Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue May 2016

THE CEO STORY

 

NEVER ENDING CELEBRATIONS - FESTIVALS OF SOUTH EAST ASIA

While I am writing this story we are celebrating the Songkran festival and Thai New Year in Thailand. At the same time several countries in South East Asia, including Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos, are celebrating the traditional New Year.

This is also when families and friends spend quality time together. More importantly, for the young and young at heart, it’s the water festival when they have lots of fun standing on roadsides holding big water guns in their hands and spraying water on anything that moves near or around them. Many streets in the bigger cities are closed for these activities, and even the fire brigades take part in splashing water from their trucks. The water festival attracts thousands of visitors to South East Asia – youngsters, families with children, and any fun- and party-loving travellers.

Festivals are an integral part of South East Asian countries, which celebrate hundreds every year with the important ones attracting large numbers of both local and foreign visitors. Why not join them? For travel planners and special interest travel organisers, including festival activities as part of your clients’ itineraries will create unforgettable holidays and memories.

Take for example the Loi Krathong festival that is celebrated in Thailand, Laos, and the Shan States (Myanmar) in November. “Krathong” is a floating device made out of a banana tree trunk, and elaborately decorated with flowers, incense sticks, a candle, and a coin. On the night of the 12th full moon people launch Krathongs onto a river or pond and make a wish. Lovers flock to the rivers and float their Krathong in the hope of finding everlasting love and happiness.

Myanmar is a destination famed for its temple festivals. The most prominent is the Ananda Temple fair in Bagan, which is held every year in January. Villagers and pilgrims travel to the temple to pray and pay their respects, as well as to participate at the temple fair. The area around the temple is like a fairy ground with stage shows, concerts, food stalls, and numerous fun activities.

My favorite festivals in Myanmar are the Phaung Daw Oo and Balloon festivals held on Inle Lake in September or October and in Taunggyi in November or December respectively.

The Phaung Daw Oo Festival is a religious event when Buddha images are transported on a replica of a royal barge across the lake from village monastery to village monastery.

The Balloon Festival or Festival of Lights features giant hot air balloons in the form of elephants or other fabled animals, which are lit by candles and floated up into the night sky. It’s a truly amazing sight. This festival is also celebrated in north Thailand and parts of Laos, and brings a touch of romance to an evening outing.

For Cambodians the main festival of the year is the Water Festival and Moon Festival in November. The Kingdom’s capital city of Phnom Penh is the place to be for the festival. Visitors, both local and foreign, flock to the city to watch boat racing and several other activities taking place on the river.

Apart from yearly festivals, South East Asia also boasts a good number of special events such as the Hue Festival in Vietnam that takes place in May. Into its ninth edition the festival merges Vietnamese traditions with modern elements. The grand fashion show of Ao Dai (traditional Vietnamese costume) alone is worth the journey to Hue, and the Nam Giao Ritual parade is simply fantastic.

For me, one of the best places to attend ceremonies and festivals in South East Asia is the Indonesian island of Bali, aptly known as the “Island of the Gods”. Ceremonies here are deeply rooted in the Balinese culture, and they take place at any time throughout the island. While only a few of these ceremonies follow scheduled dates many of them happen spontaneously as part of a local event. So it is not uncommon to come across a festival or a ceremony taking place daily on this charming island.

Our offices throughout the region have lists of festivals available in all the countries, and we’ll be happy to advise on details and logistics organisation.

Note: The photo for my CEO Story, taken during Asian Trails Bangkok’s New Year celebrations, is dedicated to our company secretary Chanphen Ruksakulkiati (pictured with me), who tirelessly and seamlessly makes things happen behind the scene. Thank you Chanphen!



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 F. KELLENBERGER

     

    Dear colleagues and friends

    Happy Songkran! We had the opportunity to celebrate the Thai New Year mid of April, and this has been the third New Year celebration this year, for us after the ‘Western New Year’ and Chinese New Year in February. We are sure with all the good wishes that we have received we will have an excellent summer for Thailand ahead of us!

    Summer and, therefore, ‘beach holiday time’ is also getting closer for our friends in Europe. We have been informed that hotel capacity in certain Mediterranean holiday destinations is already scarce for July and August in particular in Spain and Portugal, but also increasingly so in Italy and France. Thailand remains an attractive destination for European families during summer: airfares to Thailand are on a record low due to ever increasing capacities, the still cheap Thai Baht. These, combined with the numerous promotional offers from hotels around the Kingdom, surely makes Thailand not only just an alternative to crowded beaches in the Mediterranean but also an affordable and attractive one!

    We still have availability in our partner hotels of our ‘Flash Sales’ promotion. The package includes 9 nights in good quality 4+* hotels (3 in Bangkok and 7 in Phuket), private transfers and 2 excursions for less than USD400 per person in a shared twin room. All this of course with the usual Asian Trails quality and service. Please contact your account manager or fire off an email to res@asiantrails.org

     

    Last but not least we are proud to have been awarded the prestigious ‘Tour Operator of the Year’ for our Krabi office by Luxury Travel Guide in the UK. I would like to congratulate our Krabi team for this major accomplishment and to the readers of Luxury Travel Guide for their trust in our service and operations!

     

    With best regards

    Claudio F. Kellenberger
    Managing Director
    Asian Trails Thailand

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    KOH LANTA BRIDGE OPENS

     

    Krabi province announced the official opening of the new Koh Lanta Bridge on April 22. The bridge, which is 1.4 kilometres long, links Koh Lanta Noi and Koh Lanta Yai in south Krabi.

     

     

     

    MAE KLONG MARKET (TALAD ROM HOOP) REOPENS

     

    Mae Klong Market (Talad Rom Hoop) reopened on April 1, 2016 on completion of the maintenance work on the rail route between Ban Laem and Mae Klong station in Samut Sakhon province. The work, which replaced old sleepers and elevates the existing level of the line higher to prevent floods, was completed after six months of its service suspension.

    For the stallholders life goes on as usual. When the train passes they pull back the wheels of their makeshift stalls and close the overhead shelters and umbrellas. The stalls open with shelters up when the train leaves.

     

     

     

    SAMUI AIRPORT TO UNDERGO RENOVATIONS

     

    Koh Samui airport will undergo major renovations to remove bottlenecks and allow it to cope with surging passenger traffic more efficiently. The work, due to start in May or June, will take between 12 to 18 months. This will be the largest undertaking at the privately run airport since its second-generation passenger terminal was launched about a decade ago.

    The renovations will include the revision of passenger flow layout, enlargement of the immigration holding area, installation of two new baggage carousels, and dismantling the commercial area and relocating it to the airside.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

     

    NEW! 1-DAY LAMPANG PATHFINDER

     

    This tour is by 4WD vehicles, departing from Lampang city and driving up north. This is one of the most scenic drives in Thailand through mountainous ranges, valleys, and the thick forests of Tham-Phar-Thai National Park that covers Lampang city, Jae Hom district, and Ngao district. About an hour’s drive from Lampang city is the first stop at Tham Phar Thai (Phar Thai Cave), which originated from a limestone mountain.

    After the visit to this one-of-a-kind cave the road adventure continues to Lomphukeaw and Mae Kae Waterfall. Then followed an off-the-beaten-track journey, after which the group is back on the highway and heading to Phayao province that is about an hour away. Awaiting the guests is a relaxing a sunset dinner on Kwan Phayao (Phayao Lake), which is a semi-natural fresh water lake covering an area of 20.5 square kilometres. Many who have visited this area said this is one of the best spots in Thailand to watch the sunset.
     

     

     

     

    NEW! LAMPANG: UNDISCOVERED CHAE SON & WAT PHA PHU DANG

     

    Depart from Chiang Mai for a relaxing hour drive to Chae Son National Park. Located in northeast Lampang province in the districts of Muang Bahn and Jae Hom, it covers a mountainous area of about 592 square kilometres. The forests and mountains of Chae Son provide an important water source for the surrounding area.

    The Park has many interesting features including waterfalls, caves, and its famous hot springs. After lunch a drive by car to Jae Hom district to visit one of the most unique temples in Thailand – Wat Phar Phu Dang. The temple is also one of the top “10 Unseen Thailand 2014 Attractions”. This pristine temple sits atop a mountain crest at 700 metres above sea level. Located north of Lampang province, the mountain lookout has an incredible 360-degree panorama of the valleys below.

     

     

     

    EXPLORING PHUKET’S OLD TOWN

     

    This is a cultural yet fun experience in Phuket’s beautifully restored old Sino-Portuguese town. It combines elements of a foodie tour and heritage walk where clients visit local homes and markets, and get a real taste of everyday life in the ‘original Phuket’.

     

     

     

    CHA LONG BAY RUM DISTILLERY

     

    Visit a young French couple’s award winning rum distillery on Phuket’s Cha Long Bay, and meet the owners for a private tour. After this participate in the cocktail-making competition.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    BANGKOK

     

    NEW – SLEEP BOX AT DON MUEANG AIRPORT

     

    The Miracle Group is eyeing Suvarnabhumi Airport to set up its next “sleep box” hotel after the soft launch of the sleep cabins at Don Mueang Airport in March 2016.

    The sleep box rooms at Don Mueang airport are partitioned into five sections, each consisting of five 15-square-metre rooms. Each cabin of the sleep box hotel, located on the fourth floor at Terminal 2 of the airport, is equipped with a bed and a private toilet, and can accommodate two guests. A television and WiFi are also provided.

     

     

     

    NEW – NOVOTEL BANGKOK SUKHUMVIT 20

     

    Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20, opening in May 2016, is in the heart of Sukhumvit, Bangkok's shopping and restaurant district. Guests can reach the area by Tuk Tuk or take a short walk to Sukhumvit MRT and Asoke BTS stations to travel there by trains.

    The hotel offers 244 guestrooms including family and executive suites, an Executive Club Lounge, and free WiFi.

     

     

     

    PATTAYA

     

    REBRANDED – INTERCONTINENTAL PATTAYA RESORT (FORMERLY SHERATON PATTAYA RESORT)

     

    InterContinental Pattaya Resort enjoys a beachfront location with unsurpassed views of Koh Larn (Coral Island) and beyond. It offers 156 comfortable and spacious rooms, including premium rooms and villas, all decorated in a tasteful mix of traditional Thai with modern and oriental elements. The resort caters to upscale travellers,
     

     

     

    BURIRAM

     

    NEW – X2 VIBE BURIRAM

     

    The five-story X2 Vibe Buriram Hotel is ideally located next to a shopping mall and supermarkets and, for sports fans, in the vicinity of the famous Buriram United Stadium and speedway. It features 68 uniquely designed suites in three different types.

    With a clear focus on design, which goes beyond that of other modern lifestyle hotels, and with an emphasis on the highest standard of service X2 Vibe Buriram Hotel offers an experience unlike any other hotels in Buriram.

     

     

     

    CHIANG MAI

     

    THE CHIANG MAI RIVERSIDE

     

    The Chiang Mai Riverside was designed with two objectives – modern luxury with the Lanna touch. Located on the serene Ping River and inspired by the ancient Lanna architecture, the 14-suite property is a new multi-award winning five star hotel residence set in pristine surroundings.

    Chiang Mai, the charming laid-back 700-year-old city, embodies Lanna culture, beautiful mountains, and magnificent nature. Despite its energy one can always find quiet, serene spots in the city to relax and unwind.

     

     

     

    PHUKET

     

    THE MEMORY AT ON ON HOTEL

     

    Immerse yourself in the true spirit of Phuket Old Town with a homely stay at the historical Memory at On On Hotel. This is the oldest hotel in Phuket, and has been meticulously renovated to maintain its rich Sino-Portuguese architecture, revealing a classic design that blends perfectly with the brand new modern amenities. This hotel is a must-see attraction in itself, and offers a totally unique experience for guests who want to discover the very best the Old Town has to offer.
     

     

     

    REBRANDED – NOVOTEL PHUKET SURIN BEACH (FORMER DOUBLE TREE RESORT BY HILTON PHUKET SURIN BEACH)

     

    Located just five minutes by foot from Surin Beach and its nightlife, Novotel Phuket Surin Beach Resort features a water slide and two swimming pools, making it the perfect choice for both families and couples.
     

     

     

    REBRANDED – NOVOTEL PHUKET KATA AVISTA RESORT AND SPA (FORMER AVISTA RESORT & SPA)

     

    Novotel Phuket Kata Avista Resort and Spa overlooks the aquamarine Andaman Sea and pristine white sands of Kata Beach in southern Phuket. Located on Kata Beach the resort is set among green hills and offers sweeping sea views. The luxurious accommodation features 143 spacious rooms, each with either a balcony or terrace.
     

     

     

    REBRANDED - PHUKET MARRIOTT RESORT & SPA NAI YANG BEACH (FORMER THE IMPERIAL ADAMAS BEACH)

     

    Experience genuine Thai hospitality and a refined art of hosting at Phuket Marriott Resort and Spa. It is located on the secluded beach of Nai Yang, and provides an ideal getaway for couples and families. It offers 197 keys with magnificent views of the Andaman Sea. Facilities include a swimming pool diverse dining options, extensive kid’s facilities, and the exclusive Quan Spa.
     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    AMAZING THAILAND GRAND SALES 2016
    JUNE-AUGUST, 2016
    VENUE: BANGKOK

     

    The Siam area in Bangkok, well known for its fabulous shopping, will be at the forefront of the Amazing Thailand Grand Sales. Taking part are Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery, Gaysorn, Emporium, and Central Chitlom. In fact there will be very few places in the city during this period where you will not see the red bag sign, which shows that the shop is taking part in the sales.

    As three months is a long time for any sale, Central World is running its main sales events from June to August with a special extravaganza.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    THE ROOF AT SALA RATTANAKOSIN, BANGKOK

     

    This scenic rooftop bar and terrace in Bangkok overlooks the legendary Chao Phraya River and the mystical Temple of Dawn. Under the direction of eclectic Englishman, Executive Chef Tony Wrigley, who indulges in fresh local flavours it is must-visit place for both locals and visitors alike. Its riverside setting also provides a venue to relax with cold beverages at the end of a sightseeing day.

     

     

     

    TU KAB KHAO, PHUKET

     

    Tu Kab Khao (which means “larder” or “pastry”) is the creation of the team behind local Thai-fusion restaurant, Table Spoon. They transformed a 120-year-old building into the villa-like Tu Kab Khao, which serves southern Thai cuisine. In addition to classics such as moo hong (braised pork belly) and mee gaeng pu (crab curry with noodle) the restaurant also has delightful cocktails such as the Baba-Nyonya that plays on Peranakan culture by mixing two glasses into one drink, symbolising the inter-marriage between Chinese men and Malay ladies.

     

     

     

    PHUKET’S OLD TOWN SUNDAY WALKING STREET

     

    Phuket has seen a real revival, and its old Sino-Portuguese shop houses are now very pretty and colourful. The town has many stylish cocktail bars and contemporary Thai restaurants – great places to be during a night out. This city is much more than only beaches and fir island trips, and these attractions are another aspect of this well-known destination to highlight.
     

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

     

    THANK YOU & GOOD BYE, GRACIAS & TODO LO MEJOR, OBRIGADO & TUDO DE BOM XAVIER ROBLES/WELCOME, BIENVENIDO, BEMVINDO CLAUDIO LOI

     

    Xavier Robles (pictured left in photo), Assistant Manager Latin Markets, is leaving Asian Trails Thailand in mid-May. We will miss Xavi and would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation for his work and efforts during his tenure with the company, and wish him all the best in the future!

    Claudio Loi (pictured right in photo), an Italian national and fluent in Italian, Spanish, English, and German, joined Asian Trails Thailand on 18 April as the new Assistant Manager Latin markets. He will gradually take over the tasks from Xavi during an extensive handover period over the next coming weeks.

    Claudio studied international relations in Italy, Germany, and the US, and obtained a Master of Arts in Global Governance. He has been in Thailand for more than two years, and has worked in the inbound business where he led a team of five professionals in a major Destination Management Company. He has also held different tourism-and marketing positions in Italy. Claudio has excellent product and destination knowledge of Thailand, as well as of South East Asia. He is a passionate wave surfer and enjoys fishing and cooking.

    We welcome Claudio to our Asian Trails Thailand team, and wish him all the best and lots of success in his new post.

     

     

     
     

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    LAOS

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDREAS HOFMANN

     

    Sabaidee!

    After the heat of New Year Laos is waiting for the first rain, and we hope it will start soon. More rain means a greener and lusher landscape, and a lot of Green Season deals for you.

    Don’t forget that Laos is the perfect upselling product – you can combine Luang Prabang with Chiang Mai and Bangkok in Thailand, Hanoi in Vietnam or Siem Reap in Cambodia. Southern Laos is an ideal pre- or post-programme destination for an Angkor Wat tour, either overland or by plane into Pakze.

    Enjoy the good times!

    Andreas Hofmann
     

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    THE BAMBOO EXPERIENCE – HANDS-ON LEARNING OF LAO CULTURE

     

    Bamboo is a versatile material used in many contexts in the Lao culture. The Bamboo Experience includes bamboo weaving and a bamboo cooking demonstration. You are welcome to join in this unique experience.

     

     

     

    NIGHT SAFARI AND STAYING IN “THE NEST”

     

    The safari is in Nam Et-Phou Louay National Park, northern Laos. Its highlight is the trek, which soft opened at the beginning of April. This is a two to three days “easy” trek, and guests get to sleep in “The Nest“ – a suspended spherical basket.

    There is a night safari by boat to spot animals on the river, and you may just see bats, frogs or even tigers.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    MUANG LA LODGE SUMMER 2016 PROMOTION – STAY 3/PAY 2

     

    Muang La Lodge in northern Laos is offering a special promotion of Stay 3/Pay 2 this summer. Enjoy the remote river life surrounded by a local village. There is also the opportunity to learn about Laos’ ethnic diversity by joining one of the Lodge’s famous outings.

     

     

     

    SATRI HOUSE, LUANG PRABANG – GREEN SEASON PROMOTION UNTIL JUNE 2016

     

    Satri House in Luang Prabang offers a Green Season promotion from now until the end of June. Guests get 20% off the contract rates with the addition of one free dinner per person per stay. From July 1 the promotion rates stay the same until September, but this will not include a free dinner.
     

     

     

     
     

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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 countries is called the Green Season. There are many good reasons to visit Cambodia during this time –the country is at its best offering luxuriant tropical vegetation that makes a deep contrast with the stones of the ancient temples, the rice fields look like a verdant green carpet, and life in the countryside is very busy and offers a great insight into the local lifestyle.

    Asian Trails offers competitive packages and promotions for the Green Season. Please contact us for more information.

    As always, we look forward to welcoming you to beautiful Cambodia!

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    PEPPER OF KAMPOT

     

    The pepper of Kampot, listed by the European Union (EU) as one of the 20th best products in the world, is now protected as it recently received the label “AOP” (protected designation of origin).

    Kampot pepper, like the champagne, Parmesan cheese, and the Lonzo of Corsica, is now part of the European list of protected products – a first for Cambodia.

    Cultivated in the southeastern and some northern parts of Cambodia since the 18th century Kampot pepper will benefit from a very high level of protection on the market of the EU, in particular against imitations. It is regarded by some chefs as one of the best pepper in the world.

     

     

     

    ANGKOR VILLAGE APSARA THEATRE UNDER RENOVATION

     

    Angkor Village Apsare Theatre is taking advantage of the low season during September to improve its outlets so as to serve its guests better.

    The theatre will be closed from May 27 to July 14, 2016 for renovations and for installation of a new roof. It will reopen on July 15.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    PHNOM PENH

     

    V HOTEL PHNOM PENH

     

    V Hotel Phnom Penh is located in the centre of Phnom Penh, a short walk to the Royal Palace and National Museum, and just steps away from a wide selection of restaurants and bars.

    The hotel offers 50 luxurious rooms fitted with modern amenities, each offering its own style and comfort. Guests can unwind in the relaxing spa, enjoy food and beverages at the V Sky Restaurant & Bar, and cool down at the rooftop pool and gym on the hotel’s 15th floor.
     

     

     

    SIEM REAP

     

    TEMPLATION – ELEGANT AND SERENE

     

    Templation is an elegant, beautiful hotel located amidst nature. When its owner discovered the grounds on which he would eventually build the hotel he was immediately inspired by that pocket of untamed nature in a quiet residential area.

    The hotel’s architects, Ivan Tizianel and Lisa Ros from ASMA, designed the space as a modern echo of the waterways and reservoirs that once nurtured the ancient city of Angkor. They cleared off the dense underbrush, preserving the native trees and plants. Villas, pools, and common areas have been carefully devised to blend with the land that made such an impression, preparing the visitor to the serene beauty of the Khmer temples.
     

     

     

    MAISON POLANKA

     

    Maison Polanka is a collection of two unique Cambodian villas offering hotel services in spacious tropical gardens. It is set in the sprawling grounds of a family estate in the heart of a local riverside village in Siem Reap, close to the temples of Angkor and the old market.

    Maison Polanka features luxury suites and rooms, an open-air pavilion for restaurant and lounge, and an infinity pool. This private Cambodian residence will provide you with a luxurious and authentic stay in Angkor.

     

     

     

    ANGKOR VILLAGE HOTEL TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS

     

    Angkor Village Hotel will be temporarily closed from May 18 to May 31, 2016 for minor renovations. It will reopen to guests on June 1, 2016.

    Angkor Village Resort & Spa, a member of Small Luxury Hotel of the World, will remain open to welcome guests of Angkor Village Hotel during its closure.

     

     

     

    MONDOLKIRI

     

    AYANA KANDARA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

     

    Nestled between the hills, close to the city centre of Sen Monorom, Ayana Kandara Boutique Hotel offers you an intimate and discreet place for your stay. It features six private rooms and the Ayana Villa with two bedrooms surrounded with magnificent gardens. From the swimming pool to the restaurant, the open-view of the vegetation ends in a green ocean of hills.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    LABOR DAY
    MAY 1, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

     

    Labor Day is a public holiday throughout the Kingdom of Cambodia

     

     

     

    BIRTHDAY OF HIS MAJESTY KING NORODOM SIHAMONI
    MAY 14, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

     

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

     

     

     

    VISAK BOCHEA DAY
    MAY 20, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

     

    Bonn Pisakh Bochea, on the full moon day of May, marks the Birth, Enlightenment and the entrance into Nirvana (Death) of Lord Buddha.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    SIEMP REAP: RENOVATIONS AT MADAME BUTTERFLY RESTAURANT

     

    Madame Butterfly Restaurant, located on Road No. 6 towards Siem Reap airport, will undergo renovations in June 2016. The works involve rebuilding and refurnishing the entire kitchen. The restaurant will not be able to serve its customers during the month of June.
     

     

     

    SIEM REAP: THE TEN BELLS

     

    Opened recently, The Ten Bell is a classy, internationally inspired yet affordable new dining place on Alley West in the Old Market area. Under the watchful eye of Chef Corentin Hennion the restaurant serves a ‘classic, modern, unique and high end’ selection of wines, champagnes, cocktails, tapas and more. However, the restaurant’s special feature is certainly the oysters – a must-have when dining there.
     

     

     

    PHNOM PENH: TERRAZZA, ITALIAN RESTAURANT

     

    The true taste of Italy, natural flavours, and textures unique to Cambodia, Terrazza is the combination of this culinary holy trinity of dining excellence. It is your introduction to a food philosophy that meets the demands of the nutritional, cultural and recreational habits of mankind while satisfying the need to put pleasure back into the need to feed … with a smile!

    Terrazza features food from all over Italy including wood-fired pizzas, pastas, with emphasis on northern Italian dishes. There is a deli shop in the restaurant where guests can buy products imported from Italy, including fine Italian wine.
     

     

     
     

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    VIETNAM

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

     

    Dear friends,

    2016 is a benchmark for Asian Trails Vietnam, as we will be celebrating our 15th anniversary (2001-2016) at the end of May. We will celebrate this special and exciting event in Dalat, a former French hill station with 90 team members from our three offices in Vietnam.

    Dalat is a great place for outdoor challenges such as teambuilding activities by Tuyen Lam Lake, cycling, and trekking in the jungle. We want to inspire our team with a more active holiday, and also for them to view the Central Highlands differently from programmes under the Classic Trails.

    We are happy to announce we are reintroducing our adventure programme, Active in Central Highlands, as well as some authentic experiences in the surrounding areas.

    Join us in “Blazing New Path in Travel”.

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

     

    NEW AIRPORT IN HALONG

     

    A new airport near Halong Bay in Quang Ninh province will open late 2017 with a capacity to serve up to two million passengers a year. It will cover an area of about 290 hectares with one runway, a terminal, and parking space for four medium to large sized aircraft. According to studies, by 2020 the airport will need to expand to accommodate up to five million passengers a year,

    Halong Bay is the most popular sightseeing destination in North Vietnam, and was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. It is also the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature designated in April 2012 by New Open World Corporation, an associate of the New 7 Wonders Foundation.

    Currently most trips to Halong Bay involve a return four-hour drive to/from Hanoi. The addition of the airport in Halong means that at least one part of this journey will not be necessary anymore, a significant improvement on most itineraries and a much more enjoyable experience for our clients.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    ACTIVE IN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS

     

    Active in Central Highlands is a different programme from the Classic Vietnam Central Highlands programme.

    The Classic programme takes visitors from Dalat to Lak, Buon Ma Thuot and all the way to Pleiku and Kontum.

    The five-day Active in Central Highlands includes a detour to Daknong to explore the lesser known cultural and natural assets, and off-the-beaten track destinations. The journey is from Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Tien National Park, Daknong, Lak and Buon Ma Thuot city.

    Please contact us for more information.
     

     

     

    PEACEFUL LAK LAKE

     

    Lak Lake in Dak Lak Province is a potential tourist attraction with its authentic experience of hill tribes’ life and pristine nature. It is located about a two-hour drive from Dalat (154 kilometres to the southeast) and an hour’s drive from Buon Ma Thuot. There are also many flight connections from Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Danang.

    An eco-friendly tented lodge and restaurant, which will open soon by the lake, will be a great base for an active yet relaxing stay. Tourists can cycle along the coffee trails, trek in the jungle, enjoy a picnic lunch by a hidden waterfall, or engage in many activities with the local ethnic people (M’Nong, Ede). Lake Lak is ideal for at least two nights’ stay.

    Please contact us for more information.

     

     

     

    AN INVITATION TO EXPLORE TIGER ISLAND – LONG XUYEN CITY

     

    Cu Lao Ong Ho or Tiger Island, located in the Mekong Delta, is not well known to tourists unless you go on a Mekong Cruise or spend more time between Can Tho and Chau Doc. We, however, find this island worthy for at least a four-hour exploration. It is away from the usual tourist path, and you get a real feeling of authentic Vietnam.

    Just about an hour before arriving at Chau Doc is Long Xuyen city. Here you board a local ferry to cross the Hau Giang River to reach the island. A leisurely bike or rickshaw ride takes you through farms, temples, historical monuments, and rustic villages. Visit an ancient house where you can learn to cook a local meal.

    Please contact us for more information.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    SOFITEL METROPOLE HANOI

     

    Sofitel Metropole Hanoi is one of the two hotels named in the prestigious “Conde Nast Traveller’s Gold List 2016”, which showcased the world’s best hotels. The other is Park Hyatt Saigon. These two hotels form the basis of any 5 star luxury trip to Vietnam.

    Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, a fixture in the heart of Hanoi since 1901, was famed for its old-world colonial charm. It has played host to playwrights, ambassadors, and heads of state from around the world. It is divided into two wings – the historic Metropole Wing blends classic French and Vietnamese styles while the contemporary Opera Wing displays neo classical influences.
     

     

     

    PARK HYATT SAIGON

    Park Hyatt Saigon is an iconic property situated in downtown Saigon on Lam Son Square, facing the opera house. All the rooms have four-poster beds, sound-proof windows with louvered shutters, wooden floors, and marble tiled bathrooms. Those on the pool level are the best in the hotel, each with its own small patch of greenery. Each floor of Park Hyatt Saigon has personalised butler service

    2 Lam Son, a stainless-steel-and-glass bar, serves vintage wines and signature cocktails. Square One Restaurant has five show kitchens and guests can dine on Vietnamese dishes such as oysters with shallot vinegar and lemon.

     

     

     

    NEW: NOVOTEL PHU QUOC

     

    The recently opened Novotel Phuc Quoc, managed by AccorHotels, has joined the growing numbers of hotels on the tropical island of Phu Quoc. It is located on the beach near Duong Dong town and close to many of the island’s attractions, such as Sao Beach, Ham Ninh fishing village and pearl farms.

    Guests can choose from the resort’s 366 rooms, including 120 suites and villas. Each accommodation type features a sofa bed, a balcony or terrace, and 42-inch LCD TVs. Twenty villas have private pools.

    Please contact us for more information.

     

     

     

     

    NEW: WYNDHAM LEGEND HALONG

     

    Wyndham Hotel Group will launch its first property in Vietnam in early 2016 as part of its expansion in South East Asia. The 217-room Wyndham Legend Halong is located in Halong City, the gateway to Halong Bay. Currently under construction, the US$40 million development will boast all-day dining outlets, meeting rooms, a pool bar, and an onsite gym.

    Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, LLC, which is part of Wyndham Hotel Group, offers upscale hotel and resort accommodations at more than 200 properties throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and China.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    EMIRATES TO CONNECT DUBAI WITH YANGON AND HANOI

     

    Emirates will launch a daily service from Dubai to Yangon in Myanmar and Hanoi in Vietnam starting August 3, 2016. This is a new flight option to passengers travelling between Hanoi and Yangon.

    The flight to Yangon and Hanoi, EK388, will depart daily from Dubai at 02.50hrs, arriving at Yangon International Airport at 11.05hrs. The flight will then depart Yangon at 12.35hrs, and arrive at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport at 14.50hrs.

    The return flight, EK389, will depart Hanoi at 22.50hrs, arriving at Yangon at 00.20hrs the next day. The service will then depart Yangon at 01.50hrs, and arrive at Dubai International Airport at 05.05hrs.

     

     

     

    TURKISH AIRLNES FLIES TO HANOI AND SAIGON FROM ISTANBUL

     

    Turkish Airlines has added new flights from Istanbul to Hanoi and Saigon, increasing Turkey’s connectivity with Vietnam and the region. As the airline has a good network across key European countries, such as Italy, more flight options to Vietnam are now available offering greater choice to clients.

     

     

     

     

    BANGKOK AIRWAYS’ NEW BANGKOK-DANANG SERVICE

     

    Bangkok Airways will launch direct flights from Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, to Danang from May 25, 2016. The new route will be operated with a 144-seater Airbus A319 aircraft.

    The flights will depart Suvarnabhumi Airport at 11.00hrs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Flight time to Danang International Airport is about four-and-a-half hours.

    Danang, which aims to attract more than five million visitors this year, is also served by direct international flights from Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Siem Reap, Seoul, Hong Kong and several cities in China including Shanghai. Danang welcomed 4.6 million visitors in 2015.

    With a wide range of spectacular beach hotels Danang is one of the premier MICE destinations in the region, as well as the gateway to the must-visit UNESCO town of Hoi An, an essential stop for all visitors to Vietnam. In the vicinity of Danang are some of Vietnam’s top golf courses.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    NEW INBOUND MANAGER

     

    We welcome Ms Phuong Hoang Lan who joined us in April 2016 as our new Inbound Manager. With 10 years’ experience in the travel industry she is a valuable addition to the Asian Trails Vietnam’s team. We look forward to working with her.

     

     

     

    GOODBYE AND GOOD LUCK MS SOCHEATA

     

    We said goodbye to Ms Socheata, our Inbound Manager who left the company at the end of April. After more than three excellent years with Asian Trails Vietnam she is joining Asian Trails China as its General Manager. Our congratulation to Ms Socheata on her new appointment, and we wish her all the best in her new role in China.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    NEW: LA VELA CRUISES

     

    Paradise Hotels & Cruises launched La Vela Cruises on April 1, 2016 to meet market demand, as well as set up a new 4 star standard boat in Halong Bay. This is a fleet of two beautiful steel boats designed to ensure the very best experience in Halong Bay.

    Please contact us for more information.

     

     

     
     

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    CHINA

       

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ZHANG XIAOLIN

     

    In this warm spring season we continue our journey. As the new Managing Director of Asian Trails China I would like to assure all our customers that the entire team is fully dedicated to the highest possible level of services.

    We are close to the high season and China will confirm its willingness to become one of the top destinations in the world for tourism and business. The amazing Chinese culture, the unique ethnic customs, the raging trend of modern art and lifestyle give us the tools to tailor the trips for your customers.

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    SHENZHEN TO BECOME AN INTERNATIONAL CRUISE PORT

     

    Shenzhen’s Tai Zi Bay Cruise Terminal will become the only port in China capable of accommodating the world’s largest cruise ships – Royal Caribbean’s 220,000 gross tonne Oasis Class – when it opens in November this year.

    Genting Hong Kong has plans to homeport its cruise ships in Shenzhen, starting with the SuperStar Virgo in November 2016. The company is currently operating cruises from Hong Kong, and recently started sailing from Guangzhou,

    SuperStar Virgo will be the first cruise ship to homeport at the terminal, operating four-, five-, and seven-night voyages to Vietnam and Hainan.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

     

     

    THE EXTRAORDINARY MIAO CULTURE IN GUIZHOU

     

    What makes French actor Clovis Cornillac so fascinated with China, and an unforgettable destination for him? The answer is in the Miao people, their simplicity, and their extraordinary culture.

    With a history of more than 2,000 years the Miao people has been living in different areas in China, with more than 50 per cent of them in Guizhou. Mountains and rivers make the Miao area difficult to access, which has lessened the impact of modern civilisation and helped them maintain old traditions. Their religious beliefs are often regarded as primitive.

    One of the most remarkable customs of the Miao people is their clothing. Without written script the Miao people have used their costumes to record their history. Different patterns and designs on the clothes retain rich meaning and refer to legendary stories about their origins, wars, and religious beliefs. It has long been a tradition for Miao women to use embroidery and sewing to show their worship to their ancestors.

     

     

     

    HUANGYAO ANCIENT TOWN

     

    Huangyao ancient town is located to the southwest of Hezhou, and is renowned for its mountain scenery. According to historical records, the town originated in the Song Dynasty. It got its name because most of residents’ surnames were Huang and Yao, hence it was named Huangyao.

    Over 300 historical buildings that date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties are well preserved in Huangyao, plus a good number of ancient pavilions and temples. It is an exceptional cultural landscape that makes Huangyao an attractive destination for visitors.
     

     

     

    YUNJU TEMPLE — BEIJING

     

    Located in the suburb at southwest of Beijing, Yunju (or Cloud Dwelling) Temple was built in the early Tang Dynasty. It is situated inside a limestone cave, and came into being around an ancient shrine. Two bone fragments found at the site were said to belong to Siddhartha Gautama, Buddhism's founder. The whole scenic spot covers an area of over 70,000 square metres and include the temple, the scripture caves, and pagoda groups. These great historical treasures play a very important role in the Chinese Buddhism culture.

    There are also many very rare cultural relics like stone dagoba and steles of the late Liao Dynasty around Yunju Temple. The buildings of the famous Tang Pagoda, the Sutra-Insolating Platform, and similar structures are very exquisite, and hold a very important position in the Chinese history of ancient architectural research.

     

     

     

    CHENGHUANG PAVILION — HANGZHOU

     

    Chenghuan (meaning Town God) Pavilion sits at the top of Wushan in Hangzhou. The central roof of the pavilion looks like a bottle gourd, while the other four minor roofs look like phoenixes. This gives the pavilion the appearance of a group of soaring phoenixes. Chenghuang Pavilion is the best place to have a stunning panoramic view of the West Lake, the Qiantang River, and the city.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NEW – MIDTOWN SHANGRI-LA HOTEL, HANGZHOU

     

    The perfect base for both business and leisure travellers, Midtown Shangri-La, Hangzhou is located in the heart of the city’s traditional CBD in Xiacheng District. It lies just 10 minutes from the beautiful West Lake.

    The hotel offers 417 spacious guestrooms and suites, with a maximum of 168 twin-bedrooms. Each room features contemporary and elegant interiors and provides a courtyard garden or West Lake views.

    For meeting or events, the hotel boasts a 1,584sqm pillarless function room with an 8.5-metre high ceiling. An audio room with state-of-the-art audio/video system, complements nine breakout rooms.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
    JUNE 9, 2016 (5TH DAY OF 5TH LUNAR MONTH)
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA

     

    The Dragon Boat Festival falls on June 9, which is the 5th day of the 5th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. It is also a public holiday in China,

    The festival has a history of more than 2,000 years. It is believed the festival originated as a commemoration to 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. On seeing the country corruption in the country Qu was full of wrath and felt hopeless. He then drowned himself in the Miluo River by attaching a heavy stone to his chest on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month.

    Fishermen in their boats tried to save Qu but failed to find him. People in mourning for his death 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 take not the food from Qu.

    Today people still follow these customs. They celebrate the festival with dragon boat race, which symbolises the fishermen's rush to save Qu, eat Zongzi, and drinking realgar wine.

    Asian Trails China will be closed on June 9 to celebrate the festival.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES RESUMES FLIGHTS TO MADRID

     

    China Eastern Airlines dropped its route to the Spanish capital of Madrid in 2003, but has now confirmed that flights will resume on June 28, 2016.

    The four times weekly service will depart Shanghai Pudong International Airport every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 12.15hrs and arrive at Madrid’s Barajas Airport at 20.45hrs. The return flight will leave Madrid at 22.55hrs on the same day, and arrive back into Shanghai at 18.20hrs the following evening.

     

     

     

    CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES FLIES TO PRAGUE

     

    China Eastern Airlines will launch three weekly flights between Shanghai and Prague, capital of the Czech Republic, on June 22, 2016.

    The flights will depart Shanghai Pudong International Airport every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 00.45hrs, arriving at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport at 06.35hrs. The return flight will leave Prague at 08.35hrs and arrive back in Shanghai at 01.05hrs the next day.
     

     

     
     

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    MYANMAR

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

     

    We celebrated the Myanmar New Year in the middle of last month, and we hope all of you had a happy time doing the same.

    Myanmar continues to move forward in its development notably with the opening of the new terminal at Yangon International Airport. This will decrease congestion at the current terminal, and will help to speed up the services especially queues at immigration.

    New exciting products are also entering the market, from hotels to new cruise ships.

    Please also do not miss out on the opportunity to propose to your clients to travel to Myanmar during the exciting festivals, which we feature in this report. They offer a great opportunity to indulge in the local culture.

    We look forward to your continuous support, and remain at your disposal for any queries you may have.

    Thomas Carnevale
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    GREEN SEASON SPECIAL

     

    It is the Green Season in Myanmar with the arrival of the rain, rice getting readied for planting in the fields, and lush green vegetation fill the countryside. It normally rains only for a few hours, after which you can enjoy the fresh summer air.

    The Green Season is also a time for good deals, and to enjoy Myanmar at much cheaper rates than usual. Please contact us for more information on our special offers.

     

     

     

    NEW TERMINAL FOR YANGON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

     

    Yangon International Airport will have a new terminal as part of its expansion project, as well as to cater to the growing number of tourists. Scheduled to complete next year the terminal will be able to accommodate 20 million passengers per year.

    Currently Yangon International Airport services 28 international airlines and 11 domestic airlines.
     

     

     

    GOLDEN ROCK COMPLETES MAINTENANCE WORK

     

    The maintenance work at Golden Rock (Kyaiktiyo) to renew its golden leaf covering, which started last February, has been completed. The beauty of the Golden Rock is now again visible in its entirety.

     

     

     

    RENOVATIONS AT SHWEZIGONE PAGODA

     

    The Shwezigone Pagoda Board of Trustee announced that the gold cover of the stupa at Shwezigone Pagoda would be renewed from April 16, 2016. The work will last for about 10 months. During the renovations the stupa is covered by bamboo scaffolding and is not visible. The pagoda remains open to the public during the work period with no change in the serene atmosphere.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    WELCOME BACK AEGEAN ODYSSEY

     

    The cruise ship, Aegean Odyssey, owned and operated by Voyages to Antiquity (VTA), made a stop in Yangon in February after sailing up the Yangon River.

    Asian Trails organised the cruiser's land programme with excursions to the city of Bago and a tour of Yangon downtown that included the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda and Colonial Drive.
     

     

     

    ANAWRAHTA - THE GREAT KING

     

    Anawrahta, the new vessel of Heritage Line, provides a luxury cruise experience on the Irrawaddy River.

    Built to resemble a British colonial paddle steamer, the elegant 65-metre long Anawrahta features three spacious decks and 23 luxurious cabins in Deluxe to Royal categories. With its gleaming white rails, intricately carved woodwork and shining brass the cruise ship takes guests back in time to an era of bygone elegance.

    The vessel is named after King Anawrahta, founder of the Burmese nation now modern day Myanmar. During his reign, from 1044-1077, he introduced and spread the religion of Theravada Buddhism throughout the land.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    CHERRY QUEEN HOTEL AT THE GATEWAY TO INLE LAKE

     

    Cherry Queen Hotel is a new nine-storey modern building located in Nyaung Shwe, within walking distance to the jetty, Mingala market and restaurants. It features 58 well-decorated rooms in both superior and deluxe categories. Guests have a panoramic view of the surrounding area from the rooftop on the ninth floor.

     

     

     

    SERENE VALLEY HOTEL – YANGON

     

    Serene Valley Hotel is a small two star hotel with a homely atmosphere. It is located in a residential area near Inya Lake, and a 15-minute drive from the world famous Shwedagon Pagoda and Scott Market. It offers only 31 rooms in three categories – superior, deluxe and junior suite. All the rooms have coffee- and tea-making facilities and free WiFi.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    TAUNG-BYONE NAT FESTIVAL
    AUGUST 13-18, 2016
    VENUE: TAUNGBYONE, MANDALAY DIVISION

     

    A five-day ceremony ending on August 18.This is the biggest animist festival in Myanmar held to worship two Taungbyone spiritual figures. It is an important event for traders and merchants who seek for more profitable business. The festival is also a major gathering event for spirit mediums.
     

     

     

    THIDINGYUT FESTIVAL (FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS)
    OCTOBER 14-16, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MYANMAR

     

    A three-day festival, which starts on October 14 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 release balloons into the sky.
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    EMIRATES’ NEW SERVICE FROM DUBAI TO YANGON AND HANOI

     

    Emirates will launch a daily service from Dubai to Yangon and Hanoi from August 3, 2016. The flight will be operated with a Boeing B777 aircraft in a three-class configuration.

    The timings of the new service have been scheduled to allow connections to many European destinations via a convenient transit in Dubai

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    THREE NEW COMMERCIAL ASSISTANTS

     

    Congratulations to our three apprentices – Ms Nant Rutha, Ms Thae Mya Mya Myo, Ms Shwe Sin Moe - who have graduated from the commercial assistant class at the Center for Vocational Training. They will continue working with Asian Trails Myanmar in different departments.

    Special congratulations to Ms Nat Rutha who won the second outstanding award.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    READY FOR A NEW CAREER IN COOKING

     

    Congratulations to the 16 students of the Mary Chapman School for the Deaf who recently completed the fourth cooking course. We are confident that they will make gain from the course, and carve a career in the culinary industry.

    Asian Trails is happy to support the students as part of our social commitments. It was great to see their passion for learning.

     

     

     
     

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    MALAYSIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

     

    Dear friends,

    The next two months are full of events, festivals, and celebrations throughout the country. We would like to suggest for your clients coming to Malaysia during this period to combine their holiday with any for these festivities, and get a local touch during their trip. Please do not hesitate to request us to include such experience for your clients.

    We are also now approaching the beginning of the high season, and we are already facing some challenges in availabilities for new requests for the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. We will try our best to send to all our agents the most suitable and best alternatives. 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 also be celebrating the holy month of Ramadan (fasting month) from the beginning of June until the beginning of July. We wish our Muslim friends "Happy Ramadan", and may your fasting be accepted.

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

    See you soon and best regards,

    Emir
    Malaysia, Truly Asia!

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    HILTON KOTA KINABALU TO OPEN Q3 2016

     

    Hilton Kota Kinabalu in Sabah is set to open in the third quarter of this year. A contemporary hotel located close to the city centre it has a modern glass and aluminum façade, marble lobby and a carpark for up to 480 vehicles.

    The hotel offers 305 technologically advanced rooms and suites with views of the surrounding area. The Executive Lounge, located on the 9th floor, provides complimentary breakfast, all-day refreshments, and stunning views of the city skyline.

    Hotel facilities include an outdoor rooftop pool, a well-equipped 24-hour fitness centre, and a sauna and steam room. For business events and weddings the hotel has eight function rooms and an expansive ballroom that can accommodate up to 740 guests.
     

     

     

    RENOVATIONS AT IMPIANA IPOH

     

    Impiana Ipoh in Ipoh, Perak, is undergoing major renovations for the improvement of its facilities. The swimming pool will be closed for refurbishment, and will reopen in June 2016.
     

     

     

    CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT OF BLUE MANSION PENANG

     

    Villa Samadhi ceased to manage Blue Mansion in Penang effective from April 1, 2016. The hotel’s owners are now operating the property. Samadhi will still honour bookings that are generated from its contracts, and will handle the bookings.
     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    MOUNT STONG INTERNATIONAL CLIMBATHON
    MAY 7, 2016
    VENUE: STONG HILL, DABONG, KELANTAN

     

    This international climbathon promotes Stong Hill, one of the most attractive tourist spots in Kelantan. It has the highest cascading waterfall in Southeast Asia.
     

     

     

    BORNEO JAZZ FESTIVAL
    MAY 13-14, 2016
    VENUE: PARKCITY EVERLY HOTEL, MIRI

     

    Borneo Jazz Festival made its debut in 2006 at ParkCity Everly Hotel, Miri. It is a festival for fans of jazz music, as well as to promote Miri as a tourist destination.

     

     

    SBK SUPERBIKE (FIM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP)
    MAY 13–15, 2016
    VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, SEPANG, SELANGOR

     

    Sepang International Circuit plays host to the Malaysian round of this exciting championship, which features an impressive display of superbikes.
     

     

     

    CITRAWARNA
    MAY 14, 2016
    VENUE: DATARAN MERDEKA, KUALA LUMPUR

     

    Citrawarna returns for another year with the best of what Malaysia has to offer. The event showcases the beautiful colours and cultures of Malaysia.
     

     

     

    MALAYSIA TADAU KA’AMATAN OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION
    MAY 14, 2016
    VENUE: SANDAKAN, SABAH

     

    Experience the Tadau Ka’amatan festivities in an open house celebration, a programme that brings people together to celebrate the country’s various
    festivals.
     

     

     

    WESAK DAY
    MAY 21, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

     

    Wesak Day is observed by Buddhists to celebrate Buddha’s birthday, enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana.
     

     

     

    MELAKA RIVER INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
    MAY 25–JUNE 4, 2016
    VENUE: DATARAN SUNGAI MELAKA & TAMAN REMPAH, MELAKA

     

    This festival features more than 50 types of activities and competitions including kayaking, dragon boat race, treasure hunt, and float processions.
     

     

     

    PENANG DURIAN FESTIVAL
    JUNE 1- JULY 31, 2016
    VENUE: ANJUNG INDAH, BALIK PULAU, PENANG

     

    Celebrating the ‘King of Fruits’, Penang’s famous durian estates will exhibit and sell their prized durians during this annual festival

     

     

     

    MALAYSIA HARI GAWAI OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATION
    JUNE 2, 2016
    VENUE: SIBU, SARAWAK

     

    Experience the Hari Gawai festivities at the open house celebration, a programme that brings people together to celebrate the country’s various festivals.

     

     

     

    SUNSET MUSIC FEST
    JUNE 3-4, 2016
    VENUE: TIP OF BORNEO, TANJUNG SIMPANG MENGAYAU, KUDAT, SABAH

     

    Embark on a musical journey at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau (Tip of Borneo) in Kudat. Be serenaded by an orchestra, which plays classical favourites and contemporary tunes as the sun sets in the horizon.

     

     

     

    FESTIVAL RAMADAN PUTRAJAYA 2016
    JUNE 6–JULY 5, 2016
    VENUE: DATARAN PUTRAJAYA, KIBLAT WALK, MASJID TUANKU ZAINAL ABIDIN, PRECINCT 3, PUTRAJAYA

     

    The month-long event is held in conjunction with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. It features an assortment of mouth-watering food along with religious programmes and talks.

     

     

    PENANG INTERNATIONAL LION DANCE ON STILTS CHAMPIONSHIP
    JUNE 11-12, 2016
    VENUE: HAN CHIANG STADIUM, PENANG

     

    Come watch the action-packed and exciting Lion Dance on stilts competition by Malaysian and foreign teams.

     

     

     

    FIESTA SAN PEDRO
    JUNE 25-29, 2016
    VENUE: PORTUGUESE SETTLEMENT, MELAKA

     

    The San Pedro festival honours St Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. The Portuguese Settlement in Melaka will be bustling with activities that include food sale and fun fair.

     

     

     

    FRASER’S HILL INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE
    JUNE 29–30, 2016
    VENUE: FRASER’S HILL, RAUB, PAHANG

     

    Fraser’s Hill, which ranks as the ninth Important Bird Area (IBA) in the world, will be the host of this birding event.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    RAYANI AIR SUSPENDED FOR THREE MONTHS,

     

    Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has temporarily suspended Rayani Air, Malaysia’s only shariah-compliant airline, for three months from April 11, 2016. The suspension, the first of its kind in Malaysia’s aviation history, was due to the airline contravening conditions of its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and unable to meet aviation requirements.

     

     

     
     

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    INDONESIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

     

    We just started to go live on our new booking system Passion, which is very important not only for us internally but for our customers as well. I am excited to show you your personal dashboard inside our B2B platform hopefully the next time we meet. It is a big step into the future!

    At the same time we will continue to do what we know best – creating tailor-made programmes at competitive rates and offering the best personal service for your guests who travel with us through this vast archipelago.

    Best wishes from beautiful Indonesia,

    Björn

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    UBUD FOOD FESTIVAL 2016

     

    The Ubud Food Festival, from May 27-29, is a world-class culinary event that celebrates Indonesia’s diverse cuisine, innovative chefs, and extraordinary local produces. Its vision is to enrich the lives of Indonesians through community building and cultural programmes.

    Some of Indonesia’s leading culinary experts will be at the festival to share their knowledge and enhance the event with food mythology, authenticity and, of course, taste. Visitors can enjoy a range of ticketed and free events, including cooking demonstrations, workshops and master classes.
     

     

     

    NEW FREE VISA FACILITY FOR AUSTRALIANS

     

    After long discussions and discourses among politicians Australia is finally on the list of countries granted free visa facility to enter Indonesia. Australians entering Indonesia with this facility are entitled to stay for 30 days. They do not have to pay for the visa fee on arrival. For further information, please check the regulation at the local Indonesian embassy.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    PASSION, NEW TOUR OPERATOR SYSTEM

     

    After two intensive months of preparation and training, Asian Trails Indonesia is now working on its new Tour Operator System known as “Passion”.

    Everyone in the company has still to get used to Passion as it is a complex software, and means big changes. Products are still being loaded into the system, and bookings have to be copied from our old system to Passion. These are hectic times but they are an investment for the future, which we happily embrace. We are sure this system will bring us to the next level of efficiency and a new user experience, not only for our staff but also for our partners and clients.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    ROYAL TULIP SARANAM RESORT & SPA OPENS IN JUNE

     

    Royal Tulip Saranam Resort & Spa, the former Saranam Eco Resort, will reopen in June after two year’s closure for renovations. Located near Bedugul and Lake Bratan the hotel will feature 90 rooms, suites and villas built on the hillside. Apart from offering the facilities of a 5 star property the hotel also has meeting facilities in the middle of rice paddies.

     

     

     

    JEEVA SANTAI VILLAS, LOMBOK

     

    Jeeva Santai in Lombok, the newest addition of Jeeva Resorts, introduces an unprecedented scale of luxury on Mangsit Beach. An intimate and luxurious selection of 14 villas and suites, the resort is a private retreat away from the world. Facilities include a spa and restaurant. The resort is reserved for guests from age 13 years and above.

     

     

     

    THE LEAF JIMBARAN, BALI

     

    Located in Jimbaran, The Leaf Jimbara is a modern luxury resort that offers privacy to its guests. The villas, with one to three bedrooms, are spacious, bright with an open-space concept. Resort’s facilities include a restaurant and a spa. Although the hotel is not sited on the beach it offers free access to beach facilities and a daily scheduled shuttle service. It is also close to the famous Jimbaran Beach with its well-known seafood restaurants.

     

     

     

    PURI DAJUMA ECO-RESORT & SPA, WEST BALI

     

    Puri Dajuma Eco-Resort & Spa has finished its extension, and has opened the new villas and a new pool.

    Villa Pondok Segara, directly on the beach, has two 2 double bedrooms, one living room, a kitchenette and two bathrooms.

    Four new villas, each with three bedrooms and a living room, are located on top of the property with a panoramic view on the ocean. They are built on both sides of a large swimming pool that has a 45-metre swimming corridor leading to two overflowing pools looking like rice fields and with a jacuzzi.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    GARUDA INDONESIA’S NEW JAKARTA TO SILANGIT (SUMATRA) SERVICE

     

    Garuda Indonesia has launched a thrice-weekly service from Jakarta to Silangit (Lake Toba, Sumatra) via Pinangsori. The flight is operated with a CRJ-1000 aircraft with 96 all-economy seats.

    The new service is part of Garuda Indonesia’s plan to develop tourism to Lake Toba. Previously Medan was the only main gateway to access the Lake Toba region via flight. Alternatively, the lake can be reached by a five- to six-hour drive from Medan.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    SEMINAR ON SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

     

    Travelife, the organisation owned by the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents), recently organised a seminar on sustainable tourism in cooperation with CBI, an agency of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Its aim was to promote sustainable practices in the travel and tourism industry.

    The seminar’s theme, “Sustainable tourism = green tourism = responsible tourism”, is about caring about the people and places we live in and we visit. Forty-five participants attended the seminar, mostly managers from destination management companies in Bali, with attendees from Flores and Makassar as well.
     

     

     
     

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