Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue November 2011

Dear friends,

 

Bangkok received a lot of Media attention lately due to the heavy floods covering large areas North and Northwest of the city. It is true that many hundreds of major factories and tens of thousands of houses were badly inundated during the past few weeks. However, it is also a fact that downtown Bangkok, the main temples, the hotels and shopping areas in the central business district have remained dry. Suvarnabhumi Intl. Airport is fully open and ASIAN TRAILS operate transfers and even the City and Temples tour without problems. All upcountry destinations like Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui, Krabi, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai etc. function normally.

 

In fact, our main problem right now is a distortion of facts by the Media, particularly when watching CNN, BBC and TV5 etc., which make you believe that the whole of Bangkok is under water! I allow myself to include below a Caricature from yesterday's "The Nation" plus a photo of the Grand Palace entrance taken by the undersigned at noon on MON 31 Oct 2011 – with no floods in sight!

 

 

So please encourage potential visitors to come and spend the year-end holidays in Thailand, which is magical at this time of the year with its festivities and special events.

 

The other destinations in ASIAN TRAILS' network have also drawn up interesting tours and events, especially to celebrate Christmas, bid adieu to 2011 and usher in 2012. This is the best time to be in colourful, vibrant Asia.

 

You will find details on our latest products and services in this issue of TRAILBLAZER (November-December 2011), plus the latest update on the situation in Thailand.

 

 

Happy Trails!

 

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

Asian Trails Ltd.

 

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A note from Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,

 

There was a lot of exposure in the international media about the floods in Thailand. Unfortunately many of the reports were inflated and did not reflect the real situation in Bangkok.

 

The central area of the country, including Ayutthaya and Lopburi, has been severely affected. The floods also reached the outskirts of most of northern and western Bangkok including the old Don Muang airport, as well as the Thonburi and Nonthaburi area.

 

The Bangkok business district, the important tourist areas and the Suvarnabhumi International Airport were spared from the floods.

 

Due to the high water on the Chao Phraya River the dinner cruises, as well as the klong tour had to be cancelled. However, the riverside hotels, all the Sukhumvit Silom hotels and all other downtown hotels that are used for our clients, have been operating normally.

 

With several countries implementing travel advisories we have received many cancellations for the first two weeks of November. We would like to reassure our friends and clients that there is absolutely no problem to visit Bangkok. 

 

We will continue to bypass Ayutthaya and Lopburi as long as the area is flooded. All itineraries have already been amended and communicated to our partners.

 

In this edition I would like to introduce the Muse Hotel, a new design hotel in Soi Lang Suan, and the Sivatel, an all-suite hotel on Wireless Road. The Century Park Hotel and the Centre Point Service apartment have both undergone massive renovations.

 

The number of international hotels in Samui has increased with the opening of the Conrad Hotel.

 

We also have a new Explore Tour to the Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market.  

 

Please spread out the message to your clients that Bangkok is safe to visit!

 

 

With best regards,

 

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

ASIAN TRAILS IS  "BEST TRAVEL AGENCY - INDOCHINA 2011"

 

Asian Trails once again won the award for the "Best Travel Agency-Indochina" during the 22nd Annual TTG Travel Awards 2011. The ceremony and gala dinner were held on October 6, 2011 at the Centara Grand at Central World, Bangkok.

A total number of 48,300 nominations were received this year from TTG readers across the Asia-Pacific region, who participated in the print and online voting exercise for the Travel Awards.
 

"For the fifth consecutive year in a row, we are delighted, proud and honoured to accept the TTG award," said Mr. Luzi Matzig, Asian Trails CEO. "Our dedicated teams in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh and Vientiane have worked hard to earn the title as being The Best."

This year, between June and August, all readers of TTG Asia, TTG China, TTG India, TTGmice and TTG-BTmice China were invited to vote for their favourite travel and tourism organisations under the Travel Supplier and Travel Agent Awards Category.

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS DVD TARIFF 2012

 

Asian Trails has launched its new DVD Tariff 2012. It contains up-to-date information such as rates, itineraries and photos on hotels, tours, attractions, transfers and related information on Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Bhutan and China for the period from November 1, 2011 to October 31, 2012.   

 

 

RELIEF FOR THAILAND'S FLOOD VICTIMS

 

Asian Trails has donated 6,000 bottles of drinking water, through the Donation Centre of flood relief and assistance at Immigration Division 1, for the flood victims in Thailand.

 

Photo (left) shows Pol. Col. Silaphakhom Eamwong (Superintendant Sub-Division 2 Immigration Division 1) receiving the donation from Mr. Roger Haumueller, Managing Director, together with Khun Sirichit Pruksanubal and Khun Surapon Vutivakinsakul from Asian Trails Thailand.

 

 

NEW EXPLORE TOUR: BANG NAM PHUENG FLOATING MARKET (SATURDAY  & SUNDAY 08:00-13:00)

 

Visit a local weekend floating market set in the green heart of Bangkok, just across the river from the city's well-known and bustling area. The charming Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market shows local lifestyle along the waterways amongst lush gardens and ample orchards. The market offers a variety of goods including local food, plants, handicrafts, clothes and home decoration. 

 

Other interesting activities are the bicycle trek to experience the local lifestyle and visit to a fruit orchard. Options also include foot massage or the paddle boat trip along the canal.

 

For more details and booking, please click here

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

Bangkok

HOTEL MUSE BANGKOK

 

Rising 25-storey above the distinguished residential area of Langsuan Road in the centre of Bangkok, Hotel Muse offers 174 rooms and suites. Their interior design and decoration are an interplay of classic European signatures juxtaposed against ornate Asian motifs. All rooms feature in-room bars, a dedicated work area, flat-screen televisions with 65 channels, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), wired and wireless Internet access, iPod docking stations, and premium coffee and tea-making facilities. Every element of the interior reflects a devotion to Rama V-era elegance yet with contemporary and sometimes playful twists. 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

SIVATEL BANGKOK HOTEL

 

The hotel is situated in the city's business centre on Ploenchit Road and easily accessible to the well known shopping areas. Its 75 suites are marvellously furnished with contemporary amenities to reflect the relaxing and working environment. This elegant property offers well-appointed restaurants, as well as spacious conference and meeting rooms that are fully furnished for meetings, conventions, exhibitions, concerts and other congress or social events.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

CENTURY PARK HOTEL BANGKOK

 

Century Park Hotel Bangkok is a four star city hotel, 24-storey high and with 380 well-appointed rooms and suites that feature a full range of international standard amenities.

 

The hotel is located in the Victory Monument commercial and shopping area of Bangkok, 30 minutes away by car to Suvarnabhumi International Airport and a short walking distance to the Mass Transit System and major tourist attractions. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, fitness and three restaurants. It also offers an extensive range of banquet and meeting facilities on the second and third floors. The elegant and pillarless Grand Ballroom can accommodate up to 1,000 persons for cocktails and 600 persons for dinner. 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

CENTRE POINT LANGSUAN

 

The hotel has recently reopened after a one-year closure for renovations. The new rooms are well appointed and refurbished with modern style decorations. 

 

Located at Bangkok's prime business location, Centre Point Langsuan offers 200 rooms and suites with full amenities and designed for both short- and long=term stay. In-room amenities include LCD TV, DVD player, in-room safe, ensuite bathroom with washlet toilet seat, refrigerator, iron and ironing board, toaster, microwave, and pantry with fully equipment kitchen. Other facilities are one restaurant, swimming pool and a meeting room with maximum capacity of 40 persons. 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

SAMUI

CONRAD KOH SAMUI RESORT AND SPA

 

Conrad Koh Samui Resort and Spa, which opened in September 2011, offers a selection of truly unique luxury villas. It is situated on the stunning Phang Ka Peninsula and only 40 minutes from Samui airport. 

 

Comprising 79 villas and 39 Conrad Residential villas, each featuring a minimum of 200sqm of space complete with a private plunge pool and a generous outdoor sundeck area, which offers panoramic vistas overlooking the pristine Gulf of Thailand. The resort offers a variety of all-day dining and fine-dining restaurants, bars and lounges, and spa that combine international treatments with a uniquely Thai spa philosophy and design accents.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

ROYAL FLORA RATCHAPHREUK FAIR

DECEMBER 16, 2011-MARCH 14, 2012

VENUE: MAE HIA SUB-DISTRICT, MUANG DISTRICT, CHIANG MAI

 

The fair's highlights include the Giant Flora Wheel, Imagination Light Gardens and Kids' Eco Park. The over 40-metre high Giant Flora Wheel allows visitors to enjoy the panoramic view of the entire park. Like being transformed by magic the Imagination Light Gardens, festooned with millions of lights and luminous butterflies dancing to the accompaniment of music, will spur the imagination and awaken the inner child in visitors. The Kid's Eco Park features exhibitions and fun activities about global warming to help create the nature loving generations.

 

The Royal Park Ratchaphruek occupies 80 hectares of land in Mae Hia district in the provincial town of Chiang Mai. It is only eight kilometres from the airport and has ample parking spaces. This vast park, with beautiful landscape nestled amidst evergreen mountains, boasts thousands of species of tropical plants and flowers. More than 30 countries around the world will participate in the expo to showcase horticultural excellence. 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

PHIMAI FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 9 - 13, 2011

VENUE: NAKORNRATCHASIMA PROVINCE, PHIMAI HISTORICAL PARK


The festival features the "Wimaya Nattakan" light and sound extravaganza, the Royal Cup long boat racing and Loi Krathong Festival at Sa Pleng. Enjoy cultural performances of traditional Thai and local dances, Phimai Contest for the best Thai country music band, Siamese cat competition, and sale of agricultural products and OTOP village goods from a myriad of shops.

 

Phimai Festival is organised by Nakhon Ratchasima Province and the public and private sectors with the support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

 

 

LOI KRATHONG FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 10, 2011

VENUE: HUAI KRACHAO TEMPLE, HUAI KRACHAO DISTRICT, KANCHANABURI PROVINCE & MOST PLACES IN THAILAND


As the full moon of the 12th Lunar month (usually in mid-November) lights up the night sky, hundreds of thousands of ornately decorated krathong or traditional banana leaf floats are set adrift in rivers and waterways throughout Thailand. This is the spellbinding ritual called Loi Krathong or the "Festival of Lights", one of the Kingdom's oldest and best-preserved traditions. The Loi Krathong tradition, as we know it today, has evolved from the royal rituals of the early Rattanakosin period when several types of lanterns were set afloat in the Chao Phraya River and its waterways. The practice was subsequently adopted and adopted by common folks.

 

 

SURIN ELEPHANT ROUND UP AND ELEPHANT SHOW

NOVEMBER 19-20, 2011

VENUE: ELEPHANT ARENA RED CROSS FAIR, SRINARONG STADIUM, SURIN PROVINCE

 

The majestic Thai elephant has long been a central element in Thai culture and has held a respected place in Thai history. A symbol of power and grace, the elephant was revered by the ancient kings. Elephants have been prominently featured in Thai legends and literature, art and architecture. During the reign of King Rama II an image of the auspicious elephant, symbolic of the King, was featured on the flag. In daily life, as man and elephant depend on each other, the elephant is treated as part of the family. The every day life of the Thai elephant and its keeper is the central theme of the world-famous Surin elephant round-up held annually.

 

 

KING'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

DECEMBER 5, 2011

VENUE: THROUGHTOUT THAILAND

 

On December 5 each year the nation celebrates the birthday of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Throughout the kingdom homes and businesses are decorated with portraits of the King, as well as royal and national flags. Most parts of Bangkok, particularly in historic Rattakosin district, is elaborately decorated with flags and giant portraits of the beloved Thai king.

 

On the morning of the King's birthday many people visit temples to make merit, while festive celebrations are held across the kingdom throughout the day. There is also a special alms-giving ceremony at temples followed by a huge festival of music and culture at Sanam Luang in Bangkok. Visitors will be mesmerised by the beauty of the decorations along Ratchadamnoen Avenue. The King's birthday is also National Father's Day, and Thais gather with their families to honour their fathers as well as their grandfathers.

 

 

AYUTTHAYA WORLD HEITAGE FAIR

DECEMBER 13-19, 2011

VENUE: PHRA NAKHON SI AYUTTHAYA HISTORICAL PARK, AMPHOE PHRA NAKHON SI AYUTTHAYA, PHRA NAKHON SI AYUTTHAYA

 

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province celebrates the anniversary of this ancient historical site, which was designated as a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site in 1991, with the annual Ayutthaya World Heritage and Red Cross Fair at the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park. The fair also features a colourful programme of cultural and entertainment activities, which make this the perfect out for the day or weekend with family and friends.

 

For visitors arriving in Ayutthaya It is considered an auspicious act to first receive blessings from the guardian spirits that they will watch over the province, bestowing good health and prosperity to residents and all who pay homage at the pilgrimage site. Make a stop at the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum to make merit and pay respects to the relics of Lord Buddha enshrined at the sacred site before engaging in other leisure activities.

 

 

NEW YEAR COUNTDOWN CELEBRATIONS 2012

DECEMBER 31, 2011-JANUARY 1, 2012

VENUE: THROUGHOUT THAILAND

 

Whether the countdown to a brand new year -2012 - is in Bangkok, Phuket, or a far northern destination, the Thailand New Year Celebrations carry the hallmarks of fun and genuine hospitality, that make the kingdom such a fascinating destination to visit. This is the Land of Smiles and "sanook", so what better place to ring in the New Year than in Thailand.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

THAI AIRASIA LAUNCHES NEW ROUTE

 

Thai AirAsia will launch thrice-weekly direct services from Chiang Mai to Ubon Ratchathani on November 16. The services are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, departing Chiang Mai at 0720hr and arriving in Ubon Ratchathani at 0835hrs. The return flight will depart at 0900hrs and arrives in the northern capital at 1010hrs.

 

 

THAI AIRWAYS INTERNATIONAL UPS SERVICES

 

Thai Airways International is adding new services to Copenhagen and Seoul, and will ramp up frequencies on existing routes for its upcoming winter programme.

 

The airline will operate the Phuket-Seoul (Incheon) and Bangkok-Copenhagen-Phuket flights, both thrice weekly, on October 30 and November 11, respectively.

 

The flag carrier will also be converting its Bangkok-Phuket-Perth route to thrice-weekly Phuket-Perth, and its Bangkok-Narita-Phuket-Bangkok route to daily Bangkok-Narita.

 

 

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LAOS

 

A note from Managing Director Philippe Conod

 

Dear Partners and Friends,

 

Laos has been very lucky these last two months escaping major flooding, which affected our neighbours. As happens every year many rice fields have been covered by water, but no serious catastrophe happened. Due to a long and particularly heavy rain season roads have suffered the most, and many landslides have temporary cut off some roads. However, tours are still operating normally.

 

The sun is back, as well as the high season that promises to be a very good one

 

We look forward to welcome all your guests to Laos

 

Kind regards from Vientiane

 

Philippe Conod

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

NEW TOUR: ADVENTURE AND LOCAL ETHNICITY

 

7 days Houeixay-Chiang Kok-Muang Sing-Luang Namtha-Nong Kiao-Luang Prabang: Tour is by speedboat, car and traditional boat, and includes trekking in minorities villages around Muang Sing and the Chinese border

 

Detailed programme and rates available

 

TIP OF THE MONTH:  NEW EXPLORE TOUR - IN LAOS NATURE

 

Spend four days discovering Luang Prabang and its surroundings on a brand new bike. After transporting you to all the interesting places the bike will be donated to an orphanage, which is the final destination of your round trip. This is both an interesting journey of discovery, as well as a social support programme.

 

Detailed programme and rates available

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

NEW:  XIENGTHONG PALACE LUANG PRABANG

 

Xhiengthong Palace, located next door to the famous temple from which it borrowed its name, offers 26 comfortable rooms and suites, some of them with a great view over the Mekong River. An elegant air-conditioned restaurant, partially al fresco, serves Lao and international cuisine

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

THAT LUANG FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 9-10, 2011

VENUE: VIENTIANE

 

Laos will celebrate this major festival on November 9-10. It starts with the procession of monks from Lane Xang Avenue to the That Luang Stupa, where about 20,000 monks from all over the country make their offerings. The festival closes with an emotional procession of candles around That Luang Stupa

 

 

LAOS FESTIVALS OF 2012

 

The dates of the main festivals in Laos for 2012 have been officially published.

 

• Pimai (Lao New Year): April 13-15

• Luang Prabang Boat Race:  September 15

• End of the Bhuddist Lent & Vientiane Boat Race:  October 30-31

• That Lung Festival, Vientiane: November 27-28   

         

Advance bookings are recommended

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

LAO AIRLINES' NEW DESTINATIONS

 

Lao Airlines has announced the new destinations, which will be operated with its two two new Airbus A320 airccraft. The international service is Vientiane-Singapore-Bangkok-Hanoi-Kunming-Saigon (via Pakze) and Siem Reap (via Pakze). The new domestic route is Vientiane-Luang Prabang.

 

The flights will start in the second half of November. The airline's time tables with the latest schedules will be updated in the coming weeks

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

L'ADRESSE BY TYNAY, VIENTIANE

 

L'adresse By Tynay has just reopened after a change of location. A Lao chef and his French wife run this French restaurant. It serves fine traditional French food with an excellent choice of dishes at reasonable prices. it is located in the heart of Vientiane, behind Vat Ongteu Temple and just a few minutes' walk from the city's main hotels,

 

 

VIENTIANE'S TRENDY VENUE: JAZZY BRICK

 

Jazzy Brick is the place to be for some good classical jazz. Spread over two floors this jazz bar, located centrally in the city, is popular with young expatriates and the new Lao Y generation. Cheers!

 

Happy Trails in Laos!

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

Rediscovering La Voie Royale, the Royal Road, in Angkor on a bike!

 

On the weekend of October 7-9 more than 100 bike enthusiasts from the French Bank Société Générale took part in the second edition of the "SG Siem Reap Charity Bike Ride" in the Angkor Archaeological Park.

 

Participants were divided into two groups - Skill Riders and Fun Riders. They had to complete the different tracks, which took them through beautiful landscapes of lush green rice fields, dotted with ancient temples.

 

Day one ended with a massage session followed by a well-deserved candle-lit dinner by the pool.

 

The journey resumed on day two. It ended at Le Jardin des Délices, the Training Restaurant of the Paul Dubrule Hotel and Tourism School, where a sumptuous lunch buffet awaited the heroic bikers. Participants received a Certificate of Achievement for successfully completing the charity bike ride.

 

The event was the talk of the town, and our company's visibility was at its peak! Asian Trails once again demonstrates its ability to organise a fun and successful team-building event. The event organisers look forward to work again with Asian Trails for their forth-coming events.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

NO PARKING IN TEMPLE GROUNDS FOR BUSES WITH OVER 24 SEATS

 

The Apsara Authority has banned buses with more than 24 seats from entering temple grounds until further notice. Instead they are to park in front of the staircase of Phnom Bakheng or at the checkpoint between Angkor Wat and Kravan temple.

 

Visitors to the temples (along the pink route) can tour the temples in tuk tuk, car, van, battery car or 24-seater coaster. Visits to Banteay Srey and Banteay Samre can be in any kind of vehicle but has to go through the roads outside Angkor.

 

 

 

APSARA AUTHORITY REGULATES DRESS CODE FOR TEMPLES' VISIT

 

The Apsara Authority has issued new regulations requiring all visitors to wear proper attire, which covers the shoulders and knees, when visiting Angkor Vat (applies to the whole temple and not just for visiting the 3rd floor and on Thngay Sehl, the Buddhist Day), Baphuon and Banteay Srey Temples.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

ELEPHANT CONSERVATION PROJECT IN MONDULKIRI

 

The Volunteer Elephant Forest Conservation Project, located in Mondulkiri province, is dedicated to helping the domestic elephant population and conserving their habitat.

 

The project primarily works with the tribal Bunong peoples in helping to conserve the elephants. There are approximately 54 domestic elephants remaining in Mondulkiri. The end goal is the improvement of the welfare and living conditions of the elephants and to provide a sustainable income for the Mahouts (elephant keepers) and their respective families.

 

The project also provides an alternative lifestyle for the domesticated working elephants closer to their natural living conditions in the forest. The elephant keepers are provided with an alternative income, while the elephants have a sanctuary, veterinary care and do not have to work long hours.

 

 

 

CAMPING AT KOH KER ARCHAELOGICAL PARK

 

A must for adventure lovers, this two-day tour takes you to explore the lost-in-the-jungle temples that even the celluloid adventurer, Lara Croft, could not reach. Our guides lead you safely through the jungles where you spend an exciting night in the vicinity of  the mystic temple of Koh Ker. The overnight stay is in 100% water-proof tents, which are fully equipped with modern amenities. Tent size is based on individual type.

 

 

DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF KHMER/ASIAN CUISINE AT L'ECOLE DES SENS

 

The doors of L'Ecole des Sens/The Senses' School are wide open to anyone who wishes to discover the secret recipes of Khmer cuisine and some of best kept secrets of delicate Asian cuisine.

 

L'Ecole des Sens offers a wide variety of Asian cuisines to food lovers and aspiring chefs who wish to improve their cooking skills. Discover the secrets behind the Khmer grandmother's cooking skill - the little plus, the wise advice, the astuteness, the special extra spice and the herb that give that little additional flavour and soul to the Asian dish!

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

PHNOM PENH

 

COMPLIMENTARY WIFI AT SOFITEL PHNOM PENH PHOKEETHRA

 

The management of Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, in its continuing efforts to maintain the highest level of guests' satisfaction, is offering complimentary wireless Internet access at the hotel. However, some charges may be levelled for Internet access in meeting rooms, depending on the bandwidth and other factors.

 

 

 

kratie

 

LE BUNGALOW DE KRATIE

 

The owner of Terres Rouges Lodge in Ratanakiri and Salah Koh Trong in Kratié has just opened a new boutique hotel, Le Bungalow de Kratié. The new hotel provides Kratié with some badly needed facilities such as a Western restaurant, wine bar and boutique. Decorated with a colonial touch, the hotel is a tribute to the men who made the former Great Indochina, among them adventurers, planters, administrators, soldiers, truck drivers and writers.

 

 

 

Siem Reap

SOKHALAY ANGKOR HOTEL

 

Sokhalay Angkor Hotel is the property's ode to modern Cambodia. Designed by the Architecture Studio of Vann Molyvann - reputed as the Father of modern Cambodian architecture - the hotel is an imposing complex housing exquisite suites, exciting restaurants, spa and facilities for large events.

 

The hotel's crowning glory is the large indoor pool surrounded by a state-of-the-art gym. Gracefully set on the lush tropical gardens are 35 villas with 125 rooms and suites, furnished with the finest selections of wood, marble, Cambodian silk and cotton. All have en-suite bathrooms, balconies and sweeping views of the pool, gardens and the nearby vistas.

 

 

 

HOTEL DE LA PAIX TO CLOSE FOR RENOVATIONS

 

Hotel De La Paix in Siem Reap will be closed for renovations from May 1, 2012. The hotel's management has not determined how long the renovations will take. We will keep you informed of its progress as and when we have the latest updates.

 

 

 

kep-sur-mer

VANNA HILL RESORT

 

This hotel is not just a resort, it's a way of experience, it's home! Perched at 200 metres above sea level it has the majestic Kep National Park as its background. Kep has always offered a welcome respite from the tropical heat since the colonial days. The destination is made more attractive with the resort, which is an ideal retreat and place of rejuvenation for holiday-makers and business travellers from within Cambodia as well as overseas.

 

Vanna Hill Resort, decorated with local Khmer and Western set-up, offers 20 attractive, self-contained bungalows that contain standard, superior and deluxe rooms. All offer spectacular views of the Gulf of Thailand, Bokor Mountain and Vietnam's Phu Quoc Island.

 

 

 

kampot

THE COLUMNS HOTEL

 

The Columns is located on a quiet tree-lined street in the heart of old town of Kampot. The historic French colonial house has been restored to its original charm, but with the addition of modern functionality and comforts. 

 

The hotel's relaxing atmosphere and central location make it an ideal place to stay while exploring the town and its surroundings. Guests can spend the days relaxing along the banks of the Kampong Bay River or visiting the shops and restaurants of the old town district. Major tourist attractions, such as Bokor Mountain and the Kampot pepper plantations are just a short distance away.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

2011 WATER FESTIVAL CANCELLED

 

This year's Water Festival in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, to be held from November 9-11, 2011 are exceptionally cancelled. The cancellation is to preserve funds to address the effects of devastating floods throughout the Kingdom.

 

 

 

ANGKOR WAT HALF-MARATHON, 16 EDITION

DECEMBER 4, 2011

VENUE: ANGKOR WAT

 

Have fun and run by one of the world's greatest architectural wonders - Angkor Wat! The spectacular temple complex will be the centre of attraction as it is here that the annual marathon, half marathon and 10km men/women marathon will start and finish. All are welcomed to participate - women, men, children and people in wheelchair or with artificial limb.  

 

Donate and pledge for fund raising activities. The donations will be for the production of artificial limbs and to help the 12 million of Hansen's disease sufferers worldwide. To register visit the website:

 

 

please To register please click here

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR TO LAUNCH NEW SIEM REAP-KRONG PREAH AIR LINK 

 

Cambodia Angkor Air will launch three times weekly flights between the cultural provinces of Siem Reap/Angkor and coastal Krong Preah Sihanouk province from December 14, 2011. These will be the first flights to the coastal tourism hub.

 

Siem Reap is home to the Angkor Wat temples, a World Heritage Site, located about 314 kilometres north of the capital city of Phnom Penh. Krong Preah Sihanouk is situated about 230 kilometres southwest of Phnom Penh.

 

This new air link route will help increase the development of beach tourism in Cambodia and change dramatically the habits of tourists visiting the country. The new flights will cut travelling time between the two cities from 10 hours by road to just an hour and 15 minutes.

 

 

 

UPGRADED CIP LOUNGE AT SIEM REAP/ANGKOR AIRPORT

 

The services and facilities at the CIP lounge at Siem Reap/Angkor Airport have been improved with its recent upgrade. There is now a wider choice of food and beverages, including wines and spirits.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

BOUCHON WINE BAR is NOW IN PHNOM PENH


Bouchon is a brand new addition to Phnom Penh's after-work scene. This elegant wine bar features an excellent selection of French wines, totally about 3,000 bottles to meet the taste of even the most discerning wine lovers. Most of the wine is from Bordeaux and has been selected and imported exclusively for this bar.

 

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

The winter has returned gently without an exceptional delay, encourging a good movement of travellers going south to enjoy the beach and the sun. For Vietnam in general, and  the Asian Trails team in particular, a brilliant year is going to reach its end and promising perspectives of 2012 are about to come.

 

The study entitled "Vietnam Tourism Industry Forecast to 2012" by RNCOS project forecasts that Vietnam's tourism sector will see a double-digit growth in the near future. A short SWOT analysis may help to figure out this optimistic scenario. 

 

As reliable strengths, Vietnam continues to be a friendly, safe, cultural destination and has gained more popularity worldwide. Weaknesses in technical infrastructure have been overcome by an accelerated increase in investments from the private sector, new world-class resorts, and expanded international hotel chains and management companies.

 

The growth opportunities can simply be attributed to the improved accessibility, direct flight to UK, codeshares flight with Etihad via Bangkok, reinforced liaisons by airlines from Eastern Europe and Russia. The hottest news is Vietnam Airlines and Jet Airways have come to an agreement to establish direct Vietnam-India flights in the third quarter of 2012.

 

However,  the shadow of recession is still present in some source markets but we still see people travelling. Even though travellers are more demanding when they have to pay for a service delivered by a tour operator or travel agent most are looking for value rather than consider costs only. We see this as a challenge rather than a threat. to meet this challenge we have set targets to innovate our products, deliver cutting edge and patch up all best-value-for-money ideas to satisfy customers who choose to travel in a tough time. We seek out the best deals to please last-minute-holiday-makers.

 

Last but not least, we are happy to reveal that the MICE business has come back strongly. We have seen more and more requests, and we trust that 2012 will be a fruitful year.

 

In this last issue of TRAILBLAZER for 2011 we would like to express our most sincere thanks to all our dear partners and colleagues for all your support throughout the year. Best wishes for a more successful 2012!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

VIETNAM NATIONAL HIGHWAY, WORLD'S BEST CYCLING ROUTE

 

Vietnam's 1A National Highway, named as Route Madarine by the French, has been nominated as the world's best cycling route by Lonely Planet.

 

This is why the highway has been given this honour  "The route has some reasonable hills, climaxing in the mighty Hai Van Pass (496m) (the border of Thua Thien-Hue Province and Da Nang city in the Central)- with a breathtaking descent as pine-clad mountains loom to the west and the sea vanishes into the east. Take the time along the way to gaze at networks of lush rice fields blanketing the hidden valleys below; fish, snorkel or dive the turquoise waters of the coast; and soak up the atmosphere of delightful rural hamlets" the book described. If cycling may not appear to be accessible to everyone, an overland journey is absolutely rewarding as it pass through the best parts of Vietnam's coastline."

 

 

INTRODUCING, REVIVING & PRESERVING VIETNAM'S TRADITIONAL FOLK MUSIC

 

With a four-thousand-year history Vietnam has kept, developed and transferred from generation to generation diversified interpretations of folk culture, traditional music is one part of it.

 

So far tourists visiting Vietnam only attend the Water Puppet Show in Hanoi upon arrival, as it has scheduled performance. People can now get amazed with Ca Tru singing, recognised as Intangible Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. The show is organised every evening at the Ancient House, located in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter. The activity aims to create opportunities for local residents and tourists learn more about a character traditional culture of Hanoi and furthermore to preserve the inherited values.

 

Travelling down to central Hue, besides the historical monuments and royal cuisine, guests can also go to the theater for Ca Hue (Hue folk music singing), renowned during the 17t-18th centuries and played at Lord Nguyen's royal palaces, as well as among the common people.

 

Visitors travelling to northern mountainous region or central highlands have the opportunity  to become an anthropologist by attending a traditional performance by local ethnic minorities. The same can be experienced in Mekong Delta.

 

In brief, Vietnam is not a musical destination as compared to cultural capital cities in Europe, but it is making great efforts to preserve and promote various pieces of tradional music performance to entertain everyone who is on a quest of the senses.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

SOFT ADVENTURE IN PHONG NHA- KE BANG NATIONAL PARK

 

After its discovery and the subject of a documentary movie by National Geography, the National Park Phong Nha-Ke Bang in Central Vietnam, with its lush jungle and spectacular cave system especially the Son Doong - the largest cave in the world - has gained the interest of active explorers around the world.

 

Asian Trails Vietnam has been coordinating closely with a local specialist tour operator, backed by the local authority, national park management board and in consultation with National Geography experts, to promote soft adventure tour to the areas in the most sustainable way.

 

Visitors are now permitted to visit and explore up to a depth of 600 metres inside the Son Dong Cave. This trip requires trekking skill as you have to trek through 6km of dry river and sharp rocky mountain before using a rope to enter the back entrance of the cave from the top of the mountain.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

PRIVATE HELICOPTER SERVICE TO GOLF COURSE

 

The Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO) under the Vietnam Airlines Corporation, in collaboration with Vinacopter, has launched the first private helicopter service to Long Thanh Golf course in southern Dong Nai Province's Long Thanh District. The trip on a Eurocopter AS350 B3 from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to HCM City and the golf course takes only 10 minutes. The aircraf can accomodate four passengers and two pilots. VASCO will also provide more flights to popular tourist sites in the southern cities and provinces in the coming months.

 

 

AU CO CRUISE - UNIQUE EXPERIENCE IN THE GULF OF TONKIN

 

In March 2012 Halong Bay's premier cruise provider Bhaya Cruise will be launching two unique, new vessels - The Au Co. This will be the first luxury operator to offer an exclusive 3 days/2 nights cruise in the Gulf of Tonkin, visiting Cat Ba Island and the bays of Halong, Lan Ha and Bai Tu long.

 

The vessels combine state-of-the-art safety standards and innovative Oriental design, providing luxury and dedication to  every detail. Each ship has 32 spacious cabins of minimum 20 square metres each. It also boasts private balconies and well-equipped bathrooms. The numerous activities enroute, the culinary experiences and the atmosphere will please both the active travellers and those just seeking pure relaxation.

 

 

LIFE HERITAGE RESORT HALONG BAY

 

The Life Heritage Resort Halong Bay recently came into operations with 22 private deluxe boats, along with its own land-based hub exclusive to Life Resort guests. This joit operation is to ensure guests' comfort and convenience before and after the cruise adventure.

 

Each deluxe vessel has a spacious 32sqm cabin, 10sqm covered dining terrace and 18sqm sun deck. This offers guests the utmost privacy whilst enjoying the spectacular views. Cabin facilities feature a separate living area with panoramic windows, aft swim and snorkel deck, ensuite bathroom and shower, comfortable king-size beds, air-conditioning and heating, DVD/CD player and LCD television. Sun beds are located on the upper deck. We highly recommend this product  for couples and honeymooner.  

 

Soft opening special: 25% discount for one night cruise from now until December 5, 2011. Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

NEW UNIQUE RESORT IN PHAN THIET 

 

Unique is a new four star resort, which opened recently in Mui Ne- Phan Thiet. With 58 luxury rooms and penthouses overlooking the golden sand beach, Unique Muine Resort offers a truly one-of-a-kind seaside experience with a picturesque beach stretching endlessly toward the skyline, spectacular ocean views, and breathtaking captures of Nature from sunrise and sunset. It is also designed to make use of space and bring a sea view to all rooms.

 

While the hotel does not have a large garden with bungalow like other nearby resorts, it enjoys the best part of Mui Ne Beach.

 

 

CROWNE PLAZA OPENS IN DANANG

 

The second Crowne Plaza Hotel opened in Danang City in September 2011. Formerly known as the Silver Shores International Resort, it is a mere 15 minutes from Danang Airport. It has undergone a rigorous rebrand and upgrade process for three months to ensure its operating standards meet the requirements of the upscale Crowne Plaza brand.

 

Crowne Plaza Danang is located on a prime spot along the Danang Beach front. Taking advantage of its prestigious address, the hotel has 70% of its 535 room and suite inventory designed with an ocean view. All rooms have private balconies for guests to relax and interact in the open space and tranquil environment. There is an extensive choice of restaurants and bars featuring Cantonese, Japanese and Korean cuisine and an international buffet.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

LA RESIDENCE HUE JOINS MGALLERY COLLECTION

 

La Residence Hue Hotel and Spa has joined Accor's MGallery Collection. The 81-year-old boutique art deco hotel is the third property in Vietnam to become a member of the MGallery Collection, and the first in the country to join the MGallery roster of "historic" hotels.  At the height of the art deco movement in 1930 the mansion at 5 Le Loi in Hue was built as part of the French governor's official residence in the former colony of Annam.

 

CELADON PALACE HUE REBRANDS AS BEST WESTERN PREMIER INDOCHINE PALACE

 

On October 1, 201 Celadon Palace Hue was  officially  rebranded as Best Western Premier Indochine Palace.  With its 222 guestrooms the hotel has the gentle stylishness of an Indochine aristocratic mansion. The Palace rooms feature an extended living room ideal for leisure. The Indochine Club Suites provide an extra luxury and the Celadon floors are basically a hotel-in-a-hotel, with their own check-in and high-end lounge.

 

The hotel features a  swimming pool, sundeck with cabana day rooms, restaurants La Brasserie and Le Petit Cafe, lobby lounge, spa and gym, executive lounge and 15 function rooms including Le Grand Salon with a capacity of 400 people banquet style. The hotels'grass lawns of the new luxury hotel in Hue provides the possibility for archery, croquet, badminton and Tai-chi.

 

For the fourth quarter of  2011 and early 2012, the hotel is offering different special packages to welcome guests to stay with this rebranded property.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

NAME CHANGE FOR ANA MANDARA NINH BINH

 

Ana Mandara Ninh Binh Resort & Spa changed its name to Emeralda Ninh Binh Resort & Spa from September 16, 2011. 

 

With a total of 197 guest accommodation in villa style, the resort is set in beautiful gardens reflecting northern village style. There are three room categories - standard, deluxe and duplex. All the rooms include flat panel TV's with satellite channels, complimentary wireless Internet acccess, minibar, tea- and coffee-making facilities and premium personal care amenities.

 

The resort is an ideal venue from Hanoi or a premier choice for those who love to be pampered during a round trip in Vietnam.

 

 

 

GERBERA HUE RENAMES ROOM CATEGORY

 

Gebera Hue has changed its regular room category name "Standard" to "Deluxe" and "Suite" to "(Corner) Studio" effective from October 15, 2011. There are  no changes in room rates or benefits. All terms and conditions remain unchanged as per our contract sent to you for the year 2011-2012.

 

 

L'AMNIEN BEACH RESORT REBRANDS AS ANANTARA MUI NE RESORT AND SPA

 

Luxury discovery brand, Anantara, rebranded the existing L'Anmien Beach Resort to Anantara Mui Ne Resort and Spa on November 1, 2011.

 

Guests have a choice of a wide range of rooms and suites ranging from 42 square metres to the presidential suite of 178 square metres, which offers different lagoon, pool and beach perspectives. There are also 20 pool villas - either pool or beachfrotnt -  ranging from 92 to 128 square metres that  boast a private lounge, open-air bathroom, private swimming pool, lagoon, and spctacular views of the gardens.

 

The resort has banqueting, event and meeting facilities that include five conference rooms for up to 250 participants. Other facilities include a spa offering a wealth of health, beauty and wellness treatments, a stunning beach swimming pool and a fitness centre with modern gym equipment.

 

 

EPIKUREAN EXITS HOTEL COLLECTION INDOCHINE

 

In a move that is positioned to support the growth of Epikurean Villas, Hotels & Hideouts in Vietnam, Epikurean recently exited from Hotel Collection Indochine, the hotel management company formed in 2010 in which Epikurean was the managing partner.

 

The sales and marketing team remains the same and will be increased by incorporating anew head of corporate sales.

Properties that Epikurean is currently operating in Vietnam are:

 

An Lam Ninh Van Bay: 35-private pool villas scheduled for completion  by end of 2011. Located in a quiet and isolated bay in Vietnam's idyllic Ninh Van Bay, Nha Trang.

 

Ka Lam Private Bay: Just few minutes away by boat from An Lam Ninh Van Bay. Two , private beach villas, each with indoor/outdoor bathrooms and a private pool.

 

Ana Mandara Hue: The only resort beach in the ancient city of Hue with private pool villas and located in a 400 metre of beach front. It has 78 keys including beach pool villas, beach villas, duplex and deluxe rooms.

 

An Lam Saigon River Private Residence: The ultimate Saigon boutique hideout, opening in mid-December 2011. It has 15 guestrooms split in seven exclusive villas. About a 15-minute boat ride from the city centre, the resort blends utmost privacy with serenity and exclusivity.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

HUE FESTIVAL 2012

APRIL 7-15, 2011

VENUE: HUE

 

The Hue Festival 2012 will be the highlight of next year's National Tourism Year. "Cultural Heritage with Integration & Development" will be the theme of this  biennial international event, which will be held for the seventh time.

 

The festival will showcase distinctive Vietnamese performance art, with a focus on the Hue royal arts. Presentations on ethnic minority culture, as well as performances by more than 20 leading art troupes from five continents will also be part of the event. In addition, the nine-day event will re-enact unique royal ceremonies together with a wide range of unprecedented and exciting community events, including Imperial Night with royal banquets, the Nam Giao Offering Ritual, A Peaceful World dance performance and music combined with lantern installations.

 

The event will also include the annual 13th conference of the League of Historical Cities. Eighty city members from 55 countries will join the three-day event.

 

 

HANOI FLOWER STREET FESTIVAL 2012

DECEMBER 30, 2011-JANUARY 2, 2012

VENUE: HANOI

 

Themed as "flower heritage sites", the Flower Street Festival Hanoi 2012 will honour the cultural heritage sites that have been recognised by UNESCO. Accordingly, such heritage sites like the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the stone steles in the Literature Temple, Giong Festival and Ca Tru will be showcased at the event, as well as other sites recognised throughout the country. A wide range of activities such as flower-arranging competitions, exhibitions of ornamental plants and handicrafts will be also organised as part f the festival.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

HO CHI MINH GAINS AIR LINKS FROM EASTERN EUROPE

 

Airlines from Eastern Europe will operate flights to Ho Chi Minh City during this winter schedule starting October 30.

 

Aeroflot will resume flights to the city after a 10-year absence, using a Boeing B767-300ER aircraft. The Moscow-Ho Chi Minh City service will operate twice weekly, on Wednesdays and Sundays, returning Thursdays and Mondays from the southern Vietnamese city.

 

Aerosvit from Ukraine will operate a twice-weekly service between Kiev and Ho Chi Minh City starting 21 December,2011. Departures from Kiev are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the return flights departing Mondays and Fridays. The airline will use a Boeing B767-300ER aircraft for this service.

 

Vladivostok Air wlll launch a Vladivostok-Ho Chi Minh City service from November 15, 2011. The flights to Ho Chi Minh City will replace the flights to Cam Ranh as Cam Ranh Airport cannot handle the Airbus A330 aircraft. Cam Ranh is 290km north of Ho Chi Minh City. The airport serves traffic to Nha Trang.

 

Vietnam has already awarded visa exemption to citizens from 56 countries including Russia and Ukraine. In 2010 Vietnam received around 51,000 Russian tourists, and aims to increase the number s to 150,000 by 2015. Beaches in the central coastal area are the prime destinations for East European tourists.

 

 

ETIHAD CODESHARES WITH VIETNAM AIRLINES

 

Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates,  entered into a codeshare agreement with Vietnam Airlines on October 30, 2011.

 

The agreement allows Etihad passenters to connect seamlessly through Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi on Vietnam Airlines' daily services. Etihad operates a double daily service to Bangkok.

Likewise, Vietnam Airlines passengers from either Ho Chi Minh or Hanoi can  connect through Bangkok to Etihad's base in Abu Dhabi.

 

 

AIR ASIA FLIES TO DANANG

 

From December 16, 2011 AirAsia will start Danang-Kuala Lumpur service. The four times weekly flights will depart from Danang International Airport to the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysi. Flights are on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

 

This new air link  will be a great opportunity to offer stopover packages or beach breaks at luxury resorts in Danang, Hoi An and Hue. It will also add more flexibility to he itinerary of inbound tourist.

 

 

STOPOVER IN SIEM REAP WITH SILKAIR

 

Passengers who wish to travel to Singapore from Danang can fly on SilkAir, the regional arm of Singapore Airlines that currently offers four weekly flights to Singapore.

Two of these flights stop over in Siem Reap, enroute to Singapore, which means customers have the added option of travelling to Siem Reap to visit famous sites there including Angkor Wat. 

 

The Danang-Singapore flights are on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays while services to Siem Reap are on Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

 

VIETNAM AIRLINES EYES INDOCHINA HUB

 

Vietnam Airlines pledges to build Vietnam as a major gateway for travel to Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia under a Four Countries One Destination (4 CODE) marketing programme.

 

The airline already flies to Yangon and Siem Reap from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It has other destinations in the pipeline in this sub-region, as well as plans to launch more long-haul non-stop services from source markets to the Vietnamese gateways.

 

The so-called 4 CODE is built around developing Vietnam as the gateway. and Vietnam Airlines as the main carrier to link the four countries to source markets worldwide. It will require Vietnam's national airline to create seamless flight connections to its three partner countries from long-haul services flying tourists to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

Though 2014 Vietnam Airlines' new routes in the region include services from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Mandalay; Hanoi-Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City-Vientiane. It will fly from Danang in the central part of the country too, but has yet to identify the destination; possibly Siem Reap.

 

More flights will also serve existing routes, and more connections to Europe, Australia are expected to open from 2013 to 2015. It is obvious that Vietnam Airline's fleet must be upgraded to meet the demand.

 

 

AIR MEKONG OUTLINES EXPANSION

 

Air Mekong, Vietnam's newest domestic airline that started services last October, plans to expand its network to 40 routes and possibly adding regional services in 2012. It owns a fleet of four 90-seat Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft leased from Australian SkyWest Airlines.

 

The carrier is preparing to launch a three times weekly service between Vinh and Buon Me Thout. Vinh is a beach destination in Nghe An province, about 300km south of Hanoi. Buon Me Thout in the central highlands, about 380km north of Ho Chi Minh City, is famous as the regional "capital of coffee" and is also a useful base for treks to nearby Yok Don National Park.

 

The airline is waiting for approval to commence services in November 2011 to Dalat in the southern central highlands and Phu Quoc, the country's largest island resort in the Gulf of Thailand. Air Mekong is now operating Hanoi and Con Dao Island with a refueling stopover in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

The carrier may start regional services in 2012 to destinations in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China and Taiwan. The services will link niche market destinations in these countries. Possible routes are Hanoi to Chiang Mai and Dalat to Siem Reap.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

CLUB OPERA NOVEL RESTAURANT HANOI

 

Club Opera Novel Restaurant and Bar Loung in Hanoi has been established since 1993, and has gained a reputation for truly authentic Vietnamese foods and excellent service. It is inhabits one of the most beautiful French houses on the luxurious, legendary Trang Tien Street, which was built in tandem with the Hanoi Opera House in 1901, only steps away.


Club Opera Novel fine-dining restaurant offers classy Vietnamese cuisine and specialities of the house, while its opulent lounge bar has an impressive choice of spirits, exclsuive boutique wines from different parts of the world. It is also a venue for one of the world's finest coffee, Lavazza, and selected tea, Ronnefeldt.

 

 

 

staff update

 

NEW PRODUCT MANAGER FOR ATV

 

Mr. Phuong Do (pictured left) has been appointed Product Manager of Asian Trails Vietnam effective October 1, 2011. Phuong Do has been working with Asian Trails as Quality Control and Customer Relations Manager since November 2008 at our Ho Chi Minh City office.

 

His wide knowledge in tourism products and strong understanding of tourists' expectations is a good base for his new task of developing and innovating our products catered to diversified interests and demands of different markets.

 

Phuong Do remains responsible for Quality Control, while Customer Relations is the responsiblity of Ms. Trang Ngo, Assistant Quality Control and Customer Relations Manager since May, 2011.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

FREE WIFI  IN HOI AN

 

Hotels and tourism-related companies in Vietnam's world heritage town of Hoi An will offer free Wifi internet by December. Vietnam Data Communications Area 3 and Quang Nam Telecom joined hands to install 350 free Wifi hotspots in the city, mainly at tourist related venues. According to Quang Nam department of information director, Ho Quang Buu, the project cost US$1.1 million and is supported by the private sector.

 

Hoi An was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 as an example of a well-preserved trading port, which  was a major port of call for traders from China in the 1600s. The nearest airport to Hoi An is Danang International Airport.

 

 

 

NEW EDITION OF ASIAN TRAILS' VIETNAM MAPS

 

Asian Trails Vietnam is very proud to announce the publication of a new issue of Maps of Vietnam. The brand new and updated maps are being distributed to all our clients and will certainly be a very useful and great source of information. The maps also recommends selected venues for shopping, eating and entertaining so our guests can enjoy the best whilts hanging out in the cities.

 

 

VIETNAM RESORTS AMONG WORLD'S BEST IN 2011

 

The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel Hanoi and the Nam Hai Resort in the central Hoi An city shared top billing as Asia's best leisure properties for this year via an online poll by Hong Kong-based travel and trade journal, Smart Travel Asia.

 

The Nam Hai ranked second last year, while the Metropole, third. In addition, the Caravelle Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City claimed 23rd on the list of top business hotels in Asia.

 

Aside from being named Asia's Top Leisure Hotel and Resort, the Metropole was also ranked 18th on the list of Asia's Top 25 Business Hotels and 8th among Asia's Top 25 Conference Hotels. The Nam Hai collected an additional award as one of Asia's three Top Spa Hotels and Resorts.

 

A total of six Vietnam properties made the poll's lists, including the Park Hyatt Hotel Saigon, the Furama Resort Danang, and Princess d'Annam Resort and Spa in Ke Ga Bay of Binh Thuan province.

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

Autumn and its legendary variety of colours have arrived and it is time to consider Beijing or Shanghai for a long weekend, or a combination of the two bustling cities with a ride on the bullet train.

 

We have prepared very competitive packages for both winter and Christmas shopping.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

ANANTARA XISHUANGBANNA RESORT & SPA - YUNNAN PROVINCE

 

In the September-October issue of TRAILBLAZER we announced Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa would open in November 2011. The opening has been postponed to March 2012 so guests can to enjoy spring in Yunnan. The resort is about a 45-minute drive from Jinghong airport in Yunnan Province, close to the Laos border.

 

China Eastern Airlines, which flies to/from Bangkok, stops over in Jinghong once a week (Wednesday) and provides easy access to this area of the province.

 

 

 

XISHUANGBANNA TO LAOS

 

The proximity of Xishuangbanna to Laos enables travellers visiting the province to combine travel to the latter. From the Chinese border the journey continues to Muang La in north Laos and then to Luang Prabang on the beautiful Ou River. Visitors can obtain visa at the border.

 

Contact us for further information.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

WINTER PACKAGES TO CHINA

 

Winter is a nice time to visit China and enjoy very competitive rates. Asian Trails China has prepared winter packages for Beijing and Shanghai, as well as a combination of the two cities. The itinerary includes a ride on the newly opened bullet train.

 

Contact us for further information.

 

 

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING IN BEIJING

 

Why not do your Christmas shopping in Beijing? It is a good opportunity to discover China's capital city and shop for your Christmas gifts at the same time.

 

Contact us for further information.

 

BEIJING - THE BRICKYARD AT MUTIANYU

 

Looking for accommodation near the Great Wall for individual travellers or small groups? The Brickyard is the perfect choice. A lush and private eco-retreat, it incorporates the kilns and buildings of a traditional glazed tile factory in a design that is "green" from the ground up.

 

All the 16 queen rooms have private terraces and storey-and-a-half window walls with spectacular views of the Great Wall. The property also includes a lodge with a café, a fully equipped conference centre, a spa with exercise room, sauna, and an outdoor jacuzzi.

 

 

OPENING OF NEW PITS NEAR QIN SHIHUANG MAUSOLEUM, XIAN

 

Two new pits of civil servant and acrobat terracotta figures at the mausoleum of Emperor Qin Shihuang (259 BC-210 BC) were opened to the public on October 1.

 

The acrobat pit, coded K9901 and discovered in 1999, lies in the southeast of the mausoleum of Qin Shihuang. The 11 unearthed terracotta figures, unarmoured with their torsos unclad, differ greatly from terracotta warriors. They might have represented wrestlers, acrobats or dancers in the court of the Qin Dynasty, according to archaeologists. 

 

The civil servant figure pit, coded K0006, lying in the southwest of the mausoleum opened to the general public on the same day.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

LANGHAM GROUP TO MANAGE SHANGHAI 88 XINTIANDI

 

The British Langham Hospitality Group has taken over the management of 88 Xintiandi, a luxury executive serviced apartment located in the heart of Shanghai. The property targets luxury travellers seeking Asian sophistication and an intimate club-like atmosphere.

 

Intimate and stylish, 88 Xintiandi, Shanghai combines the best of traditional Shanghai and modern style architecture. Nestled in Xintiandi, Shanghai's vibrant and lively hub of history and exclusivity and surrounded by specialty shops, international restaurants and historic sites, this premium property blends the classic with the contemporary.

 

Langham Group's move to take over the management of this exclusive property is its first step to roll out the 88 Xintiandi brand concept of Asian elegance across China. The range of luxury properties under this brand will include serviced apartments, branded residences and boutique luxury hotels.

 

 

RITZ-CARLTON TO OPEN HOTELS IN WUHAN AND DALIAN

 

The-Carlton Hotel Company has signed an agreement with a Shanghai group for the development of two new Ritz-Carlton hotels in Wuhan and Dalian.

 

The 330-room The Ritz-Carlton, Wuhan, scheduled to open in 2017, will be located in the centre of the Wuchang Binjiang central business district. The hotel will offer a heath club, a pool, a spa, and more than 2,500sqm of meeting space. F&B options will include a 170-seat three-meal restaurant, a 150-seat Chinese restaurant with 12 private dining rooms, a lobby lounge capable of hosting 70 guests, and a 50-seat Ritz-Carlton Bar.

 

The 300-room The Ritz-Carlton, Dalian, located in the heart of Dalian's Donggang CBD, will form part of a mixed-use development. It will feature a variety of restaurants bars and other facilities.

 

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company will have 13 properties in China by 2017.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

CHINESE NEW YEAR

JANUARY 23, 2012

 

On January 23 China will enter the year of the Dragon ("long" in Chinese). The dragon is considered the most auspicious sign of the 12 in the Chinese Lunar calendar.

 

 

AUTO SHOW

APRIL 2012

VENUE, BEIJING

 

The Auto Show is a major event in China and takes place once in every two years, either in Beijing or Shanghai. In 2012 Beijing will host the auto show.

 

Contact us for further details. 

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

CHINA EASTERN' STOPOVER IN JINGHONG

 

China Eastern Airlines' Shanghai-Bangkok-Shanghai flight makes a stopover in Jinghong once a week, on Wednesday, providing easy access to this area of the province.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

THE ROOSEVELT

 

The Roosevelt family has a long-standing, unique connection with China. Beginning with the House of Roosevelt's founder, Tweed Roosevelt's great grandfather, President Theodore Roosevelt, the family has strong cultural ties with the country and its people.

 

The House of the Roosevelt is one of only 29 original historical Bund buildings. On the first floor is the Courtyard Bistro, the only open-air courtyard restaurant on the Bund.

 

On the second floor is the Wine Cellar, the perfect venue to savour tapas or a meal on a hardy wooden bench or wine barrel. On the third floor is the members only Roosevelt Club.

 

The Sky Restaurant and Bar on the eighth floor offers an awe-inspiring skyline view of the Shanghai Bund. Western cuisine is served here with the finest wines recommended for each course. The Terrace allows guests to capture the buzz of the city and the vintage feel of the North Side Bund.

 

The roof top lounge on the ninth floor offers a breathtaking view of the Bund.

 

 

BEIJING: DUCK DE CHINE at 1949 JINBAOJIE

 

Duck de Chine has opened a new branch at the brand new 1949 Jinbaojie complex. A superb restaurant, it offers some of the best duck dishes in Beijing, combined with the most innovative mix-and-match concepts with new Bollinger Champagne Bar & Lounge.

 

Three distinctive duck ovens form a striking centrepiece for the courtyard, with the aroma of the famous Roast Beijing Duck wafting across the tables to further whet the diners' appetites.

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

We have been very busy preparing for the upcoming winter season, which looks very promising. From the feedbacks and the reservations we are receiving there are clear signs that Myanmar is currently getting many more bookings then in the past years, and is probably going into a record breaking season in terms of tourist arrivals.

 

We urge you not to delay too long your bookings for the Christmas period, as well as for January and February 2012, as room availability is getting quite tight, especially at Ngapali Beach and Inle Lake and for cruises.

 

During the past two months the staff had the opportunity to attend several training courses as part of our efforts to improve our services, especially in correspondence with our clients. You will find more information and a picture of the training session in this newsletter.

 

We would like to wish you and your families the very best for 2012 and to say thank you for the enormous support for Asian Trails Myanmar over the past years.

 

Best regards,

 

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

EARLY BOOKING ADVICE

 

Myanmar is getting ever more popular especially during Christmas/New Year and in February. Hotels and cruises are almost fully booked. To avoid disappointment we recommend early booking and as soon as possible.

 

 

EMAIL PROBLEMS

 

During the past months we have faced many problems with our incoming, as well as outgoing emails. This is beyond our control as it is due to the unreliable nature of the local servers. We kindly ask you to please feel free to resend any email if you have not heard from us within a 48-hour period.

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

DORA RIVER CRUISE

 

The Dora River cruise is the latest addition to the ever more popular cruising itineraries around Myanmar. The boat, built in 2010 in Myanmar, offers river sightseeing along the Yangon River, evening sunset cruises and trips to the delta. It can accommodate up to a maximum of 24 passengers and is available for charter.

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

NGAPALI BAY VILLAS & SPA - NGAPALI BEACH

 

Ngapali Bay Villas & Spa impresses with its incredible location directly at the seafront surrounded by endless sand and coconut trees. The hotel has 32 luxury villas, a restaurant, garden, pool bar, swimming pool, spa, sunset terrace, boutique and business centre with internet service.

 

 

VILLA INLE RESORT & SPA - INLE LAKE

 

Villa Inle Resort & Spa offers its guests with exclusive comfort and magnificent views of the beautiful mountain range and tranquil Inle Lake. The hotel consists of 16 villas, restaurant, spa, vegetable garden, boutique and business centre with internet access.  

 

VIEW POINT ECO LODGE - NYAUNG SHWE

 

ViewPoint Eco-Lodge sits on the edge of the canal leading to the magnificent Inle Lake in the colourful Southern Shan State village of Nyaung Shwe.

 

The lodge comprises 20 luxurious Cottage Suites, all built on pilings using the traditional eco-friendly construction techniques of the Shan people. All the suites have modern bathrooms, wireless Internet, telephone, plasma TV and unlimited movies and music. They are affordable without compromising on comfort amenities and the unique ambience of the lodge.

 

Facilities include  two restaurants and a roof top bar with splendid view of the rice fields and the surrounding mountains.

 

 

STRAND HOTEL - MAWLAMAYING

 

The hotel is about a five-minute walk from the town centre and directly at the famous Strand Road facing the mighty Thanlwin River.

 

Strand Hotel has 57 rooms providing all the necessary amenities including air conditioning, IDD telephone, satellite TV and minibar.  It offers one restaurant serving local cuisine, a coffee bar, meeting room facilities and a business centre.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

ANANDA TEMPLE FESTIVAL

JANUARY 1-23, 2012

VENUE: BAGAN

 

The Ananda Festival, named after Bagan's most important temple, takes place from January 1-23, 2012  - gull moon day of Pyatho (anuary 8, 2012)

 

The entire Bagan region celebrates this festival. Pilgrims from all over the region attend the event, coming to Bagan in caravans of covered ox carts. Visitors are also welcomed to join in the celebrations. As part of the celebrations devotees offer monks alm bowls. Throughout the festival days a fairground with market stalls, as well as street restaurants, operate in front of Ananda Temple.

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

YANGON AIRWAYS RESUMES OPERATIONS

 

Yangon Airways resumed its service on October 16, 2011 and is now flying to all the major tourist destinations in the country.

 

There are now five domestic airlines operating in Myanmar namely Asian Wings, Air KBZ, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and Air Bagan. All operate flights throughout the country using ATR-72, ATR-42 and Fokker 100 aircraft.

 

Please note that baggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg. You can leave any excess luggage in the hotels in Yangon for collection upon return from upcountry.

 

 

 

 

staff update

 

WELCOME BACK MR MANDI

 

We would like to welcome Mr. Maurizio Mandl back to the Asian Trails Myanmar team. He will be responsible for public relations and customer care during the high season - a responsibility he has undertaken for the Asian Trails group since 2004.

 

Mr Mandi will be with Asian Trails Myanmar until April 2012. During this period he will serve as public relations and customer care manager either in Yangon (Myanmar), Siam Reap (Cambodia), Hanoi (Vietnam) or in any of the destinations within the Asian Trails group, depending on where his services are required.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

COURSES IN BUSINESS ENGLISH

 

Our staff has undergone training in business English over the past months to further boost our services and to facilitate correspondence with our clients The aim of the training is to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the correspondence between you, our esteemed clients, and our office.

 

MYANMAR IN 2ND SPOT ON LIST OF TOP 10 DESTINATIONS FOR 2012

 

Myanmar has clinched the second spot on "Lonely Planet's Best in Travel: top 10 countries for 2012". The selection was voted by a panel of Lonely Plantet's inhouse travel experts, based on topicality, excitement, value and that special X-factor.

 

Here is Lonely Planet's citation for Myanmar's selection to the top 10:

 

"We want people to come to Burma". That's the words of the National League for Democracy  (NLD), the opposition party that has urged foreigners to stay away since 1996. This changed in late 2010 when the NLD revised its boycott to encourage independent travel (as opposed to package tours) following the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, who had spent 15 of the past 20 years under house arrest.

 

"As a result, Myanmar is set to be a hot new destination for independent travellers. Rimmed by mountains and white-sand beaches, the kite-shaped country's most accessible area is the centre, which is filled with timeless towns and countless pagodas, especially the 4,000 examples found on Bagan's 26sqkm riverside plain. Beyond the attractions, there's the fervently Buddhist locals, who might just be the world's sweetest people …"

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Kuala Lumpur.

 

Time surely flies as we'll soon approaching the end of the year, which reminds me that I've been in Malaysia for a year now.

 

Business has picked up especially in the MICE segment and we have been busy with many international groups.

 

We're also working towards some new packages such as the Heritage Walk in Ipoh, which I would term as one of the many hidden treasures of Malaysia.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners for the support and I look forward to more great cooperation in 2012.

 

On a personal note, I will be getting married in November and therefore this will be my last message as a bachelor.    

 

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year in advance!

 

Best regards

 

 

Emir

Malaysia Truly Asia!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

KL TO HOST UFTAA CONGRESS IN 2012

 

The 46th United Federation of Travel Agents Association (UFTAA) Congress will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from November 17-22, 2012.

 

The Malaysia Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) is setting up a team with Tourism Malaysia and the Malaysia Association of Hotels (MAH) to draw up the details of the event, which will be attended by travel agents from all over the world. Among the topics to be discussed at the Congress are green tourism, visa policies, security and other common issues related to the tourism industry.

 

With 2013 designated as Visit Malaysia Year the Congress will be the perfect opportunity to introduce Malaysia to the delegates and the world. Visits to tourist destinations in East and West Malaysia will be in the itinerary.

 

 

PERAK TARGETS INTERNATIONAL TOURISTS IN 2012

 

The state government of the central Malaysian state of Perak aims to increase international tourists with the declaration of 2012 as Visit Perak Year.

 

To facilitate this target, five clusters namely Belum/Lenggong, Taiping, Kuala Kangsar, Ipoh and Pangkor Island have been identified. Ipoh, Taiping and Kuala Kangsar are urban centres featuring history and heritage. Pangkor Island is a popular beach resort, while Belum has one of the oldest rainforests in the world and Lenggong is an archaeologically rich area.

 

Perak currently attracts three million tourists a year, mostly domestic. In addition to the five clusters two trails are also being packaged - one on history and heritage, and another on food.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

CORONADE HOTEL IS NOW HOTEL ROYAL KUALA LUMPUR

 

Coronade Hotel has been renamed Hotel Royal Kuala Lumpur. The hotel has a new coast of paint, while new beds and LCD TVs have been installed in the guestrooms.

 

 

NEW NAME FOR LEGEND HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR

 

The Legend Hotel Kuala Lumpur has undergone a name change, and is now known as Sunway Putra Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

 

RENOVATIONS AT ROYAL MULU RESORT

 

The Royal Mulu Resort in Sarawak is undergoing renovations to bring it to Marriott's standard. Work started on October 15, 2011 and is expected to be completed in one-and-a-half years.  

 

With renovations in progress resort has scaled down its operations and the number of guestrooms. The restaurant and the reception area have been shifted to the Ballroom area, while the swimming pool and Riverside Lounge are closed. On completion of the renovations the resort will be rebranded as a Marriot property.

 

 

BERJAYA LANGKAWI'S TO SPOT NEW LOOK IN MID-2012

 

The renovation and refurbishment of rooms at the Berjaya Langkawi Resort, which commenced in September 2009, will be completed by July 2012.

 

Currently more than 100 rooms have already been renovated, which is the first of a three-stage upgrade to the 70-acre property costing RM40 million (US$14 million). The second stage will involve the junior chalets on water, including an extension of the units. Stage three will focus on the main buildings, reception area and restaurants.

 

The property remains open during the entire renovation period. However, areas where work is ongoing are cordoned off. Guests are continually updated on the ongoing works to ensure minimal disruption to their routines and activities.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

HARI RAYA AIDILADHA

NOVEMBER 6, 2011

VENUE:  THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Commonly known as Hari Raya Haji or Hari Raya Qurban, the festival marks the culmination of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mekah, which is performed by millions of Muslims annually. Muslims in Malaysia celebrate the festival with prayers and sacrifice of cattle.

 

 

MALAYSIA YEAR-END SALE (M-YES)

NOVEMBER 15, 2011-JANUARY 1, 2012

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Malaysia's Year-End sale is back with great discounts. Malaysians and visitors alike look forward to the festival for the unbelievable discounts, bargains and promotions. Load your shopping carts with gifts, souvenirs, branded items and everything else you need for the year-end festive season!

 

 

MONSOON CUP

NOVEMBER 22-27, 2011

VENUE: PILAU DUYONG, KUALA TERENGGANU

 

A prestigious competition, the Monsoon Cup is dubbed the "Formula One of Sailing". A wide range of interesting programmes is held to coincide with the competition, including displays of Terengganu's splendid arts and heritage.

 

 

LANGKAWI BIRDING & FOTOFEST 2011

NOVEMBER 25-27, 2011

VENUE: LANGKAWI

 

Celebrate all things birds and wildlife in Langkawi, one of the world's most beautiful group of islands. There are numerous activities for participants that include bird race, wildlife photography competitions, exhibitions and lectures/workshops on conservation and eco-tourism.

 

PIALA SERI ENDON DESIGN COMPETITION

NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 11, 2011

VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR

 

The Piala Seri Endon Design Competition was conceived to discover and provide a platform for support, recognition and encouragement of Malaysia's batik-making talent. The annual event that is open only to Malaysians over 18 years of age, and is part of the Malaysia Batik Crafted For the World movement.

 

 

FABULOUS FOOD 1MALAYSIA - STREET FOOD FESTIVAL (LAUNCH)

DECEMBER 1,2011

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Irresistible aromas, delicious tastes and lip-smacking flavours best describe Malaysia's street food, reputed to be among the best in the region. From spicy, subtle to sweet, the different tastes of local food will leave you absolutely delighted. Be adventurous and titillate your taste buds during this festival.

 

 

 

KUALA LUMUR INTERNATIONAL BATIK 2011

DECEMBER 9-11, 2011

VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE

 

An event that showcases the multiple dimensions of batik - its art and craft, techniques and technology in its making, and techniques in marketing to the world.

 

 

CHRISTMAS CELEBRTIONS

DECEMBER 25, 2011

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

The Christmas spirit in Malaysia is made merrier with the country's tropical weather and friendly people. Visitors will be spoilt for choice as there are many restaurants, bistros, shopping malls and hotels that offer great promotions specially for the occasion. Join in the celebrations and have a sunny Merry Christmas in Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

GOLF CLUB DATAI BAY LANGKAWI CLOSES FOR UPGRADING WORKS

 

The Golf Club Datai Bay in Langkawi has been closed since October 1, 2011 for upgrading works that will see the birth of a new golf course of international distinction. It is designed by South African Ernie Els, one of the most successful golfers in the history of the game. Having won more than 60 tournaments since turning professional in 1989, Els' remarkable and inspiring success on the golf course has been replicated in his portfolio of award-winning golf course designs throughout the world.

 

The new Ernie Els designed course is scheduled to open in the second quarter of 2013.

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

ON THE MAHAKAM RIVER IN EAST KALIMANTAN - A JOURNEY TO DAYAK LAND

 

Balikpapan is the gateway to East Kalimantan with the only international airport in one of Indonesia's largest provinces. The city is smaller then the capital Samarinda, but is a major hub for Indonesia's oil industry with many international companies involved. The journey from Balikpapan to the boat jetty in Samarinda takes only two hours on a good road.

 

The wooden boat offers one large cabin on the upper deck with air-conditioning, and with space for 10 passengers sleeping on comfortable floor mats. In the boat's front is a nice terrace furnished with chairs, which is considered the best place to watch the activities on the river. Downstairs is the semi-open dining area, a kitchen and a simple, clean bathroom.

 

From Samarinda the crew navigates the boat on the Mahakam River for 15 hours upstream to the remote outpost of Muara Muntai, passing villages, jungle and numerous coalmines along the way. From there the journey continues with small but fast water taxis over a large lake and past a bird sanctuary to reach Mancong, the first Dayak village on the Mahakam River. The friendly villagers, who are ancestors of the notorious headhunters, make their living from agriculture and fishing. They are proud to show visitors their wooden longhouse, which is considered the largest and best preserved in the whole of Kalimantan. A dance performance involving half of the village shows visitors that the Dayak traditions still play an important role in their daily life. However, technological modernity in the form of handphones and televisions has reached this remote part of the world.

 

After the village visit the journey downstream is much shorter. Next visit is to the Sultan Palace of Tenggarang near Samarinda, which also marks the end of the cruise. On the way back to Balipapan is the Samboja Lodge, which is located near a sanctuary for captured orangutans.

 

Asian Trails Indonesia offers a four-day package to East Kalimantan with the option to extend up to 10 days for longer cruise itineraries up the Mahakam River.

 

 

For more information please click here

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

TOP AWARDS FOR FOUR BALI'S RESORTS

 

Asia and Australasia's roles in leading the global travel and tourism recovery have been recognised at a VIP gala ceremony hosted by World Travel Awards in Bangkok, Thailand on September 28, 2011.

 

Four hotels and resorts in Bali were among he winners:

  • St. Regis Bali Resort - Asia's Leading Luxury Resort & Indonesia's Leading Hotel.

  • Banyan Tree - Asia's Leading Resort Brand.

  • Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali  - Indonesia's Leading Golf Resort

  • AYANA Resort and Spa Bali  - Indonesia's Leading Resort & Indonesia's Leading Spa Resort

 

VISA-FREE COUNTRIES

 

Indonesia has extended its 30-day visa-free entry facility to travellers holding Cambodian and Laotian passports. With this latest move nationals from all ASEAN member countries can now avail of the visa-free travel arrangements to Indonesia.

 

Visa-on-Arrival (VOA) facilities were previously available to travellers from Cambodia and Laos, while Myanmar passport holders needed to apply for visas in advance.

 

Indonesia currently grants visa-free entry to travellers from 15 countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, The Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Chile, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Macau, Morocco and Peru.

 

 

JAKARTA REOPENS OLD AIRPORT FOR COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS

 

Indonesia reopened the former Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on October 15, 2011 for commercial operations to help lift the strain off Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Last year Soekarno-Hatta Airport exceeded its annual traffic capacity of 23 million by about two million passengers.

 

Merpati Nusantara Airlines is the first carrier to avail of the renewed commercial services at Halim Perdanakusuma, connecting with Palembang (South Sumatra), Lampung and Bandung (West Java). The airport will see NO international arrivals and is used only by Merparti Nusantara Airlines until further notice.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

BALI ASLI - CULINARY EXPERIENCE AT FOOT OF MT. AGUNG

 

Bali Asli, restaurant and cooking school, is located in Gelumpang village, near the town of Amlapura, Karangasem regency, in north east Bali. It is about two hours' drive from the airport and 30 minutes from Candidasa village. Nestled at the foothills of Mount Agung, Bali's most sacred mountain, it is surrounded by rice fields.

 

The restaurant promotes Balinese cuisine and culture without exploiting it or its people. Instead it embraces the community, supporting those who fish, farm and forage in the near by fields, ocean and jungle.

 

Bali Asli's menu offers authentic Balinese food cooked in a traditional Balinese style kitchen. The food is cooked on wood-fired, mud brick stoves, allowing the real flavours of Bali to shine. Most of the food's ingredients are either grown in restaurant's own garden, in its neighbour's garden or purchased from the local market.

 

The cooking school runs unique classes themed on "a day in the life of...".  Every class includes an adventure into local areas off the beaten track. Whether it is learning how to plant rice or plough the fields with a cow, fishing in a jukung canoe, cooking over an open fire or making cocktails from cashew nut wine, its students always leave with fond memories and new skills to experiment with when they get home.

 

 

EXPLORE THE HIGH SEAS ON IKAN TERBANG

 

Enjoy your privacy within Ikan Terbang's intimate cabin space, which can accommodate up to 10 guests. Inside and outside, in the sun or in the shade, cosy and comfortable spaces for recreation are waiting for you. Lay back in its unique surroundings as the wind fills the sails, and the bow slides gently through the waves.

 

The sailing yacht is available for day private charters or longer cruises throughout the archipelago. Facilities on board: Flat screen TV, DVD player, Bose music sound system (bring your iPod!), WC-shower with cold/hot water, inside lounge with sofas that convert into couchettes, fishing gear and snorkelling equipment for adults and children.

 

 

VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY ABOARD MERRY MAKIN

 

Encounter remote island beaches and pristine waters aboard the yacht, Merry Makin. Enjoy the expansive view from the upper deck lounge; feel the breeze of the southern seas while savouring world-class hospitality on board.

 

Spend the day exploring and trekking through the habitat of the Komodo Dragons and snorkelling in some of the most colourful sea gardens the world. Then relax and sunbathe on the yacht's open-air bow while cruising through the clear waters of the famous Komodo National Park. Or just do whatever takes your fancy - sip freshly made Mojito, nap, read or listen to your favourite music in the air-conditioned salon or the privacy of the spacious and well-appointed stateroom suite.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

UBUD GREEN, AN ECO-CONSCIOUS RESORT

 

Ubud Green Private Villa Resort is an exclusive pool villa, villa and suite hotel that represents a positive move towards "green hospitality". It is designed to capture the sweeping beauty of Ubud's rice terrace landscape. It is an energy efficient resort, taking positive steps in applying chemical and toxic free building materials.

 

Ubud Green, spread over 8,000sqm, is a collection of 16 contemporary styled villas harmonising with the surrounding natural environment. Each villa is a private sanctuary complimented with butler service. Ten spacious Ubud Green Villas offer rice paddy views, plunge pool & sundeck, spacious living and dining room, kitchenette, wine cellar and modern appliances. This is the perfect retreat for eco-conscious travellers seeking the ultimate in luxury.

 

 

 

LOSARI COFFEE PLANTATION REBRANDS

 

Losari Coffee Plantation has rebranded as a Wellness and Spa Resort. The new concept is based on the integration of different facets of wellness combined with the pledge to focus on traditional, local and wholesome experiences, which bring out the magnificence of the real essence of Java, its environment and its people. The new concept comes with a minimum number of room nights and packages that include meals and excursions/activities.

 

 

ALL SEASONS ARRIVES IN JOGYAKARTA

 

All Seasons Jogyakarta's colourful design, which blends art, chic and sophistication mad it stand out among the traditional drift of the city.

 

Located in the heart of the Jogyakarta the hotel offers 112 rooms that comprise of 97 Superior rooms, 12 Superior rooms with bath tub, and three Family Suites. The rooms are simple yet chic and has modern minimalist decor with futuristic accents. The cosy and comfort Superior rooms offers free Broadband Internet access, 32-inch LCD TV with movie and cable channels, iPod dock, safe deposit box, and coffee and tea making facilities.

 

 

AMBARRUKMO PALACE HOTEL "REBORN"

 

The legendary Ambarrukmo Palace Hotel, once Jogyakarta's grandest hotel, has undergone a great transformation to once again enthrals guests with its outstanding service and an exceptional experience. Both the hotel and palace underwent renovations, which maintain their rich historic heritage yet providing guests with modern day comforts. The "reborn" hotel now embraces the glamour of the past merged with 21st century technology.

 

Ambarrukmo Palace Hotel is centrally located, within walking distance of the city's historic and cultural districts. The city's largest shopping mall is right on the hotel's doorstep. Most of Jogyakarta's must-see attractions such as the Prambanan Temple, Sultan Palace, Kotagede and Malioboro are a short drive away. It is less than 10 minutes from Adisucipto International Airport.

 

 

NOVOTEL LOMBOK RELAUNCHES

 

The Novotel Lombok was relaunched on July 25, 2011 after a complete makeover. The hotel's room inventory has been compressed to 102 guestrooms, suites and private villas. Both the Superior and Deluxe Garden Terrace rooms were completely renovated. Apart from a new buffet restaurant for breakfast and dinner, there is also a fine dining restaurant that opens nightly for dinner. Other facilities include two bars, spa, gym, gift shop specialising in handicrafts, kids club and an onsite dive centre.

 

 

 

MANHATTAN HOTEL JAKARTA

 

This new and modern hotel is located in the prestigious golden triangle area in south Jakarta. It offers a perfect mix of individual or business travel choices and a variety of recreational facilities. Elegantly in black and stylish, the hotel consists of 36 floors of rooms divided into 136 Standard Executive Rooms and 102 Suite Rooms.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

SILKAIR CONNECTS BANDUNG WITH SINGAPORE

 

Singapore's SilkAir launched a thrice-weekly Singapore-Bandung service on October 9, 2011, using an A319 aircraft with business and economy class seating. The flight frequency was increased to five times weekly from October 30.

 

Bandung is SilkAir's ninth destination in Indonesia. The airline's other Indonesian destinations are Balikpapan (Kalimantan), Lombok, Manado, Medan, Palembang (Sumatra), Pekanbaru (Sumatra), Solo and Surabaya.

 

 

TRANSNUSA BECOMES AN AIRLINE OPERATOR

 

Transnusa Aviation Mandiri has received its air operator's certificate, transforming the chartered airline management company into a scheduled domestic airline operator. Currently it operates services between Denpasar and Labuan Bajo, and destinations in the Lesser Sunda islands. Future plans are to expand services to Timor Leste and Darwin in Australia.

 

The airline's present fleet comprises three Fokker 50 aircraft and two Aro Jets. It plans to operate 10 aircraft by the end of 2012.

 

 

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