Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue May 2013

Dear Friends,

 

Asia has so many products that if we were to list even half of them they would fill pages that could make up a book - illustrating the numerous options available to create unique programmes for your clients.

 

So instead we'll highlight on festivals, which are an integral part of Asian culture. Every other day there is a festival or cultural event taking place in Asia. Festivals are great opportunities to discover more of the local traditions and culture in countries like Myanmar, Laos Indonesia, China or Malaysia as they also give an indepth insight into local life. Packaging a holiday programme around these festivals make for an unforgettable experience.

 

There are detailed listings of festivals and events in this issue of TRAILBLAZER (May-June 2013), in addition to the numerous products/services available in all the countries where we have a presence.

 

The high season is almost upon us, and reports from our regional offices indicate that demand is very high for hotel rooms and flights. So we like to remind again that you make early travel arrangements for your clients if they wish to travel during the high season,

 

Happy Trails!

 

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A NOTE FROM DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR CLAUDIO KELLENBERGER

 

Dear Friends

Happy New (Thai) Year! We celebrated Songkran from April 13 to 16 April, and our staff had some time to enjoy and relax with their families after a busy high season. Songkran used to be the start of our low season but the situation is changing - the booking outlook for the coming summer months is positive. Even Bangkok's notorious hotels' low occupancy is also confirming a change in this regard with expected occupancy levels above 65%, despite the fact that new hotels are opening almost every week (read more under HOTEL INFORMATION section). Thailand saw exceptionally good arrival numbers for the first two months in 2013, with over 4.5 million visitors compared to 3.8 million in January and February 2012.

 

We would like to thank you for your strong support during the last successful high season, and hope for your continued support in the upcoming ‘low season'.

 

With best regards,

 

Claudio Kellenberger

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

RELAX AND RENEW PACKAGES BY KAMALAYA, KOH SAMUI

 

The new relaxing packages at Kamalaya in Koh Samui are designed for people who need to destress and take a break from their busy daily life to recover balance, relax, renew energy and replenish their spirit. Experience a range of therapies drawn from diverse healing traditions and a variety of holistic activities to destress, replenish depleted energy levels and boost the immune system. Optional complementary and alternative medicine treatments and private sessions may be recommended, dependent upon individual needs.

 

The least intensive of all our programmes, Relax and Renew, is ideal for people looking for a gentle, relaxing wellness holiday.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

RIVERINE DISCOVERY ON  THANATHAREE

 

A magical opportunity to explore Thailand's rural heartland on board an award winning converted teak rice barge - Thanatharee or Treasure on the Water. The three-day or two-day journey takes you out of Bangkok and up the Chao Phraya River into the rich agricultural Central Plains. See first hand the traditional way of life of Thailand's rural communities, far removed from the usual tourist trail. Meet the local people and learn about their farming techniques and the manufacture of local handicrafts.

 

Thanatharee provides six comfortable private air-conditioned cabins, each with two berths. Toilet facilities include two showers, two toilets and additional washbasins. The spacious upper deck has ample room to relax, enjoy a refreshing drink, read, play games or just watch the world drift gently by. There is also a sundeck for those who want to work on their tans. Meals are served on board. Guests can give a helping hand with the meals' preparation and, in the process, learn something of the art of Thai cuisine. They can also accompany the cook to the local market to buy ingredients for the day's meals.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

BANGKOK

DOUBLETREE BY HILTON HOTEL SUKHUMVIT BANGKOK

 

Located along Sukhumvit Soi 26, DoubleTree by Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok provides the brand's renowned refreshing welcome and warm hospitality to both domestic and international guests. The hotel makes guests feel comfortable by providing the best in services and amenities including a poolside bar, Wifi in public areas, laundry service/dry cleaning and tours. All the 177 rooms are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, minibar and seating area and safe deposit boxes.

 

The hotel is a five-minute drive to Samitivej Sukhumvit Hospital and Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, and a 29-minute drive from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

HILTON SUKHUMVIT BANGKOK HOTEL

 

Located along Sukhumvit Soi 24, Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok provides world-class experiences for business and leisure travellers alike. It offers 280 guestrooms (178 Deluxe, 75 Executive, 17 Executive Plus, 6 Executive Suite, 1 Presidential Suite and 3 Accessible room). Food and beverage outlets include an all-day dining restaurant, bar and lobby lounge. Other facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, fully equipped state-of-the-art health club and a luxurious health spa.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

PHUKET

AVISTA HIDEAWAY RESORT & SPA PHUKET

 

Avista Hideaway Resort & Spa, Phuket is a brand new contemporary and ultra-luxury property situated on a peaceful hill with spectacular views over the Andaman Sea. This ideal location is perfect for guests seeking a special hotel, yet close to the famous entertainment landmarks in Patong Beach that is just two minutes' drive away.

 

The resort offers 150 spacious guestrooms including Pool Suites and Jacuzzi Suites featuring lavish in-room facilities and cutting edge technology such as flat-screen TV, DVD player and iPod docking station. Ensuite bathrooms are spacious with a bathtub and full toilet amenities.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

AVISTA PHUKET RESORT & SPA KATA BEACH

 

Located on Kata Beach, Avista Phuket Resort and Spa is set among green hills and offers sweeping sea views. It features 143 lavish guestrooms including 22 Avista Club rooms. The standard room size of about 50sqm is one of the biggest in Phuket island. Every guestroom has its own private terrace or balcony, which offers spectacular view of Kata Beach and the surrounding areas, DVD player and flat-screen television.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

SAMUI REGATTA
MAY 25-JUNE 1, 2013
VENUE: CHAWENG BEACH, KOH SAMUI

 

The 12th Samui Regatta is one of the largest regatta events in Asia, and is the last event of Asian Yachting Grand Prix Championship. The regatta is growing every year and attracts famous yachts from all over Asia, as well as high-end tourists around the world. There are more than 500 participants from Asia, Australia, Europe and America, and 40 boats including keelboat and multi-hull. The competition, which last for five days, follows courses based on coastal, trapezoid, windward/leeward, or triangle formats.

 

 

AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALE
JUNE 15-AUGUST 15, 2013
VENUE: BANGKOK

 

Amazing Thailand Grand Sale offers visitors discounts of between 10% and 80%, and many other privileges at participating department stores, shopping malls, King Power Duty Free, jewellery shops, golf courses, Thai products, spa and massage, hospitals, as well as from leading airlines and online travel agencies. There are also discounts from participating merchants at selected tourist attractions including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Koh Samu. The annual event attracts visitors from many countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan ad South Korea.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

VIET JET AIR TO OPERATE SECOND INTERNATIONAL ROUTE IN JUNE

 

Viet Jet Air will launch its second international route on June 1, 2013 connecting Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, with Bangkok. The daily flights will be operated with the 180-seater Airbus A320 aircraft, departing Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport at 10.50hr. The return flight will leave Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 13.35hr. The airline launched its first international services earlier this year, connecting Bangkok with Ho Chi Minh City.

 

 

 

 

 

THAI SMILE STARTS BANGKOK—MANDALAY SERVICE

 

THAI Smile started operations of its first round trip flight from Bangkok to Mandalay, Myanmr on March 31, 2013. The five times weekly service departs Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at 7:25hrs (TG781) and arrives in Mandalay at 8.50hrs (local time). The return flight to Bangkok (TG782) departs at 9:30hrs (local time) from Mandalay and arrives at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport at 11:55hrs.

 

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

UGOLINI RISTORANTE ITALIANO

 

Ugolini Ristorante Italiano is one of the restaurants managed by Watermark Group. It is located in the heart of Bangkok, in the most exclusive and residential district on Langsuan Road, about 100 metres from Chidlom BTS station. Its décor is modern but has the colours and the atmosphere of a bustling Rome street. Ugolini's menu ond kitchen concept adher to the original Italian culinary tradition so guests get to enjoy Italian food the way as prepared in an Italian granny's kitchen. It uses original raw materials from Italy to preserve the authentic and unique Italian flavours.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

STELLA BOZZA JOINS MICE TEAM AS SALES & EVENTS MANAGER


Stella Bozzato, an Italian national, has joined our MICE department as Sales & Event Manager. She has previously worked in China with a DMC specialising in MICE. She brings with her a wealth of experience in the event and incentive industry, including communication and product management. We wish Stella all the best and great success in her new role.
 

 

 

 

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LAOS

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJOERN SCHIMANSKI

 

Dear Partners and Friends

 

This short newsletter focuses on a couple of product updates, especially restaurants in Luang Prabang where the variety gets better and better. The best news, however, is probably that it will be again possible to travel in a day from Vietnam's northwest (Dien Bien Phu) comfortably to Laos (or vice versa) as the road upgrade on the Lao side has been almost finished. Try it out for yourself and continue to Oudomxay, Muang Lao or cruise down the beautiful Ou River towards Luang Prabang!

 

We are looking forward welcoming you and your guests!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

ROAD BETWEEN MUANG KHUA (LAOS) AND VIETNAM UPGRADED

 

The upgrading of the road connecting Muang Khua in northern Laos and Vietnam's border close to Dien Bien Phou in the northeast is almost complete. It is now possible for tourists to travel on this road and enjoy the drive through new bridges. Muang Khua is the departure point for one of the most beautiful cruises in Laos, sailing down Ou River to Luang Prabang.

 

 

 

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION CENTER


Just a few hours drive from Luang Prabang, in the western corner of Laos (Sayabouri), is the Elephant Conservation Center. Facilities include a clinic, museum and basic accommodation. There are also numerous activities and tours for visitors.
 

 

 

 

NAM NERN NIGHT SAFARI

 

Nam Nern Night Safari is a wildlife-spotting adventure by boat deep in the jungles of Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in northeastern Laos. Visitors get to learn about wildlife conservation, medicinal plants and traditional agriculture, as well as the history of the Secret War related by the local guides.

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

SKYY Restaurant - luang prabang view resort

 

The new Skyy Restaurant at Luang Prabang View Resort (four star) offers a panoramic 360 view of Luang Prabang. It has a capacity for 250 people in the lounge area next to the biggest and highest swimming pool in town. It serves Lao, Western and Chinese cuisine. Diners are entertained with Baci and traditional music.

 

 

 

NEW RESTAURANT AT SANCTUARY HOTEL, LUANG PRABANG

 

Sanctuary Hotel in Luang Prabang (three star) has a large terrace overlooking a pond, which houses the new restaurant and a bar. Here you can have your breakfast or lunch, or enjoy a drink in the evening. Next to the terrace is the indoor restaurant where traditional Lao food is served for lunch or dinner.

 

 

 

BURSARI RESTAURANT - BURSARI HERITAGE, LUANG PRABANG

 

The new Burasari Restaurant at Bursari Heritage in Luang Prabang (four star) is located on the bank of the Nam Khan River. It has 30 seats on the terrace and 30 seats indoor. The restaurant uses fresh produce from the hotel's organic garden in its menus for lunch and dinner. There is also a bar on the terrace.

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

MEETING ROOM AT LANITH HOSPITALITY AND TRAINING COMPLEX

 

The Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) new hospitality complex and training centre in Luang Prabang has an amply equipped meeting room that can accommodate 16 persons in a U-shaped configuration, 24 in a classroom format and 36 in a theatre setup. It also offers a selection of set menus for coffee breaks and meals.

 

 

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

 

Cambodia is definitively shining in 2013. The prediction is the region will be the "flavour of the year" among travellers due to its numerous attractions such as its amazing cultural sites, pristine white sand beaches along the coast, myriad of boutique hotels and good value for money.

 

Sit back with a drink and browse through what new products we have to offer. If you need additional information my team and I are on hand to help you.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

A TOURIST WALK ZONE FOR PHNOM PENH'S HISTORIC FRENCH QUARTER

 

A new tourist promenade is to open in the heart of Phnom Penh's historic French quarter. Designated as a tourist walk zone it is adjacent to the colonial-era post office, which is home to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication. This special zone will provide an outdoor leisure area on Street 13, which will be closed to cars and motorbikes on weekends from 6pm till 12am, as well as on national holidays.

 

UNESCO is supporting the efforts of Heritage Mission, which is attached to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, to make the old French Quarter a special heritage protected zone.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

DISCOVER THE REAL CAMBODIA ON BIKE TOURS

 

Bike tours are an excellent way of exploring the real Cambodia and interacting with the locals. Cycle north along the banks of the mighty Mekong River to Kratie, home of a small-endangered population of Irrawaddy dolphins. Bike east to the uplands of Ratanakiri and Mondolkiri along "roads" that are rough, but with spectacular scenery. Go south and discover the French colonial riverside town of Kampot. Continue the cycle trip further south to the coast, passing picturesque fishing villages before arriving in the lively beach town of Sihanoukville. To the west lies charming Battambang, surrounded by beautiful countryside dotted with temple-topped hills. A bike tour through Cambodia is a truly unique and rewarding experience.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

SAT TOUNG, NEW SHIP IN PHOCEA MEKONG CRUISES' FLEET

 

Phocea Mekong Cruises has added a new ship. Sat Toung, to its fleet. The vessel was constructed in 2012 in the Mekong shipyard, South Vietnam, and is now ready to cruise Tonle Sap Lake (day tour only). It can accommodate 35 passengers comfortably, and is fitted with modern facilities and safety equipment. The kitchen is equipped with a pure water tank and there is an outdoor area for BBQ. The ship's three decks offer guests panoramic views of the lake and the floating villages of Kampong Pluk.

 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SIEM REAP

SALA LODGES

 

Sala Lodges is an exclusive hotel located in the centre of Siem Reap and close to the temples of Angkor. The hotel's innovative concept combines charm with luxury, perfect for a memorable experience.

 

The 11 lodges, wooden houses on stilts, were from villages in the Cambodian countryside. They were dismantled, transported to site and restored to their original beauty. The communal area provides a slick and contemporary feel to the hotel. The clean, modern line of the reception, restaurant, bar and swimming pool accentuate the contrast of modernity with the traditional houses. The cuisine comprising   light balanced dishes, which are a subtle pairing of Khmer and Western flavours, will please even the most discerning palate.

 

 

 

LANDING POINT HOTEL

 

Landing Point Hotel is located in the right centre part of Siem Reap away from the noise of the city, offering an oasis of peace and the perfect place for relaxation. The boutique hotel's artistic soul is reflected in its unique design and architecture, as well as in the creative landscaping and swimming pool. The nine rooms are decorated with modern furnishings to provide comfort for the guests.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY KING NORODOM SIHAMONI

MAY 13-15, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

 

The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates the 59th birthday of His Majesty King NORODOM Sihamoni with a three-day public holiday. The city is decorated for this auspicious event with posters of the monarch's image erected on the main boulevards. His Majesty King NORODOM Sihamoni is the third monarch to reign in the Kingdom of Cambodia in its 60 years' history.

 

 

 

VISAKHA BOCHEA DAY
MAY 24, 2013
ANGKOR ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK, NORTHERN 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 all pagodas where thousands of monks and believers pay respect to the teachings of Buddha.

 

 

ROYAL PLOUGHING DAY
MAY: 28, 2013
VENUE: VEAL MEN, PHNOM PENH


A good place to take part in this festival's colourful celebrations is at the Veal M
èn near the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Here a series of activities take place. The main event is the ceremonial ploughing of the field three times by the "royal oxen" or sacred cows. They are then offered a choice of seven crops and drinks - rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine. Royal soothsayers make predictions for the coming harvest season based on what the oxen have eaten. The predictions may include events such as epidemics, floods, good harvests and/or excessive rainfall
 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

PHNOM PENH

 

THE VILLAGE: BAR, RESTAURANT, LIVE MUSIC

 

The Village is a place where people come together as a community to share inspired moments. Its motto is, good food can bring people closer together, and highlights similarities that exist within different cultures.  

 

The restaurant serves Asian and Western fusion food, as well as authentic Lebanese cuisine, prepared with the finest ingredients that will please every palate. The cool bar lounge is a haven for cocktails and amazing entertainment that ranges from jazz, blues, R&B, pop to classic rock for guests to dance the night away. During week evenings there are surprise performances from artistes and musicians from all over the world, with a sprinkle of live magic tricks too.

 

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

Summer has come and we can now permit ourselves to relax a little after a busy and successful winter 2012-2013. Our staff is looking forward to family holidays, as well as an exciting company outing on a tropical island.

 

Summer is also the time to send our team to the field to learn and enrich new travelling experiences. We are introducing fresh, new destinations throughout the country, as well as innovating the classic ones. We are convinced that this preparation will enhance the quality of our service and consultancy, which we are committed to deliver you and your clients.

 

This is also the time that Vietnam beach destinations are most in demand, and is the best time to visit them. You will be regaled with sunlight, tropical breeze, beautiful wave and turquoise waters. So come and enjoy the best deals at beach resorts in Hoi An, Danang, Mui Ne, Nha Trang or Phu Quoc.

 

   

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

NEW SEA ROUTE PROMISES TO BRING MORE TOURISTS TO PHU QUOC

 

Kien Giang, the southernmost province of Vietnam, is known internationally for its tropical paradise, Phu Quoc Island. Tourists in Vietnam can easily reach the island by plane or speedboat from Rach Gia or Ha Tien. However, it may be more difficult if they have to cross border from Kep in Cambodia to reach Phu Quoc.

 

The cross border accessibility to the island paradise may soon be made smoother with the recent signing of an agreement between Kien Giang and Cambodia and Thailand to open a new sea route for tourists from these two countries to visit the island and vice versa, When the route is open, possibly by this year, it will take visitors around two and a half hours to go to Sihanoukville (Cambodia) by boat from Phu Quoc and two more hours to Trat (Thailand).
 

Kien Giang received nearly 5.6 million local and foreign visitors in 2012, a year-on-year growth of 10%. It is expected to receive more than 5.88 million this year.

 

 

MAI CHAU VALLEY, ONE'S OF ASIA'S "FRESHEST" DESTINATIONS

 

Agoda.com has listed Mai Chau Valley in the northern province of Hoa Binh among the top 10 "freshest" tourist destinations in Asia. The online hotel reservation described the destination as "a semi-isolated village in Vietnam, surrounded by limestone cliffs and green rice paddies, populated largely by members of the ethnic White Thai tribe. Vibrant, verdant green rice paddies surround the town on all sides, and dramatic hills rise up on either side of the valley. The town itself isn't particularly stunning, but it's when one gets out into the countryside or head up into the hills that the breathtaking views get better around every corner. There are also several interesting markets to check out, as well as some nearby caves."

 

Mai Chau Valley is located in the beautiful mountainous region of Hoa Binh Province, 135km from Hanoi and 60km from Hoa Binh. Many of Vietnam's 54 indigenous ethnic minority groups, including the Thai ethnic group, live in Mai Chau, making the colourful Sunday market. a must visit. People from different minorities living in the mountains come to the market to sell their products and handmade wares.

 

The destination is ideal for two to three days' escape to enjoy the serene surroundings and homestay overnight in the traditional houses of the minority groups. It is also a good base for cycling or multiple trekking to H'mong ethnic villages or through Pu Luong Natural Reserve to as far as Cuc Phuong or Thanh

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

FIRST MUSEUM OF TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE MEDICINE (FITO) - HO CHI MINH CITY

 

Visitors who are interested in traditional medicine must not miss visiting the first Museum of Traditional Vietnamese Medicine (FITO) on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. The small museum is a unique blend of traditional and modern architecture comprising a ground floor and five upper floors, which house 18 exhibition rooms. All over the museum are delicately carved wooden pictures with different captions to illustrate different types of traditional medicine. On show are about 3,000 items relevant to traditional Vietnamese medicine dating back to the Stone Age. There are also implements used to prepare traditional medicine such as knives, grinders, mortars and pestles. Exhibits also include those found in traditional pharmacy such as scales, cabinets, spirit gourd, teapot, bowl and ceramic articles, as well as books and documents on traditional Vietnamese medicine.

The museum also screens "A Century of Health Care Experiences", a documentary film about the history of Vietnam's traditional medicine. There is also herbal tea tasting. It is open daily from 8:30am till 5:30pm

The Museum tour takes about 45 minutes to an hour. On the spot guides, speaking Vietnamese, English or basic French, are available. FITO is best combined with a city tour or added to a stroll along Hai Thuong Lang Ong in Cho Lon (Chinatown), known as the medicine vendors street.
 

 

YEN DUC VILLAGE

 

Yen Duc Village is located between Hanoi and Halong Bay. It is a good stopover for tourists after visiting Halong Bay before going to the airport for their departures. Attractions include a water puppet performance at the village pond. Visitors can also take in cycling, fishing or farming with the local people. Over night stay at the village is possible as there are two Vietnamese houses that take in guests. The houses, with two bedrooms each, are constructed in traditional Vietnamese style with bricks and wood. 

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

NEW MOONLIGHT HOTEL -HUE

 

Moonlight Hotel Hue is conveniently located in downtown Hue City, within walking distance of Huong River (Perfume River). It features 90 luxury rooms and suites categorised into Superior, Deluxe and Suite. Guestrooms sizes range from 27sqm to 100sqm. All rooms are decorated with handcrafted furniture, wooden floor with private balcony. The hotel is ideal for visitors who prefer staying in Hue's tourist quarter.

 

 

 

EMERAUDE UNDERGOES MAINTENANCE - JUNE 17-27 JUNE

 

In its ongoing efforts to deliver high quality product and facilities to its guests Emeraude Classic Cruises has scheduled to wet dock Emeraude for maintenance from June 17-27 June, 2013. Cruises will be resumed as normal from June 28.

Please contact us for more information.
 

 

 

 

RENOVATIONS AT TAN MY DINH HOTEL SAI GON

 

We would like to inform you that Tan My Dinh hotel in Ho Chi Minh City is undergoing renovations for about two to three months to upgrade its service and quality. Renovations are expected to be completed by September 15, 2013. During this period the hotel will not receive any guest.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

LIFESTYLE RESORT DANANG REBRANDS TO A PULLMAN

 

Lifestyle Resort Danang was rebranded as Pullman Danang Beach Resort on April 5. This is the second Pullman hotel in Vietnam following Pullman Hanoi. A third, Pullman Saigon Centre, is scheduled to open later in 2013.

 

Pullman Danang Beach Resort features 186 rooms and a substantial variety of meeting and conference facilities. Product upgrades include luxurious new bedding, Roger & Gallet amenities in the rooms, improved connectivity, and a fresh new look and feel in the resort's bars and restaurants. There is also a soft enhancement to the public areas.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

EVASON ANA MANDARA NHA TRANG - UPGRADED FITNESS CENTRE AND CONFERENCE FACILITIES

 

•Fitness centre

The fitness centre is located on an extended beachfront area of 500sqm adjacent to the resort's infinity pool, and near the conferences facilities and the Kids' Club. Designed within a space of 55sqm, surrounded by lush greenery and with spectacular views of Nha Trang Bay, the centre is equipped with the latest fitness machines - treadmills, indoor bicycles, weight training machine, dumb-bells and barbells, yoga mats, medicine balls and stretching balls. There are group classes for yoga and taichi conducted by certified instructors. Use of the fitness centre is complimentary for in-house guests. Please contact us for more information on the wellness packages.

 

• New conference facilities

The hotel has completed its expansion project with the building of new conference facilities, which are located in an extended beachfront area of 500sqm, adjacent to the resort's infinity pool. They comprise an exclusive beachfront hall seating up to 100 people and a boardroom seating 14 people, furnished with state-of-the-art equipment. These two meeting venues are designed for corporate training sessions, sales meetings, board retreats, and special events such as cocktail receptions or wedding parties.

 

 

 

DRINKS BY THE BEACH - SIX SENSES NINH VAN BAY


Drinks by the Beach is centrally positioned on the beach with views of the magnificent mountains and westerly setting sun. The rustic wooden structure is built in the style of Vietnamese architecture with thatched roof and spacious deck, blending perfectly into the natural surroundings. The bar opens from midday till late at night. Twice weekly the deck transforms into a starlit cinema showing movies from the latest releases to silver screen classics. This is the perfect place to relax during the day or at night.
 

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

DRAGONAIR LAUNCHES DIRECT HONG KONG-DANANG

 

Hong Kong's Dragonair began a direct service between Danang and Hong Kong on March 28, its second destination in Vietnam after Hanoi. The thrice-weekly flights are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Using an Airbus A320 aircraft the new service will help to bring foreign visitors to Danang and provide Vietnamese passengers with more options to travel to other global destinations via Hong Kong. 

 

 

 

 

VIETNAM AIRLINES FLIES FROM HO CHI MINH CITY TO THANH HOA ROUTE


Vietnam's national flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has launched the Ho Chi Minh City-Thanh Hoa service, with the first flight landing at Tho Xuan Airport, Thanh Hoa in February 2013.

Thanh Hoa has, so far, been a stopover for visitors on overland transfer from north to south or vice versa, or before crossing the border to Laos. With the launch of this flight visitors to Vietnam may be encouraged visit Thanh Hoa, as well as the UNESCO heritage site, Citadel of Ho Dynasty, and other highlights before flying to Ho Chi Minh City, or vice versa.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

ANCIENT FAIFO - NEW RESTAURANT IN HOI AN

 

An opulent experience to delight the senses, Ancient Faifo is a venue like no other. Combining elements of art, music and history, this restaurant offers a menu of quintessential Vietnamese cuisine and innovative reinvention of ancient recipes, which will please even the most discerning diners.

Set in an ancient house in the old town of Hội An, Ancient Faifo displays many of the original ceramics and traditional art that has been kept in the building since the 19th century. The spacious two-storey ancient house has 110 seats. It is just a short walk from the famous Japanese Bridge, and is suitable for small groups and FITs for both lunch and dinner. Other add-ons include piano performance, occasional live performance, Champa dance and Vietnamese folk music.
 

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR KRIS VAN GOETHEM

 

It is my pleasure to address our esteemed readers for the first time as Managing Director for Asian Trails China. My team and I look forward to keeping you updated on the current and new products in our exciting and vibrant destination. China is booming, and we believe there will not be any shortage of news updates to share with you!

 

We remain at your service to provide you with quotes and support for travel within China, or other plans that may bring you or your discerning customers to the Middle Kingdom.

 

   

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

PAN-ASIA RAILWAY LINKS CHINA WITH ASEAN

 

The Pan-Asia Railway, which links China's Yunnan Province with the countries in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), is now operational. The 141-kilometres rail link has a maximum speed of 120 kilometres per hour.

Currently the eastern line of the railway network, including the railway between Yuxi and Mengzi, is under development with the Mengzi-Hekou link scheduled to be operational by the end of 2014. Along with the central and western lines the Pan-Asia Railway will bring China closer with Southeast Asia.

When the entire project is completed the 420km (261-mile) high-speed rail link will connect Kunming in southern China and Vientiane, Laos's capital, just across the Mekong River from Thailand.

 

 

BIG PLANS TO GROW SCENIC GUILIN INTO WORLD CLASS CITY

 

"East or west, Guilin scenery is the best", an old saying known by almost all Chinese people that has been passed down for the last 800 years. Its spectacular scenery is so famous that it is reproduced on the back of China's 20 Yuan banknote - the picture of the breath-taking karst mountains and a fisherman on a bamboo raft floating down the Lijiang River. This river is now a UNESCO World Heritage site candidate.

 

Last November the National Development and Reform Commission approved the blueprint to develop for Guilin into a world-class sightseeing destination, a national model for eco-civilisation, a pilot development zone for tourism innovation and a regional hub for cultural exchanges.

 

In the next three year the city's government will focus on improving services and infrastructure such as airports, railways and highways in order to guide the balanced growth. This year the city government is investing 56.6 billion Yuan in 584 projects. It will also host a number of international activities such as the 7th UNWTO/PATA Forum on Tourism Trends and Outlook and the 4th Guilin International Scenery Culture & Tourism Festival.

 

 

BEIJING - CI XI'S PORCELAIN EXHIBITION

 

Beijing's Capital Museum is holding the porcelain exhibition of Empress Dowager Ci Xi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) until June 16 (close on Mondays). The public's fascination with Ci Xi has been fuelled by various accounts of what she was and how she lived, some more lurid fiction than proven fact. But there is one thing that is concrete and undeniable, and that is the Empress had good taste.

 

About 100 pieces of porcelain on show are from the Beijing's Forbidden City Museum. Among the exhibits are collections of bowls, spoons and teacups that were specially commissioned for the grand wedding of Emperor Tongzhi in 1872. Befitting to the occasion coral red and imperial yellow are extensively used in the porcelain ware, while auspicious icons of bats and magpies adorn the collection. According to Chinese beliefs the homophonic representations of these creatures usher in harmony and good fortune.

 

Another recurring motif is the ground vine-and-butterfly, symbolising productivity. With the line of succession threatened producing an heir was a priority with the royal family. Unfortunately, historic evidence showed that this was not fulfilled.

 

 

 

BEIJING -UNDERGROUND ART

 

Beijing's subway is one of the longest in the world, and will shortly be one of the best looking. Passengers now have a chance to look at the artistic makeover of 38 new subway stations covering lines 6, 8, 9 and 10. On show are art works by 20 artists from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and other art institutions. There are also traditional Chinese timepieces and antique donated by ordinary Beijingers, creating an experience of taking the subway like travelling through space and time.
 

 

MAJOR PROJECT TO RESTORE ANCIENT XI'AN

 

Xi'an is famous for its Terracotta Warriors. It is also the ancient capital of China for more than 10 dynasties and was then known as Chang'an, which means "perpetual peace". For more than 200 years, during the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD24), Chang'an was the centre of Chinese politics, economy and culture. Given the frequency of international exchanges that took place in the city, Han Dynasty Chang'an was regarded as China's earliest international metropolis.

 

The city government plans to create a special relics park covering the centre of the ancient city in northwest Xi'an to restore the urban layout of the city back to what it was 2,000 years ago. The massive preservation project will be completed by 2020.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

EXPERIENCE DRAMA, IMPRESSION PINGYAO

 

Have you ever walked while watching a play? Ever had an interactive experience with drama? The large-scale experience drama, Impression Pingyao, directed by the famous Wang Chaoge, promises to be a whole new type of theatre experience.

 

The play officially premiered in Pingyao, Shanxi Province this month. It tells the story of the master of the Pingyao exchange shop, Zhao Yishuo, who protected a lineage of Wang at the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). He went to the Czar of Russia by pledging all his money with 232 public securities and they all died on the way back after seven years, making the lineage of Wang continue.

 

The performance highlights the Pingyao people's moral tradition and stirring sentiment. Moral doctrine is presented through folk customs and historical facts. The narration is rich with deep thinking and literary depth. The performance impacts the audience's emotions, making them remember the characters and wise thoughts.

 

Impression Pingyao makes the most of the performing arts, employing drama, dance, music and light and sound design on the forefront of its field. The performers are non-professional actors, but they sing and dance with total commitment, shortening their distance from the audience.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

CONRAD BEIJING OPENS FOR BUSINESS

 

Hilton Worldwide opened its flagship property, Conrad Beijing, in China's capital city on March 7. Embracing Beijing's culture and vitality the hotel sets the benchmark for worldly style and sophisticated hospitality where guests can stay connected and feel that they belong.

 

The hotel's 289 spacious guest rooms include 17 suites. All rooms feature oriental influences, a three-metre high ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer picturesque views of Tuanjie Lake Park, the iconic CCTV building and the captivating Beijing skyline. Its innovative and stylish restaurants and lounges are set to become the favourites for hotel guests and city residents alike. Recreational facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool and fitness centre equipped with the latest Life Fitness equipment. The hotel is also an ideal venue for business conferences, and boasts a fully equipped business centre.

 

 

JING AN SHANGRI-LA SLATED FOR JUNE OPENING

 

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is to open its new flagship hotel, Jing An Shangri-La, in west Shanghai in June. The 508-room property is situated within the Jing An Kerry Centre integrated complex in Puxi, Shanghai, occupying the top 29 floors of the 60-storey main tower. A 45-minute drive from Pudong International Airport and 20 minutes from Hongqiao Airport, the hotel is close to the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, Jing An Temple and Nanjing Road shopping street.

All rooms are fitted with an LCD television, bathroom with heated marble floors, a digital clock embedded in the bathroom mirror and views of Shanghai through nearly floor-to-ceiling windows.

The hotel provides 4,465sqm of function space, including the 1,740sqm pillarless Jing An Grand Ballroom, the largest in west Shanghai. It also comes with a roof garden and a 1,039sqm pre-function area. The ballroom is connected to the Jing An Shangri-La Event Centre, which houses a 514sqm junior ballroom and six function rooms totalling 659sqm of space. signature event venue, The Lifestyle Suite is the signature event venue in the hotel that can accommodate up to 80 paxs and has its own bar, reception area, living room, dining room and courtyard.
 

 

 

MANDARIN ORIENTAL PUDONG TO WELCOME GUESTS IN Q2, 2013

 

Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai is scheduled to open for business in the second quarter of this year. It forms part of Harbour City, a new 25-hectare mixed-use development on the east bank of the Huangpu River, development that includes offices, apartments, retail outlets and gardens.

 

The hotel has 318 guestrooms and 44 suites, including a 788sqm Presidential Suite reportedly the largest and most expensive in the city. Food and beverage outlets include a contemporary French restaurant, a Chinese restaurant serving Jiang Nan cuisine, an all-day kitchen, bar, lobby lounge and a cake shop. Facilities include a spa, fitness and wellness centre, an indoor swimming pool and a thermal bathing facility.

 

 

SUMMER OPENING FOR BANYAN TREE CHONGQING RESORT

 

Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts will open Chongqing's first internationally run hot spring resort, Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei, in summer 2013. It is located 40 minutes from Chongqing Airport and two hours from Chengdu, Banyan Tree Chongqing Beibei will offer 48 Hot Spring Retreats and 59 Hot Spring Villas, each with private hot spring pools for guests to enjoy the water's healing

 properties.

 

The resort's spa features seven different outdoor and indoor hot spring pools, as well as the signature Yin Yang Rainmist treatment. On site are five food and beverage outlets, a gym, yoga room, and the Banyan Tree Gallery that sells indigenous handicraft, resort apparel and spa amenities.

 

The resort's design reflects the start of the Minguo era with traditional multi-storey folk houses and an open bamboo-lined courtyard and foyer, while the indoor décor is complemented by renowned Shu embroidery, brocades and lacquer art.

 

 

 

NEW RITZ-CARLTON IN TIANJIN

 

Ritz-Carlton will open its first hotel in Tianjin later this year. It will feature 277 rooms, four restaurants and bars, a lounge for club and suite guests, conference and meeting facilities, an indoor swimming pool and fitness and spa facilities.

Tianjin is located in northeast China and is a 30 minutes away from Beijing via the high-speed rail train.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL

 

The Dragon Boat Festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, and is celebrated on June 12 this year. It is a tradition to eat zongzi (glutinous rice wrapped in reed leaves) as part of the celebrations, which is carried out in memory of Qu Yuan, a high-ranking official of the State of Chu during the Warring States period (475-221B.C.). He made great contributions to the state but was wrongly accused of corruption. He was then removed from office by the Duke and banished to live the live of a poor wanderer. Overwhelmed with sadness Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Miluo River on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. The people of the State of Chu recognised his contributions and, as a mark of respect, threw rice into the river as a sacrifice to him. As they were afraid the fish and shrimps would eat the rice they wrapped the food in reed leaves, and bound silk threads around the packets before dropping them into the river. This custom continues until today during the Dragon Boat Festival.

 

Asian Trails China's office will be closed on June 12 to celebrate the festival.

 

 

UPCOMING FESTIVALS, PUBLIC HOLIDAYS, SHOWS & EVENTS IN CHINA - 2013

 

FESTIVALS & PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

• LABOUR DAY: May 1— Office closes for one day

• DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL: June 12 - Office closes for one day.

• MID AUTUMN FESTIVAL: September 19 - Office closes for one day.

• NATIONAL DAY: October 1-7  (National Day is on October 1) -Office closes from October 1-3

 

SHOWS & EVENTS

GUANGZHOU:

• Guangzhou Autumn Canton Fair: October 15—November 4

CHENGDU:

• International Auto Show: September 15-22

• Western Expo: October 15—22

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

CHINA TO OPEN SECOND BEIJING INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN 2017

 

Beijing will have a new international airport by October 2017 to handle the increasing air traffic in the region. The new airport will have eight runways for civilian traffic, and a ninth for military use.

 

The current airport, Beijing International Airport, ran close to its capacity last year, handling 73.9 million passengers (total capacity of 76 million passengers). The proposed new airport will have a capacity of at least 60 million passengers.

 

 

CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES' NEW DIRECT SAN FRANCISCO— SHANGHAI SERVICE

 

China Eastern Airlines launched daily direct flights between Shanghai Pudong Airport and San Francisco International Airport on April 26, 2013. The flight from San Francisco departs at 12pm and arrives in Shanghai at 4:30pm. The return flight from Shanghai leaves at 1pm and arrives in San Francisco at 9:30am.

 

 

HAINAN AIRLINES TO LAUNCH BEIJING-CHICAGO SERVICE IN SEPTEMBER

 

Starting September 3, 2013 Hainan Airlines will begin non-stop service between Beijing and Chicago. The four times weekly flights are pm Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

 

This new service will add to the airline's existing direct flights to Beijing from Seattle and Toronto.

 

 

AIR CHINA'S NON-STOP HOUSTON-BEIJING SERVICE

 

Air China will commence four times weekly service between Houston's George Bush Airport and Beijing International on July 11, 2013.  

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

FAREWELL PARTY FOR MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

 

At the end of March the staff of Asian Trails' Beijing office gathered for a special evening at the Renaissance Capital Hotel Beijing - to bid farewell to Managing Director Veronique Ducassy (pictured with Kris Van Goethem). After five years and three months with Asian Trails China based in Beijing she left for Phnom Penh to take up her new post as Managing Director of Asian Trails Cambodia.

 

The welcome cocktail was followed by a fine Italian dinner. There was also a lucky draw and farewell present for Veronique. The enjoyable evening ended with drinks at the hotel bar.

 

We take this opportunity to thank Veronique for her services. and wish her all the best in her new posting in Cambodia.  

 

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

The past two months have been the busiest low season months Myanmar has ever experienced. Influxes of business travellers and delegations, as well as a tremendous increase of booking requests for the coming season, are keeping us very busy. We advise all intending to visit to book as early as possible, and to be flexible in all aspects such as accommodation or routing.

 

We also wish to highlight that travelling in low season is no problem at all on a classic route (beaches are closed), and clients should be encouraged to come in low season where availability is less of an issue.

 

In this newsletter we are highlighting the upcoming festivals in Myanmar (under FESTIVALS AND EVENTS). Festivals are great opportunities to discover more of the local traditions and culture, especially in Myanmar as they give an indepth insight into local habits too. Please feel free to contact us for any offer in connection with these special events.

 

Several new suppliers with different products are entering the market and they will help to increase the attractiveness of the destination.

 

As always, we remain at your service for any clarification you may need and we look forward to welcoming your clients to Myanmar.

 

Best regards,

 

Thomas Carnevale  

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

 

ACCOR RE-ENTERS MYANMAR

 

Hotel group, Accor, is re-entering Myanmar with two new hotels that are scheduled to open later this year.
MGallery Hotel in Naypyidaw (top photo) will be the city's first international brand hotel, featuring 168 rooms, meeting rooms and two dining outlets including an Italian restaurant.
Novotel Yangon Max (bottom photo) offers 366 rooms, three restaurants including a rooftop French restaurant. bar, banquet room, eight meeting rooms, a swimming pool and wellness centre. The hotel is about q 20-minute drive from Yangon International Airport.  

 

 

HILTON TO DEBUT IN MYANMAR IN 2014

 

Hilton will open its first hotel in Myanmar, Hilton Yangon, in 2014 in the commercial capital of Yangon. The hotel is located in Centrepoint, a 25-storey tower. It will have 300 rooms, meeting rooms, bars and restaurants. The opening of Hilton Yangon will provide significant relief to Yangon's critical hotel capacity, which currently a room of inventory of 8,000.
 

 

 

AMATA GARDEN RESORT INLE LAKE OPENS IN OCTOBER

 

The Amata Group will open the four star Amata Garden Resort Inle on the shore of Inle Lake in October 2013.  The three-storey hotel is set amidst 16 acres of landscaped garden. It will feature 60 rooms, half with lake view, and a spa.

 

 

 

APPLE TREE GROUP'S FIRST HOTEL IN MYANMAR

 

The Apple Tree Group will soft open its first property in Myanmar, Bagan Lodge in Bagan in April 2013. This new property is located near the country's archaeological sites with easy access to some of the world's most famous and beautiful temples. It features 82 deluxe tented rooms and 3 suites, a restaurant, lobby bar, swimming pool and spa. We highly recommend this hotel to clients looking for a hotel, which provides a unique experience.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

 

 

TAUNG-BYONE CEREMONY
AUGUST 16- 20, 2013
VENUE: TAUNGBYONE, MANDALAY DIVISION

 

Five-day ceremony ending August 20. Held to worship two Taungbyone spiritual figures this festival is a major gathering for spirit mediums.
 

 

 

PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 5-22, 2013: 1ST WANING DAY OF THIDINGYUT
VENUE: INLE LAKE, SHAN STATE

 

18-day festival ending October 22. Four Buddha statues are ceremoniously transported clockwise around Inle Lake on the royal barge. One leg-rowed boat races are held throughout the festival
 

 

 

THADINGYUT FESTIVAL
OCTOBER 18- 20, 2013: 14TH WAXING DAY OF THADINGYUT
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MYANMAR

 

Three-day festival ending October 20. It commemorates the day Lord Buddha came down from heaven after spending three months of the Buddhist lent there. The festival is celebrated throughout Myanmar with colourful illumination offerings to the deities. People also release balloons into the sky and enjoy the festivities.
 

 

 

BALLOON FLYING FESTIVAL
NOVEMBER 12-17, 2013: WAXING DAY OF TAZAUNGMON
VENUE: TAUNGGYI, SHAN STATE

 

Six-day festival ending November 17. During this typical "Pa-O" festival hot air balloons are released into the sky during the day and at night.
 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

GOLDEN MYANMAR AIRLINES MOUNTS DAILY FLIGHT TO SINGAPORE

 

Golden Myanmar Airlines, Myanmar's budget airline, has launched a daily return service from Yangon and Mandalay to Singapore. This follows the airline's successful introduction of the first low cost domestic flight between Yangon and Mandalay. The service to Singapore is on the 180-seater Airbus A320-200 aircraft.

 

 

 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS TO LAUNCH BANGKOK-MANDALAY SERVICE

 

Bangkok Airways will start operating a four times weekly flight from Bangkok to Mandalay (vv), Myanmar's second largest city, in mid-September 2013. The flight will be operated with an Airbus A319 aircraft.

 

 

 

AIR KBZ ADDS TWO DOMESTIC DESTINATIONS

 

Starting from May 1, 2013 Air KBZ will connect Yangon with two domestic destinations in Kaching State - the northernmost town of Putao and Bhamo in the south. The twice-weekly return flights are operated via Myitkyina.

 

 

 

ASIAN WINGS EXPANDS NETWORK

 

Yangon based Asian Wings has added two new domestic services from Yangon to Thandwe and Homelin (Sagain Division). The Yangon-Thandwe flight (vv) is thrice weekly and Yangon-Homelin flight (vv) via Monywa is twice weekly. The flights are operated with an ATR72 aircraft.

The airline has added the Airbus A321 aircraft on the Yangon-Mandalay route, increasing the daily seat capacity between these two cities. It has plans to add more International flights in the future.
 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

CVT GRADUATION CEREMONY

  

The 2013 Centre for Vocational Training (CVT) Graduation Ceremony was held in Yangon on April 6. Asian Trails' apprentice Ms. Saw Nann Htwe (pictured) won the first prize for 2013 in the course of "commercial assistant class CA11B 10/13". There were two other apprentice winners from Asian Trails Myanmar - one won the second prize in 2008 and the other won the first prize in 2010. This is the third win for Asian Trails. We congratulate the three apprentices for their achievements.

Asian Trails Myanmar is a supporter of CVT. Every year we take in two to three CVT "commercial assistant" apprentices. The apprenticeship is divided in two parts. The apprentices first learn the whole spectrum of tasks in the company. In the second part they attend a three-year course, going to school one day each week. At the end of this parallel form of vocational training the apprentices will have widened their horizon and are equipped for a good future in the tourism industry.
 

 

CASHLESS PAYMENT MADE EASIER

 

Visa is expanding its payment network in Myanmar to over 1,000 retail locations by the end of this year.

 

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Asian Trails Malaysia!

 

The European summer is approaching, and it coincides with the dry in season in Malaysia's east coast where the most beautiful beaches are located. The hit product here is Taaras Beach Resort & Spa on Redang Island that has the best infrastructure, beach and service in this area. After basking in the sun on the beautiful sandy beach you may want to move on to enjoy the mountains by extending your stay at The Chateau Spa & Organic Wellness Resort, the first organic hotel in the world with the most impressive Spa Centre and therapies in Malaysia. The exclusive twinning of these two products combines the best of both worlds - the sea and the mountains (read article on the twinning in ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE).

 

For any requests, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to welcoming you in Malaysia.

 

Best regards,

 

Emir Malaysia,

Truly Asia  

 

   

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

EXCLUSIVE TWINNNG PACKAGE  -- CHATEAU SPA & ORGANIC WELLNESS RESORT AND TAARAS BEACH RESORT & SPA

 

The Exclusive Twinning Package combines the best of both worlds - the sea and the mountains. Visits to Taaras Beach & Spa Resort followed by Chateau Spa and Organic Wellness Resort give you the ultimate holiday.

 

 

 

For more details please contact us

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SWISS-GARDEN RESORT & SPA KUANTAN REFURBISHES

 

Swiss Garden Resort & Spa Kuantan, Pahang, is undergoing a refurbishment exercise, which will see its Garden View rooms, beach and lawn area take on a contemporary new look. The refurbishment will commence on July 1, 2013 and is scheduled to be completed by October 31, 2013.

 

 

ALOFT KUALA LUMPUR SENTRAL OPENS

 

Kuala Lumpur's newest hotel, Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral, opened for business in March 2013. It is located in the heart of Sentral, regarded as Kuala Lumpur's new Central Business District. The hotel's strategic location makes it ideal for both business and leisure travellers due to its proximity to Sentral, Kuala Lumpur's main transport hub, from where visitors can take the KLIA transit train to the KL Internaitonal Airport. Nearby are popular  attractions like Little India, National Museum, Bird Park and Lake Gardens 

 

Aloft's spacious guestrooms feature 11-foot-high ceiling, Aloft Signature Bed, free WiFi, 42" LCD TVs, custom Aloft amenities by Bliss® Spa, walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads, signature coffee and plug 'n play docking station that links laptop to the TV.

 

 

 

 

ROYAL MULU RESORT UPGRADES TO MARRIOTT RESORT

 

Royal Mulu Resort in Sarawak is upgrading its facilities to the five star Marriott standard. The first phase of its rebranding to Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa is scheduled for completion and opening in August 2013. During the renovation period the resort operates as usual with 46 of its existing guestrooms. The pool area and lobby lounge are not available for use. As construction work is carried out during working hours the management is taking measures to ensure minimum disturbance to the guests.

 

 

 

BAYVIEW BEACH RESORT, PENANG, UNDER RENOVATIONS

 

Renovations to the superior and family type rooms in Bayview Beach Resort in Penang (Phase 1) started on May 1, and will last for about five weeks. All guest floors in the small atrium are being renovated. Phase 2 of the renovations will commence in July for five weeks. Construction noise (hacking or heavy drilling) may be heard for 12 days from 10am to 6pm from start of the renovation period. The area being renovated is sealed so there will be no dust or debris affecting the guests.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

SULTANS OF SCIENCE
DECEMBER 15, 2012- JUNE 15, 2013
VENUE: PETROSAINS, KLCC

 

Sultans of Science, a global travelling exhibition, takes you back to the Golden Age of the Islamic World (700-1700 CE) when ingenious Muslim scholars made scientific and technological breakthroughs that have influenced modern society. The exhibition showcases nine main fields of Islamic scientific endeavour - mathematics and navigation, astronomy, medicine, instrument making, fine technology and invention, optics, engineering, architecture and flight. Through its travelling nature the exhibition has been held in science centres and museums around the world.

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL PAHANG RIVER RAFTING EXPEDITION
MAY 12- 18, 2013
VENUE: PAHANG RIVER, PAHANG

 

Traverse the Pahang River on a raft to experience the thrills of shooting the rapids, while taking in the sights and sounds of the pristine surroundings. This annual event draws participants from around the world.


 

 

 

SABAH FEST - A CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA
MAY 3- 5, 2013
VENUE: AUDITORIUM KOMPLEKS JKKN SABAH

 

Be mesmerised by the poetry of music, song and dance at this cultural extravaganza, which showcases Sabah at its absolute best. Besides engaging in theatre production visitors can also observe the distinctive art of producing handicrafts such as wood carvings and hand-woven cloth by talented local artistes.

 

 

 

WESAK DAY
MAY 24, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Wesak Day marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha. Buddhists throughout the country celebrate this day with offerings and rituals at Buddhist temples. Be awed by the grand processions that take place at night.  

 

 

 

COLOURS OF 1MALAYSIA
MAY 25, 2013
VENUE: DATARAN MERDEKA, KUALA LUMPUR

 

Malaysia's premier cultural extravaganza is back to dazzle both foreign visitors and locals alike. Enjoy a cornucopia of spectacular traditional performances, colourful parades and exhibitions, which showcase the country's arts and crafts.

 

 

 

TADAU KEAAMATAN
MAY 30-31, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT SABAH & LABUAN

 

Tadau Kaamatan is the harvest festival celebrated in Sabah and Labuan. It marks the end of the harvest season and the beginning of a new season. Visitors can watch traditional dances, musical performances and participate in other interesting activities.

 

 

 

GAWAI DAYAK FESTIVAL
JUNE 1-2, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT SARAWAK

 

Gawai Dayak is the harvest festival celebrated by the Ibans and Bidayuhs who are the indigenous people of Sarawak. As part of the celebrations they perform 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 for both foreign tourists and locals alike.

 

 

 

KK JAZZ FESTIVAL
JUNE 14-15, 2013
VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH

 

The sixth edition of the KK Jazz Festival promises to be another ground -breaking experience with a great line-up of local and international artistes. Funds from the festival go to support various community projects in Sabah.

 

 

 

SABAH DRAGON BOAT RACE
JUNE 15-16, 2013
VENUE: LIKAS BAY, KOTA KINABALU, SABAH

 

A traditional Chinese event, which has evolved from myths and legends to grow into one of the main highlights in Sabah's calendar of festivals. This exciting race attracts teams from Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Singapore and Brunei.

 

 

 

RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
JUNE 28-30, 2013
VENUE: SARAWAK CULTURAL VILLAGE, KUCHING, SARAWAK

 

Dance to the rhythm of diverse ethnic music amidst Sarawak's magnificent rainforests. One of the largest musical events in Malaysia the Rainforest World Music Festival celebrates world music with performances by ethnic musicians from all over the world.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA WATER FESTIVAL (FISHING CARNIVAL)/LABUAN INTERNATIONAL SEA CHALLENGE (LSC)
JUNE 28- 30, 2013
VENUE: LABUAN INTERNATIONAL SEA SPORT COMPLEX

 

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

 

 

 

FRASER'S HILL INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE
JUNE 29-30. 2013
VENUE: FRASER'S HILL, RAUB, PAHANG

 

Fraser's Hill is a world-class bird watching destination in the Asian region as it is home to about 247 species of birds. The bird race is an excellent opportunity for locals and foreign tourists alike to watch various species of migratory and montane birds, which are different from those in the lowland forest. Species are from as far as northern Siberia and the islands north of Japan.

 

 

 

1MALAYSIA MEGA SALE CARNIVAL
JUNE 29- SEPTEMBER 1, 2013
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Shop, eat and celebrate at the 1Malaysia Mega Sale Carnival 2013. Malaysia is all set to woo shoppers with this carnival by offering numerous promotions and discounts. So look within and beyond shopping malls this year and experience a wholesome shopping spree.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES CONNECTS TO FIVE US CITIES

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is offering seamless one-stop air connectivity between Kuala Lumpur and five eastern cities in the United States through a code-share arrangement with American Airlines, one of its partner airlines in the one world alliance.

 

The code-share, effective March 25, 2013, enables MAS' customers in Malaysia and the US to book directly with the airline and take advantage of its 136 weekly connection options between Kuala Lumpur and Chicago, Dallas, New York, Miami and Raleigh through any one of the its three European stations of London, Paris and Frankfurt. All code share services between Europe and the US are marketed as MAS flights, simplifying ticketing to one document issued by MAS.

 

 

 

EXCLUSIVE FRENCH CUISINE FOR PREMIUM PASSENGERS ON PARIS-KUALA LUMPUR ROUTE

 

Malaysia Airlines' passengers traveling First and Business class on the daily Airbus A380 Paris-Kuala Lumpur flights can now enjoy exclusive French inflight meal. The menu features the delightful and unique creations of  Amandine Chaignot, current chef of Le Raphaël Restaurant in Paris. She created a set of five starters, five main hot dishes and two desserts, symbolising the variety and the unmistakable qualities of traditional French gastronomy.

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES TAKES DELIVERY OF SIXTH A380 AIRCRAFT

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) took delivery of its sixth Airbus A380 aircraft, which touched down at the KL International Airport (KLIA) on March 29, 2013. With this aircraft MAS has completed its long range wide body re-fleeting exercise, which involved replacing the fleet of Boeing B747-400 aircraft that has served the airline's network since 1990s.

 

Last year Malaysia Airlines marked the entry of its first A380 aircraft into its fleet by having its five star airline status renewed by Skytrax as it embarked on a series of improvements to reposition it as a premium carrier. The national carrier's 494-seater A380 aircraft commenced services between London and Kuala Lumpur on July 1, 2012 and began double daily A380 services between the two cities on November 24. From 1 March this year, Paris became the airline's second European destination with daily A380 services linking Kuala Lumpur. On May 1 the airline began A380 daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES UPGRADES KUALA LUMPUR-AUSTRALIA SERVICE TO AIRBUS A330-300

 

Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) services between Kuala Lumpur and its five Australian destinations are now operated using the latest 283-seater Airbus A330-300 aircraft. This upgrade in aircraft follows the phasing out of the B777 service on the Kuala Lumpur-Sydney route.

 

All seats in the Airbus A330-300 aircraft are equipped with AC power supply and USB ports for laptops and electronic equipment. There is also an enhanced inflight entertainment featuring a larger selection of the latest movies and music. Business Class guests going to Australia can also enjoy the premium "Chef-on-Call" service that features various meal options ranging from Malaysian favorites, international cuisine, chef's recommendations, as well as light and healthy choices. Guests can pre-book "Chef-on-Call" meals at least 24 hours before flight.

 

 

 

AIRASIA TO SUSPEND KUALA LUMPUR DANANG SERVICE

 

AirAsia will suspend its four times weekly flights from Kuala Lumpur to Da Nang, Vietnam effective June 10, 2013 as part of its network realignment.

 

 

AIRASIA OPERATES FROM KOLKATA'S TERMINAL 2, NEW INTEGRATED TERMINAL BUILDING (NITB)

 

AirAsia moved its Kolkata, India, operations to Terminal 2, New Integrated Terminal Building (NITB) on March 14, 2013. This is part of the airline's service of providing world-class facilities to its guests.

 

The new NITB covers an area of 233,000sqm and, when fully operational, will have 128 check-in counters, a VIP lounge and an inline baggage handling facility. Besides its functional attributes the terminal has natural lighting, sustainable cooling systems and more greenery on its grounds to provide a comfortable ambiance for travellers.

 

 

 

TURKISH AIRLINES' MAIDEN FLIGHT TO KUALA LUMPUR

 

Turkish Airlines made its maiden flight to the KL International Airport on April 25, 2013 with the new Istanbul-Kuala Lumpur service. The thrice-weekly flights are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The flight departs Istanbul 01.15hr and arrives in Kuala Lumpur at 16.50hr. On the return leg the flight leaves Kuala Lumpur at 23.15hr and   touches down in Istanbul at 05.35hr the next day. The airline will increase frequencies on the route to four-times-weekly from June 17.

 

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

With the high season on our doorsteps we are busy preparing for the summer months. While our Customer Service Manger conducts guide trainings in Java, our operation team in Bali works on the assignment of guides for the busy months to come. Our Product Team and other managers visit different destinations outside of Bali to refresh their product knowledge and to find new products, especially hotels that are opening in large numbers in Indonesia. Recently we went to Lombok, West Flores and West Sumatra. If you are interested in these new destinations you can send us a request at res@asiantrails.co.id and we will send you detailed reports of them.

 

So far the forecast for bookings for the high season looks promising. This year's the Idul Fitri holiday, Indonesia's most important public holiday, falls on August 8 and 9, during the full high season. Following a large exodus of migrant workers from Indonesia's large cities there is a large increase of traffic volume, especially on Java's main roads. It is absolutely crucial that tourists travelling during this period are informed about the conditions in Java. There is, however, some good news on traffic developments on Bali. The construction works on the new roundabout at Simpang Siur and at the bridge linking Benoa Harbour are progressing well, and the project may be completed before the APEC Summit in Nusa Dua in early October.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

SPIRIT OF KALIMANTAN - NEW RIVER BOAT IN PALANGKARAYA

 

Spirit of Kalimantan is a luxurious boat, measuring 21 metres long and four metres wide. Enjoy the comfort of the three air-conditioned cabins and sitting area, relax on the open deck in steamer chairs as the scenery glides by, lounge on the comfortable sofas and dine in style in a screened deck area.

 

The famous cuisine of the boat's sister ship, Rahai'i Pangun, is available and is prepared by the onboard cook. A private English-speaking guide introduces guests to the BOS orangutan rehabilitation programmes, black water lake systems, villages along the route and Dayak culture as Spirit of Kalimantan navigates the Rungan River. The crew comprises the captain, an engineer, cook, waiter and a cabin boy.

 

 

AIR BALI RELAUNCHES

 

Air Bali has relaunched with a completely new look and boasts a brand new state-of-the-art heliport at Benoa Harbour. It is once again offering the spectacular "Bali and beyond" sky tours. Its other services include island hopping tours, transfers from the airport to hotel, emergency medical retrievals and Heli Dining, Heli Fishing and Heli Golf tours.

 

Upholding the islands' proud tradition of hospitality the Air Bali's experience begins long before guests board the helicopter. They are picked up at their hotel and taken to the airline's heliport at Benoa Harbour.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

ALAYA UBUD, BALI -- NEW BOUTIQUE RESORT

 

Alaya Ubud is an unpretentious boutique resort, which is about taking time out to enjoy quality relaxation in a stylish environment surrounded by natural beauty. The resort has been designed to reflect Bali as an artistic destination, and to meet the needs of international travellers in comfort and hospitality. It offers two tastefully appointed accommodation categories, each designed with meticulous attention to details. All the rooms offer views of the rice terraces, which vary in colours between rich shades of green and gold according to the season.

  

 

U PAASHA SEMINYAK BALI OPENS

 

U Paasha Seminyak Bali, located in the heart of Seminyak, opened on May 1. The hotel is a stimulating blend of Seminyak's lifestyle and local design accents that pair with modern amenities, services and leisure facilities. It features 48 suite rooms on two floors, a roof top swimming pool, gym, unique concept restaurant and New York style bar.

 

The resort's unique concept of service includes 24-hour room concept that allows guests to enjoy their room for 24 hours from arrival, breakfast whenever/wherever during their stay, international and local calls at cost, pre-select amenities such as pillows, tea, music and soap that guests can select from the online U Choose programme.

 

 

JULY OPENING FOR PLATARAN RESORT

 

Plataran will open its second hotel in Bali, Plataran Resort, in July 2013 with 31 rooms including five garden villas as well as pool villas and suites. Also opened are the free form main pool, spa and yoga and function decks.

 

Following the lines of the traditional rice terracing the resort encompasses a large plot of land that dips and weaves into a lush valley, traversing a river, providing a tranquil hideaway. With two street frontages it is within easy walking distance to central Ubud and its many shops, temples and restaurants.

 

 

 

ANGEL RESORT - PEACEFUL HAVEN IN KOMODO 

 

Angel Resort, a small eco-friendly resort on the beautiful peaceful island of Bidadari, is located on the edge of Komodo National Park. It is a 20-minute boat ride from Labuan Bajo, off the west coast of Flores. It offers 10 villas set in 15ha gardens of hibiscus flowers. Here you can indulge in a range of activities - relax on the private island's three white sandy beaches, dive or snorkel, visit the world famous Komodo National Park and watch the mighty Komodo Dragons.

 

 

LAPRIMA HOTEL FLORES - NEW HOTEL IN LABUAN BAJO

 

Laprima Hotel Flores, located just five minutes from the town centre of Labuan Bajo, has just opened. It has direct access to a white sand beach and guests can enjoy stunning sunsets and, if the weather permits, over the Komodo National Park.

 

The hotel offers 88 rooms comprising Superior Hill View, Superior Beach View, Deluxe Room and Laprima Suites.  All guestrooms are equipped with colour TV with satellite channels, IDD telephones, Individual air conditioner, bath tub (only Deluxe Rooms and Laprima Suites), mini bar, hair dryer (only in Laprima Suites), two bottles of free mineral water daily and coffee- and tea-making facilities. Guests can choose either a room with a private balcony facing the ocean, which we highly recommend, or hill view. Rooms with connecting doors are available on request.

 

 

JEEVA BELOAM BEACH CAMP - HIDDEN JEWEL IN SOUTH EAST LOMBOK

 

Jeeva Beloam Beach Camp consists of only five wooden cottages. Their design blends with nature and offer features of modern comfort. A tent-style hut functions as reception and restaurant. The place is a heaven for nature lovers with its pristine flora and fauna. Guests can go trekking in the wilderness, fishing, snorkelling or just enjoy the remoteness at the white sandy beach. On certain days in August whales escaping from Australia’s winter can be spotted. Please note that there is no Internet access in the camp, but who needs that in this slice of paradise.

 

The road leading to this secluded beach is bumpy for 10 kilometres, and the forest dominates your view along the journey. It is not a comfortable ride unless you are travelling in the appropriate vehicle. However, once you arrive at Beloam Beach its beauty will make the journey worthwhile.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

LION AIR PLACES LARGE ORDER OF AIRBUS AIRCRAFT

 

Lion Air has signed an order with Airbus for 169 Airbus A320 aircraft and 65 A321 jets.  The deal, estimated to cost USD21 billion, comes less than a year after the airline ordered 230 Boeing B737 aircraft. Most of the aircraft in the new order will be outfitted with a new, more fuel-efficient engine that Airbus has recently developed. The first planes will be delivered in 2014. It currently has 92 aircraft, almost all from Boeing. Wings Air, part of the Lion Air family, operates a fleet of ATR mostly in the eastern part of Indonesia.

 

Lion Air in March launched Malindo Air, a joint venture between Lion Air and National Aerospace and Defence Industries of Malaysia. Based at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia it has started services to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Kuching, Sarawak. It is set to challenge AirAsia on the latter's home ground.

 

 

 

AIRASIA EXPANDS TO SEMARANG AND MAKASAR

 

AirAsia has announced the launch of a new route from Singapore to Semarang. The Singapore-Semarang flight will operate four times a week. The airline also plans to connect Makassar with Surabaya, Denpasar and Manado, as well as Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. It will fly daily on the Makassar-Denpasar, Makassar-Manado and Makassar-Surabaya routes. For the Makassar-Kuala Lumpur and Makassar-Kota Kinabalu routes it will provide three and four flights a week respectively.

 

 

 

MEDAN IS GARUDA INDONESIA'S NEW HUB

 

Garuda Indonesia has established a new hub in Medan, North Sumatra, to mount more services from here with its purchase of Bombardier aircraft. The new routes are Medan-Banda Aceh, Medan-Batam, Medan Pekanbaru and Medan-Padang.

 

 

 

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