Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue May 2012

Dear Friends,

 

Summer 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.

 

The 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," … and the list goes on.

 

Asian Trails is bringing all these to you in the country reports of this issue of TRAILBLAZER.

 

We also take this opportunity to inform our valuable clients that Laurent Kuenzle, Asian 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.

 

 

Happy Trails!

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A note from Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,  

 

Happy New Year!

 

The Kingdom 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 dined in 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.

 

Happy reading!

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

BANGKOK'S SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT RANKED SEVENTH BEST WORLDWIDE

 

Suvarnabhumi 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

 

Krabi Airport 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

 

Asiatique River 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.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

CHIANG MAI COLLEGE OF DRAMATIC ARTS

 

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 general. 

 

For more details please click here

 

CHIANG MAI ROCK CLIMBING

 

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.  

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 
 

BANGKOK

SOFITEL BANGKOK SILOM REBRANDS AS  PULLMAN BANGKOK HOTEL G

 

This lifestyle 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. 

 

For more details please click here

 

SOFITEL BANGKOK SUKHUMVIT

 

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.

 

For more details please click here

 

SIAM HOTEL TO OPEN IN JUNE

 

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.

 

For more details please click here

 

OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK OPENS

 

Okura Prestige 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 quality materials.

 

For more details please click here

 
 

HUA HIN

IBIS HUA HIN

 

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.

 

For more details please click here

 
 

PATTAYA

TUNE HOTEL PATTAYA

 

The award-winning budget hotel with the 192-room commenced operations in February 2012. It is 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.

 

For more details please click here

 
 

SAMUI

AKARYN SAMUI

 

This new resort 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.

 

For more details please click here

 

INTERCONTINENTAL SAMUI BAAN TALING NGAM RESORT

 

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.

 

For more details please click here

 
 

PHUKET

ANDARA RESORT & VILLAS

 

Your private 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 ultimate vacation. The newly 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.  

 

For more details please click here

 

ANGSANA LAGUNA PHUKET (FORMER SHERATON GRANDE LAGUNA PHUKET HOTEL)

 

The resort 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 facilities.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

LAGUNA BEACH RESORT CLOSES FOR RENOVATIONS

 

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 December 2012.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

SAMUI REGATTA 2012

MAY 26 - JUNE 2, 2012

VENUE: CENTARA GRAND, CHAWENG BEACH, PHUKET

 

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 Lamai. 

 

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

CHIANG MAI CITY PILLAR INTHAKIN FESTIVAL

MAY 2012

VENUE: WAT CHEDI LUANG, CHIANG MAI PROVINCE

 

Inthakin (City 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 citizens participate.

 
 

HUA HIN JAZZ FESTIVAL

JUNE 1-30, 2012

VENUE: SOFITEL CENTARA GRAND BEACH HUA HIN/ PRACHUAB KIRIKHAN

 

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 to meet 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.

 

For more details please click here

 

AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALE

JUNE 26-29, 2012

VENUE: QUEEN SIRIKIT NATIONAL CONVENTION CENTER (QSNCC), BANGKOK

 

Shopping has 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 visit Bangkok.  

 

 

BOON LUANG AND PHI TA KHON FESTIVAL

JUNE-JULY, 2012

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.

 
 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

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 Chiang Mai, Phuket, Kolkata, Jakarta and Phnom Penh. The airline has completed the hiring of cabin crew and pilots.    

 

 

 

ETIHAD, AIR BERLIN ADD BANGKOK FLIGHTS

 

Etihad and 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 Phuket utilising Air Berlin's brand-new Airbus A330-200 wide-body jets, pending regulatory approval.

 

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways also boosted the number of flights to Bangkok from April 15 to three-times daily to meet growing demand on the route.

 
 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS UPS REGIONAL SERVICES

 

Bangkok Airways 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.

 

The airline 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

 

Bangkok Airways 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.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

GOODBYE & THANK YOU BEAT SCHWAGER

 

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 you!

 

 

 

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.

 

  

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LAOS

 

A note from Managing Director BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

 

Dear Partners and Friends

 

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!

 

Björn Schimanski

 
 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 
 

SUMMER PROMOTIONS - LUANG PRABANG

BEL AIR RESORT

 

Bel Air Resort offers:

  • 33 % discount on room rate

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until September 30, 2012

Pictured: Hotel's main building and garden 

 

HOTEL DE LA PAIX

 

Hotel De La Paix offers:

  • Stay 3 nights and pay for 2

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until October 31, 2012

Pictured: Hotel's Pool Suite room

 

 

KIRIDARA LUANG PRABANG

 

The new Kiridara Luang Prabang offers:

  • Stay 3 nights and pay for 2

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until September 30, 2012

Pictured: Hotel's pool area and rooms

 

 

LUANGSAY RESIDENCE

 

Luangsay Residence offers:

  • Stay 4 nights and pay for 3

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until September 30, 2012

Also combinations with Luangsay Cruise

 

 

MAISON SOUVANNAPHOUM

 

Maison Souvannaphoum offers: 

  • Early 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 NAGAS

 

3 Nagas offers:

  • Stay 3 nights and pay for 2

  • Includes breakfast

  • Validity: May 1 until September 30, 2012

Pictured: Hotel's Deluxe Double room

 

 

SALA PRABANG

 

Sala Prabang offers:

  • Stay 4 nights and pay for 3

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until September 30, 2012

Pictured: Front of hotel's main building

 

 

VILLA MALY

 

Villa Maly offers 

  • Stay 2 nights and pay for 1

  • Stay 3 nights and pay for 2, including Dinner

  • Cruise for 2 persons

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until September 30, 2012

Pictured: Hotel's pool area and rooms

 

 
 

SUMMER PROMOTIONS - SOUTH LAOS

INTHIRA CHAMPASAK 

 

Inthira Champasak offers:

  • Stay 3 nights and pay for 2

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until October 31, 2012

Pictured: Hotel's Duplex rooms

 

 

LA FOLIE LODGE DON DAENG ISLAND

 

La Folie Lodge offers:

  • Stay 3 nights and pay for 2

  • Includes breakfast

  • Valid until September 30, 2012 (closed in June)

Pictured: Hotel's pool and one of the bungalows

 

 

NEW: RIVER RESORT CHAMPASSAK, SOUTH LAOS

 

This 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 fields.

 

Please contact us for further details!

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

NEW DESTINATION FOR LAO AIRLINES

 

Lao 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 aircraft).

This new connection makes it possible for visitors to enjoy a beach holiday in Da Nang after visiting Laos.

 

Please check your reservation system for schedules and fares.

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

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.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

CAMBODIA'S FIRST CHRISTIE'S AUCTION A SUCCESS

 

Cambodian Living 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

 

SIPAR-Cambodia (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 anniversary, has introduced a new collection of books written in Khmer, English and French published in Phnom Penh and dedicated to Cambodian youths.

 

Asian 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 activities.

 

 

 
 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 
 

SIEM REAP

HOTEL REFLECTIONS

 

A one-of-a-kind 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.

 

 

 

NOTIFICATION: LOTUS RESORT & SPA'S OWNERSHIP CHANGE

 

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 2012.

 

 

 

BATTAMBANG

BATTAMBANG RESORT

 

Battambang 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 grounds for guests to relax amidst tranquil surroundings.

 

 

 

KEP

ROCK ROYAL HOTEL & RESORT KRONG KEP

 

Rock 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.

 

 
 

KOH KONG

 

4 rivers 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 - rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine. Predictions are forecast for the coming harvest season based on the chosen crops and drinks. The royal soothsayers interpret what the oxen eat and predict a series of events including epidemics, floods, good harvests and/ or excessive rainfall.

 

 

 

BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY KING NORODOM SIHAMONI

MAY 13-15, 2012

VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

 

The 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 years' history.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

CEBU PACIFIC AIRLINES LAUNCHES MANILA-SIEM REAP FLIGHT

 

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

 

The cooking 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 to 30.

 

The 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 special banana.

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

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 interesting time.

 

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). 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

HA LONG: SATELLITE-BASED NAVIGATION SYSTEM FOR TOURIST VESSELS

 

More than 230 tourist vessels in northern Quang Ninh Province's Ha Long Bay have been equipped 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

 

Hue Monuments 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.

 

When French 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 royal seals.

 

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 last March, 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 ACCOMMODATION

 

Ninh Binh 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 routes.

 

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.

 

The second 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 nicely formed 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 time being.

 

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 Le).

 

 

HA LONG: BHAYA LEGEND INCREASES ITS FLEET

 

Bhaya Cruises 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.

 

Bhaya Legend operates romantic cruises, suitable for high-end FIT travellers, couples and honeymooner.

 

 

BEN TRE: LUXURY MANGO CRUISES

 

Mango Cruise, 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.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

  

CO VIEN LAU COMPLEX, NINH BINH

 

Co Vien 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.

 

Each long house has rooms for rent, which are linited in space and humbly furnished.

They 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

 

The 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.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

NEW ECO RESORT IN CUC PHUONG

 

Cuc 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.

 

Asian 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.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

BEST WESTERN MAKES HEADWAY IN VIETNAM

 

Best Western 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 billion).

 

 

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.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

LA RESIDENCE HOTEL & SPA'S POOL REOPENS

 

La 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 Hue, central Vietnam.

 

 

FRESH LOOK FOR SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI

 

The Sofitel 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 roles.

 

 

 

VICTORIA PHAN THIET RENOVATES RESTAURANT'S ROOF

 

Victoria Phan 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.

 

Please contact 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 popular.

 

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 hotel.

 

 

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.

 

The renovation 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 current items.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact for further information.

 

 

 

EMERAUDE'S ANNUAL MAINTENANCE

 

Emeraude in 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.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE 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

 

Vietnam's low 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.

 

VeitJet Air 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 aircraft.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

MONSOON RESTAURANT & BAR, SAIGON

 

The renown 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 collection.

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

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.

 

  

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

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 yellow.

•  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 century

 

For more details please click here

 

DABU COUNTY - SHANGRI-LA OF THE HAKKA WORLD

 

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 World."

 

 

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.  

 

  

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

PENTALHOTEL BEIJING

 

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 banqueting facilities.

 

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 today.  

 

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.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

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 China.

 

 

 

 

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 nine.

 

China plans to build a railway network of 120,000 kilometres by 2015, including at least 16,000 kilometres of high-speed railways.

 

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

The past three months have been quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The tourism industry is prospering again, and we 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.

 

Best regards,

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

RAISE IN LIMIT OF FOREIGN IMPORTED MONEY

 

Myanmar Central 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.

 

 

 
 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

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

 

The water 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.  

 

Young people 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.

 

 

 
 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

AIR KANBAWZA'S NEW FLIGHT TO SITTWE

 

Starting from October 1, 2012 Air Kanbawza (K7-246) 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

 

Myanmar Airways (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.

 

  

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 


 

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

 

 

 

SPORTS DAY

 

The third 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 the city.

 

Space Art 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 www.spaceartgallerymyanmar.com

 

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.

 

For more details and prices, please contact us.

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Kuala Lumpur

 

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 months.

 

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.

 

Best regards

 

Emir

Malaysia Truly Asia!

 

  
 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

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.

 

Traditional 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.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

MALACCA IMPOSES HERITAGE TAX

 

The state 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, Selangor 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 protection.

 

The celebrations 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 the villagers.

 

 

CENTRAL MARKET SHOWCASES TRADITIONAL MUSIC  

 

Central Market 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

  

The main 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 in 1957.

 

The former palace is now opened to the public.

 

 

MANGROVE DISCOVERY CENTRE BOOSTS SABAH'S NATURE TOURISM   

 

The newly 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. A 700m-long Belian wood boardwalk connects the existing information centre to a camping site. Other facilities include resting areas, bridges and a multipurpose tower.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

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. - It is 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. - It 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 space. 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

 

The hotel's 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.

  • The refurbishment incorporates the following:

  • The replacement and upgrade of all televisions from the current 26"-32" to the 36"-42" Samsung LED screen

  • Replacement of the all soft furnishings, such as throw cushions and furniture fabrics

  • Re-papering of the feature walls

  • Bathroom re-grouting and marble polishing

  • Re-carpeting of rooms and corridors

  • Re-lacquering of timer framework and doors

  • Re-upholstering of lounge chair, sofa and headboard

 

UPDATE:  RENOVATIONS AT TANJONG JARA RESORT, TERENGGANU

 

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

 

Tanjung Rhu 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.

 

Refurbishment is 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.

 

The 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

 

Frangipani 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 apart.

 

 

 

 

ROYAL MULU RESORT TO REBRAND AS A MARRIOTT HOTEL

 

The 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, SABAH

 

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 artisans.

 

 

 

BORNEO INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

MAY 11-12, 2012

VENUE: MIRI, SARAWAK

 

This annual 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 foreign visitors.

   

 

 

INTERNATIONAL PAHANG RIVER RAFTING EXPEDITION

MAY 13-19, 2012

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 19, 2012

VENUE: DATARAN MERDEKA, KUALA LUMPUR

 

Malaysia's 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

 

Tadau Kaamatan 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) 2012 

MAY 31 - JUNE 3, 2012

VENUE: MALAYSIA AGRO - EXPOSITION PARK SERDANG , SELANGOR

 

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 visitors.

 

 

GAWAI DAYAK FESTIVAL

JUNE 1-2, 2012

VENUE: SARAWAK

 

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

 

The 1Malaysia 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 Unified Sale.

   

 

KK JAZZ FESTIVAL

JUNE 15-16, 2012

VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH

 

The fifth 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.

 
 

PUTRAJAYA FLORIA

JUNE 30-JULY 8, 2012

VENUE: PUTRAJAYA

 

After successful 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 2012

JUNE 30 -JULY 8, 2012

VENUE: PUTRAJAYA

 
 

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 flowers.

 

  

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

LONDON IS MAS' FIRST A380 DESTINATION

 

Malaysia 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

 

Cathay Pacific 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

 

Uzbekistan 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 additional flights

 

 

 

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 ROUTE

 

Bangkok Airways 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 Kong services. 

 

The all-economy 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 

 

Malaysia's 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".

 

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

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 to come.

 

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.

 

For more details please click here

  

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

BIMC OPENS FIRST HOSPITAL IN SOUTH BALI

 

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

  • Dialysis Centre

  • CosMedic Centre

  • Dental Centre Unit

 

BANKS' POLICY ON USD NOTES

 

Most banks in Indonesia accept USD notes, but they have very strict policies and require the following standards to be met for such notes:  

 

  1. For USD 100 denomination banks accept H and K series (the newest series) in clean condition (no chop, no scratch, no torn, etc).

  2. For small denomination banks accept the newest series (with colouring paper). For example, USD10 denomination using smooth yellow paper.

  3. No denomination older than 2006

 

  
 
 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

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 use.

 

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 JAKARTA

 

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 mall.

 

 

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 Kalimantan

 

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.

 

  
 
 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

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 years.

 

 

AIR NEW ZEALAND'S, GARUDA'S NEW SERVICE CONNECT BALI & AUCKLAND

 

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 two countries.

 

 

 

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