Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue March 2013

Dear Friends,

 

Spring is here, a season for renewing and growing. We at Asian Trails, like Spring, are renewing and growing our products/services and team members to serve you and your clients better.

 

The travel marts season is also starting. Asian Trails will be at most of the shows, starting with ITB Berlin this month, to touch base with you and to showcase our wide range of products.  

 

This issue of TRAILBLAZER (March-April 2013) is yet another comprehensive compilation of what our offices throughout the region have lined up, complete with interesting stories and background facts of some of the unique products.  

 

We also like to advise that you make early travel arrangements for your clients if they wish to travel during the high season as most destinations, such as Myanmar and Thailand, are reporting heavy demand for hotel rooms and flights.

 

Happy Trails!  

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 
 

THAILAND

 

A NOTE FROM Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,  

 

We are about to finish a very busy high season, actually one of the busiest ever. For the first time in decades Bangkok saw 98% hotel occupancy, not only during Christmas and New Year but also well into January 2013. In April we will celebrate Songkran (Thai New Year, April 13-16), which usually marks the end of the high season and the start of the low season. However, the booking outlook even for this "low" season looks very good, and we have added several reservation staff to cope with this demand.

 

We thank you very much for your continued support.

 

Happy reading!  

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

DISCOVER BANGKOK ON A SEGWAY

 

Bangkok sightseeing cannot get any more fun and exciting than doing it on a Segway - a two-wheel self-balancing electric personal transporter. This is an alternative new cool and enjoyable way to explore and experience the history, culture and people of Bangkok. The route of the Old City includes beautiful architecture and Bangkok's central backpacker hub on Khao San Road. It is definitely an experience to remember.

 

 

For more details and bookings, please contact us

 

CHIANG MAI NIGHT RIDE (BY BICYCLE)

 

We take you on a magical tour of Chiang Mai by bicycle. This old city never sleeps as we ride through small back roads and alleyways to see the lives of its people. The fun starts just after sunset as we cycle past a tranquil park where the locals practise Tai Chi, ancient temples with their illuminated golden spires, a night market that sells various types of delicious local food and other charming sights of this ancient city.

 

The tour is perfect for family and friends who like to enjoy an easy 20km ride with snack breaks and beautiful sights along the way. 

 

 

For more details and bookings, please contact us

 

 

TACHAI MARINE NATIONAL PARK (SNORKELING)

 

The tour starts with a speedboat ride to Tachai Island, one of the most beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea. Located 70kms west of Phuket it has pristine white sandy beaches and stunning crystal clear waters. Go for a jungle walk or trek up to the island's viewpoint to admire the breath-taking scenery. The programme includes sightseeing by speedboat around the island, as well as time for snorkeling among some the most amazing coral reefs in the region. Lunch is served on the island.

  

 

For more details and bookings, please contact us

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BANGKOK

ALOFT BANGKOK SUKHUMVIT 11

 

Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 is just steps from the Bangkok's best shopping, nightlife and dining destinations. It is also a quick five-minute stroll to Nana BTS Sky Train and MRT Subway stations for easy access to Bangkok's biggest attractions.  

 

The hotel offers 296 bright and breezy loft rooms and suites. Each sports loft-inspired modern design with nine-foot high ceilings and extra large windows, which create a free flowing energy. The signature platform beds and spacious bathrooms are sleek, stylish and utterly inviting. Every detail in the hotel is designed to fit your lifestyle, from streamlined storage to technology that keeps you connected. So break the monotony of travel and take some time to discover this modern, fresh and fun destination.  

 

 

For more details please click here

 

HUA CHANG HERITAGE HOTEL

 

Hua Chang Heritage Hotel is an impressive new building, conveniently located near the Bangkok's most famous shopping areas. The essence of the hotel is inspired by the new Thai colonial style, an exquisite blend of Western-influenced architecture and contemporary Thai design. The seven-storey building deeply embodies the nostalgic charm of King Rama V period architecture. All the 80 beautifully appointed guestrooms provide a luxury sanctuary where guests can relax and unwind. Each room is stylishly designed with modern decoration in three different themes inspired by the colours of the Thai lotus - magenta, purple and cobalt blue - each creating a welcoming ambience.  

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

MERCURE BANGKOK SIAM

 

Mercure Bangkok Siam is conveniently located in the heart of the city's shopping district and steps away from the National Stadium BTS. It is within walking distance to the city's numerous shopping malls such as MBK, Siam Center, Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, Central World and Siam Square. The hotel offers 189 superior, privilege and suite rooms that feature modern decoration with a local Thai touch, free Wifi, in-room safe, minibar and LCD TV. 

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

IBIS BANGKOK SIAM HOTEL

 

Located in the heart of Bangkok and a short walk from the National Stadium BTS Station, the 189 room ibis Bangkok Siam offers fully equipped facilities and contemporary dining options. All the rooms are modern and well designed with satellite LCD TV, functional bathroom, free Wifi and internet connection. The lobby bar and terrace are open all day for light meals and refreshing drinks.  

 

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

RIVA SURYA BANGKOK

 

The Riva Surya Bangkok is a new stylish boutique hotel on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, surrounded by some of the city's most treasured historical sites. The hotel features tropical colonial architecture and interior design with a modern twist - a unique and an integral part of Thai history and culture. Its 68 well-appointed rooms are spacious and offer a variety of comforts to guests. The hotel's market inspired café and lounge, Babble & Rum, offers breathtaking views of the river.  

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

KOH SAMUI

 

SHASA RESORT

 

This luxury resort is a scenic hillside creation, sloping down to the pristine Laem Set on the Gulf of Thailand. An enchanting tropical gem set among picturesque cascading pools and scented by beautifully landscaped gardens, Shasa Resort is an ideal romantic getaway for couples. It features a charming private beachfront villa and 32 chic suites with spacious sea-view balconies, a hydrotherapy pool and spa.  

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

ASEAN BARRED GROUND DOVE COOING COMPETITION
MARCH 2-3, 2013
VENUE: YALA PROVINCE, SOUTHERN THAILAND.

 

Thais have long believed doves to be creatures that bring good luck to those who rear them. The birds are also regarded as symbols of purity and peace. Those with qualities specified by ancient texts are believed to bestow great wealth and honour upon the owner. Given this belief, in former times, the rearing of zebra doves was a popular past time among Thais. The practice was widespread throughout the lower southern provinces and neighbouring countries. A local dove cooing contest has now evolved into an international event with participants from regional countries taking part. 

 

 

 

PATTAYA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL
MARCH 15-17, 2013
VENUE: PATTAYA BEACH

 

The Pattaya International Music Festival, one of the biggest international beach music festivals in Thailand and Asia, takes place along the Pattaya beach road in Chon Buri. This fun event brings together famous Asian and Thai artists to show off their musical talent. The spectators, usually numbering almost a thousand every year, will be entertained by Thai, Asian and international music comprising various genres that include pop, rock, hip hop and R&B. The performances are from 6pm to 12 midnight throughout the festival. 

 

 

 

SONGKRAN - THAI NEW YEAR
APRIL 13-16, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT THAILAND

 

Songkran is a century-old festival, which marks the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year. It is a unique fun-filled festival during when celebrants splash each other with water so as to give and request blessing. The word "Songkran" is derived from Sanskrit and means "to pass" or "to move into". It implies the moving of the sun, moon and other planets into a new place in the zodiac. 

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

HAINAN AIRLINES UPS BEIJING-BANGKOK FREQUENCY

 

From March 31, 2013 Hainan Airlines will double the frequency of its Beijing-Bangkok flights from three times weekly to six times weekly. The service is operated using the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

THE DRINK GALLERY, LIBRARY RESORT - KOH SAMUI

 

Semi-minimalist and totally chic, Drink Gallery is Chaweng's new kid on the block. It is very laidback and offers both unique and traditional cocktails, smoothies and long drinks. Feast on tasty West-meets-East cuisine with a homely feel and great presentation. The menu has a select choice of finger food and main courses. Open for brunch onwards, this brand new venue comes into its own once the night gets underway. Diners can choose to sit in the air-conditioned restaurant or on the decked terrace.

 

 

 

AIR BAR - KOH SAMUI

 

The stunning Air Bar literally hangs over the cliff, appearing to ‘float' above the Gulf of Thailand. It provides a sophisticated yet relaxed setting to sit back and soak up, what is probably, the best view of Koh Samui. Retreat to the comfortable Thai-style seating for a pre-or post-dinner drink or enjoy one of the signature cocktails prepared by expert mixologist consultant, accompanied by fresh sushi, sashimi or tapas.

 

 

 

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LAOS

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJOERN SCHIMANSKI

 

Asian Trails Laos organised a memorable evening during the ASEAN Tourism Forum in January 2013 for its valued clients and partners.

 

We privatised the traditional Lao textile museum on the outskirts of Vientiane, and all the guests took part in creating their own silk scarves. A traditional Lao evening would not be complete with a proper Baci ceremony, which was followed by an excellently prepared dinner by the owners and family of the museum. But the real highlight was the screening of the silent movie "Chang" (means, Elephant in Lao and Thai) in the lush garden of the museum. A whole Lao orchestra of 14 musicians travelled 800km from southern Laos to play live music and mimic the sounds of the animals and people in the movie. A real highlight and a premiere for Laos!

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

VAN VIENG - AN IDEAL REST & RELAX DESTINATION

 

Van Vieng, located between Luang Prabang and Vientiane, finally seems to be moving in the right direction after receiving a lot of bad publicity in recent years for being a lawless party town for backpackers from all over the world.

 

The bars along the river have been shut down, and it seems this time the authorities are serious about it. There are many nice hotels along the river. With the recent opening of the Riverside Vang Vieng Resort we finally have an up-market boutique resort in town. It is really a nice place to stay, and we can now recommend a two-night stay in the town to enjoy its beautiful surroundings and landscape.

 

Van Vieng is also moving to be a destination in its own right, and not just a stopover. Instead of flying we recommend you take the overland tour and stay a night or two  - you will not be disappointed.    

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SADA HOTEL - LUANG PRABANG

 

Sada Hotel is a 3+star boutique hotel, which opened early this year. It has 31 rooms and is about a 15-minute walk from Luang Prabang city centre. This beautifully decorated hotel is ideal for GITs.

 

 

 

TIP OF THE MONTH - AMANTAKA'S ACTIVITIES IN LUANG PRABANG

 

Amantaka has been providing excellent services in the best accommodation in Luang Prabang for the past few years. It now offers a range of interesting activities that include lunch or sunset cruises, catering in the waterfalls, cooking class, meetings with local artists, and Buddhist retreat. It is perfect for your VVIPs.  

 

Please contact us for detailed information.

 

 

 

SPECIAL PROMOTION - MAISON SOUVANNAPHOUM, LUANG PRABANG

 

Stay 3 nights, pay for only 2 in Maison Souvannaphoum, the former house of a Prince, in Luang Prabang. Located in the town centre it has a swimming pool and spa service.

 

The promotion is valid from May 1 to September 30, 2013. Contact Asian Trails Laos for this special offer.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

LAO NEW YEAR & WATER FESTIVAL
APRIL 13-15, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT LAOS

 

The official festival lasts for three days, from April 13-15. However, the celebrations can go on for more than a week in towns like Luang Prabang where there is an annual beauty pageant to crown Miss Peemai Lao. The celebrations also include traditional Lao music, mawlum and lumvong (circle dancing).  

 

Please note that our offices will be closed to celebrate the festival.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

Bangkok Airways RETIMES bangkok-VIENTIANE FLIGHT

 

Bangkok Airways has retimed its daily morning flight from Bangkok to Vientiane from 8.15am to 9.45am. Longhaul travellers who connect with Lao Airlines via Bangkok can check their luggage through to Vientiane.

 

New schedule:

PG 943 (BKK - VTE): 9.45am - 11am

PG 944 (VTE - BKK): 11.40am - 2.55pm

 

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

I wish to inform my dear friends and valued clients that I will be leaving my position as Managing Director of Asian Trails Cambodia, with my resignation effective April 30, 2013. I take this opportunity to thank all of you for your strong support for Asian Trails Cambodia and me during my tenure. And we count on your continuing support in the years ahead.  

 

Asian Trails has appointed Veronique Ducassy, currently Managing Director of Asian Trails China (pictured below), to be the new Managing Director of Asian Trails Cambodia. She will move to Cambodia in April. We wish her all the best and good luck in her new post.  

 

Meanwhile, the staff of Asian Trails Cambodia takes the opportunity to thank Jacques for his tremendous contribution to the establishment and for guiding the growth of Asian Trails Cambodia over the past 15 years. "We wish him all the very best in his future plans and endeavours, and good luck in his future undertakings," they said in their farewell message.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

PAYING LAST HOMAGE TO HIS MAJESTY KING FATHER NORODOM SIHANOUK

 

In January a delegation from Asian Trails Cambodia paid respect to His Majesty, the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, and joined the Cambodian people to present the last homage to the Father of the Khmer nation. The national funeral and elaborate traditional ceremonies were held from February 1-6.

 

 

 

PHARE: CAMBODIAN CIRCUS PERFORMING IN SIEM REAP FROM FEBRUARY 8

 

The famous artists of Phare Ponleu Selpak, after their performances in Battambang and around the world, are now offering a unique show in Siem Reap. This famous Cambodian circus is a mix of traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and beautifully- choreographed dances, all weaving into a delightful story about Cambodian lives in an ever-changing contemporary Khmer society.

 

The circus performs daily from February 8, 2013 at 7.30pm at a temporary outdoor venue located behind the Angkor National Museum.
 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

PHNOM PENH

LE BLANC BOUTIQUE HOTEL

 

Le Blanc Boutique Hotel is a bold new approach in accommodation, redefining business travel with a full range of services tailored to your business needs with luxury accommodation, competitive edge and unique concierge service.  

 

Strategically located within the Boung Kengkang area in the heart of Phnom Penh the hotel is close to the city's business area of Norodom Boulevard, entertainment and shopping centres, and within walking distance to tourist attractions including the Royal Palace, Riverfront, National Museum and Silver Pagoda  

 

The two-storey white coloured hotel has an interesting feature of a painting on its wall that runs from the receptionist area through to all the guestroom's doors, a new story creative under Khmer traditional living style in the Angkor area. It offers just nine guestrooms - six deluxe rooms, two luxury rooms and one suite, all offering views of the pool. Spacious with contemporary designs they provide utmost comfort for both leisure and business travellers. Hotel facilities include the Le Blanc Studio library, Le COCO restaurant, 24-hour front desk, garden, swimming pool, luggage storage and snooker table.

 

 

 

FRANGIPANI LIVING ARTS HOTEL AND SPA

 

Located in a quiet residential street near the Russian Market (Psa Toul Tom Pong), the Frangipani Living Arts Hotel and Spa was designed by architects who specialised in tropical architecture. It is the first four star hotel in Toul Tom Pong, an increasingly fashionable neighbourhood in southwest Phnom Penh.

 

The 10-storey hotel offers 123 guestrooms rooms, all of which feature lovely wall art and balconies that look out to the city or the pool. It has two swimming pools, rooftop fitness centre, lounge, spa, a business centre, banquet facilities and a meeting room capable of seating up to 130 people.

 

 

 

SIEM REAP

 

ROYAL BAY INN ANGKOR RESORT  - ANNOUNCEMENT OF CLOSURE

 

Effective April 2013 Royal Bay Inn Angkor Resort will enter a new stage in its development, as it will hand over the management of its operations to the Shinta Mani Group. It will close for renovations in the same month and reopen under the new management in late August 2013, which is to be confirmed at a later stage. The hotel will most likely resume operation under its own brand.  

 

As of now, all bookings are confirmed with check out date prior to April 20, 2013 latest.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

KHMER NEW YEAR
APRIL 14-16, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

 

The Chinese just celebrated their Lunar New Year - the Year of the Snake. In April Cambodia will usher in her very own Khmer New Year, which marks the end of the harvest season. This will be a three-day holiday with colourful celebrations throughout the Kingdom. The Cambodian people will spend time visiting family and friends, as well offering alms and donations to Buddhist pagodas.  

 

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

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR MAY LAUNCH DIRECT FLIGHTS TO INDIA

 

Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodia's national carrier, is considering launching direct flights to main cities in India following an appeal by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for air services between the two countries. The premier made the suggestion to his Indian counterpart during his trip to New Delhi to attend the 20th anniversary of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership last December. Direct flights between Cambodia and India will enhance tourism, as well as economic and social ties.

 

 

 

CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR'S NEW SERVICES TO BANGKOK AND HANOI

 

Cambodia Angkor Air inaugurated a daily service from the popular tourist destination of Siem Reap to Bangkok, Thailand. The launch of this flight, using the ATR72 aircraft, broke Bangkok Airways' monopoly on the route. However, with 35 weekly flights the Thai carrier still provides the lion's share of capacity on this route.  

 

The airline also launches daily flights between Phnom Penh to Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, using the Airbus A321 aircraft. This makes Cambodia Angkor Air the first carrier to fly the 1,100-kilometre route between the two cities. As this is the first air link between Phnom Penh and Hanoi it is hoped the new service will help boost social and economic exchange.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

PHARE PONLEU SELPAK ASSOCIATION'S RESTAURANT CLOSES

 

The restaurant of the Phare Ponleu Selpak Association in Battambang PPS has been closed since January 26. Visitors to the association can still discover the many activities of the school and its social projects.

 

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

The festive seasons are over and it is now time to shake off the holiday mood and work for another successful year.  

 

Vietnam will be hosting a number of travel marts and events in different cities. Apart from the International Travel Mart in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, major cities are also competing in organising tourism events that include Buon Ma Thuot with Coffee Festival, Ha Long Carnival, Hue Craft Festival, Danang International Firework Competition and Nha Trang Sea Festival.  

 

Many of the cities are also integrating cultural identity and heritage into tourism, an effective way to reinforce destination competitiveness and sustainability. For example, Hanoi is hosting shows promoting traditional music and the renowned water puppet show. Ho Chi Minh City presents shows in English showcasing Vietnamese culture featuring the unique Hon Viet (Viet Soul). The Lang Toi (My Village) circus has recently returned to Vietnam to showcase the best of the country's simple yet delicate scenes of daily life.

 

These efforts need the support of everyone, from the travel industry players to visitors, to survive and stay healthy over the introductory phase. We thus hope for your patronage. Schedule your clients' travel plans to coincide with these marts and events so they could attend the shows and, at the same time, discover Vietnam's rich culture

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

HISTORIC WAR BUNKER IN HANOI OPENS

 

A secret war bunker, which was used by leaders of the Vietnam People's Army between 1965-1975, has been opened to the public for the first time. The bunker, located in the Thang Long Citadel Complex in downtown Hanoi, provided shelter to the military leaders from the atomic bombs. From under the piles of bricks they worked day and night to protect the north and the surrounding regions. They were stationed in the bunker throughout the American attacks in the north, and it was from here that they planned war strategies during the 12 days and nights of heavy US bombing during Christmas of 1972. Remains of the French and American wars in Vietnam have remained in Hanoi's many vestiges and monuments.

 

"Hanoi wartime immersion", conducted by an experienced guide, is a journey through these remarkable relics with the iconic Hanoi bunker as part of the tour. After enjoying this unique experience enjoy lunch in a restaurant and recalls Hanoi's subsidy period (1975-1986) or relax in an ancient blockhouse coffee overlooking the West Lake.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

LANG TOI (MY VILLAGE) CIRCUS RETURNS TO VIETNAM

 

Lang Toi, a unique circus show that has been touring and gaining fame throughout Europe, has finally made a happy return to Vietnam. Last February it opened to audience in Ho Chi Minh City for the first time. There are three performances per week, and the hour-long show starts from 6pm.

 

Lang Toi, which means "My Village", presents a new concept in circus art. It introduces Vietnamese culture to audiences through the language of rustic bamboo, which are used throughout the performance as set decoration and props. The artists manipulate the bamboo poles, up to 4.5 metres long, to perform contortions, acrobatics, juggling and tumbling. These manipulations are one of the most powerful and moving features of the show as performers weave the poles to create varied images. Traditional daily activities of village people such as manual ploughing, watering, house building and festive celebrations are demonstrated by the performers and musicians dressed in clothing usually worn by farmers. The show's original music, featuring various Vietnamese cultures and races, is truly the soul of the entire programme.  

 

Lang Toi, with its innovation in circus art, is a must-see for tourists visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

CARAVELLE HOTEL IS NOW A NON-SMOKING PROPERTY

 

In anticipation of the anti-smoking law set to take effect in Vietnam in May 2013 Caravelle Hotel, located on Lam Son Square, was converted to a non-smoking hotel on January 1, 2013. All its 335 rooms and suites are designated non-smoking spaces.

 

 

 

PULCHRA RESORT, DANANG OPENS

 

Pulchra Resort in Danang soft-opened in January 2013. Located a kilometre from Marble Mountain and Non Nuoc B it has 31 luxury villas, which feature Champa culture. There are 11 one-bedroom pool villas overlooking a large lagoon, two two-bedroom villas beachfront, while the rest are one-bedroom villas. The two bedroom villa can link with the one-bedroom villas to form a three-bedroom villa complex. Each has a gate and tree fence to provide privacy. The resort is surrounded by vast landscaped gardens and lots of greenery.

 

 

 

EDEN RESORT PHU QUOC

 

Eden Resort Phu Quoc opened a new wing of 42 luxury bungalows on January 10, 2013, bringing its room inventory to 106. Also opened are luxury spa houses that include four massage beds for Vietnamese and Thai body massages. They are located on Lotus Lake overlooking the resort's swimming pool and the ocean.  

 

The resort has daily performance by a Filipino band, which performs from 6pm-9.30pm. There is a daily shuttle bus service from the resort to the night market from 9pm.

 

 

 

SALINDA PREMIUM RESORT & SPA, PHU QUOC, TO OPEN IN MID-2014

 

Phu Quoc Island is the site of a new five star resort -Salinda Premium Resort & Spa that is being built on 2.1ha piece of land. It will have 120 guestrooms and villas of international standard. Facilities include conference and meeting rooms, F&B outlets, entertainment areas, swimming pool and health care centre. The hotel, built at an estimated to cost USD25 million, is scheduled to open in mid-2014. It will be most luxurious resort in Phu Quoc, and will help market this destination to international holiday-makers.

 

 

 

REX HOTEL'S WEST WING UNDERGOES RENOVATIONS

 

The West Wing of Rex Hotel is being refurbished, with the work scheduled to finish by October 31, 2013. On completion of the project the new West Wing will have 114 rooms comprising 38 suites and 76 deluxe rooms. All the rooms will be standardised with new furnishings, décor and facilities.

 

The renovation work is being carried out from 9am to 6pm. The hotel's management is making every effort to minimise inconvenience to the guests, but some intermittent noise disturbance may be experienced.

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

VIETNAM INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL MART (VITM)
APRIL 18 - 21, 2013
VENUE: HANOI INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR EXHIBITION (ICE HANOI), HANOI

 

The first ever Vietnam International Travel Mart (VITM) will be held on Hanoi from April 18-21, 2013 at the Hanoi International Centre for Exhibition (ICE Hanoi). Themed "Discovering the Red River Delta - the Cradle of Vietnamese culture", it is organised by Vietnam Tourism Association (VITA) in conjunction with Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Hanoi People's Committee. T

 

VITM Hanoi 2013 is a showcase for stimulating travel, tourism, hospitality, leisure and other related industries both within Vietnam and abroad. Up to 400 Vietnamese and foreign travel companies, hotels and travel related organisations will participate in the event.

 

There will be conferences alongside the mart on topics that include "Trademark of Vietnamese Tourism", "Promoting the Value of Hanoi Cultural Heritage", "Aiming to Develop Tourism" and "Strategies to Raise Awareness of Responsible Tourism". Also on show are souvenirs and handicrafts from the different regions I Vietnam, as well as cultural performances.

 

 

 

NHA TRANG SEA FESTIVAL 2013
JUNE 8-11, 2013
VENUE: NHA TRANG CITY


Nha Trang City will host the four-day Sea Festival, which is held once every two years. The event features more than 60 events that include a photography exhibition introducing 100 Nha Trang attractions, bird nest and seafood festival, coffee festival, international sand sculpture competition, culinary shows, seminars, sports competitions and flower arrangement and painting contest.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

HUE'S PHU BAI AIRPORT to CLOSE

 

Hue's Phu Bai Airport will close for nine months, from April to December 2013 for reparation, according to an announcement from the Airports Corporation of Vietnam. The company has disclosed that the airport's runway is in deteriorating conditions and has to be repaired.  

 

Some itineraries may have to be rearranged, as clients will have to fly to and from the central region through Danang International Airport, which is located 90 kilometres away. Extra road transfers will be necessary to reach Hue city, resulting in shortening visiting time in the city. For those clients affected by the closure of Phu Bai Airport your travel consultant will contact you soon with suggested routes/programmes.  

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

 

 

 

MOSCOW-NHA TRANG DIRECT ROUTE OPENS

 

National flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, launched a direct air route connecting Moscow, Russia and Vietnam's central coastal Nha Trang on January 28, 2013. The first flight is scheduled for April 5, with a weekly service on Friday in summer, using the Boeing B777-200 aircraft. The frequency will increase to two flights a week from next winter.  

 

To celebrate the launch of the new service Vietnam Airlines is having a special promotional campaign, offering a 10% discount for two-way tickets for the route until June 30.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

MARKET - NEW RESTAURANT IN HOI AN

 

Market is a new restaurant located in Nguyen Hoang pedestrian street in Hoi An, and has the same owner as Cargo's. The concept is similar to Ngon Restaurant in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, which offers a variety of traditional dishes and street food. The setup is slightly different, but the food is just as good and the price is reasonable. It is an ideal venue for clients who want to enjoy authentic local food in a cosy environment.  

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

SOCHEATA IS NEW MANAGER LUXURY & SPECIAL TOURS 

 

We are very happy to inform you that Socheata Sun joined Asia Trails Vietnam as Manager Luxury & Special Tours on January 2013. A French and Cambodian national, she also speaks Mandarin and intermediate German. She worked as MICE Manager at Asian Trails China for about two years, and has a strong background in MICE, sales and marketing. With her intensive expertise and dynamic personality we are confident she will do an excellent job to accommodate all the needs of luxury travel to Vietnam.

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

 

A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

This newsletter from Asian Trails China office will be the last one for me to write, but not the last one within the Asian Trails Group. By mid-April I will be writing to you from our office in Cambodia where I will succeed Jacques Guichandut as Managing Director of Asian Trails Cambodia

 

Asian Trails has appointed Mr Kris Van Goethem, currently General Manager in China (picture below left), to be the new Managing Director of Asian Trails China. We wish him all the best and good luck in his new position.

 

I take this opportunity to thank all of you dear friends and partners for your strong support for Asian Trails China, and we count on for your continuing support in the years ahead.

 

I also thank the China team for its contributions to the fast development of the company during the past years.

 

Looking forward to receiving your support in Cambodia!

 

Note: Veronique will leave China at the end of March. Kris will assume his new position as Managing Director of Asian Trails China on April 1.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

PEAK DESTINATION: HUASHAN

 

Huashan is one of China's five sacred mountain ranges, located in Huayin city, Shaanxi Province, about 100km east of the provincial capital of Xi'an. It is one of China's few scenic areas, which is opened 24 hours a day. It attracts tourists with its steep slopes and ancient Taoist temples. Every emperor since the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-24 AD) had travelled to this holy complex to offer sacrifices to the God of Huashan and to pray for national peace and prosperity.  

 

The 14.33ha compound is an example of ancient Chinese architecture's perfect symmetry. Visitors can relish at the tableau, which is just like a traditional ink painting when standing atop the compound's highest point- the Longevity Pavilion. Young people climb the mountains at night to reach the summit to catch the spectacular sunrise, and conquer all the five peaks within a day. This is also the most economical way to enjoy the alpine range. The cable car is a good choice as climbing up the slope on foot is no easy task.

 

 

 

PEAK DESTINATION: DERUNG - BEYOND SPACE AND TIME

 

Derung is located in west Yunnan near the Nujiang (Salween) River. The Derung people, who live in the Dulong River Valley, have a very striking feature - facial tattoos on women, usually among the older ones. They had the tattoos applied at the onset of puberty, usually between 12 or 13 years of age.  

 

This practice had its origins in the early days when foreign invaders attacked the Derung land. To deter the foreign invaders from abusing the girls the elders decided to make them "ugly" by tattooing their faces. The tradition continues till today, but now the indelible facial markings represent courage and a prerequisite for marriage. However, the younger women do not have these tattoos on their faces. Currently there are only 34 tattooed women left in the township, with the youngest aged 56. With deaths among these women every year all traces of this ancient tradition could disappear within a decade.

 

 

 

SHANGHAI: CHINA PAVILION REOPENS AS CHINA ART PALACE

 

The China Pavilion, which was a must-visit highlight at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, reopened to the public as the brand new China Art Palace on October 1, 2012.  

 

Art lovers can feast their eyes on masterpieces, which were rarely displayed because of space constraint at the former venue. The Art Palace is 10 times larger than the former pavilion. It is also big enough to provide individual exhibition halls for Chinese master artists, putting it on par with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

 

 

 

SHANGHAI MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

 

The Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum is rebuilt from the Future Pavilion on the Puxi side of the old World Expo Park. The renovation retains the building's 165-metre high chimney, and expands the interior by 6,000sqm to more than 41,000sqm. Also known as the Power Station of Art, or PSA, the museum has 12 exhibition halls.

 

 

 

BEIJING: LAOSHE TEAHOUSE  - A PRICELESS SIP OF OLD BEIJING

 

Laoshe Teahouse, located in Qianmen, Beijing started in the early days of the economic reform of the 1980s. At that time visitors, who arrived at Tian'anmen Square by train had nowhere to quench their thirst. Yin Shenxi, the teahouse's founder, applied for a license to sell tea and set up shop at the west gate of the Qianmen watchtower. Tea was served in a big bowl, known as "dawancha", with each sold for 2 fen (US$0.03).

 

At the turn of the 20th century these big bowls of tea were sold everywhere at roadside tea stands - a convenience for travellers, visitors and residents. However, after New China was established in 1949 the tea stalls were abolished. As business boomed the Laoshe Teahouser was restored in 2004 by Yin Shenxi - now seen a reminder of the past and a last visage of what was, what had been.

 

 

 

BEIJING: ART MUSEUM OF STONE CARVINGS

 

Beijing Art Museum of Stone Carvings is inside the Five Pagoda Temple tucked in a quiet alley and housed in an Indian-style Buddhist temple of the Ming Dynasty (1938-1644). It is a little-known place in Beijing, but is not to be missed by those interested in religious art and history.

 

The temple complex was damaged by fire in 1860, during the Second Opium War, and again in 1900 by the Eight-Nation Alliance. The stone structure of the five-pagoda proper was the only structure that survived the destruction. The wooden halls perished, but the pedestal that once supported the Big Treasure Hall remains unharmed.

 

 

 

BEIJING: TIANNING TEMPLE

 

Tianning Temple, located in the southwestern park of Beijing, is famous for its pagoda, one of the oldest pagodas in China. It was built around 1100 to 1119/1120, during the Liao Dynasty (915-1125). The 13-storey, 5738m-tall octagonal-shaped pagoda is made of brick and stone, yet imitates the design of wooden-constructed pagodas from that era featuring ornamental dougong (bracket supports). Liang Sicheng (1901-1972), the architectural historian known for discovering and documenting the oldest existing wooden structures in China, lauded the temple's pagoda as a pristine architectural design of antiquity.

 

 

 

BEIJING: DONGJIAO MINXIANG

 

Dongjiao Minxiang, formerly known as the Peking Legation Quarter, is the area in Beijing where a number of foreign legations were located between 1861 and 1959. With a total length of 1552 metres it is the longest alley in Beijing. Dongjiao Minxiang, which still has Beijing's most significant collection of Western-style architecture, is now home to high-end restaurants and luxury retailers as well as shops and eateries. 

 

 

 

SHANGHAI: CHENSHAN BOTANICAL GARDEN

 

For some fresh air and greenery head down Chenshan Botanical Garden, which covers more than two square kilometres in Songjiang district. The garden has a distinctive pit with peculiar landforms. To date, it has a collection of more than 9,000 species of distinctive plants, and has the biggest collection of native plants from East China. Sgnages in Chinese, English and Braille, as well as voice systems are available in the garden.

 

 

 

SHANGHAI: QIBAO ANCIENT TOWN

 

If you wish to experience local life in Shanghai then a visit to the ancient town of Qibao is a must. Apart from the ancient-style buildings, stone bridges and small rivers, the town is a food haven, offering traditional food from regions such as the Yangtze Delta. It is easy to find where the main food thoroughfare is - just follow the human traffic and be led by your nose.

 

 

DONGTAN WETLAND -CHONGMING ISLAND

 

If you are a nature lover then Dongtan Wetland in Chongming Island is the perfect choice to see nature at its best. The wetland, covering more than 240sqkm, is the biggest and most well preserved beach wetland in the Yangtze Delta region. It contains 290 species of birds. More than one million water birds transit in this area every year. Visitors are advised not to wear bright coloured clothes, which might disturb the birds known for acute vision, as well as not to use flash when taking photos.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

ANANTARA XISHUANGBANNA RESORT & SPA OPENS

 

Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa is the first five star hotel to open in Xishuangbanna, a stunning and relatively untouched part of Yunnan province, about 90 kilometres north of the Laos border. Set within lush gardens on the banks of the Luosuo River, which flows into the mighty Mekong, it comprises 80 deluxe guestrooms and 23 one-, two- and three-bedroom Pool Villas. Hotel facilities include an expansive outdoor swimming pool set amidst extensive landscaping and a 24-hour fitness centre. Dining at the hotel is a gastronomic journey with its all-day dining restaurant serving international cuisine, lobby lounge bar, poolside bar and snack zone.  

 

Guests can discover the breath-taking countryside and the region's unique culture through various activities such as visits to the many ethnic tribes in the area that include tea-picking with the Jinuo tribe, which is China's last minority group to be recognised.  

 

Xishuangbanna is also home to one of the largest tropical gardens in the world - the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. It spreads over 900 hectares with 35 different garden habitats, featuring a total of over 10,000 species of tropical plants.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

QINGMING FESTIVAL (TOMB SWEEPING DAY/ALL SOULS' DAY)
APRIL 4, 2013/1ST DAY OF 5TH SOLAR TERM
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA

 

The Qingming Festival is an important day for the Chinese people as it is a time for them to remember and honour their ancestors at gravesites. Both the old and young pray before their ancestors and food, tea, wine, chopsticks, joss paper accessories, and/or libations to them. They also "sweep" or clean the tombs. The day is also a spring outing for the people to enjoy themselves. and admire the blossoming flowers and nature's beauty.

 

The Qingming's rites have a long tradition in Asia, especially among farmers. Filial piety or obedience to one's elders or ancestors is a very important concept in Chinese culture. Traditionally, the Chinese believe the spirits of their deceased ancestors look after the family. The offerings of food and spirit money keep the departed happy in the spiritual world and, in turn, the living family continues to prosper through good harvests and many children from their ancestors' blessing.

 

 

 

LISTING OF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS, SHOWS AND EVENTS IN CHINA

 

To keep you updated on the annual events/shows and public holidays in China, Asian Trails China publishes this list (see below) in every newsletter. Asian Trails will provide, on request, more detailed information for your clients.   

 

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN CHINA - 2013: 

• QING MING FESTIVAL (Tomb Sweeping Day): April 4-6 (festival on April 4)

• LABOUR DAY, MAY 1: April 29-May 1  

• DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL: June 10-12 (festival on June 12)

• MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL: September 19-21 (festival is September 19)

• NATIONAL DAY: October 1-7 (China National Day on October 1)  

 

SHOWS & EVENTS IN CHINA - 2013

GUANGZHOU:

• Guangzhou Furniture Show: March 18-21

• Guangzhou Spring Canton Fair: April 15-May 4

• Guangzhou Autumn Canton Fair: October 15-November 4

SHANGHAI:

• F1 in Shanghai: April 12-14

• Auto Show:  April 17 -20

CHENGDU:

• National Sugar & Wine Trading Fair: March 15 -20

• International Auto Show: September 15-22

• Western Expo:  October 15-22

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

BEIJING'S SECOND AIRPORT TO TAKE OFF IN 2018

 

Beijing's second international airport is set to take off in 2018. The Chinese authorities have the green light for the airport's development, which would help ease the crunch at Beijing Capital International Airport. Cost of building the airport is estimated to be 70 billion yuan (US$11.2 billion). It will be able to handle 70 million passengers annually by 2025. Located south of Beijing the airport will have six runways for civilian aircraft, and a seventh for military use.  

 

Beijing Capital International Airport has been ranked the world's second busiest airport after Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, US, moving 81.8 million passengers in 2012.

 

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,  

 

The past season has been quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The tourism industry is prospering as never before. and we are enjoying a boom with the high number of tourist arrivals. Hotels were fully booked in the past months, as well as flights on the main tourist circuits.  

 

The upswing also brings its challenges, especially hotel rooms as it will be difficult to get bookings due to the high demand. Clients are advised to book as early as possible, or to travel during the low season from May to September.  

 

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

 

Best regards,  

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

MORE ACCESS TO BAGAN TEMPLES

 

To prevent overcrowding the terraces of five more temples in Bagan have been opened to visitors to watch the sunrise and sunset. The authorities have also implemented rules and regulations to prevent the erosion of temples' structure, including restriction to the number of visitors to the temples.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BEACH HOTELS CLOSED FOR RAINY SEASON

 

We would like to remind that May to September is the monsoon season in Myanmar, and hotels in Ngapali and Ngwe Saung (pictured) are closed. During this period heavy rains occur along the country's coastline, and travelling to the beach and other areas along the coast is not recommended. All other major tourist attractions such as Bagan, Mandalay and the Inle Lake region are suitable for visits as usual, and guests will find a mild climate with only scattered showers.

 

 

 

JADE MARINA RESORT - NGAPALI

 

The recently opened three star Jade Marina Resort is located on the white sand beach of Ngapali and is about 20 minutes from Thandwe Airport. It features 32 rooms comprising deluxe and beach-front villas. Facilities include a fitness centre, swimming pool and spa.

 

 

 

DIAMOND NGAPALI HOTEL

 

The two star Diamond Ngapali Hotel is situated on the white sand beach of Ngapali in front of Pearl Island and just 10 minutes away from the fisherman village. It features 24 rooms and has a swimming pool.

 

 

 

AVENUE 64 HOTEL - YANGON

 

This new modern style hotel in Yangon is a 15-minute drive from the airport. It has 39 rooms divided into three categories - superior, deluxe and suite. Facilities include a well-equipped fitness centre, sauna, steam room and whirlpool.

 

 

 

HONEY MOON VILLA - KALAW

 

Honey Moon Villa is a small two star hotel located in the former British Hill station of Kalaw. This family run hotel is surrounded by native pine trees and offers 10 rooms. It is an ideal base for trekking to the surrounding villages, which are home to the area's different ethnic groups.

 

 

 

RAZAGYO HOTEL - BAGAN

 

After its recent renovation this two star hotel, located in New Bagan, now offers 34 well-furnished superior rooms and four deluxe rooms. Coffee- and tea-making facility and Wifi are provided free of charge. It is only a 10-minute drive away from Old Bagan.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

 

 

WATER FESTIVAL 2013
APRIL 13-16, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MYANMAR

 

The water festival, known as Thingyan, is held on the eve of the Myanmar New Year to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous year by spraying water. The New Year is celebrated on April 17.  

 

Young people go out to enjoy themselves, while the elders retreat to monasteries and pagodas to pray and make offerings. The streets of Yangon and throughout Myanmar's cities and towns 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 they usually do during other times of the year. Tourists please be aware that you will not be spared from having water thrown at you.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

AIR KBZ EXPANDS FLEET SIZE

 

In April 2013 Air KBZ will increase its fleet size to four aircraft with the delivery of an ATR72 aircraft. According to the airline, it will further expand its fleet with additional aircraft as well as open new routes.

 

 

 

MYANMAR AIRWAYS STARTS DIRECT MANDALAY-BANGKOK FLIGHTS

 

Starting from March 31, 2013 Myanmar Airways International (MAI) will operate a daily return flight from Mandalay to Bangkok in Thailand. The service will be operated with an Airbus A320 aircraft.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

ISOLA - NEW RESTAURANT IN YANGON

 

The newly opened restaurant is converted from a two-storey white house, made cosy with rattan, bamboo and wooden decors. Guests can choose to eat indoors or outdoors in an informal ambiance right on the shore of Inya Lake.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

GREENING THE ENVIRONMENT PROJECT AT INLE LAKE

 

Asian Trails Myanmar's local station office in Shan State has started a new environmental project, with the aid of local villagers. The project aims to clean the precinct area of Inn Thein Pagoda, and make it greener by planting trees. Educational talks with the villagers, especially with children, on environmental awareness are an important part of the project.

 

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Asian Trails Malaysia!  

 

Spring is close and we are getting very busy with bookings for he next summer season. I suggest to any agent who needs a foreign-speaking guide, especially French or Spanish ones, to book the services as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment in the future.  

 

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!  

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

COURTYARD BOUTIQUE HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR

 

Courtyard Boutique Hotel, located in Kuala Lumpur's tourist belt of Bukit Bintang, is a modern colonial house offering stylish accommodation. It is right in the heart of the city's "Golden Triangle", within a 10 minute-walk to Jalan Alor, Kuala Lumpur's famous "food street". Adjacent to shopping complexes like Lot 10, Pavilion and Starhill, the hotel is the perfect gateway for you to explore Kuala Lumpur and its myriad attractions.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

E&O RESIDENCES KUALA LUMPUR OPENS

 

E&O Residences Kuala Lumpur, a luxury lifestyle serviced apartment managed by Eastern & Oriental Berhad (E&O), is opened. Located in Kuala Lumpur's central business district at Jalan Tengah, off Jalan Sultan Ismail, it is part of the St. Mary Residences development, occupying one of the three towers at the site. Comprising 200 units of chic and elegant apartment suites the E&O Residences is the ideal choice for traveling professionals, corporate relocations, long-stay medical visitors or tourists seeking the privacy and comforts of home while away.  

 

The E&O Residences is the first service suites to share the name and pedigree of the legendary E&O Hotel in Penang, bringing with it the level of hospitality that is synonymous with the luxury heritage brand.

 

 

 

SHANGRI-LA RASA RIA RESORT:  UPDATE ON OCEAN WING PHASE 2 EXTENSION

 

Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, began work on extending the resort's Ocean Wing on November 2012, starting with the piling works. The extension comprises two new blocks with 81 rooms, new lobby, spa, restaurant and pool. These new facilities are scheduled be ready by the third quarter of 2014.  

 

During the ongoing construction work all of the hotel's facilities; such as the swimming pools and rooms at both the Garden Wing and Ocean Wing, restaurants, spa, golf and recreation activities are operating as usual.  

 

The recently renovated Garden Wing rooms, located well away from the Ocean Wing extension site, is not affected by the ongoing work. Additionally, the hotel has a special team that is available 24 hours a day to communicate with and handle inquiries from guests to ensure a seamless delivery of service.

 

 

 

BAYVIEW BEACH RESORT PENANG: RENOVATION OF WASHROOMS

 

Bayview Beach Resort in Penang started extensive renovation of the guest washrooms at the lobby (first level) on February 25, 2013. Work is expected to take four weeks. Both the male and female washrooms are being renovated simultaneously. Alternative washrooms are available on the ground level for public usage. The renovation area is sealed so there is no dust or debris affecting the guests. All other guest facilities are available as usual. During the renovation period the hotel is offering special promotions and discounts at the pool bar area.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

RAPTOR WATCH WEEK
MARCH 9-10, 2013
VENUE: TANJUNG TUAN, PORT DICKSON

 

The Raptor Watch Week is an annual ecotourism event, which celebrates the migration of raptors (birds of prey) flying back north to their breeding grounds. Bird-watching enthusiasts will get a rare chance to see hundreds of migratory raptors including goshawks, honey-buzzards and sparrowhawks, flying across the Straits of Malacca in their annual journey back to the northern hemisphere. Tanjung Tuan is an excellent venue to catch this natural spectacle.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX SALE
MARCH 10-APRIL 15, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

The Malaysia Grand Prix (MGP) Sale, held in conjunction with the F1 Petronas Malaysia Grand Prix, begins on March 10 and ends on April 15. This annual shopping festival features a wide choice of goods at attractive prices, which will excite visiting F1 fans and local shoppers. Shopping malls and departmental stores in the Klang Valley, as well as throughout the country, will be offering great bargains and promotions. So gear up for the race of the season and a colourful shopping festival, which brings you some of the best bargains!

 

 

 

2013 FORMULA ONE PETRONAS MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX
MARCH 22-24, 2013
VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, SELANGOR

 

Catch the blazing action of cars racing at one of the most challenging tracks in the world - the Seoang International Circuit. Racing under extreme hot and wet conditions the circuit tests the skills of the world's finest racers to the limit. This year there will be an unprecedented six world champions at the starting grid. Be there to witness the exciting race live!

 

 

 

5TH PUTRAJAYA INTERNATIONAL HOT AIR BALLOON FIESTA
MARCH 28-31, 2013
VENUE: MONUMEN ALAF BARU, PRECINCT 2, PUTRAJAYA

 

Watch colourful hot air balloons soar in the skies of Putrajaya. The event, themed "1 World, 1 Malaysia, 1 Fiesta", features 23 balloonists from Malaysia, Belgium, USA, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Japan.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL SHOE FESTIVAL
MARCH 28-31, 2013
VENUE: PUTRA WORLD TRADE CENTRE KUALA LUMPUR

 

From glamorous stilettos to stylish sandals, classic pumps and trendy boots, the shoe festival at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur takes visitors on a fascinating journey into the world of designer footwear.

 

 

 

LABUAN INTERNATIONAL SEA CHALLENGE
APRIL 26-28, 2013
VENUE: LABUAN

 

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

 

 

 

REGATTA LEPA
APRIL 26-28, 2013
VENUE: SEMPORNA, SABAH

 

Semporna in Sabah comes to life with the Bajau seafarers in the unique Regatta Lepa, which features the beautiful traditional sailboats Witness telematches such as the boat-tug-war and kayak and boat races.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES UNVEILS FIRST AIRCRAFT IN ONEWORLD LIVERY

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) recently rolled out its first aircraft decorated in the livery of the oneworld alliance. The Malaysian flag carrier joined the alliance at midnight on January 31, 2013 in one of the most significant steps in its 40-year history.

The aircraft, with its new-look, was unveiled at a special ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by MAS Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya accompanied by counterparts from oneworld and its other member airlines. Another two aircraft in the MAS fleet will be decorated in the alliance livery in the coming months.

 

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

With ITB round the corner we are pleased to announce that Indonesia has been appointed the show's official partner country this year. This marks a milestone for the world's largest archipelago as Indonesia is the first ASEAN country to be named a partner country of the world's largest tourism fair. Indonesian President Mr. Yudhoyono will personally attend the opening ceremony on March 5, together with the German chancellor and the Indonesian Minister of Tourism. Over 4,000 guests from the tourism industry and the media are invited to this event.

 

The Indonesian Pavilion is located in Hall 26 and covers over 500 square metres of space this year. Not far from it and just a short distance down the aisle is the Asian Trails booth (no. 207), where visitors can receive first hand information about Indonesia. We look forward to see you in Berlin!  

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

NEW AIRPORT FOR MEDAN

 

The city of Medan in North Sumatra is to have a new airport by second quarter of 2013 when the first phase of its construction is completed. It will replace the existing Polonia International Airport.

 

Located on a 1,365ha land area in Kuala Namu, 20km north east of the current airport the new airport is expected to become the new international transit centre in Sumatra and the western part of Indonesia. The project is part of central government programme under its Acceleration and Expansion of the Indonesian Economic Development, and one of the strategies to handle ASEAN Open Sky Policy in 2015.

 

The airport will be Indonesia's second largest after Soekarno Hatta International Airport. Its 118,930sqm-passenger terminal has a capacity for 50 million passengers, a figure if realised today would place the airport in the top 10 busiest by passenger numbers in the world. With a 3,750m by 60m runway and 53 aprons it will be equipped to accommodate wide-body aircraft including the Airbus A380. The 13,000sqm cargo area is able to handle three carriers with 65,000 tones/annum. The 50,820sqm parking area can accommodate 405 taxis, 55 busses and 908 cars. The airport will also have 10 door gates. Accessibility to the airport will be increased with another highway (non-toll road), a toll road and non-stop rail link to Medan.  

 

Phase 1 of the new airport, which will have a capacity for nine million passengers annually, is scheduled to be operational by second quarter of 2013.  

 

Phase 2, when completed by 2025, will see the airport servicing 14 million passengers, 4.5 million international and 2.63 million internal transit passengers.

 

 

 

SEATREK REVISES KATHARINA'S PROGRAMME

 

Batavia Air, which recently announced its bankruptcy, is no longer operating flights from Bali to Maumere. Seatrek therefore has decided to revise the cruise programme of its vessel, Katharina, during summer this year. Instead of running the return Maumere to Bali route the boat now sails from Bali to Labuan Bajo and back to Bali again. Although the programme has changed the price and length of the cruise, including schedule, remain the same.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

ALILA PURNAMA SAILS TO KOMODO ISLAND

 

The luxurious wooden phinisi boat. Alila Purnama, is now sailing on the Flores Sea to Komodo Island from the port of Labuan Bajo. A three-night adventure commencing Mondays to Thursdays and Thursdays to Sundays is now available for individual bookings on a joint basis (based on a minimum of two passengers), subject to demand and capacity.  

 

Guests fly direct to Labuan Bajo from the tropical island of Bali. Sailing is via Rinca Island, where Komodo dragons reside, to east Sumbawa in the Flores Sea. When not mesmerised underwater guests can choose to relax on golden sandy beaches, perhaps with a picnic and a chilled glass of champagne. Or explore island life, taking a walk through villages or tropical rainforests, spotting beautiful birds of paradise in their natural habitats.  

 

Please contact us at res@asiantrails.co.id for rates and the exact programme.

 

 

 

JOURNEY OF EXPLORATION WITH KALIMANTAN EXPLORER

 

Kalimantan Tanjung Putih in Central Kalimantan is the best place in Indonesia for watching orangutans and wild animals. Discover its wildlife and age-old jungles and visit the Tanjung Puting National Park on the Kalimantan Explorer, which offers three to four days programmes.

 

Kalimantan Explorer is a klotok (traditional local boat) built by Buginese boat builders from South Sulawesi, and is the essence of such boats that have plied the Spice Islands for decades. It was recently renovated with the finest hand-made and recycled resistant tropical hardwoods. The boat has one master cabin, and there is space on the upper deck for another bed for those who prefer to sleep outside with a mosquito net. It offers the comforts and security that one would expect from a boat in its class for your clients.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

MORE ROOMS AT MANAMAYA RESORT

 

MahaMaya Resort, located on the beach at Turtle Point on the northwest coast of Gili Meno in Lombok, has opened an additional nine rooms. The stunning pool-view suites are just steps away from the fresh water swimming pool, the first of its kind on the island. With views across the pool and the tropical garden you can choose between the comfort of a king size or twin suites, all with your private terrace. All rooms have outdoor showers, hot and cold fresh running water, safety deposit boxes and unlimited complimentary drinking water.  

 

Gili Meno is the smallest and prettiest of the three Gili islands. In Sasak, the local language, "Gili" means "small island" and "Meno" means "middle". It is by far the most idyllic, non-commercial island easily accessible from Bali. This natural coral-fringed island has a reef designed for snorkelling, and if you are lucky you will have turtles swimming alongside you. The island truly offers a slice of paradise with crystal clear turquoise waters and secluded white sand beaches. You can walk round the island in 60 minutes or take the only form of transport on the island - a horse-cart known locally as a cidomo.

 

 

 

LV8 OPENS AT CANGGU BEACH

 

Lv8 is located on Berawa Beach Canggu, one of Bali's few treasured secret areas with rice fields that stretch along the coastline with a legendary eight world class surf breaks. The area is tranquil where travellers can escape the pressures of modern living, but still be close enough to enjoy shopping, nightlife and dining in neighbouring Petitenget and Seminyak that are only 10 minutes away.  

 

The resort is 15 minutes away from the Nirwana Golf and Country Club, designed by Greg Norman, 30 minutes away from bustling Kuta and 40 minutes from the airport.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

GARUDA TO LAUNCH JAKARTA-LONDON FLIGHT IN Q4

 

Garuda Indonesia is set to start six weekly services from Jakarta to London's Gatwick Airport in the fourth quarter of 2013. The airline will be using its newly delivered 314-seater B777-300ER aircraft on this route, comprising eight First Class, 38 Business Class and 268 Economy Class. There will be Wifi and a Chef on Board service in the First Class cabin.  

 

The Jakarta-London route will be Garuda's second service connecting Europe with Indonesia. Currently the airline flies Jakarta to Amsterdam via Abu Dhabi. It also has a cooperative arrangement with Etihad Airways.

 

 

 

GARUDA TO BOOST DOMESTIC CONNECTIONS WITH NEW AIRCRAFT

 

Garuda Indonesia has signed up for 18 Bombardier CRJ 1000 NextGen, with an option for another 18 aircraft. The airline will use the new aircraft to expand its domestic opens and open new routes to emerging destinations.  

 

The first of the 18 new aircraft will operate from Garuda's Makassar hub to several cities in Indonesia's eastern regions that include Makassar-Ternate (return), Makassar-Mataram (return), Makassar-Kendari (return), Makassar-Surabaya (return), and Surabaya-Denpasar (return). With arrival of more aircraft the airline will also serve cities from its hubs in Medan, Balikpapan and Surabaya.

 

 

 

CITILINK ORDERS 50 ATR 72-600 AIRCRAFT

 

Citilink Indonesia has ordered 50 twin turboprop ATR 72-600 aircraft to expand its domestic and international services. Five of the new aircraft will be used this year and will be based at the airline's hub in Batam [Riau Islands]. They will connect Batam to cities in Sumatra and Batam to international destinations such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

 

 

 

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