Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue May 2015

 

THE CEO STORY

THREE'S COMPANY - JOURNEYING FROM NAN TO LUANG PRABANG

Recently I, together with Luzi Matzig, Asian Trails' Chairman, and Claudio Kellenberger, Managing Director in Thailand, went on a journey from Nan in Thailand to Luang Prabang, the World Heritage City in Laos.

Nan, a small city in northern Thailand, is a popular holiday destination for domestic Thai travellers. Easily accessible via a one-hour flight from Bangkok, Thais travel to Nan to visit its temples, with Wat Phumin as the main attraction for its exquisite murals.

The 2,000-metre high Doi Phu Kha National Park is also favourite among the domestic tourists due to its pleasant climate. Other attractions in Nan include the evening Kad Nan market or walking street, a mini version of Thailand's famous night markets with its decoration items and clothing, coffee chops and bars.

What also makes Nan a great place to escape to is, like the northern Thailand of the past, it is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities, and mostly unknown to foreign visitors. However, don't expect fancy resorts here. If you are fine staying in simple and clean accommodation, then you will feel at home here.

After Nan, most travellers would probably continue their trip to Chiang Rai, Lampang or Chiang Mai, but we opted for the more adventurous route further north into Laos.

Luzi was in the driver's seat of his Volvo, and together with Claudio we set course to the border town of Huy Kone, an easy two-hour drive over a good road. The border crossing was a breeze with Lao tourist visas available on arrival (even though there was not a single tourist in sight). We continued to the east, and after about an hour drive reached the Lao provincial town of Hong Sa.

Hong Sa is not really a place you would send a postcard from, and a one-night stay in this part of Laos is the best option. There are no hotels here, only small guesthouses offering simple but clean accommodation, with some rooms having bathrooms. Food ranges from fried noodles to fried rice, and if you're one who can't live without dessert there is even a shop selling Magnum ice cream.

Apart from the local market there are no tourist attractions in or near Hong Sa. The town used to host the elephant festival, but it was moved back to Xayaboury a few years ago. The festival takes place in February every year. Xayaboury is a two-hour drive from Hong Sa over a paved road, or a three-hour drive from Luang Prabang.

After a good night's rest we set off to Luang Prabang the next day. There is a paved road all the way to Laos' former royal capital, but since we prefer the hard core way of doing things we decided to take the unpaved path not found on any map. After branching off the main road we drove through the jungle, or what remains of it since this area was not spared from logging, and crossed several rivers.

The jungle road took us up and down mountains, past small villages and farms. Our GPS got really confused, and the only words coming out of the little machine was "make a U turn, make a U turn". We didn't, and instead followed faithfully our own path that ranged, surprisingly, from good road to parts overgrown by jungle. Travelling this way to Luang Prabang can only be done by 4WD, and only during the dry season from November to April. After six hours we reached the Mekong River, drove the car onto the ferry and reached Luang Prabang within minutes.

Luang Prabang is one of my all-time favourite destinations in Asia. It has been able to maintain its charm and intricate culture despite the numerous commercial developments to cater to tourists. There is something for everyone here - cultural visits; adventure tours such as hiking, biking, kayaking and elephant mahout training; farm visits; village visits; and boat tours to the famous Pak Ou Caves. Early risers will enjoy watching the giving of alms to Buddhist monks every morning when hundreds of saffron robes dot the streets -a very fascinating sight. After this enjoy a breakfast of baguettes, croissants and café au lait at one of the French cafes.

Luang Prabang is also a place to relax and do nothing. There are numerous lovely coffee shops along the old streets and the bank of the Mekong River, and excellent restaurants everywhere. For accommodation, there is choice of superb hotels both inside and outside the old town. Spa treatments are of excellent quality, and for shopping enthusiasts there are shops offering a large choice of Laotian and Asian handicrafts. A visit to the Hmong night market is a must, when parts of the main street is closed to traffic and stalls open until late into the evening.

Luang Prabang's international airport offers domestic flights to Vientiane, as well as direct flights to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Siem Reap, Hanoi and Jinghong.

For the more adventurous a visit to Vang Vieng, touted as Laos' adventure capital, is not to be missed. It takes about five hours driving through mountain roads to reach the town.

For travellers who prefer to have a boating experience we recommend the Lao/Thai border of Huay Xai/Chiang Khong, which can be reached by boat in two days with an overnight at a lodge on the way. During certain times of the year cruise boats also ply the Luang Prabang to Huay Xai route. Pandaw has just announced that it will offer cruises from Chiang Khong to Jinghong in the Yunnan province of China in 2016, making it the first cruise company to do so.

As always, Asian Trails managers and staff are more than happy to tailor make any journey to these destinations to suit the individual requirements of your clients.
 

Happy Trails! 

 

 

Laurent Kuenzle 

CEO 

Asian Trails 

 

 

   

QUICK LINKS 

 

 

  • THAILAND

  • LAOS

  • CAMBODIA

  • VIETNAM

  • CHINA

  • MYANMAR

  • MALAYSIA

  • INDONESIA

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    THAILAND

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR CLAUDIO KELLENBERGER

     

    Dear friends and partners

    In mid April we had the chance to celebrate a third "New Year" in 2015, after Chinese New Year in January and the Western New Year in December. The third is the Thai New Year (Songkran), also dubbed the "Water Festival" when well wishers spray each other with tons of waters. Needless to say this brings a welcome respite from the rather hot temperatures in April.

    Our teams are already busy contracting the best possible deals for you for the next high season, and are busy scouting for new products and activities. We will update you regularly in the upcoming issues of Trailblazer of exciting new products. In this issue we give you a first taste of our new art and culture tour -Thai Contemporary Society in Bangkok - to discover Bangkok like you have never seen before.

    Claudio Kellenberger
     

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    THAI CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY


    The purpose of this day tour is to show the evolution of contemporary Thai society from the time of the major reforms undertaken by King Chulalongkorn in the 19th century until today. Medicine, criminology, carceral system, emergence of trade unions, political evolution, social struggles, importance of religion and Monarchy are some of the events that have shaped contemporary Thailand.

    Different contexts will be highlighted and placed both in a historical perspective and politics. These include the Fifth Reign reforms, the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, the brief failed incursion of Communism during the regional contagion background, raw struggles for democracy, cooperation with Japan during the Second World War, successive coups since 1932 (aborted and successful), evolution of education and cultural aspects showing the inexorable dilemma of a deeply divided society dominated by powerful conservatives elites, and the access including the progressive development of arts and culture.

    All these developments are put together end to end, forming a rich and exciting programmatic contemporary itinerary for a day-long visit to the following museums: Siriraj Hospital, Labour Museum, Correction Museum (currently under renovation) and Bangkok Art and Culture Center.
     

     

    For more details and bookings, Please click here

     

    NEW: 6-DAY KHAO YAI - KANCHANABURI MOTORCYCLE TOUR


    Asian Trails is offering a new riding tour in exotic Thailand on a big motorcycle (BMW). The tour starts in beautiful Khao Yai with its breathtaking scenery. The roads are mostly easy to handle, but do require that you have basic riding skills. From Kanchanaburi we travel northwest up to the remote town of Sangkhla Buri and the Three Pagoda border pass area. We then ride through the even more scenic area of Si Sawat, and then back to Kanchanaburi.
     

     

    For more details and bookings, Please click here

     

    NEW EXPLORE: A DAY AS A FISHERMAN


    Asian Trails supports community-based tourism. This unique and local tour features hands-on activities and cultural learning, such as collecting cockles and learning the art of making Thai desserts. We take a train to the outskirts of Bangkok where we are greeted by the sight of beautiful mangrove trees, with the glimmering Gulf of Thailand further on from here. We also get to meet Uncle Sorn who will cook us an amazing seafood meal. Bring a change of clothes.
     

     

    For more details and bookings, Please click here

     

     

    NEW EXPLORE: OLD CITY CULTURAL TOUR


    This tour takes you into the "sois" (streets) of Old Bangkok to show you its local culture and heritage. We stop by a few ancient arts and craft workshops, as well as learn to make some appetising Thai dessert.
     


     

     

    For more details and bookings, Please click here

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    KOH SAMUI

     

    KHWAN BEACH RESORT

     

    The brand new luxury multi-room pool villas of Khwan Beach Resort are stylishly designed to offer an intimate and tranquil space. Located on Maenam Beach it offers breathtaking views of Maenam Bay and Koh Phangan.

     


     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

    BAYWATER RESORT KOH SAMUI


    Baywater Resort Koh Samui is located on Choeng Mon Beach in the district of Koh Samui, just 4.7 kilometres from Samui International Airport. The resort has 100 rooms and villas in three categories - Deluxe Rooms, Deluxe Pool Access Rooms, and Pool Access Villas. All the rooms are nearly identical, but differ in size and location within the property.
     

     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

    PHUKET

     

    AMANPURI PHUKET


    The private villa homes at Amanpuri Phuket overlook the sea and consist of up to 9 bedrooms. Of the 43 villas, 30 were built as part of the original design of Amanpuri. The villas offer generous living space designed around a central swimming pool. Every villa is furnished with Thai art and antiques, and has a private pool, a rooftop lounge area, a media room for entertaining, and an open-air and enclosed living and dining areas.
     

     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

    PATTAYA

     

    BALIHAI BAY PATTAYA


    Balihai Bay Pattaya opened in January this year. It is a modern boutique hotel with 95 spacious guestrooms offering mountain view and ocean view. It is strategically located, just metres from Walking Street and close to the Balihai Pier in South Pattaya.
     

     

     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

    KOH CHANG

     

    PARAMA KOH CHANG BY EPIKUREAN LIFESTYLE


    Parama Koh Chang by EpiKurean Lifestyle is a luxurious 4 star hotel located 11.2km from the centre of Koh Chang. The resort comprises 19 rooms (superior and deluxe) and suites. Each air-conditioned room is fitted with a balcony and features flat-screen TV, safe and minibar. Shower facilities are included in an en suite bathroom. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, spa, and coffee shop/café.

    The resort is the perfect getaway for travellers to enjoy good food and wine, relaxing sunrise, yoga and rejuvenating spa treatments in a tranquil environment.
     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

    RAYONG

     

    KOH MUNNORK PRIVATE ISLAND BY EPIKUREAN LIFESTYLE


    Munnork Private Island by EpiKurean Lifestyle is Thailand's most sought after private island experience and the only private island resort in the Gulf of Siam. With a stunning white sand beach the property encompasses 18 acres that covers a fifth of the island, with the remaining untouched. It has 23 bungalows in an idyllic setting with the crystal blue sea just steps away, making swimming and snorkelling right at their doors.

    This resort is the ideal laidback hideaway for "in the know" travellers seeking to enjoy their holidays amidst nature's scenic beauty.
     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

    KRABI

     

    SHERATON KRABI BEACH RESORT TO REBRAND AS DUSIT THANI KRABI RESORT


    Sheraton Krabi Beach Resort will rebrand as Dusit Thani Krabi Resort by end June 2015. The hotel is spread out over 143 acres of land next to the pristine white sand of the 1.8km Klong Muong Beach. It offers 240 spacious and comfortable guestrooms rooms and suites in eight units of low-rise buildings. Facilities include two beachfront pools and hammocks strung across the vast gardens.

    The resort is the perfect retreat for both families and business travellers.
     

     

    For more information, Please click here

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALES 2015
    JUNE 15-SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
    VENUE: BANGKOK


    The Siam area in Bangkok, well known for its fabulous shopping, will be at the forefront of the Amazing Thailand Grand Sales event. Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Gaysorn will all have sales during this period. CentralWorld is holding its main sales events from 15 June to 30 September, with a special 14-day extravaganza. Other shopping malls such as Emporium, Gaysorn and Central Chit Lom will also be having special sales. During this period almost every shop in the city will be spotting the red bag sign, showing it is a participant in the Grand Sale.
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    THAI AIRWAYS INCREASES CAPACITY ON BANGKOK-BEIJING ROUTE


    Thai Airways has increased capacity on its Bangkok-Beijing route as its TG674/675 services are now operated with the Boeing B777-300 and B777-300ER aircraft, replacing the Airbus A330 aircraft. Capacity on flights TG614/615 remain unchanged as they continue to fly with the Boeing B747-400 aircraft.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    ROCKBAR & RESTAURANT BANGKOK


    The two-storey Rockbar & Restaurant, which opened in 2013, is located on a quiet back lane just off Soi Ari. It is elegantly refurbished with a contemporary black and white design, which creates a cosy warm cocktail lounge ambience. The restaurant offers an inventive and thought-provoking cocktail and food menu with dishes originating primarily from Thailand, Myanmar, China and India. It is open from Monday to Saturday, 5.30 pm till midnight.
     

     

     

     
     

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    LAOS

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDREAS HOFMANN

     

    Dear Partners and Friends,

    Experiential travelling in Laos

    Happy New Year - Sokdee Phimai,

    Laos is starting the New Year with a splash! In my case with elephant Alon in the Mekong River near Luang Prabang. People (and I would think also elephants?) are dancing and splashing with water all over the place.

    The Lao New Year is also the start of the Green Season - rain is coming, rice is being planted, and the vegetation will be lush and green. It normally rains only for a few hours, and then you can enjoy the fresh summer air.

    Green Season is also the season for promotions, and a good chance to enjoy Laos with much cheaper rates than usual. Take a look at our selection of boutique hotel summer promotions for the Green Season!

    Andreas Hofmann
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    LUANG PRABANG FOR FAMILIES


    If you are in the region why not take advantage of the Green Season for an outing to Luang Prabang with your family? The former royal capital is an excellent place to spend a long weekend with your loved ones.

    Our Luang Prabang for Families programme is fun for both adults and children. There are many nature-based activities for the children, ranging from butterflies and elephants watching to discovering the region's rich flora and fauna. Or they can take part in more physical activities like elephant ride, swimming, and exploring. Hopefully all these activities will exhaust the children by evening, leaving some private time for the parents as well.

    Please contact us for the detailed programme and rates.
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    KIRIDARA HOTEL SUMMER PROMOTION - STAY 3, PAY 2


    From May 1 to September 30, 2015 Kiridara Hotel in Luang Prabang is having a "Stay 3, Pay 2" summer promotion. The promotion applies to all room types, with no minimum free night, and inclusive of breakfast for the free night.

    Kiridara adds a touch of elegance and charm to the mystical city of Luang Prabang. This contemporary boutique hotel is scaled on a hillside and surrounded by native teak forests, offering panoramic views of Mount Phou Si. It features 24 comfortable rooms, Laotian spa, outdoor dining options, and an infinity pool that overlooks the lush landscapes.

     

     

     

    SATRI HOUSE SUMMER PROMOTION - STAY 3, PAY 2


    With Satri House' summer promotion of "Stay 3, Pay 2" guests will receive a free upgrade upon arrival, depending on availability, a free 90-minute oil massage per person (on appointment) during their stay.

    Located in the heart of Luang Prabang city, Satri House was built at the turn of the last century as the residence of Prince Souphanouvong. The building was refurbished in 2002, and has since been run as a hotel. In 2008 the hotel was enlarged with the addition of six more colonial style buildings consisting of 14 Deluxe Rooms, 7 Deluxe Plus Rooms, 7 Junior suites and 3 Satri House suites.

     

     

     

    BURASARI HERITAGE BOUTIQUE HOTEL BONUS NIGHT PROMOTION - STAY 3, PAY 2


    The Bonus Night from Burasari Heritage Boutique Hotel is valid until September 30, 2015.

    Burasari Heritage Boutique Hotel is a charming property. Imagine a wildly romantic elegant, traditional colonial house located in the mystical city of Luang Prabang right across from the River Khan, the ideal setting for romantic strolls. Imagine fishing boats float by under the lazy sun, the sound of soothing evening prayers of the monks and locals wearing hats riding bicycles en route to the market. This charming historic Laotian colonial house is a true reflection of what life was like during 19th century French Indochina. History surrounds the hotel, and you can feel what it was like in days of old. Absorb and take part in many of the city's traditions that await you just outside of your elegantly decorated rooms.

     

     

     

    LAFOLIE LODGE - MEKONG HONEYMOON PACKAGE


    LaFolie Lodge is hidden away on a Mekong island in Champassak, Southern Laos. It is the ideal getaway for a honeymoon or just for some romantic time with your partner to enjoy the splendid isolation on a pristine island.

    The hotel's Honeymoon Package includes free boat transfer to the charming colonial town of Champassak, a romantic Mekong sunset cruise, and a massage.

    During the Green Season, from April 1 to September 31 (close in June), you can stay at the VIP Residence for USD1,050 or the Double Superior Room at USD510 for two nights.

    LaFolie Lodge has an excellent restaurant that sources its produce from an organic garden, a swimming pool and a landscaped garden.

    Contact us for more details.

     

     

     
     

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    CAMBODIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

     

    Dear Friends and Partners,

    The period from May until August in Cambodia and Indochina is known as the "Green Season", a good time to visit the country for many reasons. The country is at its best, offering luxuriant tropical vegetation that is a deep contrast to the stones of the temples. Visitors travelling through Cambodia's countryside are treated to the amazing sight of endless rice paddies glimmering in the sun, and the verdant landscapes that truly come to life.

    Asian Trails offers competitive packages and promotions for you to visit Cambodia during the Green Season. Please contact us for more information.

    As always, we are looking forward to welcoming you in beautiful Cambodia!
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    COMPULSORY ONE-DAY STAY IN CAMBODIA, EXCEPT FOR PHNOM PENH


    All visitors who apply for tourist visas and land in Siem Reap on a regular flight are required to spend at least one night in the city. The Cambodian government does not allow visitors to leave the country on the same day.

    This regulation, however, does not apply in Phnom Penh.
     

     

     

    SIEM REAP - KANTHA BOPHA HOSPITAL & INFORMATION CENTRE CLOSED


    Kantha Bopha Hospital and the Information Center in Siem Reap are now closed to visitiors. The only activity available is the weekly classical concert by Dr. Beat Richner, which is on Saturday evening starting at 7.15 pm.

    Contact us for more information.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    NEW TOUR - INUNDATED FOREST OF TONLE SAP LAKE


    This new half-day tour starts from Siem Reap and takes you to the great Tonle Sap Lake. Recognised as the most important lake in South East Asia, it is famed for its extraordinary biodiversity and hydrology that makes it an ecological wonder of the world. As the lake is completely off the beaten tracks it gives you an authentic view of the local flora and fauna, as well as the rural village life on it. The tour operates from August until the end of January.

    Contact us for more information at res@asiantrails.com.kh

     

     

     

    NEW TOUR - SPIDER AND SCORPION HUNTING IN SIEM REAP


    This new half-day tour takes you deep into the Cambodia countryside with its traditions. A 30-minute ride on a tuk tuk takes you to a traditional Khmer village, from where you start your adventure of discovering the forests and search for spiders and scorpions with experienced local hunters. After the hunt you return to the village with the spoils (insects) and cook them for a meal.

    Contact us for more information at res@asiantrails.com.kh

     

     

     

    2 DAYS BANTEY CHHMAR TEMPLE/OVERNIGHT IN LUXURY TENT


    Located between Battambang and Siem Reap, Banteay Chhmar is an immense temple complex constructed by Jayavarman VII in the 13th century. Left to the jungle for years it has only recently been cleared, revealing superb carvings on its outer walls.

    The 2 days/1 night tour to Bantey Chhmar takes you to the less-visited temples in the area, and also to discover the authentic typical Cambodian countryside. Accommodation is in a luxury tent.

    Contact us for more information at res@asiantrails.com.kh

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    PHNOM PENH

     

    LITZ HOTEL & SUITES


    Litz Hotel & Suites is a new 3 star hotel located in the heart of Phnom Penh city. It features 102 comfortable modern guestrooms and 14 suites with kitchenette facilities. We recommend this hotel for group and FITs.

     

     

     

    SIEM REAP

     

    MAISON POLANKA


    Maison Polanka is a collection of two unique Cambodian villas set in the sprawling grounds of a family estate. The property has five luxury suites and rooms, an open-air pavilion for the restaurant and lounge, and an infinity pool.

    Nestled in the heart of a local riverside village in Siem Reap and close to the temples of Angkor and the old market, Maison Polanka is a private Cambodian residence that will provide your stay in Angkor with luxury and authenticity.

     

     

     

    VIROTH HOTEL OPENS NEW PROPERTY


    Viroth Hotel's new property is located in the heart of Siem Reap, just steps away from the old market and one block from the first hotel. It is designed along the 50s theme, complemented by large green areas and vertical gardens on every floor.

    The hotel has 35 guestrooms, a 20-metre pool, spa, gym room, air-conditioned dining room/open air restaurant, bar and library.

    We recommend this hotel for FITs.

     

     

     

    RENOVATIONS AT ANGKOR VILLAGE RESORT


    Angkor Village Resort is undergoing renovations from May 1 to July 19, 2015. Affected areas are the business centre, the kitchen's interior, and the reservation office. Work is carried out from 8.30 am to 5 pm.

    During the renovation period FIT guests staying in the Park View and Pool View rooms will receive a complimentary one-hour treatment at SPA Village between 9am and 5pm.

     

     

     

    ANGKOR VILLAGE HOTEL'S TEMPORARY CLOSURE IN MAY


    Angkor Village Hotel will temporarily close its guestrooms, restaurants and other facilities from May 18 at 12pm to May 24, 2015. The closure is for the hotel to carry out minor renovations to these facilities. It will resume full operations on May 24.

     

     

     

    SHINTA MANI RESORT CLOSES FOR THREE WEEKS IN MAY


    Shanti Mani Resort closes temporarily for three weeks from May 8, 2015 until the end of the same month. The closure is to enable the replacement of the resort's air conditioning systems.

    All guests who have reservations with Shinta Mani Resort will be booked into Shinta Mani Club, which is across the road from the resort.

     

     

     

    NEWLY REFURBISHED ROOMS FOR HERITAGE SUITES HOTEL


    Heritage Suites Hotel is rejuvenating guest experiences with its 20 newly refurbished lavish suites. The hotel revealed these suites after four months of extensive renovations.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY KING NORODOM SIHAMONI
    MAY 14, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA


    The Kingdom of Cambodia celebrates the 62th birthday of His Majesty King NORODOM Sihamoni with three public holidays. Various posters are erected on main boulevards to highlight the monarch's image.
     

     

     
     

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    VIETNAM

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

     

    Dear Friends and Partners,

    "Blazing new path in Travel" is always the focal vision and mission at Asian Trails Vietnam. This spirit has been spreading from the back office consultants to the frontline representatives for the past few years and will continue in the years ahead.

    Recently our team embarked on a discovery trip to Central Highlands of Vietnam. Leaving well-known Kontum, Pleiku and Buon Ma Thuot, we ventured further into the Lak area, the surrounding nature reserve, lakes and waterfalls, and walking to the ethnic villages with rustic longhouses and friendly elephants. We also explored pure nature in the lesser-known Daknong province.

    Have you heard of Asia's longest volcanic cave system, the seven-tiered waterfall hidden in a dense forest, or the look-like Halong Bay. If not, you can find them in Daknong, which has great potential as an off-the-beaten-track destination in the Central Highlands for adventurous experienced travellers who want a different kind of journey from the usual programmes. But more than that, we see a great possibility of connecting this destination with Cambodia (i.e. Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri) by combining the hidden cultural natural gems to build up a thrilling adventure.

    Contact us for more information. Happy trails!
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    NEW - UNIQUE SAILING EXPERIENCE WITH EMPEROR CRUISES IN NA THRANG BAY


    Emperor Cruises launched a new boat in April 2015. It is fitted with the latest technical equipment, a sundeck for sunbathing and to enjoy lunch or dinner on deck. Its eight cabins can accommodate small groups of up to a maximum of 16 people.

    The boat can be used for day cruises, as well as overnight cruises around the island and Na Thrang Bay, which is one of the 29 most beautiful bays in the world. Guests can take part in numerous activities that include local food tasting, cooking classes, Tai Chi lessons, kayaking, boating, snorkelling and scuba diving. A real first Vietnamese all-inclusive cruise.

     

     

     

    NEW - SAIGON FOOD TOUR AND MARKET RACE/TREASURE HUNT


    Whether you want to share Vietnamese culture with your overseas partners, or bond with colleagues, a culinary team building exercise is an unforgettable experience. The Chefs, a team of cooks, is offering just that with its "Street Food Secrets Tour", a thrilling journey across Saigon's small alleys. They also organise a market race and treasure hunt at the vibrant Ben Thanh market, followed by a hands-on cooking challenge.

    The Chefs welcome groups from 15 up to 100 participants. The Vietnamese chef and his assistants are fluent in English.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NEW - LE MERIDIEN HOTEL HO CHI MINH CITY


    Le Meridien Hotel Ho Chi Minh City, a new stylish 5 star hotel, will open its door in July 2015. Located on the banks of the Saigon River, it is not far from shopping malls, restaurants, bars and famous tourist sites.

    The hotel offers 345 guestrooms (minimum size 38 square metre), all fitted with Meridien signature bed, 42" flat screen TV, DVD player, Hifi stereo player, high speed Internet access, spacious bathrooms with rainforest shower and soaking bath tub.

    Hotel facilities include an indoor swimming pool, fitness centre, Explore Spa, several restaurants serving local and international cuisine, bars, and meeting/function rooms totalling 945 square metres.

     

     

     

    NEW - MGALLERY HO CHI MINH CITY


    MGallery Ho Chi Minh City will open in early August 2015. It is located in a street that once hosted foreign embassies, and near to the city's main tourist attractions, hip bars, local cafes, restaurants, shopping and entertainment centres.

    The chic 5 star hotel features 168 rooms and suites, a rooftop bar, restaurant, spa, fitness centre, garden and terrace, outdoor swimming pool, a ballroom and three meeting rooms. It is perfect for business and leisure travellers.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    NORTHERN VIETNAM HELICOPTER COMPANY OFFERS CHARTER SERVICES


    Northern Helicopter Company, based in Hanoi and flies out of Gialam Heliport, offers its aircraft for charter flights. It has a fleet Russian helicopters with seating capacity of between 12 to 24 paxs, and one new modern Airbus helicopter from France with five seats for touristic and medical emergency flights. The company's service is ideal for VIPs who want to fly to Halong or to one of Hanoi's remote mountainous regions.
     

     

     
     

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    CHINA

       

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR KRIS VAN GOETHEM

     

    Summer is here, and our high season is in full swing. We have just seen F1 and the Autoshow in Shanghai, the Spring Canton Fair is coming to an end, and we are already looking forward to some sports events this summer especially the IAAF World Championship to be held at the Bird's Nest in Beijing from August 22 to 30. China will yet again welcome athletes from all over the world in the same Olympic spirit of "One World, One Dream".

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    BEIJING PALACE MUSEUM EXTENDS OPENING HOURS


    The Palace Museum in Beijing, also known as the Forbidden City, has extended its opening hours and now remains open later in the evening to give visitors more time to explore its various sections. This is in addition to other improvements at the Palace Museum, which include expanded public areas like the Duan Gate digital exhibition hall and the cultural streets outside Shenwu Gate that are open into the evening; limits on overcrowding; and renovations throughout the Museum's grounds.

     

     

     

    SHANDONG - A PILGRIMAGE TO QUFU


    Located in southwest of Shandong province, Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius and served as the capital of the State of Lu during the Spring and Autumn Period. The city is famous for the "Three Cons" namely the Mansion, Temple and Cemetery of Confucius - all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994. As these sites embody the core value of traditional Chinese culture that is Confucianism, the property areas cover all the necessary elements for demonstrating its historical values and setting.

    The buildings are not as splendid as the giant palaces and temples in Beijing, but their slightly faded colour may explain the vicissitudes of the times better. Passing under arch after arch, one cannot help but recall Confucius' sayings about courtesy, harmony in the family, rituals, and the many other fundamental elements that define the Chinese people's spirits.

     

     

     

    SHANXI YUNGANG GROTTOES


    The Yungang Grottoes are ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes located 16 kilometres west of Datong in Shanxi province. They were built on the north cliff of Wuzhou Mountain, and extend about one kilometre (0.62 miles) from east to west.

    Historical records reveal the grottoes were built during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-557) by an abbot, and are 1,500 years old. Forty-five major caves and 209 other caves cover a total area of 18,000 square metres. The caves feature 51,000 stone carvings, the highest one measuring 17 metres and the smallest only two centimetres. In 2001 the Yungang Grottoes were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

     

     

     

    ANCIENT VILLAGES OF SOUTHERN ANHUI


    The two ancient villages of Xidi and Hongcun, located in Yi County in the southern Anhui province of China, stand as well-preserved representations of the Ming and Qing dynasties' history.

    Xidi has approximately 124 ancient residences including ancestral halls, gardens and courtyards, which are about 900 years old. The village is encircled by verdant hills, and two streams that flow through the village. Just six miles northeast is Hongcun (pictured), which is located at high altitude and is therefore often shrouded in misty clouds, making it seem quite picturesque and mystical.

    Both Xidi and Hongcun are less than a two-hour drive from Mount Huangshan scenic area, one of China's top attractions. This summer, Huangshan will be linked to Beijing and Xiamen with a new high-speed railway line.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    AMAN OPENS THIRD PROPERTY IN UNESCO-LISTED LIJIANG


    Amandayan is situated atop Lion Hill in the heart of Lijiang. The 34 elegantly appointed suites feature traditional furniture and terraces with views of Lijiang and the surrounding mountains. A key feature of the resort is the preserved Wenchang Palace, which dates back to 1725 and was used as the examination hall for scholars taking the entrance exams to enter the Chinese civil service.

    Food and beverage options include The Lounge, which serves Western and Asian cuisine, and Man Yi Xuan, which is dedicated to Yunnanese and Cantonese cuisine. There are also four private dining rooms, and a traditional tea house.

    Other hotel facilities include a spa with six treatment rooms and round wooden bathtubs, a gym, yoga studio, 20-metre heated outdoor swimming pool, and private cinema. The resort's library features a large collection of books on the local area and Nakhi culture.

     

     

     

    SIX SENSES QINGCHENG MOUNTAIN OPENS THIS SUMMER


    Located at the picturesque gateway to the majestic Qing Cheng Mountains, Six Senses Qing Cheng has been developed to complement the UNESCO World Heritage & Natural Cultural site near Dujiangyan.

    Scheduled to open this summer, the hotel offers 113 suites. All are furnished with Chinese inspired contemporary furniture and have finishes hewn from sustainable timber from a palette of natural taupe tones. With exposed beams and finely planked walls complimented by rattan light fittings and accents, a calmative symphony of lightness and space has been created in the suites.

     

     

     

    PARK HYATT DEBUTS IN SANYA


    Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort is sequestered on a stunning 350,000sqm inlet with an internal lake and a private beach. The resort combines exclusivity with accessibility being a mere five-kilometre drive from popular Yalong Bay.

    Designed to resemble a private mansion by the sea, Park Hyatt Sanya Sunny Bay Resort offers a relaxed and personalised luxury getaway for its guests. It has 207 sophisticated rooms and suites, the majority offering breathtaking views of the South China Sea.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
    JUNE 20, 2015 (5Th DAY OF 5TH LUNAR MONTH)
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA


    The Dragon Boat Festival has a history of more than 2,000 years. It is believed the origin of the festival was to commemorate Qu Yuan, a minister of the State of Chu and one of China's earliest poets. He was loyal and wise, but was framed by some jealous court officials and exiled by the king. Filled with anger and feeling hopeless at the corruption in the country, he drowned himself in the Miluo River by attaching a heavy stone to his chest on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. On seeing that fishermen rushed out in their boats to save Qu, but failed to find him.

    To mourn Qu's death people threw Zongzi, a glutinous rice pudding wrapped in bamboo leaves, into the river every year on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month to feed his spirit. An old doctor poured a jug of reaglar wine into the water hoping to turn the aquatic lives drunk so they would not take the food from Qu. Today this custom is still celebrated with dragon boat races, which symbolise the fishermen's rush to save Qu, eating Zongzi, and drinking realgar wine during the Dragon Boat Festival.
     

     

     

    IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
    AUGUST 22-30, 2015
    VENUE: BEIJING NATIONAL STADIUM (BIRD'S NEST), BEIJING


    The 15th World Championship will be held in the Beijing National Stadium, commonly referred to as the "Bird's Nest", from August 22-30.

    The World Championships in Athletics is an event organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Originally, it was planned to be held every four years, but this changed after the third edition in 1991, and it has since been run biennially.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    AIR CHINA UPS FREQUENCY ON LOS ANGELES-BEIJING ROUTE


    China's national flag carrier, Air China, adds a third service on its Los Angeles-Beijing service on May 2, 2015, increasing to four flights per week. The services will increase to daily flights on July 1, 2015. The new third service is operated with the airline's new generation Boeing B777-300ER aircraft.

    Air China is the only airline with non-stop services between Los Angeles and Beijing, as well as between New York and Beijing. The carrier offers double daily services from New York's JFK International, Houston, Vancouver and San Francisco.

     

     

     

    CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES LINKS NAIROBI WITH GUANGZHOU


    Commencing on August 5, 2015, China Southern Airlines will operate three weekly direct flights to Nairobi, Kenya's capital, from its home base of Guangzhou.

    Flights will depart from Baiyun International Airport every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 00.45hrs, arriving at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 07.00hrs. The return service will leave Nairobi at 13.35hrs, arriving in Guangzhou at 05.50hrs the next day.

    China Southern Airlines will serve the new route using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft. Currently Kenya Airways, China Southern Airlines' partner in the SkyTeam alliance, is the only carrier that operates flights between Guangzhou and Nairobi.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    COPPER - BEIJING


    Copper, a space that formerly housed a copper wire factory in the 70s', does seem to be the most obvious new location for TRB-Temple Restaurant Beijing whose connection lies strongly with ancient Temple that the public has come to know. However, the charm that this venue exudes is undoubtedly one of a kind, as TRB has affectionately transformed the place into a haven of modern and sleek design, setting magically against the historical hutong neighbourhood it is located in.

     

     

     

    DA IVO - SHANGHAI


    Da Ivo Venice was opened in 1976 by Ivo Natal from Tuscany. It serves superb cuisine in an elegant atmosphere, making it one of the most popular restaurants in Italy. The restaurant has now come to Shanghai. Perched on the 23rd top floor above the Bund, with spacious picture window, Da Ivo offers a spectacular view of Huangpu River and the bustling Lujiazui. Guests can indulge in typical regional Italian cuisine.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    A BABY BOY FOR SHEGO


    Shego Yin from our MICE department is the proud mother of a healthy baby boy, who was born on March 31. Congratulations on the new addition to your family from all of us at Asian Trails China.
     

     

     
     

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    MYANMAR

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

     

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

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

    We recommend to our esteemed clients to book as early as possible especially for the peak season from November to February.

    A further boost to the industry is the availability of hot air ballooning in Bagan during the low season (Green Season).

    We are also very proud that our CVT trainees have had excellent marks in their final examinations. We are very happy for them, and look forward to work with them for many years to come as our "full" employees.

    Best regards,

    Thomas Carnevale
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    SHWEDAGON PAGODA COMPLETES MAINTENANCE WORK


    The maintenance work at Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda, which started last September 2014, will complete in May. The Pagoda is now visible in its entirety. The maintenance was carried out to partly renew the golden leaf covering, as well as to reinforce the structure.

     

     

     

    AEGEAN ODYSSEY STOPS OVER IN YANGON


    Aegean Odyssey, a cruise ship owned and operated by Voyages to Antiquity (VTA), made a stop in Yangon after sailing up the Yangon River for the second time this year.

    Asian Trails organised the cruiser's land visit with excursions to Bago, and city tour around Yangon including the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda and Colonial Drive.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHTS IN BAGAN DURING THE GREEN SEASON


    Oriental Ballooning is offering hot air balloon flights in Bagan during the off season (Green Season) starting from June till September. This is first time that this activity is available, making a visit to Bagan more attractive during the Green Season when the city is less crowded.

    Please contact us for any further details or bookings.
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NOVOTEL YANGON IS OPEN - YANGON


    Novotel Yangon, Accor Hotels' second property in Myanmar, is now open for business. It is located between the airport and downtown Yangon, and a 15-minute drive to the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda. The hotel features 366 rooms. Facilities include a swimming pool, sauna, fitness centre, and beauty salon.

     

     

     

    THANAKA INLE HOTEL - NYAUNG SHWE


    The name of this new hotel is inspired by Thanaka, a natural beauty product that the local people applies on the cheeks to protect themselves from the elements. Located in the village of Nyaung Shwe, Thanaka Inle Hotel features 26 rooms ranging from Deluxe to Junior Suite. Two terraces offer a great view of the village and the surrounding mountains.

     

     

     

    NEW BEST WESTERN HOTEL IN YANGON


    The new Best Western Hotel in Yangon is centrally located in Chinatown. The modern multi-storey 3 star hotel features 91 rooms, ranging from Standard to Grand Deluxe, equipped with facilities for a comfortable stay. It is also close to the night market and the city's main tourist attractions.

     

     

     

    ROYAL NADI RESORT - NGWE SAUNG


    Situated beside Nadi Lake, Royal Nadi Resort is located in Ngwe Saung. It is only a 10-minute' drive to the main jetty, the gateway to the Inle Lake. The hotel features 74 rooms comprising39 Cottages, 30 Superiors and 5 Suites. Facilities include gym and fitness centre, swimming pool and spa. Boat rental is available.
     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    TAUNG-BYONE CEREMONY
    AUGUST 25-29, 2015
    VENUE: TAUNGBYONE, MANDALAY DIVISION


    A five-day ceremony ending August 30. This is the biggest animist festival in Myanmar, which is held to worship two Taungbyone spiritual figures. The festival is also a major gathering event for spirit mediums.

     

     

     

    THADINGYUT FESTIVAL
    OCTOBER 7-9, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MYANMAR

     

    A three-day festival to mark the day Lord Buddha came down from heaven after spending three months of the Buddhist lent there. Buddha's return from heaven is welcomed throughout the country with colourful illumination offerings to the deities. People also enjoy displays and hoist balloons up to the sky.

     

     

     

    PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL
    OCTOBER 14-31, 2015
    VENUE: INLE LAKE, SHAN STATE


    This is an 18-day festival when four Buddha statues are ceremoniously transported clockwise around Inle Lake on the royal barge. The barge is towed by the boats of leg-rowers, with hundreds of boats following it. One-leg row boat races among the different villages are held throughout the festival.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    AIR MANDALAY RESUMES OPERATIONS


    Air Mandalay, Myanmar's first privately-owned airline, has resumed operations with two Embraer 145 jets after a four-month suspension. The carrier, founded in 1994, operates domestic flights, as well as charter flights due to increasing demand. The airline will expand its fleet size with new ATR aircraft.

    Please contact us for more details and price.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    THREE NEW COMMERCIAL ASSISTANTS


    Congratulations to our three CVT apprentices - Ms Mami, Ms Theint, Ms Win Mya Mya - who have successfully graduated as commercial assistants after a three-year. They will continue working with Asian Trails Myanmar in the reservation/sales department.

    Our special compliments to Ms Mami who won the second outstanding award.
     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    ALL SET FOR A NEW CAREER IN COOKING


    Congratulations to the 11 students of Mary Chapman School for the Deaf who recently completed the cooking course. It was great to see their enthusiasm for learning and discovering new skill in cooking. Asian Trails is happy to support them as part of our social commitments.

     

     

     
     

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    MALAYSIA

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

     

    Dear Friends,

    Greetings from Asian Trails Malaysia!

    We are now at the beginning of the high season, and we are already facing some challenges in availabilities for new request for the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. We will try our best to send to all our agents the most suitable and best alternatives and, in the worst-case scenario, we will recommend to our clients to remain in the western part of the Peninsular with a beach extension in Langkawi Island.

    We will be celebrating the holy month of Ramadan (fasting month) from mid-June until mid-July. We wish our Muslim friends "Happy Ramadan" and may your fasting be accepted.

    I also would like to remind everyone that our Malaysia office is taking care of the bookings for Singapore. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries.

    In May we will attend IMEX in Frankfurt under the MyCeb booth (Number B200). Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are attending the show, so we can schedule an appointment to meet. Please email me at: emir@asiantrails.com.my. I hope to see you soon.

    Warm regards,

    Emir Cherif
    Malaysia, Truly Asia!
     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    HOTEL NEO+ PENANG


    Hotel NEO+ Penang is a modern contemporary hotel strategically located in the heart of Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage City. Fitted with comfortable amenities the hotel is perfect for business travellers, visitors wanting to explore Georgetown's heritage centre, and for hosting events. As a 100% smoke-free property, it is also ideal for travellers favouring a healthy and vibrant lifestyle.

     

     

     

    ANNOUNCEMENT BY BERJAYA LANGKAWI RESORT ON NEARBY CONSTRUCTION PROJECT


    Berjaya Langkawi Resort on Langkawi Island informs its guest that there is an ongoing construction project at Burau Bay, adjacent to the property resort. In announcing this the resort said: "As our resort runs on the promise of comfort and rest, we are aware that the amount of loud noises coming from the construction site next door might cause disturbance to our value guest.

    "Under the given circumstances, we would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause and will do our utmost to minimise the impact of the development works has on the quality for of your guests' stay, bearing in mind the business and loyalty has given in the past, present and future."

     

     

     

    SHANGRI-LA'S RASA RIA RESORT & SPA OPENS OCEAN WING ROOMS AND LOBBY


    Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, has opened 43 new Ocean Wing rooms, with all the 83 rooms to gradually open by the first week of May.

    The new Ocean Wing also features a brand new grand lobby solely for Ocean Wing guests. Keeping true to Rasa Ria's signature earth tone and nature-inspired theme, it is designed with a sense of functional space and decorated with layers of tropical and marine accents.

    Apart from the new rooms and lobby there is also a new Italian restaurant, Oceano, which was unveiled on April 11. Located beside the new Ocean Wing lobby it replaces the award-winning Coast Restaurant as the exclusive breakfast venue for Ocean Wing residents.

    To complement the recent changes, the property is now known as Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa!

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    BORNEO JAZZ FESTIVAL
    MAY 8-9, 2015
    VENUE: PARKCITY EVERLY HOTEL, MIRI, SARAWAK


    The inaugural Borneo Jazz Festival was held in 2006 with the vision of being the leading music festival in the region, while promoting tourism to Miri and Sarawak's northern regions. The event also showcases Miri as a truly cosmopolitan city with fascinating cultural attractions. Visitors to the festival will be treated to a fun-filled and entertaining experience.

     

     

     

    KL TOWER INTERNATIONAL TOWERTHON CHALLENGE
    MAY 17, 2015
    VENUE: KL TOWER, KUALA LUMPUR


    The KL Tower International Towerthon Challenge has been a signature sports event for Menara Kuala Lumpur for the past 14 years. This staircase run is popular among both local and international sports enthusiasts, as well as the young and old. The challenge is to run uphill for one kilometre before conquering 2,058 steps and reaching the top level at 283 metres above ground level.

     

     

     

    8TH OMC ASIA CUP OPEN
    MAY 16-19, 2015
    VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE, KUALA LUMPUR


    Since 2007 the OMC has established its own distinctive education programme, known as the OMC Trademark, to promote and build the image and brand of national hairdressing schools/academies by proposing OMC educational courses.

    The idea to create an event like the OMC Asia Cup Open is based on the OMC Hairworld, also known as the Hair Olympics. It aims to push the boundaries of hairdressing to a wider ground by supporting and bringing up good hairstylists, competitors and hairdressers through a positive competition.

     

     

     

    FRASER'S HILL INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE
    MAY 23-24, 2015
    VENUE: FRASER'S HILL, PAHANG


    Fraser's Hill in Pahang is renowned as a paradise for more than 250 species of birds. The Fraser's Hill International Bird Race brings birders from the United Kingdom, China, Hong Kong, Australia, South Africa and other countries to Pahang. Held in conjunction with the event are seminars, workshops, and exhibitions on nature, wildlife and photography.
     

     

     

    PESTA WAU ANTARABANGSA KELANTAN
    MAY 25- 30, 2015
    VENUE: GETING BEACH, TUMPAT, KELANTAN


    The sky's the limit at the annual five-day Kelantan International Wau Festival. Colourful "wau" (giant kites) of various shapes and sizes will paint the sky, while delicious food will whet your appetite. There will be an assortment of crafts for souvenir hunters. Visitors will also enjoy cultural shows and "dikir barat" competition, which will spice up the festival. Over 120 local and 47 international participants from 18 countries will be taking part. So be at Geting Beach and get wowed by the "wau".

     

     

     

    1MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL TOURISM NIGHT FLORAL PARADE - "MAGIC OF THE NIGHT"
    MAY 28-31, 2015
    VENUE: PUTRAJAYA LAKE, PRESINT 2, PUTRAJAYA, KUALA LUMPUR


    Enjoy a dazzling evening with the glittering lights of decorated floats from every state in Malaysia. Enjoy a grand showcase of the country's flora and fauna, as well as the attractions found in the different states.

     

     

     

    TADAU KAAMATAN (HARVEST FESTIVAL)
    MAY 30-31, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT SABAH AND LABUAN


    The Harvest Festival, which lasts for a month, celebrates the cultural lifestyle of Sabah's Kadazandusun community. It is held to welcome the new harvest season, and to offer thanks for a good harvest. The grand finale will be in Hongkod Koisaan, Penampang, with the final round of Unduk Ngadau (Harvest Beauty Pageant). About 5,000 people are expected to attend this event to enjoy folk song, dances and traditional games.

     

     

     

    GAWAI DAYAK FESTIVAL
    JUNE 1-2, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT SARAWAK


    Gawai Dayak is the harvest festival celebrated by Sarawak's indigenous people, particularly the Ibans and Bidayuhs. Dressed in traditional costumes they make ceremonial offerings of various 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 local and foreign tourists.

     

     

     

    HARI GAWAI OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION
    JUNE 1- 30, 2015
    VENUE: KUCHING, SARAWAK


    This is a programme that brings together people from all walks of life to celebrate Tadau Kaamatan and Gawai Dayak, as well as to foster unity and harmony in the 1Malaysia spirit. Guests are entertained with cultural performances and served traditional delicacies.
     

     

     

     

    SUNSET MUSIC FESTIVAL
    JUNE 5- 6, 2015
    VENUE: TIP OF BORNEO, TANJUNG SIMPANG MENGAYAU, KUDAT, SABAH


    Embark on a musical journey at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, known as the Tip of Borneo, in Kudat. Be serenaded by classical favourites and contemporary tunes while watching the sunset across the horizon. Visitors should not miss this enriching experience at one of Sabah's most breathtaking locations.

     

     

     

    TADAU KAAMATAN OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION
    JUNE 6, 2015
    VENUE: RANAU, SABAH


    Tadau Kaamatan Open House in Ranau, Sabah, celebrates the Harvest Festival. People from all communities and walks of life attend this special event to watch cultural performances, and feast on traditional delicacies.
     

     

     

     

    KOTA KINABALU JAZZ FESTIVAL
    JUNE 12-13, 2015
    VENUE: SUTERA HARBOUR MARINA, GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB'S TENNIS ARENA, KOTA KINABALU, SABAH


    The jazz musical extravaganza in Kota Kinabalu is back with a line-up of local and international artists. The Kota Kinabalu Jazz Festival is now a signature event in Sabah, which represents many different facets of jazz music. As a key component of Kota Kinabalu Arts Festival, the musical event aims to promote jazz as a popular genre, and gives local talents the opportunity to gain international exposure.

     

     

     

    SABAH DRAGON BOAT RACE
    JUNE 13-14 JUNE, 2015
    VENUE: LIKAS BAY, KOTA KINABALU, SABAH


    The Sabah Dragon Boat Race, organised in conjunction with the Duan Wu festival, has evolved through the years into one of the main sporting events in Sabah. Teams from both Malaysia and overseas will be participating in the race. Numerous activities including dumpling cooking competition, local food festival, photography competition, and lion/dragon dance performance give the event a carnival atmosphere.

     

     

     

    FESTIVAL RAMADAN
    JUNE 18 -JULY 17, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA


    Festival Ramadan celebrates the Muslim holy fasting month. It features a variety of religious programmes such as Terawih Perdana at Dataran Merdeka (Terawih prayers), festive shopping, Tilawah and Khatam Al-Quran (Quran recital) in Kelantan, Islamic tourism (ITC), bazaar Ramadan and Forum Perdana Ramadan.

     

     

     

    1MALAYSIA MEGA SALE CARNIVAL
    JUNE 27-AUGUST 31, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA


    One of the three major shopping seasons in Malaysia is back with mega shopping excitement, dining options, endless entertainment and fun-filled activities. Come and celebrate three months of shopping, eating and fun.
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    AIRASIA INTRODUCES SELF BAG-DROP & HOME TAG SERVICES AT JOHOR BAHRU AIRPORT


    Low cost carrier, AirAsia, has introduced the Self Bag-Drop and Home Tag service in its southern hub - Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru, Johor. This makes Johor Bahru the first AirAsia station to offer a complete self service experience to its guests.

    Self Bag-Drop enables guests to check-in their baggage by themselves without having to queue at a check-in desk. Guests who opt for this service are able to print their baggage tags while performing self check-in at the kiosks, and then proceed to drop their baggage at an automated counter without any assistance. The user-friendly Self Bag-Drop unit will automatically check flight data, baggage weight and size allowances, as well as multiple bags before securely depositing the bag into the baggage handling system.

    The Home Tag service allows guests to print their bag tags at home together with their boarding pass. The bag tags can be printed onto a standard A4 sheet of paper. The guests just need to fold the paper and place it into a plastic cover provided by the airline, which is then attached to the bag. The bag can be deposited at the Self Bag-Drop counter upon arrival at the airport.

    These two new self services are available to AirAsia guests flying on the Johor Bahru-Kuching and Johor Bahru-Kuala Lumpur routes.
     

     

     

     
     

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    INDONESIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

     

    Indonesia and especially the island of Bali continue to increase in demand. The latest proof is the increase in direct flights by Qatar airways, and a new direct flight to Denpasar by Emirates. At the same time authorities are trying to make arrivals easier by getting rid of the arrival/ departure card, and including the airport taxes in the flight ticket.

    However, the USD35 fee for Visa on Arrival (VoA) is still valid for most countries. I just would like to clarify again that there has been no change contrary to some rumors in the press after a wrong announcement in Indonesia. We will update you in the event that the VoA fee is removed for your country.
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    ELIMINATION OF ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE CARDS


    Foreign visitors arriving at Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport are no longer required to complete arrival and departure cards effective April 1, 2015. Before this date visitors to the island had to fill the cards.

    This is a move by the immigration department to improve the service with the use of technological innovation to make it easier for visitors to arrive in and depart from Indonesia. The system will be introduced to 19 airports, 11 ports and one land border checkpoint across Indonesia.

     

     

     

    AIRPORT TAX INCLUDED IN FLIGHT TICKET


    As of February 9, 2015 all airlines departing from Indonesia have to include the airport departure tax in the price of the flight ticket. This new regulation applies to both international flights and domestic flights.

    The airport tax has been included in tickets issued after February 9. Passengers with tickets issued before February 9 are required to pay the tax directly at the airport.

     

     

     

    REINTRODUCTION OF VIP AIRPORT SERVICE AT BALI'S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT


    The VIP airport service is an exclusive service for passengers of all flights and all airline companies arriving or leaving Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport. It enables guests to avoid long queues at immigration, check-in and related airport services. As soon as the VIP client steps out off the plane, he or she will be escorted through the arrival formalities such as the Visa on Arrival (VoA) process and passport control. At departure the guest will be assisted through the check-in procedure. An optional service for the guests is the departure lounge where they can relax before boarding their flights.

    Please contact us to book this convenient and exclusive service.

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    MOANA CRUISING


    Moana Cruising offers 5 -6 days safari and snorkel tours departing from Labuan Bajo/Flores to the Komodo National Park.

    The boat is a traditional 30-metre Phinisi Schooner built of ironwood and teak. It is perfectly equipped for divers, and is staffed by a well-trained diving crew. It has five cabin, all below deck, with air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms.

    The schooner can accommodate up to 10 passengers. There are two kayaks and a complete set of fishing gear on board for the passengers to use free of charge. A wakeboard and a torpedo are also offered at additional surcharge.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    QATAR AIRWAYS TO INCREASE FLIGHTS TO INDONESIA


    Qatar Airways will increase its flight frequencies to Jakarta and Bali to meet strong demand on these popular destinations.

    The airline will start the additional services to Jakarta on July 5, and to Bali on July 16. The service to Jakarta will be upgraded to three flights a day, while the flight frequency to Bali will be increased to a twice-daily operation.

     

     

     

    EMIRATES TO LAUNCH DAILY SERVICE TO BALI


    Emirates Airline will launch a new daily route from Dubai to Bali from June 3, 2015. The non-stop service will be operated on a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    SONAM MARTIG IS ASIAN TRAILS INDONESIA'S NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER


    Asian Trails Indonesia welcomes Sonam Martig to the team as its new Business Development Manager. A Swiss citizen with Tibetan roots, Sonam holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration specialising in International Tourism and Transportation. In the last four years he worked for Kuoni Switzerland as Pricing & Yield Manager for destinations Asia and Europe.

    We wish Sonam success and good luck in his new challenge.

     

     

     

    IRIS REICHLIN JOINS ASIAN TRAILS INDONESIA AS GUEST RELATION MANAGER


    Asian Trails Indonesia is also pleased to introduce and welcome Iris Reichlin as its new Guest Relation Manager. A Swiss citizen, Iris has over 14 years' experience in the tourism industry. Although she has travelled to most of the countries in South East Asia this is the first time that she is living and working abroad.

    We wish Iris success and good luck in her new job.

     

     

     
     

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