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,
A NOTE FROM
DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR CLAUDIO KELLENBERGER
(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.
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'.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
RELAX AND RENEW PACKAGES BY KAMALAYA, KOH SAMUI
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
A magical opportunity to
explore Thailand's rural heartland on board an award winning
converted teak rice barge - Thanatharee orTreasure on 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
MAY 25-JUNE 1, 2013
VENUE: CHAWENG BEACH, KOH 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
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.
VIET JET AIR TO OPERATE SECOND INTERNATIONAL ROUTE
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
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
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.
STELLA BOZZA JOINS MICE TEAM AS SALES & EVENTS
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
MEETING ROOM AT LANITH HOSPITALITY AND TRAINING
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.
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.
A TOURIST WALK ZONE FOR PHNOM PENH'S HISTORIC FRENCH
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
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.
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.
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
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
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA
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'
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 Mèn 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
THE VILLAGE: BAR, RESTAURANT, LIVE MUSIC
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.
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.
NEW SEA ROUTE PROMISES
TO BRING MORE TOURISTS
TO PHU QUOC
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"
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
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
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
Please contact us for more 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
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
Please contact us for more information.
EVASON ANA MANDARA NHA TRANG - UPGRADED FITNESS
CENTRE AND CONFERENCE FACILITIES
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
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.
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
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
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
ANCIENT FAIFO - NEW RESTAURANT IN HOI AN
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
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.
PAN-ASIA RAILWAY LINKS CHINA WITH ASEAN
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
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
BIG PLANS TO GROW SCENIC GUILIN INTO WORLD CLASS
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
NEW RITZ-CARLTON IN TIANJIN
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
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 Autumn Canton Fair: October 15—November 4
• International Auto Show: September 15-22
• Western Expo: October 15—22
CHINA TO OPEN SECOND BEIJING INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
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
CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES' NEW DIRECT SAN FRANCISCO—
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
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
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.
FAREWELL PARTY FOR MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE
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
We take this opportunity to thank Veronique for her
services. and wish her all the best in her new posting in
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
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.
suppliers with different products are entering the market and
they will help to increase the attractiveness of the
As always, we remain
at your service for any clarification you may need and we look
forward to welcoming your clients to Myanmar.
ACCOR RE-ENTERS MYANMAR
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
• 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
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
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
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
AUGUST 16- 20, 2013
VENUE: TAUNGBYONE, MANDALAY DIVISION
ceremony ending August 20. Held to worship two Taungbyone
spiritual figures this festival is a major gathering for
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
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.
GOLDEN MYANMAR AIRLINES MOUNTS DAILY FLIGHT TO
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
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
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
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
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
CASHLESS PAYMENT MADE EASIER
Visa is expanding its payment network in Myanmar to
over 1,000 retail locations by the end of this year.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
FRASER'S HILL INTERNATIONAL
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.
MALAYSIA AIRLINES CONNECTS TO FIVE US CITIES
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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.
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
MEDAN IS GARUDA INDONESIA'S NEW HUB
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.