is here! Summer means holidays and what better way to spend
them than in the warmth of Asia's sunshine, while enjoying
the hospitality of its people.
region never fails to fascinate because there is so much to
see and do as new products, attractions and hotels are
opening every other month. For example, in Bangkok the Asiatique River Front along the Chao Phraya River has just
opened with 1, 500 stalls, restaurants and shows; in Laos
hotels are giving very attractive summer promotions; in
China there is the fascinating
"Shangri-La of the Hakka World,"
the list goes on.
Trails is bringing all these to you in the country reports
of this issue of TRAILBLAZER.
also take this opportunity to inform our valuable clients
Trails' Group Managing Director (pictured left), is
taking a sabbatical year of absence from July 2012 until
June 2013. During his absence his duties will be looked
after by me, Roger Haumueller and Claudio Kellenberger. We
wish him Happy Trails and ship ahoy.
celebrated Songkran (Thai New Year & Water festival) extensively
in mid-April, and we all are back refreshed and with new
products and ideas for you. We are delighted to learn that
Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport has obtained the excellent
seventh place in the category of 40Mio+ airports by "Airports
Council International ACI".
One of the
highlights for this summer is the opening of Asiatique River
Front in Bangkok, which will replace the dearly missed Lumpini
Night market. Around 1,500 stalls selling all kind of goods,
dozens of restaurants and shows, ideally located at the Chao
Phraya River, are waiting to be discovered.
I recently dinedin a new restaurant called "Kitchen & More" (see our
article below) and I recommend you give its modern Thai-fusion
cuisine a try the next time you are in Bangkok.
Last but not least, with the opening of many new hotels
in Bangkok and throughout Thailand in general, this summer
season will become a bargain for hotel rooms with promotions
rolling in on an almost hourly base. Bangkok will provide once
again more value for your clients/ money.
BANGKOK'S SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT RANKED SEVENTH BEST
Airport was placed seventh place in the "Best Airport
Worldwide" category at the 2011 Airport Service Quality
Awards (ASQ). The ranking was issued by the Airports Council
International (ACI) for the best airport capable of handling
over 40 million passengers on an annual basis. Suvarnabhumi
dropped by two spots from 2010 in this category. The top
five airports that handle more than 40 million passengers
annually include Singapore's Changi Airport, Beijing, Hong
Kong, Shanghai, Pudong and Guangzhou.
KRABI AIRPORT OPENS SECOND TERMINAL
completed construction of its second terminal on April 1,
2012. Passengers of AirAsia and Bangkok Airways will use
this new terminal for arrivals and departures. The second
terminal is located on the right next to the first terminal.
ASIATIQUE RIVER FRONT BANGKOK
Front Bangkok is Asia's largest waterfront retail and
entertainment venue with Thailand's the cultural heritage
and global lifestyle playing a big role in the concept and
design. This new travel destination and lifestyle market,
located on Charoenkrung Road, covers an area of 11 acres. is
close to the Chao Phraya River and about five minutes by car
from the Krung Thon Skytrain station. Within the market are
thousands of shops, restaurants and huge beer gardens.
There are also
numerous shows and Thai classical dances. It is opened daily
from 16.00hrs to 24.00hrs.
If you would like
to set up a cultural class, traditional Thai music or
traditional Thai dance, Chiang Mai College of Dramatic Arts is
the place to be. With over 700 students from 1st grade to
bachelor degree, the professors/teachers are very informative
and culturally strong in every academical sense. Recently the
college hosted a group of 20 American dancers who wanted to
learn more about traditional Thai dance and unique culture in
Chiang Mai Rock
Climbing Adventures (CMRCA) is well known for team building
for both international students and corporate clients. It is
located about an hour from Chiang Mai city and it is all
about personal challenge (more mental than physical). CMRCA
is not only about rock climbing but all sorts of trails,
terrains and mountains - from trekking to rock climbing and
abseils. The fun part is that anyone at any level can take
part in the activities.
SOFITEL BANGKOK SILOM REBRANDS AS PULLMAN BANGKOK HOTEL G
hotel was rebranded and renamed Pullman Bangkok Hotel G since April 1, 2012. It
is located in the heart of Bangkok's vibrant business centre
and entertainment venues, with easy access to the city's
expressway, subway and skytrain networks. Pullman G's
38-storey landmark comprises 469 personalised guestrooms,
all chic and furnished boutique decor style, and given the
natural touch of emotion of Roger & Gallet amenities.
Complimentary WiFi is available in public areas.
Located on lively Sukhumvit Road, Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit
is flanked by the city's commercial and financial district
and prime shopping areas. This stunning five star hotel
boasts 345 exquisite rooms and suites with panoramic views
of the city. Modern and opulent, the hotel offers a truly
luxurious stay and is just 30km from Suvarnabhumi
International Airport and within easy walking distance of
underground and sky train stations.
Siam Hotel, due
to open in June 2012,
is located on
the Bangkok side of the Chao Phraya River, nestled amongst
Bangkok's historical palaces, temples and museums. It is set
on three acres of premium river frontage, privately owned
and operated. This 39-room luxury retreat transports you to
a bygone serenity suffused with priceless antiquities,
oriental allure and contemporary comforts. The hotel was
conceived by creative directors, Krissada Sukosol Clapp and
Bill Bensley, Architectural Digest's "Top 100 Designers and
Most Creative People" in 2009.
Bangkok, which opens in May 2012, is situated at the
intersection of Wireless Road. It embraces Asian design that
harmonises with Japanese and Thai cultures. It has 240
rooms, each offering transcendent views across downtown
Bangkok. All the rooms are equipped with bespoke in-room
amenities and technology, matched by a sophisticated and
tranquil style of design, which that utilises the highest
This is the
first international economy hotel to open in Hua Hin.
Modernistic yet simple, Ibis Hua Hin is just five minutes'
walk from the beach. With 200 modern and well-designed
rooms, it is the perfect value for money venue for family
getaways. Each room features a comfortable double bed,
balcony, writing desk, LCD TV, WiFi, fridge, tea- and
coffee-making facilities, inroom safe, hair dryer,
PlayStation and toys for children. It has one international
restaurant and one bar.
budget hotel with the 192-room commenced operations in
located on the beach resort's bustling Second Road, just
minutes from the beach, shopping, entertainment and
nightlife. Just a 90-minute drive from Bangkok's
international airport Tune Hotel Pattaya is already proving
popular with Thai and international tourists who want a
comfortable, clean, safe and secure hotel to stay in before
enjoying all that Pattaya has to offer.
features 34 standalone pool suites, five on the beachfront,
each villa an expansive 80sqm in size. There are also 18
gracious 100sqm villas with 8m private pools. Akaryn
Samui's design offers a radiant take on tropical modern,
Asian-influenced decor and a selection of genuine antiques.
Standard features include LCD large screen TV, iPod and
iDock with a large movie and music library, naturally
sourced amenities from AHMS's exclusive Spa IV, and
430-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. It is just seven
minutes' drive from Samui International Airport, yet remains
largely undiscovered even by the island's cognoscenti.
Situated on a
22-acre piece of land the resort is located on the former
site of Baan Taling Ngam Resort. Perfectly positioned on a
cliff with prime beachfront it has 79 guestrooms, suites and
beachfront villas with private plunge pools, all offering
spectacular views across the famous "Five Islands" and
Angthong National Park. In addition to the property's
signature Air Bar the resort features seven designer
swimming pools; a private beach with 150m licensed private
jetty, world class dining and the expansive Baan Thai Spa
raised 120 metres above sea level.
paradise nestled in the lush tropical hillside above Kamala
Beach on the pristine west coast of Phuket, just 28km from
Phuket's International Airport. Breathtaking sea views,
private infinity pools, a large 40m resort pool, world-class
five star service and a range of accommodation options (from
one to six bedrooms) make Andara the perfect choice for the
appointed Beach Lounge offers the right combination of
relaxing day bed's and intimate cosy spaces.
A wide range of
restaurants, boutique shops, golf courses and other
activities are located close by.
ANGSANA LAGUNA PHUKET (FORMER SHERATON GRANDE LAGUNA
features vibrant, stylish rooms and facilities designed for
the dynamic cosmopolitan traveller. It located on the shores
of Bang Tao Bay in northwest Phuket, a 20-minute drive away
from Phuket International Airport and from Phuket town. It
is part of Laguna Phuket, Asia's first integrated resort,
which consists of five luxury hotels, six palm-fringed
lagoons, 600 acres of parkland, three kilometres of pristine
beach and an outstanding array of recreational and dining
The resort will
undergo a major renovation programme and will be closed from
May 7, 2012. Key areas affected by the renovation are the
guestrooms, F&B outlets, Water Park, Kids Club, and the
general landscaping. The resort is scheduled to reopen in
Held on one of
Thailand's most beautiful islands the Koh Samui Regatta
features yacht racing, cocktail parties and beachside fun on
Chaweng Beach. With over 300 international participants the
regatta promises some serious live action and plenty of
entertainment. The best viewing points are located to the
south of Chaweng Bay, Bo Phut and Mae Nam beaches, as well
as along the magnificent stretches of beach at Chaweng and
Pillar), also known as Sai Khan Dok, centres around Wat
Chedi Luang where the City Pillar is housed. A celebration
of Brahmic origin, offerings are made to the City Pillar as
well as the many other Buddhist and Lanna-era icons.
Dancing, musical performances, carnival games, and the
ubiquitous Thai vendor food are part of the celebrations.
This is a very large celebration in which the Chiang Mai
HUA HIN JAZZ FESTIVAL
JUNE 1-30, 2012
VENUE: SOFITEL CENTARA GRAND BEACH HUA HIN/ PRACHUAB
Relax at the Hua
Hin Jazz Festival where you will enjoy familiar all-time
favourites and contemporary tunes performed by renowned Thai
and international jazz musicians. Stalls along the beach
sell sumptuous Thai food and refreshments, as well as
handicrafts and souvenirs.
LAGUNA PHUKET INTERNATIONAL MARATHON
JUNE 10, 2012
VENUE: LAGUNA PHUKET, PHUKET
If you are
going to run 42.2km then do it somewhere beautiful, like
Phuket. The Laguna Phuket International Marathon goes
through sandy bays and shady rubber plantations. Stock up on
crabs at the pre-race pasta party. You also get the chance
special guest, Kenji Moriwaki, who after taking part five
successful completions of the marathon is now the Honorary
Runner from Japan. The marathon starts at 4.30pm.
VENUE: QUEEN SIRIKIT NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTER (QSNCC),
never been more fun especially when you get more bang for
your baht. Part of the Tourism Authority of Thailand's "Amazing Thailand-Always Amazes You" campaign, the event is
an opportunity to bag all kinds of deals imaginable, from
discounted merchandise to holiday packages and tours. It is
like a one-stop shopping for all your holiday in Thailand
needs. Although the event takes place at QSNCC shopping
malls around Bangkok roll out special promotions of their
own such as midnight sales and mid-year sales campaigns. So
if shopping is your passion this is one of the best time to
BOON LUANG AND PHI TA KHON FESTIVAL
VENUE: DAN SAI DISTRICT, LOEI 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. According to 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. This very colourful and
vibrant Phi Ta Khon procession is the central focus of the
celebrations. In a lively re-enactment of the tale young men
of the community dress up as "spirits" wearing long trailing
costumes made from colourful strips of cloth sewn together.
THAI SMILE LAUNCHES BANGKOK-MACAU ROUTE ON JULY 1
THAI Smile, an offshoot of national carrier THAI Airways
International, will launch operations with a Bangkok-Macau
service on July 1, 2012.Four
Airbus A320 aircraft will be used in THAI Smile's opening
year of operations, with routes operating out of Bangkok to
Kolkata, Jakarta and Phnom Penh. The airline has completed
the hiring of cabin crew and pilots.
ETIHAD, AIR BERLIN ADD BANGKOK FLIGHTS
German budget carrier, Air Berlin, have launched additional
services to Bangkok. Air Berlin launched three daily
services to o Abu Dhabi from Berlin and Dusseldorf on March
25, 2012. At this time the carrier also hopes to launch a
daily service between Abu Dhabi and
utilising Air Berlin's brand-new Airbus A330-200 wide-body
jets, pending regulatory approval.
Etihad Airways also boosted the number of flights to Bangkok
from April 15 to three-times daily to meet growing demand on
BANGKOK AIRWAYS UPS REGIONAL SERVICES
added an extra flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket
from 25 March, increasing to six and seven daily flights
respectively. On the same day the airline commenced five
weekly flights between Bangkok and Lampang in additional to
the daily service via Sukhothai.
From March 31
Bangkok Airways commenced a regional daily service from
Samui to Kuala Lumpur and increase the Samui-Hong Kong
service from daily to 10 flights a week. The carrier is
working closely with Malaysia Airlines on code-shares and
hopes to launch code-share flights for the summer schedule.
receives one Airbus A319 aircraft in March this year. It
will also accept delivery of two Airbus A320s - one in
October and the second in December.
BANGKOK AIRWAYS CODE-SHARES WITH SILKAIR
inked a code-share agreement with SilkAir on certain flights
between Singapore, Samui Island, Phuket and Chiang Mai,
effective February 15, 2012. The agreement allows passengers
of both airlines to benefit from greater connectivity and
flexibility when making their travel plans. It also enables
both airlines to expand their respective networks and grow
both inbound and outbound passenger flows.
CHINA SOUTHERN COMMENCES GUIYANG-BANGKOK SERVICE
China Southern Airlines has started daily service between
Guangzhou and Bangkok, using the new Boeing 737-800
aircraft. Flight CZ3081 leaves Guiyang at 9.50am local time,
stopping in Guangzhou to arrive at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi
Airport at 2.30pm. The return flight, CZ3082, departs
Suvarnabhumi at 3.30pm local time, stopping in Guangzhou,
arriving in Guiyang at 10.30pm local time.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
KITCHEN & MORE THAN I CAN SAY
The restaurant is tucked away in a separate building at the
back of the La Villa Aree community mall, which is right at
the Ari Skytrain station. The front of the building is
painted with cartoonish images in bold colours. The décor
inside the restaurant is a bit more sedate with an eclectic
mix of Thai and European antique styles put together with a
very modern sensibility. The menu is mostly Thai dishes with
a few, which blend Western influences with Thai tastes. The
dishes are not too pricey, given the ambiance and the
apparent quality of the ingredients. Prices range from 150
Baht up to 300+ Baht. There's a full bar and wine list as
well, so you can drop a bundle here if so inclined. The
restaurant is open every day from 11am to midnight.
GOODBYE & THANK YOU BEAT SCHWAGER
joined Asian Trails as Phuket Station Manager in December
1999, and has ever since contributed to the excellent
quality standards and procedures in our beach destinations.
Beat will retire from his current position as Manager South
Thailand and will enjoy his well-deserved retirement. Thank
you Beat for all your efforts and hard work. We will miss
PROMOTION FOR KHUN DEAN
We are happy to
announce that Khun Dean has been promoted to Area Manager
South Thailand effective May 2012. He moves from his current
location in Krabi to Phuket, and is in charge of all offices
in the Andaman Sea and Samui office. We wish Khun Dean
success and fulfilment in his new challenging role!
CHEN REN (GRACE) HEADS NEW DEPARTMENT
We welcome Ms
Grace, a Chinese national, to our team in Bangkok to lead
the new Inbound China department. A major in tourism and
business management she has a strong background in Chinese
outbound and the MICE industry. We wish Grace a good start
and success in the newly created role.
This issue of our
Laos country report focuses on all the new hotel promotions,
which we have received from our suppliers for the low season.
This season is still very comfortable to travel in Laos, and you
will enjoy best rates without the crowds in beautiful places
like Luang Prabang.
We also have some
interesting news on Lao Airlines and a beautiful new resort in
the South of Laos.
The whole Asian
Trails Laos team would like to wish all of you a "Happy New
Year" from Laos!
Sabaidee Pi Mai!
SUMMER PROMOTIONS - LUANG PRABANG
BEL AIR RESORT
Bel Air Resort offers:
33 % discount
on room rate
September 30, 2012
Hotel's main building and garden
DE LA PAIX
Hotel De La Paix
Stay 3 nights
and pay for 2
October 31, 2012
Pictured: Hotel's Pool Suite room
KIRIDARA LUANG PRABANG
Kiridara Luang Prabang offers:
3 nights and pay for 2
until September 30, 2012
Pictured: Hotel's pool area and rooms
Luangsay Residence offers:
4 nights and pay for 3
until September 30, 2012
combinations with Luangsay Cruise
bird special rate between May 1 and September 30, 2012
Bookings at least 30 days in advance
Pictured: Hotel's swimming pool and main building
3 nights and pay for 2
Validity: May 1 until September 30, 2012
Pictured: Hotel's Deluxe Double room
4 nights and pay for 3
until September 30, 2012
Pictured: Front of hotel's main building
2 nights and pay for 1
3 nights and pay for 2, including Dinner
Cruise for 2 persons
until September 30, 2012
Pictured: Hotel's pool area and rooms
SUMMER PROMOTIONS - SOUTH LAOS
3 nights and pay for 2
until October 31, 2012
Pictured: Hotel's Duplex rooms
LA FOLIE LODGE DON DAENG ISLAND
Folie Lodge offers:
3 nights and pay for 2
until September 30, 2012 (closed in June)
Pictured: Hotel's pool and one of the bungalows
NEW: RIVER RESORT CHAMPASSAK, SOUTH LAOS
brand new River Resort Champassak offers a nice alternative
close to Pakse (30 minutes drive away). It is located in
Champassak and very close to the famous Vat Phou Temple. The
14 Riverside rooms offer stunning views of the Mekong, while
the six Garden view rooms overlook the resort's own rice
contact us for further details!
NEW DESTINATION FOR LAO AIRLINES
Airlines is flying to Da Nang in Vietnam from Pakze from May
2012. The three weekly flights are on Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Saturdays, with
possible connections from Vientiane (involves a change of
new connection makes it possible for visitors to enjoy a
beach holiday in Da Nang after visiting Laos.
check your reservation system for schedules and fares.
Phnom Penh hosted
the successful 20th ASEAN Summit from April 3-5, 2012. In
preparation for this important event the capital city received a
complete facelift. During the Summit the tree-lined boulevards
and unique riverfront gardens were thronged with visitors
enjoying the evening breeze and dining in the French-style
terraces and the numerous restaurants offering different kind of
food to suit all palates. After this event came the Khmer New
Year with the traditional celebrations of games and ceremonies.
May is not a month to miss, as there are more celebrations.
A busy year calendar
and agenda lie ahead as the Kingdom is acting as the Head of
ASEAN. November 2012 will be the busiest month ever with the
ASEAN meetings scheduled throughout the whole month, culminating
with the 21st ASEAN meetings from November 15-20, and related
summits in Phnom Penh from November 18-20). US President Barrack
Obama is scheduled to visit Cambodia from November 19-20. Hotels
bookings will be blocked during this period. We would like to
advise all visitors travelling to Cambodia to be aware of these
dates, as hotels around the country will be fully booked.
CAMBODIA'S FIRST CHRISTIE'S AUCTION A SUCCESS
Arts (CLA) was the beneficiary of the successful first
Christie auction in Cambodia on March 11, 2012 at Hotel
Sofitel in Phnom Penh. The auction was led by Lionel Gosset,
a professional auctioneer at the internationally renowned
auction house, Christie's Paris. It featured works by
well-known Cambodian contemporary artists such as Sopheap
Pich and Ly Theam, as well as emerging artists, with sales
reaching US$40,000. Proceeds from the auction will benefit
CLA's Arts Education and Promoting the Arts programmes,
including the implementation of arts classes, scholarships,
capacity building of artists, and artistic shows and
festivals in Cambodia and abroad.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
SIPAR CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY, LAUNCHES NEW
COLLECTION OF CHILDREN BOOKS
(French acronym for "Support to the Private Initiative to
Aid the Reconstruction of Cambodia")
is an NGO, which fights
against illiteracy in Cambodia by promoting reading
interests amongst youngsters and publishing top quality
books. SIPAR, which recently celebrated its 20th
has introduced a new collection of books written in Khmer,
English and French published in Phnom Penh and dedicated to
Trails Cambodia, a supporting partner of SIPAR, is promoting
the book "Exploring Angkor", the first of a series, to all
visitors to Cambodia through our French- and
English-speaking guides. With rich historical contents and
beautiful pictures this book will guide readers through the
amazing sculpted galleries of Angkor Wat and the Bayon
temples. All proceeds of the sales go to help SIPAR to print
more books, which will be distributed by SIPAR's eight "Biblio-buses" (mobile libraries) to Cambodian children in
remote countryside to encourage reading among rural youths.
THE HAPPY RANCH
The Happy Ranch Horse Farm
is a beautiful and peaceful place accommodating 46 handsome
horses and ponies including stallions, mares, and foals. The
owner, Sary Pann, ensures his stables are maintained
according to international standards.
The Farm offers countryside
trail rides, from one hour to half-day duration. The horses
take you on a journey to places, which are otherwise
unreachable, through local countryside villages, scenic rice
fields and tourist-free temple ruins, all waiting to be
explored. This is a good opportunity to get an authentic
taste of the real Khmer lifestyle viewed from the back of a
horse, and a welcome change from other normal tourist
and creative boutique art hotel has opened its doors in Siem
Reap after a long wait and slight flood damage. Hospitality
magnate Anusorn Ngernyuang, also known as Nong, recently
launched Reflection Rooms in Siem Reap. This further expands
his portfolio of restaurants and stores in Phnom Penh and
Thailand, together with the Beaches by Reflections bar and
Reflections store in Siem Reap.
This new hotel,
which reflects Nong's philosophy for converting trash into
something extraordinary, features 16 rooms designed by his
artistic friends. For example, "SuperVerySnapShot" designed
a teenage girl's bedroom that meets a serial killer's mind,
with the bright orange room full of magazine cut-outs of
models and celebrities. There are many more interesting
rooms and features in Hotel Reflections to discover.
Lotus Resort & Spa formally
handed over the hotel's ownership to Borei Angkor Resort &
Spa on April 1, 2012. All bookings, undersigned contracts,
rates and conditions remain the same until end of September
Resort is the newest boutique hotel in town, located just
outside its centre in Wat Ko Village, between rice fields
and palm trees. The salt water pool, with its inclusive jacuzzi
is next to the first floor restaurant that offers
spectacular views of the spacious newly planted tropical
gardens, an ideal place for a relaxing stroll. There are
also many different fruit trees such as banana, mango,
jackfruit, coconut, dragon fruit, mangosteen and rambutan.
In the garden are various kinds of herbs and vegetables such
as mint, basil, lemongrass, rocket salad and
eggplant. Hammocks are scattered throughout the resort's
relax amidst tranquil surroundings.
ROCK ROYAL HOTEL & RESORT KRONG KEP
Royal Resort is situated in one of the most beautiful spots
in Kep city, encircling almost six hectares of natural
vegetation. The surrounding tropical hillside and beaches
ambience offers a truly tranquil ambiance. The resort, which
opened on March 1, 2012, is a great choice for an affordable
full-service hotel featuring 120 spacious guestrooms and 15
bungalows. Facilities include an executive floor lounge that
offers international buffet and the Green Coriander
Restaurant with Asian and Europeans cuisine.
lodge's new reception area/EMBARKATION point opens
4 Rivers Lodge
is accessible only
by boat. The new reception area
is on the Koh Kong side of the Phum Daung Bridge. Directions
to the resort - make a left turn and enter the Tatai Marina
and Resort, pass through its arch, go straight for 20 metres,
turn left going downhill, turn right to cross a big pond,
continue on the cemented road until you see a tent exactly
like the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge tent.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
VISAKHA BOCHEA DAY:
MAY 5, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA
Bonn Pisakh Bochea
on the full moon day of May marks the Birth, Enlightenment
and the Entrance into the Nirvana (Death) of Lord Buddha.
Cambodian people celebrate the day with colourful ceremonies
held in the Angkor Archeological Park, and in pagodas
throughout the country where thousands of monks and devotees
pay respect to Buddha.
ROYAL PLOUGHING DAY
MAY 9, 2012
VENUE: PHNOM PENH
A good place to
take part in the colourful celebrations is the Veal Mèn
near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh where a series of
activities take place. After the field is ceremoniously
ploughed three times the "royal oxen" or sacred
cows are offered a choice of
seven crops and drinks -
sesame seeds, beans, grass,
water and wine. Predictions
are forecast for the coming harvest season based on the
chosen crops and drinks.
soothsayers interpret what the oxen eat and predict a series
of events including epidemics, floods, good harvests and/ or
BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY KING NORODOM SIHAMONI
MAY 13-15, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA
Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates the 59th birthday of His
Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni with a three-day public
holiday. Various posters are erected on main boulevards to
highlight the monarch's image. King Norodom Sihamoni is the
third monarch to reign in the Kingdom of Cambodia in its 60
Cebu Pacific Airlines, Philippines' budget carrier, launched
direct flights to Siem Reap from Manila on April 19.
The inaugural flight landed at Siem Reap International
Airport with an Airbus A320 aircraft at 9:30pm with 150
passengers each way. The airline plans to take advantage of
Siem Reap's status as a popular tourist attraction for its
service. Flights are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Cambodia's Tourism Minister, Thong Khon, said the new
connection was a sign of the region's continued moves
towards economic integration in 2015.
Cebu Pacific Airlines has plans to launch flights between
Phnom Penh and Jakarta.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
SIEM REAP - CHAMPEY'S COOKING CLASS
class takes places in
a traditional Khmer house located in the city's centre
beside the pagoda behind U-Care pharmacy. Each guest
receives a booklet as a gift, which has recipes of two full
menus, a video DVD with the same menus and a box of spices.
The twice-daily session, in English, French or Japanese,
starts from 9.30am till 12.30pm and from 3.30pm till 6.30pm.
The number of participants for the classes ranges from two
programme starts with a visit to the market with the chef to
buy ingredients for the dishes followed by the preparation
of the meal, which comprises a starter of fresh spring
rolls, main course of Khmer Amok fish and dessert of chef's
Every year the last
day of April is marked with celebrations. It is an important day
in Vietnam's history when the North and South reunifies on April
30, 1975. Travellers to Vietnam during this time will not
experience the dramatic changes as during Tet but it is still an
On this important
day to the nation all houses fly the Vietnamese flag - red
colour with yellow star. The patriotism is evident throughout
the city with streets filled with lights and decorated with
flags. Many commemorative activities are held, from a morning
street parade to evening music shows. Many Vietnamese take the
opportunity to take a quick vacation. Transportation and flights
are thus fully booked and major beach destinations like Phu
Quoc, Nha Trang, Vung Tau are over crowded.
Asian Trails Vietnam
also took take this opportunity for a break and to refresh
before starting the summer season with new ideas and products.
We are also compiling a list of all the hotel promotions. We
wish you a great summer ahead.
Photo above: Left to
right - Roger Haumueller (MD Asian Trails Thailand), Luzi Matzig
(CEO, Asian Trails), Thuy Tien (MD Asian Trails Vietnam).
HA LONG: SATELLITE-BASED NAVIGATION SYSTEM FOR
More than 230 tourist
vessels in northern Quang Ninh Province's Ha Long Bay have
with global positioning
systems (GPS). The installation, which started last year, is
a part of the province's VND12 billion (US$572,000)
programme on improving management of tourist vessels and the
safety of tourists in the bay, which is prone to storms.
With the completion of the programme on April 30, all 500
vessels cruising the bay are equipped with GPS.
HUE: ENTRANCE FEES INCREASED
Conservation Centre has increased the entrance fees by 50%
to 80% for both local and foreign visitors to the city's
historical monuments. The quantum of increase depends on the
sites. For example, for the first complex including tombs of
emperors Tu Duc, Khai Dinh and Minh Mang, and the Hue
Citadel foreign tourists pay VND80,000 (US$3.86) per
monument, up from the current fee of VND55,000 (US$2.65).
HUE: LONG AN PALACE REOPENS
Long An Palace
in the Hue Royal Citadel reopened to tourists recently after
being closed for the last four years when it underwent a
US$1.2-million restoration. The tiled wooden structure,
which the kings used to rest after ceremonies, includes
seven compartments and two annexes standing on rare timber
pillars. It was originally located in Bao Dinh Residence.
troops commandeered Bao Dinh Residence for their
headquarters in 1885 Long An Palace was dismantled. In 1909,
on orders from Emperor Duy Tan, the palace was reassembled
and moved to the current site at 3 Le Truc Street in the
town. It has wooden
panels bearing 35 poems and essays written by King Thieu
Tri, who ordered the construction of the palace in 1845.
On the same day
the Hue Monuments Conservation Center also reopened the Hue
Museum of Royal Fine Arts inside the palace. It has more
than 10,000 items used by members of the Nguyen Dynasty, as
well as artefacts from other Asian countries. The collection
includes artefacts made of wood, gold, pottery, ivory,
bronze, and stone, include jade besides ancient coins and
The museum is
open every Tuesday to Sunday.
DIEN BIEN PHU: MUONG THANH NIGHT MARKET
The Dien Bien Phu City
People's Committee introduced the city's first night market
to encourage travellers to stay overnight in the town. The
new Muong Thanh night market taps the province's potential
for tourism and encourages communities to sell their produce
to a wider audience. It covers more than half a kilometre on
five connecting streets and features local food and snacks,
souvenirs and bonsai. There are an estimated 160 households
and 90 temporary stalls operating at the market, which opens
from 20.00hrs to 23.30hrs nightly.
Dien Bien Phu, used to
be known only for its historic aspect, may now attract more
tourist thanks to its lively nightlife. It can be accessed
during the travel to the northwest or directly from Ha Noi,
which is served by Vietnam Airlines' twice a day.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
HOA LU - NINH BINH: NEW SIGHTSEEING AND
recently caught the attention of national and international
visitors while promoting the landscape and ecosystem of
Trang An. Visitors have since started pouring into Trang An.
However, we recommend waiting until the local service is
better developed and operate smoothly.
In addition to
the famous Tam Coc (three caves) and Thung Nang, Ninh Binh
has recently seen the development of new boating and cycling
Thung Nham is
the first itinerary. Similar to Thung Nang, this boat trip
lasts for about an hour. The pier is about two kilometres
from Thung Nang.
itinerary: Thung Nham-Hang But (Buddha Cave)-Thien Ha Cave
(Galaxy Cave). Buddha Cave, which connects Thung Nham with
Galaxy Cave, is a dark water cave about 600m long with some
stalatites. Galazy Cave is not very big
and is made up
of a dry and wet part. The whole route takes about three to
three-and-a-half hours. Due to some ongoing construction
nearby it is not the best time to explore the caves for the
Lastly, we found
the biking in Van Long area a truly exhilarating experience.
The biking route can start from the Emeralda Ninh Binh area
with the ride lasting for about two hours, crossing rural
villages and stopping enroute to visit a local family. An
option is to have lunch at the house and to catch some fish,
shrimps or do some farming work with the local people. This
programme is a good alternative for those who do not wish to
bike between Tam Coc and Hoa Lu (Temples of King Dinh and
HA LONG: BHAYA LEGEND INCREASES ITS FLEET
has added five additional Bhaya Legend boats into operation
from May 2012. The whole fleet will also be moved to the
brand new private port in Tuan Chau at the same time as the
launching of the new boats.
operates romantic cruises, suitable for high-end FIT travellers, couples and honeymooner.
BEN TRE: LUXURY MANGO CRUISES
which operates from the not much visited town of Ben Tre,
takes tourists to hidden and unexplored sites in its
comfortable day boat. The trip is combined with tuk tuk
ride, biking and walking.
The company also
provides overnight cruise on board a converted two-cabin
sampans. The air-conditioned sampan is equipped with LCD TV,
3G Internet access, sand reflect a sophisticated rustic
charm. This product is suitable for FITs, honeymooner and
visitors who prefer less transfer time and want to
experience the tranquil countryside.
us for more information.
CO VIEN LAU COMPLEX, NINH BINH
Lau, which means "Pavilion in ancient garden", is a two
hectare complex. It contains a huge collection of Vietnamese
style ancient architecture buildings from earth houses of
the ordinary people to long houses of high classed families
in the past, an above-water pavillion. Within these building
are ancient and antiqued furniture and items.
long house has rooms for rent, which are linited in space
and humbly furnished.
are suitable for clients who look for authentic experience,
interested in Vietnamese old style architecture and
furniture. or want to know about Vietnamese old countryside
life. It is not recommended for those who want
complex is conveniently located about 200 metres from Tam
Coc pier (starting point for boat trip in the "inland Ha
Long Bay") and is perfect for events and catering.
contact us for more information.
NEW ECO RESORT IN CUC PHUONG
Phuong is the first National Park of Vietnam and is an ideal
place to learn about the environment and biodiversity, as
well for trekking. However the guesthouse in the park did
not meet the quality standard for foreign tourists and thus
the area attracts few overnight visitors.
Trails recently inspected the park and recommends an
eco-friendly resort, located three kilometres from the
park's entrance. It features two swimming pools (outdoor and
indoor with mineral water), a spa, meeting room, restaurant,
tennis court and a three-hole golf course (for golf
training). Rooms are well equipped and have wooden bath with
mineral water and indoor and outdoor showers. It is a good
substitute to the old Cuc Phuong guesthouse, which we have
been using so far.
contact us for more information.
BEST WESTERN MAKES HEADWAY IN VIETNAM
International will manage a property due to open in 2013 in
Vietnam's Ba Ria-Vung Tau province on the coast of southeast
Vietnam and about 100km from Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Western is also
contracted to develop a resort complex, the Oceanami Tourism
and Resort Complex, in Phuoc Hai town, Dat Do district that
will include a 200-room hotel under the Best Western brand.
The entire complex will cost VND1.146 trillion (US$55
SIX SENSES NINH VAN BAY REMODELS VILLAS
The resort has
remodelled the Spa Suite Villas into Hill Top Villas, which
saw them enhanced from expanding the panoramic views to
various improvements to the building's exterior and
interiors. For any Spa Suite Villa booked or requested, the
resort will customise to stand by villas for such
requirements until October 2012.
us for more information.
LA RESIDENCE HOTEL
& SPA'S POOL REOPENS
Residence's swimming pool has now opened again for all
guests after an extensive upgrade programme. The swimming
pool area has been completely renovated that included new
tiling, stone and regrouting, renovation of wooden deck and
pool furniture, refurbishment of changing area and guest
lockers, new kid's pool with all day sun shade, extensive
servicing of existing pumping equipment, comprehensive new
daily pool cleaning and service equipment and upgrade of
pool bar area.The new pool brings a higher standard of
aesthetic presentation and safety for all guests staying at
this iconic five star property in
FRESH LOOK FOR SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI
Plaza Hanoi on West Lake is relaunched after its most
significant overhaul since opening in 2001. Renovations
throughout the 317-key property ranged from rooms to dining
venues and meeting facilities. Luxury Club Rooms have been
remodelled and given technological upgrades; the Summit
Lounge rooftop bar redesigned with a new outdoor wooden
deck; open kitchens and VIP rooms added to the flagship
Chinese restaurant; the business centre rebuilt in a new
location; the Plaza Ballroom redecorated; and a new meeting
space on the ground floor carved out.
As part of its
repositioning, the hotel also carried out a fresh round of
service training for employees across all levels, with
emphasis on developing Vietnamese employees to play greater
VICTORIA PHAN THIET RENOVATES
Thiet Beach Resort will be renovating the restaurant roof
from May 8 to July 17, 2012. Renovation works will take
place daily from 7am to 12am and from 2.30pm to 5pm. During
this period a replacement bar is be set up next to the La
Paillotte outlet where breakfast is reserved. Lunch and
dinner is still served at the main bar.
us for more information.
NEW TERRACE, PETANQUE COURT FOR TOPAS ECOLODGE, SAPA
Topas Ecolodge has iextended its terrace towards Lech
Village in Thanh Kim on the opposite side of the hydro
electric construction in Ban Ho Village. It is accessible
from the lounge and bar and furnished with new wooden
furniture. The resort also supplies guests with a blanket
and gas heating on the cold days. It has also constructed
made a petanque court on top of the hill. This game is very
The resort is also planning to extend its services and
activities both in summer and winter by building a
recreational area including pool, sauna, steam bath and
other facilities. The construction started in March and is
expected to be finished within a few months. These new
facilities are located on the the other hill top so as to
minimise distubance to the lodge's guests.
Please contact us for more information.
SEAHORSE RESORT & SPA IS ASEAN GREEN HOTEL 2012
Located 200 km from Ho
Chi Minh City and 11km from the Centre of Phan Thiet city,
Seahorse Resort & Spa is one of the most elegant and stylish
beachfront resorts along the coast of Mui Ne, Binh Thuan
Province. The resort has recognized the use of green
products as an important strategy for sustainable
development and competitiveness in all sectors, especially
in accommodation services. The resort's management has put
much effort in that direction, which earned it the Asean
Green Hotel 2012 award. This award will spur the hotel's
management to further develop more green initiatives for the
EVASON ANA MANDARA, VIETNAM'S HIGHEST RANKED HOTEL
Evason Ana Mandara, a
Six Senses property in the central Vietnamese province of
Khanh Hoa, has been honoured as the country's highest ranked
hotel and resort for the fourth consecutive year. The honour
came as the resort on the private beach along Nha Trang's
Tran Phu Boulevard was listed once again in the Conde Nast
Traveller Gold List.
Evason Ana Mandara also
announced that it would be the first in Vietnam to launch a
full professional and retail range of oxygen detoxification
treatments on December 23, 2011
LA RESIDENCE UPGRADES LE PARFUM RESTAURANT BUFFET AREA
As part of their
ongoing commitment to the highest standards of aesthetic
presentation and quality commitment, La Residence Resort &
Spa in Hue renovating the Le Parfum Restaurant's Buffet and
Live Cooking offering. The upgrade will include a
custom-built in dessert display, a more functional and
guest-friendly buffer area, a fully integrated live cooking
station and an electro-induction countertop food
presentation with power saving and food-quality longevity
control - a departure from the old fashioned gel fuel
chaffing dishes. These are to be complemented by hand-made
bespoke food display stands and uniquely designed platters.
will be conducted over a two-week period, from June 4-18,
2012 and between 11pm to 5am when there are no guests in the
restaurant. As this is not heavy construction there will
only be minor noise reverberation, and all in-house guests
will be allocated to higher floors away from the noise.
Currently there is no necessity for a substitute breakfast
area as the work will be done in stages overnight. However,
if there's a need the hotel is prepared with a plan B
alternative location with continued availability of all
Please do not
hesitate to contact for further information.
EMERAUDE'S ANNUAL MAINTENANCE
Halong Bay is carrying out an intensive maintenance of its
vessel from May 28 to July 3, 2012. Kindly block out these
dates from your systems. Regular scheduled departures will
resume on July 4.
us for more information.
NEW ROUTE FOR LAOS AIRLINES
Laos Airlines opened a new route in mid-April serving Pakse
in southern Laos, Savannakhet in the central region and
Danang in Vietnam. The three times weekly service is on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, using a 65-seat ATR72
aircraft. The flight starts from Pakse at 9am, stops in
Savannakhet to pick up passengers before taking off to
Danang, arriving 11.40am. The return flight is 2.10pm and
arrives in Pakse at 5pm.
VIETJET EXPANDS SERVICES
cost carrier, Vietjet, launched twice daily service between
the business capital, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang, the
country's prime coastal resort in the central region on
April 27 April, 2012. On the same day the airline increased
frequency on the Ho Chi Minh City-Hanoi route from three
times daily to eight. By May 19 it will launch a daily
service from the capital city, Hanoi, to Nha Trang, a beach
resort in the south central coast.
launched its first service on December 25, 2011 between Hanoi
and Ho Chi Minh City. To date the carrier has operated
nearly 360 safe flights, carrying more than 40,000
passengers within just two months of operations. It
currently has a fleet of three 180-seat Airbus A320
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
MONSOON RESTAURANT & BAR, SAIGON
Monsoon, first established in 2004 in Yangon, Myanmar opened
recently in Saigon. The restaurant specialised in delicacies
from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
Beautifully designed in a remarkable French colonial-era
villa and centrally located in the city, Monsoon is a
respectful addition to the city's international restaurant
The high season is upon us and the tourism industry in China is
booming. With the approach of summer the entire country is
blooming with beautiful flowers and healthy green foliage.
Asian Trails China is pleased to suggest you new ideas for
travelling within this huge country with its numerous new
hotels, new high-speed trains and age-old villages, palaces and
temples that never fail to awe.
NEW AIRPORT FOR KUNMING
The new international airport will open in June 2012. It is
located about an hour's drive from downtown Kunming.
PALACE OF PRINCE GONG - BEIJING
The 236-year-old Palace of Prince Gong (Gongwangfu), which
has just undergone major renovations, now offers a full
visit for visitors.
The Palace was built in 1776 as the residence of He Shen, a
very powerful and privileged minister during the Qing
dynasty. In 1851 Yixin or Prince Gong moved in and gave the
palace its present name.
Must-see places in the palace include:
First Palace Gate (Tougongmen): It is said that
the Palace's main buildings considered inferior only to the
Forbidden City. Green tiles were used in Prince Gong's
Palace while golden glazed tiles in the Forbidden City.
During the Qing Dynasty green was considered one rank below
Le Dao Tang: He Shen's son married Princess He
Xiao, the daughter of Emperor Qian Long, and she lived in Le
Dao Tang within this palace.
Bao Guang Hall: Famed for its precious coloured
paintings under the eaves.
Xi Jin Zhai: This room follows the style of the
Heavenly Tranquillity Palace in the Forbidden City.
SAILING TO YANGZHOU - JIANGSU PROVINCE
Spring is the best to visit Yangzhou as the season paints
the city in brilliant colours with flowers blooming in
gardens and parks. The city was mentioned in a Tang Dynasty
poem written by Li Bai, one of China's most famous poets,
about 1,300 years ago: "Sailing to Yangzhou in spring when
blossoms curl like smoke on the river."
Many buildings in Yangzhou, including garment stores, banks,
cafes, schools and restaurants are built in a traditional
style, with grey and green tiles on rooftops and white
walls. For centuries literati, such as the poet Li Bai, and
dignitaries, like Emperor Qian Long of the Qing Dynasty
(1644-1911), had graced the city. One should spend time at
the lake and at the park, which is lined with willow trees,
pagodas and loads of history to keep the visitor busy for a
full day. Five Pavilion Bridge, built on the lake 500 years
ago, is an iconic symbol of Yangzhou. Always bustling with
activity the bridge offers excellent elevated views of the
lake, and is also a good place to catch a pleasant breeze.
Yangzhou is a city of gardens. At one time it boasted more
than 200 intricately landscaped private gardens, a number
that has been reduced by the turbulence of the ages to just
less than 30. One of the best preserved of these is Heyuan
Garden, once owned by the He Zhidao family in the Qing
Dynasty. With an area of 10,000 square metres the Heyuan
Garden is an intricate maze of gardens and buildings where
the visitor may easily get lost.
THE FORBIDDEN CITY IS ONLINE
China's Forbidden City has come alive online. Visitors to
the website now has a richer experience and easier access to
the Imperial City and the ancient building complex, which
has up to 8,707 rooms and 1.5 million artistic artefacts.
The Forbidden City is the world's largest surviving Imperial
Palace complex and served as the home of the Emperor and his
household. It was also the ceremonial and political centre
of the Chinese government from 1420 to the early 20th
Far from the frenetic pace of Guangdong's industrial cities
the county of Dabu in the northeast of the province offers
an enchanting escape to another world of lush forests,
waterfalls and distinctive ancient architecture.
Adjacent to Fujian Province, Dabu is 500 kilometres from
Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
A three- to five-days can take in the county's excellent
ecology and natural scenery, its variety of ancient Hakka
homes and folklore, and visit to the cradle of Han music and
opera. Other sites include terraced rice fields, forest
parks, wide mountain ranges, temples that date back more
than 1,000 years and crystal-clear rivers - all of which
made the county known as "Shangri-La of the Hakka
GUANZHONG FOLK ART MUSEUM - CHINA'S LARGEST PRIVATE
FOLK ART MUSEUM
The Guanzhong Folk Art Museum in Guanzhong, Shaanxi Province
was founded by Wang Yong Chao, a successful businessman, who
sold his seven companies to dedicate himself to purchasing
cultural relics. He transformed 40 courtyard homes, with
more than 1,000 rooms and containing 33,600 items into
China's largest private folk museum. He proceeded to
purchase Ming and Qing era courtyard houses, which were
slated for demolition.
The construction of the Museum started in rural Xian in
2002. To date, 16 courtyards have been rebuilt. It is about
a 30-minute drive from downtown Xian.
The new Pentahotel Beijing is the former Courtyard by
Marriott, which underwent major renovations before its
rebranding. Located in the heart of the city the hotel is
conveniently located close to the Chongwenmen metro station
and popular tourist attractions such as Tiananmen Square,
the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Wangfujing
shopping street and the Pearl market.
With a cool design Pentahotel Beijing offers 307 guestrooms
and grand rooms. Starting from 29sqm in size every room is
spacious and efficiently designed with high-speed broadband
Internet access, wide range of amenities and comfortable
beds. The Pentalounge, which serves as a bar and café, is
opened all day.
KEMPINSKI HOTEL XIAMEN OPENS
Kempinski Hotel Xiamen, which opened in April 2012, is
positioned as the city's leading luxury hotel. Standing at
an imposing 198m high it offers European hospitality in
concert with Chinese traditions. It features 460 luxury
rooms and suites including the Kempinski Executive Floors
with 24-hour butler service, five innovative food and
beverage options, and over 2,600sqm of meeting and
The hotel is ideally located in the heart of the city
overlooking the scenic Yundang Lake. It is 20 minutes from
Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport, 15 minutes from Xiamen
International Conference & Exhibition Centre and a few yards
away the city's popular entertainment outlets.
A KEMPINSKI HOTEL FOR CHONGQING
The Kempinski Hotel Chongqing is scheduled to open in the
second half of 2012.
SOFITEL SUZHOU REBRANDS
Sofitel Suzhou has been rebranded as Marco Polo Hotel.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
JUNE 23, 2012 (5TH DAY OF THE 5TH LUNAR MONTH)
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA
A tradition of the Dragon Boat Festival is to eat Zongzi
(glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves). This tradition
is said to be carried out in memory of Qu Yuan, a
high-ranking official of the State 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 to lead a
life as a poor wanderer. 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
contribution and, as a mark of respect, threw rice into the
river as a sacrifice to him. As they were afraid the fish
and shrimps would eat the rice they wrapped it in reed
leaves and bound silk threads around the packets before
dropping them into the river. This custom continues until
People throughout China celebrates the Dragon Boat Festival
over a long weekend, from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24
weekend. Work will resume on Monday, June 25.
FOUR NEW TEAM MEMBERS FOR ATC
We welcome Tina Ju and Steven Zhang to the accounting
department, and Alice Lu and Lynne Zhao as Operation
Coordinators. We wish them great success at Asian Trails
ANY OTHER NEWS
CHINA'S HIGH SPEED RAILWAYS CONNECT MAJOR CITIES
With 3,500 kilometres of new high-speed railways expected to
be operational this year, the length of China's high-speed
rail links will exceed 10,000 kilometres. All four of the
planned North-South rail arteries for China's high-speed
rail system will be completed within the next few years.
One of the four arteries, the Beijing-Shanghai line, opened
last year in June. The others will connect Beijing and
Guangzhou in South China. Beijing and Harbin in Northeast
China, and cities on the southeast coast with high-speed
rail links. These arteries will cut travel time between
major cities. The journey from Beijing to Shenzhen will take
eight hours instead of the current 24 hours, and trips from
Beijing to Harbin (venue of the annual Ice Festival in
January and February) will take only five hours instead of
China plans to build a railway network of 120,000 kilometres
by 2015, including at least 16,000 kilometres of high-speed
The past three
months have been quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The
tourism industry is prospering again, and we are experiencing a
boom judging from the increased number of tourist arrivals.
Hotels were fully booked from November 2011 to February 2012.
Even March and April, which are considered shoulder season, saw
higher arrivals than ever. We advise you to book holidays to
Myanmar as early as possible.
We would like to
thank everybody for their continuous support, and the very
excellent and mutual cooperation. We wish you a very happy
MYANMAR new year.
RAISE IN LIMIT OF FOREIGN IMPORTED MONEY
Bank has raised the declaration limit of foreign imported
money from an equivalent of USD2,000.00 to an equivalent of
USD10,000.00 effective April 1, 2012. Any amount over this
limit must be declared at customs.
NEW BRIDGE NEAR BAGAN
A new bridge
over the Irrawaddy River near Pakokku has been inaugurated
to replace the former bridge, which was destroyed by a flash
flood in 2011.
The new bridge
allows again for a shorter and more direct drive from Bagan
to Monwya, which is situated on the left bank of the
Chindwin River. Enroute do not miss a visit to the
impressive wooden Pakhangyi Monastery constructed by King
Mindon in 1886, and the local villages.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
MRAUK U - HIDDEN TREASURE OF MYANMAR
Due to an
increasing demand to lesser-known destinations in Myanmar
and the introduction of the new direct flight from Bagan and
Heho (read article in "Airline Information"). Mrauk
U, the ancient capital of the last unified Arakanese Kingdom
(now Rakhine State), has been chosen again for our regular
destination inspection this year.
As per our
itinerary it included one night stop in Sittwe, which gave
us the opportunity to visit the colourful busy fish market
the following day before boarding our boat to Mrauk U. One
of the many trip highlights, apart the magical atmosphere of
the temples, was the river journey to the Chin State's
border including the visit to two typical Chin villages
where you can still find some tattooed women.
Mrauk U Prices
Resort is still the best for accommodation and service in
the area. It also serves as an excellent gateway to
different tourist sites, travelling there either by car,
bike or horse cart.
PUTAO - THE FAR NORTH
Putao is located
at the foothills of the Himalaya Range not too far from
Myanmar's highest peak, Hkakabo Razi that towers at 5881
metres above sea level and South East Asia's highest peak.
The region around Putao is still relatively undiscovered by
tourists and is inhabited by various ethnic minorities. It
offers ample possibilities for trekking. Longer multi day
trekking to more off-the-beaten track places can also be
organised by the Putao Trekking House.
Putao is easily
accessible with twice weekly flights by Air Bagan from
Yangon, stopping enroute in Mandalay and Myitkyina. Trekking
House, a mid range hotel, and the top class Malikha Lodge
Resort offer accommodation for to fit every budget. The best
time to visit the area is from October through to April.
For more details
on Putao and prices, please contact us.
NEW RESTAURANT AT KANDAWGYI PALACE HOTEL
A new Chinese
restaurant, Taste of Paradise, has opened at Kandawgyi
Palace Hotel that is situated along the namesake western
shore of the Royal Lake. This new dining
experience in Yangon, which offers a large variety of fine
Chinese cuisine, follows the opening of the French fine
dining restaurant - Agnes - in the hotel.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
WATER FESTIVAL 2012
festival, known as Thingyan, was celebrated on April 12-16
this year. Held on the eve of the Myanmar New Year, which
fell on April 17, it is an annual event when people
throughout Myanmar spray water on each other as part of the
ritual to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous year.
went out to enjoy themselves and the elders took shelter in
monasteries and pagoda precincts. The streets of Yangon, as
well as of all the other cities and towns around Myanmar,
were thronged with people dancing, throwing water at
themselves and having a good time. The atmosphere throughout
the festival was electric and joyous.
AIR KANBAWZA'S NEW FLIGHT TO SITTWE
October 1, 2012
will operate a new direct flight to connect Bagan and Heho
to Sittwe (gateway to Mrauk-U). Using the ATR72 aircraft the
service will be on Tuesdays and Sundays. The flight is
scheduled to depart Bagan at 2.25pm and Heho at 3.15pm,
arriving at Sitwe Airport at 4.25pm.
This new service
makes the access to Mrauk-U, the ancient capital of Rakhine
State easier and less expensive.
MAI SUSPENDS FLIGHTS TO SIEM REAP
(MAI) suspends flight from Yangon to Siem Reap for the low
season starting from April 28. However, the twice weekly
flights to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh from/to
Yangon continues - on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
TWO NEW TOUR CONSULTANTS FOR ATM
Ms. Aye Sandar
Kyaw and Ms. Mu Mu Aung have been appointed Asian Trails
Myanmar's new Tour Consultant in the SIC and Series
department after completing successfully three-year
apprenticeship studies at the Centre for Vocational
Training in Yangon.
We wish them all
the best in their new career.
Top photo: Ms
Aye Sandar Kyaw receiving her certificate.
Bottom photo: Ms
Mu Mu Aung receiving her certificate
ANY OTHER NEWS
edition of Sports Day, organised by the Myanmar Marketing
Committee, was held on April 7 in Yangon around Inya Lake.
The Asian Trails Myanmar team was at the sports site bright
and early to compete in the run. It was a fun affair with
members of the travel and hospitality fraternity interacting
with one another. It was a time to relax too after a hectic
season for all.
The event was a
success and we look forward to the 2013 Sports Day edition.
SPACE ART GALLERY IN YANGON
The art scene in
Yangon has been developing quietly in the last years. Many
of the galleries in the city reflect work from artists who
have effectively portrayed some of the rich culture,
religion, landscapes and colours of Burma. There are a
number of very talented artists featured in galleries across
Gallery features works from various Myanmar artists
including Mr. U Tin Aye who has been active in the field for
more than 50 years. Various and changing exhibitions are
planned the whole year round. Visitors also have the
opportunity to buy some of the artworks. For more
information on the gallery please visit
As art is a
wonderful way to understand any country you travel to, we
have included the visit to the most famous galleries in our
special city tours programme.
Now that the monsoon
is over it is the perfect time to visit the East coast of
Peninsular Malaysia, which is home to some of the country's best
unspoilt beaches, forests and islands. The "good" season is
between April to October, with June to August being the busiest
We're also preparing
for the Middle East season and look forward to increased
arrivals from this sector.
On another note, a
number of new hotels are opening soon in Kuala Lumpur such as
the Best Western Premier Dua Sentral, Grand Hyatt, Pullman
Bangsar, Ibis Styles Frasers Business Park and Wolo Hotel.
Others due to open in the near future are St. Regis and Banyan
Tree. These additions will give Kuala Lumpur an additional 3,000
hotel rooms and service residences in the 3-5 star categories.
There's also a host
of unique accommodations coming up throughout the country, which
we're currently sourcing. We're pleased to feature The Dusun in
this edition of the newsletter.
Based on increasing
demand for golf packages I'm pleased to say that Asian Trails
Malaysia is now a member of IAGTO (International Association of
Golf Tour Operators), and was represented for the first time at
the golf conference held at the Mines Resort & Golf Club in
Kuala Lumpur from April 22-25, 2012. I must add that Malaysia
has some very good international standard golf courses.
Malaysia Truly Asia!
UNIQUE ACCOMMODATION AT THE DUSUN
Tucked into the
hills of Negeri Sembilan is The Dusun, a boutique resort
with stunning jungle views. The Berembun Forest Reserve,
4000 acres of virgin rainforest, is right next door waiting
to be explored. Only an hour from Kuala Lumpur the resort is
a world away from the city's hustle and bustle.
timber houses are shaded by matured trees and set to catch
the wind. There are only four houses at present (a few more
are being built), each unique and out of sight of the
others. There is a salt-water infinity pool and a beautiful
landscape patio area for outdoor dining. For adventure there
are jungle hikes with knowledgeable Temuan (indigenous
people) guides available. The Dusun is the perfect place to
get-away from it all and to chill.
government of the historical state of Malacca has imposed
the Heritage Charge on hotels. This is a tax of RM2
(US$0.65) nett per room per night levied on all hotels'
guests and is collected on check in.
MAH MERI CELEBRATES HARI MOYANG (SPIRIT DAY)
Once a year the
Mah Meri people of Kampung Sungai Bumbun on Pulau Carey,
celebrates Hari Moyang to give thanks to the spirits for the
good things, which have been bestowed upon the villagers.
They believe the yearly
ritual will ward off disaster, while the offerings are a way
to appease the spirits and to ensure their continuous
last for three days and includes a special dance by both men
and women, latter called Mayin Jo-oh, to invite the
ancestral spirits to join the festivities The men wear
wooden masks and their dance movements reflect their daily
routine, which includes fishing and farming. The women
perform dances with ritual songs and music from bamboo,
viola, drum, and brass gong. The celebration ends at noon on
the third day when all the celebrants gather at the communal
eating hut to share the bountiful food contributed by all
CENTRAL MARKET SHOWCASES TRADITIONAL MUSIC
Kuala Lumpur has teamed up with University Institute
Teknologi Mara (UiTM) for a celebration of music and arts to
showcase Malaysia's rich cultural heritage. This unique
partnership aims to introduce Malaysia's diversity in music
and culture to foreign tourists as well to Malaysians. It
also aims to promote interest in traditional Malaysian folk
music among the younger generation.
On show are an
array of Malaysian traditional instruments and genres
including a bamboo ensemble, the ukulele, Borneo music
compositions, the saxophone, percussions and strings. The
free event is held every Friday at Central Market's Kasturi
Walk from 8.30pm to 9pm.
FORMER ISTANA NEGARA PRESERVED AS NATIONAL HERITAGE
building of the former Istana Negara (National Palace) will
be preserved as a national heritage with its original
features and furnishings maintained. There are plans to set
up a gallery on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (honorific term
for the Malaysian king) as a constitutional monarchy at a
building behind the former palace. It has been the residence
of 13 Yang di-Pertuan Agongs since Malaysia's independence
palace is now opened to the public.
MANGROVE DISCOVERY CENTRE BOOSTS SABAH'S NATURE
upgraded Mangrove Discovery Centre in Sepilok Laut, Sabah is
slated to become another tourism attraction for Sabah,
specifically the east coast town of Sandakan. It is located
5.5 km from the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and
accessible via a jungle trail
The upgrading of
the Centre was completed on January 12, 2012 at a cost of
RM1.04 million. It is aims to provide a unique and
magnificent experience to visitors who get to experience a
natural mangrove habitat.
Belian wood boardwalk connects the existing information
centre to a camping site. Other facilities include resting
areas, bridges and a multipurpose tower.
GAYA ISLAND RESORT, BORNEO OPENS IN JULY
YTL Hotels, the hospitality arm of Malaysian conglomerate
YTL Corporation, will open the Gaya Island Resort, Borneo on
July 1, 2012.
located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, on Pulau
Gaya, the largest island in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
The resort comprises 121 standalone hill villas offering
views of the ocean and Mount Kinabalu.
is a 30-minute combined car and speedboat ride from Kota
Kinabalu International Airport. Facilities at the resort
include several dining outlets- pool bar and lounge, a 40m
infinity swimming pool, spa centre featuring six treatment
rooms with outdoor decks, walk-in theatre and yoga retreat
There will be a host of activities for guests to participate
in such as as kayaking, paddle surfing, scuba diving, PADI
open water courses, island hopping, guided snorkelling
expeditions, guided nature walks and private yacht charters.
TRADERS HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR REFRESHES ROOMS & SUITES
guestroom and suite refreshment programme commenced on March
5, and is scheduled for completion in late 2012.
The works are
conducted two floors at a time and guests, for the most
part, will not be aware of the ongoing renovations as these
floors are closed to lift access.
refurbishment incorporates the following:
replacement and upgrade of all televisions from the current
26"-32" to the 36"-42" Samsung LED
of the all soft furnishings, such as throw cushions and
of the feature walls
re-grouting and marble polishing
of rooms and corridors
of timer framework and doors
Re-upholstering of lounge chair, sofa and headboard
UPDATE: RENOVATIONS AT TANJONG JARA RESORT,
The construction work to rebuild 12 accommodations in Block
7 of Tanjong Jara Resort in Dungun, Terengganu has been
extended to May 30, 2012. On completion the Block will
comprise six Bumbung Rooms and six Serambi Rooms, each
offering luxurious accommodation with a high level of
comfort and personal service. The new Bumbung rooms will be
modified to include a spacious verandah offering magnificent
views of the ocean and surrounding gardens.
Due to the resort's unique design and the carefully planned
construction timetable there is no disturbance for the
guests. Additionally, guests have been allocated rooms as
far away from the affected area as possible to minimise any
potential disruption during their stay.
TANJUNG RHU RESORT & SPA REFURBISHES
Resort & Spa in Langkawi is undergoing a
refurbishment programme, which aims to enhance the overall
experience for guests. Renovations are expected to take six
months, scheduled to be completed in November 2012.
being carried out on guestrooms and the restaurants The
upgrading involves refitting the rooms with an improved
layout, new furniture, new wall and ceiling panels, new
amenities and accessories as well as electrical and plumbing
improvement. The restaurants are restyled to provided a
revitalised ambience for dining. The Sands, the last
scheduled restaurant to be upgraded, will also be completed
by November. Guests have access to ample facilities for
dining as the main restaurants are relocated to suitable
areas during the upgrading works.
refurbishment exercise is being carried out in a systematic
phase by phase manner to ensure minimal inconvenience or
disruption to the guests during their stay at the resort.
FRANGIPANI LANGKAWI RESORT & SPA UPGRADES ROOMS
Langkawi Resort & Spa is currently upgrading and
refurbishing its rooms in phases from mid-March to June
2012. Only rooms in the resort's right wing are being
refurbished. The ongoing works does not disturb guests
staying in rooms on left wing as the two wings are 40 metres
ROYAL MULU RESORT TO REBRAND AS A MARRIOTT HOTEL
Royal Mulu Resort in Sarawak will be brought under the
Marriott brand on completion of its ongoing renovation
programme in September this year. Extensive upgrading is
being carried at the resort's main lobby, reception, lobby,
restaurants and swimming pool.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
SABAH FEST - A CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA
MAY 5-6, 2012
VENUE: KOTA KINABALU,
Be mesmerised by
the poetry of music, song and dance at the cultural
extravaganza, which showcases the best Sabah's rich unique
traditions and beliefs. Visitors will be treated to
traditional performance and the intricate art of making
local handicraft and wood carvings by talented local
BORNEO INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
MAY 11-12, 2012
VENUE: MIRI, SARAWAK
event sees jazz groups from around the world converging at
the Miri Resort City to showcase their talent. Expected
spectator attendance is 7,000 comprising both Malaysians and
INTERNATIONAL PAHANG RIVER RAFTING EXPEDITION
MAY 13-19, 2012
VENUE: PAHANG RIVER, PAHANG
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 19, 2012
VENUE: DATARAN MERDEKA, KUALA LUMPUR
premier cultural extravaganza is a cornucopia of spectacular
traditional performances, colourful parades and exhibitions
that showcases the country's arts and crafts.
TADAU KAAMATAN (HARVEST FESTIVAL)
MAY 30-31, 2012
VENUE: SABAH & LABUAN
is celebrated in Sabah and Labuan to mark the end of the
harvesting season and the beginning of a new season. The
occasion is celebrated with traditional dances and musical
performances. Visitors are encouraged to participate in
activities and share in the joy.
MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL TOURISM EXCHANGE (MITE)
MAY 31 - JUNE 3, 2012
VENUE: MALAYSIA AGRO - EXPOSITION PARK SERDANG ,
MITE 2012 is
dubbed as "the largest tourism event in
Malaysia" with participation from local and foreign players
in the tourism industry including tour operators and
national tourism organisations, as well as ministries and
foreign missions. It will be filled with non-stop fun-packed
sctivities such as international performances/showcased,
seminars, games, and competitions. The organisers have
secured the participation of 25 countries and 300 hosted
buyers. There will be 1,200 booths and an expected 600,000
GAWAI DAYAK FESTIVAL
JUNE 1-2, 2012
Gawai Dayak is
the harvest festival celebrated by Sarawak's indigenous
people, particularly the Ibans and Bidayuhs. Dressed in
traditional costumes they make ceremonial offerings of local
traditional delicacies and tuak (home-made rice wine)
to the gods of rice and prosperity. This unique festival is
a must-see event for both Malaysians and foreign tourists.
1MALAYSIA MEGA SALE CARNIVAL
JUNE 15- SEPTEMBER 2, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
Mega Sale Carnival 2012 is all set to woo shoppers with a
string of promotions and tempting discounts for seven weeks.
This year's sale brings even more bargains with the onset of
the Hari Raya Puasa festivities and the concurrent 1Malaysia
KK JAZZ FESTIVAL
JUNE 15-16, 2012
VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH
installation of the KK Jazz Festival promises to be another
ground breaking experience with a great line up of local and
international artistes. This fund raising event will support
various community projects in Sabah.
27TH SABAH DRAGON BOAT RACE
JUNE 16-17, 2012
VENUE: LIKAS BAY, KOTA KINABALU, SABAH
A race with
traditional Chinese dragon boats, which has evolved from
myths and legends, has grown into one of the main highlights
in Sabah's tourism calendar. This exciting event attracts
teams from all over the world including Australia, Hong
Kong, Japan, China, Singapore and Brunei.
FRASER'S HILL INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE
JUNE 23-24, 2012
VENUE: FRASER'S HILL, PAHANG
Fraser's Hill is
famed as a world-class bird-watching destination as it is
home to about 247 species of birds. The race is an excellent
opportunity for locals and foreign visitors alike to watch a
variety of migratory and montane birds, species from as far
as away as northern Siberia and the islands north of Japan.
JUNE 30-JULY 8, 2012
shows in 2007, 2009 and with over 600 000 visitors from all
over the world in 2010, this year's FLORIA is set to be even
more spectacular and colourful. The festival showcases the
best of the Malaysian and international landscape and
horticulture industry, from commercial landscape products to
garden design showcase and flower displays. Exhibitors from
Malaysia and foreign countries will create exceptional
displays and presentations in a park-setting environment.
Come and be part of the excitement!
1MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL TOURISM NIGHT FLORAL PARADE
JUNE 30 -JULY 8, 2012
Don't miss the
chance to watch floral exhibitions and ornately decorated
floats in various hues. Putrajaya, Malaysia's administrative
capital, will be transformed into an enclave of beautiful
LONDON IS MAS' FIRST A380 DESTINATION
Airlines (MAS) will debut its Airbus A380-800 on the Kuala
Lumpur-London route on July 1. The airline is taking
delivery of the first of its six A380 aircrafts in June. The
thrice-weekly service will increase to daily flights from
August 25 on receiving the second A380.
Sydney will be
the second destination when the third aircraft is delivered
in August. MAS will operate daily Kuala Lumpur-Sydney
flights from September 1, increasing the frequency to daily
when the fourth aircraft arrives in September.
The A380 has a
capacity of 494 seats in a three-class configuration
comprising eight first class seats and 350 economy class
seats on the main deck, with 66 business class seats and 70
economy class seats on the upper deck. Operating the
aircraft will be an 18member cabin crew.
CATHAY PACIFIC UPS SERVICES FROM KUALA LUMPUR,
PENANG TO HONG KONG
Airways introduced additional flights on March 25 to Hong
Kong from Kuala Lumpur and Penang. These services further
strengthen connectivity between Malaysia and Hong Kong as
the number of flights has been increased to 38 a week. The
expanded schedule gives airline's guests greater
convenience, wider choice and more flexibility when
travelling between the two countries.
UZBEKISTAN AIRWAYS ADDS FLIGHTS TO MALAYSIA
Airways increases flights to Malaysia at end April. It will
add another flight in November 2012 as more tourists from
Uzbekistan is expected during this period. The airline
recently purchased four Boeing B767 aircraft to handle the
MORE AIRASIA X'S SERVICES TO TAIPEI, PERTH
AirAsia X will
increase its daily flights to Taipei (Taiwan) to 11 times
weekly from June 22, and nine times weekly Perth (Australia)
from June 24. The increased frequency is due to the strong
and growing travel demand to the two countries. The
additional frequencies would give passengers from Malaysia
and the surrounding region flexibility in their travel plans
and better connectivity into Australia and Taiwan.
MELAKA AIR BEGINS FLIGHTS TO PENANG
On April 6
Melaka Air launched twice-weekly services from the
historical city of Malacca to Penang. The hour-long flight,
on Mondays and Fridays, provides easy connectivity for
tourist to visit the two UNESCO World Heritage sites.
BANGKOK AIRWAYS LAUNCHES KUALA LUMPUR-KOH SAMUI
launched its new service connecting Koh Samui to Kuala
Lumpur on April 2. Kuala Lumpur is Bangkok Airway's third
international gateway, offering non-stop service to Koh
Samui after the successful Koh Samui-Singapore and Koh Samui-Hong
daily non-stop service uses an Airbus A319 aircraft with 138
seats. The airline offers additional services, which include
lounge use for all cabin classes at the Samui Airport and
appetising in-flight meals.
ANY OTHER NEWS
MALAYSIA REMOVES DOMESTIC SHIPPING LICENCE FOR
FOREIGN CRUISE SHIPS
Transport Ministry recently announced foreign cruise ships
are now allowed to operate from any port or place in
Malaysia to another port or place in the country without the
need for a domestic shipping license. The move is aimed at
promoting tourism, which is one of the main contributing
sectors to the country's economic development. This
initiative, which came into effect on March 15, does not
include the operation of "cruise to nowhere".
Visitors of Bali are currently confronted with numerous major
construction sites upon their arrival and on the way to the
beach resorts in Sanur and Seminyak. These sites make the
already heavy traffic worse, but the local authorities plan to
improve traffic and the infrastructure in general in the years
First, there is a new International Terminal under construction,
which will cater to the increasing international flights to
Bali, while the existing international terminal will become the
domestic terminal. Due to the ongoing construction there is
currently a temporary drop off and pick up zone for both
terminals that is, at certain times of the day, a little
congested leading to longer waiting times for arriving guests.
A few kilometres further north on the main road construction
has begun for an underpass of the notoriously overloaded Simpang
Siur roundabout. While we are confident that this underpass will
ease traffic in the future the construction currently is doing
the opposite instead with traffic congestion.
Both projects are scheduled to be completed by the second half
of 2013, when Indonesia will host the APEC Summit in Bali (dates
to be confirmed). We are monitoring these improvements of the
infrastructure in Bali and will give regular updates on their
progress. Please ask your clients to be patient upon arrival in
Bali in the coming months due to these construction works.
The two-storey hospital has 42 beds and is located in the
Nusa Dua Resort complex, within reach of hotels in Nusa Dua,
Tanjung Benoa, Jimbaran and Uluwatu. The new hospital offers
complete hospital services, unlike its sister medical clinic
located in Kuta.
BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua offers the following facilities:
Fully equipped ambulances
Intensive Care Unit
24-hour Accident and Emergency Centre dealing with
accidents and emergency cases
Day Procedure Units
A suite of international standard operating theatres
State-of-the-art sterilisation technology, meeting the
highest international standards.
24-hour Medical Centre prepared to address general
medical issue at any hour with its team of international
of doctors and specialists.
Private consultation rooms and first-class ward rooms
Dental Centre Unit
BANKS' POLICY ON USD
Most banks in Indonesia accept USD notes, but they have very
strict policies and require the following standards to be
met for such notes:
For USD 100 denomination banks accept
H and K
series (the newest series) in clean condition (no chop,
no scratch, no torn, etc).
For small denomination banks accept the newest series
(with colouring paper). For example, USD10 denomination
using smooth yellow paper.
No denomination older than 2006
KURA KURA RESORT RE-OPENS,
starts flight operations
With the "official" re-opening on May 1 Kura Kura Resort
also starts its operation of flights to the resort from
Semarang Airport. This summer the resort will also operate
with the eight-seater Grand Caravan, operated by Asco Nusa
Airline, in addition to the four-seater Cessna currently in
During the winter season the hotel renovated the main jetty,
which is now larger and nicer. This is in addition to the
building of a new jetty on the opposite side of the main
one, which is also a great spot for relaxing as it is
equipped with sun lounges. There is also a new platform on
the lagoon, next to the existing restaurant, equipped with
tables and chairs, which serves as a sunset bar where
clients can enjoy their drinks with a stunning view on the
lagoon. One of the one-bedroom pool villas has been turned
into a spa, offering traditional massage, jet-lag massage,
scrub, and various other treatments.
After three year of petitioning the government Kura Kura
Resort now has the turtles back on the Island. The turtles
nest in a special created separate space in the lagoon,
which is a real and proper turtle-nursery. Currently there
are about 200 turtles.
STARWOOD OPENS FIRST LUXURY COLLECTION PROPERTY IN
Starwood-Luxury Collection opened The Keraton at The Plaza
in Jakarta on April 30, 2012. Inspired by the Javanese word
for "palace" the hotel occupies the eighth to 22nd floors of
the Keraton Building. It offers 140 rooms and suites. F&B
options include an Indonesian restaurant and a lounge. The
hotel also features a swimming pool, health club and spa,
business centre and boardroom.
ASTON GROUP TO OPERATE NEW MEGA PROJECT IN JAKARTA
Scheduled to open in 2014 the Paramount City mixed-use
development in Slipi, West Jakarta will offer a convention
centre with more than 5,000sqm of meeting and exhibition
space, a 360-room four-star Aston, a 199-room three-star
Quest and a 250-room select service Fave Hotel. Other
facilities at the venue include a hospital, residential
buildings, a 35-storey office tower and a 25,600m2 shopping
SWISS-BELHOTEL EXPANDS ACROSS INDONESIA
The Swiss-BelHotel Group is continuing its aggressive
expansion in Indonesia with the opening of four new hotels
within the first six month of 2012. The new hotels are:
Swiss-Belinn Panakkukang Makassar
Swiss-Belinn Ska Pekanbaru Riau
Swiss-Belinn Merauke Papu
Coming soon - Swiss-Belinn Pangkalan Bun, East
BEST WESTERN EYES INDONESIA FOR EXPANSION
Best Western is eyeing Indonesia for its next stage of
expansion. The group is already operating five hotels across
Indonesia - three hotels in Bali, one in Jakarta and one in
Solo. It will open four properties this year - the 272-room
Best Western Premier Sun Heritage Bali, the 140-room Best
Western Serpong, the 138-room Best Western Premier Galaxy
Banjarmasin (South Kalimantan) and the 80-room Best Western
Mansion Kuningan Jakarta.
Best Western expects to operate 15 hotels by the end of 2013
spread out across the country, in Bali, Jakarta, Bogor,
Solo, Semarang, Malang, Banjarmasin, Samarinda and Palu.
PRIVATE VILLAS WITH VIEWS OF BOROBODUR TEMPLE
Enjoy authentic Java in luxurious and private villas with
breathtaking views of Borobudur Temple and its surroundings.
The different villas are situated on six hectares of the
Dusun Menoreh Villas estate, and are surrounded by extensive
gardens with a private pool, ensuring privacy to guests.
They are built according to traditional Javanese
architecture and design principles. Construction of the
villas is "open" with high ceilings and pointed roofs in the
centre of the joglos, which provide natural ventilation.
They are decorated and furnished with both Javanese antiques
and modern Javanese items.
GARUDA INDONESIA EXPANDS FLEET
Garuda Indonesia has placed a firm order with Airbus for 11
more A330-300 wide body aircraft. These new aircraft will
join the airline's fleet in stages, starting in 2013 until
2017. Currently, Garuda Indonesia has six A330-300s and
eight A330-200s in operation.
Within this year Garuda Indonesia will receive 21 new
aircraft to its fleet, consisting of four Boeing
B737-800NGs, two Airbus A330-200s, 10 Airbus A320s for
sister carrier Citilink, and five sub-100 Bombardier CRJ1000
NextGen aircraft. With these new additions Garuda's fleet
will total 105 aircraft, all with an average age of 5.8
AIR NEW ZEALAND'S, GARUDA'S NEW SERVICE CONNECT BALI
New Zealanders can now fly non-stop to the popular holiday
destination of Bali with the launch of Air New Zealand's new
twice-weekly flight between Auckland and Denpasar Airport.
The Boeing 767-300 service operates seasonally over the peak
demand period of June to October, but has the potential to
operate year round if there's sufficient demand.
Garuda Indonesia is also expected to launch a twice-weekly
service to Auckland (New Zealand) from Bali in June 2012. It
is yet to be announced what type of aircraft the airline
will use. This will be the first direct route between the