Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue November 2015

THE CEO STORY

A WALKABOUT THROUGH THE STREETS OF KUALA LUMPUR
 
The French have their baguette, the Italians their pizza bread, and the Indians their roti canai. No, this is not another story about food but one of an interesting walkabout through the streets of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city.
 
Exploring a city on foot is always fun. Even as a repeat visitor to a large city I always discover places I didn't even know existed when I explore it on foot. I love to follow our guides since they have a wealth of knowledge, taking me away from the usual shopping centres, large boulevards and main tourist attractions to the quirky alleys and cool shops only known to locals.
 
We left my hotel early in the morning by public transport to Little India. As I didn't have breakfast at the hotel we started our day at an Indian tea shop with roti canai and teh tarik.
 
Roti canai is a crispy and buttery flatbread, which originated in southern India and was brought to Malaysia by Indian settlers. Teh tarik is an addictive, sweet hot milk tea that is very popular among Malaysians.
 
There are restaurants where visitors can learn how to make their own roti canai and, as a group activity, they can compete with each other in preparing the best breakfast Malaysian style!
 
With a full stomach we started our walk along streets lined with Indian shop houses selling colourful clothes, Indian deities, and tons of ornaments and accessories. Many of the houses have floors in original ceramic tiles with lively designs, which give this part of the city its particular Indian colonial flair.
 
I am surprised to see how well preserved these shop houses and buildings are. Many still display the year they were built, some dating back centuries. Even though modernity has found its way to Little India, it still has a unique Indian vibe.
 
We then walked to Masjid Jamek, Kuala Lumpur's oldest mosque located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers that gave the city its name. Founded in 1857 at the confluence of these two rivers, its name in English literally means "muddy confluence". The lucrative tin-mining industry was a big lure for early settlers.
 
This area around the two rivers will liven up with an interesting development project, 'River of Life', which will see their banks converted into walkways with restaurants, bars, and shops.  
 
No stay in Kuala Lumpur is complete without a visit to Central Market, a bazaar-style arts and crafts centre offering a wide variety of products created by local artists and craftsmen. It is a touristy place, but nevertheless worth a visit. Don't miss the traditional medicine shops selling items you have never seen and heard of in your life, or soaking your feet in a fish spa and, for the daring, look into your future with a local fortune teller, some of whom are so famous that they get visitors from the far corners of the world.
 
A really interesting stop is at the Sze Ya Chinese Temple. Hidden in a back street alley, it is famous for bringing good luck and fortune to the devotees. It is also the only temple I have ever visited where people donate lipsticks and mascara to the Goddess of Beauty. There is even a god of examination. However, you will not see students praying here for good results in their examinations. Instead it is their mothers who are doing this. They write the names of their sons and daughters, as well as the date of their examinations on small pieces of red paper that they pin on the wall to ensure favourable outcome.
 
If you think wet markets are non-existent in big cities, then the Chow Kit wet market will prove you wrong. It is small but sells a large variety of  fruits, vegetables, spices, meat, fish and seafood - all displayed on small stalls around narrow walkways. It is very busy, with people from all over the city shopping there. Make sure you wear good footwear to avoid slipping on the wet floors.
 
After criss-crossing the city on foot and on public transport we ended up at Daratan Merdeka, also known as Merdeka Square or Independence Square. It was here the British Union flag was lowered and the (then) Malayan flag hoisted for the first time at midnight on 31 August 1957, and the country became an independent nation. Since then, Merdeka Square has been the usual venue for the annual Merdeka Day Parade (National Day Parade). Its flag post at 95 metres is one of the tallest in the world. The Square is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
 
Around Daratan Merdeka are a number of interesting museums. My favourite is the Textile Museum. It displays the traditional batik fabrics, which are well known all over the world, and also showcases the handicraft of the different ethnic groups and minorities from Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo with some dating back to ancient times.
 
I also recommend visitors to see the musical 'MUD' at Panggung Bandaraya - a historical theatre opposite Daratan Merdeka. The only musical on Kuala Lumpur, it is a lovely story reenacted in four acts about the city's origin and early days. The colourful characters bring history alive in a fun-filled hour of acting, singing and dancing. The show is on twice a day, in the afternoon and evening, and can either be part of one of our Kuala Lumpur walking tours or a separate evening activity.
 
Kuala Lumpur has many hidden 'gems' and a walkabout is the best way to discover the beauty, charm and colours of this many-facetted city.


Happy Trails! 

Laurent Kuenzle 
CEO 
Asian Trails

 

   

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    Our latest Explore brochure launched at WTM 2015

     

    Asian Trails is very pleased to launch its latest edition of Explore Asia during the recently held World Travel Market 2015.

    Once again, our Explore programmes take individuals and small groups in an exciting new travel direction and provide unique, out of the ordinary experiences. Our guests can achieve a truly authentic and sustainable travel experience in the great, wide outdoors. We cater for those with a passion for indigenous customs and culture; charming hospitality; flavorsome and traditional cooking; stimulating ethnic art; and intriguing architecture.

    For an online copy, click on this link and get access to out of the ordinary tours for everyone!
     

     

    That Perfect Moment...Innovative Honeymoon Experiences Across Asia


    In close collaboration with Belmond Hotels, Asian Trails has teamed up with one of Asia's leading travel curator and connoisseur to create a unique view on delivering the most romantic hideaways for honeymooners. With a plethora of possibilities, Asian Trails and Belmond have embarked on a journey to deliver products and services that combine elements of luxury, tradition and relaxation/ We have ensured with the creation of 'That Perfect Moment' that guests have a wealth of choices in their quest to select the best honeymoon holiday possible.

    Created for our Business-to-Business partners, an online version can be obtained by clicking here
     

     

     

    THAILAND

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR CLAUDIO KELLENBERGER


    Dear friends and partners,
     
    The year is coming to an end fast. It will soon be Christmas, and Thailand's high season is about to start. Our teams have been busy preparing everything for your clients, and we have conducted a number of inspections all over Thailand in the past weeks. We have also received the third of our new Toyota Camry Sedans in Phuket.
     
    Our product department has once again created a very attractive "flash sale" promotion to Bangkok and Phuket at incredibly attractive conditions. Let us know if you haven't received it yet. We are sure you are going to like it!
     
    It is also my turn to say "thank you" to all of you for the fantastic support towards Asian Trails Thailand and Thailand in general. It has been a bumpy ride for Thailand this year, and we appreciate your on-going support in 2016.
     
    I would also like to wish all of you a "Merry Christmas" and "Happy New Year" with lots of success, health and, of course, plenty of business!
     
    With best regards,
     
    Claudio F. Kellenberger
    Managing Director
    Asian Trails Thailand
     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS WINS TOP TOURISM AWARD IN THAILAND

     

    Asian Trails is pleased to announce that we have been named Thailand's leading Travel Agency Company for 2015 at the recent 26th Annual TTG Travel Awards held at the grand ballroom in Centara Grand.

    Regarded as one of the most prestigious awards programme in the Asian travel industry the TTG Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the regional travel and tourism industry.

    Asian Trails' CEO, Laurent Kuenzle, said: "Winning the TTG Travel Awards is a testimony for Asian Trails that it continues to deliver exceptional services throughout the Kingdom of Thailand. This award solidifies our aim to not only be recognised by our customers as the top travel agency in Thailand, but also by the industry itself. I dedicate this award to our whole Thailand team who continues to work passionately to ensure that Asian Trails remains one of the top players in the Thai travel industry as seen by its peers, suppliers and colleagues."

    Asian Trails would like to thank everyone who has given us their continued support in 2015. This has helped us to win this prestigious accolade since its inception in 1989.

     

     

     

    HUA HIN NIGHT MARKET

     

    Situated in the Hua Hin centre between Petchkasem Road and the railway line the market basically encompasses one street, which comes to life from 18.30hrs. Traders line the street with their stalls selling various apparel, crafts, art, CDs, DVDS and cheap, tasty food - generally what you may expect from a Thai market. There is also a superb selection of seafood restaurants along the road where the night market is, attracting visitors eager to taste the variety of dishes on offer.

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS' CAMPAIGN WITH THE MALL GROUP

     

    Asian Trails has launched a campaign with the Mall Group to offer discounts to its clients at the luxury shops in the famous EmQuartier and Emporium shopping malls on Sukhumvit Road. All Asian Trails' clients will receive a discount card upon arrival in their welcome kit to shop at these malls.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    10 DAYS/9 NIGHTS BANGKOK AND PHUKET SPECIAL

     

    We have created a special 10 days/9 nights tour that combines two of Thailand's most attractive destinations - Bangkok and Phuket. This is an irresistible offer that includes Asian Trails' impeccable service with free-of-charge inclusions, private transfers, and superior 4 star accommodation in Bangkok and Phuket.
     

     

     

    NEW - TRAVEL AROUND PHUKET IN STYLE WITH TOYOTA CAMRY

     

    We are pleased to announce the inclusion of three brand new Toyota Camry vehicles to Asian Trails' fleet for use in private in-house deluxe transfers in Phuket. Our guests can travel around the island in comfort and style.

    Having our own vehicles is part of Asian Trails' commitment to ensure the quality of both vehicles and drivers to service our guests. The feedback to our new cars has been positive. We welcome you to try out our brand new vehicles.

     

     

     

    HIDDEN PHUKET

     

    There is no better way to smell, feel, and touch Phuket's Sino-Portuguese heritage than wandering on foot through its side streets with its beautiful historical buildings. Crafted and designed in accordance to old and still practiced building methods, Phuket town is not only rich in cultural heritage in its quaint colonial mansions, but is also a true melting pot of street side eateries and stalls that serve only the best in Thai cuisine. Add a visit to an old Chinese temple and end the evening with a delicious dinner on top of Rang Hills, and you would have discovered a different Phuket hidden from the often trodden paths.

     

     

     

    OLD PHUKET TRAILS

     

    Phuket is more than its famous beaches. This experience is a cultural and scenic treat to enrich your holiday memories of the beauty and the charm of Phuket, popularly known as the "Pearl of the Andaman".

    We show you the natural beauty of the island as we drive along the scenic beach roads through Patong, Karon, Kata, and Rawai. We explore the lesser-known eastern part where life is tranquil and where ancient cultural traditions are kept alive. Then a visit to Phuket town, the island's official capital, before we head out for lunch at a local restaurant. This is followed by a walk through the town's for a look at its rich Sino-Portuguese heritage reflected in the beautiful historical buildings with their unique architecture. Your guide will be your story-teller as you make your way through this non-touristic part of Phuket.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    CHIANG MAI

     

    NEW - CMOR BOUTIQUE HOTEL

     

    Cmor Boutique Hotel is the newest hotel in the upmarket Nimman entertainment and shopping district in Chiang Mai. Located on the quiet edge of the district, the 64 key property offers spacious rooms and suites. All are designed for comfort with cosy colours, blackout curtains, double walls, and trendy amenities.

    Facilities/services in the boutique hotel include a roof-top terrace offering panoramic view over the surrounding area and the famous Doi Suthep (Suthep Mountain), a swimming pool, restaurant, coffee/tea bar, ample parking, souvenirs, airport transfer services, and shuttle to Maya Lifestyle Mall that is just a three-minute walk from the hotel.
     

     

     

    PHUKET

     

    NEW - NAI HARN PHUKET

     

    Nai Harn is an iconic Phuket resort overlooking the immaculate Nai Harn Beach and Bay. Stunning scenery and lack of crowds make Nai Harn Thailand's finest beach. Nestled in a tropical hillside rainforest opposite Promthep Cape, the resort offers intimacy, privacy and restful seclusion and is only a short drive from the entertainment and shopping areas.

    Nai Harn is a tasteful manifestation of Phuket's world-famous hospitality. Following an 18-month renovation, it offers the largest sea facing hotel rooms on the island. Each room is painted in fresh colours, has a four-poster daybed on the balcony, designer products in the and offers panoramic views of the beach and bay. Its high standard of luxury service include private barbecues on the terrace and beach-side butler service.
     

     

     

    NEW - DREAM PHUKET HOTEL & SPA

     

    Dream Phuket Hotel & Spa is an award-winning and eco-friendly hotel located on Layan Beach on Phuket's west coast. Designed for ultimate relaxation and complemented by a sophisticated ambience, the hotel offers 174 well-appointed rooms, suites, and villas. They feature floor-to-ceiling windows and offer spectacular views of the beautiful hotel pool, private garden, and the surrounding lush green hills. The bathroom has a free-standing bathtub and frosted glass-wrapped rainforest shower.

    The hotel is only a five-minute drive from the world-famous Dream Beach Club, and a 20-minute drive from Phuket International Airport.
     

     

     

    REBRANDED - ASHLEE PLAZA PATONG HOTEL & SPA (FORMER CITIN PLAZA PATONG)

     

    Citin Plaza Patong has been rebranded as The ASHLEE Plaza Patong Hotel & Spa. It offers 249 spacious and comfortable rooms in three different styles and sizes. The hotel is located in tranquil surroundings, a short distance away from the vibrant scene in the heart of Patong.

     

     

     

    REBRANDED - THE ASHLEE HEIGHTS PATONG HOTEL & SUITES (FORMER CITRUS HEIGHTS PATONG HOTEL)

     

    The 4 star ASHLEE Heights Patong, the former Citrus Heights Patong Hotel, is located a short stroll from Patong Beach. The brand new hotel offers value for money for visitors looking for long or short term stay in Phuket. It has 77 brand new stylish and spacious rooms in pastel colours with flat screen TV, air- conditioning, minibar, balcony, and hot water shower. The hotel offers guests all the necessary complimentary services and facilities to make their stay enjoyable.
     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    LOY KRATHONG FESTIVAL
    NOVEMBER 25, 2015
    VENUE: BY RIVERS, PONDS, OR SEA THROUGHOUT THAILAND

     

    On the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar (usually around November) Thai people gather natural materials such as banana trunk and lotus to make krathongs (lotus-shaped receptacle that can float on the water) that have candles, incense sticks and flowers on them. They send the krathongs down the river for good luck, as well as to ask for forgiveness. Celebrations at temples and tourist sites include contests in krathong-making, Noppamas beauty pageants, fireworks and entertainment shows at night. We wish to remind our clients that hotels are running at high occupancy during this time especially in Chiang Mai.

    Contact us for the programme and more information: res@asiantrails.org

     

     

     

    RIVER KWAI BRIDGE FESTIVAL
    NOVEMBER 28-DECEMBER 7, 2015
    VENUE: KANCHANABURI

     

    The event takes you back to the times of World War 2 through the River Kwai Bridge built by Allied prisoners-of-war. This bridge was the part of the "Death Railway" that spanned the River Kwai connecting Thailand and Myanmar. The construction of the bridge cost the lives of thousands of prisoners and local labourers who toiled tirelessly under the supervision of the Japanese troops.

    The festival is to commemorate all who died while building the bridge. It features a remembrance ceremony held at the Ailed War Cemetery, light and sound presentations, cultural performances, and historical displays and exhibitions.

     

     

     

    NEW YEAR COUNTDOWN
    DECEMBER 31, 2015 - JANUARY 1, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT THAILAND

     

    The celebrations to welcome in the New Year in Thailand are always full of fun activities including concerts, stage performances, fireworks displays, and a mass countdown. Visiting temples is a traditional way among the Thai people to welcome the new year.

    Bangkok is one of the liveliest cities in Thailand to usher in the New Year. The countdown takes place in every corner of the city, but the main venue is the Ratchaprasong intersection in the main shopping and business district. A variety of stage performances by leading Thai artists, followed by a magnificent fireworks display. and the joyful sound of the countdown make for a good start to the New Year.

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    AIRASIA LAUNCHES THREE NEW ROUTES FROM U-TAPAO

     

    Low cost carrier AirAsia is launching three new routes from U-Tapao Airport to Macau, Singapore, and Udon Thani following on the success of the U-Tapao-Nanning and U-Tapao-Nanchang service. The airline is promoting U-Tapao as a full-fledged and fully functional hub to attract travellers to Thailand's eastern region, presenting new travel options for both international and domestic Thai tourists.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    OSHA THAI RESTAURANT & BAR BANGKOK

     

    OSHA is a luxurious authentic Thai restaurant hailing from San Francisco. A member of the OSHA family of restaurants founded in 1997 and with nine branches in San Francisco, OSHA is now in Thailand to offer the same delectable experience to the people of Bangkok. Within the friendly walls of OSHA Thai Restaurant & Bar Bangkok, right in the middle of Bangkok's business district on Wireless Road, guests and food lovers can enjoy the same ambience as in San Francisco

     

     

     

    L'ATELIER BY ROBUCHON - BANGKOK

     

    L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon-Bangkok offers two different concept in dining: The Counter, the original concept with high stool facing the open kitchen; and La Terrace, a more traditionnal dinning environment where guest are seated at table in a luxurious setting.

    There are also two private rooms - the Crystal Room and the Maha Nakhon Room for four and six guests respectively.

    L'Atelier's dining concept is also unique in that the chefs experiment and create as they cook, working on new ideas and fusing different cuisine in front of guests sitting round a high bar surrounding the open kitchen.
     

     

     

    CENTRAL PLAZA WESTGATE - BANGKOK

     

    Bangkok's latest mega-mall, Central Plaza Westgate, has opened in Nonthaburi, an unlikely part of town for a mall. It brings more than 500 shops and 200 restaurants to Nonthaburi in anticipation of BTS Bang Yai opening in 2016. Among the shops are H&M, Uniqlo and Charles & Keith, while restaurants include Bonchon, Tudari and Yogurtland.

     

     

     
     

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    LAOS

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR ANDREAS HOFMANN

     

    Best wishes for the festive season and a good start to 2016!

    It is now the high season in Laos, and the weather has cooled down pleasantly. As usual, in November hotels are fully booked although there are still some availabilities for December and the Christmas holidays. Take a look at our selection of winter and Christmas promotions in this report.

    Next year Laos will see the beginning of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which will help this beautiful but still poor country to improve living conditions. However, what the country urgently need is tourism infrastructure. We hope to see the completion of a number of new hotels, the opening of new restaurants and opening of new attractions in a more and more developing Laos. Yet, as soon as you travel off the beaten track you will see that Laos still retains its timeless nature.

    Happy New Year!

    Andreas Hofmann
    Managing Director, Asian Trails Laos

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    KIRIDARA WINTER PROMOTION - LOW SEASON RATES DURING HIGH SEASON

     

    Kiridara Villa Ban Kili is a luxurious traditional Lao wooden house centrally located within walking distance to all of central Luang Prabang temples, markets and restaurants, and has direct access and panoramic views of the Nam Khan River.

    Traditional architecture inspires an authentic Lao experience at Ban Kili, consisting of two bedrooms with balcony and courtyard access. Kitchen, dining and living spaces open onto a quaint palm-filled garden courtyard with sun lounges and outdoor dining facilities.

     

    The winter promotion is from October 1 to December 23, 2015, and January 6 to March 31, 2016. You get low season prices for the high season. Contact us for an individual offer, for example with a deluxe Luang Prabang tour. This applies to new bookings after September 28, 2015.

     

     

     

    LUANG SAY RESIDENCE - WINTER PROMOTION

     

    Luang Say Residence is a 5 star luxury boutique hotel located in the UNESCO heritage city of Luang Prabang. It is set on 14,000sqm of land in lush and tropical gardens with great mountain views, and is just a 15-minute walk to the city centre.

    Accommodations are spread out within five pavilions holding 20 pioneer suites. The main residence comprising four Explorator suites.

    For the winter promotion book a minimum of three nights' stay, and receive 10% discount and a Laotian set dinner for two persons per stay. The offer is valid for new bookings from November 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016 (excluding December 20, 2015 to January 6, 2016 and February 1 to 28, 2016).

     

     

     

    HOTEL DE LA PAIX UNDER RENOVATIONS, TO REOPEN AS SOFITEL LUANG PRABANG

     

    Hotel de la Paix, currently managed by AccorHotels, is currently undergoing renovations according to the UNESCO World Heritage standards. It will reopen in late 2015/early 2016 as Sofitel Luang Prabang.

    The luxury mansion was built in the 1900s for the French Governor's family. It reflects perfectly the cultural heritage of Luang Prabang, now restored and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers 23 suites that have five metre-high ceiling, private gardens, and plunge pools for.

    Hotel de la Paix enjoys the tranquillity, serenity and romance that travellers exploring exotic Indochina dream about.
     

     

     
     

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    CAMBODIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR VERONIQUE DUCASSY

     

    Dear Business Partners and Friends,

    The high season has begun, and it looks very promising. Our professional and dedicated team is ready to welcome your clients in Cambodia.

    Several events will take place until the end of the year, first of which is our yearly participation in the Siem Reap half marathon on December 6. Our team of 15 staff is all ready to run for a charitable cause.

    The second is for all your clients in Siem Reap on December 29. We offer them the opportunity to attend a gala dinner in the Temple of Thommanon on that evening. This dinner is open to all travellers wanting to share a unique experience in a magical surrounding.

    There are a few public holidays in Cambodia until the end of December 2015 to celebrate festivals and special events namely Cambodia Independence Day (November 9), Water Festival (November 24-26), and Human Rights Day (December 10). Please note that during these days only a skeletal staff will be on duty to handle emergencies.

    As this is the last issue of Trailblazer for 2015 the team at Asian Trails Cambodia joins me to wish you a happy and successful new year. We are looking forward to welcoming your clients in Cambodia in 2016.

    Happy Trails!

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    NEW SETTING FOR THEAM HOUSE

     

    Theam's House is the home-cum-atelier of Cambodian artist and designer, Lim Muy Theam. His creativity knows no bounds as he has reorganised the spaces in the art gallery and reshaped the gardens to create a more intimate ambiance and to allow the visitors to discover Khmer Art culture in a beautiful and calm setting.

    Theam's House is also available for private events, cocktails, and traditional shows, offering a jewel case for a magical evening.

     

     

     

    RUN TA EK ECO VILLAGE - SIEM REAP

     

    Discover Siem Reap countryside in an eco friendly way with a visit to Run Ta Ek Eco Village, billed as the the first and only pure green village in Cambodia. This nature village encompasses 1,012 hectares of land just outside of the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap. The vision is to have a self sustainable village, which helps brings awareness and education of the Khmer culture and people to all tourists visiting it.

    The village aims to develop human resources in all sectors according to the skills and expertise of the villagers. The initiatives include hospitality sector and agricultural sector to create a self sustaining village without the presence of carbon footprint. It uses solar panels, windmills, and organic fertilisers to ensure clean air, water and land for the villagers. Most of the food served in the restaurant are farmed by villagers.

    The village offers homestay experience to visitors with its own natural theme in each home.

     

     

     

    BLUE-MOBILITY IN ANGKOR WITH ELECTRIC CARS

     

    Temples and nature in Cambodia are interconnected, and has to be preserved even with the increasing number of visitors. Minimise your footprint in the Kingdom by using electric cars managed by professionals from Blue Mobility. They will ensure you have a great journey within the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, while helping to preserve the environment at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    SIEM REAP

     

    PHUM BAITANG BY ZANNIER

     

    Phum Baitang, "the green village", is the latest addition to the 5 star hotel scene in Siem Reap. The luxury resort, which has only 45 private villas, took inspiration from traditional Cambodian architecture. The eight hectare property with its unique features is ideal for a relaxing and comfortable stay.
     

     

     

     

    VILLA NI SAY

     

    The open-air design of the beautiful Villa Ni Say makes it a perfect venue for a week-long vacation or private events. The villa offers six bedrooms, ala carte service, and other facilities that ensure a relaxing holiday during a stay in in this green sanctuary.
     

     

     

     

    SIHANOUKVILLE

     

    RENOVATIONS AND NEW RESTAURANT AT SOKHA BEACH RESORT

     

    Sokha Beach Resort is adding a new hotel building in the ocean wing. Construction is expected to complete by February 2016. Upgrading of certain facilities in the hotel will finish by end 2015.

    A new venue, The China House Restaurant, will open his doors by the 31 October, 2015.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    CAMBODIA INDEPENDENCE DAY
    NOVEMBER 9, 2015
    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.

     

     

     

    WATER FESTIVAL
    NOVEMBER 24-26, 2015
    VENUE: PHNOM PENH, SIEM REAP

     

    Going back to ancient times when boat races were a way for the strongest warriors and rowers to show their skills, the Water Festival is now a popular celebration with people coming from all the corners of Cambodia to take part in the three-day event in Phnom Penh and in Siem Reap.

    Please note that Asian Trails Cambodia offices will have a reduced team on duty to handle only urgent matters.

     

     

     

    EXCLUSIVE GALA DINNER
    DECEMBER 29, 2015.
    VENUE: THOMMANON TEMPLE, ANGKOR

     

    A unique magical evening that is open to all travellers, the dinner and dance show will take you back in time to discover stories and life of the Khmer Empire within the precinct of the 12th century Thommanon Temple. An extraordinary event not to be missed.

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

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    PROMOTION FROM CAMBODIA ANGKOR AIR

     

    Cambodia Angkor Air is offering promotional fares between Bangkok and Siem Reap until end March 2016.

    Contact Asian Trails for further information.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    ARTILLERY CAFÉ - SIEM REAP

     

    ARTillery Café is a new eatery in Siem Reap, located on Wat Bo Road and away from the touristy Pub Street/Central Market area. With three branches in Phnom Penh, ARTillery is created by an inventive and dynamic team whose mission is to deliver healthy food to their guests. It is known for its raw and cooked vegan dishes and gluten-free choice on the menu. There are also healthy superfoods to take away.

     

     

     
     

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    VIETNAM

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

     

    Dear Friends and Partners,

    Time is really flying, and we will soon reach the end of the year. Looking back I have seen a lot of changes and innovations in Vietnam in term of destinations, tourist facilities, and travel experiences. The reduction of the visa stamping fee is also expected to have a positive effect on tourist arrivals in the years to come.

    Our team in Vietnam has been constantly searching for more inspiration to enrich our offerings to your clients. Not only have we been operating successfully hard and soft adventures to off-the-beaten track destinations, we have also brought more local flavours to well known tourist sites. From Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, My Son to Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, we re-tell the stories to make each itinerary unique. We alternate classic highlights with immersive features so your clients can be more engaged and explore the visited places with more indepth. So please join us in crafting more and more innovative itineraries for your clients.

    Finally, we wish you a joyful festive season and a happy, successful new year.

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    VIETNAM GOVERNMENT REDUCES VISA FEES TO BOOST TOURISM

     

    Asian Trails Vietnam officially received notification that the Vietnamese government will reduce its visa fees effective from November 23, 2015.

    The fee for single entry visa will be reduced from US$45 to US$25 per person, and multiple entry visa from US$95 to US$50 per person. The new fee applies to all visitors.

    The visa fee reduction is a move by the government to support tourism, and to bring the fee to be on par with other countries in the region.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    THE SIGHTS, SOUNDS, SCENTS OF CHO LON

     

    Cho Lon, a Chinese-influenced section of Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Chinatown), lies on the west bank of the Saigon River, having Bình Tây Market as its central market. It is a not-to-be-missed destination for its sights, sounds and scents. The four-hour tour takes you through lively streets filled with shops selling a wide variety of goods, and less-visited temples and churches. You also get to sample delectable Chinese delicacies, as well as learn how the Minh Huong community (of Chinese origin) has integrated into Vietnamese life.

    Contact us for more information.

     

     

     

    SAIGON'S STREET SECRETS

     

    Saigon Streets Secrets takes you to some interesting parts of the city to absorb the metropolitan blended local lifestyle, which is influenced by oriental traditions and occidental vibes. Hidden coffee shops, eateries and other age-old establishments stand out in sharp contrast to the bustling city. You also learn how Saigoneers eat, live and love.

     

     

     

    HELICOPTER TOURS IN DANANG

     

    A brand new EC 130T2 five-seater Airbus helicopter from France is now available to conduct panorama flights and transfers. The flights start and finish at Nuoc Man Heliport, which is opposite Fusion Maia Hotel and about 10 minutes from Danang.

    The helicopter, which has a maximum range is 600 kilometres, also have flights to Hoi An old city, My Son holy land, the fabulous Hai Van Pass, and Son Tra Mountains, as well as Explore tours to Hue, Citadel and Cham Island.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    PULLMAN VUNG TAU, NEW BUSINESS & CONFERENCE HOTEL

     

    Pullman Vung Tau opened in the first week of November, and is the first 5 star international hotel in Vung Tau City. It is just 90 minutes by car from Ho Chi Minh City. It offers 356 rooms and suites featuring spectacular views of Back Beach and Front Beach. The hotel offers an all-day dining restaurant, a bakery, four bars, fitness lounge, outdoor swimming pool, kid pool and kids club. It has a two-storey conference centre with two ballrooms that can cater up to 1,200 guests and 2,321sqm of meeting and banquet facilities.

     

     

     

    VINPEARL PHU QUOC RESORT & GOLF OPENS

     

    Vinpearl Phu Quoc Resort & Golf opened on 31 October. Located at Bai Dai Beach, it is an ideal holiday destination for family getaways, retreats with friends, or for business events.

    The resort offers 402 rooms and 220 villas that range from two-bedroom pool villas to four-bedroom duplex ocean and pool villas. All the rooms and villas are luxuriously equipped. Facilities include restaurants, bars and lounges.

    The hotel is surrounded by a 27-hole golf club that also has a spa, health club, and tennis courts. Water sports facilities are available at the poolside and the beach.

    Another attraction is the 500-hectare Vinpearl Safari and Conservation Park, which has more than 2,200 rare animals from 130 species. This is the largest open-range safari park in Vietnam.

     

     

     

    A NEW HELIPAD FOR FURAMA RESORT DANANG

     

    Furama Resort Danang has a new helipad right on its beach, surrounded by a charming garden. It offers a good opportunity for guests to experience the city of Danang from a totally unique angle, as well view the iconic Dragon Bridge and the impressive 67-metre high Lady Buddha statue at Linh Ung Pagoda from a few thousand feet in the air.

    MICE organisers can use the helipad to create impressive and unique transfers of VIPs with a helicopter. from Helicopter.

    The private ocean-front helipad also cuts travelling time between the resort to the Lang Co Golf Course, Phong Nha Cave, and Hoi An ancient town.

    Furama Resort Danang has created a new courtyard and central pool for guests to have a bird's eye view of the ocean from the resort's lobby when they arrive.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    AIR 360 ROOFTOP BAR - HO CHI MINH CITY

     

    Air 360, which has reopened after completing its renovations, is unquestionably one of the best spots in Ho Chi Minh City for open-air drinking and lounging. Spread over 1000 square metres guests can choose any cosy area to relax and have their favourite drinks. Offering panoramic views of city, Air 360 is the perfect venue for cocktail receptions, cosy dinners, fashion shows, or any special event.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    URBAN TALES FOR TEAM BUILDING - HO CHI MINH CITY

     

    URBAN TALES is perfect for MICE groups to explore, play, and investigate in the streets Cho Lon, the "Chinatown" of Ho Chi Minh City. This is a unique tour that combines a real life investigation (the strange case of Dr Lam), a self-guided city tour, and a treasure hunt.

    URBAN TALES is a very original way of discovering Cho Lon, and is becoming one of the must-do activity while visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

     

     

     

    NEW: HAREMS 2 CRUISES INTO DANANG

     

    Harems 2 is a new boat designed to comply with European standards. The elegant vessel has three floors that are luxuriously decorated. It also has a restaurant, bar, and sundeck, as well as live entertainment on board with a professional DJ.

    With a capacity for 200 paxs the boat is perfect for the Han River dinner harbour cruise, and cruise excursions to Son Tra Peninsula and Cham Island for outdoor barbecues, gala dinners, and night parties. The vessel is also ideal for meetings or weddings.

     

     

     
     

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    CHINA

       

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR KRIS VAN GOETHEM

     

    We are edging into the winter months, which are typically the calmer months of the year in China… maybe not this time! We are looking forward to receiving your clients, just ask for our winter promotions, New Year Celebration Specials, Harbin Ice Festival - a lot of exciting deals are waiting for you.

    The China team and I would like to thank you for your wonderful support and patience throughout 2015!

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    PROPOSED NEW HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY ALONG YANGTZE RIVER

     

    Feasibility studies have begun on a continuous high-speed railway linking the eastern, central, and south western parts of the country. The railway will start in Shanghai and pass through Nanjing, Hefei, Wuhan, and Chongqing before ending in Chengdu. It will run at 350 kilometres per hour and link 22 cities along the Yangtze River. The line will cut rail travel time between Shanghai and Chengdu, a distance of 1,985 kilometres from the current 15 hours to about nine hours.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS IN SHANGHAI OR HONG KONG

     

    Asian Trails China has a special 3 nights package (arrival on December 30, 2015, departure January 2, 2016) to welcome 2016 in either Shanghai or Hong Kong. It includes private airport transfers, half-day city tour and a choice from dynamic 3 star hotels to luxury 5 star hotels. We guarantee you a special New Year in Shanghai or Hong Kong.

    For more details, please contact us at res@asiantrailschina.com

     

     

    A 5-DAY TOUR OF THE HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL

     

    Asian Trails 5-day tour guarantees departure from two person. The package combines fun and cosiness. Apart from the exciting activities at the Ice Festival, there is also a city tour and a visit to the Siberian Tiger Park. The package also includes accommodation in international 5 star hotels, high-speed train transfer from Beijing to Harbin in first class, and flight from Harbin to Beijing in economy class.

    For details, please contact us at res@asiantrailschina.com
     

     

     

    FORBIDDEN CITY'S CINING PALACE NOW OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

     

    For the first time in 90 years the closed doors of Cining Palace at the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City are thrown open to the public.

    The palace was built in 1536 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) as a residece for the emperors' concubines. It was also the residence of Cixi, China's most powerful woman, between 1420 to 1911. This most important architecture in the western wing of the Forbidden City is now transformed into an exhibition hall where 1,200 pieces of artefacts are on display.

     

     

     

    TUSI LISTED AS A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE

     

    Located in the mountainous areas of south west China, the Tusi site encompasses the remains of several tribal domains whose chiefs were appointed by the central government as "Tusi", or hereditary rulers, as they were known from the 13th to early 20th centuries.

    The Tusi system rose from the ethnic minorities' dynastic systems of government dating back to the 3rd century BC. Its purpose was to unify the national administration while allowing ethnic minorities to retain their customs and way of life. Laosicheng, Tangya, and Hailongtun Fortress, which make up the site, bear exceptional testimony to this form of governance derived from the Chinese civilization of the Yuan and Ming periods.

    The area is now listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site.

     

     

     

    NANXUN ANCIENT TOWN

     

    Nanxun Ancient Town, located 30 kilometres east of Huzhou in Zhejiang province, is well known for its rich cultural heritage and flourishing silk industry that dates back 760 years. As one of the most well-preserved old towns, Nanxun is listed as one of the top six ancient towns in southern China. It is also Huzhou's first national 5A-level tourist attraction.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    PULLMAN KAIFENG JIANYE OPENS

     

    Located in the heart of Kaifeng's ancient capital of North Song Dynasty, Pullman Kaifeng Jianye blends cultural touchstones, architectural traditions, and contemporary style to reflect the city's culture, history and art.

    The hotel offers 186 luxurious rooms and suites, which vary in size from 40 to 300 square metres. Surrounded by panoramic views of the beautiful lakes and gardens and with the ancient city in the background and gardens, Pullman Kaifeng Kianye is the perfect modern sanctuary to escape from the urban hustle of modern life

     

     

     

    NOVOTEL XIAN SCPG (OPENING APRIL 2016)

     

    Novotel Xian SCPG Hotel in Xian (opening April 2016) is located two blocks away from the north city wall, adjacent to the metro line 2. It is a 15-minute metro ride from CRH station, and a 30-minute drive from the Xian International Airport.

    The hotel offers 275 stylish guestrooms with NEXT concept, an all-day dining restaurant, two Chinese private dining rooms, and four multi-function rooms.

     

     

     

    STARWOOD TO OPEN THREE ELEMENT HOTELS IN CHINA

     

    Starwood Hotels and Resorts is expanding its Element brand in China to meet growing demand. Known for its sustainable programming and nature-inspired room offerings, the hotel group will open new Element in the country, one each in Zhangjiakou, Sanya, and Tianjin.

    The first will be Element Chongli in Zhangjiakou, which will open in 2017 in a city that will co-host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The 150-room hotel is a 30-minute drive from Chongli County Center, and 90 minutes from Zhangjiakou Ningyuan Airport.

    Element Sanya Haitang Bay will open in 2018. The 204-room hotel is a 40-minute drive from Sanya's city centre and just 50 minutes from Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

    The third to open in 2019 is the 200-room Element Tianjin Beichen.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS TO END 2015

     

    We have no traditional Chinese festivals or events coming up in the last two months of the year. However, Christmas and the New Year celebrations are gaining more and more popularity in China. We have prepared some amazing deals for you to visit China during the festive season, and we look forward to finishing this year in style!

     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

     

    CHINA EASTERN LAUNCHES SHANGHAI-AUCKLAND SERVICE

     

    China Eastern Airlines has commenced a new service linking Shanghai to Auckland in New Zealand. It is offering four times weekly flights until January 2016, before increasing to daily flights.

    The flight departs Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 00.10hrs and arrives in Auckland at 18.15hrs. The return service leaves Auckland at 22.00hrs, and arrives in Shanghai at 05.30hrs the next morning. The flight is operated with a 234-seat Airbus A330-200 aircraft.

     

     

     

    CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES TO LINK WUHAN WITH ROME AND DUBAI

     

    China Southern Airlines will launch a new route to link Wuhan with Rome (Italy) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates) on December 17, 2015. The thrice weekly service on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, will use the 258-seater Airbus A330 aircraft.

    Both the Wuhan-Rome and Wuhan-Dubai routes will be brand new city pairs operated exclusively by China Southern Airlines.

     

     

     

     

    SPRING AIRLINES TO CONNECT BANGKOK WITH HARBIN

     

    Shanghai-based low cost carrier, Spring Airlines, launched its inaugural Harbin-Bangkok (Thailand) service on November 2, 2015. The twice-weekly flights are on Mondays and Wednesdays.

     

     

     

     

    RESTAURANTS & VENUES

     

     

    TRB BITES @THE COURTYARD

     

    TRB Bites@The Courtyard is the latest dining experience from Beijing's TRB Hospitality Group. The restaurant is located in a building along the former Imperial Palace's eastern moat at a space that is always been known as The Courtyard. Offering stunning views of the Forbidden City, this space has played home to many legendary dining institutions.

    Described as "a casual and modern eatery", TRB Bites@The Courtyard serves modern international cuisine. It offer choices in a format of set-menu where guests are encouraged to choose their own desired dishes and make up a unique 3/4/5-course set of their own.
     

     

     
     

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    MYANMAR

     

     

    A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

     

    Dear Friends and Colleagues,

    We have been very occupied preparing for the upcoming winter season, which looks extremely busy again. We urge you not to delay too long in making your bookings, and to book well in advance as availability is tight in all areas of the country.

    Myanmar has some exciting news and events ahead, especially the upcoming national elections on November 8.

    We would like to wish you and your families the very best for 2016, and thank you for the enormous support towards Asian Trails Myanmar over the past years.

    Best regards,

    Thomas Carnevale

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

    MYANMAR GENERAL ELECTIONS

     

    Myanmar will hold its nation-wide general elections on November 8, 2015.

     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    MANDALAY BOUTIQUE CRUISE

     

    Our guests can now enjoy exquisite Asian cuisine while cruising to Mingun or during a sunset/dinner cruise with Mandalay Boutique Cruise.

    The cruiser offers daily departures to Mingun from October to March. Sunset/dinner cruise is on request for now. The vessel can accommodate a maximum of 45 guests (seated).

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    BEST WESTERN PLUS EASTERN PALACE HOTEL - MANDALAY

     

    Best Weastern PLUS Eastern Palace Hotel is a four star property located in the heart Mandalay's historical district, within walking distance to the Mandalay Palace. It is a modern multi-storey building with 118 elegant rooms including premiere and suite equipped with all modern facilities. The hotel also features an indoor swimming pool, gym sauna and meeting rooms.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    ANANDA TEMPLE FESTIVAL
    JANUARY 23-FEBRUARY 8, 2016
    VENUE: BAGAN

     

    The Ananda Festival is named after Bagan's most important temple - Ananda Temple (pictured). It is celebrated throughout Bagan, and all visitors are welcomed to join in the festivity. The fair ground in front of the temple will be filled with market stalls and street restaurants. Devotees will offer alm bowls to the monks. Pilgrims from all over the region will attend the festival, coming to Bagan in caravans of covered ox cart.

     

     

     

     

    STAFF UPDATE

     

     

    WELCOME BACK MR. MAURIZIO MANDL

     

    We are happy to welcome Mr. Maurizio Mandl back to the Asian Trails Myanmar team as our public relations and customer care manager for the high season. He has been working during the high season for Asian Trails Myanmar since 2004 in the same capacity. His latest tenure with us will last till April 2016.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    TOP SALES AGENT AWARD FROM THE HOTEL@THARABAR GATE

     

    Asian Trails Myanmar is proud to be a loyal partner to many suppliers nationwide for over 15 years. Our services were recently recognised by The Hotel@Tharabar Gate in Bagan, which presented us with the top sales agent award.

     

     

     

    MUSIC FOR MYANMAR - CHARITY TO SUPPORT CHILDREN IN NEED

     

    Asian Trails Myanmar is proud to be a Silver sponsor for Music for Myanmar. The event is organised by Link for Aid, a charity founded by Mrs. Pamela Mcourt-Francescone to support underprivileged children in Myanmar. The event was held on October 10, 2015 at Chatrium Royal Lake Hotel. Entertainment for the evening included well-known stars such as Mateo Setti from Italy and Chan Chan from Myanmar.

    • Photo: ATM's Managing Director Thomas Carnevale receiving the certificate of appreciation from the organiser.

     

     

     

    AN INSPECTION TRIP ON THE ROAD TO MANDALAY

     

    In early October two of our senior staff had the opportunity to inspect the Road to Mandalay (pictured), and joined a two-night cruise from Bagan to Mandalay. They had positive feedback, praising the excellent quality of the ship as well as the delicious food and attentive service.

     

     

     

    EXPLORING DAWEI AND MYEIK

     

    In early October two of our senior staff went on an inspection trip to Dawei and Myeik (pictured). They came back enthusiastically praising the amazing landscape. They were also surprised to find a very decent level of accommodation.

    You will find the new tours, including Dawei and Myeik, on our upcoming DVD ROM. Or please contact our team for further information.

     

     

     

    STAFF PARTY IN KALAW

     

    On October 16, Asian Trails Myanmar staff celebrated the company's 16th anniversary with a great party in Kalaw, the famous hill station near Inle Lake. Over the weekend the staff tried different trekking routes to improve their knowledge of this ever popular outdoor destination.

     

     

     
     

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    MALAYSIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

     

    Dear partners,

    Warmest greetings from Kuala Lumpur!

    Now that the high season is over in Malaysia we are looking forward to welcome our clients for the year-end vacations. Indeed, though the end of year is approaching, the festivals and events across the country are not over yet!

    The next festival is Deepavali, the Festival of the Lights, which is celebrated by Hindus throughout the country.

    Tourists visiting Malaysia during this time of the year can experience the festivities in the "Open House", a programme that brings people together to celebrate the country's various festivals in line with the spirit of 1Malaysia. Guests will be enthralled by cultural performances and traditional delicacies, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, where there are the biggest Indian communities.

    Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 will end on December 31 with a big carnival in Kuala Lumpur where you can enjoy fireworks displays and music all night long as you count down to the New Year 2016!

    Emir
    Malaysia, Truly Asia!

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    TANJONG JARA RESORT'S 2016 OPERATIONAL DATES

     

    Tanjong Jara Resort in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu is closed for its annual upgrading and maintenance works. It will reopen on February 5, 2016, which marks the beginning of the resort's 2016 season.

    Please refer to www.tanjongjararesort.com for further updates.

     

     

     

     

    FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

     

     

    DEEPAVALI - FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS
    DATE: NOVEMBER 10, 2015
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA (EXCEPT LABUAN AND SARAWAK)

     

    Deepavali or the Festival of Lights is celebrated by Hindus with prayers, family gatherings and festivities. Families and friends visit each other and enjoy delicious traditional goodies.
     

     

     

     

    ASIA PACIFIC IRONMAN LANGKAWI
    DATE: NOVEMBER 14, 2015
    VENUE: LANGKAWI ISLAND

     

    Ironman is triathlon's marquee challenge and the world's most captivating and testing single day endurance test consisting of a 3.8km swim, a 180km cycle and a 42.2km run. It has been a respected name in triathlon since its inception 31 years ago and is regarded as the pinnacle of the sport

    In 2012, more than 124,000 athletes from across the globe compete for slots at the prestigious Ironman World Championships held every October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. There are 31 Ironman Triathlon races throughout the world that enable qualification for 2012 Ironman World Championships. The Ironman qualifying events for 2012 include nine races in Europe, 14 races in North America, one race in South America, five races in Oceana, and two races in Africa. Beginning 2013 only two exclusive full distance races are held in Asia, one in North Asia and one in South Asia.

     

     

     

    1MALAYSIA YEAR-END SALE
    NOVEMBER 14, 2015-JANUARY 3, 2016
    VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

     

    The fabulous 1Malaysia Year-End Sale is back, bigger and better this year with events and happenings in hundreds of shopping outlets all over the country for nearly two months. You can shop till you drop with great bargains and an endless array of goods.
     

     

     

    MALAYSIA URBAN RETREAT FESTIVAL 2015 (MURFEST 2015)
    NOVEMBER 13-15, 2015
    VENUE: HOTEL PULLMAN KUALA LUMPUR BANGSAR

     

    Malaysia Urban Retreat Festival 2015 (MURFEST 2015), a weekend of wellness, dance and music, returns for the second year. Staying true to its essence the event is taking place at a brand new "urban" location, the Pullman Hotel Kuala Lumpur Bangsar.

    Participants will be spoilt for choice at this three-day festival with over 80 classes to attend - from yoga to Zumba, capoeira and talks by motivational speakers and sound healers. There is also the newly launched market place where participants get to connect and network with wellness experts.

    The day time workshops culminate into two musical nights. Nadi Night on November 13 is a soulful musical journey showcasing international and local Sufi, healing, and world music genres. The grand finale is the signature URBANITE concert on November 14, bringing international and local bands to entertain the audience with reggae, soul, world, and fusion music.

     

     

     

    RFC-RAINFOREST CHALLENGE
    NOVEMBER 27-DECEMBER 7, 2015
    VENUE: SEREMBAN, PORT DICKSON, GEMAS, KUALA PILAH & JELEBU (NEGERI SEMBILAN)

     

    The RFC is an off-road 4x4 event, which is among the world's top 10 toughest motor races. It takes place annually from end November to early December. Every year it attracts the bravest of the land daredevils from Europe to Asia to face the odds in the jungle for 10 days braving mud, rain, undulating terrain, and the wrath of Mother Nature from the monsoon. An extraordinary event for extraordinary adventurers set in an extraordinary season of the monsoon.

     

     

     

    HELLO KITTY GO AROUND
    DECEMBER 9, 2015-JANUARY 19, 2016
    VENUE: VIVA HOME EXPO, KUALA LUMPUR

     

    For over 40 years Hello Kitty has won the hearts of millions all over the world. After the successful carnival held in Hong Kong last year, Hello Kitty Go Around (HKGA) is brought to Malaysia for the first time.

    A fun-filled event for all ages, the event adopts a vintage American evening carnival setting. It is divided into different zones where you can enjoy Hello Kitty's historical artworks, photo shoot spots, classic booth games, creative workshops, musical performances, and scenic display, as well as a cafe to enjoy a cuppa.

     

     

     

    CHRISTMAS
    DATE: DECEMBER 25, 2015
    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 specially for the occasion. Join in the celebrations and have a sunny Christmas in Malaysia!
     

     

     

     

    AIRLINE INFORMATION

     

     

    MALINDO AIR LAUNCHES EXECUTIVE LOUNGE IN KLIA2

     

    Malaysia's hybrid carrier, Malindo Air, has opened its first Executive Lounge at klia2. This is the budget terminal's first dedicated airline and purpose-built lounge. Located at the main terminal building the lounge is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. to cater to the airline's guests.

    Visitors to the Executive Lounge can enjoy a comfortable lounge area to rest, free WiFi access, free usage of personal computers plus fax and photocopy services, light refreshments served buffet-style, and shower facilities.

     

     

     

    MALINDO AIR MAKES PERTH ITS FIRST AUSTRALIAN DESTINATION

     

    Malindo Air will commence services from Kuala Lumpur to Perth service on November 19, 2015, its first destination in Australia.

    The airline will initially operate a daily service between Perth and the Malaysian capital, increasing to 11 times per week from December 3, 2015. The flight is operated on the airline's 180-seat Boeing B737-900 aircraft,

     

     

     
     

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    INDONESIA

     

     

    A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR BJÖRN SCHIMANSKI

     

    My colleagues in the "northern" countries in Indochina, namely Thailand and Myanmar, are enjoying full peak season but we in Indonesia are in full low season. This gives us the much needed time to update ourselves on product developments. Recently some of our product staff went to West Bali, and you will find an interesting report of their trip and product news under "Destination Information".

    We look forward to inform you in the coming months of more product updates!

    Last but not least, we at Asian Trails Indonesia would like to wish you a "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year". We look forward to see you again in 2016!

     

     

     

     

    DESTINATION INFORMATION

     

     

     

     

     

    WEST BALI HIGHLIGHTS

     

    We would like to share with you some highlights in West Bali, which we have experienced on our inspection tour.

    If you are looking for a peaceful quiet place in the mountains then a visit to "Village Above the Clouds" is a must. This is a small eco boutique hotel with charming rustic bungalows and incredible view of the Munduk Andong Valley. Its name comes from the panoramic view of the sea of fog, which you can see in the morning in front of your bungalow.

    On the west coast, which is also famous for its surf spots, is Puri Dajuma Beach Eco Resort & Spa. This is a nice hotel with cottages, villas, and suites in a green tropical garden directly on the beach. It offers a wide selection of activities from watersports (surfing, diving and sailing) to yoga, meditation, trekking, and dancing lesson. Visits can be arranged to the turtle conservation camp, the famous bull race competition in autumn, or a local fishing harbour.

    On the very west end of Bali Island is Menjangan National Park. Here are NusaBay Hotel (see details under "Hotel Information") located on Prapat Agung Peninsula and The Menjangan on Bali. At the end of 2016 a new hotel - Plataran Menjangan - will open next to The Menjangan. Boat tours, bird watching, hiking and diving/snorkelling tours can be arranged either from the hotels or from Permuteran and Lovina.

     

     

     

    SELOGRIYO TEMPLE, CENTRAL JAVA

     

    Located in the district of Malang the journey to Selogriyo Temple is about a 1.5-hour drive from Yogyakarta. On arrival at the parking lot you walk along a small path for about two kilometres through a beautiful landscape of rice fields and local villages to reach the temple. From its entrance gate you climb up 160 steps to reach the small temple. Its history is not clear. The name of "Selogriyo", which means "stone house", was given by the local villagers.

    This temple is not a tourist hotspot like other temples in Indonesia, but it is worth a visit when combined with a trek along the scenic landscape where you also get to meet the local people.
     

     

     

     

    ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

     

     

    ATV RIDE ADVENTURE

     

    ATV Ride Adventure is only one option of the many exciting adventures available in Bali. You enjoy a panoramic view of rice paddies while conquering the challenging 6.5-kilometre ATV trek that goes along a river, through the forest, and finishing on a black sandy beach.

     

     

     

    MOUNT BATUR SUNSET TREKKING

     

    A popular excursion for our adventurous guests is climbing a volcano. If you are not up to scaling Mount Agung or Mount Rinjani (over 3,000 metres) then Mount Batur sunrise trekking is for you. During the high season the route is very busy in the morning, and sometimes you even have to queue on the small narrow tracks.

    As an alternative we offer a sunset trekking tour to Mount Batur with pick-up between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and drop-off at 9 p.m. in South Bali. The tour includes transfers, a local guide, snacks at the summit, and dinner near Ubud. The volcano is 1,717 metres high, and the walk takes around 1.5 hours to 2 hours. Please wear proper hiking shoes.

     

     

     

     

    HOTEL INFORMATION

     

     

    NUSABAY MENJANGAN

     

    NusaBay Menjangan, recently opened by Waka Hotels & Resorts, is located on the beachside of West Bali National Park. Formerly known as Shorea Beach Resort, it has been completely renovated and is the only hotel within the National Park on Prapat Agung Peninsula.

    The resort offers 16 cottages and villas. Each Lanai Cottage is elevated above the ground, has a private balcony, and an ensuite bathroom with monsoon shower. It is suitable for travellers seeking an off-the-the-beaten-track experience and nature-lovers.

     

     

     

    THE ELYSIAN, SEMINYAK

     

    The Elysian is a private boutique villa located in the middle of the cosmopolitan area of Seminyak and only five minutes away from Bali's famous beach. It has 26 one- and two-bedroom villas located amidst a garden.


    Each villa has a private pool, garden, and is equipped with the latest multimedia system. There is also a public area with a restaurant, and a 25-metre pool with five poolside cabanas. It is perfect for families and couples who want privacy on their holidays.
     

     

     

    MANDAPA, A RITZ-CARLTON RESERVE, UBUD

     

    Verdant rice paddies, meandering pathways, gently rolling hills, and the Ayung River set a glorious backdrop for Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Ubud. Secluded from the distractions of daily life the resort's guests can discover peace of mind and body, which has drawn devotees to Mandapa area for thousands of years. An intimate hotel of only 60 villas and suites, it also features two swimming pools and a luxury spa.

     

     

     

     

    ANY OTHER NEWS

     

     

    LAMINA, A LUXURY SAILING YACHT

     

    Lamina is a brand new wooden luxury sailing yacht, 68 metres long, with seven spacious and elegant suites including ensuite bathrooms. It offers an ultimate all-inclusive concept that includes all meals, beverages (non-alcoholic and alcoholic), excursions, dives with instructors, non-motorised and motorised watersports and spa treatments.

    The yacht is available for charters. It also offers scheduled departures to Raja Ampat (March-July) and Komodo (August-September).

     

     

     

    VISA-FREE ENTRY FOR 90 COUNTRIES

     

    The Indonesian government has granted 90 countries visa-free entry to Indonesia under a new regulation. The visa-free permit is for 30 days that cannot be extended. The following countries are eligible for the visa waiver (pending official announcement):

     

    Algeria Iceland Philippines
    Angola India Poland
    Argentina Ireland Portugal
    Austria Italy Qatar
    Azerbaijan Japan Romania
    Bahrain Jordan Russia
    Belarus Kazakhstan San Marino
    Belgium Kuwait Saudi Arabia
    Brunei Kyrgyztan Seychelles
    Bulgaria Laos Singapore
    Cambodia Latvia Slovakia
    Canada Lebanon Slovenia
    Chile Liechtenstein South Africa
    China Lithuania South Korea
    Croatia Luxembourg Spain
    Cyprus Macau SAR Suriname
    Czech Republic Malaysia Sweden
    Denmark Maldives Switzerland
    Dominica Malta Taiwan
    Ecuador Mexico Tanzania
    Egypt Monaco Thailand
    Estonia Morocco Timor-Leste
    Fiji Myanmar Tunisia
    Finland Netherland Turkey
    France New Zealand United Arab Emirates
    Germany Norway United Kingdom
    Ghana Oman United States of America
    Greece Panama Vatican
    Hong Kong SAR Papua New Guinea Venezuela
    Hungary Peru Vietnam

     

     

     

     

    NEW EXIT AIRPORTS AND SEAPORTS FOR VISA-FREE COUNTRIES

     

    Indonesia has added more exit airports and seaports for visa-free countries. With immediate effect, all foreign travellers from these countries entering Indonesia from five airports and nine seaports can now exit Indonesia from 19 airports and 29 seaports. Lombok is still not on the visa-free entry and exit list.

     

    Entry airports Exit airports
    Soekamo-Hatta, Jakarta Soekamo-Hatta, Jakarta
    Juanda, Surabaya Juanda, Surabaya
    Ngurah Rai, Bali Ngurah Rai, Bali
    Kuala Namu, Medan Kuala Namu, Medan
    Hang Nadim, Batam Hang Nadim, Batam
      Husein Sastranegara, Bandung
      Sepinggan, Balikpapan
      St. Iskandar Muda, Aceh
      Halim Perdana Kusumah, Jakarta
      Adisucipto, Yogyakarta
      Eltari, Kupang
      Sam Ratulangi, Manado
      Minangkabau, Padang
      St. Syarif Kasim Il, Pekanbaru
      St. Mahmud Badaruddin, Palembang
      Adisumarmo, Surakarta/Solo
      Ahmad Yani, Semarang
      St. Hasanuddi, Makassar
      Polonia, Polonia

     

     

     
     

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