Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue May 2011

Dear friends,

 

The summer season is upon us. We at Asian Trails have lined up an endless list of unique and exciting products to meet your travel needs - whether you wish to explore the rich cultures of Myanmar, see the fascinating sights of Malaysia or discover the diversity that is Thailand.

 

Asian Trails also specialise in MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition). Have a meeting cum team building exercise at one of the beautiful resorts along the beaches of Danang or a team building exercise in China's Forbidden City with lunch at the Bird's Nest.

 

Our teams throughout the region will be happy to personalise and create holiday packages and incentives/events especially for you to enjoy the best of two worlds – work and play at the same time.

 

You can discover more in this issue of TRAILBLAZER.

 

Here's to journeys of discovery.

 

Happy Trails!

Luzi A. Matzig

CEO

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A note from Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,

 

First of all, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a good start to the Thai New Year. We had the Songkran festival from April 12-15 with numerous celebrations throughout the Kingdom.

 

Our Explore Tours are gaining popularity. We have created new Explore ideas including a four-day biking tour to Hua Hin.

 

In the past few years Bangkok’s first class hospitals have been recognised worldwide for their outstanding facilities. Asian Trails offers now a new Bangkok stopover, which includes a health check up.

 

Bangkok’s newest luxury hotel, the St. Regis, is just 300 metres or a five-minute walk from our Bangkok office. We also highlight more new hotels throughout the country in this edition, as well as a gourmet tip for Chiang Mai.

 

Happy reading!

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

EXPLORE FOR THE DISCERNING TRAVELLERS

 

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

 

 

EXPLORE:  PHUKET

 

Cycle by the sea through beautiful valleys and coconut groves. This tour takes you to visit many of Phuket's scenic views and natural attractions. You have the opportunity to experience Phuket’s lifestyle, friendly local people and the clean air of the island’s countryside. Enjoy Thai food at local restaurants. Visit Thalang National Museum where you enjoy learning about Phuket’s history, culture and the islander's way of life. Then stop at Phuket Butterfly Garden & Insect World to discover the wonders of these small creatures.

 

For more details please click here

 

EXPLORE: COLORS OF CHIANG MAI

 

Colors of Chiang Mai is a 4-5 hour bicycling tour through the southern part of the hillside resort. Along the way see and experience Chiang Mai’s rich cultural heritage. The route goes through quiet roads and pristine countryside, passing temples and ruins dating back hundreds of years. Visit a special school for hill tribes’ children and a small pottery where the workers produce differently shaped pottery by hand. Ride along the Ping River and breathe in the local atmosphere that makes Chiang Mai so special. Drinking water and a small local meal are provided during the trip.

 

For more details please click here

 

4-DAY BANGKOK PACKAGE WITH HEALTH CHECK-UP

 

Bangkok is one of the region’s leading cities in health tourism as it has modern technology and equipment plus experienced doctors. The doctors are available 24/7 to give early diagnosis to most illnesses and render treatment so patients can resume their normal life quickly.

 

Asian Trails has designed a Meditour Package for holiday-makers to visit Bangkok and have a health check-up at the same time. The check-up is at selected award-winning hospitals, which provide designated health check-up programmes. They are staffed with multi-lingual personnel who provide coordinated services on all hospital procedures for the check-up.

 

For more details please click here

 

4-DAY HUA HIN EXPLORER

 

Seventy kilometers south west of Bangkok the Mae Klong River spreads into a sprawling delta before reaching the Gulf of Thailand. This low-lying land is extremely fertile, and over the years extensive

networks of canals have been built to aid irrigation.

 

The adventure starts cycling from the reservoir, which is the source of many of these canals, as well as riding along them during the exploration of the southwestern part of Thailand. The trip passes through different terrains and locations, making it a great way to see and experience Thailand’s other side.

 

For more details please click here

 

RV RIVER KWAI CRUISE

 

Starting from June 2011, RV River Kwai Cruise will offer TWO guaranteed departures every month WITHOUT minimum number of passengers required. The dates are the FIRST and THIRD Monday (upriver cruise) every month. CruiseAsia Ltd. guarantees such cruises even if only one single cabin is booked. Other departures are on request or require a minimum of four clients to operate. 

 

RV River Kwai, the first inland cruise ship in Thailand, is a newly built colonial style river cruiser. It is based on designs used by the original Irrawaddy Flotilla, which was founded in Burma in 1865 and grew to be the largest privately owned fleet of ships in the world by the 1920s.

 

The cruise ship carries a maximum of 20 passengers in 10 teakwood cabins (single deck). It offers a 4-day/3-night year-round programme every Monday-Thursday and Thursday-Sunday on both upstream and downstream programmes alternately, as well as a 7-day/6-night year-round programme every Monday-Sunday. 

 

RV River Kwai opens up an entirely new area for river tourism in Kanchanaburi province, west of Bangkok. There are land excursions every morning and afternoon to attractions along the river including temples, historic sites, Khmer ruins, waterfalls, war cemeteries, hot springs and Bridge on the River Kwai. 

 

The cruise ship is also available for special Golf Charter Cruises on request.

 

For more details please click here
For booking  please click here

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

Bangkok

HANSAR BANGKOK

 

The hotel, just steps away from the heart of Bangkok and a minute walk to the BTS Skytrain, is nestled in the seclusion and comfort of Rajdamri Road, Bangkok’s most prestigious location,

 

Endless and enchanting views of Bangkok greenery, unrivalled architectural elegance and timeless style, amenities to please the most discerning traveller - this is the Hansar way of life. Its suites are steeped in modern comfort and amenities, contemporary yet timeless in style and adorned in Jim Thompson silk.

 

For more details please click here

 

ST. REGIS BANGKOK

 

St. Regis Bangkok is a paean to timeless elegance, situated along Ratchadamri Road, Bangkok’s most coveted address. This is also the city’s key commercial corridor where major corporations and elite financial institutions make their home.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

Chiang Mai

KHUM PHAYA RESORT & SPA

 

Chiang Mai is well known for its extensive range of hotels, many of which are highrise within the city centre. Unlike many of its counterparts Khum Phaya Resort & Spa (formerly Prince Khum Phaya Resort & Spa Chiang Mai), a member of the Centara Boutique Collection, aims to deliver a friendly traditional Lanna (northern Thai) style resort.

 

Located in the heart of Chiang Mai the resort’s design and architecture are based on Lanna traditions and customs, which are distinguished by the artistic wood carvings. These are featured in most of the resort’s decorations and include the 80-year-old teak wooden roof topping. The in-room furniture and facilities are also in Lanna style. The pleasant landscape in traditional Thai style, consisting of Thai mythological century-old trees and flowers, makes Khum Phaya Resort & Spa a unique place to stay.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

KANCHANABURI

U-CHANTREE KANCHANABURI RESORT

 

U Inchantree Kanchanaburi Resort is located on the north bank of the Kwai Yai River close to the famous River Kwai Bridge.


The boutique resort features 26 rooms in a two-storey building set around a courtyard, dominated by an ancient “Inchantree” after which the resort derives its name. The resort’s overall design is styled after a rustic river lodge, surrounded by landscaped gardens. Enjoy freshly prepared cuisine at the restaurant offering spectacular views of the River Kwai or sundowners at the sunset terrace lounge suspended over the edge of the river.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

KHAO LAK

CASA DE LA FLORA

 

Surrounded by Khoa Lak’s pristine, breathtaking beach Casa de La Flora provides the perfect getaway from the bustling city life. The hotel’s well-preserved, majestic tropical trees and lush flowers offer guests a haven of peace and serenity. The uniquely- and well-designed hotel offers a neoteric lifestyle and fashionable holidaying experience, in addition to its tangible warmth, homegrown hospitality and graceful service.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

PHUKET

ANDAKIRA HOTEL

 

Andakira Hotel is a brand new property located in the heart of Patong Beach, minutes away from the shopping centre, nightlife entertainment and the beach, but yet is serene. It features 104 rooms and suites with contemporary modern design. All the rooms are beautifully furnished and designed for comfort. Hotel’s facilities include an Infinity lap pool on the third floor with a cosy pool bar, a day spa and free wireless Internet. There is also a free shuttle to Patong Beach.

 

For more details please click here

 

CENTRA ASHLEE RESORT

 

Centra Ashlee Resort is conveniently located in the heart of the popular tourist town of Patong on Phuket’s dramatic west coast overlooking the Andaman Sea. A five minute walk takes you to the endless soft, white sand and sparkling waters of Patong Beach.

 

Strategically located the resort is just a short distance from the area’s entertainment and shopping centres such as Jung Ceylon Shopping and Entertainment Complex, the bustling Bangla Walking Street and the Central Festival Shopping and Entertainment Complex. Tourist attractions and beautiful beaches such as Kamala Beach and Karon Beach and Phrom Thep Cape (Laem Phrom Thep) are easily accessible by road. Phuket town is a 25-minute drive by car away, while the Phuket International Airport is 40 minutes away.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

SAMUI

HANSAR SAMUI

 

The name “Hansar”, which means “happiness and joy”, is taken from the ancient Sanskrit language.

The concept and philosophy of Hansar Samui is to deliver an experience to each guest that is happy, memorable and enjoyable. 

 

Hansar Samui is about living life in full colours and finding joy in every moment.  The hotel offers luxurious, beach-front, spacious accommodation with unobstructed sea views from every room, and supersize private balconies and oversize daybeds for outdoor living and entertaining. Open plan yet intimate, each room has been artfully finished with teak floors, terrazzo bathrooms and local textiles to provide a sense of place. Chic custom furnishings and large flat screen TVs balance the design’s natural touches with a modern flair.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

BUN BANG FAI ROCKET FESTIVAL

MAY 11-15, 2011

 

In a country where agriculture and farming sustains the livelihood of over 70 percent of the population, the festivals and ceremonies associated with a bountiful harvest are central elements of the way of life in the rural communities. Agricultural productivity and abundance are the principle objectives of both the royal as well as the folk traditions. These rituals performed on auspicious dates in the sixth lunar month (approximately in May) signal the beginning of the planting season.

 

Born of the traditional beliefs of the Isan people the sprightly Bun Bang Fai Rocket Festival, the most celebrated of Isan's merit-making rituals, has been strictly observed by the residents of Isan for generations and is essentially an annual ritual to ensure that the seasonal rains fall at the appropriate time in the planting cycle. In this process Buddhist merit-making traditions are also observed and reinforced.

 

Highlights of the annual Bun Bang Fai celebrations include a procession of old-style rockets mounted on traditional carts, a beauty pageant, cheerleader contests and a traditional “Palaeng” I-san style dinner.

 

 

THE ROYAL PLOUGHING CEREMONY

MAY 13, 2011

VENUE: SANAM LUANG, RATTANAKOSIN ISLAND, BANGKOK

 

The Royal Ploughing Ceremony is an ancient Brahminical rite dating back to the Sukhothai period (1257-1350 A.D.) The ceremony, which heralds the start of the new rice-growing season, was undertaken to assure a successful planting season and an abundance of the nation's crops. Festivities were held to boost the farmers' morale urging them to strive for an abundant harvest for consumption and to ensure sufficient reserves for times of war and for export overseas.

 

 

10th SAMUI INTERNATIONAL YACHT REGATTA

MAY 30 - JUNE 4, 2011

 

Held for the 10th consecutive year this leading lifestyle and sporting event continues to attract competitive and social sailors from around the world. The five-day regatta is one of Asia’s most glamorous sailing events and is part of the Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championships. It is also firmly established as a “must attend” event on the international sailing circuit.

 

Spectator boats will provide a unique opportunity for members of the public to get up close and personal with all of the “on-water” sailing action. There are also many fun parties during the regatta. Public tickets are available for the legendary “off-water” parties that take place most evenings during the regatta and feature renowned bands and fabulous entertainment.

Headquarters for the event will again be the Centara Grand Beach Resort, which has been the home of the regatta since its conception and has played host to crews from far and wide yearly.

 

Note: In last year’s regatta the fabulous sailing conditions enabled the staging of a round-the-island race for the first time in the event’s history.

 

For more details please click here

 

THAILAND TRAVEL MART PLUS AMAZING GATEWAY TO THE GREATER MEKONG SUBREGION (TTM+2011)

JUNE 8 - 10, 2011

VENUE: EXHIBITION CENTRE HALL, IMPACT MUANG THONG THANI

 

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thai tourism industry,will jointly host Thailand Travel Mart Plus Amazing Gateway to the Greater Mekong Subregion’ (TTM+GMS), the lcountry’s argest B2B event, from June 8-10.

 

The event, first organised in 2001, has the objective to promote the tourism and service business in Thailand and its Greater Mekong Subregion’s (GMS) counterparts. The region’s small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) will be on show with an array of their products to showcase to International markets (buyers) that include  Europe, South East Asia, Eastern Asia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Emerging markets, such as the CIS countries, Eastern Europe, Middle East, South America and South Africa will also be represented at the mart.
 

 

PHI TA KHON & BUN LUANG FESTIVAL

JUNE 24 - 26, 2011

VENUE: DAN SAI DISTRICT, LOEI DISTRICT & PROVINCE

 

The Phi Ta Khon Festival is unique to the Dan Sai district in Loei Province and reflects the local Isan belief in ghosts and spirits. Held once a year, it is part of a grand merit-making festival known as the "Boon Luang" festival.  

 

The origins of the Phi Ta Khon Festival can be found in the tale of Lord Buddha's last great incarnation before attaining Enlightenment. In Buddhist accounts it is said that when Prince Vessandara, the Buddha's penultimate incarnation, returned to his city it was such a joyous occasion that the village spirits came forth to join the welcoming parade. The colourful and vibrant Phi Ta Khon procession is the central focus of the celebrations. In a lively re-enactment of the tale the young men of the community dress up as "spirits" wearing long trailing costumes made from colourful strips of cloth sewn together.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

BUSINESS AIR INCREASES PHUKET-INCHEON FLIGHTS

 

Bangkok-based airline Business Air has announced plans to increase its flight frequency on its Phuket-Incheon (South Korea) service from four times weekly to five times weekly. The extra flight will make it easier for holiday-makers to travel between the two destinations during the high season for tourism. This move is also in line with the airline’s strategy to focus only on big travel groups, working with tour operators with a large customer base.

 

Business Air also plans to increase its Bangkok-Incheon service to seven times a week.

 

The airline will take delivery of its fourth aircraft early next year to meet with the high market demand between Thailand and South Korea.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

AUBERGE CHIANG MAI

 

Auberrge Chiang Mai comes highly recommended for its fine French cuisine. Its architecture captures the classical and magical atmosphere of Paris, exuding both grandeur and warmth. The restaurant’s selected menus with dishes, which excite the palate of even the most discernable diner, make dining here an unforgettable experience. It is conveniently located about 10 minutes from downtown Chiang Mai and the international airport.

 

 

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LAOS

 

A note from Managing Director Philippe Conod

 

Dear Friends and Partners

 

By the time my note reaches you, Laos would have celebrated the Buddhist New Year and entered into the Year 2554 of the local calendar.

 

After four days of intense celebration, marked by numerous visits to temples and heavy throwing of water, life has returned to normal, a peaceful and leisurely one.

 

The high season is also over. Luang Prabang has resumed its tranquil pace that visitors love so much, and the Vientiane capital rightly deserves its reputation as the quietest capital in South East Asia.

 

Preparation for the new season is under way as the tourism industry doesn’t stop. Laos and Asian Trails are ready to welcome visitors and friends in the coming summer

 

Sabaidee Pimai and Happy New Year to all of you

 

Philippe Conod

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

4 DAYS EXPLORE TOUR: SOUTHERN LAOS

 

This beautiful new active Explore programme combines the waterfalls and minority villages of the Bolaven plateau with the 4,000 islands in the area. We took some time to inspect the sites and can truly say that this will be a rewarding new product for our clients.  

 

Day 1:  Start the Bolaven circuit and see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Laos and learn about coffee production in the area.  

 

Day 2:  Leave your lodge next to the river and start trekking through various minority villages of the region. You will be return to the lodge for lunch and have the afternoon to explore the village of Tad Lo or to go for a swim. In the early evening catch the spectacular sunset with views over the plateau on top of a waterfall – an event not to be missed.

 

Day 3: The day’s journey takes you further south, but not before visiting the famous Vat Phou Temple and seeing the main sights of Pakse town. Stay for the night on one of the biggest islands on the Mekong.  

 

Day 4:  Take the boat to the Lao/Cambodian border. Learn to fish the Lao way, cycle on another Mekong island towards a big sand beach from where you take another boat to spot the rare Irrawaddy dolphins. Finish your day with a visit to the biggest waterfall in South East Asia.

 

Contact us for more details.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

SUNSET HOUSE - LUANG PRABANG

 

The beautiful Sunset House is the ideal venue to enjoy great comfort in a beautiful setting. Relax by the swimming pool in between visits to the Heritage City of Luang Prabang. The House can accommodate 2-8 persons and is ideal for small groups and families. Hotel-like services, car and guide are available, with additional services provided on request.

 

Contact us for prices. Low season promotion available

 

 

LAO CHARMING HOTEL - OUDOMXAY

 

This first boutique hotel in Oudomxay is good news for all clients who wish to travel to Northern Laos and stay in a comfortable hotel without hurting their budget too much.

 

Lao Charming Hotel has 13 rooms comprising 10 deluxe rooms and 3 suites. A handicraft centre is attached to the hotel. It is very centrally located, with nice views from the hotel’s restaurant over the Oudomxay valley.

 

 

NOVOTEL VIENTIANE REBRANDS

 

Novotel Vientiane was officially rebranded as Mercure Vientiane on the April 27, 2011. The Mercure brand, which is also part of the Accor Hotels & Resorts, gives more flexibility in terms of the hotel setup.

 

 

 

SPECIAL PROMOTION – AMANTAKA

 

Free upgrade: May 1 - October 31, 2011

 

For the low season Amantaka offers all guests who stay for a minimum of 3 nights a complimentary upgrade to next category of rooms (subject to availability at time of reservations)

 

Also included is a free breakfast and airport transfer

 

 

 

 

Tip of the month

 

XAYOH GRILL HOUSE  - VIENTIANE

 

Xayoh Grill House opened its doors in late March, and is ideally located near the centre of Vientiane.

 

This new restaurant has a large air- conditioned room, as well as al fresco terrace dining. Meat-lovers will love this restaurant as it offers a large selection of local and imported meats. It also has a wide menu for fish lovers and vegetarians.

 

Bon appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

LAO AIRLINES REINSTATES SERVICES

 

After announcing the suppression of certain routes    during the next summer schedule, Lao Airlines has officially reinstated the three weekly Pakse – Bangkok (via Savannakhet) service, as well as the daily Luang Prabang-Bangkok. Definitely very good news for all travellers.

 

 

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

Dear partners and friends,

 

After a 37-year gap Air France has resumed his services to Cambodia, with three weekly return flights between Paris and Phnom Penh. The inaugural flight, AF274 operated on an Airbus 340-300, landed at Phnom Penh international airport March 28.. I am happy to say I was on board  this iflight. The new services are on Monday, Wednesdays, Fridays for departures and Tuesdays, Thursdays and-Saturdays for return.

 

Air France is the first European airline to operate scheduled flights to Cambodia. This is  due to French tourists' interest in Cambodia, the country's economic buoyancy and strong cultural ties with France,

 

Emmanuel Guillaume, Air France’s Cambodia Director, said the airline is committed to contributing to the economical development of Cambodia, as well as providing a competitive, quality and efficient service with the complete range of KLM and Skyteam products on the ground and in-flight services, with the Air France savoir-faire.

 

New on our website

 

We are also pleased to launch a special link on our website dedicated exclusively to hotels in Cambodia. The site includes maps, detailed descriptions of products and services, and special hot deals.

 

Friendly regards and Happy Trails!

 

Jacques Guichandut

 
  For more details please click here

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

KOH KONG, AN EMERGING ECO TOURISM DESTINATION

 

For decades Koh Kong villages, such as Chi Phat, have little contact with the outside world. Marginalised by a lack of infrastructure, presence of the Khmer Rouge that lasted into the late 1990s and some of Southeast Asia's wildest, least-explored terrain, the region remained virtually off-limits to outsiders.

 

However, new roads now penetrate the jungle and scale the hills, and new bridges traverse the area's numerous rivers. Thanks to this new accessibility travellers are now discovering the area's awe-inspiring biodiversity, which includes one of South East Asia's largest tracts of virgin rainforest, about 60 threatened species including the endangered Asian elephants, tigers, Siamese crocodiles and gibbons. This is a virtually untouched 12-island archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand, with sand beaches and crystal-clear aquamarine waters.

 

 

TETHERED BALLOON - NEW ARRIVAL

 

We are very pleased to announce that the installation of a new tethered balloon in the Angkor zone has been completed. It has been in operations since March 29 and is open to customers

 

 

 

 

 

PHOCEA MEKONG CRUISE

 

Phocea Mekong is a cruise boat built in 1999 and was previously named Le Deauville.  It has recently been renovated and refurbished to turn it into a comfortable and luxurious floating vessel. It can accommodate 25 passengers and has a comfortable indoor cabin equipped with a DVD system, modern toilets and a kitchen.

 

The best way to discover Oudong and Tonle Sap River and avoid the busy roads is on the one-day cruise with Phocea Mekong. It takes you on a voyage of discovery to Oudong’s historical site, Cambodia’s ancient royal capital. Along the way you can see how the people along the Tonle Sap River live their daily life, while enjoying stunning views of the river and the countryside. Breakfast, lunch, drinks and cocktail are served on board with tuk-tuk transfers to Oudong’s site.

 

Alternatively you can go on the BBQ dinner cruise, journeying from Wat Phnom to the Royal Palace and crossing the Mekong.

 

 

EFEO'S WORKS ON SHOW IN ARTISANS D’ANGKOR, SIEM REAP

 

Artisans d’Angkor will present to the public the photographic archives of the Ecole francaise d'Extreme-Orient (EFEO), or the French School of the Far East, at Angkor. The exhibition in June and July will also highlight the patient work of the restoration of temples carried out by teams of Cambodian and French archaeologists.

 

EFEO is a French institute dedicated to research in archaeology and the study of Asian societies. It was founded in 1900 with headquarters in Hanoi before moving it to Paris.  Since 1907 the EFEO has been in charge of conservation work at the archaeological site of Angkor.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

AMAZING ROAD BUGGY TOURS

 

A new specialist tour company is offering visitors an original and unique way to explore the Cambodian countryside and jungles – on off-road buggies.

 

The 650CC buggies are of the latest design and have a water-cooled engine, which means they can be used in both the dry summer heat and the humid rainy season. With a maximum speed of 85kmh these mean machines are sure to get your adrenalin pumping.

 

All the buggies have rollover bars, side impact bars and disc brakes. With a ground clearance of 320mm they tackle steep inclines with ease and can get you out of almost any sticky situation. They also come with dual 4-point safety belts and big sports seats to ensure your journey is comfortable, safe and fun

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

PHNOM PENH

VILLA SREY, PHNOM PENH'S HIDDEN GEM

 

Enjoy a quiet setting and warm hospitality in Villa Srey, a boutique hotel in Phnom Penh. This colonial building has been entirely refurbished with modern amenities with Wifi and air- conditioned in all the eight rooms, which are refurbished with modern amenities and designed in Western and Asian style. The villa also has a swimming pool and is surrounded by a tropical garden.

 

 

HOTEL NINE

 

Conveniently located within walking distance of the Independence Monument, the popular riverside precinct and Phnom Penh’s business district, Hotel Nine offers guests a secluded and tranquil refuge from the bustling city. It has 15 newly refurbished air-conditioned rooms, an on-site cafe and bar and a luxurious swimming pool. There is a fully equipped business centre with Internet access for guests to stay connected while away from home.

 

 

 

Siem reap

SIDDHARTA HOTEL

 

Siddharta Hotel is located behind Le Meridien Angkor on the way to the temples. Designed for comfort Cambodian style, it offers 24 spacious rooms, two family suites and two honeymoon suites. All are equipped with modern amenities that include flat TV with over 80 cable channels, king size bed, IPod and MP3 player. The honeymoon suites are specially designed for comfort, with each room having its own private terrace overlooking the lush tropical garden and the salt-water pool. The rooftop restaurant on the eastern wing and lounge on the western wing offer unparallel views over the city, and are perfect for watching the sunset over cocktails.

 

 

BEST WESTERN SUITES AND SWEET RESORT

 

Best Western, the world’s largest hotel chain, is set to take over the former Suites and Sweet Resort in Siem Reap. Inspired by the floating village design and with only 18 (figure to be updated) luxurious and comfortable 68sqm suites. Each suite has its own private mini-pool and a large terrace in precious exotic wood overlooking an ornate tropical pond in the purest Cambodian tradition and style. The resort’s unique setting gives it an intimate sense of a small and exclusive village far from the madding crowd.

 

 

 

SIHANOUKVILLE

SONG SAA PRIVATE ISLAND

 

Song Saa Private Island, a new resort in Cambodia's untouched Koh Rong Archipelago, is scheduled to open this October. It spans the two islands of Koh Ouen and Koh Bong and is connected by a footbridge over a marine reserve. The latter has been established to safeguard the islands' reefs and marine life including dugongs, seahorses and exotic species of tropical fish.

 

The resort, currently under construction, is  set a new standard in responsible high-end luxury. It features 25 rainforest, beach and over-water villas built from sustainable materials in perfect harmony with the sparkling turquoise ocean, rainforest and white sands. Each villa has a private pool, top-of-the-range sound system and Wifi broadband. The resort about 30 minutes on its luxury speedboat service from the newly opened Sihanoukville International Airport.

 

 

 

RATTANAKIRI

PHNOM YAKLOM HOTEL

 

Phnom Yaklom Hotel is a tranquil retreat located on top of a beautiful mountain peak, just 1km from Yaklom Lake. The location is known for its incredible sunrise and magnificent sunset. Enjoy trekking, camping, observing wildlife, riding elephants and overnight stay in the forest. The 19 modern, clean, air-conditioned rooms and traditional Khmer bungalows are surrounded by a manicured garden just above the clear waters of Yaklom Lake. Free Internet and Wifi are available throughout the property.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY KING NORODOM SIHAMONI

MAY 13-15, 2011

 

The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates the 58th birthday of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni with three public holidays from May 13-15. Various posters of His Majesty are erected on main boulevards and road throughout the Kingdom to commemorate the special occasion. King Norodom Sihamoni is the third monarch to reign in Cambodia in its 60-year history after his father, His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk, and grandfather, His Majesty King Norodom Suramarith.

 

VISAKHA BOCHEA DAY

MAY 17, 2011

 

Bonn Pisakh Bochea on the full moon day of May marks the Birth, Enlightenment and the Entrance into the Nirvana (Death) of Lord Buddha. The Cambodian people celebrate the day with colourful ceremonies held in the Angkor Archeological Park and in pagodas where thousands of monks and devotees pay homage to Buddha.

 

 

ROYAL PLOUGHING DAY

MAY 21, 2011

 

A good place to take part in the colourful celebrations is at the Veal Mèn near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. A series of activities take place here after the field is ceremoniously ploughed three times and the “royal oxen” or sacred cows are offered a choice of seven crops and drinks that include ice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine. Royal soothsayers then make predictions for the coming harvest season from the chosen oxen. They interpret from what the oxen ate and predict events that include epidemics, floods, good harvests and/or excessive rainfall.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

Siem Reap

AMAZING "SMILE OF ANGKOR"

 

"Smile of Angkor" is a 75-minute long spectacular show that is divided into six chapters - Dialog with God, Prosperous Dynasty, Revived Gods, Churning the Sea of Milk, Pray for lives and Smile of Angkor. The performance features traditional Cambodia dance and culture, such as Shiva Dance, Apsara Dance, Soldier Dance, Peacock Dance, Bathing Dance, Monkey Dance, Bokkator (Cambodia fighting skills), and Palace Candle Dance. The performers use their talent to make a dreamy and fantastic performance of Cambodia’s culture.

 

"Smile of Angkor" is produced by Siem Reap Performance & Arts Co., Ltd. It uses huge LED, lasers, water curtain, special on-stage smog, modern lighting and sound system to create the special effects.

 

 

 

PHNOM PENH

EMPERORS OF CHINA

 

This new Chinese restaurant in Phnom Penh is decorated in a style befitting the emperors of ancient China. Its grand interior has classical Chinese art pieces and replicas of the famous terracotta warriors. The ground floor has private room and well-placed tables for open dining, while on the first floor are VIP rooms. It offers  fine Chinese cuisine including dim sum

 

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

GOODBYE TO THIDA

 

Ms Oum Sovathida, our long serving happy and enthusiastic Reservation Supervisor for the International Market at Asian Trails Phnom Penh office is leaving us to join Song Saa Island Resort Company as Sales Manager in May.

 

Thida has been with Asian Trails since February 2002. Our team members and overseas partners will miss her dearly. We wish her all the very best and success in her future endeavours. Thank you Thida for the good work and the business yields for Asian Trails!

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

Pic: ATV team with MD Ms.Thuy Tien (3rd left) & Luzi Matzig, AT Group CEO (4th left)

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

ASIAN TRAILS VIETNAM CELEBRATES 10TH ANNIVERSARY

 

Time flies. It seems like only yesterday that we opened Asian Trials Vietnam office way back in 2001. And this year we are celebrating our 10th anniversary.

 

In the 10 years of operations we have achieved a lot as a team. Together we have overcome difficult times brought on by the outbreak of SARS and bird flu, as well as the 1997-1998 financial crisis that collectively had brought travel, both outbound and inbound, to almost a halt. However, we are happy to have overcome these setbacks and have moved forward to consolidate the company’s business.

 

Today, Asian Trails Vietnam is proud to say we have 80 team members in all our offices throughout the country. We look forward to an inspirational gathering in mid-May at Diamond Bay Resort in Nha Trang, a beautiful beach resort that hosted Ms Universe Contest in 2008 and Ms Earth Contest in 2010. This will be a chance for all the team members to get to know each other better and have fun at the same time There will be activities galore – cooking contest, musical competition and a full day of team building exercise with the theme, “Survive on Desert Island”. Our hope as we leave our retreat is that our team spirit will be further reinforced so “together everyone can achieve more.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

CENTRAL VIETNAM'S BEAUTIFUL BEACHES & CITIES

 

Most of Indochina has a single rainy season during the  south monsoon between May and October. But on the coast in the central parts of the country, which faces the northeast, the season of maximum rainfall is between September and February. Thus, in contrast with other parts of the country the climate in Central Vietnam, with its dry and hot weather, is perfect in the summer months for beach holidays.

 

A must visit is the famous China Beach in Danang, Hoi An, listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site. It offers an inimitable glimpse of the classic Asian culture. The Old Town retains the true essence of Hoi An of yore. The relics here are true heirlooms of the city's Golden Age from the 15th-19th century. Its well-maintained structures are a rare sight in today's world where renovation and redesigning has changed the face of most ancient cities. The town offers various options of luxurious accommodation.

 

In spite of all the ravages of war Hue has a lingering charm of its own. Huong Giang or the Perfume River, a major landmark that demarcates the old city and the Imperial Citadel on the northern end from the new city on the south, has most of the restaurants and hotels in Hue. The riverside is dominated by a striking promenade and park, punctuated by wacky pieces of sculpture. It is a charming and historic place to visit. Most of the beach resorts offer promotions during the summer months.

 

 

WORLD CLASS HOSPITAL FOR VIETNAM

 

The South Hanoi Urban Development Joint Stock Company will build a VinMedicare medical centre that will position itself as the first “world class” hospital facility in the country. 

 

VinMedicare will cover an area of 24,670sqm. When completed the hospital will begin a marketing campaign to attract medical business from around the region. There are also long-term plans to set up similar hospitals across the country under the same brand. This development will play a crucial role in reinforcing the competitiveness of Vietnam as a destination for medical tourism.

 

 

HALONG BAY CHASES NEW 7 WONDERS

 

The world famous Halong Bay is listed as one of the finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the World. It has embarked on an aggressive campaign since August 2007 to be selected as on of the New 7 Wonders. To achieve this Halong Bay has to collect over 60 million votes, including a substantial number from foreigners who have visited the bay. In the first seven days of 2011 Halong Bay attracted 56,000 visitors, with 94% being foreigners, the largest visitor count ever. The official declaration of the New 7 Wonders of the World will be on 11 November 2011.

 

Please help Halong Bay to be one of the New 7 Wonders of the World by voting for it.

 

For vote, please click here

 

 

HOI AN - ASIA'S SECOND TOP DESTINATION

 

Vietnam’s Hoi An, a world heritage town near Danang in the country’s central coastal region has been selected as one of Asia’s top 10 destinations for 2010 by Smart Travel Asia, a Hong Kong-based online travel magazine. It came in second with 96% of readers’ votes.

 

BA BE NATIONAL PARK RECOGNISED

 

Ramsar Convention has named Ba Be National Park in the northern province of Bac Can as a “wetland site of international importance“. The site was designated as an ASEAN Heritage Park in 2004.

 

The national park, which covers an area of 100.48sqkm, is home to 1,268 species of flora and fauna. It acts a protective shield for a freshwater lake along with surrounding limestone and lowland evergreen forest. Located 240km northwest of the capital city Hanoi, the park is the only site that has a natural lake surrounded by a mountainous karst ecosystem.

 

Ba Be National Park is the third wetland area designated for its “international

importance” in the country. The others are Xuan Thuy National Park in Nam Dinh province and Bau Sau in the Nam Cat Tien National Park across the provinces of Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Binh Phouc.

 

 

INFO KIOSKS AVAILABLE IN DANANG

 

The People’s Committee of the central coastal city of Danang has authorised the installation of 10 automated tourist information machines (Info Kiosks). These kiosks, to be installed by the city’s Culture, Sports and Tourism department, provide information in Vietnamese and English to travellers to Danang city. They will be located at public places, principal tourist spots and bus stations.

 

Danang is a major tourist hub of Vietnam, near Hoian and Hue. Last year the city welcomed 1.77 million visitors representing an increase of 36% from 1.3 million in 2009.

 

 

DANANG'S  DONG DINH MUSEUM OPENS

 

Danang recently saw the opening of Dong Dinh Museum, touted to be the largest museum in Vietnam’s central region. The privately owned museum compliments what tourists experience at the world heritage coastal village of Hoi An by displaying old artefacts. Some of these artefacts date back 2,500 years and were collected from the central and highland tribes belonging to ancient cultures such as Dai Viet, Sa Huynh and Cham Pa. However, there is a section devoted to modern architecture and displays of contemporary paintings and statues to balance the museum’s appeal for visitors.

 

The museum is open to the public on weekends and public holidays. It can also be booked for tour groups.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

HOMESTAY IN CAI BE'S MEKONG LODGE

 

Adventurous travellers looking for an authentic homestay when visiting the Mekong Delta, which were not easily available before, can now find it in the Mekong Lodge in Cai Be. It is about a three-hour drive from bustling Ho Chi Minh and offers a true escape in simple, rustic accommodation.

 

The only way to reach Mekong Lodge is by boat as it is situated on Tan Phong island and lies just beside the Tien River. The lodge has 30 private, comfortable bungalows and a riverview restaurant, stretched over an area of more than 12.000sqm. It is currently the only eco-resort in the Mekong Delta.

 

Schedule a 2-day/1-night stay as there are numerous activities for the lodge’s guest. Cycle along the delta passing lush vegetation, orchards and rice fields, take a lesson in making local delicacies, watch the breath-taking sunset while sipping a glass of wine or visit the colourful Cai Be floating market in the early morning to experience the simple lifestyle of the local people.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

FOUR HOTELS & RESORTS IN "BEST" LIST

 

Four hotels and resorts in Vietnam have found a place in Conde Nast Traveller’s 17th Annual 2011 Gold List of World’s Best Places to stay. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Life Heritage Resort Hoian, Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses in Nha Trang, and Park Hyatt Saigon were honoured in the January issue of the magazine.   

 

Life Heritage and Evason were also among Conde Nast Traveler’s 20 Best Resorts in Asia last November, with Evason Ana Mandara & Six Senses in the eighth position followed by Life Heritage Resort Hoian in the ninth.

 

 

BHAYA CLASSIC 4 ARRIVES IN HALONG

 

Bhaya Cruises in Halong received its newest vessel, Bhaya Classic 4, on May 1. Previously sailing under the Hai Long Suites brand, Bhaya Classic 4 combines classic oriental style with contemporary luxury. It has 16 luxurious cabins that can accommodate over 30 guests, a restaurant for gourmet dining, open-air massage and spa area and a spacious partly covered sundeck bar for relaxing and socialising.

 

With the fourth Bhaya Classic vessel added to its fleet, Bhaya Cruises now has a total of 80 cabins and suites, placing it as the largest premium cruise operator in Ha Long Bay.

 

 

MONDIAL HUE OFFICIALLY OPENS

 

The four star Mondial Hue officially opened on March 26. The seven-storey hotel has 100 guest rooms and facilities befitting its star status. It has been in operations since November last year with an average 40% of occupancy. It has successfully organised numerous event sand meetings, and has received positive feedback. The hotel is expected to add more choice for travellers to the lovely city of Hue lovely destination.

 

Mondial Hue was built at a cost of VND75 billion (US3.8 million) by Mondial Hue Co. Ltd in collaboration with others partners.

 

 

 

AN LAM NINH VAN BAY VILLAS

 

Hotel management company, Epikurean Villas Hotels & Hideouts, launched the high-end An Lam Ninh Van Bay Villas in the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa province on April 2.

 

The resort covers an area of 20 hectares and features 35 beachfront villas, with 18 villas opened in April. Room rates start at US$400 a night. Located 16 km from Nha Trang city it is a 30-minute drive from Cam Ranh Airport.

 

Epikurean Villas Hotels & Hideouts is a privately owned group and with its local affiliate, Hotel Collection Indochine, manage six properties in Vietnam.

 

NAME CHANGE FOR SAILING CLUB MUI NE

 

Sailing Club Mui Ne will change its name to Mia Mui Ne Resort. The reason is the company’s expansion that will see the opening another resort in Nha Trang. The new name is reflective of the company’s expansion. The resort’s holding company retains the name of Sailing Club.

 

 

For more details , please click here

 

ANANTARA MUI NE RESORT & SPA LAUNCHES IN SUMMER

 

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has announced the launch of Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa, the former L’Anmien Mui Ne Resort & Spa, in summer.

The group took over the resort’s management in April this year. It will spend the next few months making enhancements and upgrading the resort to ensure it meets Anantara’s level of five star luxury. The resort remains fully operational throughout this period and all guest bookings remain unaffected.

 

Anantara Mui Ne Resort & Spa is set directly on an enviable beachfront position. It has 90 rooms, suites and pool villas designed in contemporary harmony with local culture, creating a relaxed gateway to the distinctive cultural charms of south-eastern Vietnam.

 

 

 

VICTORIA VIETNAM PART OF THIEN MINH GROUP

 

Victoria Vietnam Group has become part of the Thien Minh Group. The combination of the Thien Minh Group, a company operating in the global travel and tourism industry, and Victoria Hotel & Resorts, which has built a good reputation in the last 15 years, will take the Victoria brand to new heights of excellence.

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

CAVE FESTIVAL

MAY 2011

VENUE :PHONG NHA-KE BANG NATIONAL PARK. QUANG BINH

 

Quang Binh, a province in central Vietnam is known for its magnificent grottos of Phong Nha and recognised as a Natural World Heritage site. However, the grottos have not been able to attract the foreign tourists who visit Hue, Hoian and Danang.

 

To promote the national park and the grottos the People’s Committee will organise a cave festival in May. Most of main activities will be held at Phong Nha-Ke Bang, including Phong Nha and Thien Duong caves. The festival aims to promote the province’s numerous spectacular caves, to attract both domestic and international visitors, as well as investments to the area.

 

 

SEA FESTIVAL

JUNE 11-15, 2011

VENUE : NHA TRANG

 

The fifth biennial Sea Festival will be held in the central coastal city of Nha Trang on June 11-15 with focus on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.

It will introduce the archipelago in a photo exhibition, a music show and a conference on the Truong Sa District.

 

The festival will open with a fireworks display and feature various activities at the beaches in Nha Trang, Doc Let beach, and Bai Dai. The event will also promote environment protection activities including the cleaning up of rubbish in the city and a scientific conference on preserving Nha Trang Bay.

 

 

 

7TH INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EXHIBITION

SEPTEMBER 14-17, 2011

VENUE:  HO CHI MINH

 

This year’s exhibition titled “Four nations- one destination” aims to promote tourism in the four countries of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. It expects to attract 270 pavilions from 210 businesses and 11,000 visitors.

The exhibition is the coordinated effort of the State and private businesses to develop tourism industry with the focus on infrastructure investment and improvement of product and service quality. The four nations have agreed to cooperate in exchanging information, developing human resources for tourism, opening more direct flights and setting up business relations to boost tourism development in the region.

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

HUE'S AIRPORT CLOSES FOR A MONTH

 

Vietnam Airlines announced that Hue’s Phu Bai Airport would be closed from May 5 until June 5 to allow for urgent repairs and an upgrade of the runway. As the airport has only one runway both inbound and outbound operations will be suspended. All flights to and from the airport during this period will be cancelled. Passengers who have booked flights during this period can change flights and, in instances where alternatives are not possible, receive a full refund.

 

Phu Bai Airport is used almost exclusively for domestic services and until repairs are completed, Danang Airport, 66km away, is the nearest point for travellers heading to Hue. Most of the bookings are thus being redirected to Danang Airport, from where mini-bus take travellers to Hue on the 90-minute journey via hilly and beautiful coastal road. For clients travelling with Asian Trails we will make necessary arrangement and communicate with the agents individually.

 

 

5TH FREEDOM RIGHTS FOR TURKISH AIRLINES

 

Following a recent agreement between Thailand and Turkey on fifth freedom rights, Turkish Airlines is now able to pick up traffic between Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City (HCNC). To celebrate the airline has launched a promotion for economy class offering fares that is almost the lowest offer among full services carriers operating on the same route.

 

Operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays TK068 departs Bangkok at 1520 and arrives in HCMC at 1650. From HCMC TK069 departs at 2030 and arrives in Bangkok at 2200.

 

Turkish Airlines started flights to Ho Chi Minh City as an extension of its existing Bangkok service in December 2010, but without fifth freedom rights to pickup local traffic. It gained local rights on the sector in early February his year.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

CHEZ CAROLE RESTAURANTS, PHU QUOC ISLAND

 

Chez Carole Duong Dong on Phu Quoc Island was opened in 2004. Centrally located in the heart of the city centre this restaurant and bar offers all-day dining with cuisine, especially fusion food from Europe to Asia. It also serves international standard beverage.

 

Recently Chez Carole Cua Can joined this luxury restaurant chain as the second restaurant in Phu Quoc. With a beachfront location it has the best landscape o the island. It is a great venue to enjoy fine cuisine, good wines and relax while enjoying the beautiful views.

 

 

 

NEW CHIC ARMANI COFFEE

 

Armani Coffee, a new Italian restaurant and bar, has opened on the first floor of Vincom Centre in Ho Chi Minh City. This is a famous F&B brand, derived from the prestigious fashion brand of Giorgio Armani. It is an excellent venue for people who want to enjoy fine food and good coffee in a luxurious and chic ambience.

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

NEW BRIDGE BRINGS ECONOMIC BENEFITS TO MEKONG DELTA

 

The construction of the Co Chien Bridge has started in the Mekong Delta province, Tra Vinh. This is one of four major bridge projects on National Highway No. 60.

 

On completion in 2013 the bridge will connect Tra Vinh with Highway 60 in Tien Giang Province. It will ease traffic on 1A Highway and reduce the distance between the province and Ho Chi Minh City by about 70 km. The bridge will also benefit economic expansion in both agricultural and industrial projects. Additionally it will boost domestic travel and, subsequently, international travel to the marvellous delta because the cost in term of time and distance will be much decreased.

 

 

TSUNAMI WARNING SYSTEM FOR DANANG

 

The Danang City’s People Committee will install 10 tsunami early warning stations off the coast of Danang, a major port and resort area in central. This is a pilot project as part of a countrywide effort to help safeguard coastal provinces, which could face the threat of tsunamis in the future. The initial stations in Danang are expected to be completed within three months.

 

The plan will see the setting up of 100 tsunami early warning stations just in the central region, considered aprime area for tourism development.

 

GERMANY FUNDS HERITAGE RESTORATION

 

Germany will fund cultural heritage projects in Hanoi province and the ancient imperial capital of Hue valued at US$135,000.

 

The German government had funded two earlier preservation projects. It now extends an additional budget to restore two cultural heritage projects - the Tran Dang Communal House in Hue Son Commune, Ung Hoa district, which is one of the districts in Hanoi province, and Hue in Thua Thien prefecture. Both projects should be completed by 2012 and will be supervised by a group of experts from the German Conservation, Restoration and Education Project.

 

To date Germany has spent US$1.65 million on cultural heritage projects in Vietnam. Prior to this Germany had provided funds to restore images on walls and ceilings at the An Dinh Palace, as well restore walls and partitions in the Tu Duc Tomb in Hue.

 

 

 

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CHINA

 

A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

Since its creation more than one year ago our MICE department has been very creative with new activities like team building in the Forbidden City, and new venues for events including the Bird's Nest for lunch, gala dinner within the Forbidden City, lunch on the Great Wall and many more. 

 

China and Beijing, in particular, offer a wider range of venues and activities for Mice groups 

 

Our MICE and special tours team is happy to show you our ideas and creations for your next incentive or event in China. Please contact us for details.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

BEIJING'S NATIONAL MUSEUM

 

After more than three years of reconstruction and expansion, the National Museum in Beijing reopened to the public in early March for the first time since 2007. Located on the east side of Tian’anmen Square the newly expanded floor space of 192,000 square metres makes the museum the world’s largest.

 

The project, which cost 2.5 billion Yuan, saw the addition of new

facilities that include a theatre capable of seating 800, a multi-function hall with 300 seats, a broadcast studio and stores selling books and souvenirs.

 

The museum also includes halls with collections from Europe, the Americas and Africa, which host periodic international exhibits. Illuminative Arts, the first, was held in coordination with the Berlin National Museum, the Dresden National Art Collection Museum and the Bavarian State Picture Galleries on April 1. Its 600 pieces of works from Germany will be on display until next year. Another exhibition, exploring the history of ancient Peru from the 1st century to the 7th century, opened April 28 in the Americas Room. The collection includes 180 cultural relics including potteries, textiles and stoneware.

 

The National Museum has hosted many top exhibitions. “Ancient China”, held in the museum’s basement, is one of them. It displays 3,000 antiques from the Old Stone Age to Qing Dynasty and includes pottery, bronze ware, porcelain, jade, stoneware, calligraphic art and paintings, weavings and other handicrafts.  Another is “Road to Revival”, which reviews the country’s significant recovery from the Opium War in 1840 to the last Emperor Aisin-Gioro Puyi’s edict to end Qing rule in 1912.

 

The museum has an interesting history dating back to 1912 when it was a preparatory office for a history museum located in today’s Imperial Academy. In 2003 it was combined with the National Museum of History and the National Museum of Revolution and given its present name. Specialising in the nation’s general history the museum has collected more than 1 million cultural and historical relics.

 

The new museum expects to receive up to 8 million visitors, three times more than it did before its renovation. Basic exhibits will be free to the public. It can accept 2,000 group visitors and 1,000 individuals each day. Group visits have to be booked in advance.

 

 

LU XUN MUSEUM, BEIJING

 

Located at no 19, Fuchengmen Inner Street, Xicheng district is a tiny courtyard house, and almost squashed to one side of the 12,000 sq metre compound is the Lu Xun Museum.

 

This was where Lu Xun (1881-1936) who, many say, gave Chinese literature its modern form lived in 1923. It was here that he spent most his time writing poems and short stories.

 

The Lu Xun Museum has, perhaps, the most detailed show on the life and times of China's best-known man of letters of the 20th century, whose life has been described as a battle of "a warrior of the revolution".  The show also throws light on Lu Xun as a multi-faceted man with powerful artistic sensibilities, extraordinary passion and overwhelming concern for humanity. There are 21,482 cultural relics in the Lu Xun Museum.

 

 

EASTERN ZHEJIANG PROVINCE

 

Eastern Zhejiang Province is one of the most romantic regions of China. The idyllic corridor between the ocean and mountains has inspired legions of movie-makers, drawn to its natural beauty and picture postcard towns.

 

Shipu: This fishing port, about 149km from Ningbo, has become famous after the shooting of a movie here in the 1930s. It is a colourful place with traditional fishing boats, which are lacquered in black and white with gaudy bars of green and red. Residents follow local traditions and the pace of life is slow and quiet. Typical activities include drinking a glass of grass jelly while listening to stories narrated by the town’s elders, watching opera at the Temple of Lord Guan and eating seafood on street corners.

 

Qiantong Ancient Town:  Located about 85Km from Ningbo, Qiantong is one of the largest towns on the southern reaches of the Yangtze River. It has thousands of Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties-styled houses, ancestral halls, memorial archways and pavilions that are well preserved. The town people still draw water from the Bai Rivulet. It has cobbled roads and walking along them is like having a foot massage.

 

Taozhu Ancient Town: The town nestles beside a mountain and is embraced by the city walls and a river. Taking a walk along the city walls is the best way to enjoy the town's sights.

When night falls a stay at Lang's Old House is a nice experience. This is the only place in the town that provides accommodation, which is very basic. A visit to the market, which stretches from the west gate to the east gate and crowded with vendors, is a must. On sale in the market are fruits, vegetables and traditional attire in vivid colours.

 

 

LIANGZHU MUSEUM, HANGZHOU

 

A trip to Liangzhu in suburban Hangzhou's Yuhang district, will not only take you to blooming orchids and green countryside, but also 5,000 years back to China's primitive civilization. Here, before

the age of written records, are found jade items scattered all over the hillsides and villages. These artefacts reveal the life and culture in the Yangtze Delta then, especially around the lower range of Taihu Lake.

 

The excavation in Liangzhu began more than 80 years ago. In the latter half of the 20th century some important tombs were discovered on the hills in the area, and large numbers of jade items were found. There are all kinds of remnants of the Neolithic Yangtze River delta people - handiwork artefacts of jade, silk, ivory, lacquer and black-burnished pottery.

 

The highlight of Liangzhu heritage is jade. More than 10,000 jade objects have been excavated. The most important pieces are collected in the Zhejiang Museum in downtown Hangzhou, and more than 10,000 are kept in the Liangzhu Museum.

 

In early March this year the Liangzhu National Heritage Park opened to the public. Ancient stonewalls, archaeological sites and the Liangzhu Museum, where scenes of daily life have been reconstructed, are on display.

 

 

SHAANXI PROVINCE: HUASHAN

 

Huashan, at 2,155 metres above sea level, is the highest of the five sacred mountain groups in China. Famous for its rich cultural and spiritual connotations, this is the   place where Taoism flourished for more than two millenniums. The rugged landscape is among the earliest sacred mountains worshipped by both emperors and ordinary people in ancient dynasties.

 

The mountains took centre stage in ancient culture because they are only 120 km from Chang'an (today's Xian), the capital of many dynasties including the powerful Han (206 BC-221 A.D.) and Tang (618-907 A.D.) dynasties. It took less than a day for emperors and officials to ride from Chang' an to Huashan.

 

In ancient times the height of mountains was also a factor that emperors and officials considered when selecting a mountain to worship. Ancient people believed high mountains were places nearer heaven, which was the abode of Immortals. China's native religion, Taoism, highlights the pursuit of immortality. Meditating on Tao - or universal rules - in a serene environment was believed to offer a path to immortality, so a number of Taoist Temples were built on top of the mountains. The most famous are Yuquan Garden, Jintian Palace and Zhenwu Palace.

 

The Yuquan Garden, also called Quanzhen Temple, has been the centre of the Taoist Quanzhen sect for nearly 1,000 years. The founders of Quanzhen Taoism are today usually remembered as great kungfu masters skilled in martial arts.

 

The climb to these mountains was far from easy. Today, a hike up Huashan is said to be one of the hardest and most adventurous feat in the ascent of the sacred mountain ranges.

 

The best time to visit Huashan is from April to October - spring may be rainy or foggy but is best time to see the blossoming wild flowers; summer’s clear skies provide a spectacular sight of the sun rising above a sea of clouds; autumn’s clear days and rich colours of changing leaves are sights to marvel at.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

SIX SENSES QING CHENG MOUNTAIN

 

Bangkok-based Six Senses Resorts & Spas will open its first resort in China in 2013. Located at the foot of Sichuan province’s Qing Cheng Mountain – a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site – Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain will encompass Taoist and Chinese architecture and design principles.

The property, to be built entirely of natural and sustainable local sources where possible, will also have a Six Senses Spa.

 

 

SHERATON XIAN NORTH CITY HOTEL

 

Sheraton Xian North City Hotel will open in early May. Located 10 minutes by car from the main train station and with easy airport access, the hotel is an ideal base for exploring Xian’s myriad attractions.

 

The hotel’s 491 inviting guest rooms and suites provide a refuge for the travellers from the day’s stress. The spacious deluxe rooms have stylish and tasteful furnishings. All rooms are equipped with Sheraton Sweet Sleeper™ beds, 32-inch LCD TV, a mini bar, direct-dial telephone with voicemail, high speed Internet access, and a personal safe box that is large enough to store a laptop.

 

Guests staying in Executive Club rooms and Suites have exclusive access to the Executive Club Lounge. This stylish space features wireless internet, coffee and tea with light snacks served throughout the day, evening cocktails, a separate breakfast area and meeting rooms. The executive rooms have natural earth tones colours, are furnished with king or twin beds and feature a bathroom with separate bath and shower. They offer stunning views of Xian and the Daminggong Palace.

 

Sheraton Xian North City Hotel also has a fitness centre, indoor pool, spa, lounge, several restaurants, business centre and meeting rooms - all designed for the comfort of guests and enable them to stay connected during their stay.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

JUNE 6, 2011

 

The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month or June 6. To celebrate the festival every family eats Zongzi, which is glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves. Eating Zongzi is memory of Qu Yuan, a high-ranking official of the State of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221B.C.) who made great contributions to the state. Wrongly accused of corruption he was removed from office by the Duke and banished. Impoverished he spent his life wandering. Overwhelmed with sadness he drowned himself in the Miluo River on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month. The people of the State of Chu recognised his contributions and, as a mark of respect, threw rice into the river as a sacrifice to him. Afraid that the fish and shrimps would eat the rice thrown into the river they wrapped it in reed leaves and bound silk threads around the packages before dropping them into the river.

 

This custom continues until today and celebrated during the Dragon Boat Festival. This year’s event is celebrated over a long weekend in China, from June 4 to 6, which are public holidays. Work will resume on June 7.

 

 

2011 INTERNATIONAL HORTICULTURAL EXPOSITION 

APRIL 11-OCTOBER 11, 2011

VENUE:  XIAN CHANBA ECOLOGICAL DISTRICT, XIAN

 

This 183-day Expo is must-see event. Xian is the third Chinese city to host the Expo, preceded by Kunming in 1999 and Shenyang in 2006. The Expo's park covers 418 hectares, 188 of which are covered by water. It features four buildings - a 90m high tower, a nature pavilion, a greenhouse and a mina gate. Master gardeners from Europe, US, Australia and China each designed a subpark. All nine parks remain open to the public even after the Expo concludes. Participants in the Expo are from 40 foreign and 60 Chinese cities. It expects to attract 12 million visitors to Xian who can enjoy a variety of garden styles, view flowers and plants from all over the world and to hone their horticultural skills

 

  

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

NEW OFFICE FOR ASIAN TRAILS CHINA

 

A reminder   

 

Since March 2, 2011 Asian Trails China has moved to  its new office. Listed below are out new address and contacts.

 

ASIANTRAILS CHINA

Suite 1401, Scitech Tower22, Jianguomenwai Avenue Beijing 100004 - China

Tel:   + (86) 10 6515 9259

Fax : + (86) 10 6515 9293

Email : res@asiantrailschina.com

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

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

 

As a further boost to the industry Air Bagan has announced the start of two times weekly flight from Yangon to Phuket. Details of the new service are under “Airline Information” section of this report.

 

We can truly rejoice with this new upswing trend, and hope that this will continue into the future.

 

Best regards,

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

EMAIL PROBLEMS

 

We regret to say that we are facing major problems with our incoming and outgoing emails. This situation is beyond our control as it is due to the unreliable nature of the local servers. We kindly ask you to please resend any email if you do not receive a reply from us within 48 hours. Also please feel free to call our office at any time.

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

RV MAHAYTHI’S NEW CRUISES

 

RV Mahaythi Cruise Company, which currently operates various short river cruises from Yangon, is now offering multi-day tours to the Irrawaddy Delta area. The area is not much known to tourists and is worth exploring, especially for repeat guests who know Myanmar well.

 

Starting from September 2011 the company also plans to operate cruises to the Chindiwn River, as well as the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy. These cruises, operated with smaller boats, are ideal for guests looking for more privacy.

 

For more details please contact us.

 

 

JOURNEY TO MT POPA & BAGAN ON LOCAL TRANSPORT

 

Experience a combined excursion by train, car and horse cart to Mount Popa, the famous extinct volcano located about 50 km from Bagan.

 

Leave in the morning from Bagan by local train to Kyaungpadaung (about 2½ hours), from where a horse cart will take you around the local market. Continue by car to Mount Popa. Climb the 777 stairs to the top, where stands a shrine dedicated to animist spirits known as “nats”. From the mountain top is a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside.  After lunch journey back to Bagan. Enroute visit a local village and a toddy palm plantation. This journey gives you the opportunity to experience first hand the local way of transportation.

 

 

 

 

NEW MYANMAR/CAMBODIA PROGRAMME: COMBINING TWO WONDERS OF SOUTHEAST ASIA

 

With the imminent launch of the new direct flights between Siem Reap, Cambodia (pictured top) and Yangon, Myanmar (pictured bottom) we are offering a 12-day package that offers the most beautiful highlights of both countries.

 

Please contact us for more details.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

BEACH HOTELS CLOSED FOR RAINY SEASON

 

We would like to remind you that during the monsoon from May to September hotels in Ngapali and Ngwe Saung are closed. During this period heavy rains occur along Myanmar’s coastline, so travelling to the beaches and areas along the cost is not recommended. However, visits to other major tourist attraction such as Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake region are possible as they experience mild weather with few showers.

 

 

HOTELS UNDER RENOVATIONS

 

The following hotels will undergo renovation during the low season:

 

Traders Hotel, Yangon:  The hotel will undergo renovations from May until September Renovations will be carried out on the Deluxe rooms, Executive Suites, Deluxe Suites, Traders Cafe and Lobby Lounge. Due to this refurbishing exercise the hotel will have only Traders Club rooms and three different categories of suites on the 20th, 21st and 22nd floors available during the renovation period.

 

Kandawgyi Hotel, Yangon: The hotel will close for renovations from June 1 July 31, 2011.

 

Thiripyitsaya Hotel, Bagan: The hotel will close for renovations from June 1 until July 10, 2011.

 

Inle Princess Resort Hotel, Inle: The hotel will close for renovations from June 1 until June 30, 2011.

 

  

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

AIR KANBAWZA, NEW DOMESTIC AIRLINE

 

Air Kanbawza (KBZ), a new domestic airline in Myanmar, started operations on April 1. It operates daily service between Yangon and Myanmar’s main tourist destinations, using the ATR 72-500 aircraft with 64 seats - all economy class.

 

The airline took delivery of a second aircraft at end April, with two more aircraft to be delivered in October, in time to serve various domestic airports during the next high season. The airline plans to launch international routes in the near future.

 

 

 

VOA FOR MAI ARRIVALS FROM GUANGZHOU & SIEM REAP

 

Visa on Arrival (VOA) is now available for all nationalities visiting Myanmar and flying on Myanmar Airways International (MIA) from Guangzhou, China (8M712) and Siem Reap, Cambodia (8M492) to Yangon. Visitors arriving in Myanmar on other flights/airlines still need to apply either for a visa from a Myanmar embassy or a pre-arranged VOA (only for countries with no Myanmar embassy).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

AIR BAGAN FLIES TO PHUKET

 

Air Bagan started operating twice weekly return flights from Yangon to Phuket (Thailand) from April 11. The services, on Mondays and Fridays, are on the Fokker 100 aircraft. This new flight brings Air Bagan’s international routes to two, the other is Chiang Mai, also in Thailand.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

NEW ASSISTANT SUPERVISOR -TICKETING

 

Ms Wai Mar recently joined Asian Trails as new supervisor in its in-house ticketing department. She has been in the tourism business for more than five years and brings her good experience to the company. We warmly welcome Wai Mar to our team and are happy to have her onboard.

 

 

 

MMC SPORTS DAY 2011

 

The annual Sports Day organised by the Myanmar Marketing Committee (MMC) took place this year at the Inya Lake Hotel on April 9. Our team, joined by our new staff, succeeded to be among the top five teams. Congratulations to all the team members, and good luck for the 2012 event.

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

MYANMAR CELEBRATES WATER FESTIVAL

 

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

 

This year the festival was celebrated on April 13 to 16, with the New Year starting on April 17.

 

On the festival days young people enjoyed themselves, while the elders took shelter in monasteries and pagoda precincts. The streets of Yangon and the other cities and towns throughout Myanmar were filled with people dancing, throwing water at each other and having a good time. The atmosphere was electric and people behaved in a different way as they usually do during this time of the year. Tourists were not spared either as water was thrown at them too. Many of them joined in the fun and the water throwing.

 

 

GLOBUS REISEN ROUND THE WORLD 2011

 

The Globus Reisen Round the World 2011 flight included a stop in Myanmar this year. We were happy to welcome the 200 guests in Mandalay from March 26 to 28. Highlights of the visit were the sunset boat trip on the Irrawaddy River and the noviciation ceremony at the monastery.

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Malaysia!

 

It’s good to be back in Kuala Lumpur after a fruitful ITB where I had the opportunity to catch up with agents, and am now following up on my sales calls and preparing for the forthcoming high season. I must say that it looks positive and we are targeting more business in the 2011/2012 season.

 

We have a new Operations Manager on board, and I’m happy to say that implementation of new procedures are in place to bring our delivery to the next level.

 

The recently concluded Malaysian GP in Sepang was a huge success as there was a significant increase in arrivals. We are looking at ways to work closely with the organizers for next year where we hope to come up with some interesting F1 packages. 

 

Last but not least, as we watched the aftermath of the earthquake and the monster tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan. In this respect, Malaysia is truly blessed as there are no such natural disasters in this country due to its geographical location.

 

Best regards

 

Emir

Malaysia Truly Asia!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

LEGOLAND TO SPUR MORE TOURISM DEVELOPMENTS IN ISKANDAR

 

Legoland Malaysia will be among the first leisure and tourism products to be completed in Iskandar Malaysia, Johor, a region that is three times the size of Singapore. Spread over 31 hectares and built at a cost of RM720 million (US$236 million), Legoland's first park in Asia will feature over 40 rides, shows and attractions targeting children from two to 12 years old. Sites next to Legoland have been earmarked for a themed hotel and a business hotel.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

HYATT REGENCY KINABALU COMPLETES RENOVATIONS

 

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu in Sabah has completed a stylish renovation of its guestrooms, suites, Regency Club Lounge and swimming pool. The rooms are well appointed with modern conveniences and feature a contemporary interior design that complements the tropics.

 

 

 

JAPAMALA TIOMAN UPGRADES ROOM CATEGORY

 

Japamala Tioman on Tioman Island has upgraded its Jungle Sarang to Jungle Luxe Sarang category.  This new category was created after the completion of renovations during the low season. The new category offers completely new rooms of the same size as the former category, but with a new indoor natural white look, new gadgets like flat TV and new features that include an outdoor plunge pool.

 

 

 

BEST WESTERN TO OPEN FOUR HOTELS IN MALAYSIA IN 2011

 

Best Western International’s flagship property in Malaysia, Best Western Premier Dua Sentral, is scheduled to open in Kuala Lumpur by the third quarter of this year. Three other properties are set to launch in Malacca, Sandakan and Pangkor by end-2011.

 

The 361-key Best Western Premier Dua Sentral will offer six room types, ranging from superior/deluxe to one- and two-room suites. Its facilities will include five restaurants and bars, as well as 10 meeting rooms, the largest of which will be able to accommodate up to 250 people banquet-style.

 

 

TANJUNG BUNGAH BEACH HOTEL TO CLOSE FOR RENOVATIONS

 

The Tanjung Bungah Beach Hotel in Penang will close temporarily for renovations from January 1, 2012 until further notice. The renovation work is expected to take between six to nine months. We will keep you updated on the progress.

 

 

 

 

THE ANDAMAN, LANGKAWI RENOVATES

 

The Andaman Resort, Langkawi started refurbishing the guest bathrooms in the hotel’s South Wing rooms on May 2. The bathrooms will be given new contemporary touches. The finished look will be fresh and stylish, offering an experience guests will appreciate. Work is expected to be completed by June 30, 2011 During this period, The Andaman will upgrade all bookings to the North Wing rooms

 

 

BERJAYA REDANG RESORT - RENOVATIONS UPDATE

 

On successful completion of the first few phases of its renovations there is a down size of the rooms in Berjaya Redang Resort on Redang Island to keep up with the resort’s intimate, boutique-style ambience. The 155 suites and rooms are currently equipped with finer touches of quality and services. The remaining 35 suites are currently undergoing restoration, which includes some structural works, electrical, plumbing, painting, decorating, furnishing and fittings. Expected completion is in June/July 2011.

 

 

EQUATORIAL CAMERON HIGHLANDS UGRADES ROOMS

 

The Equatorial Cameron Highlands is enhancing the level of comfort for its guests through the latest refurbishment and renovations. The upgrading works started on April 15 and will be completed on October 15, 2011. The refurbishment includes the bathroom, new floor carpet finishes, new paint work and ceiling fans in the 147 superior rooms.

 

The work is carried out in accordance to the work-in-progress schedule, which minimises the inconvenience and disturbance to guests. Daily operations are as per normal during the period of the upgrading works. Guests can continue to enjoy the resort’s facilities and their vacation in comfort.

 

 

BERINGGIS BEACH RESORT - RENOVATIONS UPDATE

 

Beringgis Beach Resort and Spa has partially closed its main lobby area to allow for renovations to be carried. Renovations started on April 3 and is expected to be completed by June 2011. The hotel is taking various measures to minimise the noise level during the renovation period.

 

 

SUNWAY RESORT HOTEL & SPA UPGRADES

 

The pool at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa is closed from March 6 2011 until May 31, 2011 for upgrading works. During this period hotel guest can use the Surf Beach @Theme Park and the pool at Sunway Lagoon Club.

 

Transport (both ways) is provided to guests who want to use the lagoon pool. The concierge at the hotel’s Main Tower will arrange for the transport. The pool is open from 7.30am to 6.30pm

 

 

ROOM CATEGORIES’ CHANGE  AT THISTLE JOHOR BAHRU

 

The Thistle Hotel Johor Bahru has streamlined the names of its rooms

 

New

Standard Room

Deluxe Room (Seaview)

Executive Room

Executive Room (Sea View)

Apartment

Suite

Terrace Suite

Presidental Suite

Formerly Known as

Deluxe

Sea View Room

Thistle Club – Deluxe  Room

Thistle Club – Sea View Room

Apartment

Thistle Suite

Thistle Terrace

Royal Suite

 

 

LANKAYAN ISLAND RESORT TO CLOSE FOR MAINTENANCE

 

Lankayan Island Resort will close for maintenance from January 6 until February 15 ,2012. The resort is a peaceful untouched piece of paradise on Lankayan Island, a jewel-like tiny island in the Sulu Sea that is an hour-and-a-half boat ride north of Sandakan, Sabah. Ringed by white sandy beach the resort offers elegant and exquisite accommodation in  23 wooden, roomy and perfectly appointed seafront  chalets.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

BORNEO JAZZ 2011

MAY 12 - 15, 2011

VENUE: MIRI, SARAWAK

 

This annual musical event at the Miri Resort City features jazz groups from around the world. About 7,000 spectators and participants, comprising locals, expatriates and visitors, are expected at this exciting musical galore.

 

 

INTERNATIONAL PAHANG RIVER RAFTING EXPEDITION

MAY 8-14,  2011

VENUE: PAHANG RIVER, PAHANG

 

Traverse the Pahang River on a raft to experience the charming sights and sounds along the riverbanks. This annual event draws participants from around the world.

 

 

 

COLOURS OF 1MALAYSIA

MAY 21,  2011

VENUE: DATARAN MERDEKA, KUALA LUMPUR

 

Malaysia’s anuual premier cultural extravaganza.

Enjoy a cornucopia of spectacular traditional performances, colourful parades and exhibitions that showcase the country’s arts and crafts.

 

 

TADAU KAAMATAN – GRAND FINALE

MAY 30-31, 2011

VENUE: PENAMPANG, SABAH

 

This is the annual Harvest Festival of Sabah’s ethnic group, the Kadazandusun. Join the local folks as they celebrate with songs, dances, food and traditional games. This is also the main stage for the final round of the Unduk Ngadau pagent (State Harvest Beauty Queen).

 

 

MELAKA RIVER FIESTA

JUNE 1-30, 2011 

VENUE: MELAKA RIVER SQUARE & SPICE GARDEN, MELAKA

 

Enjoy the excitement of the numerous activities staged along Melaka River, which are specially selected to make the festival a memorable one.

 

 

 

PENANG INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

JUNE  11-12, 2011

VENUE: TELUK BAHANG DAM, PENANG

 

Penang is world famous for dragon boat races with the region’s first race held there in 1956. The canoe-styled dragon boats are long and narrow with beautifully carved prows resembling a dragon. Teams race each other in these boats on the Teluk Bahang Dam. The pounding of drums and cheers from the spectators act as impetus for the competitors to row faster.

 

 

GAWAI DAYAK OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION

JUNE 12,  2011

VENUE: SARAWAK

 

Celebrated in Sarawak, Gawai Dayak is a colourful festival that reflects the traditions of the ethnic communities. Visitors are invited to enjoy the exciting cultural shows, savour local delicacies and experience the joyous celebrations.

 

 

MALAYSIA MEGA SALE CARNIVAL

 JUNE 15-AUGUST  31, 2011

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

The annual sale carnival offers products, from most- designer labels, home decor items, computer peripherals to electrical appliances at irresistible prices.

 

 

SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES MALAYSIA

JUNE 17-19, 2011

VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (SIC), SELANGOR

 

The Malaysian leg of the Super GT, Japan's biggest racing series, is one of the most exciting event on Malaysia’s racing calendar. All action at the Sepang  International Circuit.

 

 

5TH KK JAZZ FESTIVAL

JUNE 17-18, 2011

VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH 

 

The KK Jazz Festival, into its fifth year, promises to be another ground breaking experience with a great line up of local and international artistes. This fund raising event supports various community projects in Sabah.

 

 

26TH SABAH DRAGON BOAT RACE

JUNE  18-19, 2011

VENUE: LIKAS BAY, KOTA KINABALU, SABAH

 

This traditional Chinese event, which evolved from myths and legends, has grown into an annual highlight in the city. The exciting race attracts teams from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Singapore and Brunei.

 

 

FRASER'S HILL INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE

JUNE 25-26, 2011

VENUE: FRASER'S HILL, RAUB, PAHANG

 

Frasers Hill is recognised as a world-class bird-watching destination as it is home to about 247 species of birds. The bird race is an excellent opportunity for locals and tourists alike to see a variety of migratory and montane birds, which are very different from those in the lowland forest. There are also bird species from Northern Siberia and the islands north of Japan. Don’t miss this unique event.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

FIREFLY SPREADS ITS WINGS

 

Firefly, Malaysia’s community airline, has established two hubs for its jet aircraft operation  - at Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Sabah and Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru. This is in addition to its existing hubs in Kuala Lumpur for its jet aircraft,  and in Subang and Penang for its turboprops.

 

The new hubs allow Firefly to boost aircraft rotation and increase frequency on existing routes. Its Kota Kinabalu-Kuala Lumpur services will increase from thrice daily to six times daily from May 15, and its Kuala Lumpur-Kuching flights will increase from four to seven times daily from June 1.

 

 

FIREFLY FLIES TO EAST MALAYSIA FROM JOHOR BAHRU

 

Firefly takes over two domestic routes from national carrier, Malaysia Airlines, which connect Johor Bahru to the two East Malaysian cities of Kuching (Sarawak) and Kota Kinabalu (Sabah).

Firefly will launch operations from its new southern hub of Johor Bahru with twice daily return flights to Kuching on May 19, and twice daily, return flights from to Kota Kinabalu on June 16.

 

From August 1 Firefly will mount twice daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Sandakan (Sabah).

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

ATM WELCOMES TWO NEW TEAM MEMBERS

 

Huzaimi (left) came on board as Operations Manager in March this year. He brings with him a wealth of experience having work in the service industry since 1999.

 

Aida (right) joined us in January as Inbound Officer, Asia Department. She graduated with a degree in Tourism Management and had a short stint in a car rental company before joining us. 

 

We welcome both our new colleagues and wish them a long and successful career with Asian Trails Malaysia.

 

  

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

In the last issue of TRAILBLAZER we announced that we would move our office in Yogjakarta and employ one more staff. In the meantime the 33rd Asian Trails’ office opened as a branch office during a Javanese ceremony on April 12. About 60 suppliers from the tourism and hospitality sector from Yogjakarta and Central Java joined us during the event.

 

The new office is conveniently located inside the Yogjakarta Plaza Hotel in the heart of the city. Having more presence in Java is important for us following the increasing numbers of tourists on overland roundtrips, commencing in Yogjakarta and ending in Bali.

 

Photo shows Mr. Laurent Kuenzle, Group MD of Asian Trails, Ms. Sari, Mrs. Wirati and Mr. Andre Seiler from the Asian Trails office in Bali; Mr. Happy and Ms. Dayu, who are in charge of the Java operations, together with Jakarta based Mr. Tono (not in the picture).

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

RACING THROUGH THE WATERS OF BALI

 

Following the traditions of Bali, Asian Trails is working together with the local fishermen community of Sanur to offer “Prahu” boat race for groups of up to 100 participants. The one-hour race in the fishermen’s colourful outrigger boat is along the scenic coast of Sanur and Serangan Island. Guests are under the supervision of a boat captain. To increase the sailing speed during the race the “competitors” can also paddle so as to be the first to reach the finishing line. All boats are equipped with life jackets.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

FIRST MARRIOTT HOTEL IN INDONESIA

 

Marriott Courtyard, the first Marriott branded hotel in Indonesia, recently opened its doors in Nusa Dua. This is the chain’s 900th property worldwide.

 

The 250-room hotel, situated along the southern coast of Bali, features 250 guestrooms with 32-inch LCD panel TVs and satellite channels, minibar, Wifi and a great twist of Balinese architecture. The MoMo Cafe, Courtyard's Asian culinary outlet, includes an open kitchen and wood-fired oven, while the MoMo 2 Go kiosk is open 24-hours a day, providing “on the run” snacks like sandwiches, pastries and beverages.

 

 

NEW BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN JIMBARAN

 

Kupu Kupu Jimbaran, located in the heart of the fishing village of Jimbaran, is a charming boutique hotel. It nestles above the Jimbaran Corner – an area that will become a new concept in holiday leisure in Bali. The hotel offers 30 ethnic decorated luxury suites, which are divided into three categories - the Uluwatu Suite, Muaya Duplex Suite, and Balangan Suite and Jimbaran Family Suite. Each is equipped with the latest high tech gadgets. 

 

With its fun and new approach to the regular hotels found in Bali, Kupu Kupu Jimbaran is also a gourmet destination with its selection of fine restaurants.

 

 

MENJANGAN RESORT- TRUE JUNGLE RETREAT

 

The Menjangan Resort offers a unique chance to experience the natural treasures within the Bali Barat National Park (West Bali National Park) near Menjangan Island. Set amidst 382 hectares of pristine forest the totally renovated resort provides the opportunity to experience some of Bali’s untouched jewels. The resort offers three types of accommodation:

 

Monsoon Lodge: This is a true retreat in the heart of the Bali Barat National Park.

The rooms are set around an idyllic pool and Jacuzzi. They are spacious and beautifully designed with wooden floors, traditional alang-alang grass roofing and ensuite bathrooms crafted in natural stone. Services include a 24-hour concierge, full air-conditioning and complimentary wireless Internet access. Room rates include a full gourmet breakfast.

 

Deluxe Room: Available in either twin or double, the deluxe room is a wonderful space to relax after a day’s adventure. Every room is fully air conditioned with an ensuite bathroom. With the pool lagoon on the doorstep and the reception offering anything you may need, the Deluxe room offers the luxury of a resort surrounded by the beauty of nature.

 

Suites: Encompassing the ultimate in luxury and timeless design, the Suite offers a peaceful retreat in the heart of the forest. Each spacious room is bathed in natural light and has been carefully designed for the ultimate experience in relaxation or socialising with your family and friends. Immerse your senses in the sounds of the forest and the call of birds. Look out the windows to watch the animals wandering in your private garden areas or relax in the bathroom flooded with natural light.

 

The Menjangan Resort will soon have villas on the beach, which are currently under construction. Also included is a small restaurant.

 

 

ACCESS TO MELASTI BEACH AT BANYAN TREE UNGASAN

 

Guests of Banyan Tree Ungasan now has access to Melasti Beach daily from 1000 hours to 1800 hours. Direct access is via a short buggy drive from the resort, including a short and scenic walk down a stretch of staircase offering a breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean. There is an array of beach activities and a selection of light gourmet snacks for a relaxing and serene day on the beach.

 

 

FIRST GRAND MAS HOTEL OPENS IN AUGUST

 

Grand Mas, a new hotel group, is set to open the first of its five planned properties, Grandmas@seminyak, in August 2011. It is located within walking distance of the shopping centre, international restaurants and a few minutes from the beach. Offering 117 rooms the 3 star hotel has a chic design. The air-conditioned rooms have LCD TV, in-room safe and Wifi.

 

Grand Mas plans to add another four properties to its portfolio of hotels - in Legian, Kuta, Tuban and Jimbaran.

 

 

WESTIN RESORT NUSA DUA

 

Westin Resort Nusa Dua, Bali, has completed the second phase of a major refurbishment project. It saw the revamping of two suite categories - Ocean View Suite and the Family Suite, with the latter now positioned as the resort’s top room category.

 

The newly-renovated Family Suite offers two bedrooms and a family room with a 42-inch flat screen TV, PlayStation and board games, DVD player, bean bag and mini table set for children, dining table and lounge. The master bedroom is furnished with Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed, while the second bedroom for children has a pair of double beds and a daybed that can accommodate an extra adult.

 

The two-bedroom Ocean View Suite features a living area with 42-inch flat screen TV, dining area, study and lounge. It offers direct ocean views.

 

 

KAMANDALU RESORT RELAUNCHES

 

The Kamandalu Resort in Ubud has completed its renovations and now presents a total of 56 villas in five categories. Each villa offers its own enchanting panoramic view across the lush valley of Ubud and Petanu River. All materials built into the villas were specifically picked for a specific reason, which is to present guests with the best possible blissful experience. All the villas feature natural stone finishing and indigenous grass (alang-alang) roofing. Most have their own private bale bengong (traditional outdoor day-bed) for the perfect enjoyment of the art of doing nothing.

 

 

NEW PROPERTY FOR SOL MELIA

 

Sol Melia has signed an agreement to open a new five star hotel in Indonesia. Opening in 2013 the Melia Adhiwangsa Surabaya will increase the Spanish hotel group's presence in Indonesia to five properties, following existing locations in Bali, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.


The new Melia Adhiwangsa Surabaya will form part of a major leisure complex that includes a shopping mall and golf course. It will feature 300 rooms, a spa, swimming pool, children’s area, two restaurants, and extensive facilities for meetings and events.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

FREMANTLE-BALI YACHT RACE

 

The Fremantle to Bali Yacht Race returns to the agenda of the Fremantle Sailing Club in Western Australia. The start of the race is on 23 April 2011 at 12:00 at Fremantle Harbour, with musical entertainment and Balinese-inspired cuisine. Before departure the boats will be blessed for their three days’ journey to Bali, crossing the Indian Ocean. The award ceremony will be held at Sanur Beach Hotel, while the boats will be anchored up in nearby Benoa Harbour.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

GARUDA'S BACK ON TRACK

 

Following its best ever financial report Indonesia’s national carrier, Garuda Indonesia, now sets its eye on an even better 2011. The airline will add another six Boeing 737-800 NG and 2 Airbus 330-220 aircraft to its current fleet of 87 aircraft. The two Airbus aircraft are to mount more frequencies on international routes, while the smaller Boeing aircraft is set to open new destinations within the Indonesian archipelago.

 

On June 1 Garuda will increase frequency on its Denpasar-Seoul service from three to five times weekly, and double its Jakarta-Bangkok flights to twice daily. The carrier is planning to start Jakarta-Taipei services in November.

 

On the domestic front, the airline is increasing services on its Jakarta-Surabaya route from 15 to 16 flights daily, Surabaya-Denpasar from three to four flights daily, and Jogjakarta-Denpasar from two to three flights daily. Additional domestic routes to launch this year are Balikpapan-Surabaya and Makassar-Jogjakarta.

 

 

AIR ASIA INDONESIA EXPANDS

 

Air Asia Indonesia has increased its flight frequencies to Bali and Medan (North Sumatra) from April 12, 2011 until further notice. it is also gearing up for additional flights from its existing hubs of Jakarta and Bandung. With the new frequencies the number of daily flights between Jakarta and Bali has increased to seven from the current five. The Bandung-Bali and Bandung-Medan flights have increased to twice daily from their current one time daily.

 

 

HONG KONG AIRLINES TOUCHES DOWN IN BALI

 

Hong Kong Airlines has launched daily flights between Hong Kong and Bali. Using one of its new Airbus 330-200 aircraft the airline now connects Indonesia with an its extensive network throughout China. The flight leaves Hong Kong at 19:10 for the 4hours and 35 minutes flight to Bali, returning to Hong Kong at 00:50.

 

 

  

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