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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
- OCTOBER 4, 2011
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
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
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.
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
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
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
THAI AIRWAYS TO LAUnCH BANGKOK-BRUSSELS FLIGHTS IN
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
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
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.
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,
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
The airport's upgrading is to
prepare Laos for the hosting of the
Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) to take place on November 5-6,
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:
Cycling Tour Luang Prabang
1 Day Phou Khao Khouai by boat and trekking (Vientiane)
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)
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.
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
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
day - minimum stay of 3 nights)
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
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
city centre, next to the French Embassy. Booking in advance
is advised as the restaurant has limited tables. Closes on
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.
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.
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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
a mini pool with open-air bar on the rooftop and a Jacuzzi.
An open-air spa, the first such spa, will open soon.
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 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.
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.
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
Mr. Vichana Huot, former Reservation Supervisor of
International Department, has been promoted to Contracting
and Product Manager.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
- 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
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
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
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
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
Please contact us for more information and special
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
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'
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 &
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
VIETNAMESE DISHES AMONG WORLD'S MOST DELICIOUS FOODS
Two of Vietnam's popular dishes - Pho and Goi cuon
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:
"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 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."
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
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
GANSU & QINGHAI - CROSSROADS BETWEEN TIBET & THE
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
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
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
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
Hyatt Hotels Corporation will open Andaz Shanghai, the
first Andaz hotel in Asia, in Shanghai in the autumn of
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.
HYATT REGENCY GUIYANG
Hyatt Regency Guiyang opened on July 19 in the capital city
of Guizhou province, marking the first Hyatt hotel in
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
ANANTARA XISHUANGBANNA RESORT & SPA
The Anantara group is opening its first resort in China,
Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa in Yunnan, in November
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
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
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
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
The 15th of the eighth month in the Lunar Calendar marks the
Mid-Autumn Festival. This year it is celebrated on Monday,
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
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
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
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
Since March 1, 2011 Asian Trails China has moved to its new
office. Listed below are out new address and contacts.
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
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
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
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
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
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
The pool area now sports a new look with improved facilities
for guests' enjoyment at this lovely resort hotel near Inya
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 Myanmars
most famous festivals, which will be held in the next two
PHAUNG DAW OO PAGODA FESTIVAL, 1ST WANING DAY OF
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
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
This year some rooms at the hotels around the inle Lake are
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
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.
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
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
Asian Trails Myanmar was awarded the
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.
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.
Malaysia Truly Asia!
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
SMOKEHOUSE HOTEL REFURBISHED
The Smokehouse Hotel Cameron Highlands has completed its
extension and upgrading programme, which started in Q4 2010.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
We welcome our three new colleagues to the team and wish
them every success.
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
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.
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
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
West Bali villagers host a unique event
each year - the Buffalo
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
For detailed schedule contact Asian Trails Indonesia.
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
Please contact us for more 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: 111spectacular 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.
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
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
A seaside Mediterranean
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.
one-bedroom to the six-bedroom Mulia Mansion. These
lavishly appointed villas, each assigned with private
distinct identities via personal touches from the living
quarters through to their
The Living Room:
A retreat with a library, lounge and restaurant. This
casual, mixed-use space is designed for comfort, offering
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
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
Kuta Seaview Hotel, located in the heart of Bai,
on August 15. It is within walking distance to the famous
Kuta beach, the shopping areas and the island's nightlife
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
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
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.
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