Asian Trails Trailblazer

Issue September 2011

Dear friends,

 

Travel is a journey of discovery - of cultures, heritage, lifestyle, peoples and places of interests in the destinations you visit. It is also an educational journey as you learn new things, make friends in a foreign land and discover hidden gems.

 

Here in Asia we have all the above to offer and lots more. Our teams at the Asian Trails' eight countries in the region visit new destinations regularly so as to bring you and your clients the latest and best products and services.

 

We present them all to you in this issue of TRAILBLAZER (September-October 2011), complete with detailed descriptions and beautiful photos.

 

The Asian Trails team will be at the PATA Travel Mart in New Delhi, India (September 6-9). Please drop by our booth, no. F 79-80. We will be happy to meet you and assist in planning the perfect vacation for you and your clients.

 

Happy reading and

 

Happy Trails!

 

Luzi A. Matzig

C E O

 

QUICK LINKS

 

 

 
 

 

 

THAILAND

 

A note from Managing Director ROGER HAUMUELLER

 

Dear Friends,

 

After the political turbulence in 2010 Thailand had peaceful elections on July 3, 2011. The winner in the elections was Mrs Yingluck Shinawatra. She was officially sworn in on August 8 and became Thailand's first female Prime Minister. She promised to lead Thailand to peace and reconciliation.  

 

Thanks to a more stable political climate there is an increase in tourist arrivals at all of Thailand's international airports. Phuket is expected to have record tourist arrivals this year.

 

In this edition, I would like to introduce our Explore Tour in Phuket and also concentrate on hotel news in South Thailand. You will find new resorts, ranging from the excellent value-for-money Centra Ashlee in Patong to the Andara, Phuket's newest luxury resort.

 

Happy reading!

 

Roger Haumueller

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

EXPLORE FOR THE DISCERNING TRAVELLERS

 

Asian Trails has launched the new concept "EXPLORE" - a series of "out-of-the-ordinary" tours, suitable for all categories of travellers, both individuals and small groups. This is a programme for people who do not want to experience what everyone else is doing. It is for seekers of a truly authentic and sustainable travel experience in the great outdoors, of local customs and charming hospitality, flavourful traditional cooking, stimulating art and intriguing architecture. We list below some examples of the EXPLORE programmes.

 

For more details please click here

 

EXPLORE PHUKET'S WAY OF LIFE

 

Visit Phuket by car or boat and get an insight into its lifestyle. Accommodation is at selected boutique hotels - The Old Phuket, The Village Resort & Spa, The Pavilions Phuket.

 

 

 

For more details please click here

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS' TOUR COUNTER AT REMBRANDT HOTEL

 

Asian Trails is operating a tour counter at the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok, opened since September 1 2011, to cater to excursions for the hotel's guests and our clients. The hotel is located on Sukhumvit soi 18, within easy walking distance of Asoke (BTS) as well as Sukhumvit (MRT) public transport stations.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

KHAO LAK

APSARAS BEACH RESORT & SPA

 

Situated 95 kilometres northeast of Phuket, Apsaras Beach Resort & Spa occupies a sheltered spot by the Andaman Sea. The idyllic beachfront location and crystal clear water make this the perfect resort for families or couples. The stunning surroundings, high quality facilities and professional staff also make Apsaras Beach Resort & Spa the ideal choice for corporate events, incentive groups or celebrations.

 

Staying at Apsaras Beach Resort & Spa is an unforgettable experience whether you are there for a romantic weekend or an extended break with family or friends.

 

For more details please click here

 

BEYOND RESORT KHAO LAK

 

This is a new resort scheduled to open in November 2011. Situated at Pak Weep Beach, next to Le Méridien Khao Lak Resort, the resort is part of Phuket-based Kata Group.

 

Beyond Resort Khao Lak offers five star accommodation with 153 luxurious, spacious Palm Villas and Pool Villas built along contemporary Thai style. It also offers gourmet cuisine and a wide range of facilities. It is the perfect getaway for who wants privacy and luxury on their holidays.

 

For more details please click here

 

CASA DE LA FLORA

 

Casa de La Flora on the shore of the Andaman Sea is a  36-villa resort of urban design. It nestles among an oasis of natural serenity and is an ode to the angular geometries of Brutalist architecture, while simultaneously paying tribute to the surrounding environment. Applying a distinct sensitivity to the adjacent landscape and achieving harmony with the local flora, the hotel by VaSLab Architecture is Khao Lak's only resort offering contemporary architecture and design.

 

This exceptional eco-retreat offers personalised, yet discreet services. Each low-rise villa offers guests arresting sea views, private pools, a smattering of small gardens, 24-hour butler service and welcome quirks such as in-room entertainment technology provided by Apple.

 

In addition to the secluded solace of each glass-fronted villa, the resort's public spaces accommodate an infinity edge pool, four treatment rooms and a sauna and steam room. Contemporary highlights include a library where visitors can unwind while enjoying an assortment of books and DVDs. There is also the La Arunya Restaurant, which veritable feasts of Thai and international cuisine.

 

A multifaceted retreat, this chic addition to the idyllic Khao Lak coastline is faithful to its tropical backdrop, yet uncompromisingly forward thinking in its design - perfect for those in search of privacy in unspoiled surroundings.

 

For more details please click here

 

KANTARY BEACH HOTEL VILLAS & SUITES, KHAO LAK

 

The four star hotel is located at Cape Pakarang, just minutes from the town of Khao Lak and one hour's drive north of Phuket International Airport. It is surrounded by cooling lakes, rolling hills of lush tropical foliage and a magnificent beach.

 

Kantary offers 78 standalone villas and 78 suites with generous living rooms and private balcony. The rooms are equipped with television with LCD/plasma screen, in-room safe, shower and full set of amenities.  The hotel also boasts meeting facilities, laundry service/dry cleaning and coffee shop as part of its superior facilities and services.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

PHUKET

THE NAKA ISLAND

 

Formerly the Six Senses Sanctuary located on Koh Naka, Phuket, the resort has been rebranded to The Naka Island. Managed by Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket, the resort is scheduled to reopen in November of 2011.

 

Located about 25 minutes from Phuket International Airport, the resort is cradled on a tranquil fisherman's island off shore from Phuket, surrounded by white sand beaches and overlooking picturesque views across Phang Nga Bay. It features 67 luxury pool villas with two exquisite restaurants, a full service luxury spa and swimming pools.

 

For more details please click here

 

ANDARA RESORT & VILLA

 

The resort is a collection of deluxe pool villas and spacious residence suites nestled in the lush tropical hillside above Kamala Beach on the pristine west coast of Phuket.

 

Breathtaking sea views, private infinity pools, a large 40m resort pool, world-class five star service and a range of accommodation options (from one to six bedrooms) makes Andara the perfect choice for the ultimate Phuket beach holiday, whether for a romantic getaway or a vacation with family and friends.

  • Andara Pool Villas : Offers the finest views of the entire resort with bedrooms opened directly onto the breathtaking ocean vista providing the perfect start and end to each day. Lavish ensuite facilities include indoor and discrete outdoor showers and bathtubs, seamlessly blending interior space with the lush exterior. Living and dining areas are perfect for entertaining or just lounging around, while the latest modern appliances mean you won't miss anything from home.  Villas offer three-six bedroom configurations.

  • Andara Residence Suites: More luxurious than a resort room, the Andara Phuket Residence Suites offer spacious accommodation to suit every occasion. Luxurious bedrooms are accompanied by beautifully appointed bathrooms, while the spacious living and dining areas enjoy stunning Andaman Sea views. Choose from one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom suites for the perfect Phuket experience. They come different categories - Terrace Suite, Pool Suite and Pool Suite Penthouse.

For more details please click here

 

CENTRA ASHLEE RESORT

 

The resort is conveniently located on Phuket's dramatic west coast and in the heart of the popular tourist town of Patong. This newly built eight-storey hotel overlooks the magnificent Andaman Sea.

 

Centra Ashlee Hotel Patong boasts 110 fully appointed rooms in a contemporary building.  Perfectly suitable for guests of all ages, each contemporarily designed room delivers sheer comfort with a choice of king- and twin bed and an additional full size sofa bed. All rooms feature 36sqm of living space.

 

For more details please click here

 

HOLIDAY INN RESORT PHUKET MAI KHAO BEACH

 

This four star premium resort is located on the tranquil northwest coast of Phuket, embracing the pristine and scenic Mai Khao Beach. It features 246 rooms and suites in six distinctive room categories, with choices of garden view, ocean-facing view, and terrace or pool access.

 

Guests can experience a variety of lifestyle activities together with recreational facilities and indulge in sophisticated cuisine. The resort is also perfectly positioned to meet conference and event needs, offering five function rooms with flexible configurations.

 

For more details please click here

 

THE KEE RESORT & SPA

 

The KEE Resort & Spa is a spectacular new hotel and plaza complex, which offers an oasis of tranquillity and luxury in the heart of the world-renowned Patong Beach. It offers the perfect blend of convenience and connection with superb facilities and an unmatched location.

 

Utilising state-of-the-art technology throughout to ensure peace of mind, the resort's 244 stunningly modern rooms and suites are unlike any other found on the island.

 

For more details please click here

 

PIMNARA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

 

Pimnara Hotel offers 67 uniquely decorated rooms, exceptionally designed by 11 renowned Thai artists. Each design makes your stay an enchanting one.

 

Guests have the choice of a Standard or Superior room with seamless integration of bedroom and bathroom, Deluxe room with a spacious living area with full amenities that includes the iPad, and the loft suite that offers panoramic views of the surrounding sea and the hills.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

SAMUI

LE MÉRIDIEN KOH SAMUI RESORT & SPA

 

Located on Lamai Beach on the east coast of Koh Samui, Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa is a short drive to the island's recreational and cultural facilities, including Lamai Temple.

 

Scheduled to open on September 30, 2011, the resort offers 77 guestrooms and villas, three F&B venues, a full-service spa with six treatment rooms, fitness centre, four swimming pools and 100sqm of meeting and event space.

 

The hotel was formerly managed by Langham Hotels International, rebranded The Gurich Koh Samui and is now rebranded as Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

PHUKET VEGETARIAN FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 27 - OCTOBER 4, 2011

VENUE: PHUKET

 

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival is an annual event held during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. It is believed that the festival and its accompanying sacred rituals bestow good fortune upon those who religiously observe this rite.

 

As part of the rituals local residents of Chinese ancestry strictly observe a 10-day vegetarian or vegan diet for the purposes of spiritual cleansing and merit making. Sacred rituals are performed at various Chinese shrines and temples. Aesthetic displays, such as walking barefooted over hot coals and ascending ladders with bladed rungs, are performed by entranced devotees known as "Ma Song".

 

 

CHON BURI BUFFALO RACES

OCTOBER 11 - 12, 2011

VENUE: CITY HALL, CHONBURI

 

The water buffalo has always played a significant role in agriculture in Thailand. In this yearly event the animals are iseen in more unusual and entertaining ways than ploughing fields. They take part in buffalo races and contests, and pit their strength against man. Beauty pageants and various other fun-filled activities are held as part of the celebrations.

 

 

ILLUMINATED BOAT PROCESSION

OCTOBER 4 - 12, 2011

VENUE: MEKONG RIVER, NAKHON PHANOM

 

As night falls majestic "fire boats", elaborately-adorned with flowers, incense sticks, candles and lanterns and ebearing an assortment of ritual offerings, are set alight and floated down the Mekong River. Against the darkness of the moonlit night the sight of flickering light, from candles and lanterns on these magnificent boats, drifting downstream on the Mekong River is both mesmerising and awe-inspiring. It is this enchanting spectacle that has given the water-borne procession its very name - Lai Reua Fai, which literally means to set afloat a "fire boat".

 

 

THE SAKHON NAKHON WAX CASTLE PROCESSION & ROYAL TROPHY LONGBOAT RACES

OCTOBER 8 - 12, 2011

VENUE: WAT PHRA THAT CHOENG CHUM TEMPLE, SAKON NAKHON

 

To mark the end of Buddhist Lent or "Ok Pansa" communities in Northeastern Thailand or I-San stage an annual celebration consisting of a grand procession of meticulously-carved wax castles, longboat races and festivities. On the final day of the festival, which falls on the end of the Buddhist Lent, local residents make a trip to the temples to make merit.

 

This ancient folk tradition has been passed down from generation to generation, which has evolved over the centuries. Originally,ornate wax trees carved out of poles of beeswax were presented to temples along with other merit-making ritual offerings. Contemporary offerings consist of elaborate designs and sophisticated shapes and forms. Beeswax is moulded into miniature Buddhist temples and shrines or wax castles.

 

 

NAGA FIREBALLS

OCTOBER 11 - 12, 2011

VENUE: WAT THAI TEMPLE CITY PILLAR SHRINE, PON PISAI DISTRICT, NONG KHAI

 

As the full moon crests over the horizon ruby orbs of light begin to rise out of the Mekong River. As if by magic they float silently into the air and then evaporate in the inky blackness, a phenomenon that awes and delights observers privileged to have seen them. For centuries their existence was a closely-held secret among villagers living near the northeastern town of Nong Khai. Then the miraculous event was discovered by outsiders who now flock to the riverbanks each October full moon night in enormous numbers-400,000, at last count.

 

The silence of the fireballs' ascent is emblematic of the mystery of their origins beneath the murky Mekong. Villagers claim that they are created by nak, mythical serpents as central to Thai belief and as enigmatic as the fireballs themselves.

 

The debate over the fireballs' formation reflects a clash of cultures. On one hand are the villagers for whom water and its denizens holds an almost mystical fascination. And little wonder: water nourishes the staple foods of rice and fish; it is central to every rite, festival, and procession from the Royal Barges to longboat races. Rivers and canals once supported most Thais' boats and homes, and water explains every elemental mystery. For a people who cling dearly to cherished beliefs about water, and especially about its chief denizen, the nak (naga in Sanskrit), they find it an abomination the scientists' desire to find a rational explanation for the phenomenon It is a case of faith and tradition vyng with science.

 

Between 6pm and 9pm on the full moon night of the 11th Lunar month (October), the final night of Buddhist Lent, smokeless, scentless, soundless fireballs rise from the deepest Lao side of the Mekong. As many as 19 ruby globes at a time ascend to heights of between 30 to 300 metres for three to eight seconds each, then simply vanish. In some years there are only a few fireballs, but in 1999 nearly 3,500 were counted. They can be seen from ponds and a dozen riverbank villages, but are most numerous near Phon Phisai.

 

 

ROYAL BARGE PROCESSION

OCTOBER 22, 2011

VENUE: CHAO PHRAYA RIVER

 

the Royal Barge Procession on the Chao Phraya - the River of Kings - is one of the grandest spectacles in the Kingdom of Thailand. It is an ancient tradition, which was revived by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1959.* This breathtaking water-borne procession is reserved for nationally auspicious occasions and has been held only 16 times during His Majesty's reign.

 

HM King Bhumibol is the ninth ruler of the Royal House of Chakri, a dynasty founded in 1782. He is the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history, and has since 1989 been the world's longest reigning incumbent monarch.

 

To commemorate the auspicious occasion of HM King Bhumibol's 84th birthday on  December 5, 2011 Rear Admiral Apiwat Sriwattana, in his capacity as Chairman of the Preparation Committee for the Royal Barge Procession, has announced that the Royal Thai Navy will be organise a Royal Kathin Barge Procession on October 22 to mark the visit of members of the Royal family to a royal temple to present offerings of saffron kathin robes, food and other necessities, to the monks.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

THAI AIRWAYS TO LAUnCH BANGKOK-BRUSSELS FLIGHTS IN NOVEMBER

 

Thai Airways will launch thrice weekly direct non-stop Bangkok-Brussels-Bangkok services on November 17, 2011.

 

The new services will be on the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with capacity for 292 passengers, offering 30 seats in Royal Silk Class and 262 seats in Economy Class, personal screens and the latest in-flight entertainment system.

 

TG934 departs Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 00.30 hours and arrive in Brussels at 07.00 hours. On the return leg, flight TG935 departs Brussels on the same day at 13.30 hours and arrives in Bangkok at 06.20 hours the next day.

 

Total flight time on the Bangkok-Brussels route is 12.30 hours, and 10.50 hours on the return from Brussels-Bangkok. Brussels is Thai Airway's 72nd destination.

 

 

 

TURKISH AIRLINES UPS FREQUENCY

 

Turkish Airlines has increased flights on the Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh City-Bangkok route from four times weekly to a daily service.

 

 

INDIA'S INDIGO FLIES TO BANGKOK

 

IndiGo, India's low-cost carrier, will commence daily service on the Delhi-Bangkok-Delhi and Delhi-Singapore-Delhi routes with an Airbus 320 in September 2011.

 

 

 

BANGKOK AIRWAYS FLIES TO BENGALURU, INDIA

 

Bangkok Airways is introducing five weekly Bangkok-Bengaluru (Bangalore) service on September 26, 2011, using the all-economy class Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft.

 

Bengaluru is the Thai carrier's second destination in India after Mumbai. Starting October 30, 2011 the airline will also increase Bangkok-Mumbai service from six weekly flights to daily flights.

 

 

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LAOS

 

A note from Managing Director Philippe Conod

 

Dear Partners and Friends,

 

Laos is on the move. Big projects are in the pipeline, including the construction of a high-speed train, the extension and renovation of Vientiane Airport, the second runway at Luang Prabang and others to come.

 

At Asian Trails Laos we are concentrating on the creation of new products, which include several new Explore Tours and a new line of soft adventure products, addressing the needs of every guest. No special physical preparation is required to go on these tours - just have fun!

 

We hope these new programmes will be successful during the coming high season, and they will help our agents create even more interest for Laos

 

Despite all the economical and political problems worldwide, we are confident that the tourist season in Laos will be successful

 

Kind regards and Happy Sales,

 

Philippe Conod

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

VIENTIANE AIRPORT UPGRADES

 

Upgrading work on Vientiane Airport started on August 17 and will be completed by November 2012. The tarmac area will be extended to accommodate 15 wide body aircraft and the runway will be renovated

 

The airport's upgrading is to prepare Laos for the hosting of the 9th Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) to take place on November 5-6, 2012.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

NEW SOFT ADVENTURE TOURS

 

Asia Trails Laos, in cooperation with Green Discovery Laos, has developed a new line of soft adventure tours. They are:

  • 1 Day Cycling Tour Luang Prabang

  • 1 Day Phou Khao Khouai by boat and trekking (Vientiane) 

  • 3 Days Nam Ha Valley Trekking and Cycling Tour (Luang Namtha) 

  • 2 Days Muang Sing On & Off Roads Tour - cycling and trekking 

  • 2 Days Boloven Plateau trekking (Pakze)

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS LAOS' NEW MINIBUS

 

Asian Trails Laos is happy and proud to announce  the delivery of a brand new Ford Transit minibus, which is equipped with seven VIP seats. It is based  in Pakze, thus offering first class transportation to all our destinations

 

 

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

 

Experience the beautiful landscapes of Laos and gorgeous cruises on Nam Ou River in the 6 days/5 nights In The Laos Nature tour.

 

Itinerary:

Oudomxay (3 weekly flights from Vientiane) - Muang La - Nong Khiao - Luang Prabang. Accommodation at the beautiful Muang La Resort, Nong Khiaw Riverside and Sunset House in Luang Prabang.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

HOTEL DE LA PAIX LUANG PRABANG

 

KS Resorts has reflagged its Laos property as Hotel de La Paix Luang Prabang effective August 1, 2011

 

Built on a heritage site in Luang Prabang, Laos' former royal capital, Hotel de la Paix Luang Prabang fuses colonial charm with contemporary elegance in one of the finest luxury all-suite resorts in the region

 

 

AMANTAKA RESORT'S PROMOTION

 

This special promotion is for bookings made from now until October 31, 2011 (arrival day - minimum stay of 3 nights)

 

Benefits include:
  • Complimentary upgrade to the next available category

  • Daily half board including house beverage and wine

  • Daily activity - private guided tour around Luang Prabang, Mekong River trip on board an Aman private boat, or a traditional Luang Prabang Baci Ceremony

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

LAO AIRLINES FLIES TO SINGAPORE

 

Lao Airlines has bought two Airbus A320 aircraft, which will be delivered in October 2011. The airline has also confirmed it will launch three weekly flights to Singapore, to be followed by other destinations. We will update on the latest informaiton when it is available.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

 

BISTRO 22 (EX-CHEZ PHILIPPE)

 

This is a small typical French bistro featuring popular and reasonabely-priced dishes. It is located just off Vientiane's city centre, next to the French Embassy. Booking in advance is advised as the restaurant has limited tables. Closes on Sundays.

 

Bon appetit!

 

 

I BEAM BAR & TAPAS - VIENTIANE'S TRENDIEST SPOT

 

This new bar in Vientiane, located right in the city's centre, offers a good choice of vintage wines and cocktails, and a wide selection of tapas. Opens daily from 5pm.

 

Cheers!

 

Happy trails in Laos!!

 

 

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CAMBODIA

 

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR JACQUES GUICHANDUT

 

On the first weekend of July the ATC team went to Vietnam on a fam trip to discover the beautiful treasures of life on the Mekong River, which is just across the border from the Cambodian border.  We took the speedboat to Chau Doc and returned by bus through Can Tho. We had a great time together, sharing the tasty food of South Vietnam and enjoying our visits to the floating markets, fish farms and cultural places. This was a perfect trip, thanks to the organisation of our colleagues at ATV.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

SIEM REAP, 7th WORLD'S BEST CITIES

 

For the first time Siem Reap has been listed as one of the world's best cities by the influential US travel magazine Travel + Leisure. The magazine's World's Best 2011 Awards issue, published on July 22, was based on the votes of thousands of its readers who nominated various cities from around the world for the awards.

 

In this year's listings Siem Reap ranks as the world's 7th best city, one spot above Australia's Sydney, which came in at number eight on the list. Bangkok, for the second year in a row, was again voted as the world's best city, a listing that caused some controversy last year when the Thai capital came out on the top spot.

 

 

 

CONSTITUTION DAY: SEPTEMBER 24, 2011

 

Constitution Day, a public holiday, celebrates the signing of the Cambodian Constitution by King Sihanouk on the same day in 1993. The Constitution was adopted by a constitutional assembly elected under the auspices of the United Nations.

 

 

 

BONN PCHUM BEN: SEPTEMBER 26-28, 2011

 

Bonn Pchum Ben is celebrated mostly among Cambodian Buddhists. During this festival they pay their respects to deceased relatives. They cook meals for monks, bring offerings to the temples and throw rice near the temple early in the morning in the belief that the ghosts of their ancestors will receive it.

 

 

 

KING NORODOM SIHAMONI'S CORONATION DAY:  OCTOBER 29, 2011

 

This public holiday celebrates the anniversary of the coronation of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia. The Royal Palace is lit at night and beautifully decorated for this special occasion.

 

The Palace is closed to visitors on this day.

 

 

ANGKOR ART EXPLO: October 29 - November 19, 2011

 

The Angkor Art Explo is a three part art festival specifically aimed to bring local Cambodian art to its roots, to the masses through a journey of exhibitions, and to the world by creating a platform of dialogue between international and local artists.

 

The festival brings together the bustling art community with a series of exhibitions and get-togethers to further promote the growth of local contemporary art as spearheaded by the Phare Ponleu Selpak School.

 

The heart of Angkor Art Explo begins on November 6 with the "art journey project". For this project artists turn bicycles into "art on wheels" and take part in a 175-kilometre journey, bringing the bicycles to the countryside for impromptu exhibitions in local markets, pagodas, schools and villages.

 

For more details please click here

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

Siem Reap

 

ANGKOR JEEP TOURS

 

From one to 10 days off-the-unbeaten track tours, Angkor Jeep Tours is all about outdoor adventures, inspired by the great passion of travel on the road to the Kingdom's amazing places. Get up close and personal with the friendly, hospitable local people, embark on a journey of self-discovery, and experience a memorable trip of a lifetime.

 

GRAND PREAH KHAN TOUR

 

We are pleased to announce that the road to the remote temples of Grand Preah Khan is now accessible. The drive to the temple (also named Prasat Thom) takes around five hours from Siem Reap, and two hours from Kampong Thom.

 

At the end of the journey, which takes you through a fascinating landscape of small villages and rice fields, you are greeted with the sight of the most impressive temple of the huge temple complex. It is overrun with jungle and surrounded by a great wall where a few trees and vines remain attached. The area is peaceful and serene, with birds singing and cows grazing in the nearby fields.

 

For more information on programmes and excursions including visit to Grand Preah Khan, please contact res@asiantrails.com.kh or the Production Department Vichana@asiantrails.com.kh

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

PHNOM PENH

NEW HOTEL: KING GRAND BOUTIQUE HOTEL

 

Located just 5 minutes away from Phnom Penh city centre King Grand Boutique Hotel provides an ideal base to explore the city's attractions and undiscovered treasures in Cambodia. Despite its proximity to the city the spacious hotel is a haven quiet elegance and privacy.

 

Its 32 rooms are a mix of traditional architecture and modern style. All rooms have private bathroom with separate toilets, mini-bar, safety-box, satellite flat screen TV with more than 60 channels, private veranda with view over the Mekong River and a public garden. Facilities include the King Grand Restaurant, a mini pool with open-air bar on the rooftop and a Jacuzzi. An open-air spa, the first such spa, will open soon.

 

 

 

Siem Reap

 

SOFT RENOVATION AT SOFITEL ANGKOR PHOKEETHRA

 

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra is undergoing a soft renovation from August 6 until September 6, 2011. All its 238 guest rooms will be fitted with 37-inch flat screen LCD TVs.

 

At Citadel Restaurant the buffet displays, furniture and the kitchen area will be enhanced. it will be closed during the renovation period. Buffet breakfast will be served daily in the Naga Rainbow Ballroom.

 

 

GRAND SOLUXE ANGKOR PALACE RESORT & SPA

 

The Soluxe Hospitality Group, a Singapore-based international hotel chain owned by the China National Petroleum Corporation, has taken over the management of the Angkor Palace Resort & Spa in Siem Reap. It has rebranded the hotel as Grand Soluxe Angkor Palace Resort & Spa.

 

The hotel has been awarded a five star rating from the Ministry of Tourism, making it one of only 62 hotels out of 455 in the Kingdom to hold the distinction.

 

 

 

KOH KONG

 

KOH KONG RESORT

 

Koh Kong Resort, situated along the picturesque beachfront of Koh Kong in southwest Cambodia, is one of the Kingdom's premier sea resorts and an ideal destination for business and leisure travellers.

 

The resort offers Cambodian fine services, modern amenities and a wide range of superior accommodations divided into seven categories: 74 Standard rooms, 239 Superior Rooms, 4 Junior Suite rooms, 162 Deluxe Rooms, 36 Deluxe Suite rooms, 2 Executive Suite rooms and 2 Presidential Suite rooms.

 

 

 

SIHANOUKVILLE

 

TEMPORARY CLOSURE OF GOLDEN SAND HOTEL

 

Golden Sand Hotel is closing temporarily from August 22 to November 5, 2011 for renovations. The refurbishment is to provide better facilities and amenities to meet the guests' needs and market demand. The reservation department remains open for bookings.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

ATC REORGANISES ITS TEAM

 

We have reorganised our team and promoted some of our key people to management positions.

 

Ms. Sabrina Bertrand (left), former Sales Manager at Victoria Angkor Hotel will join the ATC team in early September as MICE Manager Indochina. She brings with her extensive experience and profound knowledge of the incoming business to Indochina, as well as Incentive and MICE markets in France and globally. She will be based in Siem Reap and will oversee Vietnam, Lao and Cambodia.

 

 

 

Mrs.Pirun Heang (left), former Operations Manager in Phnom Penh, has been promoted as Inbound Manager. She will oversee the Reservation Department in the Phnom Penh office.

 

 

 

Mr. Piset Chea (left), former Senior Incentive Supervisor in the Siem Reap office, has been promoted and transferred to the Phnom Penh office to take over the position of Operations Manager.

 

 

 

Mr. Vichana Huot, former Reservation Supervisor of International Department, has been promoted to Contracting and Product Manager.

 

 

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VIETNAM

 

A note from Managing Director Thuy Tien

 

Investments in premium hotels during the last three years in Ho Chi Minh City have almost doubled, to meet an average growth rate of 15% each year in the number of tourists visiting Vietnam's main commercial, economic and tourist hub.

 

Companies are investing heavily in expanding, upgrading or building new premium hotels in the city. The city, which once lamented a lack of high-end luxury hotels for foreigners during peak tourist season, is now seeing a flurry of activity in that sector.

 

The numbers of hotels have increased from 624 to 1,500. Today there are 13 five star hotels, 13 four star hotels and 45 three star hotels offering 9,700 deluxe rooms.

 

By the end of 2011, the five star Nikko Sai Gon Hotel on Nguyen Van Cu Street in District 1 with 335 rooms, and the newly renovated Grand Hotel on Dong Khoi Street in District 1 with 500 rooms will become fully operational.

 

However, with an average growth rate of 15% per year in the number of tourists, companies have to speed up building new premium hotels, as well as upgrading existing ones.

 

Presently Rex Hotel is under renovation for upgrading to a five star hotel at a cost of VND300 billion (approx. US$14.2 million). Majestic Hotel is under expansion for another 353 rooms. Two new hotels - the 250 room four star Novotel Saigon Hotel on Hai Ba Trung Street in District 1 and the 300 room five-star Pullman Saigon Hotel on Tran Hung Dao Street in District 1 are scheduled to open by 2014.

 

Two other five star hotels, the Gemadetp on Le Loi Street in District 1 and Kim Do on Nguyen Hue Street in District 1 will also increase capacity by 2,000 deluxe rooms by 2015.

All tourist businesses are now aiming to enhance the quality of their services to compete with neighbouring countries. Even though this time of the year is not yet the tourist season, hotel capacity is 60% percent, 10% higher than in 2010.

 

Investments in premium hotels in the city will give new opportunities for Vietnamese to compete with other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

NEW BORDER GATES TO CAMBODIA OPENED

 

Vietnam and Cambodia recently opened another pair of border posts, Hoa Lu in Vietnam's Binh Phuoc Province and Trapeang Sre in Cambodia's Kratie Province.

 

This is the fifth of seven pairs of border posts the two countries agreed to open under a road transport agreement signed in 1998 and a protocol signed in 2005. This new connection, beside the existing Moc Bai-Bavet (Tay Ninh and Svay Rieng provinces), is expect to ease travelling by road between Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh.

 

 

THRIVING-1, NEW SPEED FERRY LINK TO PHU QUOC ISLAND

 

People currently travel to Phu Quoc by plane or speedboat from either Rach Gia or Phu Quoc Island. With Thriving-1 speed ferry, operated by Thanh Thoi Company, they can get to Phu Quoc Island by car or bus across the sea.

 

The ferry departs from Ha Tien at 8.20am and arrives at 10.50am, and return at 2pm. The crossing takes 2.30 hours. The ferry can carry up to 20 cars or buses, 250 motorbikes and 400 passengers per trip.

 

 

NEW SEA ROUTE LINKS HO CHI MINH CITY TO VUNG TAU

 

Dong Duong Express now links Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) to Vung Tau. The cruise ship, with a seating capacity of 250 people, departs from Sai Gon Passenger Port at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street in District 4 of Ho Chi Minh City at 8 am and from Cau Da Wharf in Vung Tau City at 3.30pm daily.

 

The ship has a restaurant, café, game area, Internet services and a deck area from where passengers can admire the scenery along the Saigon River, Can Gio Mangrove Forest and the coastal city of Vung Tau.

 

 

HO CHI MINH CITY OPENS FIRST OBSERVATORY

 

Saigon Sky Deck, Ho Chi Minh City's first observatory, is now open. It is located on the 49th floor of Bitexco Financial Tower, the city's tallest building.

 

The observatory offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city from a height of 178 metres above ground level. It is equipped with modern binoculars, which rotate 360 degrees for viewing distant sights, and touch screens that offer pictures and information on the city's history, culture and architecture of the city. In the near future a cafe and a restaurant will be added to the facilities on the sky deck.

 

 

RIVER TOURISM BOOST WITH HO CHI MINH CITY YACHT CLUB'S Opening

 

The Ho Chin Minh City Tourism Association has established the Vietnam Yacht Club in the city, which groups some 20 yacht owners from Ho Chi Minh and neighbouring provinces.

 

The club's first activity is to help develop river tourism in the city, including collecting information about waterway transportation rules and preparing a map of stopovers in HCMC for yachts.

 

Paving the way for the development of river tourism is the opening of the first river tour route, which is from Bach Dang Wharf in District 1 to Ham Long Artisan Village in District 2.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

ATV TO LAUNCH NEW CD ROM WITH UPDATED PRODUCTS

 

Asian Trails Vietnam will soon launch its new CD ROM 2011-2012 with a variety of new and updated products for you to choose from.

 

This year ATV is introducing more homestay packages in Northern and Southern Vietnam, a wonderful experience and the best way to understand the local culture and meet hospitable local villagers. Other products added are : special interest tours like sunrise photo tours and a ride of your life on a real Vespa in Ho Chi Minh City ; programmes in collaboration with NGOs or non-for-profit organisations ; active and adventurous tours for the most intrepid ; additional extension possibilities from Hanoi and Danang ; and more.

 

 

LUXURY HOMESTAY IN NORTHERN COUNTRYSIDE

 

The homestay is in an elegantly restored comfortable ancient house nestled next to Duong Lam ancient village, about 55km from Hanoi. It has three main guesthouses, with each guesthouse accommodating up to a maximum of four adults and a child. Every guesthouse has two bedrooms, a private bathroom and one guest bathroom.

 

A luxury experience with sophisticated décor and human touches, which reflects the living standards of the high class in the old days, the homestay also provides an insight into the way of life in a typical northern countryside

 

During their stay guests literally travel back in time, enjoying the lifestyle of a rural life such as cycling along the ritual paths of northern style villages; interacting and helping local farmers in the fields; learning and sharing habits and traditions of Vietnamese family such as evening worship, burning votive money and gold for the deceased; tasting local products; soaking feet in medicinal water or taking steam bath with fragrant herbs.

 

 

RUSTIC HOMESTAY IN CENTRAL QUANG BINH

 

This homestay programme is a community-based tourism project, which was developed in 2008, and is now operated by a local family.

 

There are two traditional wooden houses for sleeping and a riverside welcome house with a river deck to welcome guests, serve drinks and to relax. One house has two king-size beds, while the other has eight king-size beds in dormitory style. All are equipped with good mattress, white bed linen, mosquito net, electric fan, hot water, separate WC from bathroom and an additional outdoor shower. There is no TV and minibar so guests can    enjoy the rustic life in simple comfort.

 

Staying a night or more in this rustic country house is an enriching experience as get to know and understand the local way of life, interact with the local people, as well as take part in activities such as kayaking, trekking and cycling.

 

 

NEW PARADISE YACHT

 

Paradise Cruise has just launched a brand new luxury vessel, Paradise Peak, to keep up with the demand for upscale cruise on Halong Bay.

 

Paradise Peak, which will be fully operational in November 2011, offers an unprecedented cruising experience in Halong Bay. More than a boat, it combines the facilities of a luxury resort with the supreme refinement of a boutique hotel, with a personalised butler and a crew that provide a fully tailor-made cruise with infinite possibilities.

 

The vessel has eight extremely spacious suites (38sqm-42sqm). They feature a bedroom, large ensuite bathroom and private dining area. Amenities on board include a dining room and bar, (golf) sundeck, spa and massage services, sauna, steam bath, Jacuzzi, fitness corner, library and modern kitchen for those who are passionate about cooking. A cruise on this luxury yacht is both enjoyable and relaxing.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

TRAMCAR TOUR TO HANOI'S WEST LAKE

 

The Hanoi authorities have licensed the West Lake Co., Ltd to import 30 tramcars to enable tourists to travel around Hanoi's West Lake.

 

The service is launched on September 2. There are 10 tramcar stops along the 18km route. Tourists are able to visit 21 historical and scenic sites along the lake.

 

The first tramcar project for tourist was experimentally carried out in the Hanoi's Old Quarter, with 13 stops. Hanoi plans to reduce the number of cyclos and increase tramcars to serve tourists in the Old Quarter.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

VEDANA LAGOON - A YOGA & MEDITATION RETREAT

 

Vedana Lagoon Resort and Spa is nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon, with stunning views across one of the largest lagoons in Southeast Asia. It lies between two cities, Hue and Hoi An, which are well known as World Heritage sites.

 

The resort embodies the subtle connection of modern art concept and high-end lifestyle. Its wellness blends ancient traditional healing wisdom from the east with therapies from the west.  Ayurveda, meditation, reiki, tai chi or yoga classes are provided upon request. Yoga & meditation packages are on offer until December 20, 2011.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

FUSION MAIA LAUNCHES FUSION LOUNGE, HOI AN

 

Fusion Maia has another exciting concept offering for its guest - Fusion Lounge Hoi An. It retains the chic design style of the resort, yet offers a relaxed and trendy new environment. The restaurant and lounge bar offer a signature modern Asian Fusion set menu, great Lavazza coffee and selection of home-made cakes and pastries, as well as wireless Internet. There is a convenient complimentary shuttle service between the resort and the Lounge for guests.

 

The launch of Fusion Lounge shows Fusion Maia's commitment to continue developing surprising concepts and unique services, which include breakfast any time or anywhere, including in Hoi An overlooking the Thu Bon River, or even a complimentary foot massage while waiting for the resort's shuttle bus.

 

 

MERCURE DANANG OPENS

 

Mercure Danang is opened for business on August 6, 2011. Located on exclusive Green Island in the heart of Danang city, Mercure Danang is only 10 minutes from Danang International Airport.

 

The new hotel has 272 modern and stylish rooms, which reflect the local Vietnamese culture. All rooms offer breathtaking ocean or mountain views. F&B outlets include a brassiere for all-day dining, speciality Chinese restaurant with private dining rooms, lobby bar and lounge overlooking the swimming pool. An exclusive Privilege Club lounge is located on the 21st floor. Extensive conference facilities are available for up to 800 delegates with five meeting rooms and the Grand Ballroom. Recreational facilities include a private spa and treatment rooms, tennis court and fitness centre.

 

Please contact us for more information and special promotions.

 

 

IHG MAKES INROADS INTO DANANG

 

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) will take over the management of the Silver Shores International Resort in Danang, and rebrand it as a Crowne Plaza from September 27.

 

Launched in January last year the convention and casino resort currently has 422 available rooms, and will start operating an additional 113 rooms in late September. Facilities include a 820sqm Grand Ballroom, seven meeting rooms, four F&B outlets, a recreational centre and a gaming facility. Construction on its second phase development, involving 52 villas in the resort's secluded quarter, will begin later this year.

 

IHG's arrival in Danang will be ahead of a slew of international hotel brands, some of which were expected to make their entry in the last two years, but were postponed due to construction delays.

 

 

AN LAM NINH VAN BAY VILLAS LAUNCHES NEW DELUXE VILLAS

 

An Lam Ninh Van Bay Villas has launched five new deluxe lifestyle villas. They blend modernity with traditional Vietnamese touches, with every detail addressed to ensure comfort and a sense of natural style - from an indulgent rain shower to an in-villa bar stocked according to guests' wishes.

 

The two-bedroom spacious villas are ideal for two couples vacationing together, with enough space to comfortably accommodate two children. Each offers an oversized entertaining deck and living area where a personal chef could whip up a private dinner.

 

Guests also enjoy numerous complimentary amenities, including complete entertainment system stations and iPods custom loaded with the music of choice, wireless internet and high-definition flat panel television.

 

The villas' beachfront location offers guests the best of both worlds to cool off - plunge into the private swimming pool or take a few steps for a dip in the sea!

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

SHERATON NHA TRANG'S NEW SERVICE APARTMENTS & PENTHOUSES

 

The Sheraton in Nha Trang recently unveiled its luxurious apartments and penthouses. All five units feature a kitchenette adjacent to the lounge and dining room with sweeping views of Nha Trang Bay.

 

Other amenities include a powder room, bathroom with separate bathtub and rain shower, wireless and broadband data ports, and at least two flat screen LCD televisions per unit.

 

The twin 180sqm penthouses also enable split-story living. They include additional luxuries such as private elevator access and an expansive communal balcony, which offers the most spectacular panorama in Nha Trang.

 

Another benefit to guests of these new room categories is access to the Sheraton Club Lounge - a private sanctuary on the hotel's 25th floor with indoor and outdoor seating areas and complimentary daily refreshments, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and canapés.

 

 

SAILING INTO THE FUTURE

 

The Sailing Club Group has launched a new resort in Nha Trang - Mia Resort Nha Trang - and embarked on an overall company rebranding.

 

Situated by the East Sea the Mia Resort has its own private beach. It offers 50 rooms, many with their own pools, a spa and two high-end but casual eating and drinking venues.

 

To mark its new era, both the new resort and the company's extant property in Mui Ne will be rebranded under the name, Mia.

 

 

PHAN THIET RESORT BREAKS GROUND

 

Legend Sea Phan Thiet, a large sea resort project in coastal Tien Thanh Commune in the southern city of Phan Thiet, has broken ground.

 

The 278-hectare project will have a conference centre, sports club, entertainment zone, camp site, food street, a system of modern five-star resorts, hotel and mini golf course. It is currently in its first phase with construction on 86 hectares.

 

 

MEKONG GARDEN'S NEW ECO-RESORT IN TIEN GIANG

 

Mekong Garden Co. Ltd. is investing over VND100 billion (US$5 million) to build the Mekong Riverside Resort in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang. It is scheduled to open later this year. It is located near the Tien River, about a kilometre from the Cai Be Floating Market, a popular attraction for tourists.

 

A large area within the seven-hectare resort will be turned into a garden with different kinds of fruit trees. Tourism facilities, which include as restaurants and 80 bungalows will be intertwined in the remaining areas. The first 40 bungalows will open for business this October.

 

 

 

NAME CHANGE FOR CHEN SEA RESORT AND SPA

 

The former Chen La Resort and Spa Phu Quoc have been officially added to the Centara Boutique Collection. It has been officially renamed as Chen Sea Resort and Spa Phu Quoc, Centara Boutique Collection.

 

The new contract for 2011/2012 season will have Centara format, terms and conditions apply.

 

 

HANOI HORISON HOTEL UNDERGOING RENOVATIONS

 

Hanoi Horison Hotel is undergoing renovations encompassing its guestrooms and public areas, lobby and restaurants. The renovations are carried out phases, and there are some changes in the hotel's operations. During this time the hotel remains open.

 

The renovations commenced on July 15, 2011 and the project is scheduled to be completed at the beginning of 2012

 

Should you require any further information, please feel free to contact us.

 

 

 

EMERAUDE'S ANNUAL MAINTENANCE

 

Emeraude in Halong Bay is carrying out an intensive maintenance of its vessel from September 7 to September 19. Kindly block out these dates from your systems.

 

Regular scheduled departures will resume on September 20.

 

 

RENOVATIONS AT RIVER BEACH RESORT & RESIDENCE HOI AN

 

River Beach Resort is closed completely for renovations from August 18 to September 30, 2011. The hotel is increasing its room inventory from 88 to 112 rooms and adding one more conference room that can accommodate 300 people. It is also enlarging and upgrading the restaurant, swimming pool and a new pool bar next to the river.

 

River Beach Resort has introduced brand new and interesting entertainment. There is now live music during the  "Ganh'" buffet every Saturday from 5.30pm to 9pm to provide extra entertaining for the evening.

 

 

NEW LUXURY WING FOR GRAND HOTEL, SAIGON

 

The New Wing of Grand Hotel in Saigon will cease operations from October 1, 2011. It will be replace with the Luxury Wing, in a new building, which will offer many categories of rooms.

 

On completion of the renovations the five star hotel will have 233 rooms with classic style décor, a Grand Ballroom with 500-seat meeting facilities and break-out rooms, recreation area, Western and Asian restaurants, souvenir shops and spa. It will be the ideal venue for large events or MICE groups.

 

 

 

POOL CLOSURE AT VICTORIA CAN THO RESORT

 

The swimming pool at Victoria Can Tho Resort is closed from September 4-9, 2011 inclusive for upgrading works. The hotel will keep disruption and noise to a minimum during the renovation period, which is expected to finish on evening of September 9.

 

Should you require any further information, please feel free to contact us.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

DALAT FLOWER FESTIVAL 2012

DECEMBER 30, 2011 - JANUARY 3, 2012

VENUE: LAM DONG, DALAT

 

The Dalat Flower Festival themed "Dalat, The City of Flowers Festival", will feature nine main programmes including art performances, a flower-and-light street festival, flower exhibitions, food festivals, a workshop on flowers and a wine tasting event.

 

The biennial event has become a popular tourist attraction in Dalat since it was first launched in 2005.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

NEW DIRECT HANOI-KAOHSIUNG SERVICE

 

On June 17 Vietnam Airlines officially launched a new direct service between Hanoi and Kaohsiung with an initial three weekly flights weekly. Using an Airbus A320 aircraft the services are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

The  Hanoi-Kaohsiung flights depart at 18.30 and Kaohsiung-Hanoi flights depart at 07:35 (local times).The flying time is about two hours 30 minutes.

 

This is the fourth direct service between Vietnam and Taiwan as Vietnam Airlines is currently flying directly on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City-Taipei, and Ho Chi Minh City-Kaohsiung routes. These make up 28 flights weekly between the two countries.

 

 

JETSTAR TO LAUNCH SINGAPORE-HANOI SERVICE

 

Low-fare carrier, Jetstar Asia, will open a Singapore-Hanoi route on December 15, 2011. The carrier will operate the flight four times per week - on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

 

Hanoi will be Jetstar's 28th destination with direct services to be offered from Singapore.

 

The airline also added a daily Singapore-Ho Chi Minh City service from August 18, 2011 to expand its frequency to three times daily between the two cities.

 

With the new services and increased frequencies, Jetstar will operate 50 flights per week between Singapore and Vietnam, moving almost 10,000 passengers between both countries each week.

 

 

VASCO LAUNCHES HCMC-MUI NE HELICOPTER SERVICES

 

The Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO) finished its trial helicopter flight from Ho Chi Minh City to the coastal resort town of Mui Ne in Binh Thuan Province last June.

 

VASCO will soon operate flights from Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat Airport to the landing pad of Sea Links City Resort in Mui Ne, using a brand-new AS350-B2 helicopter.

 

Each six-seat helicopter can carry 1,100 kilograms. Travel time will be shortened to roughly 40 minutes compared to up to six hours by bus or four hours by train.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

RESTAURANTS & VENUES

 

NEW WHISKEY LOUNGE IN HO CHI MINH CITY

 

A new luxury whisky and cigar lounge has opened on the third floor of the former OD Bar at 138 Ton That Thiep district 1.

 

Pouring premium whiskies, including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, and a limited selection of fine wines, Blue Lounge offers a highly personalised service and is Vietnam's first and only Blue Label entry bar.

 

For the more discerning connoisseur, Blue Lounge also stocks The John Walker, a highly limited edition blended whiskey created from rare stock from nine of the Scottish distilleries, which operated in the 1800s. A bottle has been known to go for USD4,500 in some parts of the world, so you'll probably to lick the glass clean.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

PINK LOTUS, VIETNAM'S NEW NATIONAL FLOWER

 

The pink lotus will likely become Vietnam's national flower after it was voted the most popular in polls conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Danang. More than 70% (around 31,150 ballots) voted for the lotus, followed by the apricot and peach blossom in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

Vietnam is not the only country, which loves the lotus. It is also the national flower of India (white lotus), Egypt and Sri Lanka. Many countries have national flowers including India (rose), Russia (sunflower) and Maxico (dahlia).

 

The lotus has been a Vietnamese cultural image for generations. It is easy to spot with large, green and colourful lotus ponds commonly seen in rural areas. It has deep roots in Vietnamese minds and hearts, and is widely considered as the symbol simplicity, hospitality and purity. It is able to grow in muddy ponds and can purity the water.

 

In Buddhism, the lotus is a symbol of mystery, illusion and depth. Blossomed flowers symbolise the past, lotus cups the present, and lotus seeds the future. In Vietnamese architecture and in Buddhism, the image of the lotus also represents salvation and enlightenment.

 

 

HO DYNASTY CITADEL NAMED WORLD HERITAGE SITE

 

The Citadel of Ho Dynasty in the central province of Thanh Hoa has been named a World Cultural Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

 

Located in Thanh Hoa Province's Vinh Loc District, the citadel, which was a great work of architecture, was the capital of Vietnam from 1397 to 1407. It consists of three sections: a bamboo hedge, a moat and a citadel wall plus a palace complex with marble-paved roads connecting each palace to another.

 

With UNESCO's recognition the Ho Citadel is now one of the seven world cultural and natural heritage sites in Vietnam. The others are Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Hoi An Ancient Town, Hue Ancient Capital, My Son Holy Land and Thang Long Royal Citadel.

 

 

NEW TOURISM SLOGAN FOR HO CHI MINH CITY

 

"Vibrant Ho Chi Minh City" is the city's new tourism slogan. Coined by Cowan Vietnam Co, an advertising agency, the slogan will be used in all the city's tourism publications and events, such as the International Travel Expo in September.

 

In another development, the Vietnam Administration of Tourism is also planning to cooperate with the European Union to get European copywriters and marketers to create a new tourism logo and slogan for the country after it jettisoned a logo and slogan chosen from a contest held last year.

 

 

VIETNAMESE DISHES AMONG WORLD'S MOST DELICIOUS FOODS

 

Two of Vietnam's popular dishes - Pho and Goi cuon - are placed 28th and 30th respectively on the list of the "World's 50 most delicious foods."

 

This is how travel portal, CNNGo, describes both dishes:

 

Goi cuon: "Made from pork, shrimp, herbs, rice vermicelli and other ingredients wrapped in rice paper and served at room temperature. It's meat light, with the flavours of refreshing herbs erupting in your mouth. Dipped in a slightly sweet Vietnamese sauce laced with ground peanuts, it's wholesome, easy and the very definition of moreish

 

Pho: "Pho is just broth, fresh rice noodles, a few herbs and usually chicken or beef, but it's greater than the sum of its parts - fragrant, tasty and balanced, the polar opposite of the moto rider who brought you to the little café where you find the best stuff."

 

 

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CHINA

 

 

A note from Managing Director Veronique Ducassy

 

Autumn is already here and with it festivals. China celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival in September. To commemorate this occasion people eat mooncakes and enjoy the beauty of the full moon.

 

The country celebrates National Day on October 1, and there will be a week-long holiday for this special occasion.

 

There are new off-the-beaten track destinations to explore and new hotels to stay in. Read on to discover what China has to offer.

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

GANSU & QINGHAI - CROSSROADS BETWEEN TIBET & THE SILK ROAD

 

Asian Trails went on an expedition to explore Gansu and Qinghai, a lesser-known region of China, nestled in between the roof of the world, the deserts of Xinjiang to the west, and the ancient capital of Xian and "classic China" to the east.

 

This region is fascinating as it is a melting pot of minorities, mostly Muslims and Tibetans.  It is quite exciting to cross from the Buddhist sites of Maijishan and Binglingsi, via the mosques of Linxia, to the Tibetan monasteries of Labrang and Tongren.

 

Perhaps the most underestimated aspect of the area is the magnificent scenery, especially east and north of Tongren, not to mention the grasslands around Xiahe and the beautiful Yellow River.

 

Infrastructure, in general, has made vast progress in the last 10 years with the building of more expressways and better roads. Accommodation standards are improving in the big cities, but in the smaller places, especially Tongren, it may be another one to two years before we see a decent four star hotel. However, this should not stop our guests from visiting this fascinating region now!

 

 

MAIJISHAN, GANSU PROVINCE

 

Our visit to Gangsu and Qinghai was divided into two parts - the eastern and western mountainside. This site is regarded as one of the "Big Four" Buddhist caves; the other three are Dunhuang, Yungang and Longmen.

 

The caves at Maijishan are simply spectacular, and very well preserved with the colours intact. However, earthquake in the area and weather conditions have eroded parts of the caves. Some of the roofs, which used to the caves, have collapsed over time.

 

I believe Maijishan can easily compete with Yungang and Longmen in terms of splendour. The site is surrounded by green mountains, offering beautiful views of the surrounding areas. It has been on the tentative list of UNESCO for both Cultural and Natural World Heritage status since 2001. However, it has not been approved (yet) due to the double nominations.

 

 

GANSU PROVINCIAL MUSEUM, LANZHOU

 

This museum is a must visit if your travel takes you to Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. Housed in an old-fashioned Russian-style building, which has been beautifully renovated recently, it is a modern museum with displays of international standard.

 

The Silk Road and the Buddhist halls are the most fascinating in the museum. On display in the Silk Road hall is the magnificent Bronze Galloping Horse (Heavenly Horse) from the Eastern Han Dynasty, which was unearthed in Wuwei (further northeast on the Silk Road). A national treasure, it is the symbol of the China National Tourism Authority. Other beautiful relics unearthed from the tombs in Wuwei are also on display. The Buddhist hall has a number of Buddhist sculptures from the various caves scattered all over Gansu.

 

 

LABRANG MONASTERY, XIAHE, GANSU PROVINCE

 

The monastery is situated in a beautiful location with great fengshui - mountains behind, river in front.  An interesting side trip before visiting the monastery is to go up the small nearby hill where there is the Tangka wall with a huge Tangka Tibetan scroll displayed during festivals. The view from the hill of the surrounding area is magnificent.

 

The tour of the monastery is conducted by official lama guides. They take groups of visitors to the key halls. Photography is allowed outside, but prohibited inside all halls. Buddhist script discussions (with the famous clapping of hands) are conducted around 10am in the courtyard of the main hall. Try to not to miss these discussions as they are a highlight of the monastery's visit.

 

You may see a few pilgrims within the complex and the smell of yak butter pervades most parts of the monastery. You may have the feeling you are in Lhasa, which is not surprising as the Labrang Monastery is the largest Tibetan monastery outside Tibet, larger than Ta'ersi in Qinghai.

 

 

YELLOW RIVER, EASTERN QINGHAI

 

The drive from Tongren to Xining takes you through some of the most remarkable scenery in China.

 

The exciting journey starts at the Bridge of the Longwu and Yellow rivers, which is at the confluence of both rivers. The scenery is a combination of red mountains, green oasis on the south bank and yellowish dry mountains on the north bank.  The colour of the rivers is turquoise blue, adding to the beauty of the entire area and providing great photo opportunities.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

 

SHANGHAI

ANDAZ SHANGHAI

 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation will open Andaz Shanghai, the first Andaz hotel in Asia, in Shanghai in the autumn of 2011.

 

Located in the Xintiandi area, the hotel is a short walk to the Metro and the prestigious Huai Hai Zhong Road, one of Shanghai's main shopping areas.

 

Andaz Shanghai will feature 262 standard rooms measuring 40sqm, and 45 suites ranging in size from 82-193sqm, a restaurant, brassiere, bar, lounge, spa and pool and 1,300sqm of function space.

 

 

 

GUIYANG

HYATT REGENCY GUIYANG

 

Hyatt Regency Guiyang opened on July 19 in the capital city of Guizhou province, marking the first Hyatt hotel in Southwest China.

 

Located near government offices and prime office and commercial space, the spacious property is also close to the Guanshan Park, which offers a refreshing view of lush landscapes. It features 366 elegantly designed guestrooms with the latest modern amenities. The hotel also includes the Regency Club comprising 144 rooms and suites for guests who desire an extra level of personalised service.

 

Guiyang, situated near the Yungui Plateau, is the economic and commercial centre of Guizhou province. The city is one of the most important producers of metals, tobacco and machinery in China. it is also renowned for its natural beauty and cultural richness, with some of the region's premier tourist attractions, including Huangguoshu Waterfall (Yellow Fruit Tree Waterfall) and Qianlingshan Mountain, each drawing millions of visitors each year from all over the world. The diverse region is also rich in folk customs and cultures.

 

 

 

YUNNAN

ANANTARA XISHUANGBANNA RESORT & SPA

 

The Anantara group is opening its first resort in China, Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa in Yunnan, in November 2011.

 

Located 45 minutes from Jinghong International Airport the hotel comprises private pool villas set against a lush backdrop of ancient hills and broad rivers. It provides a luxurious gateway to the rich cultural experiences and natural beauty in this evocative region. With close proximity to the borders of Laos and Myanmar the resort is ideally situated at the crossroads of some of Southeast Asia's most distinctive cultures.

 

Anantara Xishuangbanna also boasts unprecedented access to Yunnan, an emerging and pristine destination in southern China. It is a hidden enclave of exotic tropical beauty and a rarely explored corner of China where the iconic Asian elephant still roams through the jungle. Villages are spiced with the unique culture, architecture and language of the Dai people, reminiscent of Thailand, its neighbour to the South.

 

 

 

GUANGZHOU

SOFITEL SUNRICH GUANGZHOU

 

Softel Sunrich Guangzhou is strategically located in Tianhe, the most dynamic financial and commercial district of Guangzhou. It is less than a kilometre away from the city's landmark and a five-minute drive from Guangzhou East Railway Station, the transportation hub connecting Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

 

The 493 stunning modern Paris style decorated rooms and suites provide panoramic views of Guangzhou's skyline. The rooms are designed for optimal comfort with bathroom TV, 210cm-long beds and full Internet connectivity.

 

Spectacular meeting and convention facilities have natural daylight and view of the Baiyun Mountain. There are 17 state-of-the-art meeting rooms spread over two floors with direct escalator access, latest A/V technology, full Internet connectivity and innovative food and beverage offerings. The 900sqm Grand Ballroom accommodates up to 1,000 guests. Fine banqueting is available in both the function rooms and the restaurants' private areas.

 

The hotel has five innovative bars and restaurants:

  • 2 on 988 serves international gourmet cuisine.

  • Le Chinois Chinese Restaurant presents innovative Cantonese cuisine.

  • Robata Grill and Bar is a modern casual fine-dinning area combining a classy steakhouse with a modern Japanese Robatayaki, a sushi and sake bar.

  • Mar-Tea-Ni lobby lounge offers a large array of pastries and tea selection.

  • 8, Faubourg Bar and Terrace conceptualises the Parisian apartment décor into a French chic sparkling bar.

The extensive recreational facilities include Sofitel's signature SoSpa with L'Occitane, a blissful place for a luxurious and rejuvenating experience with its unique Champagne nail bar and a dedicated foot massage area.

 

The latest fitness technology can be found at the 24-hour fitness centre, SoFit, which has a yoga and Wii-Fit area, complemented by a magnificent panoramic 25m heated indoor pool with underwater music and overlooking the majestic Baiyun Mountain.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

 

The 15th of the eighth month in the Lunar Calendar marks the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year it is celebrated on Monday, September 12.

 

This is an important time for reunions of families and loved ones. In China we say if you cannot be with the one you love, at least you can share the same moon and feast on mooncakes, a Chinese delicacy. Mooncakes are offered to friends, colleagues and business partners as part of the celebration.

 

Asian Trails China office will be closed on September 12 to celebrate the festival.

 

 

 

NATIONAL DAY HOLIDAY

 

October 1 in China is the country's National Day. To celebrate this event the country takes a week-long holiday break - from October 1-7. Government offices and most businesses will be closed during this period.

 

Asian Trails China office will close for three days - from October 1-3.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

FINNAIR TO LAUNCH DIRECT HELSINKI-CHONGQUING SERVICE

 

In May 2012 Finnair will launch four times weekly direct service from Helsinki to Chongqing, China's largest and fastest-growing city. it will be on the Airbus A340 aircraft will have a flight time of eight and a half hours.

 

This new route will make Finnair the first airline to open a direct flight route from Europe to Chongqing.  It is a logical step in the implementation of the airline's Asian strategy. Its goal is to benefit from the market growth in Asia and open new routes to markets where growth is strongest.

 

 

 

SWISS TO OPERATE DAILY ZURICH-BEIJING SERVICE

 

Starting February 11,2012 Swiss will operate a daily flight between Zurich and Beijing. This new route is part of Swiss' expansion plan in China.

 

 

 

CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES UPS FREQUENCIES

 

China Southern Airlines will double its Melbourne-Guangzhou services by introducing twice-daily flights between the two cities from October 2011, up from thrice weekly. The introduction of the double daily services comes just one year after the carrier introduced daily flights,

 

 

 

NEW ROUTE FOR AIR CHINA

 

Air China has launched three times weekly Chengdu-Shigatse service. The flights from Chengdu in Sichuan Province to Shigatse, Tibet's second largest city, are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Flight duration is 2 hours and 25 minutes.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

ASIAN TRAILS CHINA'S NEW OFFICE

 

A reminder

  

Since March 1, 2011 Asian Trails China has moved to its new office. Listed below are out new address and contacts.

 

ASIAN TRAILS CHINA

Suite 1401, Scitech Tower

22, Jianguomenwai Avenue

Beijing 100004 - China

Tel:   + (86) 10 6515 9259

Fax:  + (86) 10 6515 9293

Email: res@asiantrailschina.com

 

 

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MYANMAR

 

A note from Managing Director Thomas Carnevale

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

 

During the past two months in Myanmar we have been busy welcoming our summer guests and preparing prices and quotations for the upcoming winter season, which looks extremely positive from the signs we are getting. 

 

In this issue of the Myanmar report you will find the latest developments in Myanmar's tourism industry. Please pay especially attention to the new immigration regulations.

 

The availability of the service to rent phones and SIM cards directly at the airport is certainly an improvement on the means of communication for all our visitors.

 

One of the highlights of the past two months was, of course, the staff fam trip to Bagan and Inle. The staff enjoyed themselves very much and gained great insight into the region's tourist hotspots. They also ventured out to find less visited touristic treasures in these popular destinations.

 

I remain, as always, at your complete disposal if you need  any information, advice, or information regarding travel to Myanmar

 

Best regards,

 

Thomas Carnevale

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

PHONE RENTAL AT YANGON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

 

With immediate effect visitors to Myanmar are able to rent mobile phones and SIM cards from the Yadanarpon mobile phone rental service at Yangon International Airport. The booth is located at the arrival hall near exit-2. The price for both the handset and SIM card is USD2 per day, with deposit of USD100 for each. Prices are subject to change.

 

Please feel free to contact us for further information or assistance.

 

 

 

NEW IMMIGRATION REGULATIONS.

 

As reported by some foreign media we wish to inform our esteemed clients that the exit and entry point to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, on a case-by-case basis, must be the same. For example, clients entering Myanmar through Yangon must leave from Yangon. Popular overland trips, such as Old Burma Road, which cross into China or a combination with Thailand, are currently only possible by plane from/to Yangon.

 

We are working very hard to get exceptions on case-by-case basis, and to solve the matter in general as fast as possible. As soon as such tours are possible again we will notify all our esteemed partners immediately.

 

 

BEACH SEASON

 

As at every year at this same time we would like to remind that starting from the middle of October all hotels on Myanmar's beach destinations will reopen for the high season.

 

Myanmar has two main beach areas, both located along the Gulf of Bengal in the west of the country.

  • Ngapali Beach (pictured left): This is in Rakhine (Arakan) State and is easily accessible by short flights from Yangon, Bagan and Heho. It offers a wonderful and unspoiled beach with excellent swimming possibilities. Snorkeling trips to nearby islands can also be arranged.

  • Ngwe Saung Beach: This is in the Irawaddy Division and is accessible by a five-hour journey by car from Yangon. It offers a long beach with excellent swimming possibilities, as well as snorkeling trips to the surrounding area.

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

KANDAWGYI HOTEL YANGON -  RENOVATION PROGRESS

 

Kandawgyi Hotel Yangon's renovations are going according to schedule. During the course of the renovation the hotel's management has identified further areas of the hotel, which need to be improved.

 

Facilities being renovated are the rooms, including a complete change of all bathrooms, change in the elevators and the public areas to be redesigned.

 

To avoid a closure of the hotel again next year it will be closed until end September 2011.

 

 

NEW LOOK FOR INYA LAKE HOTEL YANGON'S POOL AREA

 

The renovations to Inya Lake Hotel Yangon's pool area, which started last year, are now finished. There was no disruption to guests during the renovation period as it took place during the low season, and there was no major construction involved.

 

The pool area now sports a new look with improved facilities for guests' enjoyment at this lovely resort hotel near Inya Lake.

 

 

 

HOTEL STAR RATINGS

 

The respective ministry has announced guidelines on how to conduct star ratings for all hotels in Myanmar. In future all hotels in Myanmar will have to undergo official evaluation and will receive stars according the guidelines and labelling by the government. Upon completion of this process Asian Trails will mention the official rating of hotels, as well as our personal recommendations.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

We highlight two of Myanmar’s most famous festivals, which will be held in the next two months.

 

 

PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL, 1ST WANING DAY OF THIDINGYUT

SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 15, 2011

VENUE: INLE LAKE, SHAN STATE

 

This is one of the holiest festivals in the Shan State, Myanmar's largest administrative unit. During the festival days four of the five sacred Buddha images, which are usually guarded inside the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, are carried around the lake by a ceremonial barge to bless the various village monasteries. The barge is pushed forward by the unique leg-rowers of the Inle Lake. The sight of the barge traveling around the Inle Lake is one of Myanmar's most magnificent sights.

 

This year some rooms at the hotels around the inle Lake are still available

 

 

BALLOON-FLYING FESTIVAL

NOVEMBER 5-11, 2011

VENUE: TAUNGGYI, SHAN STATE

 

A typical Pa-O festival held every year in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, located about one hour away by car from Inle Lake.

 

The Pa-O is one of the main ethnic groups living in the Shan State, mostly in the western part near the hills surrounding Inle Lake.

 

During this festival hundreds of hot air balloons of different sizes and shapes, made of Shan paper, are released into the sky. The balloon, which reaches the highest altitude, wins. The ceremony is particularly spectacular at when the balloons are lit and fireworks are set off to accompany their flight.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

 

CHANGES IN SCHEDULE FOR PUTAO'S FLIGHTS

 

We have been informed by Air Bagan that flights to Putao for the coming high season will change from Fridays and Tuesdays to Sundays and Tuesdays. As Air Bagan is the sole airline with landing rights in Putao, there are no alternative flights by other airlines. The airline's reservation agent will directly contact concerned partners.

 

 

 

AIRASIA SUSPENDS YANGON-BANGKOK SERVICE

 

Low-cost carrier AirAsia has suspended its morning flights (FD3770 and FD3771) between Bangkok and Yangon during the current low season. The suspension is from August 1 until at least September 30.

 

 

 

AIRPORT TAX INCLUDED IN INTERNATIONAL TICKETS

 

The departure airport tax of USD10 for international tickets for departing passengers issued after July 1 is already included in the tickets. Therefore, passengers travelling with such tickets do not have to pay the tax again at Yangon international Airport.

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

NEW TEAM MEMBER AT ATM

 

We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Tin Oo Latt as reservation supervisor to the Asian Trails Myanmar's team. He brings with him over 10 years of experience in the tourism industry, in supervisory and management level. He will lead our team, which looks after the UK market.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

 

STAFF FAM TRIP TO BAGAN AND INLE LAKE

 

Last year the team at Asian Trails Myanmar went to discover hidden places in Myanmar. This year, on its annual fam trip the staff ventured out to find yet more hidden treasures in Bagan and around Inle Lake. Staff members were split into two groups to make most out of the time available.

 

The group to Bagan took the overnight train from Yangon, which leaves around 4pm and arrived in Bagan the next day at around 8am. They then did hotels inspection to update on their facilities and services. The third day was dedicated to explore lesser-known areas in and around Bagan. The knowledge gained will help to create even more interesting itineraries for the future, which will be soon available to all our esteemed clients.

 

The group going to Inle took the overland bus from Yangon to Kalaw. The bus ride took about 15 hours and arrived in the next morning in Kalaw - a trip for the really adventurous. After a hearty breakfast the staff explored the trails around Kalaw and hiked to new spots. The next day was spent mostly on hotels inspection. The following day they explored classic sightseeing spots to familiarise themselves with the sights and sounds of the area.

 

• Photos : Asian Trails Myanmar staff group photo during the fam trip

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS WINS "BEST TOURISM PERFORMER" AWARD 2010

 

Asian Trails Myanmar was awarded the "Best Tourism Performer" award by the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism for its contributions to tourism in Myanmar over the past year. The award ceremony was held in Naypyitaw on August 23, and Asian Trails Myanmar General Manager, Mrs. Khin Myat Sandar, was present to receive the award. (seen in picture left receiving the award)

 

Asian Trails Myanmar's management would like to thank the teams in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle for all their efforts and congratulate them for this award.

 

 

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MALAYSIA

 

A NOTE FROM MANAGING DIRECTOR EMIR CHERIF

 

Warm Greetings from Malaysia!

 

It was a busy period for us during the last two months with the Middle East season coupled with the European Summer holidays. It was also the contracting period, and I'm pleased to say that all went smoothly. During the same period, we also successfully handled some MICE groups with programmes in both Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.

 

On the home front, Malaysia celebrates its 54th Independence Anniversary on August 31, but due to the fasting month this event will be held during Malaysia Day on September 16. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Malaysians the very best during this happy occasion.

 

Best regards

 

Emir

Malaysia Truly Asia!

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

THE NORTH BORNEO RAILWAY GOING FULL STEAM AGAIN

 

Visitors to Kota Kinabalu, capital city of Sabah is now able to experience the good old era of the steam locomotive as the North Borneo Railway commenced operations once again in July 2011.

 

The Railway features a British Vulcan steam engine built in 1896, and is the last of a fleet of locomotives that piled the tracks through Borneo since the late 1880s. They are also part of the only few functional wood burners left in the world. It is operated to the highest of international standards and is fully compliant with modern safety standards.

 

The train has a capacity for 180 passengers, has six colonial-period carriages, and has been refurbished and restored to reflect the luxury of the bygone era. A kitchen car serves Tiffin-styled meals, highlighting an exotic blend of colonial and continental cuisine.

 

Passengers on board the train are treated to the beautiful sights and sounds of Sabah's countryside, padi fields, mangrove jungles and pristine coastal beaches as the train chugs along the tracks from Tanjung Aru station into Putatan to Kinarut, Kawang and Papar - the "Rice Bowl of Sabah".

 

The train is open for charters for groups, incentives and private parties seven days a week including a series of tailor-made theme events.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

PANGKOR LAUT RESORT REOPENS SPA AND SEA VILLAS

 

The award winning Pangkor Laut Resort, located on its own private island on the west coast of Malaysia, has finished the refurbishment and improvement work on the Spa Villas and the Sea Villas. Full inventory was available for sale from July 26, 2011.

 

The recent refurbishment saw the Spa Villas and Sea Villas being refreshed to YTL Hotels' exacting standards, ensuring high levels of comfort and luxury. Great care has also been taken to ensure the villas maintained their unique local architecture. New technological amenities have also been installed in the villas including new lighting to enhance the interiors. The ability to stay connected with friends and family is available through Wifi for a nominal daily charge.

 

The resort's arrival jetty and the connecting pillars surrounding the villas have also been reinforced and the walkways have been fitted with new lights.

 

 

 

FREE WIFI AT SHANGRI-LA HOTEL KUALA LUMPUR

 

From July 1 free Wifi access is available at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur in all its guestrooms, function rooms, restaurants and public areas. At a speed of 45Mbps the Wifi service is the fastest currently available among the hotels in Kuala Lumpur. This new service further enhances the hotel's overall experience as the preferred home away from home for its guests.

 

 

FURAMA OPENS HOTEL IN KUALA LUMPUR

 

Singapore-based Furama Hotels International (FHI) has added Furama Bukit Bintang to its portfolio. The four star business hotel is situated in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, adjacent to Bukit Bintang and Berjaya Times Square. It features 433 rooms, meeting and conference facilities on the top floor, an executive lounge, restaurant, swimming pool with Jacuzzi and gym.

 

 

GRAND HYATT KUALA LUMPUR MARKS BRAND ENTRY INTO MALAYSIA

 

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has entered into an agreement to manage the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur. The hotel is under construction and is expected to open in 2012.

 

Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur is located in a prime location in Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, on Jalan Pinang, close to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Petronas Towers. Part of a mixed-use complex, occupying the 17th to 39th floors, the hotel will feature 412 guestrooms, including 42 suites, over 3,000sqm of meeting and event space, cafe, specialty restaurant featuring multiple cuisines, Sky Lobby Lounge, poolside restaurant and bar, spa with 11 treatment rooms, and a swimming pool.

 

 

 

THE ANDAMAN, LANGKAWI COMPLETES RENOVATIONS

 

The Andaman in Langkawi Island has completed the refurbishment work in the South Wing's bathrooms. In addition to the new contemporary-style bathrooms all the rooms now have new 32" flat screen televisions and brand new safety deposit boxes. With the completion of the refurbishment exercise the hotel's 186 rooms and suites are now available for booking.

 

 

THE DATAI LANGKAWI ADDS BEACHFRONT VILLAS

 

The Datai Langkawi is expanding its room portfolio to include an additional 14 villas. This expansion project commenced on July 1, 2011 and is scheduled to complete by November 2012.

 

The Datai Villa comprises 13 one-bedroom villas and one two-bedroom duplex. The new villas is located close to the beach, between the Water Sports Pavilion and the neighbouring hotel, but will not be visible from the beach as they are set within the rainforest.

 

Each villa features two elegant pavilions - one houses a master bedroom and bath while the other provides a spacious living and dining area. Both pavilions are connected by a converted walkway. Each villa has a private 10-metre swimming pool complete with an outdoor deck, sun loungers and an outdoor dining area.

 

As the Datai Villa project is located away from the existing main building, villas and suites, the resort expects minimal noise and visual disturbance during the expansion process. The resort has taken all steps to ensure that the project will not intrude on guests' privacy during the renovation period.

 

 

SMOKEHOUSE HOTEL REFURBISHED

 

The Smokehouse Hotel Cameron Highlands has completed its extension and upgrading programme, which started in Q4 2010.

 

Undergoing extensive renovations is the hotel's New Wing (the original hotel structure), which comprises cottages, suites and deluxe rooms that open up directly to elevated views of the neighbouring golf course. Rooms in this wing are appointed in a contemporary country house fashion and, following Smokehouse tradition, no two rooms are the same in design or furnishing.  All rooms now have 10 satellite television TV channels and complimentary Wifi in all areas of the hotel. The furnishings, including curtains, have been replaced with high quality fabrics such as Jim Thompson Thai Silk and imported Italian fabrics.

 

The hotel's award winning gardens have also been enhanced to provide a fully sensory experience for all guests, enhancing the vibrant colours and beautiful arrangements that have always been a trademark of the Smokehouse.

 

 

BERJAYA REDANG RESORT IS NOW TAARAS BEACH & SPA RESORT

 

Berjaya Redang (Beach) Resort is now known as the Taaras Beach & Spa Resort. Its new name is derived from the Sanskrit word, taara, which means "Star or Apple of my eye" or "Goddess of the Sea", the latter represented and epitomised by its mermaid figurehead.

 

The resort has 196 suites and rooms with oversized beds and hand-picked linens and fabrics. Most rooms have an outdoor balcony or veranda and suites at the top of the hillside have spectacular views over the bay, beach and the ocean below.

 

Taaras Beach & Spa Resort's ethos is to provide a contemporary, barefoot luxury experience with warm Asian hospitality, remembered with a smile long after the stay is over.

 

 

BEST WESTERN ADDS PANGKOR TO PORTFOLIO

 

Best Western International recently opened the Best Western Marina Island Resort Pangkor. Built at a cost of 45 million ringgit the resort is situated on Marina Island Pangkor, a man-made island in the northern state of Perak.

 

The resort features 170 hotel apartments, a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, bar, conference hall and meeting rooms, waterfront shopping complex, an international cruise liner jetty, yacht club and marine sports club. A bridge connects Marina Island Pangkor to the mainland, and a five-minute boat ride provides access to nearby Pangkor Island.

 

 

NAME CHANGE FOR LEGEND WATER CHALETS AND LEGEND INTERNATIONAL WATER HOMES

 

The Legend Water Chalets is now known as Lexis Port Dickson, and the Legend International Water Homes is rebranded to Grand Lexis Port Dickson. Through this name change the Legend Group endeavours to inject a fresh new image to both the resorts, and to provide guests a better delivery of their products. This is matched by a new level of renewed, seamless service expected from a top resort.

 

 

HYATT REGENCY KUANTAN RESORT UPGRADES

 

Hyatt Regency started enhancement works on Villages 3 and 4, Coals on the Beach Restaurant and the Regency Club™ private entrance on July 26, 2011. The improvement works are expected to be completed in stages between two to eight weeks.

 

The Regency Club™ private entrance is now reopened. Additional work on the installation of new bedding at Village 3 is completed as of end August. Coals on the Beach Restaurant is being demolished to make way for a brand new restaurant, and the brand new Coals on the Beach is scheduled to welcome guests in early October.

 

 

 

 

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS

 

 

HARI RAYA OPEN HOUSE CELEBRATIONS
SEPTEMBER 11, 2011
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR

 

The Hari Raya Open House is a memorable occasion and a great platform to experience the unity among Malaysians. Mingle with the local people and enjoy traditional goodies as you watch fascinating performances.

 

 

 

LANTERN FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 12, 2011

VENUE: CENTRAL MARKET, KUALA LUMPUR

 

The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the eighth month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. Watch processions with beautifully decorated lanterns in various colours, shapes and designs. Don't miss the chance to savour tasty mooncake, which are on sale in many shops and restaurants.

 

 

MERDEKA MILLENIUM ENDURANCE RACE

SEPTEMBER 15-17, 2011

VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT

 

In an unprecedented move the 12th edition of the prestigious Sepang's 12-hour endurance race will held on September 15-17 to coincide with the Malaysia Day celebrations on September 16.

 

Introduced at the turn of the millennium the MMER has been an instant hit with international teams and drivers from world-renowned endurance series, including the LeMans 24 Hours, Nurburgring 24 Hours and Dubai 24 Hours. The competitors in these prestigious events make their way yearly to Sepang to compete in what is regarded as Asia's biggest race.

 

 

 

SARAWAK REGATTA
SEPTEMBER 15-18, 2011
VENUE: KUCHING WATERFRONT

 

The Sarawak Regatta, with rich historical and cultural significance, traces its origins to the days of Rajah Charles Brooke. The regatta relives the former glory days with traditional long boat and dragon boat races, as well as a host of traditional contests and games.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA DAY CELEBRATIONS
SEPTEMBER 16, 2011
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA

 

Malaysia Day is held on September 16 every year to commemorate the establishment of the Malaysian federation on the same date in 1963. Celebrations are held throughout the country.

 

 

 

MUSIC, ARTS AND STYLE INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL (MASIF)

SEPTEMBER 15-17, 2011

VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR

 

MASIF is a unique event specially crafted to commemorate Malaysia Day, and is the first-of-its-kind event in the country. Touted as the Fusion of Cultures, the event is a celebration of Malaysia's the diverse music, arts and styles in the country.

 

 

CULINAIRE MALAYSIA 2011

SEPTEMBER 20-23, 2011

VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE

 

Culinaire Malaysia 2011 is designed specifically for the hotel and catering industry. As in previous years it is held alongside Food & Hotel Malaysia (FHM), an international exhibition that features a wide range of products from around the world, including technologically advance machinery for the food production and packaging industry.

 

 

 

ROYAL PAHANG BILLFISH INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE
SEPTEMBER 23-26, 2011
VENUE: KUALA ROMPIN, PAHANG

 

This annual event puts the small town of Rompin, Pahang in the international limelight. The challenge draws anglers from all over the world, including the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

 

 

 

MALAYSIA OPEN KUALA LUMPUR 2011 - ATP WORLD TOUR 250
SEPTEMBER 24 - OCTOBER 2, 2011
VENUE: PUTRA STADIUM, BUKIT JALIL KUALA LUMPUR

 

Visitors can enjoy great action at this tennis tournament. Catch the slick moves of the players as they vie for the coveted title.

 

 

 

TEXTILE CRAFT PROMOTION
SEPTEMBER 29 - OCTOBER 20, 2011
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR CRAFT COMPLEX

 

This promotion showcases the beautiful textiles of Malaysia, such as batik and other materials. Browse through the outlets selling a variety of textiles, and visit the exhibitions and demonstrations.

 

 

 

FABULOUS FOOD 1MALAYSIA - MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL GOURMET FESTIVAL

OCTOBER 1-31, 2011

VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR

 

Get ready for some delectable feasts as gourmet restaurants and top chefs whip up a variety of special, mouth-watering dishes and delicacies using fine, quality ingredients. The festival is also celebrated in other parts of the country.

 

 

 

BORNEO BIRD WATCHING FESTIVAL

OCTOBER 14-16, 2011

VENUE: RDC SEPILOK, SANDAKAN, SABAH

 

Sabah is a destination renowned among nature lovers for its flora and fauna, and for its bird life. A not to be missed event for bird lovers.

 

 

 

RHYTHM OF KINABALU
OCTOBER 21-22, 2011
VENUE: KINABALU PARK, KUNDASANG, SABAH

 

This music festival, with the theme "Rhythm of Mountain", is a showcase of Sabah's melodious music. It offers a glimpse into the state's rich musical heritage.

 

 

MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX
OCTOBER 21-23, 2011
VENUE: SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT

 

The Malaysian MotoGP is back. If you want to have the best view and feel the roaring of the bikes in your ears, then Paddock Village is the place to be. Here you see the motorbikes negotiate every turn and corner, and have a bird's eye view of your favourite teams and riders. You also get exclusive access to the Pit Lane Walk experience. The Paddock Village is fully air-conditioned with five star hospitality, all day dining and other luxury services.

 

 

25TH MT KINABALU INTERNATIONAL CLIMBATHON 2011
OCTOBER 22-23, 2011
VENUE: KUNDASANG, RANAU, KOTA KINABALU

 

Dubbed as "The World's Toughest Mountain Race", this is a true challenge to the spirit of human endurance. The average climber takes two days to climb Mt. Kinabalu (4095.2m), but the race's participants make it up and down the mountain - total distance of 21km - in less than three hours. There are categories for men, women and men's veteran.

 

The Climbathon is part of the Sky Runners World Series Circuit, and is being held for the 9th consecutive year. It is the only race in the circuit, which is held outside Europe. The Sky Runner World Series is regulated and coordinated by Europe-based Federation for Sport at Altitude (FSA).

 

 

 

SARAWAK BIRD RACE

OCTOBER 28-30, 2011

VENUE: BORNEO HIGHLANDS RESORT, PADAWAN, SARAWAK

 

Another must attend event for bird lovers. The race not only gives an opportunity for visitors to marvel at the exotic varieties of birds, but also the beautiful rainforests setting.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

AIRASIA BEST LCC FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR

 

AirAsia was recently named the World's Best Low-Cost Airline for customer Product and Service Quality at the 2011 World Airline Awards, voted by over 18.8 million airline passengers from 100 different nationalities.

 

The World Airline Awards™ are the most prestigious and respected quality recognition of front-line product and service standards across the world's airline industry. With 200 airlines featured, the awards reflect customer satisfaction levels across 38 different items of airline front-line product and service.

 

 

 

AIRASIA X SWITCHES LONDON HUB

 

AirAsia X (AAX) will be shifting hub operations in London from Stansted to Gatwick Airport from October 24. The airline will have six times weekly services from Kuala Lumpur's Low-Cost Carrier Terminal to Gatwick from December 14, using the Airbus A340-300 aircraft in a 327-seat configuration.

 

 

FIREFLY TO START KL-LANGKAWI FLIGHTS

 

Firefly, Malaysia's community airline, will start thrice-daily flights between Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi from December 1, 2011 utilising its biggest aircraft, the B737-800 with a seating capacity of 189. Flights will depart from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport's main terminal.

 

Firefly also flies twice daily from Subang to Langkawi, and twice daily from Penang to Langkawi using the ATR 72-500 aircraft.

 

 

EMIRATES FLIES TO MALAYSIA

 

Emirates will launch Dubai-Kuala Lumpur service on December 1, 2011. It will use the Airbus A380 aircraft, making this the first scheduled service to Malaysia by any airline on this superjumbo aircraft.

 

EK346 will depart Dubai at 4.05am, to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 2.55pm on the same day. The return flight, EK347, will depart Kuala Lumpur at 7.30pm arriving in Dubai at 10.30pm.

 

 

 

EGYPT AIR RETURNS TO KUALA LUMPUR

 

Egypt Air recently re-commenced operations to Kuala Lumpur after a six-month hiatus, offering a daily service between Cairo and Kuala Lumpur via Bangkok.

 

 

 

LION AIR COMMENCES DAILY FLIGHTS TO KUALA LUMPUR

 

Lion Air commences daily Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur flights from June 29, using its new 215-seater Boeing B737-900ER aircraft. The all-economy class service uses KLIA's main terminal building, which provides aerobridge services to ensure passengers' comfort.

 

 

 

 

ANY OTHER NEWS

 

SECRETS OF SUNKEN TREASURES AT NATIONAL MUSEUM

 

Get a glimpse of what merchant ships were like in the 14th century in a special exhibition entitled "The Miracle of Shipwreck Treasures" at Gallery 2 of the National Museum.

 

Visitors get the opportunity to see 240 different artefacts from 13 shipwrecks, which were excavated from the Malaysian waters. Among the exhibits are porcelain and ceramic ware, beads, tin, elephant tusks, compasses, guns and cannons. An outstanding exhibit is the blue and white porcelain plate, embellished by a coral from the Desaru Shipwreck dated 1830. There is also a sack of melon seeds, still in good shape despite being soaked in sea water for almost two centuries. The exhibition aims to provide information about the wonders and richness of Malaysia's maritime archaeology.

 

The exhibition is on from now until October 15, and is open from 9am to 6pm,

 

 

 

 

STAFF UPDATE

 

 

NEW COLLEAGUES

We're pleased to welcome three new colleagues.

 

Joycelyn Koh (left), who used to work as an accounts supervisor in our company a few years ago, is now back with us as our new Accounts Manager.

 

 

 

Jackie Leong (left) has also rejoined ATMA as our new Inbound Department Supervisor.

 

 

 

Kevin Kong (left) joined ATMA as trainee in the Inbound Department.

 

We welcome our three new colleagues to the team and wish them every success.

 

 

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INDONESIA

 

A note from Managing Director Andre Seiler

 

After a rather wet summer season in 2010 the weather in Bali in the last three months has just been fantastic, with lots of sunshine and fresh breeze from the Indian Ocean.

 

The latest arrival statistics of Denpasar Airport showed that the arrivals to Bali have again increased by over 10%, similar to last year's. Once again the growth came mostly from regional markets. But compared to last year we are still able to find rooms in South Bali, while in 2010 our main challenge was to find availability for last minute requests. Due to recent openings of new hotels in the five star category it is still possible for us to cater to last minute requests. The smaller hotels in Central and North Bali are again in high demand and, for the first time, Lombok together with the small Gili Islands have become truly a nightmare for our team to find rooms in the high season.

 

We expect the rainy months to start again in December. We recommend visiting Bali or other destinations in Indonesia in November, which is for many source markets, a traditional popular month to travel.

 

For any enquiries, late or early, we remain at your disposal. Please contact us please click here

 

 

 

DESTINATION INFORMATION

 

 

EXPANSION AT DENPASAR AIRPORT

 

The busy and crowded Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar will undergo some expansion in the arrival and departure areas, which will certainly improve the airport's services in the future. The development will impact the traffic flow, as the entrance and exit gates will be temporarily moved from its existing location to about 100 metres away. There will also be a detour from the Tuban area to the airport due to the closure of existing route. This will take effect from September 1, 2011 until further notice.

 

 

LOMBOK AIRPORT OPENS IN OCTOBER

 

After a few years of construction Lombok's new international airport will officially commence service on October 1, 2011. It will run simulation operations from September 5-8 as part of the preparations before it starts operations. The existing Selaparang Airport will have the final commercial landings and take-offs on September 30.

 

As the new international airport is located further south on the island, near the Kuta/Tanjung Aan beach, customers will see some changes in the airport transfer fees.

 

 

BALI'S FIRST PUBLIC BUS SYSTEM SET TO TAKE OFF!

 

A long planned public bus system to serve south Bali is ready for its first test run. With two routes planned for the first stage the network will see expansion in the near future.

 

The first route runs from Batubulan Bus terminal (Gianyar) to the Bypass Ngurah Rai, through Sanur via Bali Gallery and on to Sunset Road, ending its run at Central Parking in Kuta. The second route starts from Kuta's Central Parking and runs along the Bypass Ngurah Rai to Nusa Dua.

 

The routes will be served by 15 buses, and services will be from 5am till 9pm daily. There are 24 bus stops along the routes in each direction, each on strategic location to serve both tourists and locals. The ticket price is 3.500 Rupiah to any destination along the route.

 

 

 

 

ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE

 

 

RUNNING WITH THE BUFFALOES

 

In West Bali villagers host a unique event each year - the Buffalo Race of Negara. Proud farmers from the region compete against each other with their buffaloes, just like Ben Hur did in the movie with the same name. Races are held from August to November on every second Sunday from 7am to 1pm.

 

For detailed schedule contact Asian Trails Indonesia.

 

 

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

 

Asian Trails Indonesia, in cooperation with the Slukat Learning Center in East Bali, has developed a new form of responsible tourism, which sees you sharing your holidays with the local children and, at the same time, reap rich rewards in helping to improve their quality of life.

 

There are four different programmes of varying lengths, which involves teaching the children in three subjects - English, organic farming and recycling.

 

The Slukat Learning Centre is entirely run and developed with the assistance of volunteers from abroad. As Slukat is located in a semi-rural area in the village of Keramas, with little or no tourists, you will be experiencing the real Bali and its amazing culture. There is on-site accommodation, two self-contained villas, for visitors who wish to live among the villagers and get a taste of local lifestyle and way of life.

 

Please contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

HOTEL INFORMATION

 

MULIA BREAKING GROUNDS IN BALI

 

Mulia Bali and Mulia Resort & Villas is a collection of three luxurious properties set along 25 hectares of sprawling landscape on the dramatic coastline of Nusa Dua. This new resort, the biggest in Bali, will welcome its first guests in 2012. Each property has its own special charm, luxurious accommodation and amenities.

 

The Mulia Suites

Total: 111 spectacular beachfront suites, including the Lagoon Suites. This is the Mulia's high-end brand, offering individualised butler service, meticulous attention to details and unsurpassed sense of style and space.

 

Amenities:

  • The Lounge: A lifestyle concept combining a cosy library, chic lounge and exclusive dining room.

  • Ocean-front swimming pool: Offers an exclusive area for Mulia's guests to relax and unwind.

 

Mulia Resort Hotel

Total: 524 guestrooms and suites, including the Lagoon Suites

 

Amenities:

  • Cascade Lounge: Enjoy the peaceful afternoon with a cup of coffee and a good book from the library, or relax with a quiet cocktail before dinner.

  • The Café: A restaurant famous in itself, set in glamorous ambiance, serves international fare

  • Soleil: A seaside Mediterranean restaurant with bespoke creations with the freshest of ingredients

  • ZJ's Bar & Lounge: A place to be seen and a nightclub to remember.

  • Mulia Spa: A tranquil oasis offering signature treatments, perfect for relaxation and pampering

  • Recreational Pools: Located throughout the resort, a variety of pools offer guests a wide range of private areas to retreat to and enjoy the afternoon

  • Play Area: A wonderful playground and children's pool, a favorite with families

  • Health Club: A state-of-the-art facility offering guests different types of cardio and weight training equipment for an amazing workout.

  • Tennis Centre: Fully equipped tennis facility, with instructors and conducted lessons. 

Villas

Total: 108 villas, from one-bedroom to the six-bedroom Mulia Mansion. These lavishly appointed villas, each assigned with private butler, have their own distinct identities via personal touches from the living quarters through to their private gardens and pools.

 

Amenities:

  • The Living Room: A retreat with a library, lounge and restaurant. This casual, mixed-use space is designed for comfort, offering impeccable service.

 

 

PURI SUNIA UBUD RECEIVES FIRST GUESTS

 

Puri Sunia, nestled in its own secluded place, is surrounded by beautiful rice paddies, coconut trees and the traditional Balinese villages of Abangan and Kokokan. Only 10 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Ubud, it is a home of art and culture It offers 19 rooms designed in Balinese architecture, comprising three private pool villas, eight suites and eight deluxe rooms. Facilities include a yoga centre for yoga and mediation, spa for rejuvenation and relaxation, and a pool.

 

 

MAHA MAYA, GILI AIR'S NEW BOUTIQUE RESORT

 

Maha Maya, located on Gili Air (next to Lombok), is the first high end boutique resort on the small island. With 20 suite rooms and two villas the property offers first class location, right on the beach front.

 

The stunning pool suites are just steps away from the fresh water swimming pool, offering views across the pool and the tropical garden. The king-size and twin suites have their own terrace and private outdoor shower. All rooms have hot and cold fresh running water.

 

The stylish, modern Asian restaurant and bar offers stunning views of the beach and neighbouring island. From their tables guests can also watch Chef Hamzar creates mouth-watering dishes in his open kitchen. He cooks fresh, simple and, wherever possible, organic food. The restaurant delivers delicious international food with a twist, carefully crafted by the chef.

 

 

CHARMING AMATOA RESORT

 

Amatoa Resort lies just off the southern coast of Sulawesi. It offers seven bungalows with views of the ocean. Each bungalow is individually decorated with a large bathroom and sunchair.

 

The crystal clear waters around the resort is rich in coral reefs and is popular with divers. The area is also famed for its unique culture. A stay at the resort is the perfect end to a trip to South Sulawesi.

 

 

BEST WESTERN KUTA SEAVIEW HOTEL OPENS

 

Best Western Kuta Seaview Hotel, located in the heart of Bai, opened on August 15. It is within walking distance to the famous Kuta beach, the shopping areas and the island's nightlife  entertainment.

 

The three star hotel comprises 144 rooms and suites with international standard room amenities, a swimming pool, and a rooftop bar overlooking the surrounding sea with breath-taking views of the sunset.

 

 

CHANDRA VILLAS, 8HOTELS' FIRST HOTEL IN INDONESIA

 

Australian hotel chain, 8Hotels, has opened Chandra Villas in the Seminyak area of Bali. The property offers a range of two- and three-bedroom luxury villas, each with kitchens, outdoor showers, free-standing bathtubs, sundecks and private pools. The hotel also provides guests with private airport shuttle services, complimentary WiFi, concierge services including dining reservations, childcare services, in-room massage and beauty treatments, and all-day butler service.

 

8Hotels has, so far, limited its presence to major cities in Australia, with Paris as an alternative destination. It, however, has opened a new chapter with the Bali resort and the island as its latest destination.

 

 

MAYA UBUD'S NEW FITNESS CENTRE

 

Maya Ubud Resort & Spa opened its new fitness centre and Yoga Pavilion on July 15. It is located on the resort's western side, adjoining the tennis court and overlooking the pitch and putt golf green. The fully air-conditioned centre features the latest state-of-the-art exercise equipment, offering resort guests the opportunity to enjoy their regular workout while on vacation. On the upper level a generous 187sqm space provides an excellent venue for daily yoga in a tranquil atmosphere, with stunning views over the resort gardens and the adjacent rice terraces.

 

 

 

 

AIRLINE INFORMATION

 

GARUDA EXPANDS CITILINK, ITS LOW-COST SUBSIDIARY

 

Garuda Indonesia purchased 25 Airbus A320 and 10 Airbus 320-Neo to further develop Citilink, its low-cost subsidiary.  By replacing older existing planes and increasing the fleet, the airline will soon introduce new routes. The LCC's current destinations are the larger cities within Indonesia, namely Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar and Denpasar.

 

 

SINGAPORE AIRLINES AND GARUDA UP SERVICES

 

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will increase its capacity on the Singapore-Jakarta route with the introduction of an eighth daily service from September 15, 2011. The extra daily flight will be operated using a three-class, 288-seat Boeing 777-200 aircraft. With the additional daily flight, SIA will be operating a total of 77 weekly flights to Indonesia - 56 to Jakarta and 21 to Bali.

 

Regional airline SilkAir, SIA's subsidiary, also operates 53 flights per week to eight points in Indonesia.

 

Garuda Indonesia has added a eighth daily flight between Singapore and Jakarta. Singapore is the airline's busiest route outside of Indonesia, with over 60 outbound flights weekly. The airline also recently launched a new daily Makassar-Singapore service. This is the third direct connection to Singapore from Indonesia, following Jakarta and Bali.

 

 

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