Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue November 2013

Dear Friends,

 

I am happy to announce two senior management changes in Asian Trails. Effective January 1, 2014, I will move on to a more strategic role as Chairman of Asian Trails and Kuoni Destination Management Asia Pacific.

 

Taking over as the new CEO of Asian Trails and Kuoni Destination Management Asia Pacific from the same date is Laurent Kuenzle, who co-founded Asian Trails with me in 1999 and became the Group Managing Director in 2007. (Pictured: Luzi on left handing over the baton to Laurent.)

 

Even in my reduced role at Asian Trails I will still be very much connected to the pulse of the business as I will head the introduction of our new IT system in 2014, which will bring along major improvements in speed of response, capacity, availability of services plus efficient processing of accounting, statistics and financial reports."  

 

Secondly, since I will be travelling less I will be in the office more frequently thus assuring managers and staff of continuity."  

 

Lastly, I will be able to spend some more time on my favourite hobby - flying MEDEVAC missions for VIP-Jets throughout Asia!"

 

On his promotion Laurent says, "I am blessed with the best management and staff team one could possibly hope for and a very wise mentor. I look forward to lead Asian Trails in its continued success."

 

With Laurent and I at the helm of Asian Trails we will ensure continuity.

 

We wish to thank you for your strong support in 2013, and look forward to working even more closely together in the years ahead.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Asian Trails.

 

Happy Trails!

 

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS  

 

 

THAILAND

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,  

 

A successful year for Thailand's inbound tourism comes to an end. For the first nine months of the year the arrival figures went up by 21.41% and reached a record of 17.43 million international arrivals.

 

The highest increase comes from China with 3.22 million arrivals, an increase of 88% over last year. European arrivals have also increased with a total increase of 10.99%.

 

In this issue, we have a wide choice of different new products from flow boarding, to Muay Thai boxing, designer shopping in Bangkok, and home stay and new Explore tours to unknown areas in our Kingdom.

 

On behalf of the whole team of Asian Trails Thailand I would like to thank you for the support. We wish you all a joyful festive season, and all the very best for the coming year  

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

SIAM CENTER INTRODUCES REVOLUTIONARY NEW RETALL CONCEPT

 

Siam Center, The Ideaopolis has undergone a total change and full rejuvenation of its interiors and exteriors. It has also introduced a "world first" revolutionary new retail development concept, which will put Bangkok among the ranks of the world's most innovative shopping destinations.

 

A first in the world, the venue is now filled with stores where brand owners and retailers have joined forces to create new prototype store designs consistent with an overall the venue's concept. Every brand owner and retailer conceives his/her store design to be consistent with an overall theme that is clearly and distinctly Siam Center. It is an arena of ideas where art, fashion, technology, lifestyle and entertainment collide to create the unexpected, and where the appeal of the location's offerings rises above gender, age, and taste. Many have called this concept the most powerful retail phenomenon.

  

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

NEW! FLOW HOUSE BANGKOK

 

Conveniently located in Sukhumvit Soi 26 (near Emporium Shopping Centre), Flow House Bangkok is a new exciting ultimate urban beach club entertainment venue that pioneers the action water sport of flow boarding for the first time in Thailand. It is the perfect location for sports enthusiasts, families and beach lovers who want some hot surfing action, relax in a chilled-out spot, or just dine on delicious comfort food. At the beating heart of Flow House Bangkok is the Double Flow Rider, a purpose-built wave machine imported from USA, which creates a perpetual sheet wave perfect for stand-up surfing and body boarding.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

NEW! MUAY THAI LIVE

 

In late December 2013 Muay Thai Live show will open at Asiatique The Riverfront. This will be the world 's first Thai boxing super show, which offers spectacular live action entertainment combining Muay Thai fighting, stunts and special effects accompanied by fantastic 4D light and sound. The shows, produced by the famous creative team behind Beautiful, will showcase the legend of Thai boxing mixed with martial art

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

NEW! 4-DAY THAILAND'S HIDDEN TRAILS

 

Asian Trails is offering a new Explore 4-day Thailand's Hidden Trails tour to Isaan in northeast Thailand. It includes insights into the culture, history, craft, cuisine and nature of the region to tickle all your senses. Visitors can take part in activities such as visiting local temples with food offerings to monks for good merit in life; learning about prehistoric sights that date back to the 5th millennium BC; and discovering ancient wonders such as the world's renown and treasured Thai cuisine with its stunning play on colours, flavours and unique preparation techniques.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

4-DAY DISCOVERY KHON KAEN RURAL LIFE & HOME STAY

 

One of the core elements of the Discovery Khon Kaen Rural Life & Homestay is living with a Thai host family for a few nights in one of the rural villages in Thailand's tranquil countryside. This is a unique and charming way to meet Thai people and experience first hand the quiet and easy going lifestyle of the countryside, which is still rarely visited by tourists. You do not have to worry about language barrier as an English speaking Thai guide will be available during your stay to help with the translation in your conversation with the locals. Enjoy the homestay as it is fun, and the hospitable villagers love to make your acquaintance.

 

 

For further details and bookings, please contact us

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

PHUKET

NIKKI BEACH HOTEL

 

Nikki Beach Hotel is Located on Bangtao Beach and features primary elements in the design, which include planted "green" walls to shade and cool all access balconies. Its 174 keys comprising suites, villas and penthouse level sky villas, incorporate state-of-the-art technology where functionality and entertainment are at the touch of a button and relaxation is inevitable with the large free-standing bathtubs. Sky Villas are available at the penthouse level in which each has a balcony, own private garden and pool.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

REGENT PHUKET CAPE PANWA

 

Regent Phuket Cape Panwa is located on Cape Panwa, a 25-minute drive to Phuket Town and a 45-minute drive from Phuket International Airport. Its luxurious suites and villas are designed in contemporary décor with private balconies and ensuite bathroom equipped with a bathtub and shower. In-room amenities include a satellite TV with a wide selection of movies, safe deposit box, iPad and free Wifi.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

OUTRIGGER LAGUNA PHUKET RESORT & VILLAS

 

Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort & Villas offers spacious villas with private balconies. It has outdoor pools and spectacular tropical views. The property is located on Bang Tao Beach, 20 minutes by car from Phuket International Airport. All the 65 villas are beautifully decorated with oversized windows, and provided with 24-hour butler service and entertainment options including a DVD player and flat-screen TV. Some villas come with private pools, gardens and sun decks.

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

AYUTTHAYA WORLD HERITAGE AND RED CROSS FAIR

DECEMBER 13-22, 2013

VENUE: 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 features a colourful programme of cultural and entertainment activities, making it the perfect outing for the day or weekend with family and friends.  

 

For visitors to Ayutthaya it is considered an auspicious act to first receive blessings from the guardian spirits so they will watch over the province, bestow 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, which are enshrined at the sacred site, before engaging in other leisure activities.  

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

NOK AIR LAUNCHES BANGKOK-YANGON SERVICE

 

Nok Air starts Bangkok-Yangon services in November, the sixth airline to operate on this route. Departure is from Bangkok's Don Mueang Airport  

 

Bangkok-Yangon:

DD4230 departure at 06,30hrs, arrival at 07.15hrs

Flight details: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

 

Yangon-Bangkok

DD4231 departure at 08.00hr, arrival at 09:45hrs

 

 

NOK AIR FLIES BANGKOK-KRABI ROUTE

 

The airline has two daily flights on this route, departing from Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport/  

 

Bangkok-Krabi

DD7910 departure at 10.10hrs, arrival at 11.30hrs

DD7920 departure at 17.15hrs, arrival at 18.30hrs

Flight details: Daily flights  

 

Krabi-Bangkok

DD7911 departure at 12.00hrs, arrival at 13.20hrs

DD7921 departure at 19.00hrs, arrival at 20.00hrs

 

 

NOK AIR OFFERS NEW FLIGHTS TO HUA HIN

 

The service from Bangkok to Hua Hin is effective from November 15. The flights departs from Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport  

 

Bangkok-Hua Hin

DD7020 departure at 19.15hrs, arrival at 19.45hrs

Flight details: Thursday, Friday, Sunday

 

Hua Hin-Bangkok

DD7021 departure at 20.10hrs, arrival at 20.50hrs

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

DREAMER BEACH CLUB  KOH SAMUI

 

Dreamers Beach Club Koh Samui is located right in the heart of Big Buddha Beach (Bang Rak Beach) on the island of Koh Samui. It offers an infinity beach pool with breath-taking view of Koh Phangan and the tropical sunset in the evening, and to enjoy a delicious cocktail while working your suntan. The beach bar is the perfect hangout spot from morning till late, serving classic cocktails. It also offers an exclusive fine dining experience, combining the flavours of Italian and Thai cuisine in the ambiance of a beautiful restaurant setting with stunning sunset backdrops. Private special events are also available on requests.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

ZHANG YULIN IS NEW MANAGER CHINESE DEPARTMENT

 

Zhang Yulin has assumed the post of Manager Chinese Department from November 1, 2013. A graduate of the University of International Studies in Beijing, she has worked in management positions in tourism in China, Holland, France and South Africa. We welcome Yulin to the Asian Trails' team, and wish her all the success in her new role .

 

 

 

GRACE RELOCATES TO BEIJING

 

Grace, (Chen Ren), who has built up Asian Trails Thailand's Chinese Inbound Department for the past 18 months, has decided to relocate to Beijing. She will continue to work for Asian Trails and represent the company in China. We will miss Grace's charming smile at our Bangkok office. We look forward to more opportunities in the Chinese market with her placement in Beijing.

 

 

 

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LAOS

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJöRN SCHIMANSKI

 

Dear Partners and Friends,

 

The month of November looks like our busiest month ever in terms of pax numbers, while for December and January there is still space for your clients. We can only recommend that all customers visit Laos in the less busy high season months of October, December, January and March! The weather is as nice as in November or February, and popular places like Luang Prabang is less crowded, hotel availability is much better, and guides for all languages can be found easily!  

 

As always, we are looking forward to welcome you and your clients to beautiful Laos at any time of the year!  

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

RECOMMENDATION: CHANGE KIP TO FOREIGN CURRENCIES

 

We recommend not keeping too many Lao Kip at the end of your stay in Laos, as it can be difficult to exchange the remaining amount back to US Dollar, Thai Baht, Euro or any other foreign currencies. No official announcement has been made by the Bank of Laos, but the amount that can be changed back varies from day to day. On some days no exchange is possible at all.

 

Lao Kip cannot be used outside of Lao PDR.  

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

IBIS VIENTIANE - NAM PHU

 

The new 64-room Ibis Vientiane opened in August 2013. It is located in the city's centre, close to restaurants, boutiques and the numerous tourist attractions.  

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

THAT LUANG FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 16-17, 2013

VENUE: VIENTIANE

 

Pha That Luang is the national symbol and most important religious monument of Laos. Vientiane's most important Theravada Buddhist festival, Boun That Luang, is held here for three days during the full moon of the 12th lunar month. This year, the That Luang Festival will take place for about a week, finishing with the two special events on November 16 with the big procession, and on November 17, which falls on the full moon, with the morning alms.  

 

 

 
 

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CAMBODIA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

 

Dear business partners and friends,

 

The high tourist season is in full swing, and the Kingdom of Cambodia remains one of the favourite destinations for European and Latin customers. Our dedicated team is pleased to take care of your guests, and we have improved our Customer Excellence service.    

 

The Asian Trails Cambodia's team wishes you a very happy and successful new year, and we look forward to welcome you and your clients in 2014.    

 

Happy Trails! 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

BUSRA WATERFALL - MONDULKIRI PROVINCE

 

The Busra Waterfall is located in Pich Chenda district about 43 kilometres northeast of the Mondulkiri provincial town, Sen Monorom. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful waterfall in Mondulkiri. The double-drop waterfall is very popular with the locals who use it as a bathing and picnic spot. Its top level is around 10 metres in height, and the lower level drops down 25 metres to the gorge. Its scenic and pristine setting offers great photo opportunities.  

 

 

 

PHNOM PRICH SANCTUARY - MONDULKIRI PROVINCE

 

The Phnom Prich Sanctuary in Mondulkiri Province is one its most popular tourist attractions. It is located in the Eastern Plains, which covers an area of one million hectares. The Sanctuary is known for its pristine rainforests and beautiful rivers, as well as the varied species of mammals, birds and reptiles including protected species of tigers, Asian elephants, wild water buffaloes, jungle cats and deer. Thousands of tourists and nature lovers visit the Sanctuary to experience its idyllic scenic landscape and rich animal and plant life.  

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

FONDAMENTUS - CONCERT AND BALLET ROYAL PERFORMANCES IN ANGKOR WAT

 

Asian Trails Cambodia is proud to support FONDAMENTUS, the exceptional cultural and artistic event taking place for the first time in Angkor Wat, the world's most beautiful UNESCO Heritage site. For three magical nights - Friday, December 6 to Sunday, December 8 - discover the "dream event" that comprises performances by the Myanmar National Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia and the Quartet "Des équilibres" of Marseilles (France) under the direction of composer and conductor, Odile Perceau. The concert will be broadcast on a big screen n front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh.  

 

Please contact us, as we will be most happy to create a tailor-made programme around this exceptional artistic event.  

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SIEM REAP

 

NATURA RESORT - NATURE'S HAVEN

 

Natura Resort's nine rooms are designed in a contemporary, minimalist style, and are ideal for couples or families wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The setting is verdant and shady, with large heart-shaped "elephant ear" plants growing attractively around the white buildings. It boasts a salt-water swimming pool, restaurant and a poolside bar. The restaurant serves a mixture of Cambodian and western food.  

 

All the staff working in the resort are trained and educated in the Sala Bai Hotel School NGO. The property' s owner wants to run Natura Resort as a social business, and he encourages the Cambodian people to develop but not "forget all the principles and values of the Cambodian society."

 

 

 

ANGKOR VILLAGE HOTEL CLOSES FOR RENOVATIONS

 

Angkor Village Hotel, located in Siem Reap town near Wat Bo, is closed for renovations until mid-November 2013. Under construction are six new rooms and technical buildings. It will close again during the next low season (May/October 2014) to complete refurbishments of the new rooms' interior. During the hotel's closure all its bookings are transferred to its sister property, Angkor Village Resort.  

 

In a related development, Angkor Village Resort has started construction of eight new suites, and an extension of Aarama Restaurant that will separate groups from FIT guests.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

CANCELLATION OF WATER FESTIVAL/BON OM THOOK (NOVEMBER 16-20, 2013)

 

The Cambodian government has issued a directive to inform the public on the cancellation of the annual Water Festival, which is scheduled to be held from November 16 to 20. The cancellation is due to the heavy flood, which hit the kingdom recently. According to the disaster committee, over 100,000 hectares of rice fields are flooded. This year is the third time that the Cambodian government has cancelled the annual festival.

 

 

 

CAMBODIA INDEPENDENCE DAY

NOVEMBER 9, 2013

VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA

 

November 9 marks the anniversary of the Independence of the Kingdom of Cambodia from France. His Majesty King Sihamoni will preside over the official ceremony at the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. Please be advised that traffic around this area may be disrupted during the morning of the celebrations.  

 

 

 

ANGKOR WAT HALF-MARATHON

DECEMBER 1, 2013

VENUE: ANGKOR WAT

 

Here is your chance to run at the World Heritage site of Angkor Wat, one of the world's greatest architectural wonders. The annual Marathon, Half Marathon and 10km run will start and finish at Angkor Wat. The race is open to everyone - men, women, children, and people in wheelchair or wearing artificial limb.  

 

 

To register please click here

 

 

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN CAMBODIA - UNTIL END DECEMBER 2013

 

* November 11: National Independence Day

* November 16-19: Water and Moon Festival

* December 10: Human Rights' Day    

 

Please kindly note that only a few staff will be on duty to handle emergencies during these public holidays.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

MYANMAR AIRWAYS' NEW SCHEDULE TO SIEM REAP

Myanmar Airways International (MAI-8M) operates three days per week between Yangon, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, starting from October 28, 2013 until March 29, 2014,  

 

Schedule is as follows:

* REP-RGN (transit in PNH 1 hour) Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

* REP-PNH 8M 402: 1145hrs/1230hrs and PNH-RGN 8M 404:1330hrs/1455hrs

* PNH-RGN (direct flight) Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

* PNH-RGN 8M 402: 1330hrs/1455hrs

* RGN-REP (direct flight) Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

* RGN-REP 8M 401: 0830hrs/1045hrs

* RGN-PNH (transit in REP 1 hour) Monday, Wednesday, Saturday

* RGN-PNH 8M 401: 0835hrs/1230hrs  

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

NEW PUBLIC RELATIONs AND COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

 

A warm welcome to Mr. Nicolas Humbert who joined Asian Trails Cambodia last September as Public Relations and Communications Manager. Nicolas, a French national, possesses profound and valuable knowledge of the hospitality industry. He will help improve the company's Customer Excellence Service. We wish Nicolas a smooth start in his new assignment.  

 

 

 
 

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VIETNAM

 

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

The high season in Vietnam has begun. The weather now is ideal for exploring the famous sites of the country, or relaxing on a sunbed with a  nice cold drink in your hand by the pool or on the beach.

 

Soon everyone's thoughts will turn to the preparations for the year-end festive holidays. If you like to escape from the stress of the shopping and cooking, now is the ideal time to book a holiday to Vietnam! We can tailor-make your itinerary to fit your desires. What better way to enjoy the festive holidays than be pampered in a spa, or just relax and let someone else do all the worrying and hard work for you.

 

So don't delay, send us an email and treat yourself to a well-earned winter holiday in Vietnam.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Asian Trails Vietnam!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

HALONG BAY NAMED ONE OF WORLD'S MOST ATTRACTIVE COASTS

 

Halong Bay, in the northern province of Quang Ninh, has been listed among the world's top 10 most impressive coasts by the US magazine, Huffington Post. A UNESCO World Heritage Site the Bay has more than 3,000 islands of various sizes, which rise from the emerald water. It is also famous for numerous caves with amazing stalactites, and its unique animal life

 

 

 

HO CHI MINH MAUSOLEUM CLOSES FOR ANNUAL MAINTENANCE

 

Please be advised that the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi is closed for its annual maintenance from September 6 until November 11, 2013. During this period visitors can only see the Mausoleum from the outside.

 

 

 

HANOI MAY BAN CYCLE RICKSHAW ON ITS STREETS

 

Cycle rickshaws, popularly known as cyclos, may be banned in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi. The equivalent of London's black cabs, they are currently restricted to giving rides to tourists.

 

Reports quoted the secretary of the Hanoi Party Committee, Pham Quang Nghi, as saying the cyclos were "no longer suitable for the city's crowded streets, as they can cause congestion or slow down the flow of daily traffic".

 

 

 

INCREASE IN HALONG BAY'S FEES

 

Please be advised that the Quang Ninh Local Port Authority, which is responsible for Halong Bay, has announced the entrance fees and overnight fees will be increased from January 1, 2014. Please ensure to update your records.

 

 

 

SEAPLANE SERVICES FOR HALONG BAY

 

Authorities in Quang Ninh Province are preparing to start services in Halong Bay after discussions with the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).  

 

 

 

HUE OFFERS FREE WIFI

 

Hue, a world heritage town, is providing free Wifi in the administrative area and tourism spots as part of a six-month pilot programme, starting from 22 September.

 

The province's Vietnam Post and Telecommunication will work with VNPT Technology to install Wifi infrastructure in Hue. The average Wifi signal footprint will be about 300 to 1,000 metres in diameter.

 

 

 

HANOI IS ASIA'S 5TH TOP DESTINATION

 

Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, is ranked fifth on the list of top 10 destinations in Asia 2013, according to a report by Hong Kong-based travel and trade journal, Smart Travel Asia. Ratings are based on criteria that include holiday suitability and quality of shopping, services, hotels, restaurants and transportation.  

 

 

 

WIFI IN SAIGON'S RAILWAY STATIONS

 

Saigon Railway Station is providing Wifi for passengers waiting for trains. The station's head, Nguyen Van Thanh, said the system allows 800 simultaneous access points with a four Mbps broadband connection.

 

 

 

vietnam opens first museum dedicated to ao dai

 

Vietnam's emblematic Ao Dai, a long and elegant tunic worn by females, will soon have its own dedicated museum in Ho Chi Minh City, thanks to Vietnamese designer Si Hoang. The country's first Ao Dai Museum will open in November in Ho Chi Minh City's District

 

 

 

MY KHE, ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST ATTRACTIVE BEACHES

 

Forbes' voted My Khe Beach in Danang as one of the six most attractive beaches on the planet. Located six kilometres east of Danang and 24 kilometres north of Hoi An, the smooth sandy beach stretches for nine kilometres.  

 

 

 

HANOI'S FOOD  GETS ASIAN RECORD'S CERTIFICATES

 

The Asian Record's Organisation has awarded certificates recognising Hanoi's three unique dishes for their meeting Asian culinary values - Pho (noodle soup), Bun Cha (rice noodle served with grilled pork) and Bun Thang (rice noodle soup served with chicken, fried egg strands and mushroom).

 

 

 

FIVE STAR CRUISE LAUNCHES IN HALONG BAY

 

The deluxe five star Starlight Cruise officially launched in Halong Bay on September 15. According to its owner, Oriental Sails Company, the cruise is one of the largest of its kind in Halong Bay, as well as the safest. It is equipped with high class amenities including a restaurant, bar, two lounges, library, gift shop, wine cellar, hot tubs and a mini-golf course on the atrium deck.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

HO TRAM BEACH - QUAINT HIDEAWAY OF MULTIPLE CONTRASTS

 

Stretched along the pristine coastline about 2.5 hours drive away from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City is Ho Tram, a quaint hideaway of multiple contrasts. It has blue skies, clear waters and fine sands that contrast sharply with the surrounding green rural landscape of rice paddies, cashew nut plantations, river and mangrove swamps.  

 

Ho Tram is a mixture of old and new, rustic and luxury. With the opening of The Grand Ho Tram Strip integrated resort, there is a vast choice of accommodation - from new luxury pool/beach villas to Vietnamese style traditional houses.  

 

The slow lifestyle of this southern fishing town, coupled with its unrivaled proximity to Ho Chi Minh City, makes Ho Tram a beach destination worthy of discovery. it is ideal for incentive groups and families to enjoy a quieter beach vacation, while avoiding three hours longer on the road if heading to Muine, or the cost of air tickets  to Nha Trang. The time and money saved can be used for rejuvenating spa treatments, mud bath and hot spring therapies, or in activities that include cycling, teeing-off on a Greg Norman's 18-hole golf course or gambling at the Las Vegas styled casino.  

 

Contact us for a panoramic report on Vietnam's beaches and Ho Tram  

 

 

 

DISCOVER THE WONDERS OF MEKONG DELTA ON A RIVER CRUISE

 

The greater Mekong Delta is a mystical and beautiful corner of the world, which is worth exploring. The best way to get up close to the cultural heritages, natural wonders and local communities along the river is by a river cruise on a boat.  

 

There is a wide range of cruises between Cambodia and Vietnam. The boats vary in capacity and service level. Travellers are spoilt for choice from affordable small ships, such as the Toum Tiou, to medium priced Pandaw and the luxury brands like Heritage Lines, La Marguerite or Mekong Prestige.  

 

All cruises have relatively similar itineraries of  8 days/7 nights Siem Reap to Saigon  (downstream) and vice versa (upstream) with slight changes in two seasons - Low Waters from January to June, High Waters from July to December. Three- to four-day programmes are also available. A typical cruise includes day excursions with opportunities to meet the locals, night activities on board, excellent F&B service, comfortable cabins and hospitable crew.

 

Contact us for a panoramic presentation of available cruises 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

VINPEARL STRENGTHENS QUY NHON'S APPEAL WITH ECO-TOURISM ATTRACTION

 

Tourism and recreation company, Vinpearl, is looking to replicate the success of its Nha Trang and Danang resorts on a larger scale in Quy Nhon with the Vinpearl Hai Giang, due to be completed in 2017.  

 

The project will be the largest tourism attraction in central Vietnam. Vinpearl Hai Giang covers an area of 656 hectares and claims to be an eco-tourism site, including a five-star hotel, villas with commercial service, sports centre, cable car system and an 18-hole golf course.

 

 

 

LIFE WELLNESS RESORT QUY NHON REBRANDS AS AVANI QUY NHON RESORT & SPA

 

Life Wellness Resort Quy Nhon, a tropical beach and spa retreat in a prime location along Vietnam's south central coastline, has been rebranded as Avani Quy Nhon Resort & Spa. The resort is well connected with Quy Nhon Airport about 50 minutes drive away. Daily flights operate from both Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Guests can also catch daily trains from Ho Chi Minh and Danang  

 

 

 

MAMANOI - AMAN RESORTS' FIRST PROPERTY IN VIETNA

 

Aman Resorts debuts in Vietnam with a contemporary beach resort, Amanoi, which has five Aman Villas, 31 Pavilions and private swimming pools. It is situated on the coast of Nui Chua National Park overlooking Vinh Hy Bay, which is one of Vietnam's most beautiful bays. Protecting more than 29,000 hectares of coastal and marine habitats, Nui Chua is situated in Ninh Thuan Province, northeast of Ho Chi Minh City.  

 

 

 

PULLMAN SAIGON CENTRE OPENS

 

The five star Pullman Saigon Centre, located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City and close to Ben Thanh market and the major tourist attractions, opened on September 24. It has 306 signature rooms combining design, comfort and connectivity. Hotel's facilities include an all-day dining rooftop restaurant, which has stunning city views, swimming pool, fitness centre and spa. Its high tech meeting venues can accommodate up to 600 guests. The hotel also offers free Wifi.

 

 

 

PARK HYATT SAIGON STARTS RENOVATIONS IN 2014.

 

Park Hyatt Saigon will undergo major renovations at the beginning of 2014. The hotel will close from February 16 to April 2, 2014. It will reopen on April 3 for arriving guests. Most of the heavy demolition and restoration work will take place during the closure period. When the hotel reopens, and with most works completed in the public areas refurbishment will continue in the guestrooms until November 2014.

 

 

 

NEW INTEGRATED RESORT AT PHU QUOC

 

The authorities in Vietnam's southern Kien Giang province are reported to be planning development of an integrated resort on the southern resort island of Phu Quoc. According to local news portal, VnExpress, the resort is to be developed on a 135 hectare site, and it will feature 3,000 high-end hotel rooms, 2,000 slot machines and up to 400 game tables.

 

 

 

LAKESIDE HOTEL TO REBRAND AS EASTIN HOTEL HANOI

 

Eastin Hotels & Residences has signed a management agreement to rebrand and manage Lakeside Hotel as Eastin Hotel Hanoi. Extensive renovations will be carried out in the 90 rooms and suites, the exterior and lobby, as well as restaurants and public spaces to elevate it to a four star category hotel. The hotel is scheduled to reopen in mid 2014 as the four star Eastin Hotel Hanoi.

 

 

 

NOVOTEL DEBUTS IN DANANG

 

Accor has opened its first Novotel in the city of Danang - Novotel Danang Premier. Located on the west bank of the Han River the new hotel is the tallest building in the city. Its 323 rooms and suites come with either a balcony or a terrace. Hotel facilities include three F&B outlets, a fitness centre, sauna, spa and outdoor swimming pool. It also features more than 800sqm of conference and banqueting space, including a ballroom.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

WINTER FAIR 2013

DECEMBER 19-22, 2013

VENUE: HO CHI MINH CITY

 

ECT Media Company is organising the Winter Fair 2013, which is patterned after the winter festivals in Europe. Visitors will be greeted by 130 colourful booths hosted by 80 domestic and international companies. There will also be entertainment activities, art performance European style and a variety of cuisine for sampling.  

 

 

 

FIRST VIETNAM-UNESCO HERITAGE FESTIVAL

DECEMBER 27-31, 2013

VENUE: DALAT CITY, LAM DON PROVINCE

 

The 10 ASEAN member nations will join India, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea to present examples of their distinctive cultural heritage at the first Vietnam-ASEAN UNESCO Heritage Festival in Dalat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong. Each country will bring evidence of one tangible and one intangible piece of cultural heritage to the event. The chosen culture does not have to be currently recognised.  

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL GRAPES AND WINE FESTIVAL

APRIL 2014 (3 DAYS)

VENUE: PHAN RANG CITY, NINH THUAN PROVINCE

 

The festival will take place for three days in April 2014, and will include more than 100 booths to introduce domestic and international products (France, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Hungary, Rumania and Germany) made from grapes. Ninh Thuan has the largest grape yard in the country covering 2,500ha. Its grapes are processed for many kinds of products such as dried grapes, jelly, wine and honey.  

 

 

 

EIGHTH HUE FESTIVAL 2014

APRIL 12 -20, 2014

VENUE: HUE

 

The Eighth Hue Festival will have as its theme, "Culture Heritage with Integration and Development". France is the principal cultural exchange partner for this year's event. Other countries participating include countries in Europe, America, Africa and ASEAN. Visitors to the eight-day event will be entertained by numerous cultural activities that include Nam Giao God Offering Rituals, Royal Nights, Oriental Nights, traditional and modern musical performances, folk games, puppetry, martial arts and dance performances  

 

 

 

NHA TRANG INTERNATIONAL YACHT FESTIVAL 2014

JULY 19-22, 2014

VENUE: NHA TRANG CITY

 

The event, organised by Khanh Hoa's People's Committee, takes place in Nha Trang City for four days. Activities include a yacht exhibition, yacht parade around Hon Tre Island, music and dance show for Truonand, day for marine environment of Nha Trang, International Wine and Cuisine Festival, exhibition and procession of super cars, cultural meetings, and exchanges among yacht owners.  

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

NEW AIR LINKS TO BOOST TOURISM IN VIETNAM

 

Tourism executives from the Central Coast of Vietnam are initiating air links between Danang and Bangkok to boost tourism between Vietnam and Thailand. Currently Vietnam has flight services to Seoul (Korea) and Siem Reap (Cambodia) with Vietnam Airlines; and Hong Kong and Shanghai (China) with Dragonair and Shanghai Airlines respectively. Danang's new airport has the capacity to handle more traffic.  

 

 

 

VIETNAM AIRLINES CONNECTS HONG KONG TO CAM RANH

 

The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Khanh Hoa Province has agreed to open a direct air route from Hong Kong to Cam Ranh International Airport this November. This is to meet the phenomenal rise in the number of tourists from Hong Kong to the province. Vietnam Airlines will mount direct flights from Hong Kong to Cam Ranh International Airport.
 

 

 

ETIHAD AIRWAYS COMMENCES DAILY ABU DHABI-HO CHI MINH CITY SERVICE

 

Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), launched daily flights from Abu Dhabi to Ho Chi Minh City on October 1, 2013. The inaugural flight, EY441, has historic significance as the first ever commercial passenger service between Abu Dhabi and Vietnam's commercial capital. Travellers between Abu Dhabi and Ho Chi Minh City can now enjoy the convenience of non-stop flights between the city pair with seamless connections to Etihad's global network.  

 

 

 

DANANG IS CENTRE OF AIRLINES' ATTENTION

 

Numerous airlines have increased their services to Danang, boosting capacity to Vietnam's third largest city. They followed extra services introduced by Vietnam Airlines on July 1 connecting Danang to Seoul, Korea, and Siem Reap, Cambodia.  

 

Korean Air added three flights weekly from Seoul starting October 27, increasing the Seoul-Danang service to 14 weekly.

 

Silk Air, Singapore Airlines' subsidiary, increased its weekly service to a daily flight from October 31. Danang is able to capture traffic from Australia, United Kingdom and Europe through Singapore Airlines as it channels passengers to Silk Air's services to point in Southeast Asia.  

 

Hong Kong-based Dragonair started thrice weekly flights between Hong Kong and Danang from March 28, increasing services on this route to four times weekly from July 6.  

 

Three Chinese airlines - China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Shanghai Airlines - serve Danang from Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai respectively. 

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

DC BISTRO OPENS IN HANOI

 

French chef, Didler Corlou, returns to his roots with the opening of DC Bistro, a new restaurant that champions classic cuisine from his homeland to his adopted city of Hanoi. A native of Brittany, France, Corlou made his name by creating artful amalgamations of French haute cuisine and Vietnamese flavours at one of Hanoi's most lauded dining establishments. 

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

SIX SEA-BASED DESTINATIONS IN VIETNAM BY 2020

 

Vietnam has set the goal of developing six sea-based tourism destinations up to international scale by 2020 under a project recently adopted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Attractions on the waiting list are Ha Long-Bai Tu Long-Cat Ba, Lang Co-Canh Duong, Hoi An-Cu Lao Cham, Nha Trang-Cam Ranh, Phan Thiet-Mui Ne and Phu Quoc. With a coastline of 3,260km running from north to south Vietnam has over 3,000 islands and islets. Hundreds of resorts have emerged on 125 beautiful beaches along the coast, offering visitors a chance to pamper themselves amidst clear turquoise waters and natural wonders. 

 

 

 

BITEXCON FINANCIAL TOWER, ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREAT SKYSCRAPERS

 

Bitexcon Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City has been chosen by CNN as one of the world's 25 great skyscrapers. The 262-metre high skyscraper is designed to represent Vietnam's national flower, the lotus, and to characterise the beauty and growth of the city. It has a helipad on the 52nd floor, which juts out 22 metres. It also has an observation deck on the 47th floor, the Saigon Skydeck, where visitors get a 360-degree view of the metropolis,  

 

The Tower, however, is not the tallest building in Vietnam as the honour goes to Hanoi's Keangnam Landmark, but it remains a standout landmark in Ho Chi Minh City's skyline. 

 

 

 

VIETNAM PLANS MAJOR RAIL UPGRADE

 

Vietnam is soon to embark on a major upgrade of its rail network. The Ministry of Transport has released a draft blueprint for the development of railway infrastructure comprising three main elements - upgrading the existing railway lines, the development of a new double-track broad gauge line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and two express railway sections designed to handle high-speed trains. 

 

 

 

HANOI'S BUDDING ART SCENE

 

With a thousand years of history behind it Hanoi is Vietnam's undisputed cultural capital. The city, however, offers far more than the standard circuit of traditional entertainments (water-puppet shows, anyone?) and contemporary art galleries. Spurred on by a crowd of young expats and talented locals, a small but independent arts scene is flourishing. The three venues on the city's creative cutting edge are Manzi, The Hanoi Creative Bicycle Collective, and Tadioto. 

 

 

 

CON DAO MUSEUM OPENS

 

Con Dao Museum, located in Con Dao District in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, opened to the public on September 6 after nearly four years of construction. There are about 2,000 objects are on display. 

 

 

 

WATER PUPPET THEATRE SETS ASIAN RECORD

 

The Thang Long Water Puppetry Theatre, located in downtown Hanoi, holds the record as the only theatre in Asia offering non-stop live performances for 365 days, according to the Asian Book of Records. 

 

 

 

ANCIENT HUE ASTRONOMY STATION REBUILT

 

A 186-year-old astronomy station, located in the former royal citadel of Hue, has been rebuilt for tourists visiting the central city. The station consists of a sky watching tower and an octagonal roofed temple surrounded by flags used for monitoring the direction of the wind. 

 

 

 

ASIAN ANCIENT ARTEFACTS ON DISPLAY IN HANOI'S MUSEUM

 

Around 100 ancient items from 10 Asian countries are on exhibition at the National History Museum in Hanoi from October 8, 2013 to end January 2014. Ten countries - China, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam -are showcasing items made from bronze, ceramics, stone, wood, terra-cotta and gemstone.  

 

 

 
 

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CHINA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR KRIS VAN GOETHEM

 

It has been a beautiful autumn in China, and we've been exploring new horizons in our continuing efforts to share our passion for travel with our readers. The ancient northern Tea Road from Beijing to St. Petersburg is just one of the themes we are developing, and more news on this will follow later. Winter is still an exciting time to visit China, think clear skies, amazing rates, Ice Festival. Come explore! 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

WINTER PROMOTIONS

 

Winter is approaching. This means it is low season in China, but also comes with great opportunities to explore the country. Asian Trails has worked out very attractive 3-night packages starting from USD99 only, with offers to Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou, a choice of 3-, 4-, and 5 star hotels. The offers are valid until end February 2014.  

 

Please contact us for more information. 

 

 

 

HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL

 

Every year the northern city of Harbin turns into a winter fairy and with an incredible display of ice sculptures at the Ice Festival. The city, also famed for its Russian heritage, hosts the annual event from early January until mid- to end-February.  

 

Asian Trails, in cooperation with Wanda Hotels, has designed a special programme for you to experience this unique event. You can combine this programme with a visit to Shenyang, where you can visit the "other" Forbidden City of the Manchus and the tombs of the first Qing emperors. 

 

Contact us for the special offer on the Ice Festival.  

 

 

 

PRINCESS CRUISES DEBUTS IN CHINA 

 

Princess Cruises has announced it will home port its cruise ship, Sapphire Princess, in Shanghai from May 2014, and simultaneously introduce the cruise experience called Princess Class. The cruise ship, with a total capacity of 2,670 passengers features 18 decks, 28 premium suites with private balconies, a casino, duty-free shops, a fitness centre and spa, sports deck, children's and teen's centres, a library, Internet café, wedding chapel, art gallery and a golf-putting course.  

 

Asian Trails offers on-shore excursions, and pre- and post-cruise arrangements. Pease contact us for further details.  

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

XANADU UNVEILED

 

Asian Trails continues to explore new horizons. Our Managing Director, Kris Van Goethem, recently went on a three-day expedition in search of Kublai Khan's Xanadu following the footsteps of Marco Polo. The site was designated as a UNESCO's World Heritage site in 2012, and is a treasure for archaeology and history buffs. From 1260 until 1358 the dual capital system, which comprised the primary capital of Dadu (currently Beijing) and the summer capital of Xanadu, was implemented by the Mongolian Yuan Empire.   

 

Xanadu was destroyed by peasant uprisings, which led to the downfall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 and the rise of the Ming Dynasty. The site has been in ruins ever since until it was "rediscovered" in the 19th century. The ruins of this ancient "upper capital" (Shangdu in Chinese), remain well hidden until today.  

 

Asian Trails offers special interest tours and expeditions to this remote area.

 

 

 

ALLURING CULTURAL CROSSROADS FUELS INTERNATIONAL TOURISM

 

Cross-border tourism in the Changchun-Jilin-Tumen River area is becoming a new driving force in Jilin Province. Routes from the north Chinese province to Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and around the Sea of Japan all feed cross-border tourism to the area. It has the potential to become a popular destination for snow sports and ecological tourism, and as a summer resort.

 

 

 

HANDAN DRAWS ON RICH HISTORY AND CULTURE TO ATTRACT TOURISTS

 

With a history that stretched back across millennia, Handan has much to offer tourists. Its more than 8,000 year-long history has left the city with a number of splendid cultural relics such as the Palace of Nuwa, a goddess in ancient Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the walls of heaven.  

 

 

 

SHUOZHOU SHINES WITH ANCIENT RELICS AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

Shuozhou is a city in Shanxi Province, which is rich in both relics and natural resources. The province is a land of ancient civilisation with its settlement sating back to an astonishing 28,000 years.  

 

Shuozhou, which means "the land of north" in ancient Chinese, was inhabited by northern tribes before the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). It is also home to the world's oldest and tallest wooden pagoda, Sakyamuni Pagoda, at Fogong Temple in Yingxian county. 

 

 

 

A NEW WORLD OF DISCOVERY AMONG THE SANDS OF SHAPOTOU

 

Shapotou is located in 16 kilometres west of Zhongwei county in the north-western Ningxia Hui autonomous region. It is a must-visit destination for tourists to the "wild west" of China, which has been a result of centuries of exposure to natural elements and human activities. There are numerous fun activities for visitors during the day including camel rides; sand skiing and driving; sand sculpting; sheepskin-raft ferry rides; cableway slide along the Yellow River; and visits to the ruins of the Great Wall, Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) ceramic kilns and Neolithic rock carvings. Another attraction is a desert botanical garden, which is home to 422 wild plants and habitat of 150 wild animals. 

 

 

 

AN ANCIENT BAZAAR UNDERGOES REVIVAL

 

Daxu Bazaar used to be a major trading centre that prospered for 1,000 years as part of the Lijiang River waterway. It is a 2.5-kilometre long and four-metre wide street built in the early Song Dynatsy (960-1278). It is now undergoing a tourism revival and attracting visitors. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Daxu from Guilin. 

 

 

 

YUNTAI OFFERS A PEEK AT NATURE'S PARADISE

 

With a sightseeing area of 240 square kilometres, Yuntai Mountain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Henan. Lakes, waterfalls and valleys are common in South China, but rare in the north. However, Yuntai Mountain is an exception. Due to its extraordinary landscapes it was listed as one of the country's first geo-parks by UNESCO in 2004. 

 

 

 

ZHOUZHUANG, "VENICE OF THE EAST"

 

Zhouzhuang is one of the few places where you can experience the life of a typical Chinese water town. Acclaimed as "Venice of the East, the town near Suzhou in Jiangsu Province attracts a constant flow of visitors throughout the year with its well-preserved old houses and picturesque landscape of crisscrossing waterways.  

 

Zhouzhuang was listed as the world's top 10 most beautiful towns by CNN in 2012. It was also lauded as a Global Green Town by Global Forum on Human and Settlements in June.

 

 

 

YUNCHENG, THE "MIDDLE KINGDOM" OF ANCIENT CHINA

 

According to historical records, there was a mysterious land in ancient China known as Zhoungguo or the Middle Kingdom. It was later renamed Hedong (east of the Yellow River). Today it is known as Yuncheng (city of transportation). More than 4,000 years ago the early Chinese emperors Yao, Shun and Yu successively made this place the capital cities during their reigns. Located at the south tip of Shanxi Province, Yuncheng is one of the birthplaces of Chinese culture. If you want to know more about Chinese civilisation you should visit the city. 

 

 

 

KANAS, "SWITZERLAND OF THE ORIENT"

 

Situated in Burqin county of Altai city in Xinjiang, Kanas is known as the "Switzerland of the Orient" and the "Heaven for photographers". In the Mongolian language its name means "beautiful, rich and mysterious". One of the must-see for visitors is the tranquil Kanas Lake, which changes colour as the day progresses and the seasons evolve, an effect of the spectacular glaciers that embrace it from all sides.  

 

 

WATER TOWN, TAI'ERZHUANG, RECREATED

 

Tai'erzhuang was established in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD), but did not thrive until 1604 when a canal was built through the town as part of the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. Local authorities recently officially announced the town has been recreated to as closely as possible to its condition before it was mostly destroyed in 1938 during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945). The recreated town is rated as a 5A tourist attraction, the top ranking in China's five-level tourist site evaluation system. 

 

 

 

XITANG, AN ANCIENT TOWN IN ZHEJIANG PROVINCE

 

Tom Cruise stayed in Xitang for a whole week in 2005 to shoot for Mission Impossible 3. Movie director J.J. Abrams chose Xitang as the setting for his film because he believed it represented real China. The 1,000-year-old town has not changed much since the Hollywood star spent a week there eight years ago. 

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

HOTEL INDIGO MAKES INROADS INTO ANCIENT LIJIANG

 

Intercontinental Hotels Group will unveil its upscale boutique brand, Hotel Indigo, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Lijiang Ancient Town, Yunnan Province, this autumn. The 70-key Hotel Indigo Lijiang Ancient Town is located within the 800-year-old town, also known as Dayan Ancient Town. Designed as a modern post house along the Tea-Horse Trail, the hotel infuses Naxi and Tibetan ethnic motifs and Tea-Horse Trail references.  

 

 

 

GREAT INTEREST FOR SIX SENSES' FIRST CHINESE PROPERTY IN CHENGDU

 

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain, the all-suite resort in Chengdu, has attracted steady interest from both domestic and international travellers ahead of its slated opening in May 2014. Nestled amid the Qing Cheng Mountain near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Dujiangyan, the resort comprises 111 suites comprising 76 Six Senses Suites, 24 Courtyard Suites, six two-bedroom Courtyard Suites, three two-bedroom Garden Villas, and two two-bedroom Pool Villas.  

 

Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain is the second deluxe resort hotel in the Chengdu area after the recent opening of Banyan Tree Chongqing.  

 

 

 

MOVENPICK MAKES CHINA LANDFALL WITH ENSHI HOTEL

 

Movenpick Hotels & Resorts has opened the first of four hotels in its China pipeline, reportedly the first international five-star hotel in Enshi, Hubei Province. Located close to the convention centre in the city's business district, the hotel is a short drive from the train station and offers quick access to the new airport.

 

 

 

DUSIT FUDU BAGS DUSIT SHAOXING MANAGEMENT CONTRACT

 

Dusit Fudu Hotels & Resorts has signed a contract with Zhejiang Guannan Property Development to manage Dusit Shaoxing when it soft opens in 2014.The hotel is located on the southern bank of the Qiantang River estuary, within the prime commercial centre of Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

CHINESE WELCOMES YEAR OF THE HORSE IN 2014

 

China will usher in 2014 with a few important festivals, which will showcase the country's rich traditional and cultural heritage.  

 

On January 31 the country will celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Horse, which will take the over the year's reign from the Snake.  

 

On February 14 is the Chinese Lantern Festival, which falls on the same day as Valentine's Day.

 

From January to February 2014 Harbin will host its annual Ice Festival.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

DELTA AIR LINES TO CONNECT HONG KONG WITH SEATTLE IN MID-2014

 

Delta Air Lines will strengthen its connection between the US west coast and Asia with the addition of a daily non-stop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Hong Kong International Airport beginning June 18, 2014. The service will utilise a 234-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft with 34 full flat bed seats in Business Elite, 32 seats in Economy Comfort and 168 economy-class seats. The service is subject to government approval.  

 

 

 

THAI AIRASIA ADDS KUNMING TO ITS NETWORK

 

Thai AirAsia will begin daily direct flights between Bangkok (Don Mueang) and Kunming on November 15, making the south-western Chinese city its eighth destination in China.

 

 

 

SCOOT TO LAUNCH SINGAPORE-HONG KONG FLIGHT

 

Singapore based low cost carrier, Scoot, will launch a Singapore-Hong Kong service on November 15. The flight departs Singapore Changi Airport at 01.30hrs and arrives at Hong Kong International Airport at 05.25hrs. Return flights leave Hong Kong at 06.50hrs and touch down in Singapore at 10.35hrs. The service is subject to government approval.  

 

 

 

HAINAN AIRLINES DEPLOYS FIRST DREAMLINER FLIGHT ON BEIJING - HANGZHOU ROUTE

 

Hainan Airlines deployed its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight on one of the scheduled daily services between Beijing and Hangzhou on September 27, 2013.  

 

In a related development, the airline opened its first direct link between Beijing and the American city of Chicago on September 3. The twice-weekly service is on Tuesdays and Sundays.  

 

 

 

CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES UPS SHANGHAI-HAWAII SERVICE

 

China Eastern Airlines will add two flights between Shanghai and Hawaii to offer a total of five flights a week from December 25, 2013.  

 

 

 

TWO NEW ROUTES FOR XIAMEN AIR

 

Xiamen Air launched two new routes on September 24, 2015 - between Zhengzhou and Macao, and connecting Zhengzhou to Haikou. Price for a round-trip tickets on these routes starts from 500 Yuan.  

 

 
 

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MYANMAR

 

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,  

 

The South East Asian Games (SEA Games) will be held in Myanmar in December 2013. In 2014 Myanmar will hold the chairmanship of ASEAN for the first time. Everyone in the country is busy preparing for these important events.  

 

Myanmar is developing at a fast pace, and we will present in this newsletter a number of new product ideas that came up over the last few months. You will also find some "refreshers" ideas we like you to keep in mind.  

 

We would like to wish you and your families the very best for 2014. Thank you for your strong support of Asian Trails Myanmar over the past years, and we look forward to our continual working relationship.  

 

Best regards,  

 

Thomas Carnevale  

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

BORDER CROSSING PRODUCTS

 

Asian Trails Myanmar is preparing a few border crossing overland products between Thailand and Myanmar, and they will be available in time for the coming season. We will announce details of these new products to all our partners in due time.

 

Picture: Myanmar-Thai border  

 

 

 

VISA ON ARRIVAL (VOA) FOR TOURISTS

 

Government officials have advised that Visa on Arrival (VoA) for tourists will be available soon in Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw due to the South East Asian Games (SEA Games) in December 2013. As soon as we receive the official information regarding the VoA procedure, we will announce it to our partners.
 

 

 

144 CURFEW LIFTED FROM NGAPALI BEACH

 

The Arakan State district office has announced that the 144 Curfew for Ngapali Beach has been lifted from October 8, 2013. Guests can now enjoy all activities without any restrictions.

 

 

 

INCREASE IN ENTRANCE FEE FOR SHWEDAGON PAGODA

 

The entrance fee to Shwedagon Pagoda was increased to USD8 per person from USD5 from October 1, 2013

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS MYANMAR'S SPECIAL PROGRAMMESS WITH AMARA II

 

Asian Trails Myanmar is introducing a few special cruise programmes with Amara II from December 11 to 30, 2013 for a minimum of six to a maximum of 10 passengers.  

 

The six-day programme starts from Mandalay and then cruises up to Thabeikkyin. In between are two nights' stop at Mogok, which is famous for its jade mines, and was recently opened to tourists with permission to visit (14 working days ahead).  

 

The other programmes are longer and include Tagaung, Kathar, Shwegu and Bamaw and fly back to Mandalay.  

 

Please contact Asian Trails for more information.

 

 

 

VISIT TO INTHAR HERITAGE HOUSE

 

Inle Princess Resort is introducing a special programme for guests to enjoy a tour of the Inthar Heritage House. There is a presentation on the house and the projects and activities it is carrying out. These include a reintroduction programme of Burmese cats, Inle Lake Natural Heritage Fish Museum, art gallery, organic farming, and Knowledge Sharing Centre. This is followed by a cooking demonstration using Grandmother's recipes, based on the menu that guests will have for lunch on the house's terrace.   

 

Please contact Asian Trails for more information.  

  

 

 

IRRAWADDY DOLPHINS - A TOUR NOT TO BE MISSED

 

We would like to highlight this special tour - Irrawaddy Dolphins - one that most guests should not miss. The best time to watch the dolphins is from mid-November to February. This is the only period the fishermen carry out cooperative fishing with the dolphins when the river is narrow and shallow.

 

Guests travel to the river in a local wooden riverboat, which does have any cabins but we will provide bed and bed facilities, sleeping bag and mosquito net. On the semi-open lower deck there is a "kitchen" at the back, as well as a toilet with cold water (no shower facilities on board). A dinning area is set up in the big open space. On the upper deck is an open sundeck, partly covered by sunshade, with comfortable rattan chairs to relax and enjoy the scenery.   

 

Please contact Asian Trails Myanmar for detailed itinerary and prices.  

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

HOTEL KAN KAW OPENS - YANGON

 

As a distinct addition to Yangon hotels, Hotel Kan Kaw opened recently in time for this winter season. It is just a 15-minute walk to the National Museum and about a five-minute drive to downtown Yangon.   

 

The hotel features 72 beautifully appointed guestrooms, each equipped with LCD/plasma television. hair dryer, complimentary bottled water and air conditioning. It has Wifi in public areas and an elevator. The Japanese Restaurant serves buffet breakfast, Oriental and European food for lunch, and Japanese cuisine for dinner. There is a small library on the rooftop for book-loving guests.  

 

 

 

OPENING OF HOTEL GRAND UNITED - YANGON

 

Hotel Grand United is a simple 13-storey hotel, which was recently introduced to the market as an option for tourists who want to get away from the crowded big city. The 180-room hotel features an extensive range of facilities and services including Wifi in the entire complex, business centre, meeting and conference rooms, gym and sauna, Carpe Diem Restaurant (international cuisine) Dream Café (European coffee shop), guest laundry, complimentary breakfast and room service.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

 

 

BALLOON FLYING FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 12-17, 2013: 10TH WAXING DAY OF TAZAUNGMON

VENUE: TAUNGYI

 

This annual festival is usually held in Taungyi during November for five days. Highlight of this typical "Pa-O" festival are the hot air balloons released in the sky during the day and at night. These fire balloons are unique only to this region, and are made into animal figures from thin glossy colour paper.  

 

Another highlight of the festival, which is also unique and not to be missed, is the lantern procession. Hundreds of people from each living quarter of the town take part in this colourful and entertaining event. It takes place every year on the eve of full moon day as soon as night falls. The celebrants wear traditional ethnic minority dresses or outfit of olden days. Everyone carries a paper lantern and walks toward Sulamuni Pagoda in a long procession. Musical troupes and dancers of various races, dressed in costumes representing the Naga or other mythical animals, follow the procession making it more lively and exciting.  

 

Asian Trails Myanmar offers a three-day festival tour. Please contact us for booking and information.

 

 

 

ROBE-WEAVING CONTEST

NOVEMBER 16, 2013: 14TH WAXING DAY OF TAZAUNGMON

VENUE: THROUGHTOUT MYANMAR

 

The contest is held annually throughout the country's famous temples and pagodas. On the 14th Waxing Day of Tazaunmon groups of young women take part in competitions held on the platforms of pagodas. Robes have to be finished flawlessly overnight and offered at dawn to the images of Lord Buddha around the pagodas.

 

 

 

SHWE-ZI-GON FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 17, 2013: FULL MOON DAY OF TAZAUNGMON

VENUE: SHWEGIZON PAGODA, BAGAN

 

The festival started on October 30 in Shwegizon Pagoda, Bagan, and lasts for 10 days. Candles and fireworks are carried in procession before offerings at the pagoda on full moon day (15th Waxing Day. Alms bowls are offered to monks, as they do at Ananda festival on full moon day. There is a fairground with market stalls and restaurants in front of the pagoda for local residents and visitors.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

TIGERAIR FLIES DAILY BETWEEN SINGAPORE AND YANGON

 

As advised in our report in an earlier issue of the newsletter, Tigerair started flying daily service between Singapore and Yangon from October 1.

 

 

 

 

 

For further details please click here

 

 

NOK AIR UPS SERVICES

 

Nok Air launched daily service between Mae Sot and Mawlamyine/Yangon on September 1, 2013. From November the airline will operate from Bangkok to Yangon four times weekly; from December, eight times weekly; and from January 2014, twice daily.  

 

 

 

NEW DOMESTIC AIRLINE, MANN YADANARPON, STARTS SERVICES IN JANUARY

 

Mann Yadanarpon, a new domestic airline in Myanmar, will operate to all major tourist destinations from January 2014 with its new fleet of ATR72-600 aircraft. The airline has just issued the flight schedule until end April 2014. It will be an additional option for domestic transportation.

 

 

 

ORIENTAL BALLOONING BEGINS OPERATIONS

 

Oriental Ballooning, a 100% Myanmar owned company and managed by Amata Hotel Group, has launched its first balloon operation on October 25, 2013 in Mandalay. Until March 31, 2014 the company will operate six balloons daily with a total capacity of 40 passengers. There is one sunrise flight every day, which lasts for 45 minutes to one hour depending on the wind. Charter service is also available.  

 

Please contact Asian Trails Myanmar for more information.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

SHAN YOE YAR RESTAURANT OPENS - YANGON

 

Shan Yoe Yar, a premier Shan cuisine restaurant, is located on War Dan Street Yangon, within walking distance from the lower block down town. The restaurant is housed in a 100-year-old villa, which has been totally renovated. It features ground floor seating for a maximum of 60 people, expertly placed for privacy. Four private rooms upstairs are ideal for small parties and business meals. 

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

STAFF INSPECTION TRIP TO MANDALAY, MONYWA, PAKOKKU, BAGAN

 

On the last week of August 2013 a team from the company went on an inspection tour of four cities. They left Yangon by overland bus for the 15-hour ride to Mandalay, arriving at their destination in the morning. After a hearty breakfast the group went on hotel inspection, after which they drove to Monywa and took the boat to Hpo Win Taung. The next morning they went sightseeing in Monywa. They then continue their trip to Pakokku for more sightseeing before taking the boat to Bagan. The third day was dedicated to hotel inspection in Bagan. On the fourth day the group visited major temples around Bagan, before taking the overland bus back to Yangon.

 

 

 

HERITAGE MYANMAR EXPLORER

 

Heritage Myanmar Explorer is designed for a maximum of 10 passengers, and is for charter only. It has four cabins on the lower deck, one cabin on the upper deck, a dining room and a lounge. The first cruising started on October 14, 2013.

 

Please contact Asian Trails Myanmar for more information.

 

 

 

CIRCULAR COMMUTER TRAIN SERVICE

 

Myanmar Railways has introduced a commuter train with air-conditioned coaches from the beginning of October. The schedule is an eight times daily circular route from Insein to Yangon Railway Station, and then to Mingalardon Railway Station. The train ticket for tourist is USD2.00 per person.  

 

 

 

NEW AIR-CONDITIONED COACH ON YANGON-KYAIK HTO TRAIN

 

A 2012 model 72-seater air-conditioned coach started operating weekly between Yangon and Kyaik Hto from September 2013. It leaves Yangon every Saturday at 6.30am and stops at Bago, Waw, Theinzayat stations before reaching Kyaik Hto, its final destination, at around 11am. The train returns to Yangon the next day at 12 noon and arrives in Yangon at 430pm. The train ticket for tourist is USD10.00 per person.

 

 

 
 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Dear friends,  

 

Sunny greetings from Kuala Lumpur!  

 

Time flies faster every year, and here we are again approaching the end of 2013. It has been a busy and successful year, and I hope it is the same for all our readers.  

 

2014 is a big year for Malaysia. With the launch of the Visit Malaysia Year campaign, Tourism Malaysia has set a target of 28 million tourists to our destination. We are optimistic that this target will be reached, and happy to see the increase in demand already coming from many different source markets this year.  

 

I wish all of you a successful end of the year, happy festivities and an excellent new year 2014 in advance.  

 

Emir

Malaysia, Truly Asia!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

MALAYSIA - ALL OF ASIA IN ONE COUNTRY

 

"A country of stunning contrasts where city and jungle meet"

 

It is both very difficult and very easy to describe Malaysia's tourist attractions in a single sentence or word - very difficult because there are so many, but also easy because they can all be summarised under the Southeast Asian country's outstanding asset - variety.  

 

Variety, which starts with the people. Between the Islamic Malay majority and the large Chinese and Indian minorities everyone in Asia can find their ethnic and/or religious cousin in Malaysia except perhaps Japan and the Koreas. A variety which logically extends to the food - Chinese and Indian cooking should need no introduction, but the dishes of the Malay mainstream are just as tasty (such as a prawn sambal accompanied by nasi lemak or coconut rice). If exotic eating is a priority for you, earmark November for the local food festival.  

 

But tourists do not go for holidays just to eat or laze on a beach. Even if you do opt for the seaside you may not find yourself idle, especially if you go to one of the many diving resorts along over 4,000 kilometres of coastline. Underwater snorkel and scuba diving will introduce you to an incredible variety of exotically colourful tropical fish and coral paradises.  

 

Apart from sun and fun, Malaysia also offers plenty to do, whether it is shopping till you drop in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, golfing on one of the 200+ links around the country, or going on a night safari to the world's oldest rainforests with orangutans and proboscis monkeys swinging from the trees. Or taking in the colours of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.  

 

Malaysia offers a vast range of contrasting locations, which are linked by modern highways with scenic routes within moderate distances. In most cases your visit to the country will begin with the arrival point in Kuala Lumpur's ultra-modern Kuala Lumpur International Airport.  

 

The vibrant capital city of Kuala Lumpur - a status increasingly shared with the new administrative centre of nearby Putrajaya - is worth a visit for its interesting blend of modern and neo-Islamic architecture. Its most popular and most visited attraction is the Petronas Twin Towers (the tallest building in the world between 1996 and 2003), which was designed by Tucumán-born architect, César Pelli. Accommodation in the city is also good value for money with rooms in five star hotels between US$90 to US$110 dollars a night, with lower rates for four star and below.  

 

If Kuala Lumpur is too modern for your taste, Malacca offers Dutch and Portuguese colonial architecture while Penang, the "Pearl of the Orient," further to the north gives you both history and culture. The resort island was founded by Captain Francis Light of the East India Company in 1786. Mosques, churches, and Chinese and Indian temples stand sided by side in the city, while the beaches along Batu Ferringhi and Tanjung Bungah offer sun, sand and a wide range of accommodation.  

 

Beyond the cities various attractions beckon - the kampung village experience for traditional rural life; the resort islands of Langkawi, Redang and Sipadan; the upmarket beaches of Port Dickson; Cameron Highlands with its golfing links; and jungle hotels for those who love sporting activities like trekking, rafting, canopy walks on hanging bridges and hang-gliding through the trees. Medical tourism is also growing in popularity among foreigners.  

 

Crossing the South China Sea takes you to Sabah (Land below the Wind) and Sarawak, (Land of the Hornbills), which are fascinating with their mountains, pristine rainforests, wide variety of animal and plant life, and ethnic tribes with their unique cultures and customs.  

 

In a word, Malaysia offers VARIETY. Malaysia Truly Asia! 

 

 

 

700,000 MEDICAL TOURISTS FOR MALAYSIA THIS YEAR

 

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) is confident Malaysia will achieve its target of receiving 700,000 medical tourists to the country this year. It received 392,000 medical tourist arrivals in 2010, 583,000 in 2011, and 671,000 in 2012.r.  

 

According to MHTC's chief executive officer, Dr Mary Wong, Malaysia's potential as a leading healthcare destination in the region on the back of its quality medical facilities, skilled doctors and affordable packages. The Council will leverage on the synergies and collaborations involving various sectors such as healthcare, airlines, travel agents, insurance, hotels and spas, as well as retirement villages to further increase the nuber of medical tourists 

 

 

 

TOURISM MALAYSIA INTRODUCES VOLUNTOURISM PACKAGES

 

Tourism Malaysia is making its first concerted effort to woo volunteer tourists, namely travellers who wish to contribute to the community or to the preservation of wildlife in a destination through volunteer activities.  

 

The NTO has put together 20 voluntourism packages, developed by seven local tour operators, which offer travellers volunteer opportunities at places such as turtle conservation centres, orang utan rehabilitation centres, children's homes and national parks.  

 

Introductory offerings vary in length, from the 4 days/3 nights Sea Turtle Adoption Programme in Sarawak priced at RM1,200 (US$368) per pax, to the 28 days/27 nights Borneo Native Programme in Penampang, Sabah at RM2,980 per pax.

 

While volunteer tourism itself is not new and has been promoted by inbound tour operators for years, this marks Tourism Malaysia's first proactive promotion of this segment. Its director-general, Mirza Mohammad Taiyab, said offerings would be expanded further in future to showcase more packages from more tour operators.  

 

The NTO is targeting Malaysia's local expatriate community; researchers from around the world; and international schools, especially those in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Australia. A total of 10,000 voluntourism brochures have been produced and are distributed to the trade and consumers in key markets.  

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

LANSON PLACE BUKIT CEYLON SERVICED RESIDENCES OPENS

 

The unique features of Lanson Place Bukit Ceylon Serviced Residences, which opened recently, include:

 

* The first Kuala Lumpur CBD Small Luxury Hotel of the World

* Choice of one-, two- or three-bedrooms residences ranging from a cosy 85sqm to 191sqm to suit your living style

* Modern high-technologies entertainment system such as home theatre TV system with 3D entertainment network, 3D Blu-ray DVD player and iPod dock station

* High speed wired and wireless internet connections in all public areas including residence

* In-room washer and dryer, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf capsules coffee maker.

* Personalised pillow menu

* Well-designed fully equipped kitchen facilities that microwave oven and dishwasher.

* Clubhouse facilities comprising outdoor swimming pool, kids pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, common gymnasium, reading room, yoga room, kids play room and playground, outdoor barbeque pits, and multi-purpose hall

* 24-hour security and CCTV surveillance

* Scheduled shuttle service to shopping malls and office towers

* Minutes-walk to attractions such as Bukit Nanas Reserve Forest and famous dining street (Changkat Bukit Bintang and Jalan Alor), KL Tower, Telephone Museum, shopping areas and groceries stores at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and Petaling Street.

* 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).  

 

 

 

RENOVATIONS AT HYATT REGENCY KINABALU

 

Hyatt Regency Kinabalu in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, is undergoing a major renovation project to upgrade its restaurants. Decorated Japanese designing firm, Tofu, will give the hotel's restaurant and lobby a facelift to epitomise the Borneo aesthetic and complement its positioning as Kota Kinabalu's preferred business and leisure City hotel. The new stylish upgrade will also pay tribute to Sabah's natural eco treasures, and provide guests with a truly Borneo ambience and dining experience.  

 

The renovation will involve Tanjung Ria Café, the Chinese restaurant, the atrium, the lobby and kitchens. The restaurants will be closed during the renovation period from January 2014 for approximately 15 months. During this period, some of its menu offerings may be limited and intermittent noise is expected during working hours. Throughout this redefinition project the hotel's management will take steps to ensure that guest satisfaction, comfort and convenience remain the top priority even though there may be limited kitchen service.

 

 

 

UPGRADING WORK AT GAYA ISLAND RESORT

 

In preparation for the holiday season Gaya Island Resort is closed for maintenance and minor upgrades from December 1 to 10, 2013. The ongoing work may cause some disturbance to the usual tranquil environment. For the convenience and comfort of its guests the resort is not taking any reservations during these dates. It will reopen to offer guests the 'Distinctively Borneo' experience in full comfort and luxury on December 11, 2013.  

 

The management extends its apologies for inconveniences caused.  

 

 

 

SHANGRI-LA'S RASA SAYANG RESORT & SPA PENANG CLOSES RASA WING FOR MAINTENANCE

 

Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa Penang will close the Rasa Wing from February 15 to 19, 2014 (inclusive) to replace the wing's high-tension power transformers, switch gears and cabling due to their aging/wear and tear. The hotel management said the project was unavoidable and has to be done to ensure the safety and comfort of its guests residing in the Rasa Wing building.  

 

To facilitate the work guestrooms and suites, and function rooms in the Rasa Wing, the swimming pool, and Feringghi Bar and Grill will be closed during the maintenance period. The Health Club, Beauty Salon and CHI, the Spa will operate as usual.  

 

The management reassures guests that all the Garden Wing rooms and suites, including the bar, restaurant, and gift shop will be operating as normal during this period. No noise is anticipated, as the Garden Wing is located a considerable distance away from the Rasa Wing.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

LABUAN REMEMBRANCE DAY CEREMONY 2013

NOVEMBER 10, 2013

VENUE: WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL, LABUAN

 

Labuan Remembrance Day, also known as "Poppy Day", is commemorated on the Sunday closest to November 11 every year. War veterans from the Commonwealth countries, as well as locals and visitors from all over the world, gather at the WWII Memorial in Labuan to pay tribute to the soldiers who died in the line of duty.  

 

 

 

RAJA MUDA SELANGOR INTERNATIONAL REGATTA 2013

NOVEMBER 15-23, 2013

VENUE:  ALONG RACE COURSE

 

The Raja Muda Selangor International Regatta (RMSIR), one of Asia's oldest keelboat sailing events, is now in its 24th year. Organised by the Royal Selangor Yacht Club (RSYC) in association with the UK based Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), this annual event is the only offshore sailing regatta held in Malaysia and Thailand. With a mixture of overnight passage and harbour races starting in Port Klang, the coastal course comprises a total of 240 miles up the Malacca Straits, with stops at the unique tropical islands of Pangkor, Penang and Langkawi.


Competitive sailors from Asia and beyond come to Malaysia each year in their hi-tech racing yachts to participate alongside local challengers and historic vessels. Teams are made up of both professional and non-professional sailors, the latter being the majority.  

 

You can view these magnificent yachts and catch a glimpse of the racing at Pulau Indah Marina Port Klang on November 15 and 16, Straits Quay Marina Penang on November 19 and 20, and Telaga Harbour Langkawi on November 22 and 23.  

 

 

 

MALAYSIA YEAR-END SALE

NOVEMBER 16, 2013-JANUARY 5, 2014

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

The annual year-end sale is back with great discounts! It is the season eagerly awaited by Malaysians and visitors alike 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! 

 

 

 

URBANSCAPES 2013

NOVEMBER 23-24, 2013

VENUE: MALAYSIA AGRO EXPOSITION PARK, SERDANG

 

Urbanscapes is the first and only all-day "user-generated" creative arts festival. It aims to bring together communities and participants from the fields of music, arts, lifestyle and film under a single banner to showcase the best of the local scene.  

 

 

 

CHRISTMAS

DECEMBER 25, 2013

VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

The Christmas spirit is made merrier with Malaysia'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 planned specially for the occasion. Join in the celebrations and have a sunny Christmas in Malaysia!  

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

AIRASIA X INCREASES SERVICES TO AUSTRALIA

 

Malaysia based long haul budget carrier, AirAsia X, will increase its current flight services from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Australia, later this year.  

 

The airline will increase its current flights to Sydney and Melbourne from 12 weekly flights, and to Perth from nine weekly flights to 14 flights a week. The daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne started on October 1, 2013 and to Sydney and Perth on November 25, 2013..  

 

The increased in frequencies followed the finalisation of a revised bilateral agreement between the Australian and Malaysian governments, and an expansion of AirAsia X's long-haul fleet of Airbus A330-300s, which will comprise 16 aircraft at end December 2013.  

 

AirAsia X is expected to become Australia's fourth largest foreign carrier by end 2013, as it allocates its additional capacity for the remainder of the year to the market. The airline has carried over 3.4 million passengers to and from its Australian routes since it began operations to Australia in 2007. 

 

 

 

CHENNAI NOT ON MALINDO AIR'S RADAR FOR NOW

 

The latest addition to the local aviation scene, Malindo Air, does not expect to add Chennai to its network anytime soon as it is yet to obtain rights for the route from the Malaysian government. According to the airline's CEO Chandran Rama Muthy, rights given to the Malaysian government have been taken up by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and AirAsia. The two airlines currently provide double daily services to Chennai from Kuala Lumpur.  

 

International air traffic rights are governed by bilateral air services agreements between governments, which contain provisions on the routes that airlines can fly including cities to be served, and the number of flights that can be operated or passengers that can be carried between the bilateral partners.

 

Malindo Air's first international flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dhaka in Bangladesh, which is its 12th route, was launched on August 28, 2013.  

 

Malindo Air is 51% owned by National Aerospace & Defence Industries Sdn Bhd (Nadi) of Malaysia and 49% by PT Lion Group of Indonesia, the parent company of Indonesian budget carrier, Lion Air. 

 

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES UPS KUALA LUMPUR- SYDNEY SERVICE TO MEET DEMAND

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will increase its double daily Kuala Lumpur-Sydney flights with an additional four services a week, totalling 18 weekly flights from November 21, 2013.  

 

Starting from November 22, MAS' flight MH142 will depart Sydney every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8.50am and arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 2.15pm the same day. The return flight, MH143, will depart Kuala Lumpur every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7.30pm and arrive in Sydney at 6.25am the following day. The additional services will be operated with the Boeng B777-200 aircraft, which is configured with 35 seats in business class and 245 seats in economy class.  

 

Beginning February 5, 2015 MAS  airline will mount triple daily services on the Sydney-Kuala Lumpur Sydney route, increasing the number of services from 18 to 21 weekly.

 

 

 

MAS ADDS MORE SERVICES ON KUALA LUMPUR-MEDAN ROUTE

 

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) increased its flights from Kuala Lumpur to Medan in Indonesia from September 15, 2013. A two-class configured Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 144 economy class seats and 16 business class seats is used for this route.  

 

MH840 departs Kuala Lumpur at 6.15am daily and arrives at Kuala Namu International Airport at 6.15am (local Medan time). MH841 from Kuala Namu International Airport to Kuala Lumpur International Airport departs at 7.00am and arrives in Kuala Lumpur at 8.55 am local time.  

 

 

 

MALAYSIA AIRLINES TAPS OMAN TRAFFIC THROUGH THE DUBAI-KUALA LUMPUR LINK

 

Travellers from Oman flying to Malaysia will benefit with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) reinstatement of the daily service between Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as the airline is offering attractive promotional fares from Muscat.  

 

MAS added Dubai back to its network with from August 5, 2013. In conjunction with the reintroduction of this route, the airline is offering passengers boarding from Muscat, Oman's capital, a special round trip economy class fares from OMR250, all-inclusive. Round trip business class fares start from OMR974, all inclusive. Muscat and Dubai are conveniently connected with Oman Air's services.  

 

The Dubai-Kuala Lumpur return service operates daily via MH163 and MH162, using the Boeing B777-200 aircraft with a total capacity of 282 seats, equivalent to 3,948 seats weekly. MH163 departs Dubai daily at 4.10am to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 3.25pm. The return flight, MH162, departs Kuala Lumpur daily at 11.30pm to arrive at Dubai at 2.20am the next day.  

 

 

 

MALINDO AIR PLANS KOCHI-KUALA LUMPUR SERVICE

 

Malaysia based hybrid airline, Malindo Air, is set to fly to India's Kochi in the southern Kerala state, joining a number of other airlines already servicing this route.  

 

Airlines currently operating on this route include  Malaysia Airlines (MAS), and Singapore's SilkAir and Tigerair. Malindo Air is one of the three airlines in talks with Cochin International Airport Ltc (CIAL) to start operations to Far East destinations. The other two are Indonesia's flag carrier, Garuda, and Thailand national airline, Thai Airways.  

 

Malindo Air is also planning to fly to New Delhi and Mumbai.

 

 

 
 

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

RIVER CRUISE IN EAST KALIMANTAN

 

Only an hour flight by Garuda from Jakarta is the provincial town of Palangkaraya in the heart of Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo. Not many tourists find their way to this part of Indonesia, even though the city's infrastructure is quite good following the wealth from different resources in the area.

 

An attraction in Kalimantan is the Orang Utan. Travellers who want to see this rare animal are able to do so in comfort on a three- or five-day cruise packages on the Spirit of Kalimantan. The boat has three air-conditioned cabins, a dining room, sundeck and a nice lounge to enjoy the beautiful scenery, while plying up river to the Orang Utan islands. You can spot the apes during feeding time, and as many as10 may show up for the food. In small canoes visitors can get as close as five metres to these fascinating animals. The boat's crew cooks delicious Indonesian meals for their guests. Passengers are requested to bring their own alcoholic beverages, which are available in Palangkaraya. Besides the Orang Utan islands, the boat also stops at some typical Dayak villages where the villagers are curious to meet foreign visitors.

 

Please contact us at res@asiantrails.co.id for the cruise itineraries on the Spirit of Kalimantan. In the near future the operator will launch a new boat with six cabins. Details to follow at a later stage.

 

As this is the last newsletter of the year the Asian Trails Team would like to take the opportunity to thank all our partners for the great support throughout 2013. We look forward to your continual support in 2014.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

NEW INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL AT NGURAH RAI AIRPORT

 

The new terminal in Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar, Bali, started operations on September 19, 2013 after more than two years of construction. It is now able to handle around 16 million passengers per year. Facilities of the new terminal have been upgraded and include now seven baggage belts, three customs counters, 20 Visa on Arrival counters and 26 immigration counters. The four-storey building comprises arrival on the first floor, office facilities on the second floor, departure on the third floor, and VIP lounges on the top floor.  

 

 

 

New Bali Mandara Toll Road

 

On September 23, 2013 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono officially inaugurated the new Bali Mandara toll road, which connects Nusa Dua with Benoa. Cars and buses have to pay 10.000 Indonesian Rupiah per entry, while motorcycles pay 4.000 Rupiah. Larger buses and trucks have to pay a higher fare. The new road was one of the main construction projects to prepare for the APEC Summit, which was held on the island in early October. The road is expected to reduce traffic jam on the bypass, and provide easier access to the Ngurah Rai Airport.  

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

CHEDI SAKALA, GHM'S THIRD PROPERTY IN BALI

 

Chedi Sakal, due to open in November 2013, will feature 247 suites, 14 private one- and two-bedroom pool villas, two swimming pools, a wellness spa, health club and lagoon bar. Hotel guests will have access to Sakala Beach Club, just across the road, where there is direct beach access and large pool. awaits guests.  

 

This new resort, the biggest to date by the hotel management group GHM, will be its third property in Bali, after The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah (Ubud) and The Legian.

    

 

 

Jeeva Resort opens Jeeva Saba

 

Jeeva Resort has opened its third property, Jeeva Saba - A Bali House. Located in a large bay on the island's east coast, it features three big buildings that house eight large suites, a restaurant kitchen, an open-air function area, infinity pool, fitness centre, ocean-front lawn for private parties as well as a chef, games and media rooms. As the entire Bali House is available for booking it is suitable for families and small groups. With its exceptional design and romantic luxurious ambiance, the private property is also a perfect venue for weddings.

 

 

 

New Alila Resort in Seminyak, Bali

 

In 2014 Alila Hotels and Resorts will open a new five star hotel on the beachfront of Seminyak. The hotel is characterised by a stylish, relaxing and sustainable environment that offers three different types of suites ranging from 46sqm to 177sqm, and one spectacular 811sqm penthouse. With the opening of this new property, Alila also offers a revenue-generating investment opportunity as 45% of the suites are for sale. The resort's close proximity to Seminyak allows it to soak up and indulge in the cosmopolitan lifestyle of one of Bali's hippest destinations.

 

 

 

Italian Restaurant at Uma Ubud

 

Uma Ubud Hotel has opened its new Italian-inspired restaurant, Uma Cucina. Featuring an outdoor terrace, a large communal dining table at the heart of the venue, as well as an informal atmosphere, the restaurant truly reflects the Italian kitchen spirit behind its name. Menus are based on fresh, locally produced ingredients combined with the flavours of Italy. House specialties are handmade pastas, cheese and sausages, wood-fired pizzas and breads, as well as gelatos. It is open for lunch and dinner.

 

 

 

PREGO OPENS IN WESTIN NUSA DUA HOTEL

 

Prego, the new Italian restaurant at Westin Nusa Dua Hotel, opened in early October. The restaurant is the perfect place to bring the family for a delicious Italian meal prepared in an open-kitchen concept by Chef Vaerlio Pachetti. The colourful decor and the aroma of the fresh food draw diners who may have come to the hotel for just a coffee or a glass of wine. On the menu are freshly baked bread, wood-oven pizzas, as well as home-made pasta topped with classical sauces.  

 

 

 

HANDICAPPED-FRIENDLY FACILITIES IN VICEROY BALI

 

Viceroy Bali, a five star villa resort in Ubud with 25 luxury pool villas, has designed handicapped-friendly facilities in two of its new Deluxe Terrace Villas. These villas do not have any steps, have specially designed bathrooms and are situated next to the resort's main facilities, making them easily accessible to handicapped persons in wheelchairs or elderly people.    

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

GARUDA EXPANDS ROUTE NETWORK WITH NEW ATR AIRCRAFT

 

National carrier, Garuda Indonesia, will receive 35 ATR72-600 aircraft, with 25 in firm order and options for another, in stages up to 2017. The aircraft is acquired in a leasing agreement between Garuda and the Danish leasing and financing firm, Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC).  

 

Garuda will introduce the new ATR72-600 aircraft into its fleet in November 2013. It will operate the aircraft with a single class cabin (all economy) configuration with a seat capacity for 70 passengers. The aircraft will fly short haul point-to-point flights, and between hubs and spokes. such as from Denpasar, Makassar and Ambon to Labuan Bajo, Tambolaka, and Ende in East Nusa Tenggara; Bima in West Nusa Tenggara; Banyuwangi and Jember in East Java; Bau-bau and Wangi-wangi in Southeast Sulawesi; Luwuk in Central Sulawesi; Mamuju in West Sulawesi; Poso in Central Sulawesi; Kaimana in Papua; and Tual/Langgur in Maluku.

 

 

 

TIGERAIR MANDALA FLIES DIRECT FROM YOGYAKARTA TO PALEMBANG

 

Tigerair Mandala, the Indonesian subbrand of Tigerair Singapore, has opened a direct route between Yogyakarta and Palembang in South Sumatra. The inaugural flight commenced on October 1, connecting the two cities daily using the airline's new Airbus A320 aircraft on the one hour 20 minutes flight. The airline also offers direct flights to Batam, Lampung, Medan, Pangkal Pinang and Tanjung Pandan, as well as to Malaysia and Singapore.

 

 

 

NEW AIRBUS AND BOEING AIRCRAFT FOR GARUDA

 

Garuda Indonesia has received delivery of its first A330-300 aircraft and Boeing 777-300ER. The airline's new A330-300s feature a two-class premium layout with 36 seats, which convert to full flat beds in Business Class, and an extra spacious Economy cabin with an average seat pitch of 33-34 inches.  

 

The airline operates the aircraft from its hub in Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali) to destinations across Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. The new Boeing 777-300ER is configured with a total of 314 seats - eight First Class Suites, 38 Executive Class flatbed seats, and 268 Economy Class seats. Jakarta and Bali are the bases of the airline's long haul flight, including the newly announced route to London Gatwick.

 

 

 

ETIHAD AIRWAYS UPS BOEING SERVICES TO JAKARTA

 

Etihad Airways launched a new flight between Jakarta and Abu Dhabi on October 27, 2013, doubling its Boeing 777-300ER services and the number of its joint services with Garuda Indonesia to 20 weekly flights.  

 

Flight EY471 takes off from Jakarta at 13.34hrs, and lands in Abu Dhabi at 07.05hrs daily. On the return leg EY472 leaves Abu Dhabi at 11.25hrs, and arrives in Jakarta at 22.40hrs. Flight EY475 departs the Indonesian capital at 18.00hrs and arrives in the Emirati capital at 23.20hrs. The return flight, EY474, takes off from Abu Dhabi at 02:40hrs and lands in Jakarta at 13:55hrs.

 

 

 

AIR FRANCE TO CONNECT PARIS WITH JAKARTA

 

Air France will connect Paris to Jakarta on March 30, 2014. The French national carrier will add Jakarta to its existing Paris-Singapore service. The flight will leave Singapore at 16.30hrs to arrive in Jakarta's Soekharno-Hatta Airport at 17.20hrs. The return flight will leave Jakarta at 20.10hrs, arriving in Singapore at 23.00hrs. All flights will be operated using the Boeing 777-300 aircraft equipped with 303 seats - eight in First Class, 67 in Business Class, 28 in Premium Economy and 200 in Economy. The new route is to meet increasing demand from the growing Indonesian outbound market.  

 

 

 

SILKAIR LAUNCHES SINGAPORE-YOGYAKARTA SERVICE

 

SilkAir, the regional airline of Singapore Airlines, will launch direct air services between Singapore and Yogyakarta in Central Java from November 25, 2013. Subject to regulatory approvals, the flights will operate three times weekly on Mondayss, Fridasy and Sundays. They will depart Singapore at 08.10hrs and arrive in Yogyakarta at 09.30hrs. The new services will be operated with the Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft.

 

SilkAir currently serves 11 Indonesian destinations - Balikpapan, Bandung, Lombok, Manado, Makassar, Medan, Palembang, Pekanbaru, Semarang, Solo and Surabaya.  

 

 

 
 

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