luxury hotel will have 80 spacious hotel suites and 25 private villas. Set amidst lush tropical gardens Jumeirah Bali will feature architectural designs reflective of Bali's rich cultural heritage, and modelled after an ancient Javanese-Hindu water palace. Facilities include a range of restaurants, signature Talise Spa and fitness centre.

 

 

 

ALOITA - SECLUDED ISLAND PARADISE IN WEST SUMATRA

 

Aloita is uniquely situated on a small private island called Simakakang, less than 10 minutes from Tua Pajet, the capital of the Mentawais. The hotel is well connected to the Sumatran mainland by regular ferry and flight services. As it is tucked away in a corner of the island guests enjoy great privacy and seclusion. Each of the new and well-appointed bungalows is only a step from a mile of private, untouched white sandy beach.

Aloita is also the only true dive resort in the Mentawais with all the necessary facilities. Qualified instructors are on hand to teach beginners who wish become certified divers. Some of the best scuba and snorkelling areas in the Mentawais are right next to the resort, including the spectacular reefs in and around Setan Island. Other exciting activities include fishing, hiking and cultural excursions.

 

 

QUNCI VILLAS' EXPANSION ALMOST COMPLETE

 

The third phase expansion of the famous Qunci Villas in Lombok is scheduled to finish in the next two months. On completion the property will be connected, making it possible for guests to walk on hotel ground between the resorts.

With the expansion, the hotel will have a total of 77 rooms and villas. The room categories will remain as currently - Garden View, Partial Ocean View, Ocean View, one-bedroom Pool Villas and two-bedroom Pool Villas. The facilities will be increased from two pools and restaurants to three. Guests will also enjoy free Wi-Fi access in rooms and hotel areas.

 

 

NOVOTEL LOMBOK'S NEWLY RENOVATED ROOMS

 

Novotel Lombok has completed the first renovation of their rooms since its opening 12 years ago. They are:

Novotel Superior Room - New key features include 1 x King + day bed or 2 x King Single + day bed configuration, bay window with day bed, 32" LCD TV, writing desk with LAN internet connectivity, dressing table and chair and in-room safe.

Novotel Deluxe Garden Terrace Room - New key features include: 1 x King + day bed configuration, terrace with outdoor furniture, 37" LCD TV with DVD player, single couch, ottoman with coffee table, writing desk with LAN internet connectivity, dressing table and chair, and in-room mini bar.
 

 

LOMBOK LODGE SETS NEW STANDARDS IN LUXURY

 

Lombok Lodge is a new, boutique hotel in contemporary design, consisting of only nine stylish Lodge-Suites. It offers the luxury and service of a 5 star establishment within the dimensions of an attractive, privately- run hotel.

The lodges comprise six Luxury Lodges Oceanview, two Luxury Lodges Oceanview-Poolside and one Luxury three-bedroom Lodge. All have an inside sitting area as a part of the large bedroom and a spacious private, wooden terrace with lounge beds. The only difference between the Oceanview and the Oceanview-Poolside lodges is the latter's direct, private access to the pool.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

AIRASIA LAUNCHES NEW ROUTES

 

Low cost carrier, AirAsia, has launched daily services between Kuala Lumpur and Semarang (Central Java). Semarang is the 14th destination in Indonesia for the airline.

AirAsia's affiliate, AirAsia Indonesia, will launch twice daily Jakarta-Semarang service from March 9.
 

 

 

MANDALA AIRLINES TO TAKE FLIGHT AGAIN

 

Indonesian low cost airline, Mandala Airlines, expects to resume flights in April 2012 as its air operator's certificate has been reactivated. However, the airline has yet to list its routes.

Mandala Airlines' resumption of service was made possible with the acquisition of a 33% stake in the airline by Tiger Airways, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. This is a significant step for the Singapore-based airline to expand its reach into Indonesia's expanding aviation market, which is expected to grow 7% this year.
 

 

GARUDA REALIGNS INTERNATIONAL ROUTES

 

Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia's national carrier, reduces the frequency of its Jakarta-Amsterdam route from daily to four times weekly from March 1. The service from Jakarta is on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, using the Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 222 seats. The return flight from Amsterdam is on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays.

The Denpasar-Amsterdam service remains until further notice.

Changes are also made in Garuda's Asia services, and are as follows:

  • Relaunch of its five times weekly Denpasar-Tokyo (Haneda) service from April 27, using the Airbus A330-300 aircraft.

  • Launch of daily Jakarta-Taipei flight from May 19, using its new Boeing 737-800NG.

  • Increase in its Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur service from twice daily to thrice daily from March 2012.
     

 

NEW AIRCRAFT FOR GARUDA

 

Garuda Indonesia has signed a contract to buy 18 CRJ 1000 Next Gen aircraft, with the option of an additional 18, from Canada-based Bombardier Aerospace. This is the first contract between the two companies.

Garuda will take delivery of five airplanes between October and December 2012. The purchase of the CRJ 1000 NextGen is aimed at supporting the airline's development and expansion plans, especially on high density, short- ange domestic and regional routes. The airline will be using the new aircraft to serve its regional hubs in Balikpapan, Makassar and Medan by the end of this year.
 

 

LION AIR ON AIRCRAFT BUYING SPREE, BOEING'S BIGGEST CUSTOMER

 

Indonesian low coast airline, Lion Air, joins with Hawker Beechcraft Corporation to purchase two Hawker 900XP mid-size business jets, with options for two more aircraft. This is a newly built business jet, made in 2012, which can carry 11 people including crew.

Powered by two TFE731-50R turbofan engines the aircraft can fly six hours non-stop with a ceiling of 12,400 metres above sea level and a maximum range of 5,213 kilometres. This means the aircraft can fly directly from Jakarta to Hong Kong, Jayapura or Timika.

Lion Air is also buying 230 Boeing B737, the popular narrow-body aircraft, making this the largest commercial contract in aviation history and Boeing's biggest customer. The contract also covers the purchase of 29 Boeing 737-900 ERs and 201 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The total deal is said to be worth USD22.4 billion.

 

 

 

KLM UPS FREQUENCY ON BALI ROUTE

 

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will start daily flights from Singapore to Denpasar, Bali from March 26, 2012. Currently the airline flies five times a week on this route, using its new Boeing B777-300 aircraft with 390 economy class seats and 35 business class seats. This is KLM's second route to Indonesia, the other is the Amsterdam-Jakarta service via Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

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