welcoming in two "new years" in the month of January - 1st
January that heralds the start of a brand new 2012, and
January 23 that sees the arrival of the mighty Dragon to
rule over the Chinese New Year, which will end on February
auspicious sign indeed!
take this opportunity to wish you "Happy New Year" and "Gong
Xi Fa Cai". May the Dragon bring you good fortune,
prosperity and robust health.
also have lots of "New Year goodies" lined up for you -
specially designed products that make for a wonderful
holiday whether you want a family vacation, a romantic
getaway with that special someone, an adrenaline filled
adventure, an underwater rendezvous with creatures of the
deep, or just chill in a nice hotel. We have lined them up
in this first issue of TRAILBLAZER for 2012.
First of all a Happy New Year to all of you! After accumulating
some additional kilos during the festive season, we would like
to introduce some of our new explore tours. They include a
volunteer programme in north Thailand, as well as new biking
tours in Chiang Mai and Pattaya, a fishing tour in Phuket and a
half-day fitness programme in Bangkok.
Thailand is famous for its world
class hospitals, and we have created a new three days Bangkok
Meditour with a health check up at the Phayathai II Hospital.
Spring is also the time when
numerous special events are held throughout the Kingdom. We have
selected the most interesting festivals and events for you.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
Asian Trails offers the
following new tours in our tariff 2011/12
NEW VOLUNTEER PROGRAMME
in corporation with Track of the Tiger and Volunteers
Without Borders (a non-profit organisation), introduces the
one-day tour programme - Sanpatong Home (Farm) Stay and/or
Pang Soong Lodge. You get to explore the local community's
life, spend the day working with local villagers and
students on their plots, learn to cook lunch, and teach them
simple English skills that are unavailable on conventional
The 4-day combination programme of both places is also
A 4-hour bicycle tour riding through the north and eastern part
of Pattaya. You learn about and see parts of Pattaya's cultural
background. Most of the route goes through almost traffic-free
and quiet roads fringed by greenery.
From the starting point you follow the coastal road, along Wong-Amat
and Palm Beach to arrive at Lanpho Nakluea where you visit the
fish market. The ride continues through the old part of Nakluea
and then cross Sukhumvit Road to Pattaya's countryside. Stops
are made almost every hour for rest and to refresh with drinking
water. If you like cycling and the outdoors this is definitely a
tour you will enjoy.
Explore alleyways of this old city to see the life of its
people on a bicycle. The fun starts just after sunset from a
tranquil park where locals practice tai chi exercise, then
continues to ancient temples where their golden spires
illuminate at night and a night market with various type of
delicious local food.
During the ride you discover the charm
of this ancient city. The ride is a perfect outing with
family or friends who enjoy an easy 20km ride with snack
breaks and beautiful sights along the way.
Join this full day exciting and rewarding experience on game
fishing on the Andaman Sea. The knowledgeable captain and
crew on board the high quality local fishing boat will make
this fishing trip a highlight of your holiday.
CHECK-UP PACKAGE AT PHAYATHAI II HOSPITAL
The Phayathai II Hospital
offers the most modern technology and equipment plus
experienced doctors. With early diagnosis most illnesses can
be cured with not too much disruption to a normal healthy
life. This is the reason behind Asian Trails' design of the
Meditour Package. We want to encourage holiday-makers to
visit Bangkok and have a health check-up at the city's
selected award winning hospitals.
The package includes a
designated health check-up program in hospitals with
multi-lingual staff who provides a coordinated service on
all the procedures.
GET FIT WITH MISS FITNESS ASIA
This is a fun and educational half-day programme suitable
for anyone interested in getting a great workout while
learning new training techniques from Khun Sing, Thailand's
most renowned fitness professional and pro-athlete. She was
the first place champion of Miss Fitness Asia in 2006, 2008
and 2009. Khun Sing will adapt the exercise's intensity to
skill level and age of the participants. The programme is
operated from Mondays - Fridays.
Thailand's and Southeast Asia's first Holiday Inn Express
hotel is scheduled to open in early 2012. The 300-room hotel
is conveniently located in downtown Bangkok, just steps away
from the National Stadium Skytrain Station, MBK Shopping
Centre, Siam Paragon and Jim Thompson Thai house. It
features a standard meeting room, self-service business
centre, and the Great Room with the
Express Breakfast Bar that has a Grab & Go counter.
During last year's low season Katathani invested over USD1
million to improve and upgrade the property. The new design
exhibits a flare of oriental elegance by fusing exquisite
colours and lines. The new Kid's Club is a third bigger with
an outdoor playground, new toys and edutainment games to
ensure that the children will have a fabulous time. There
was overwhelmingly positive response from guests on their
initial inspection of the upgraded property.
Phi Phi Island Resort occupies the full 800 metre of Lo Ba
Goa Bay with white sandy beach. It offers 112 villas, four
restaurants, two bars, a spa, a fitness centre, and a dive
and activity centre. There are sun lounges along the
foreshore and a beach bar for guests to order a favourite
cocktail whilst taking in the spectacular views.
The resort will undergo a name change on November 1, 2012
when it will be rebranded as Outrigger Phi Phi Island Resort
& Spa. Until then it will continue to operate under its
The construction of the 23 villas of Le Residences, located
next to Le Meridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort's family
complex has been completed. Furnishings of the villas and
gardening works are currently being carried out, but there
is minimal noise or disturbance to the guests. The resort
has reopened the Deluxe Rooms and Premium Rooms in the
Family plus Pool Villas for guests' stay.
Float House River Kwai
sits on a magnificent part of River Kwai, one of the worlds
historical rivers. The resort is made of teakwood and
bamboo, and furnished with wooden furniture and equipped
with a broad range of
services and facilities. It has 10 elegant
boutique-floating villas (89sqm/villa), which are tastefully
decorated in Thai folk style design with teakwood furniture
enhancing the comfort and harmony with nature. Each villa
features private balcony and pier where you can relax and be
impressed by the beautiful ambience. All the rooms are
connected with spacious common space. The floating lobby and
restaurant are in the middle of the floating villas for easy
access to all guests.
Chinese New Year is celebrated on the first day of Chinese
Lunar calendar. It is commonly known as Lunar New Year and
the Spring Festival. Thai people of Chinese origin celebrate
the New Year with reunion dinners, visits to each other's
homes and merry making. The local Chinese community
also organises colourful processions and dragon dances as a
part of the celebrations.
SILVERLAKE MUSIC FESTIVAL
JANUARY 28, 2012
VENUE: SILVERLAKE VINEYARD, PATTAYA
This first world-class musical performance will be held on
Saturday, January 28 at Silverlake Vinery, Pattaya.
Organised by Silverlake Entertainment Company Limited, the
highly celebrated and trusted name in show business, the
festival guarantees to deliver a soul-imprinting light and
Surrounded by Pattaya's picturesque hills
and lakes this is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to be
part of the historic musical event, which features artists
of all genres from United States, Europe, Asia and Thailand.
The marathon comprising a full marathon, half-marathon and
mini-marathon, starts and finishes at the Golden Jubilee
Convention Hall, Khon Kaen University. The scenic loop
course passes academic areas, and through cultural and
The race is officially sanctioned by the
Association of International Marathons and Road Races (AIMS)
and the Athletic Association of Thailand (IAAF Rules).
For more information contact
Alumni Association of Khon Kaen University or Tourism
Authority of Thailand, Khon Kaen office tel: 0 4324 4498-9
VENUE: PAYAP UNIVERSITY MAE KHAO CAMPUS, CHIANG MAI
The South East Asian Institute of Global Studies (SEAIGS)
is organising the second Lifescapes Southeast Asian Film
on February 2-5. The festival
screens contemporary films - documentary, docu-drama, or
dramatised - to showcase thoughtful work with a social
The festival hopes to raise awareness of film
culture and filmmakers of mainland Southeast Asia who make
meaningful social commentary with their work - showing the
beautiful without flinching from grim reality.
VENUE: SUAN BUAK HAAD PARK, THA PAE GATE PLAZA &
During the first week of February Chiang Mai will be covered
with the sweet fragrance of flowers from the Chiang Mai
Flower Festival. Held annually at Suan Buak Haad the
festival is into its 35th year.
The festival features a grand showcase of flowers and a
magnificent parade of traditional and contemporary floral
art and Lanna cultural spectacle. The parade is renowned for
its spectacular display of beautifully decorated sculptures
of temples, animals, and scenes from Ramayana (epic of Hindu
God). Visitors will also be thrilled by the colourful and
fragrant floral display, which consists of more than 200
species of orchid, rare roses, and yellow and white
KING NARAI REIGN FAIR
LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW
FEBRUARY 12-22, 2012
VENUE: PHRA NARAI RATCHANIVET PALACE, LOPBUR
King Narai the Great of Ayutthaya ruled the country from
1656 to 1688. During his reign he encouraged diplomatic
relations between Thailand (or Siam, as it was known then)
and several European countries.
The fair, which takes place on the ruins of his palace, is a
commemoration to the King. It features spectacular
processions, a light and sound show, folk entertainment and
local handicrafts. While in Lopburi, a couple hours north of
Bangkok, make sure you visit the Monkey Temple in the middle
of town, which is an ancient monument filled with local
PHUKET INTERNATIONAL BLUES ROCK FESTIVAL
FEBRUARY 23-26, 2012
VENUE: LAGUNA PHUKET, PHUKET
The 2012 Phuket International Blues Rock Festival will take
place over the last
weekend in February as in the past. In
addition to Chris Thomas King, the line-up will once again
by truly global with artists from USA, Europe, Asia and
Australia. Returning by popular demand are artistes who
include Rich Harper (USA), Akasha (Malaysia) and John
Meyer's Blues Express (Australia). Proceeds from this
charity event will be donated to Patong Beach Rotary Club's
children's education fund.
The Phangan Film Festival grew out of a pure love for
meaningful independent filmmaking. The organisers are world
travellers who rejoice in the cross-cultural expansion that
subtly transforms all those who wander far and wide, and we
embrace film as a medium for this soul-level evolution. They
are committed to providing the local community, as well as
travellers to Koh Phangan with a diverse presentation of
high-quality independent films from around the world. The
festival themes are nature and spirit, which are relevant to
the island and the planet at large.
NOK AIR EXTENDS OPERATIONS FROM SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT
Nok Air is extending its current flight operations from
Suvarnabhumi Airport to 15 destinations until January 31,
2012 as Don Muang Airport will remain closed until December.
Passengers can check the flight schedule at
THAI AIRASIA UPS MACAU SERVICES
Thai AirAsia has increased its daily flights to Macau
from three to four from December 27, 2011 to accommodate
higher traffic demand during the peak season. The extra
flight, FD3604, departs Bangkok at 1445hr and arrives in
Macau at 1820hr. The return flight departs at 1855hr and
arrives in Bangkok at 2055hr.
JETAIRFLY LAUNCHES BRUSSELS-PHUKET SERVICE
Jetairfly has launched a direct flight between
Brussels (Belgium) and Phuket. The weekly service departs
Brussels on Sunday morning, arriving at Phuket's
international airport at 7:15pm. The airline flies direct to
Phuket, then on to Bangkok.
PRE-ORDER INFLIGHT MEALS ON THAI AIRWAYS
Thai Airways is now offering Pre-Order In-flight Meal
Service for Royal Silk Class to enhance passengers'
satisfaction. The service is available only for orders of
hot meals on flights from Bangkok to Europe. Passengers have
to pre-order the in-flight meals 24 hours in advance through
the airline's website at
WELCOME BACK CLAUDIO!
After an absence of nine months Claudio Kellenberger, our
former General Manager in Vietnam, has returned to Asian
Trails. Claudio started work as Deputy Managing Director in
Thailand on January 3. A warm welcome to Claudio to the
"Land of Smiles"!
Bye Bye Alexis
We wish to inform you with
regrets that Alexis Viols, Manager Inbound for Asian Trails
Thailand, is leaving the company after four years with us.
We thank Alexis for his contributions to Asian Trails
Thailand, and wish him lots of success for the future. In
the interim, Claudio Kellenberger will be directly in charge
of the inbound department in addition to his
responsibilities as Deputy Managing Director in Thailand.
First of all I would like to take the opportunity to wish all
our partners and friends a happy and successful new year! 2011
has been a stable year for us in Laos without major incidents,
and we hope to keep it this way for 2012!
On a personal note, this is my first newsletter as Managing
Director for Asian Trails Laos, and I must say that I am very
excited about this new challenge and look forward to continue
working with all of you!
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
NEW TOUR -
PLATEAU AND SOUTH MEKONG VALLEY
7 Days Vientiane
Tadlo - Boloven Plateau - Don Khone - 4,000 Islands - Vat
Phou - Pakze: Tour includes two nights at the new Sinouk
Garden Resort located in the middle of coffee plantations
amidst a beautiful garden. Learn about Lao coffee's history
and production. Also includes light trekking and an elephant
ride in Taldo, discovery by boat of the 4,000 Islands and
watching the Irrawaddy dolphins, if you are lucky.
Please contact us for the detailed programme and rates.
TIP OF THE MONTH
- NEW FAMILY TOUR
Nights Family Tour to Luang Prabang
Stay in a
beautiful house with full services and a gorgeous swimming
the Mekong River, swim in the Kuangsy Falls' natural pools,
enjoy an elephant ride
Lao dances and music show during dinner at Roots & Leaves
Lots of family fun in just a few days
HOTEL DE LA PAIX LUANG PRABANG
Built on a heritage site in Luang Prabang, the former royal
capital of Laos, Hotel de la Paix Luang Prabang fuses
colonial charm with contemporary elegance in one of the
finest luxury all-suite resorts in the region.
This city resort is built on the site of a 100-year old
fort, with the original buildings restored to the French
colonial style of the last century. Large courtyards,
landscaped gardens, reflecting pool and fireplaces provide a
welcome retreat in all seasons.
The 23 spacious suites
create sanctuaries of private space and sumptuous comfort,
each with their own secluded outdoor garden area in the
rear, and a front terrace overlooking a large landscaped
garden area in the central courtyard. Four of these suites
also include a private 7x2.6m long swimming pool.
SATRI HOUSE RELAIS & CHATEAUX
- LUANG PRABANG
Located in the heart of Luang Prabang, Satri House was built
in the late
century and was the home of Prince Souphanouvong. After
extensive renovation and the addition of new rooms and a
second swimming pool, Satri House is now affiliated with
Relais & Chateaux, sign of quality and guarantee of very
good service. It offers 22 rooms and junior suites, as well
as three tastefully decorated suites in the original house
SINOUK COFFEE LODGE
Also know as Le Chalet, this lovely resort is a mix of Lao
and Western style. It offers nine rooms in two buildings, a
restaurant and terrace overlooking a small creek, surrounded
by a beautifully manicured garden and a very large coffee
Built at an attitude of about 1,000 metres Sinouk Coffee
Lodge enjoys a very pleasant
climate and deserves at least two nights' stay
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
LA SIGNATURE RESTAURANT AT ANSARA HOTEL
Located in the heart of Vientiane, just a few minutes walk
from Vientiane's main central hotels and behind Vat Ongteu
Temple, La Signature Restaurant is one of the finest in
This elegant restaurant is on the upper floor of the Ansara
Hotel's main building and is managed by a young French chef.
The air-conditioned dining rooms and the open-air ground
floor terrace offer a comfortable and quiet ambiance. It
offers a wide choice of set menu and a la carte dishes at
The year 2011 has come to a close and it was as good as
expected. We hope 2012 will be more successful.
My supportive Cambodian team and I wish all of you a healthy and
peaceful New Year 2012.
Happy New Year - Chaul Chnam Thmey!
GLOBAL HERITAGE FUND PROJECT IN BANTEAY CHHMAR
The Global Heritage Fund (GHF) is an American-British NGO
dedicated to protecting endangered cultural sites in the
developing world. It has signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture &
Fine Arts, and has been supporting and funding the Banteay
Chhmar Community Based Tourism group since 2009.
Update on road conditions after flooding:
The road from Sisophon to Banteay Chhmar is still badly
damaged by flooding in different places. If you wish to
visit Banteay Chhmar and Thmor Puok take the alternative
route from Oddar Meanchey to Banteay Chhmar. A 4WD car is
recommended, and the journey from Siem Reap is about three
BOKOR MOUNTAIN ACCESSIBLE DAILY
Bokor Mountain (1,101m) is not a place to be missed when
travelling through Cambodia for many reasons - the journey
through scenic landscape, the scenery, the cool mountain air
and the sense of adventure. Or if you just want to relax in
a tranquil environment. There are now more reasons to visit
it as the mountain, which was opened to the public only
during holidays, is now accessible daily.
The access to the mountain is through
a new well-paved road surrounded by beautiful scenery. On
top of the mountain are the remains of an abandoned ancient
ruins of a church and palaces of the former king. The view
is spectacular and you can see southern Cambodia and Vietnam
from the summit.
Development is underway to turn the area into a resort.
About a year ago construction started on resort facilities
that include the Bokor Resort, Bokor Fantasyland, Buddha
Religion Land, Bokor Golf Course, Bokor Casino and
recreational facilities that include bungee jumping. Stay
tuned for progress of these developments in the
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
PHNOM PENH CITY TOUR ON CAMBODIA'S FIRST ENGLISH BUS
A unique bus tour of Phnom Penh with a difference
- from a
double-decker English bus that is the first of its kind in
Cambodia. With a view from the "top" take in the sight of
the beautiful gardens of the Royal Palace, the terraces of
the flats facing the riverside and the principal buildings
of the city.
The tour city is about one to
two hours, depending on request. The bus is also available
for hire for a night tour of the city.
NEW REGULATIONS FOR BAKHENG
New regulations have come into force at the Bakheng Hill
Temple. Now the number of visitors allowed to climb up to
the temple is limited to 300 maximum at a time, from the
3,000 previously. Opening hours are from 5.30am to 5.30pm
daily. The regulations are to protect the temple during the
construction period estimated to be about six years.
Southern (for climbing up) and Northern (for getting down)
wooden staircases are currently being built for safer
climbing. Tourists have to temporarily use the Eastern
staircase for climbing up, and Western staircase for getting
down the hill.
Foreign language-speaking guards are assigned at the park to
assist tourists and to give them relevant information. A
sign with the new regulations has been put up
BETTER VISITORS' MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY AT ANGKOR
The Angkor temples are using a device for better management
of visitors. It enables the thousands of foreign tourists to
visit the sites in a more managed way.
With this technology a tour guide can manage a larger group
easily. Multiple groups are also able to use the system
without interference. This one-to-one communication
experience allows the visitor to focus on his main interests
at the temple. Hopefully, this device will end the usual
DIVING OFF THE GULF OF SIHANOUKVILLE
Cambodia is Asia's newest and undiscovered diving location.
However, international exposure on its diving potential has
attracted diving enthusiasts and underwater photographers
from all over the world to the dive sites.
Recommended is the beautiful island of Koh Rong Samlom,
which has a dive centre and is a two-hour boat ride from
Sihanoukville. Here you can dive, snorkel, trek in the
jungle or just relax on the deserted beach.
NAME CHANGE FOR CASTLE HOTEL
The former Castle Hotel recently changed its name to Ohana
Hotel. Apart from the name there are no other changes in the
VOGUISH BOUTIQUE HOTEL
The 14-room Villa Samnang boutique hotel is a new addition
to the Phnom Penh hospitality environment. Centrally
located, the hotel is at a short walk from the city's
vibrant shopping and entertainment districts.
Every detail of the hotel has been thought out to make your
stay as comfortable and soothing as possibly. The 14 stylish
rooms are all equipped with one or two double beds,
polished-cement concrete furniture and a large working
desk. The small bedside tables are painted in red, which
alter the room's general design. There is also a big pool
for guests' use.
SARAVOAN HOTEL (FORMER STAR INN HOTEL)
Saravoan-Kep Hotel is just 20 metres from Kep Beach and a
five-minute tuk-tuk ride from the nearest seafood
restaurants and the Crab Market.
This hillside property offers rooms with sea or pool views.
Fitted with wooden furniture and stone walls, the
air-conditioned rooms have a flat-screen cable TV and
tea/coffee making facilities. A fan and mosquito nets are
also provided. Each room has a private bathroom with a hot
shower. Facilities include an outdoor pool, restaurant, and
free WiFi throughout the hotel. Guests can enjoy a relaxing
massage or take a dip in the pool, which overlooks the sea.
Saravoan Restaurant, opened for all-day dining, serves
Khmer, Chinese, and Western dishes.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
CHILDREN OF BASSAC PERFORMING SEASON BEGINS
The second annual Children of Bassac performing season began
in December 2011. This talented troupe of young dancers, who
toured the U.S. last spring, is performing every Thursday in
front of the National Museum until April 26,
The performance is part of the goal to create
self-sustaining professional troupes, which help build the
capacity of artists and also increase the availability of
high quality arts programming to the Cambodian public and
VICTORY DAY OVER GENOCIDE REGIME
JANUARY 7, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA
This national holiday commemorates Vietnamese-backed troops
taking the capital from the Khmer Rouge in 1979. It marks
the end of the Khmer Rouge regime after their defeat to the
Vietnamese. The day also honours those who lost their lives
in the genocide and who sacrificed their lives in restoring
peace to the country. Colourful ceremonies are held at the
Independence Monument (Vimean Ekareach).
JANURY 23, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA
Chinese New Year 2012, the "Year of the Dragon", falls on
The Dragon is
the most auspicious animal in the Chinese zodiac.
People born under this sign
have many traits - both good and not so good. They are
believed to be popular, full of life and enthusiasm, fun
loving, healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered,
stubborn and have a "big mouth" at times. They are also
honest, sensitive, brave, and inspire confidence and trust. Those
under this sign are well suited to be an artist, priest, or
The Dragon is compatible with
people born under the sign of the Rat, Snake, Monkey and
MEAK BOCHEA DAY
FEBRUARY 7, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CAMBODIA
Meak Bochea Day is an important Buddhist celebration, which
marks a spontaneous gathering of 1,250 monks to listen to
Buddha's sermons. The gathering is attributed to four
miracles occurring nine months after Buddha's enlightenment,
on the day of the full moon during the third lunar month. At
this miraculous gathering Buddha preached a seminal sermon
outlining the principles upon which Buddhism philosophy is
Today Meak Bochea is a colourful festival with monks
gathering at the temples and praying from Buddhist
scriptures. The wats (pagodas) are filled with Cambodians
who come to pray and make offerings of food to the monks.
The mission of the Angkor Wat International Film Festival is
to showcase and celebrate feature films, documentaries and
short subjects, both live action and animated, created in
digital or film media, whose subjects and themes deal with
the preservation of culture and environment.
An educational component is also an integral part of the
festival's mission. There are free showing of select
Cambodian and International films to the local
Cambodian people to expose them to cinema from their own
countrymen, as well as international cinema and the people
and cultures of the world.
The festival is sponsored by Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf
& Spa Resort in Siem Reap, and it will host the event. The
festival's organisers will give all proceeds and donations
to children's charity in Cambodia.
MYANMAR AIRWAYS FLIES TO PHNOM PENH
Myanmar Airways International (MAI) has expanded its
services to Cambodia since the beginning of November 2011.
Its twice-weekly Yangon-Siem Reap flights, launched in
January 23, 2011, has been extended to serve Phnom Penh. The
adjusted Yangon-Siem Reap-Phnom Penh service is on MAI's new
220-seat Airbus A321 aircraft, which was delivered last
October. Foreigners arriving on MAI's flights from Cambodia
to Yangon are eligible for Visa-on-Arrival (VOA).
While you are returning to the normal pace of work and life
after a wonderful time celebrating Christmas and welcoming in
the New Year, here in Vietnam we are sipping the flavours of the
coming Tet holidays, which falls on January 23!
Travelling to Vietnam during Tet is a great way to experience
the country's age-old traditions and customs. Visitors get to
taste the best local dishes that are not prepared on normal
days, such as confit and jam, sticky rice cake and many more.
Equally enchanting is the festive atmosphere, with beautiful
cherry blossoms, flowers on the streets and in every house.
Houses are repainted and children wear new clothes as everything
must be fresh in the New Year.
Travelling during Tet, whether by air or train, will be more
difficult as thousands of Vietnamese will be travelling back to
their hometowns and villages to celebrate this important
festival. The heaviest traffic is from the south to the north of
the country, not the other way, and normally lasts 10 days
before and after Tet.
The work rhythm throughout the country slows down during Tet,
which may affect visa application. Thus, all visa requests for
Vietnam within two weeks before and after Tet must be sent to us
as soon as possible.
In Vietnam tourism a number of new developments are taking place
in 2012. We invite you to discover them in this issue of
We wish you a new year of good health and prosperity! Chuc Mung
Nam Moi An Khang Thinh Vuong!
VIETNAM - WORLD CLASS GOLFING DESTINATION
Vietnam is gaining fame as a world class golfing
destinations with products and services to meet the needs of
even the most discerning golfers - from beautifully designed
golf courses at spectacular locations to upgraded service.
Golfers can tee off from Hanoi to Central Danang-Hoi An, up
in the French hill station in Dalat or on the beaches of Nha
Trang and Mui Ne beaches. There is so much choice and
diversity for the golfers.
Recently the Dunes Course, designed by golf legend Greg
Norman, at Danang Golf Club was accorded the "Best New
Course in Asia Pacific" by the 12th Asian Golf Monthly
Awards, widely regarded as the region's golfing Oscars.
Launched in May 2010 the Dunes Course is a collection of 18
rugged, seaside holes, which crisscross a sand-based
landscape similar to the coastal terrain of Scotland, golf's
birthplace. This award once again reaffirms Vietnam as one
of the best golfing destinations in the region.
DAK LAK MUSEUM OPENS IN CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
A new museum has opened in Dak Lak province, which claims to
be the largest museum in Vietnam's central highlands.
Dak Lak Museum was established with assistance from French
museum experts in partnership with the Vietnam Museum of
Ethnology. The design of the museum is based on a
traditional longhouse of the E De ethnic minority.
The museum covers an area of 9,200 square metres. It
includes three display areas divided into major themes of
biodiversity, national culture and history. Apart from
boasting as the largest museum in the highlands, it is also
the first museum to exhibit in four languages - French;
English; Vietnamese and E De
The new museum is expected to attract both domestic and
foreign visitors interested in the ethnic minorities in Dak
Lak province, located 1,410km from Hanoi and 320km from Ho
Chi Minh City.
TAM GIANG LAGOON, HUE'S WETLAND ATTRACTION
Tam Giang-Cau Hai is a system of five lagoons interconnected
and stretched from the northern to southern most of TT-Hue
province. It claims to be an important wetland rich in
tourism potential thanks to high biodiversity and scenic
landscape. Recently, some community based ecotourism
initiatives have been implemented and brought fruits of
success. The provincial and local tourism stakeholders
believe the lagoon has a huge potential to offer explorers a
New tourist services and facilities are being developed in a
sustainable manner and to preserve cultural integrity.
Tourists to the area may discover a typical way of life of
the lagoon people with some still living in stilt houses and
raising shrimps and crabs for a living. Activities for
visitors include fishing on the lagoon using traditional
techniques, visiting a handicraft shop and "nuoc mam" (fish
sauce) factory, and exploring the country road set parallel
between sand dunes and lagoons. The excursion's highlight is
a visit to the "ghost city" where temples for the dead are
grander than the homes of living people.
DANANG AIRPORT'S NEW TERMINAL OPENS
The Central Region Airports Corporation opened the new
terminal of Danang International Airport on December 15,
2011 to serve both domestic and international flights. It
has three floors and one basement. The check-in area has 36
counters and other facilities.
The new terminal is located in Hai Chau District, five
kilometres from the city's centre. It is designed to handle
five million passengers and one million tons of cargoes per
year in the initial period. The capacity will increase to
serve six to eight million passengers per year by 2015.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
DAY CRUISE ON HALONG BAY WITH WOW
Most luxury boats in Halong Bay focus only on overnight
cruises. Now visitors who want to on a day cruise can do so
with Wow Cruise, which is launching the service this month
(January) with its new fleet of boats - Wow Premium, Wow
Authentic and Wow Signature. All the wooden junks are
designed in time-honoured traditional style, with
contemporary and luxurious cabins and facilities.
LUXURY CRUISE ON THE JAHAN
The Jahan is the newest member of the Mekong River Boat
Collection, and a baby brother to the famous Jayavarman. The
company's new flagship brings river cruising on the Mekong
River into a new realm. The singular touches of a luxury
boutique hotel, the leisurely pace of a river cruise, and
the opportunity to collect new experiences, are the
signature style of Jayavarman.
The boat has 26 cabins, designed with distinctive British
Indian colonial theme design. All cabins have a private
balcony, or balcony with jacuzzi for suite room. This first
boutique style river cruise liner is a great product for
couples and small groups to explore the Mekong in great
comfort and with superb service.
WITH ARTISTS AT HAM LONG ARTS VILLAGE
Located close to the south bank of the Saigon River, Ham
Long Arts Village is an initiative of a group of 33 artists
belonging to the Ho Chí Minh City Fine Art Association.
Each plot of land in the village belongs to an artist and
each house is built in a different architectural style,
representing or reflecting a specific cultural tradition.
The residence of artist Le Dình Trieu is a reconstructed
Stieng ethnic minority house; Hoai Huong's is a miniature
replica of a Hue Royal palace; To Nga's recreates the
architecture of ancient Hoi An; Duong Dình Hung's is a 100
year-old house from Hue transported tand rebuilt at the
Ham Long is projected to be a focal point for visual arts
development where artists can meet and exchange experiences,
and visitors can purchase works of art created here. An
excursion to this unique arts village is an unforgettable
experience, providing an opportunity to interact with the
CHEZ CAROLE RESORT
This luxury boutique beach resort in Cua Can Beach (Phu Quoc
Island) opened in December 2010. Located 14km from Duong
Dong town in the north of Phu Quoc Island, Chez Carole
Resort has the best landscape on the island and is the
perfect getaway for relaxation.
The resort offers 10 sea-facing bungalows and a restaurant
that accommodates up to 500 persons, and water sport
HOTEL NIKKO SAIGON OPENS
After three years' construction Hotel Nikko Saigon opened in
mid-December 2011,e catering to both business and leisure
travellers. It is located in a large, newly developed
commercial complex, Royal Centre Project, on Nguyen Van Cu
Street in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1.
The property has 334 rooms, suites and 53 serviced
apartments in a 23-storey building. Facilities include
La Brasserie for all-day dining, Ming Court for Chinese
cuisine, the Lounge,
banquet rooms, business centre, spa, pool and fitness club.
NEW - NAM Bộ
The Nam Bộ Boutique Hotel is an all-suite hotel located
right in the centre of the Ninh Kiều pier in Cần Thơ, a
stone's throw away from every river transport, and affords a
panoramic view of the Mekong River.
The hotel has only seven suites, all uniquely designed and
has flat screen TV, Internet access, minibar and amenities
befitting a hotel of this standard. It has a restaurant and
Jazz bar with a view of the Mekong. With its round-the-clock
boutique service, the Nam Bộ Boutique Hôtel is a destination
of choice for leisure and business travellers alike.
A MELIA HOTEL FOR DANANG
On November 18, 2011 the leading hotel management group,
Melia Hotels International, signed an agreement with Sao
Viet Company Limited (Vistar) to manage the Melia Danang
Hotel at Non Nuoc Beach. This beach has been chosen by
Forbes Magazine as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in
The Melia Danang Hotel will have 330 rooms, 35 villas and a
700-seat convention hall. It will offer guests the
opportunity to travel in speed boats to explore and dive
among the magical corals off Danang.The first phase of the
project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2012.
HYATT REGENCY DANANG RESORT & SPA OPENS
Newly opened Hyatt Regency Danang Resort & Spa is located
between Hoi An and Danang, and about 15 minutes by car from
Danang International Airport. It is situated on a stretch of
beach with a view of the ocean and the Marble Mountains.
The hotel's 200 guestrooms feature modern designs with
oversized balconies and floor to ceiling windows. There are
182 luxurious residences and 27 private Ocean Villas, each
with a private pool.
Facilities include several bars and restaurants, extensive
meeting and event function rooms, wellness spa, fitness
centre, swimming pools, tennis courts and badminton courts.
It also has a Camp Hyatt, which offers a wide range of
activities for children and younger guests.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
TET LUNAR NEW YEAR FLOWER FESTIVAL 2012
JANUARY 18-28, 2012
VENUE: CONG TRUONG QUOC TE (TURTLE POND), DISTRICT 3
& TAO DAN PARK, DISTRICT 1,
This annual colourful flower street festival consists of
exhibition zones of bonsai, flower,
artistic rocks and aquariums that are works of artisans
nationwide. The event also includes several cultural and
artistic activities, including traditional art performances,
folk games, a human chess contest, calligraphy, paintings
and food stalls.
In addition, the city's People's Committee will open four
flower markets at city landmark parks, featuring 1,400
booths together with 56 other flower spots across the city.
They will operate from January 16 to midnight January 22 so
city residents can shop for flowers and plants to decorate
their homes for Tet, which is celebrated on January 23.
VIETNAM AIRLINES INCREASES DOMESTIC FARES
National flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, increased its
airfares on domestic routes by up to 15%-20% from December
The new fares are determined by five different distances,
with up to 20% increase for economy class and 5% for
business class. The increase on high-demand routes between
Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi and Danang increased by 15%, and
on other short routes by 20%.
We have contacted concerned travel agents individually on
this new develoment and to find solutions. Please do not
heisitate to contact us for more information.
AIR MEKONG ADDS NEW ROUTES
Air Mekong starts a three times weekly service between
Pleiku in Vietnam's central highlands to Vinh on the
northern coast from December 1, 2011. The service uses a
90-seat Bombardier CRJ 900 aircraft, flying Mondays,
Wednesdays and Fridays. Flight departs Pleiku at 1700hr and
arrives in Vinh at 1815hr. The return flight departs at
1845hr and arrives at 2000hr.
Pleiku is located at the junction of several national
highways and 430km from the border with Cambodia. It was
important during Vietnam War as the main base to defend the
Vinh, 265 km from Hanoi, is a coastal town famous for white
beaches particularly along Cua Lo Bay, and is popular with
domestic tourists, but very few foreign tourists visit the
VIETJET AIR STARTS OPERATIONS
After months of speculation low cost carrier, VietJet
Air, has finally started operations. The fourth airline in
Vietnam, VietJet Air is the first private carrier in the
country to fly domestic and international routes.
The airline launched four daily flights between Hanoi and Ho
Chi Minh City on December 25, 2011. Flight to Danang will
commence in early 2012 and routes between Vietnam and the
rest of Asia will be launched later the same year.
The airline will soon expand to foreign destinations that
include Macau, Singapore, Hong Kong and various locations in
Japan, China and South Korea. To meet this expansion, the
carrier plans to increase its current fleet of three newly
purchased Airbus A320 aircraft to 12 by October 2014.
AIR AUSTRALIA PLANS VIETNAM SERVICES
New low-cost carrier, Air Australia, is seeking permission
to operate flights to Vietnam from Australian major cities
starting March 2012.
The Brisbane-based airline plans to operate four flights per
week from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. The carrier
said, in its application to the International Air Services
Commission, that its capacity would be fully utilised by
Two Vietnamese carriers, Vietnam Airlines and Jetstar
Pacific, are currently operating flights between Australia
UKRAINE AIRLINES' DIRECT KIEV-HCMC SERVICE
Aerosvit Airlines, Ukraine's national flag carrier, launched
twice-weekly direct flghts between Ho Chi Minh City and Kiev
on December 23, 2011.
As a special promotion Aerosvit Airlines is offering
round-trip tickets for the route for as low as VND12
million, including taxes and fees. From Kiev, the airline
soffer a number of connections to other major destinations
SICHUAN AIRLINES FLIES TO VIETNAM
Chengdu-based state owned Chinese carrier, Sichuan Airlines,
has been appointed an official agent in Vietnam. The airline
has two weekly flights from
Chengdu to Ho Chi Minh City, on Mondays and Thursdays,
using the Airbus A 32aircraft. The flight departs Chengdu at
1125hr and arrives in Ho Chi Minh at 1550hr. The return
flight to Chengdu leaves at 1650hr and arrives at 2315hr
Chengdu is the gateway to many tourist attractions in China.
This connection makes a combined Ho Chi Minh-Chengdu holiday
package more convenient.
ASIANA AIRLINES LAUNCHES SEOUL-DANANG FLIGHT
South Korea's Asiana Airlines launched twice-weekly direct
Seoul-Danang service on December 14, 2011. This is first
direct flight from Seoul's Incheon International Airport to
the Danang in Vietnam's central coast.
Asiana Airlines operates under its parent company, Kumho
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
BARBECUE IN THE SKY
Want to enjoy a feast while taking in a panoramic view? Then
the barbecue atop Danang's tallest building - HAGL Plaza
Danang Hotel - is a must. The venue is the Sky View Lounge
on the 23rd floor, the perfect vantage point for viewing the
Han River, Danang Beach and the entire central coast city.
The barbecue is on every Friday and Saturday from 6pm-9pm.
Price is US$16.80 for adults and $14.40 for children. The
restaurant is extending its hours of business to cater to
the extra traffic during the festive season.
LY CLUB RESTAURANT OPENS IN HO CHI MINH CITY
Set in an early 20th century French villa Ly Club
takes its name from the Ly Dynasty (1009-1225), one of
Vietnam's most glorious periods of cultural and artistic
development. Drawing inspiration from its namesake the
establishment combines Asian sensibility with modern style
serving innovative cuisine from the east and west, all
inspired by executive chef Dessi de Vries.
Attention to detail is characterised by the interior decor,
from decorative chrysanthemum patterns to a portrait of
soprano Lina Cavalieri, by 20th century Milanese painter
Piero Fornasetti, and oil and lacquer paintings by
contemporary Vietnamese artists.
Ly Club is located at 143 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 3 on
the way from airport to downtown. It is opened daily from
11am to 11pm for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. It also
has space for events.
NEW APPOINTMENTS AT ASIAN TRAILS VIETNAM
Mrs. Minh Phuong, former Deputy Manager Inbound (pictured
left), has been promoted as Kuoni Manager effective December
1, 2011. She has been working with Asian Trails since 2002.
In her new position Ming will coordinate and supervise the
whole Kuoni account and be responsible for the smooth
running of this department. She leads a team of six Kuoni
Ms. Dinh Thi Thanh Chau (pictured left), replaces Mrs. Minh
Phuong as Deputy Manager Inbound. She brings with her a
wealth of experience, having work in the travel industry
since 1993. We warmly welcome Chau to our team and are happy
to have her onboard.
We wish both Minh and Chau all the best, great success and
fulfilment in their new roles.
ANY OTHER NEWS
INDIA HELPS IN MY SON'S RESTORATION
India is helping Vietnam to restore its UNESCO World
Heritage Site of My Son Relics Complex with a US$3 million
fund, as well as providing technical assistance.
The restoration project will be carried out from 2012 to
2016 by Indian architects and archaeologists from the
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). A group of experts
from ASI, under the Institute of Archaeology, visited My Son
last year to study and prepare restoration work. In the
process they found that most of the temples needed to be
My Son, 69km southwest of Danang and 45 km west of Hoi An in
central Vietnam, is a cluster of ruined Hindu temples
constructed between 4AD-14AD, during the Champa empire era.
Most of the site was destroyed by US carpet bombing during a
single week of the Vietnam War, leaving just a few temples
UNESCO designated My Son as a World Heritage Site in 1999.
It is a popular day trip from the town of Hoi An.
LAS VEGAS SANDS PLANS TOURISM COMPLEX IN HCMC
Las Vegas Sands plans to build a tourism complex in Ho Chi
Minh City at a cost of more than USD2 billion. Designed in
the shape of two sails standing on a lotus the complex will
have hotels, restaurants, convention and exhibition centres,
shopping, a spa area, gymnasium, theatre, museum and other
entertainment places. On completion it is expected to become
a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City, attracting more tourists to
China will soon be celebrating Chinese New Year, and we are
waiting for January 23 to welcome the "Year of the Dragon" (in
Chinese "long"), which will last until February 9, 2013
according to the Chinese Lunar calendar. The Dragon is the fifth
sign of the 12 in Chinese astrology, and considered as a very
We thank you for your continuous support and look forward to
welcoming you in China.
XIN NIAN KUAI LE! GONG XI FA CAI! Happy New Year from Asian
Trails China team!
SHANGHAI TO DOUBLE EXHIBITION SPACE BY 2015
Shanghai is planning to double its exhibition space to 15
million square metres by 2015 as part of its 12th Five-Year
Plan (2011-2015), with 80% of the area devoted to hosting
international trade fairs.
The government has started building an expo centre in the
Hongqiao commercial hub in Qingpu District. The 500,000sqm
complex will take two years to complete. making it the
world's largest expo centre.
Key cultural facilities are also being built and will boost
the number of unique venue options for DMCs. The World Expo
Park will offer four new venues - China Art Palace, Shanghai
Museum of Contemporary Art (name to be finalised), the
Shanghai World Expo Museum and Shanghai Children's Art
The Shanghai World Expo Museum will be located on the Puxi
site of the World Expo Park. The Shanghai Museum of
Contemporary Art will be at the site of the Expo Urban
Future Pavilion. The Shanghai Children's Art Theatre, with
an IMAX theatre projection system, will sit on the site of
the futuristic Expo SAIC-GM Pavilion and houses four
The World Expo China Pavilion will be converted into the
China Art Palace, with an extension to be built, enlarging
the facility to 70,000sqm of exhibition space, 12,000sqm
more than the original size.
HONGCUN - ANHUI PROVINCE
Hongcun is the perfect picture of idyllic rural life,
seemingly caught in a time warp.
an ancient village untouched by war and chaos, and beautiful
in its tranquillity. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site
it was built during the southern Song Dynasty in 1311.
Situated 10km from Huangshan Mountains, Hongcun boasts of
all the simplicity and calm of ancient rural society, its
30-hectare village stirs up strong nostalgia for those
times. The half-moon shaped pond, named Yuezhao pond, is in
the centre of Hongcun and it is here that village activities
revolve. Even today you can see white geese swimming in the
dark green tranquil waters of the village pond.
QIANNAN BOUYEI & MIAO AUTONOMOUS PREFECTURE
Located in the southwest area of China, Guizhou Province is
nestled between Yunnan, Guangxi, Hunan and Chongqing
municipalities. The area is famed for its distinctive
scenery, charming ethnic culture and some historical
From the capital Guiyang, a three-hour car ride takes you to
Libo, "emerald of the Earth's belt", to visit a magnificent
art gallery where nature had spent millions of years
creating its incredible works of art. Surrounded by
primitive forest every path leads to dizzying scenery.
Spectacular waterfalls or a small oasis in the middle of a
torrential river are among other sights. The karst landform
in Libo was listed as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site
in 2007. A hike in the primitive forest on Maolan National
Reserve is an ideal way to explore more scenic locations.
The small town is developing tourism facilities, such as new
hotels and restaurants serving local dishes. You can also
visit the ethnic group villages in the remote mountains to
get a feel of their distinctive traditions and listen to the
mystical tales told by their ancestors. Not to be missed is
the mask dance, one of the age-old traditions of the ethnic
YADONG - TIBET
The landscape changes dramatically as the altitude drops
from 3,480m to 2,900m along the road from Xigaze to Yadong
(about a four hour drive). Instead of barren and craggy
scenes, babbling streams and trees make their appearance as
the road snakes through the mountains toward Yadong in
The county seat of Yadong is Xiasima, which means "even an
important official has to get off his horse here". It has
only one street and 3,000 residents, mostly Tibetans. Yadong
River separates the town into two parts, connected by a
stone bridge. Two-to-three-floor houses made of stone and
wood line the street. In summer, even at 8pm, the sun is
still shining and vendors push their handcarts loaded with
tea, medicinal herbs and handicrafts through the street. The
food is varied consisting of Sichuan and Yunnan cuisine.
Highly recommended is Yadong fish. Though the Yadong River
flows into the Ganges River in India it is said that Yadong
fish won't cross the border because they are used to the
temperature and altitude. Locals call it the "patriotic
Yadong borders Sikkim state of India on its western side and
Bhutan on its east. A one-hour ride up a mountainous road is
Renqinggang, the only frontier market on the China-India
border, selling Indian and Nepalese goods.
You should take some time to appreciate the gargantuan
beauty of misty Mount Chomolhari, topped by glittering snow
and set against an azure sky backdrop. This 7,350m high
mountain is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists. It known as the
"fairy woman" and, according to local folklore, Chomolhari
is the bride of Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest
mountain in India's Sikkim state.
SHICHAHAI SANDALWOOD HOTEL
For many visitors to Beijing, staying in a former residence
of the royal family or a famous nobleman is the ultimate
experience. The city was home to 24 of China's emperors and
their courtier, but as with the Forbidden City and many
other historic residences the opportunities for such a royal
treat are limited. The Beijing Shichahai Sandalwood Hotel is
one of the best places to offer this rare delight.
Situated close to the picturesque Drum Tower the buildings
that house the hotel were once part of a residence owned by
Suo Ni, one of the most famous chancellors in Chinese
history and a key figure of the Qing dynasty (17th-20th
century). The hotel offers only 10 guestrooms, all decorated
in an old Chinese way, boasting about 20 pieces of
sandalwood furniture worth tens of millions of Yuan.
Additionally the furniture and decorations in the hotel are
mostly antiques. In the bedroom of the largest suite, which
covers more than 100sqm, the bathroom has a glass ceiling.
There is no better way to relax after a day spent exploring
Beijing in winter than to soak in the hot tub right under
the ceiling, sipping a glass of wine and watching the snow
falling onto the glass, gradually blocking your view.
GRACE HOTELS PLANTS FIRST ASIAN FLAG IN BEIJING
International boutique hotel chain, Grace Hotels, has opened
a 30-key property in the Chinese capital city, Beijing,
marking its entry into Asia Pacific.
Grace Beijing, located in the city's 798 Art District,
occupies the former Yi House Hotel. The property houses
modern art and contemporary furniture, and features decor
inspired by the Ming Dynasty.
Facilities at the luxury hotel include Yi House Restaurant,
which serves Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, and Bar 798.
The hotel is looking at a mix of local and international
clientele with strong representation from the fashion, arts,
film, photography and design communities that are attracted
to the art district or have business there.
Grace Hotels' other properties are in Mykonos, Santorini and
ST. REGIS, TIANJIN OPENS
Located in Heping district along the south bank of the Hai
River, St. Regis, Tianjin opened in October 2011.
The hotel features 240 rooms and 36 suites, heated indoor
swimming pool; exercise room and an Iridium spa. It has six
F&B outlets serving French, Italian, Mediterranean and
Cantonese cuisine. There is 2,700sqm of meeting and event
space, including the Sky Ballroom on the 15th floor. On the
lower levels, venues include the St. Regis Ballroom and 14
versatile event rooms, divisible into 22 spaces.
MARRIOTT UNVEILS SHANGHAI HOTEL
Marriott International has opened the Shanghai Marriott
Hotel City Centre, its flagship property for the Marriott
Hotels & Resorts brand in China.
Located on Xizang Middle Road and overlooking People's
Square, the hotel offers a total of 720 rooms and suites. It
features five different F&B outlets - Inagiku, a Japanese
restaurant; Man Ho, which serves Cantonese and Shanghainese
cuisine; Shanghai City Bistro, offering international fare;
lounge and bar.Facilities include an executive lounge, a 25m
indoor pool with Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, a gym and a
The entire fifth floor is a dedicated events venue, offering
more than 2,000sqm of space including two pillar-free
ballrooms and seven breakout rooms.
GLORIA ADDS FIVE NEW HOTELS
Hong Kong-based Gloria Hotels & Resorts will expand its
China footprint by at least five properties between November
2011 and the first quarter of 2012.
One of these new properties is a 90-room hotel to debut
under Gloria's Merlint boutique brand, the group's first
boutique property in Shanghai. Scheduled to open by first
quarter of 2012. it is located near Shanghai Hongqiao
International Airport. The hotel will target "upscale
customers, celebrities, those who are fashion-forward and
some corporate clients".
Two 400-room resorts on Hainan Island
- one in Sanya Bay and
one in Haitang Bay - will join the company's property in
In Changsha, Hunan Province, Gloria is planning to open a
300-key five star hotel and an adjacent 200-key midscale
hotel in 2012. These hotels, like most of Gloria's other
properties, will court the MICE segment, as well as family
groups and European travellers.
Gloria's affiliate programme, which offers marketing support
to member hotels, is growing too. In November 2001 it
welcomed the Red Wall Garden Hotel, a 38-room boutique
property in Beijing's hutong areas, into the programme. It
joins two other Gloria affiliates, one in Tokyo and one in
MELIÁ EXPANDS FOOTPRINTS IN CHINA
Spanish hotel chain, Meliá Hotels International, is adding a
second property in China, in Xian, to its portfolio of new
hotel projects in China. Gran Meliá Xian Hotel will open in
2013. It will offer 419 rooms, three F&B outlets, a spa, and
a convention centre.
Melia's first hotel in China, Gran Meliá Shanghai Hotel,
opened in 2009.
SHANGRI-LA'S 2ND KERRRY HOTEL
Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts officially opened its second
Kerry Hotel in early December 2011, marking the completion
of the first phase of a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of
Kerry Centre Hotel, Beijing.
Rebranded as Kerry Hotel, Beijing, the property joins its
sister hotel, Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai, which launched
the brand in February 2011. With a host of new facilities,
amenities and services, the hotel features contemporary Club
rooms and suites, Club lounge, reconfigured lobby and two
new dining outlets - Kerry's Kitchen and Kerry's Pantry.
The hotel's Centro Bar and Lounge has been redesigned for a
fresh clean look, with and an outdoor bistro-style terrace.
The 1,560sqm grand ballroom, which can accommodate up to
1,500 pax, has also been upgraded with improved audiovisual
FOUR MORE SHERATON HOTELS
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened another four Sheraton
branded properties in China by end 2011. The hotels:
The 380-rooms Sheraton Hangzhou Wetland Park Resort,
located in Hangzhou's Xixi National Wetland Park. This is
Sheraton first hotel in Hangzhou, which opened last fall.
The 290-room Sheraton Daqing Hotel in China's northeast
Heilongjiang province. It has 11 meeting spaces with a
combined floor area of 2,165sqm.
The 490-room Sheraton Xian North City Hotel, Sheraton's
second property in the city. It offers 490 1,700sqm of
meeting space including a 626sqm pillar-less grand ballroom.
This is Sheraton's second property in Xian.
The 247-room Sheraton Changzhou Xinbei Hotel, which is
part of the Changzhou Wanda Plaza.
Eight Sheraton hotels and resorts debuted in 2011 - in
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Zhenjiang, Hainan,
Jinzhou and Changzhou. With the addition of these 12 hotels
Sheraton's hotel portfolio in Greater China has increased to
46 hotels by end 2011, moving Starwood closer to its goal of
operating 100 hotels in the region by end 2012.
WESTIN EXPANDS IN CHINA
Westin Hotels & Resorts will open three new hotels in the
Chinese cities of Ningbo, Xian and Xiamen over the next six
months. They are:
Westin Ningbo will have 312 rooms, six restaurants and
bars, Heavenly Spa and more than 1,300sqm of meeting space.
Westin Xian will feature 326 rooms, Heavenly Spa, an
indoor swimming pool, 530sqm of state-of-the-art meeting
facilities and an art/artefact museum below the hotel.
Westin Xiamen, part of a mixed use complex, will offer 304
rooms, three restaurants, Heavenly Spa, indoor pool and more
than 1,300sqm of meeting space.
Earlier this year Westin opened three hotels in the
mainland, including its first hotel in Nanjing and Wuhan and
its second hotel in Guangzhou.
With the six new hotels Westin will have 16 hotels in China
by April 2012 and is set to double its footprint in the
region by 2014.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
CHINESE NEW YEAR
JANUARY 23, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA
On January 23 people of Chinese origin throughout the world
will welcome the "Year of the Dragon". This is considered
the most auspicious sign of all the 12 in the Chinese Lunar
calendar, as it is a symbol of good fortune and sign of
The Dragon is regarded as a creature of myth and legend. In
the Orient the Dragon is revered as a divine beast, the
reverse of the malicious monster that Westerners felt
necessary to find and slay. In Eastern philosophy the Dragon
is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of
Asian Trails China office will be closed from January 23
until January 25 inclusive. Happy New Year and Gong Xi Fa
15TH DAY AFTER CHINESE NEW YEAR
VENUE: THROUGHOUT CHINA
The Lantern Festival takes place 15 days after the 1st day
of the New Year. It has its origins in the Han Dynasty (206
BC-220 AD). During this period Buddhism flourished in China.
One of the emperors heard that Buddhist monks watched sarira,
or remains from the cremation of Buddha's body, and lit
lanterns to worship Buddha on the 15th day of the 1st Lunar
month. He ordered lanterns be lit in the imperial palace and
temples on this day to show respect to Buddha.
Later, the Buddhist rite developed into a grand festival
among common people, and its influence spread from the
Central Plains to the whole of China.
The practice continues till today, with the lantern festival
celebrated yearly around China. Lanterns of various shapes
and sizes are hung in the streets, attracting countless
visitors. Children carry lanterns and walk around the
streets of villages, towns and cities, which are decorated
with magnificent lanterns. Eating yuanxiao or rice
dumplings is also part of the celebrations, giving it the
name of "Yuanxiao Festival". There are also performances of dragon lantern dance and lion
dance. As this festival also marks the end of the New Year
festivities there are fireworks displays as the grand finale
to the celebrations.
DOOR GODS, A CHINESE NEW YEAR'S TRADITION
During the build-up to Chinese New Year Door Gods are placed
on the external doors of houses. This is an age-old
tradition dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD).
The emperor was said to have fallen ill and had a dream in
which ghosts came to the palace in search of him. He
recounted this tale to his officials the next day and the
story quickly spread through the Imperial Court. The
emperor's top two generals then stood guard outside his
bedroom door to protect him.
The emperor slept soundly in the knowledge that he was
protected by the two generals and had no further dreams of
the ghosts. However, after a few nights the emperor became
concerned for the generals. He ordered two paintings be
made, one of each general. Once completed, the emperor had
these hung on the door to his room and relieved the generals
of their nightly duty.
The story of the emperor using "Door Gods" to protect him
soon spread. The common people then made their own paintings
and placed them on their doors to protect them and their
homes. This tradition has continued until today.
FRANCE'S 5TH DESTINATION IN CHINA
From April 2012 Air France will fly to Wuhan, capital of
Hubei Province in central China. This will be the French
airline's fifth destination in China. It will be the first
direct flight by a European carrier to Wuhan. The services
are three times weekly on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,
using the 309-seater Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.
Air France currently operates flights to Beijing, Shanghai,
Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
CONTEMPIO TEMPLE BAR & TEMPLE RESTAURANT
Few images deliver the flavour of ancient China more
powerfully than a temple. Bringing the combination of
history and charm into the 21st century is the goal of two
Beijing buzz generators - Contempio Temple Bar and Temple
Originally named the "Temple of One Thousand Buddhas" the
building is believed to have been built in the Yuan Dynasty
century). It was converted to a Taoist temple during the
Ming Dynasty (14th-17th century). After the fall of the Ming
Dynasty it became a refuge for eunuchs who were expelled
from the Forbidden City. After the Cultural Revolution the
site was turned into a factory.
Like Contempio, the Temple Restaurant is part of a much
larger complex housed in a renovated factory next to the
temple itself. The 600-year old temple complex is a
government protected heritage site with cultural relics
housed amongst the buildings. It is the centrepiece of the
3,500sqm compound, which also houses a boutique hotel and a
Contempio Temple Bar & Temple Restaurant serve contemporary
European cuisine and dishes, which are thoroughly 21st
century but also firmly rooted in the grand traditions of
the past. They are also committed to providing the highest
levels of service to the guests.
In creating the dining space, an Australian architectural
and design firm emphasised the clean, light filled and
thoroughly modern lines of what was once a television
factory producing the capital's first black and white TVs.
The months of November and December were very busy here in
Myanmar. The number of arrivals is steadily increasing, and we
are confident this trend will continue into the New Year. We
would like to thank all of you for your tremendous support for
us, as well as for tourism in Myanmar. Please rest assured that
in 2012 we will continue to provide you with outstanding
services at the most competitive prices available.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a happy
and prosperous New Year.
VISIT BY U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, HILLARY CLINTON
Hillary Clinton, the most senior U.S. official to visit
Myanmar in 50 years, presented her views on the progress in
Myanmar during her stay from November 30 to December 2,
Clinton also met up with Daw Aung San Su Ky (pictured left).
2012 MANAU FESTIVAL IN KACHIN STATE CANCELLED
The fighting in Kachin state has, unfortunately, intensified
and travelling in and around Myitkyina is suspended until
further notice. Due to this latest development the famous
Manau Festival, held annually on January 10, has been
cancelled for this year.
This does not affect the Bhamo
- Mandalay - upper Irrawaddy
cruise or travel to Putao. We wish to point out that this is
a very isolated incident and travelling to other parts of
the country is absolutely safe.
VIEW POINT ECO LODGE
- NYAUNG SHWE
Following the soft opening of the ViewPoint Eco-Lodge, the
hotel officially opened its doors on December 10,
The lodge sits on the edge of the canal leading to the
magnificent Inle Lake in the colourful southern Shan State
village of Nyaung Shwe. It consists of 20 luxurious Cottage
Suites, all built on pilings on the lake using traditional
eco-friendly construction techniques of the Shan people. All
suites include modern bathrooms and are equipped with
wireless internet, telephone, plasma TV, unlimited movies
and music. All are affordable without compromising on
comfort and the unique ambience of the lodge
The lodge has two restaurants and a rooftop bar with
splendid view of the rice fields and the surrounding
TRADERS HOTEL YANGON UNDER RENOVATION
Traders Hotel in Yangon will continue its renovation
throughout this year. The current phase ends in January,
which sees the 16th to 19th floors upgraded.
The second phase will start in April and will last at least
until September. Upgrading will be carried out on the 6th to
7th, 9th and 20th to 22nd floors, as well as the health
club, swimming pool and function rooms. The renovations will
be carried out during office hours and will not interrupt
the operation of the hotel.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
MARCH 4-7, 2012
VENUE: TAUNGGYI, SHAN STATE
This five-day ceremony ends on March 7. For this festival
thousands of Shan style thin, slender pagodas are compactly
built in geometrically pattern, turning the pagoda complex
into an extraordinary and unique sight.
Thousands of local tribal people from the surrounding
regions like Shan, Pa O, Palaung, Lishaw and Dano flock to
Taunggyi to take part in this annual festival and enjoy the
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
DREAM RESTAURANT KALAW OPENS
The Dream Restaurant Kalaw opened recently. Housed in an old
colonial building in the heart of town the restaurant serves
authentic local cuisine to both groups and individual
MRS. SU NANDA TUN PROMOTED
We are pleased to announce the promotion of Mrs. Su Nanda
Tun to reservation supervisor. We would like to congratulate
Su on her promotion and express our heartfelt thanks for her
tremendous contribution and commitment to the company. We
look forward to working with her for many more years to
MRS. THAZIN PHONE ZAW IS NEW EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
Mrs. Thazin Phone Zaw joined ATM as executive secretary on
November 1, 2011, and is the company's primary contact for
our clients. Her duties include answering the phone and
helping both our local and overseas partners with their
queries. She also handles all incoming emails and
distributes them accordingly. Thazin also supports the
Managing Director and General Manager in secretarial
MRS. MYINT MYINT KYI (GU GU) LEAVES ATM
After nearly five years with Asian Trails Myanmar as
reservation supervisor Mrs. Gu Gu is leaving Asian Trails to
pursue new career opportunities. We would like to thank Gu
Gu for her tremendous contribution, commitment and loyalty
over the past years, and wish her all the very best for the
ANY OTHER NEWS
GMTCO MEETING ON RESPONSIBLE TOURISM IN BAGAN
The first international tourism meeting was organised by the
Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) subcommittee, Greater Mekong
Tourism Cooperation Office (GMTCO), to discuss responsible
tourism in Myanmar. It was held in Bagan from November 26 to 29 and was attended
by over 100 tourism professionals, journalists and
government officials. It was also the official platform to
launch the Myanmar PATA Chapter
Photo shows Luzi. A. Matzig (right), Asian Trails CEO, and
Laurent Kuenzle, Asian Trails Group managing director, at
MMC GRAND BALL 2011
The Myanmar marketing committee (MMC) organised its grand
ball on October 29. 2011 with the theme, "Grease". It was
well attended by tourism industry people, as well as members
of embassies and related personnel. They enjoyed an evening
full of entertainment, good food, great music and lots of
laughers at the impressive Strand Ballroom.
Photo shows guests enjoying the MMC grand ball 2011
The New Year represents a new beginning and I'm pleased to say
that we're well prepared for the challenges ahead. We've set
new standards to further raise our level of service and we're
also preparing to shift to our new office at the end of January.
Reflecting on 2011, I'm happy to say that we've handled more
incentive and special interest groups than we ever did before,
and we shall endeavour to continue to come up with new exciting
ideas for this segment.
Moving forward, 2012 is "Visit Perak Year" and we at Asian
Trails Malaysia has lined up some very interesting products that
include the Ipoh Heritage Walk, as well as visits to the Belum
Chinese New Year falls on January 23 and as the celebration is
over 15 days, I urge visitors to Malaysia during this period to
check and visit one of the "Open House", which is a unique
Malaysia Truly Asia!
WOW EXPERIENCE FOR IBM ACHIEVERS
A small group of high-achievers from IBM was treated to a
VIP experience recently. The day started with a helicopter
tour for an overview of the Kuala Lumpur before proceeding
to Batu Caves where everyone was garlanded. They were then
taken to Genting Highlands for lunch at the The Olive, an
award-winning restaurant. The day ended with a visit to Sky
Bar at the Traders Hotel to enjoy the beautiful sunset with
view of the spectacular Petronas Twin Towers.
We're proud to have organised this event, and hope to plan
something more spectacular for the next group of high-achievers.
RM6M UPGRADE FOR RAINFOREST DISCOVERY CENTRE
Sabah's award-winning Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in
Sandakan is set to become better next year with additional
facilities, including an environmental education activity
The RM6.5mil (US$2.1mil) upgrading of the Sabah Forestry
Department-run RDC will also include an 80m extension of its
existing 147m-long treetop walkway. This upgrading will
further RDC's standing as a top environmental education
facility in Sabah.
Located some 24km from Sandakan town, the RDC is adjacent to
the internationally renowned Sepilok Orang Utan
BAKO NATIONAL PARK REOPENS TO OVERNIGHT VISITORS
Bako National Park, Sarawak's oldest national park that was
gazetted in 1957, has been re-opened to overnight visitors.
The park is located at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula,
about 37km from Kuching and covers an area of 2,722
hectares. It is one of the smallest national parks in the
state, but offers visitors an excellent introduction to
every type of vegetation found in Borneo and its interesting
IBIS TO DEBUT IN MALAYSIA
Accor will add 10 new properties to its current portfolio of
four in Malaysia by 2014, with the. majority under its Ibis
brand that is making its debut in the country.
The Ibis properties slated to open include the 500-key Ibis
Styles Fraser Business Park Kuala Lumpur (2012), 156-key
Ibis Styles Cheras (2012), 179-key Ibis Styles Johor Bahru
(2013), 165-key Ibis Styles Kota Kinabalu (2013), 108-key
Ibis Styles Lahad Datu (2013) and 118-key Ibis Styles Ipoh
CHANGE OF ROOM CATEGORY AT PARKROYAL SERVICED SUITES
The Parkroyal Serviced Suites has undergone some facelifts,
wih Studio Suites being converted to one-bedroom suite.
The room categories have been renamed as
follows with immediate effect
Suite - Studio Suite
Deluxe Suite - One-Bedroom Suite
One Bedroom Suite - One-Bedroom Premier Suite
Bedroom Superior Suite- Two- Bedroom Suite
Bedroom Deluxe Suite - Two Bedroom Premier Suite
REFURBISHED SUPERIOR ROOMS AT EQUATORIAL HOTEL
Equatorial Hotel Cameron Highlands has recently undergone
refurbishment of their Superior rooms. A total of 162 units
have been refitted with new carpets, wall painting and a
32inch LCD TV. The bathrooms have been up-sgraded with new
tiles, fitted with bidets and rain shower to replace the
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
JANUARY 15, 2012
VENUE: SRI MAHAMARIAMMAN TEMPLE, PENANG &
literally means "boiling over" and is celebrated by Hindus
to mark the harvesting of the bounteous crops in the fields.
The festival's highlight
is the cooking of sweet rice, known as Pongal, in a new
earthenware pot at the same place where puja is to be
performed. This Pongal, according to ritual, is allowed to
boil over and spill out of the potrice
till it overflows, symbolising wealth and harvest. The
festival is celebrated over four days.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
JANUARY 23-24, 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
Chinese New Year is a time for family reunion, feasting and
merry-making. Reunion dinners and open houses are an
integral part of the celebrations. Children and those who
are not married receive ang pow, red money packets, from the
elders. It is a custom for Chinese to spring clean or paint
their houses before the new year. On the eve family members
gather for reunion dinners. Many travel back to their
hometown or family homes for this special occasion. Lion and
dragon dance performances at shopping malls and homes
enhance the festive air!
FEDERAL TERRITORY DAY
FEBRUARY 1, 2012
VENUE: KUALA LUMPUR, PUTRAJAYA & LABUAN
Federal Territory Day is a public holiday is in Kuala
Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan. It is celebrated with
ceremonies, performances andfun activities.
CHAP GOH MEI
FEBRUARY 6 2012
VENUE: THROUGHOUT MALAYSIA
The Chinese New Year celebrations traditionally lasts for 15
days. The 15th day, or Chap Goh Meh, marks the end of the
Chinese New Year celebrations. Chinese celebrate with grand
dinners, while Buddhists mark the day with offerings and
prayers. Single girls throw tangerines into the sea in the
belief that they will bring them a good spouse, an age-old
practice carried on until today.
FEBRUARY 7, 2012
VENUE: SELANGOR (BATU CAVES), PENANG, MALACCA, JOHOR
A truly spectacular event, Thaipusam is an annual Hindu
festival where devotees perform various rituals as acts of
devotion and penance. Kuala Lumpur is the best place to
celebrate the festival as the deity's jewelled chariot is
led in a mass procession through the city's streets, ending
in Batu Caves. A memorable spectacle is the thousand of
devotees in a trance-like state carrying body- piercing
kavadis or ornate frames.
LE TOUR LE LANGKAWI
FEBRUARY 24-MARCH 4, 2012
DATARAN HELANG, PEKAN KUAH (THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY)
Asia's premier cycling event, Le Tour de Langkawi 2012, is
back! The race will go through seven states - Kelantan,
Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor
- and two Federal Territories namely Putrajaya and Kuala
BERJAYA AIR RESUMES SERVICES TO PANGKOR ISLAND
Berjaya Air resumed its services to Pangkor
Island on November 25, 2011, with three weekly flights
weekly via Subang Airport, Kuala Lumpur. The resumption of
the services is timely as 2012 is Visit Perak Year.
The airline currently operates with three 48-seater Dash 7
aircraft and two 72-seater ATR 72-500 aircraft, designed to
land on short runways, which the Pangkor airport has.
EMIRATES LAUNCHES A380 SERVICE TO MALAYSIA ON
Emirates' scheduled A380 service on the Dubai-Kuala Lumpur
route, launched on January 1, is the first such service to
Malaysia by any airline.
EK346 departs Dubai at 0405hrs and arrives in Kuala Lumpur
at 1455hrs on the same day. The return leg, EK347, departs
Kuala Lumpur at 1930hrs and arrives in Dubai at 2230hrs. The
flight arrives in Dubai at a convenient time, giving
passengers the option of onward connections to any of
Emirates' expanding list of over 100 European, Middle
Eastern, African or American destinations.
Yet another year has come to an end, and we are looking back to
a successful high season in Indonesia. While the arrivals last
November were still promising the European source markets,
however, showed a big drop in arrivals in the first half of
December. Fortunately the numbers are picking up again over the
The quiet time allows us to start preparations for next year's
high season. We also took the opportunity to send the Asian
Trails staff to different parts of Indonesia on educational
trips to ensure that our product knowledge is up to date. In the
past two months we have sent one staff to a Flores overland
trip, two to Sumatra and another two to West and Central Java.
Two managers went to Borneo to explore East Kalimantan and to
discover Indonesia's best place to sight the Orang Utans, as
well as to the Tanjung Putting National Park.
Read more on this
national park as it is featured in the "Asian Trails Product
Update" section below. You can contact us at
to receive detailed inspection reports with pictures of each
My team and I take this opportunity to thank you for all your
great support in 2011. We look forward to continue working with
you in 2012.
Your Asian Trails Indonesia Team
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
ORANG UTAN AND
Our exploration of the Tanjung
Puting National Park in Kalimantan started with the arrival
in a wooden boat. Then it was a walk through Kalimantan's
tropical rainforest for 15 minutes, enjoying the fresh
morning air and taking in the sights of the magnificent tall
trees and the lush vegetation. These are just the "entrée"
to the main spectacle as the best is yet to come.
We were on our way to see the
Orang Utan (or Pongo Pgyma) in their natural habitat. It was
feeding time when we arrived and the rangers made some
unique sounds to attract the Orang Utans to come to the
feeding platform. They slowly emerged from among the trees
to feed on bananas and milk. The mothers came with their
babies, and several more were spotted. The rangers advised
the visitors to keep as quiet as possible so as not to scare
the apes. The only sounds were the voices of the rangers,
the rustle of leaves as the apes swung from tree to tree and
the clicking of cameras.
The Orang Utans in Tanjung
Puting National Park live in the wilderness, and they seldom
venture out of their habitat. This is why only a few go
regularly to the feeding ground. During our visit to the two
feeding grounds we saw 20 to 25 Orang Utans. It was a rainy
day and we could have seen more if the weather was better.
The visit to the national park
was very interesting and educational. Apart from the Orang
Utans, there are Proboscis monkeys, macaques and monitor
lizards. You can even see crocodiles during the dry season.
Tanjung Puting National Park
is located in Central Kalimantan. Flights are available from
Jakarta, Surabaya, and Semarang. The pier is a 30-minute
drive away from the airport. The "klotok boat" used for the
tour is wooden boat with an engine. A two-hour ride takes
you to Rimba Lodge, the best accommodation available in the
national park. All visits to the national park are done by
LE MERIDIEN RETURNS TO BALI
Formerly announced to become Ristia Resort in Jimbaran, the
property will be rebranded as Le Méridien Bali-Jimbaran. It
will be under the management of Starwood and is scheduled to
open in mid-2012.
The new Le Méridien Bali will offer 123 suites, including 28
Aqua Suites, four rooftop villas - each with an Indonesian
style Bale Bengong outdoor lounge area and private
plunge pool, and four penthouse suites. Facilities will
include a three-storey restaurant and bar, a lagoon swimming
pool and sundeck accessible from ground floor guestrooms, a
spa and fitness centre and 200sqm of meeting space.
ANANTA LEGIAN HOTEL, AN OASIS OF SERENITY
Anana Legian Hotel has been designed to be an oasis of
serenity, pleasing to the eyes and with a calming ambiance.
Every little detail has been carefully considered,
presenting an elegant balancing act of artistic and pure
The four star hotel is just five minutes' walk from the
famous Legian Beach and is surrounded by restaurants, and
the shopping and entertainment centres. It offers 176 rooms
overlooking tropical gardens and pool, an excellent
restaurant and a rooftop bar.
FIRST CENTRA HOTEL IN BALI
Centara Hotels & Resorts, Thailand's largest operator of
hotels, has opened its first overseas property of its Centra
value brand in Bali.
Located in Seminyak, the hotel has 90 rooms comprising 53
deluxe studio rooms (42sqm-58sqm in area), 27 two-bedroom
studios (63sqm) and 10 three-bedroom studios (75sqm-105sqm).
Each room has its own spacious private balcony, while a
number of the two- and three-bedroom accommodations have
their own private pool. Facilities
include a restaurant, bar, fitness centre, swimming pool,
and body and foot massage rooms.
Centara Hotels and Resorts plans to open another two resorts
in Bali within this year.
LUXURIOUS AYANA RESIDENCES
AYANA Residences, scheduled to open this year, is located
next to the AYANA Resort and Spa Bali.
They consist of a limited number of luxury apartments and
villas and an appointed Club House. All accommodation units
are spacious and luxuriously appointed, featuring the
highest quality design, materials and craftsmanship
consistent with AYANA's world-class resort standards.
The Residences enjoy their own expansive Club House, called
Ashoka (meaning 'painless or without sorrow' in Sanskrit).
Located centrally within the Residences and looking out to
the ocean, the Club House features a porte-cochère lobby and
a dedicated Concierge Service exclusively catering to
Recreational facilities include two swimming pools, one
family pool and one lap pool, 10-seater cinema, a 5ha
landscaped gardens, state-of-the-art fitness centre, steam
and sauna, yoga area, juice bar, poolside relaxation lounge,
BBQ area, library, Jogging trails and pet grooming services.
GREEN GLOBE CERTIFICATION FOR MAYA UBUD
Globe has announced certification for the sustainable
management and operation of Maya Ubud Resort & Spa - Bali.
The certification cemented the resort's commitment to
conduct business in a more sustainable and responsible
Green Globe Certification is the worldwide sustainability
system based on internationally accepted criteria for
sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism
businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe
Certification is based in California, USA and is represented
in over 83 countries. Green Globe is the only certification
brand to be an affiliate member of the World Tourism
Organization (UNWTO) an agency of the United Nations, and is
partly owned by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
Pullman Jakarta Central Park, the second Pullman property in
Indonesia after Bali, has opened its doors. Designed in a
contemporary, urban art-style it is the first upscale
property in the West Jakarta area.
The hotel is currently operating 212 rooms out of its total
of 317. Facilities include a ballroom that can accommodate
5,000 pax; Collage, an all day restaurant; Bunka, a bar to
chill out; a two-storey lounge and café; swimming pool;
sunbathing terrace; fitness centre and spa; rooftop Sky
LION AIR ON AIRCRAFT
Lion Air, Indonesia's largest private airline, has
placed an order for 201 Boeing 737 MAXs aircraft and
29 Next Generation Boeing 737-900 ERs (extended
range) aircraft. The agreement also includes
purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes. The
order of 230 airplanes at an estimated US$21.7
billion is the largest commercial airplane order
ever in Boeing's history by both dollar volume and
total number of airplanes. The airline currently has
on order a total of 178 Next-Generation 737s.
AIRASIA INDONESIA ADDS
Air Asia Indonesia continues its expansion with the addition
of three new routes with daily flights. They are Bali -
Surabaya, Surabaya - Bandung and Semarang - Kuala Lumpur.
The airline also unveiled its
"green home" at Terminal 3at Soekarno Hatta International
Airport. The terminal, which formerly housed only domestic
flights, was officially opened for international flights on
November 17, 2011. All AirAsia's flights - both domestic and
international arrivals and departures - are now serviced
under one roof.
ASIAN TRAILS INDONESIA IN ROCK
'N RUN CHARITY EVENT
The annual Rock'N Run charity event, or
"11th Chapter", was
held on November 20, 2011. It marked the 11th consecutive
year that the charity event was held. Proceeds from the
event, which had participants running or biking five kilometres,
will be used to help children in need of harelip and cleft
palate surgery and bring a smile back to their faces.
Hard Rock Hotel Bali in partnership with Rotary Club
Seminyak Bali, an organisation committed to help and support
the island's needy, will assist to manage the funds raised.
Asian Trails was a key sponsor of the event.