Tourist arrivals to the Asian region
are on the increase. Many countries across the region are reporting sharp rises
in visitor arrivals for the first two months of 2011.
Asian Trails is happy to note that we
are at the receiving end of this robust rebound in travel. Our offices across
the region have reported positive growth in the number of tourists and MICE
visitors to their markets.To quote a few of our Managing
Roger Haumueller, Asian Trails Thailand: Last
year Thailand welcomed 15.84 million visitors. The
percentage of short- and medium-haul Asian tourists is
increasing, and contributed 61.26% of total arrivals.
Emir Cherif, Asian Trails Malaysia: January
and February were busy months for us and a good start to
the New Year.
Thomas Carnevale, Asian
Trails Myanmar: The past three months have been
quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The tourism
industry is prospering again, and we could call it a
boom, judging from the number of tourist arrivals.
Tien, Asian Trails Vietnam: The year 2011 also started well
for us. We have seen an increase in arrivals from overseas
in January and February, and the forecast for the remainder
of the year looks positive.
Philippe Conod, Asian
Trails Laos: We are very pleased to report that tourism
in Laos has gone back to a positive trend. The last
months of 2010 and the beginning of the present year are
continually improving and increasing our range of products
and services to meet with this increasing demand.
Tourism is on the rise again to
the Land of Smiles. Last year, Thailand welcomed 15.84 million
visitors. The percentage of short- and medium-haul Asian
tourists is increasing, and contributed 61.26% of total
arrivals. Fastest growing markets to Thailand are Russia, India
We also noted an increased
demand for MICE. Apart from the established MICE destinations of
Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai we see a growing demand for Krabi
and Ko Samui. With the increased number of luxury resorts, fine
dining restaurants and excursions to the surrounding islands and
marine park, Ko Samui is our hot tip for MICE. Please let us
know if you wish to have a proposal with new out-of-the-box
Roger Haumueller (pictured centre), Managing Director of
Asian Trails Thailand, presided over the merit-making
ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new office of
Asian Trails Samui on 17 February 2011.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
EXPLORE FOR THE DISCERNING TRAVELLERS
Asian Trails has launched the new concept EXPLORE a
series of out-of-the-ordinary tours, suitable for all
categories of travellers. both individuals and small groups.
This is a programme for people who do not want to experience
what everyone else is doing. It is for seekers of a truly
authentic and sustainable travel experience in the great
outdoors, of local customs and charming hospitality,
flavourful traditional cooking, stimulating art and
intriguing architecture. We list below some examples of the
EXPLORE: BANGKOK CANALS ROUTE
car to the River City boat landing for a boat trip to visit the
Chinese Shrine on the river bank near Wat Anongkharam. The
shrine was constructed more than 200 years ago during the
Thonburi period. The tour continues to the Queen Mother former
house, which is now a memorial museum to the late Queen Mother.
Next are visits to Wat Santa Cruz and the local village of Kudi
Chin, with a stop at a local bakery. Return to the boat and
journey continues to Wat Rakang, which has a unique triplex
scripture hall that is over 200 years, and was once the house of
King Rama I when he was Chao Praya Chakri. Visit other
historical sites in the temple. Drop off at Phatravadee Theatre,
with lunch at the Supatra River House Restaurant.
minibus southwards to start the bicycle exploration of the Mae
Klong Delta area at Damnoen Saduak floating market, the biggest
and most colourful in Thailand. The experience starts with a
long tail boat ride to a riverside temple, before continuing
through plantations of coconut and aloe vera and fruit orchards,
traversing quiet back roads and jeep trails. Stops are made to
visit temples and admire the scenic countryside. Typical Thai
lunch at a riverside restaurant on the banks of the Mae Klong
before cycling back to the starting point at the floating
market. Transfer back to hotels in Bangkok.
EXPLORE: AYUTHAYA HISTORICAL PARK: SEGWAY RIDE TOUR
This is an
alternative new and fantastic way to discover Ayuthaya,
Thailand's timeless city. The special one-day historical trip is
not to be missed as it takes you on exotic routes through
Ayuthaya province, a World Heritage Site, on a Segway PT., the
first self-balancing electrical personal transporter. Glide
through the scenic countryside including visits to Wat Yai
Chaimongkol, Wat Phra Sri Sanpet, Wat Thammikarat and Wat
Lokkayasutharam. This is an intimate, memorable and
Villa Resort & Spa Chiang Mai
is a new hotel, built in the traditional Lanna style. Historic
symbolism blends effortlessly with the innovative design at this
The 74 spacious and exquisitely appointed rooms and villas are
elegantly understated and designed in contemporary Lanna style
with private balconies, outdoor seating pavilions and private
roof top terraces. Essential elements of Lanna arts and culture
are incorporated in the architectural design and interiors of
this boutique hotel rooms. Each room type intertwines specific
references to the past with a modern twist. Hand-picked teak
furniture, traditional Thai oil paintings and classic ceramic
pottery contrast with the amenities and comforts of the most
luxuriously modern resort, including in-room WiFi Internet.
Novotel Bangkok Fenix Silom is
centrally located in historic Silom near the Sathorn business
district and sits conveniently close to the Sirat (FES)
Expressway, offering easy access to the airport.
Featuring 216 stylish rooms with
two modern premier floors, an excellent restaurant and a bar,
the hotel offers a comfortable stay for business and leisure
guests. Positioned adjacent to the Silom Village, Novotel
Bangkok Fenix is just minutes walk from the BTS station with the
Patpong entertainment area nearby.
Buri Rasa Samui is strategically
located and is a 15- minute drive from Samui airport. Although
secluded, it is conveniently situated within walking distance of
the main shopping, entertainment and nightlife attractions of
Be pampered and uplifted by the
ease of living in unpretentious informal luxury amid one of
natures masterpieces. Enjoy delicious food in a natural setting
overlooking a stunning white sand beach and endless pearlescent
sea. Rooms are a charming blend of traditional Thai style and
modern facilities. Romantically draped four-poster beds and
covered terraces add to the feeling of space and calm in your
own private sanctuary in paradise. All rooms are equipped with
telephone, television and hairdryer, and feature large
This is a 3-star boutique hotel
with 65 stylishly designed rooms. It is located about a 5-minute
walk from the sky train at Phayathai Station with two stops at
Siam Discovery, Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Center Point,
Pratunam Market and MBK shopping arcades. A variety of
entertainment and dining venues are also within walking
distance, making True Siam Hotel Bangkok suitable for both long
and short term stays. The hotel features a distinctive all-day
restaurant serving Asian and European cuisine in a contemporary
setting, and a beer garden with a chic setting that is ideal for
drinks and entertainment.
Inter-Continental Hua Hin Resort
is perfectly located on prime beach-front along Petchakasem
Road, and only 2 hours drive or a swift 35-minute flight from
Bangkok. The region is famous for its beaches, historical
attractions and golf courses. Thai royalty visits Hua Hin
frequently and is home of the Summer Palace.
The resort features 119 rooms,
three beach-front villas with private plunge pools and a range
of suites. Golfers will want to play a round at the one of the
area's spectacular courses, including The Royal Hua Hin Golf
Course, Thailand's first championship course, the challenging
Palm Hills Golf Resort and Country Club in nearby Cha-Am or the
Springfield Royal Country Club designed by Jack Nicklaus, which
offers serene valley views. Visit Chatchai night market for the
best bargains or go horseback riding near Hua Hin Beach.
agreement of Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket between Starwood
and the owning company will cease on 30 June
2011. The hotel will discontinue its affiliation with
Starwood Hotels & Resorts worldwide, Sheraton Overseas
Management Corporation and The Luxury Collection brand. It
will close for refurbishment from July until end November.
It will reopen in December 2011 under a new name - Angsana
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
PATTAYA INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL 2011
MARCH 2011: 18.00 HRS MIDNIGHT DAILY
VENUE: PATTAYA BEACH, PATTAYA CITY
Pattaya City International Music Festival features food,
floral floats, beauty contests, stalls selling local
delicacies and a spectacular fireworks display on the beach.
There are also free concerts, performed by local and
KING'S CUP ELEPHANT POLO TOURNAMENT 2011
VENUE: ANANTARA GOLDEN TRIANGLE RESORT, CHIANG RAI
popular King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament takes place from
March to April in the northernmost region of Thailand known
as the Golden Triangle. The first day of the event features
an opening parade and blessing ceremony to showcase the
culture of the Golden Triangle. Taking part in the parade
are northern traditional-style dancers, hill tribe villagers
in traditional costume, elephant spirit men (Khru Ba Yai)
and colourfully-decorated pachyderms. The parade marks the
kick-off of the week-long competition held on the banks of
the Ruak River, which divides Thailand from Burma.
tournament was launched by Anantara Resort in Hua Hin in
2001. During the first five years the event took place in
the Royal seaside town of Hua Hin. In 2006 it moved to the
Golden Triangle and was hosted by Anantara Resort Golden
The tournament is a charitable event, which raises money for
the benefit Thailand's elephants. These magnificent animals
are a key symbol of Thailands history, and nothing but
utmost respect is given to them. All proceeds are used for
their welfare, sustenance, employment, mahout training and
MIRACLE OF KHAO PHANOM RUNG - THE ASCENT OF KHAO
PHANOM RUNG, HOME OF THE GODS
ASTRO-ARCHAEOLOGICAL PHENOMENON AT PRASAT HIN KHAO
VENUE: PHANOM RUNG HISTORICAL PARK, CHALERMPHRAKIAT
DISTRICT, BURI RAM PROVINCE
In Hindu and
Buddhist cosmology mountains are believed to be homes to the
gods. Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung, a magnificent temple
sanctuary set on the summit of Phanom Rung Hill, was built
between the 10th and 13th centuries. According to the stone
inscriptions in Sanskrit and Khmer found at the site, the
original name of the temple complex is Phanom Rung, Khmer
for big mountain. A religious sanctuary dedicated to the
Hindu god, Shiva, Prasat Hin Khao Phanom Rung symbolises
Mount Kailasa, the heavenly abode of Shiva. Phanom Rung Hill
rises 350 metres above the surrounding plain.
SI SATCHANALAI ORDINATION PROCESSION
19 APRIL 2011
VENUE: SRISATCHANALAI DISTRICT, SUKHOTHAI PROVINCE
The Si Satchanalai ordination procession on elephant back is
a colourful traditional ceremony of the Tai Puan tribal
people who settled in Ban Haat Siao Village in Si
Satchanalai district. The tradition, which dates back some
150 years, features a spectacular procession of between 20
to 30 young Buddhist novices dressed in elaborate costumes.
Each novice rides on the back of a beautifully decorated
elephant as the procession makes its way to Wat Haat Siao
temple for the mass ordination ceremony. When the procession
arrives at Wat Haat Siao the Pho Thao (village elder) helps
the novices from their mounts and leads them to worship. The
event is held annually on 19 April.
POI SANG LONG
VENUE: WAT MUAI TAW, AMPHOE MUEANG (MAE HONG SON
PROVINCIAL CENTRE), MAE HONG SON PROVINCE
The Poi Sang
Long ceremony in Mae Hong Son is a Buddhist novice
ordination ceremony, but is unlike any other ceremony of its
type in Thailand. Young boys, aged between 7 and 14, are
ordained as novices so they can spend time studying Buddhist
doctrines. It is believed that by pursuing ordination for
their parents they gain merit. With deep reverence for the
Buddhist religion the local residents in Mae Hong Son
province are of the view that the celebrations should be as
grand as possible.
of this festival lie in Buddhist legend. It is believed that
the tradition follows in the footsteps of Prince Rahula,
Buddha's son, who gave up his worldly life to follow his
father's spiritual teachings. Prince Rahula became the
youngest ordained monk and the first novice in Buddhism.
Subsequently it became a tradition for young boys to be
ordained so they can undertake the study of Buddhist
colourful Poi Sang Long ceremony is unique to Mae Hong Son
province it attracts spectators from near and far.
SONGKRAN SPLENDOURS 2011 - THAI NEW YEAR
6-12 APRIL 2011
VENUE: THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
This is time when
time-honoured Buddhist customs and ancient Buddhist merit-making
traditions are carried out by Thais throughout the country.
They incude bathing ritual in which lustral water is
sprinkled over Buddha images and the building of sand stupas
decorated with colourful flags and flowers - seen at the
nine royal Buddhist temples on Rattanakosin Island.
There is also a procession of the highly revered Phra Puttha
Sihing Buddha image through the streets of Bangkok.Phra
Puttha Sihing Buddha is believed to be the spiritual
guardian protecting the local community from harm. The
procession presents an opportunity for local residents and
visitors of Buddhist faith to make merit. Scented lustral
water is poured over the image as a gesture of respect.
KRABI ROCK & FIRE INTERNATIONAL CONTEST 2011
VENUE: RAILAY BEACH & TON SAI BEACH, KRABI
Krabi province on
the west coast of Southern Thailand is home to some of the
worlds most spectacular coastlines. It has a unique karst
landscape with craggy limestone hills, jagged cliffs, steep
vertical limestone pillars and rock faces, and oddly-shaped
rock formations overlooking the emerald waters of the
Andaman Sea. It offers about 600 rock-climbing routes, which
present challenges to rock climbers of various levels of
skills and experience.
cliffs of Railay Beach and Ton Sai Beach attract rock
climbers from all over the world and have steadily gained
fame as one of the worlds premier rock-climbing
destination. It is thus the perfect venue for the Krabi Rock
and Fire International 2011. in April.
In addition to its natural beauty, Krabi also offers
excellent service infrastructure, making it a popular
destination for island, beach and adventure holidays.
We are very pleased
to report that tourism in Laos has gone back to a positive
trend. The last months of 2010 and the beginning of the present
year are very promising.
Thanks to an
increased hotel capacity, the partial renewal of Laos Airlines
fleet, and some very fast recovering markets tourism in Laos can
look at the future with confidence. The challenges will be to
control the evolution of the prices and the quality, and to try
to increase the number of qualified and good speaking language
guides, which it the weak point of our country
management and team will set priorities to reach these ambitious
in order to meet
the expectations of our partners
In this edition we
would like to share with you some product update from the south
of Laos, as a result of a very recent inspection trip
We wish you all a
successful year 2011
Philippe Conod & Bjorn
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
After a succesfull Zip Line activity close to Vientiane,
which we featured in a prior newsletter, Green Discovery
developed a very spectular jungle hotel that can only
reached by zip line. The surroundings are absolutely
stunning, taking advantage of the breathtaking Tad Fane
waterfall. A via ferrata, canopy walk, abseiling down the
waterfall and a overnight stay in your own tree house are
all included. There are two days and three days tours to
choose from. The company has built a total of six tree
Located just 7km outside of Pakse town, Ban Chompet is a small village in the
middle of nowhere
would not be of any interest for our clients if it was not the site of a just
finished immense Buddha statue, which can also been seen when landing at Pakse
airport. This village is famous for its Buddha statues and worth a visit to see
how the Buddhas are carved out of stone purely by hand
HERITAGE HOUSE LUANG PRABANG
This beautiful traditional Lao house is under renovation to
convert it to a museum under the patronage of the UNESCO
Commissio. Therefore, it will not be used for Baci ceremony anymore
LUANG PRABANG - new
Luang Say Residence
Residence is the latest addition to the top end
hotels and resorts in Luang Prabang.
Located just outside the towns centre this brand new hotel
has a lot of colonial charm and is very tastefully decorated
with much attention to details There are also
20 Pioneer Suites in five individual pavilions, which are
named after the regions French explorers. There are also
four Explorateur Suites set in the main Residence. The hotel
also has a large outdoor pool and a fully stocked stylish
Sisouk Residence is located right next to the famous Sinouk Café in the centre
of Pakse town. This renovated town house, where most of the 11 children of the
famous Sinouk family were born, is now a nice new boutique hotel very convenient
for FITs The hotel has 13 rooms decorated with a lot of wood and built in a traditional
style. Most of the rooms have a balcony overlooking to the nearby river
CHAMPASSAK KHONE ISLAND
Sala Don Khone
This boutique hotel, which has different room categories ranging from floating
rooms to a renovated French residence, has expanded. It now has six rooms in the
French residence (three new) and 11 Ban Lao Classic rooms (three new). The added room inventory gives more choice to the limited accommodation on
The sitting area at the river has also been enlarged and upgraded, together with
a small museum that houses the islands history.
SPECIAL PROMOTION SALANA
Promotion: Stay 3 nights, pay for 2
Validity: 1 May-31 October 2011
The brand new Salana Boutique Hotel, located right in the
heart of the capital
offers 36 beautifully decorated and furnished rooms and
large suites. Just off the main street and a few minutes
from Fountain Square, Salana offers perfect value for money
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
WAT PHOU FESTIVAL
We announced the Wat Phou Festival in the January newsletter edition of
TRAILBLAZER, but then did not have the chance to see it for ourselves. We just
did and we would like to share this special festival with you.
This year the festival was held for five days 14-18 February. It is held
annually to commemorate the listing of
Wat Phu in Champassak as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
The festival offers a very interesting mix of folk fair and religious ceremony.
The first four days did not attract many of our Western clients due to its very,
very loud music as local musicians competed with one another. However, the last
day that coincides with the full moon is a must-attend event especially for
people who stay in the south.
At one point in the evening all the fun and noise stopped.
All those present held a candle and incense in their hands,
which they carried up the hill to the central Wat Phou
temple. Buddhist monks chanted prayers, while local people
from all over the province knelt down and prayed. The whole
area is lit by 50,000 candles, which made it a very special
place to be in!
Lao Airlines fourth ATR73-500 made its debut at Vientianes Wattay
International Airport after a two night, three day flight from France where it
was manufactured. The new plane replaces an older ATR73-200.
Airlines now has eight aircraft four MA60 and four
ATR72-500 which fly on domestic and international routes
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
TIP OF THE MONTH
Nadao Restaurant in Pakse
Nadao Restaurant has filled the gap for a good French
restaurant in Pakse as it serves tasty French cuisine and
also good Lao food! Located right in the centre of town,
close to the Champassak Grand Hotel our clients now do not
have just to rely hotel food if they want to taste some good
French and local cuising.
dinner and train ride through Phnom Penh for AT Cambodias
Trails Cambodia organised a memorable evening during ASEAN
Tourism Forum in
January 2011 for its valued clients and partners.
A special train from the Royal Cambodian Railways (which is not
yet in operations) transported the guests for the 10-minute ride
from the maintenance area to Phnom Penh central Railways
Station. The latter was transformed for the occasion into a gala
dinner venue, complete with an amazing circus show from the NGO
Phare Ponleu Selpak and a unique performance from the dancers of
the Royal Ballet of Cambodia.
LOW WATER LEVEL AFFECTS SIEM REAP-BATTAMBANG
(RETURN) BOAT TRANSFERS
The Sangker River in Battambang and the rivers and canals
leading to the Tonle Sap Lake are currently experiencing
unusually low water level. As a result we have to offer an
alternative to our guests itinerary as proposed in our programmes, and also to those who are traveling by boat from
Siem Reap a Battambang or vice-versa. The journey may now
take up to between nine to 10 hours according to the
direction of travel and the difficulty of the navigation. It
may even take up to 11 hours with transfers to smaller flat
boats. Please note that even small boats are now
experiencing difficulties in navigation because of the very
low water level.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
SROK YEUNG ECOTOURISM SITE
is a community-based recreational area located at the foot
of Phnom Krom Mountain near the Tonle Sap Lake. Situated
only 20 minutes from the town's airport, visitors are
offered a unique opportunity to experience nature and
traditional rural lifestyle with the charm, elegance and
comfort of an international-standard hotel while helping to
diversify local livelihood and reduce poverty. With four
small lakes covering 26 hectares Srok Yeung
Ecotourism Site offers a wide range of activities - fishing,
boating, cycling and riding on ox or water buffalo-carts
(operated by local villagers). Future plans include a
football field, a mini-golf course, a cooking school and
luxury resort accommodation.
ALILA TO MANAGE THE SOTHEA IN SIEM REAP
The stylish all-suite resort will be rebranded as Alila Sothea,
and marks Alilas first foray into Cambodia. The resort is
renowned for its architecture, which blends contemporary design with details
that reflect Khmer traditions,
and its charming interiors and beautifully landscaped
environment. With its emphasis on intimate spaces and exquisite design The Sothea
makes a perfect addition to the Alila portfolio.
ANGKOR VILLAGE HOTEL CLOSES FOR RENOVATIONS
Angkor Village Hotel will close from 25 April to 15 October
2011 for an upgrading exercise, which will involve replacing
the six budget rooms with two new suites.
As the renovation work will be noisy and dusty the hotels
management has decided to close Angkor Village Hotel during
this period. The sister property, Angkor Village Resort &
Spa, will remain open as usual.
EXPLORERS HOUSE SIEM REAP
The Explorers House Siem Reap is a clean and modern artistic
decor boutique guesthouse, especially designed for
travellers who want a comfortable and friendly stay in
beautiful Siem Reap. Its air-conditioned rooms suit all
budgets. The Cafe serves Western and Asian cuisine, which
also caters to Halal visitors. There is a bright common area
to enjoy the peace and quietness of the area. Explorers
House is only a five-minute walk from all the action of the
Old Market and Pub Street.
BONG THOM HOMESTAY
Bong Thom Homestay is a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience -
you get to live in a Cambodian home and be part of the rural
Cambodian lifestyle. This Khmer-style house is located near a
community of Cambodian farmers in the Banteay Srey area, giving
you a glimpse into the ecotourism activities carried out there.
Vine Retreat is an ecologically conscientious guesthouse and
organic farm nestled at the foot of a small range of jungle
entrenched mountains called Phnom Voar. The
southern vista presents a panoramic sprawling view over an
idyllic rural countryside and the surrounding Kampot pepper
and tropical fruit plantations.
The guesthouse provides the
perfect atmosphere for visitors to relax and forget about
the rest of the world, whilst offering easy access to all of
Kep and Kampots attractions.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
KHMER NEW YEAR
1416 APRIL 201
Khmer New Year is one of the most important holidays and
major celebrations in the Cambodian culture and society. It
is based on the lunar calendar, and is celebrated for three
days in a row when Cambodian people welcomes in the Year of
This time of year also represents the end of the harvest
season. People spend time visiting family and friends, as
well as offer alms and donations to the Buddhist pagodas.
Please note that some local markets and businesses, and the
Royal Palace will be partly closed during throughout the
Khmer New Year celebrations.
VISAK BOCHEA DAY
26 APRIL 2011
referred to as Buddha's Birthday, the holiday actually
celebrates the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha.
The faithful visits pagoda, make offerings and engage in
charitable and reverent acts.
This is a colourful and busy day at the pagodas throughout
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TAX
The international Passenger Service Charge (PSC) is USD 25
per international adult passenger and USD 13 per
international child passenger for issued ticket on/after 21
January 2011 for travel period on/after 1 April
2011. The PSC is included in the price of the air ticket
with effect from these dates.
EXCESS LUGGAGE SERVICE AVAILABLE
Excess luggage service is now available at Phnom Penh
International Airport and in Siem Reap Town Office. World Angkor
Transport, a member of World Baggage Network, is offering a
personalised service for Excess Baggage and Personal Effects
Services. The companys website allows passengers to immediately
translate the estimated excess luggage weight into rates (in US
MYANMAR AIRWAYS LINKS YANGON WITH SIEM REAP-ANGKOR
On 23 February 2011
International (MIA) launched services linking Yangon
(Myanmar) with Siem Reap (Cambodia) using an Airbus A320
Flight 8M-401 departs Yangon at 09:00 and lands in Siem Reap
at 11:10. The return flight leaves Siem Reap at 12:10 and
lands in Yangon at 13:20. The flights are operated twice a
week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This schedule is valid
23 February 2011 to 26 March 2011 (winter schedule)
SKYWINGS ASIA AIRLINES OPERATES SEOUL/INCHEON-SIEM
Skywings Asia Airlines started charter flights between
Incheon in South Korea and Hanoi (return) from 18 February
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
Le Pistou is a genuine
French Provencal restaurant with its chef, Chris, hailing
from Marseilles in the South of France. He has introduced
the special flavours of the region to the restaurants
cuisine with garlic, olive, rosemary, thyme and other herbs
indigenous to Provence featuring in the cooking.
Le Pistous decor is very
pleasant with soothing colours, which evokes a typical sunny
home of Provence. Guests enjoy a pleasant warm French
welcome, fine cuisine at reasonable prices, and a large
choice of wines from Provence and the Cotes du Rhone
LA CABANE/LA CUISINE DANTONIN
in a quiet lane along Vat Prohm Roath Pagoda nearby Steung
Siem Reap River, the newly opened
offers a choice of simple
and tasty Khmer and French cuisine. Set menus are available
with affordable drinks from the Bar.
The restaurants decorations and colours are inspired by the
colours of the Buddhist flag. Antonin, the French chef from
southeast France, was previously in charge of the cuisine at
SBAEK-TOHCH PUPPET SHOW AT SANDANN HOUSE
An interesting performance
not to be missed is the 45-minute Sbaek-Tohch (small
puppet) performance by the young students of the one-class
room primary school of LEcole du Bayon located in the
compound of Angkor Thom. You may watch the performance in
the afternoon a morning visit to the school.
The puppet show is staged at a traditional Cambodian house
located in Sadann Village in the outskirt of Siem Reap. The
story relates the Life of Lord Buddha Siddharta Gautama.
After the show enjoy a sunset cocktail drink on the terrace,
before proceeding to a fine dinner either on the terrace or
in the garden illuminated with flicking torches and candles.
The show is a charitable event.
started its own New Year last month by celebrating its
traditional TET from 2 February to 7 February. 2011 is
designated as the Year of the Cat (whereas in China it is the
Year of the Rabbit). This years TET was one of the longest
ever with five public holidays.
We had a
very high number of clients travelling during this busy period.
All our operations went smoothly and our clients were able to
enjoy the unique experience of being able to see the Vietnamese
celebrating their TET.
2011 also started well for us. We have seen an increase in
arrivals from overseas in January and February, and the forecast
for the remainder of the year looks positive.
National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), the countrys
official tourism body, has also, for the first time, designated
tourism as an economic spearhead targeting a GDP contribution of
4.5% from the sector. Once it has been defined as a key sector,
tourism will hopefully receive its deserved attention from
policy-makers and given the respective growth opportunities.
officially targeting 5.3 million international arrivals and
30-31 million domestic tourists for 2011, generating revenue of
approximately USD5.65 billion. As a kick off for this
promising year Vietnam has officially launched its new
logo-symbol with the slogan, Vietnam - A Different
Orient, following the campaign of Vietnam-the
hidden charm. We hope we will not to be seen anymore as
hidden, but as a powerful player in the South East Asian
We at Asian
Trails Vietnam are ready to welcome your clients with new
products, tours and hotels. We take this opportunity to thank
you for your continuing support!
VIETNAM TOURISMS NEW LOGO-SYMBOL
January the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT)
held an award ceremony for the logo-symbol designing contest
for the National Tourism Promotion Programme over the
first prize went to the designing team of Cowan Vietnam
Company, which came up with a new logo-slogan Vietnam
a Different Orient.
According to the organising board the new logo was inspired
by the star in Vietnams national flag and shows the renewed
vitality of a newly emerging Vietnam with its unique
national identity. The slogan also reflects the uniqueness,
independence and new vision of Vietnam, which is one of
Asias most attractive tourist destinations.
The contest aims to promote Vietnams image and attract more
international visitors within the framework of the tourism
development programme from 2011-2015 and the tourism
development strategy from 2010-2020. In the 2010-2020 period
the tourism sector expects to raise the number of
international visitors by 10-15% and domestic visitors by
Tourism Joint Stock Company Vitours recently launched Heli-tourism
in the central city of Da Nang. This new service aims to
provide visitors with panoramic views of Vietnams
breath-taking landscape, such as the beautiful Cham Island,
Ly Son Island and My Son holy land from the air.
The Northern Aviation Service Company provides the 24-seater
MI 17, MI 172 helicopters, and the 12-seater EC 155 B1
helicopter for the tours.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
PARTICIPATE IN VOLUNTARY WORK WITH ASIAN TRAILS
2011 Asian Trails Vietnam planned, organised and executed a
special voluntary work programme for a big group from
Israel. The activities included the painting of the house of
Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Foundation (HCWF) in District
7. (HCWF is a local NGO, which helps to protect children in
difficult circumstances from HIV/AIDS.)
The group had
a great time painting the two-story house and giving it a
fresh and clean look. The children also participated by
preparing the respective templates for the special patterns.
The more artistic members of the group assisted the children
in drawing some special patterns like clouds, flowers and
sun. The volunteers and the children had a wonderful time
painting the house and enjoying the snacks and drinks.
This is a good
example of how voluntary work can help foster lively
interaction between the volunteers of such programmes and
the local community.
We at Asian Trails Vietnam are more than happy to help
organise such voluntary work programmes. Please contact our
MICE/special tours team to provide you with more
SAPA PETROL HOTELS EARTH-BREAKING CEREMONY
On 2 January 2011 Petrolimex
Sapa JSC held an earth-breaking ceremony for the
construction of Sapa Petrol Hotel in the town of Sapa.
The 4 star hotel will have 55 rooms on completion. It is
built on the same land of the ancient Hoang Lien Hotel.
Total area is 1,110sqm and will include four floors and a
basement. Total investment in the hotel
is estimated at VND 65.3 billion (USD 2.1 million).
FLAMINGO DAILA RESORT
Flamingo Daila Resort, located about 80 minutes from the
city centre and about an hour from Hanoi airport, has the
potential to be an ideal venue for MICE and special interest
groups when it is completed within this year.
The resort has luxury villas, meeting rooms and all the
necessary facilities to meet the demands of its guests. The
surroundings are beautiful with pine forests and the lake.
The green spaces can be used for team building and special
activities. An artificial beach by Dai Lai Lake has been
NEW PARADISE YACHTS
has just added new luxury vessels, Paradise Yacht I & II, to
keep up with the demand for upscale cruise on Halong Bay.
guarantees its clients an unforgettable experience on the
cruise with a flexible itinerary, which explores hidden
spots of Halong Bay. Enhancing this experience are a
personalised butler and a crew providing professional
The yachts are open for charters for a minimum of six
persons to a maximum eight persons, with extra beds
provided. Amenities on board include a cosy dining room and
bar, spacious sundeck and modern kitchen for those who are
passionate about cooking. With its sumptuous and comfortable
accommodation a cruise on these luxury yachts is both
enjoyable and relaxing.
DE LOPERA DELAYS OPENING TO
De LOpera Hotel, an Accor
hotel that was originally scheduled to open on 10 December
2010, has delayed its official opening to June 2011.
According to Accor, the delay is due to some details in the
rooms that do not reach Accor's standard.
hotel is part of Accors new product line, Mgallery, with
La Veranda in Phu Quoc as the first MGallery property in the
LOpera will feature 107 rooms with three restaurants and
bars. it is strategically located in Hoan Kiem district, the
downtown and commercial centre of Hanoi. It is set along a
street filled with Vietnamese fine art galleries and some of
Hanois main tourist attractions, with the Opera house just
around the corner.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information on
the hotel and its rates.
RENOVATIONS AT GRAND HOTEL SAIGON
Due to major
renovations and construction Grand hotel announced temporary
closure of all services in the New Wing from 1 March to 30
September 2011. Other services such as guestrooms in the
Ancient Wing, Chez-Nous Restaurant, swimming pool and the
poolside bar remain operational.
By the fourth
quarter of 2011 the hotel expects to have 233 rooms, which
will be a combination new and ancient French style, a grand
ballroom and F&B outlets to cater to big events and groups.
To guarantee the utmost satisfaction to our clients Asian
Trails recommends new bookings at Grand Hotel Saigon be made
only when it is fully renovated.
GINGER IN HALONG BAY UNDERGOING MAINTENANCE
carry out an intensive maintenance of its fleet and will
stop operating some of its vessels from 1-30 May
Ginger: From 1 May to 31 May 2011. It will be back to
normal operations on 1 June 2011.
Jasmine: From 1 July to 31 July 2011. It will be back to
normal operation on 1 August 2011.
Violet: From 13 September to 30 September 2011. It will be
back to normal operation on 1 October 2011
the top deluxe day boat, Halong Sunset, started
service on 10 February 2011.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
PERFUME PAGODA FESTIVAL
8 FEBRUARY 2011 END OF SPRING MONTHS
Vietnams biggest and longest annual festival, which starts
with the opening of Huong (Perfume) Pagoda on 8 February or
the 6th day of the first lunar month. The festival lasts
throughout the three spring months, welcoming more than one
million pilgrims and tourists each year.
Built in the late 17th century Huong Pagoda is located in My
Duc District, about 60km from downtown Hanoi, on a historic
site that has a large number of pagodas, temples and caverns
filled with spectacular stalactites. The Huong Tich Cavern
has the autograph of Lord Trinh Sam, dating back to 1770,
describing the cavern as the most beautiful cave in the
Sightseeing trips to the pagodas, temples and caves are the
main attractions during the festival, as well as ceremonies
to ask favours from Lord Buddha.
DIRECT DA NANG-HONG KONG CHARTERS
National flag carrier, Vietnam Airlines, and Hong Kongs
Vietlink International Travel Company have launched direct
charter flights linking Vietnams central city of Da Nang
and Hong Kong.
Using Vietnam Airlines
184-seat Airbus A321 aircraft the charters operate every
Tuesday and Friday from 26 November to 3 May. Flights from
Hong Kong to Da Nang take off at 19:20 and arrive at 20:00.
From Da Nang the flights take off at 15:30 and arrive in
Hong Kong at 18:15. Total flying time between the two cities
is one hour and forty minutes.
new service is expected to boost the development of tourism
in Da Nang and Hoian, as well as the rest of Vietnam.
RESTAURANTS & VENUES
BANG LANG RESTAURANTS NEW LOCATION
Bang Lang Restaurant in Hanoi has moved to a new location at
411 Au co road, Tay Ho district. The restaurant, now housed
in a colonial-styled building, has 220 seats for diners. Its
backyard is reserved for a water puppet stage, which can
serve up to 60 spectators. For group tours a private water
puppet show can be organised, followed by a Vietnamese
dinner at the restaurant
DANKESCHON HERR CLAUDIO F. KELLENBERGER,
Bloemendaal (pictured right) has been appointed General
Manager of Asian Trails Vietnam from 1 March 2011. He
succeeds Claudio F. Kellenberger (pictured left), who left
the company after more than two-and-a-half years to pursue
new career opportunities.
has 10 years experience in the tourism and travel industry
in the areas of operations, sales and marketing. In his last
employment he was in e-commerce, online marketing and
product development management. He studied Business and
Tourism Management at Saxion Academy in Holland and
completed his education with courses on economics and
finance. In his new role as General Manager Gerben is
responsible for overseeing all operational, service quality
control and product development activities of Asian Trails
We wish Gerben all the best and great success and
satisfaction in his new role. We also thank Claudio for his
service with Asian Trails Vietnam, and wish him success in
his future professional endeavours.
ANY OTHER NEWS
ASIAN TRAILS NEW DANANG OFFICE
office in Danang has relocated to a new building, about 50m
from the old office. The phone and fax numbers and email
Address: 18 Hoang Van Thu street, Hai Chau
China always appears in the news with big numbers, such as
Shanghai is planning to open the tallest hotel in the world,
or Beijing is going to have a new airport to absorb the tens of
millions passengers travelling to the capital city.
Asian Trails China is also happy to announce some big news. We
are expanding and moved to a new and bigger office on 1 March.
it is in the same building as the previous office - Scitech
Tower but is now on the 14th floor.
Our General Manager made a site inspection of Ningxia
Autonomous Region last year. Ningxias main cities are
Yinchuan (the capital) in the north, Zhongwei in the west
and Guyuan in the south. They are linked by excellent and
fairly empty expressways. Total distance from Yinchuan to
Lanzhou is more than 600 km, mostly along the mythical Jing
Zang Expressway linking Beijing to Lhasa across Inner
Mongolia, Ningxia, Gansu and Qinghai.
Kempinski has opened a hotel in Yinchuan in July 2010 and is
the first international 5-star property in the region. There
are expressways to link the different sites. The airport is
modern and has flights to key cities in China. The Yellow
River, the Great Wall and the mythical culture and
civilization of the Xi Xia Kingdom, which was literally
burnt down to the ground by Djenghis Khan in the 13th
century, are the key themes to attract visitors. Central to
this is the iconic image of the Royal Mausoleum of Xi Xia
Recommended are visits to the Ming Great Wall at Shuidonggou
(with a unique underground maze to hide troops) located near
the airport and Mount Sumeru Grottoes in the south on a
branch of the ancient Silk Road
Another theme is the Yellow River, which meanders through
the region and can be seen in different places, including
Shapotou where the desert meets the river. Unfortunately the
area has been overdeveloped commercially to meet the needs
of the domestic visitors.
Future developments may include expansion to the railway and
expressway system, which would make a combination of
Ningxia-Gansu a good option on the eastern Silk Road
In general, a two-night stay in Yinchuan in between visits
to Beijing and Xian, would be ideal for discerning
travellers who wish to experience something different. The
area has a predominantly Muslim population, so be prepared
to eat a lot of mutton!
We also explored the city of Xuzhou, located in the extreme
north of Jiangsu province on the border with Shandong. An
express train links Xuzhou with Beijing, a journey of
between five to six hours.
Liu Bang, first emperor of the Han Dynasty (206 BC220 AD),
was born in Xuzhou. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty
Xuzhou became part of the Kingdom of Chu, a principality
ruled by relatives of the royal Liu family. The tombs of the
royal rulers were recently excavated near Xuzhou.
After the Yellow River began to change course during the
Song Dynasty (9601279 AD), heavy silting at the Yellow
River estuary forced the river to channel its flow into the
lower Huai River tributary. The region became barren
thereafter due to persistent flooding, nutrient depletion
and salination of the once fertile soil.
The area was the site of the final critical battle in the
Chinese Civil War - the Huaihai Campaign in 1948-49. The
capitulation of Chiang Kai-shek at Xuzhou to Chinese
Communist forces eventually led to the fall of the then
Xuzhou has a great fengshui, with a large lake reminiscent
of the West Lake in Hangzhou, surrounded by many different
hills that give it a beautiful setting. The tombs of the
kings of Chu, as well as the Xuzhou History Museum, are well
worth a visit. One of the tombs has a small size terracotta
army (one of the three in China, together with Han Yangling
and Qin Shihuang Tombs in the Xian area), part of which is
known as the underwater terracotta army as it was
discovered on the bottom of a lake.
The best hotel here is the New Century Grand Hotel, a
resort-style hotel located on the lakeside. A stopover at
Xuzhou could be planned for guests travelling by train or
road (expressways) from Beijing to Nanjing, or from Xian to
CHANGE IN HOTEL MANAGEMENT
Two hotels have changed management from 1 January 2011
Beijing Courtyard Marriott (pictured left) has now
become Penta Hotel.
Beijing Holiday Inn Lido in now Metropark Lido.
WORLDS HIGHEST HOTEL
Shanghai Jinjiang International Hotels is planning to build
the world's highest hotel the Shanghai Tower J-Hotel. It
will occupy floors 84 to 110 of the 121-storey, 632-metre
high Shanghai Tower that is due to be completed in 2014
The Shanghai Tower J-Hotel will be higher than the Park
Hyatt in the 492-metre Shanghai World Financial Center and
the soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, which will occupy
floors 102 to 118 of the 490-metre high International
Commerce Center in Kowloon.
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai remains the world's tallest
building at 828 metres.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
On 17 February we celebrated the Lantern Festival
(Yuan Xiao Festival). This falls on the 15th day of the
first month of the Lunar year in the Chinese calendar. It
officially ends the Chinese New Year celebrations.
In ancient times the lanterns were fairly simple as only the
emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones. Today, however,
lanterns are embellished with many complex designs. For
example, lanterns are now often made in shapes of animals.
In some region and countries, this festival is also regarded
as the Chinese version of St. Valentine's Day, a day
celebrating love and affection between lovers of Chinese
tradition and culture.
On this day the Chinese eat a special delicacy, "yuan xiao
tang", which is rice flour balls filled with sesame in a
Asian Trails China welcomes four new members to its team in
March. They are Ms Michelle Hao (pictured top
Administrative/HR Supervisor, Mr. Robin Yin (pictured top
right) as IT Manager, Ms Socheata Sun (pictured
bottom right) as MICE Manager (formerly Manager of Asian
Trails Sanya office) and Ms Laura Yang (pictured bottom
left) as reservation clerk.
We wish them good luck in their new jobs.
ANY OTHER NEWS
WORK ON BEIJINGS NEW AIRPORT SET TO START
Construction of Beijings second airport is likely to start
this year. The new airport, with a planned capacity to
handle at least 60 million passengers a year, is expected to
shoulder part of the traffic pressure on Beijing Capital
The capitals current airport is the worlds second largest
in terms of passenger traffic, handling 73.9 million
passengers last year, almost reaching its planned capacity
of 76 million passengers by 2015.
According to an official comment, it is now impossible to
add even one more flight to the tight daily schedule of the
The new project will require an investment of 100 billion
Yuan (approximately USD 15 billion). It is said, not
officially, that the location of this new airport would be
in Daxing district in southern Beijing.
This is one of the
11 new airports that the China Civil Aviation plans to build
In 2010, 267 million passengers travelled by air, up 16%
from 2009. In 2011 the number is expected to increase to 300
On 1 March 2011 Asian Trails China moved to its new office.
The past three
months have been quite an exceptional time here in Myanmar. The
tourism industry is prospering again, and we could call it a
boom, judging from the number of tourist arrivals. The months of
January and February saw, for the first time in years, some
hotels being sold out, as well as fully-booked flights on the
main tourist circuits.
As a further boost
to the industry Myanmar Airlines International (MAI) has
announced the start of twice-weekly flights from Yangon to Siam
Reap. , Details of this new service is under the Airline
Information section of this country report.
We can truly
rejoice with this new upswing trend and hope that this trend
I take the
opportunity to thank all of you for your support and look
forward to meeting you at ITB in Berlin this month.
MYANMAR ELECTS NEW GOVERNMENT
On 31 January 2011 the newly-elected Maynmar government
adjurned for the first time. During the week-long session it
elected the state president and two vice presidents.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
MRAUK U HIDDEN TREASURE OF MYANMAR
U, the capital of the last unified Arakanese Kingdom, is our
choice for our regular destination inspection.
trip included a one-night stop in Sittwe, with the
opportunity to visit the busy fish market. The following day
we boarded our boat to Mrauk U. One of the trips
highlights, apart the magical atmosphere of the temples, was
the river journey to the border of the Chin State border. We
also visited two typical Chin villages, where some of the
famous tattooed women live.
Mrauk U Prices Resort is still the best choice for
accommodation and service in the area. It also serves as
excellent gateway to sightsee various places of interest,
either by jeep, bike or horse cart.
DAT TAW GYAINT WATERFALL RESORT PYIN OO LWIN
Gyaint Waterfall Resort, a new luxury hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin
(formerly known as Maymyo), recently had its soft opening.
The hotel consists of 18 teak furnished bungalows with a
private wooden bathtub on the terrace, offering a
spectacular views of Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall. With its
beautiful setting the resort is an ideal place for
honeymooners. Different sport activities, such as soft
trekking and biking tours, are available.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
WANING DAY OF TAGU13-16 pril 13 _ 16
VENUE: THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
A four-day festiva, ending 16 April, held on the eve of
Myanmar New Year to cleanse the evil deeds of the previous
year with water. Young people go out to enjoy themselves by
throwing water at each other, while the elders take shelter
in monasteries and
precincts of pagodas.
MAI LAUNCHES DiRECT YANGON- SIAM REAP FLIGHTS
MAI (Myanmar Airways International) launched two times
weekly direct Yangon-Siem Reap flights on 26 February. The
new services, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, shorten travel
time between the two cities. They will also make
multi-countries tours more attractive in the future.
8M 402 12.10-13.20
8M 401 09.00-11.10
ASIAN WINGS STARTS OPERATIONS
Wings, a new Yangon-based airline, has started operations to
major domestic airports in Myanmar. Its inaugural flight (8W
89) from Yangon airport took off on 28 January.
fleet of the all economy class airline consists of two
68-seater ATR72-500 aircraft. Both aircraft are insured via
Pana Harrison Pte Ltd Singapore and reinsured through
Asian Wings fills the gap left by the suspension of Yangon
Airways in December 2010.
SHWE ZIN LEAVES ASIAN TRAILS MYANMAR AFTER 11 YEARS
Zin, our Ticketing Supervisor, who has been with Asian
Trails Myanmar for 11 years left the company at the end of
February. She followed her husband, who has a new job
assignment in a town in upper Myanmar.
We thank Shwe Zin for her excellent and professional work
during her tenure with the company. We wish her all the best
in her future endeavours.
ANY OTHER NEWS
RV YANDABO - LUXURY MANDALAY- BAGAN DAY CRUISE
a pottery village, is the name chosen for the new luxury day
cruise boat on the Irrawady River. The wooden local style
boat has a capacity of up to 25 passengers and operates
downstream from Mandalay to Bagan on scheduled departures
every Tuesday and Friday. The boat also boosts a restaurant,
bar, sundeck as well as a small souvenir
APOLLO SCANDINAVIAS FIRST GROUP TO MYANMAR
welcomed the first Apollo Scandinavia group to Myanmar on 24
January. Our general manager, Mrs. Khin Myat Sandar, and
reservation staff greeted the participants on their arrival
in Yangon. They offered each guest a jasmine flower garland.
Visitors from Scandinavia to Myanmar have been on the rise
in the past few months. The increasing number of booking
requests confirms the positive travel trend from this market
MMC FUN RUN
(Myanmar Marketing Committee) Fun Run is designed to enhance
interaction between members of the industry and to raise
funds for forthcoming marketing activities.
The third edition of MMC Run took place in Kandawgyi Park on
29 January. Hundreds of participants from the hospitality
travel and tourism industry took part. The staff of Asian
Trails Myanmar has been participating in this run since its
inception, and every year they have great fun during the
The Chinese New Year
has just passed and it was my first experience and a real eye
opener on how it is celebrated in this part of the world. It is
fascinating how the different races can come together and
partake in this celebration where there is plenty of food and
drinks including the traditional tossing of raw fish salad for
good luck and prosperity.
Moving on, January
and February were busy months for us and a good start to the New
Department is up and running and I am pleased to say that we
have received our first bookings for FIT and Groups. We have
created some new packages and products for the Asian market and
believe that they will make a big impact in the very near
We have also focused
a lot more on MICE, and materialisation is good. We intend to
put more emphasis on this with new exciting products to showcase
In order to be more
proactive we have started our internal newsletter, which is sent
out whenever necessary to update our partners on a more regular
All in all, I had
the opportunity to understand the operations in Malaysia better
and I have shared with some of my colleagues over here, I feel
pretty much at home already in this wonderful country. I'm now
looking forward to ITB where I hope to catch up with many of our
agents and also to meet new ones.
I'm optimistic that
2011 will be an even better year.
Malaysia, Truly Asia!
TOP HONOURS FOR HARD ROCK HOTEL PENANG
Malaysias most rocking hotel, Hard Rock Hotel Penang, is
one of the trendiest according to globetrotters. The results
are in and Hard Rock Hotel Penang is proud to be honoured
the Top 10 Trendiest Hotel in Asia on TripAdvisor 2011
Travellers Choice Awards, ranked at
modern and stylish Hard Rock Hotel Penang at Batu Feringgh
is unlike other conventional beach resorts.
Since its opening just over one year ago the hotel has
successfully defined a new meaning to lifestyle resorts in
Penang, which embraces music, energy and its own unique
philosophy for the rocking soul.
At the entrance of the vibrant lobby every guest is welcomed
by the iconic Hard Rock logo created with chandelier-like
lightings, bringing a high level of energy to the main
This contemporary design is enhanced with a check-in counter
that features a reception bar concept. The hotel features a
modern structural design with a rockin edge, tricked up
interior designs enhanced with over 500 pieces of original
memorabilia from rock stars around the world.
Hard Rock Hotel Penang boasts 250 chic rooms and suites with
unprecedented views of the hill and sea. One of the most
popular room categories is the Lagoon Deluxe Room. Being the
first in Penang, the Lagoon Deluxe room is another
innovative creation where one can jump right into the pool
from the rooms deck!
The hotel also features a magnificent 26,000 sq ft free-form
swimming pool the largest swimming pool in Penang with
water slides and a sunken pool bar called The Shack. Other
facilities include the alfresco Pizzeria, Hard Rock Cafe,
Rock Spa, Body Rock, Lil Rock Kids Club and Teens Club.
RECLASSIFICATION OF ROOM TYPE AT MERITUS PELANGI
BEACH RESORT & SPA
Effective from 1 January 2011 Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort &
Spa has reclassified its room type as listed below:
Superior Garden view to Garden Terrace
Deluxe Lake view to Lakefront
Deluxe Pool view to Pool Terrace
Deluxe Sea facing change to Beachfront
NO SMOKING POLICY AT PARKROYAL PENANG
Parkroyal Penang Hotel has enforced a no-smoking policy in
the resort premise in line with local and international
regulations. All guestrooms are now non-smoking. However,
the resort provides two smoking terrace zones on each floor
for smokers. Guests staying in rooms with balcony are
requested to smoke only in that area.
WESTIN KUALA LUMPUR UNDERGOES MAINTENANCE WORK
The Westin Kuala Lumpur is conducting some necessary
maintenance work on its water pipes commencing January 2011.
The hotel is working closely with a consultant to ensure
that the project is seamless and there is minimal disruption
to all guests during the maintenance period. The work areas
are cordoned off from guests and the schedule has been
designed whereby any work with potential noise impact is
carried out during 12pm to 4pm daily. Work is expected to be
completed by May 31, 2011.
BERJAYA REDANG RESORT RENOVATION UPDATE
Resort officially reopened on 1 March 2011 after
successfully completing its first few phases of renovations.
The upgrading work sees a downsize of room accommodation to
keep up with the intimate, boutique-style ambience. The 155
suites and rooms are currently equipped with finer touch of
quality and services. The remaining 35 suites are currently
undergoing restoration, which includes some structural
works, electrical, plumbing, painting, decorating,
furnishing and fittings, with expected completion in
June/July 2011. The resort and its facilities operate as
normal during the renovation period.
The new concept of renovation at the resort reflects on its
family-friendly services, where all accommodation is
designed to allocate two persons per room with the exception
of certain room types to accommodate a baby cot for an
infant of up to two years of age. Families are also
encouraged to stay in family friendly interconnecting units
for the luxury of space and convenience.
With Berjaya Redang Resorts wide selections of rooms and
suites overlooking the lush garden, as well as ocean and bay
views, guests find solace in these serene surroundings. They
rooms are also equipped with must-have amenities such as
individually controlled air-conditioning, LCD TV and bath
with separate rain shower cubicle.
BERJAYA LANGKAWI RESORT - RENOVATION UPDATE
Langkawi Resort has successfully completed its first few
phases of renovation, with the introduction of new
Rainforest Chalet and Rainforest Studio rooms. These new
room category see a complete new concept with increased
space and comfort including new closet and cabinet space to
flat screen televisions on the wall, as well as changes in
colour, style and lighting.
The remaining renovation work will be carried out in phases.
The refurbishment includes site mobilisation, structural
works, plumbing and electrical, wall and floor finishes, and
furniture and fittings.
Due to the enormous size of the resort covering over 74
acres of land, the renovation work will be executed section
by section. Expected date of full completion is end May
SHANGRI-LAS RASA RIA RESORT UPGRADES
Shangri-La is embariking on
upgrading of its Garden Wing rooms from mid-March 2011 to
reflect Shangri-Las commitment to continuously provide
outstanding facilities to all its guests. While the rooms
are 14 years old and the last refurbishment was in 2004,
this enhancement programme is targeted to offer guests the
finest beach resort rooms available in Borneo.
upgrading exercise involves two phases :
will involve 71 of the 330 rooms of the Garden Wing at the
resort. The works are expected to start on 15 March and will
be completed by 30 June 2011. There will be some disturbance
in the initial stage, particularly between 15 to 30 March.
This will involve 259 rooms, the Lobby and Lobby Lounge.
Work will begin on 1 September until end February 2012. Like
Phase One there will be some disturbance in the initial
stage, particularly between 1 to 30 September.
There will be minimal impact to guests staying in the Ocean
Wing as this block of accommodation is separated from the
Garden Wing. The phasing of the upgrading has been planned
to minimize the disturbance to guests and no guest
accommodation in Garden Wing is directly adjacent to any
work being undertaken.
During this period Shangri-Las Rasa Ria Resort will
continue to operate as usual with uninterrupted service to
ensure guests comfort and convenience. The resort has given
its assurance that every effort will be made to reduce the
impact of this programme.
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
MIRI INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
12-15 MAY 2011
annual Miri International Jazz Festival will be held in four
venues instead of one this year. There is change not only in
the venues but also the name of the event itself. It will
now be known as Borneo Jazz.
This change is
to reflect the growing stature of the festival among leading
jazz festivals in the region. The word Borneo gives a
unique positioning of Sarawak among jazz music aficionados.
With this, comes a reimaging to reflect the vibrancy of the
festival and the destination.
Performers are slated to perform at venues including
Parkcity Everly Hotel and Miri Marriott Resort & Spa from
12-15 May. Please contact us for bookings or for more
NATIONAL CRAFT DAY 2011
23 FEBRUARY -7 MARCH 2011
KUALA LUMPUR CRAFT COMPLEX
Craftsmen from all around Malaysia participate in this
event, which aims to promote and market crafts and products
directly to domestic and international consumers. Activities
include craft sales, exhibitions, sales missions, fashion
shows, cooking demonstrations and many more.
WATCH WEEK 2011
12 -13 MARCH 2011
TANJUNG TUAN, PORT DICKSON
Bird watching enthusiasts can delight in spotting hundreds
of migratory raptors flying across the Straits of Malacca on
their annual journey back to the northern hemisphere. Tanjung Tuan is an excellent venue to catch this natural
MALAYSIA GP SALE
15 MARCH-15 APRIL 2011
Fantastic bargains and discounts await shoppers in this
nation-wide sale carnival. Held to complement the
Malaysian F1 Grand Prix,
the hottest race in the country, the sale has unbeatable
offers and sizzling hot deals on everything from fashion,
electronics, accessories and much more.
GENDANG NUSANTARA FESTIVAL
SQUARE, AYER KEROH
A must see event, which showcases a variety of percussion
and drum music from all over the world.
SQUID JIGGING FIESTA
APRIL 2011-JULY 2011
The South China Sea is teeming with squids and the methods
of jigging have remained the same for generations. What used
to be a source of income has now becoming a popular
recreational activity for all people of all ages.
MALAYSIA INTERNATIONAL SHOE FESTIVAL
7-10 APRIL 2011
PUTRA WORLD TRADE CENTRE (PWTC)
From glamorous stilettos to stylish sandals, classic pumps
and trendy boots, the festival takes visitors on a
fascinating journey into the world of designer footwear.
MALAYSIA WATER FESTIVAL (FISHING CARNIVAL) -
LANGKAWI WATER FESTIVAL
8-10 APRIL 2011
VENUE : LANGKAWI
Cool the tropical heat with some water sports. Enjoy jet ski
races, parasailing, kayaking, yachting, boat rides, fishing
and other fantastic activities.
PETRONAS MALAYSIAN F1 GRAND PRIX
8-10 APRIL 2011
Catch the blazing action at one of the most challenging
tracks in the world. With its extreme hot and wet
conditions, the Sepang International Circuit tests the
skills of the worlds finest racers to the limit. Be there
to witness the action, live!
MALAYSIA WATER FESTIVAL (FISHING CARNIVAL) - LABUAN
INTERNATIONAL SEA CHALLENGE (LSC)
22-24 APRIL 2011
VENUE : LABUAN
Cool the tropical heat with some water sports. Enjoy jet ski
races, parasailing, kayaking, yachting, boat rides, fishing
and other fantastic activities.
22-24 APRIL 2011
Regatta Lepa is a water festival first held in 1994 to
commemorate the tradition of building the Lepa-Lepa - a boat
used by the Bajau people (sea gypsies). The Lepa is a
cultural legacy inherited by the Bajau from many generations
ago, and is believed to originate from the Bajau fishing
12TH SABAH ADVENTURE CHALLENGE
22-24 APRIL 2011
VENUE : SABAH
Witness gutsy participants from all across the globe take on
the challenge of the oldest established multi-day adventure
race in Asia. The gruelling three-day event will assess
teams in multiple challenges such as bamboo rafting, tyre
tubing, mountain biking and trail hiking as they race across
120 kilometres in the highlands of Sabah. The race will also
test contenders in skills like using a topographic map,
repairing a broken-down bicycle and changing a flat tyre.
This is the true test of the endurance of the human mind,
body and spirit!
SABAH FEST - A CULTURAL EXTRAVAGANZA
30 APRIL-1 MAY 2011
VENUE: KOTA KINABALU, SABAH
Sabah Fest is the states most anticipated cultural event
where its ethnic groups display a rich and colourful
kaleidoscope of culture and traditions. The fest is the
prelude to the state-wide celebration of Harvest Festival, a
unique assembly of Sabahs colourful culture presented
through dance, music, fashion and food, which is a must-see.
FIREFLYS INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM KLIA
Boeing B737-800 aircraft will commence services to South
East Asian destinations out of the KL International Airport
(KLIA) in the third quarter of 2012.
which has been operating with ATR 72-500 turboprops out of
Subang Airport, recently launched its twice-daily flights
from KLIA to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and Kuching in Sarawak.
The frequency will increase to thrice daily for Kota
Kinabalu and four times daily for Kuching in the coming
size will increase to 13 B737-800 aircraft by 2012, up from
the current two now, and will increase to 50 by 2015.
AIRASIA Xs KL-PARIS SERVICE EASES SEAT CRUNCH
launched four-weekly direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and
Paris, on 14 February. Malaysian inbound tour operators
hailed the new service as a huge opportunity to cater to an
Malaysia Airlines also has services between Kuala Lumpur and
Paris. The additional 1,308 seats weekly, provided by
AirAsia X, will ease the supply crunch during peak travel
periods such as the European summer and winter season.
AIRASIA XS DISCOUNTED PREMIUM CLASS OPTION
has partnered Boston-based Optiontown to give passengers an
opportunity to fly business class at a far lower fare.
The service, called Upgrade Travel Option, is available on
all AirAsia X longhaul flights out of its Kuala Lumpur hub.
The opportunity for upgrade to a premium class seat is
calculated based on factors including seat availability,
passenger profile and previous upgrades acquired through the
service. It creates a win-win situation for all parties,
as it allows partner airlines to sell all their business and
first class seats, provides travel agents an opportunity to
offer value-added service to passengers, and gives
passengers the chance to fly business class at as much as 75
per cent discount. To qualify for a possible seat upgrade,
passengers need to register at Optiontown's website and pay
a one-time fee, which will fluctuate according to demand.
AIR MAURITIUS ADDS SHANGHAI VIA KUALA LUMPUR
plans to use Malaysia as its hub of operations for future
expansion plans in North Asia and South-east Asia.
newest is the Mauritius-Kuala Lumpur-Shanghai service, which
will commence on 1 July. The once-weekly flight uses the
Airbus A330-200 aircraft, which has 24 business-class seats
and 251 economy class seats.
Air Mauritius currently operates twice-weekly services to
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and thrice-weekly services to
Hong Kong. Shanghai will be the airlines fourth destination
ANY OTHER NEWS
LEGEND OF THE SEAS
ADDS MALACCA TO ITINERARY
Caribbean Internationals Legend of the Seas added
Malacca to her array of Asian destinations, with a maiden
call to the city on 9 January.
The ships shore excursions in Malacca included shopping
tours, tours to a palm oil and rubber tree plantation, and a
city tour of the Dutch Square, St. Pauls Church and A'Famosa where one can learn about Malaccas Dutch and
Portuguese colonial past.
Two months have already passed since the peak season, when Bali
especially experienced a massive wave of tourists arriving from
all parts of the world during the festive season. It has been
quieter since then for us, which allows us to finalise some
pending projects. Our team also uses this period to prepare for
another busy and bustling high season, which will kick off in
early May and will last until November. New guides are currently
recruited, new hotels inspected and also new product ideas
One of our projects is to purchase two brand new eight-seater
minibuses for transfers and round trips in Bali. Additionally,
our Yogjakarta office will move to a new and more convenient
location, and we will add one more staff to the existing team.
We are also working in cooperation with a Bali-based recycling
company to recycle all the water bottles we give to our clients
in a move to reduce negative impact to the islands environment.
Language courses are also conducted for our staff. Our
reservations team is exploring Indonesia on educational trips to
improve their knowledge. More details on our products and our
projects are in the reports below.
ASIAN TRAILS PRODUCT UPDATE
With the addition of the first real VIP cruise, Asian Trails
Bali may now tempt you to charter the yacht, Merry Makin,
for your own private cruise.
Built in the renowned yard of Grand Harbour Rudy in Taiwan the
boat is outfitted with twin 1,000HP Mercedes M.T.U. diesel
engines. The boat has a crew with the experience to match the
pedigree of the vessel. The French captain has logged countless
miles on the oceans of the world and her Indonesian executive
chef and chief steward started their careers in some of the most
prestigious hotels in this country. There are two marine
engineers who make sure that all systems run like clockwork and
are maintained in peak condition.
For half or full day charters 'Merry Makin can take up to
20 passengers. There are three staterooms complete with own
bathrooms on board, so the vessel comfortably carries six
passengers on extended overnight voyages covering several days.
Tailor made programmes can be arranged. For more information
The schooner, Atasita, was designed to be the most
attractive Indonesian phinisi schooner afloat with just
one specific purpose - to explore the very best of the
underwater treasures of Indonesia.
Launched in 2007 Atasita was handcrafted by
experienced Indonesian shipwrights from the best available
hardwood from keel to topmasts. The epitome of traditional
beauty, Atasita offers five well-appointed staterooms
on a raised cabin deck. All are fully air-conditioned and
have an ensuite bathroom. What sets this shipboard
accommodation apart from most other traditional schooners is
these cabins do not just have portholes, but all have full
size windows (with marine grade glass), which offer a
panoramic view of the ocean and the scenery outside. All
cabins have large cupboards, ample storage space and a mini
safe. Atasita unabashedly caters to the luxurious top
end of the international leisure market.
BALI HAI CRUISES NEW PONTOON
Bali Hai Cruises have installed a new pontoon in Lembongan
Bay at Nusa Penida. Reef Cruise guests use the new pontoon
to enjoy a variety of water-sports, including snorkeling and
The pontoon consists of a main deck, sun deck and built-in
underwater observatory. It also has a shaded, comfortable
area with access points for snorkeling, diving and banana
boat rides. Six self-enclosed changing rooms with fresh
water showers allow guest to change and freshen up before
joining the late afternoon cruise back to Bali. Two toilet
facilities are connected to an eco-friendly waste water
treatment plant reflecting Bali Hai's corporate commitment
to sustainable tourism.
The most interesting feature is the 35-metre water slide,
which allows guests to descend from the top of the pontoon
into the clear blue sea. Guests can also practice flips off
a fixed diving board. Another interesting feature is the
scuba access through the centre of the pontoon for ease of
entry into the rich coral depths that surround Lembongan
W-HOTEL WAOWS BALI
We are very happy to share the news that W Retreat & Spa
Bali - Seminyak is ready to
rock & roll
the island! The hotel is now ready to receive bookings,
starting for the period of stay from 15 April 2011 onwards
for all Retreat categories.
W Retreat & Spa Bali-Seminyak is a new found wonderland
along the shores of Seminyak - the pulse of trends, chic
restaurants, clubs, fashion and art. The place where MAGIC
Dive into surreal fantasy with the latest playground on this
captivating Island of the Gods. The Ws Whatever/Whenever
Team is looking forward to Ice you and your clients minds
with W Bali Whimsical experience!
ANANTARA BALI ULUWATU
Anantara Bali Uluwatu, located in southwest of Uluwatu, is
set to welcome guests from June 2011. It is a complex resort
with the combination of suites, villas and penthouses -
perfect for all segment markets, be it FITs, honeymooner,
families, meetings and incentives or weddings. Support
facilities include the wedding chapel, meeting rooms,
children facilities, spa and swimming pool with a specious
room collection consist of 74 sea view suites, private pool
villas and duplex penthouses. Room dimensions range from 84
square metres for the smallest condos to 350 square metres
for villas. The four-storey ocean view condominium building
offers one-bedroom suites, while the villas comprise two- or
three-bedrooms, and all include private pools of
approximately 3 x 12 metres long.
TOUCH DOWN AT KURA KURA RESORT
The Kura Kura Resort, off the northern coast of Java, will
begin daily flights from Semarang to Kura Kura Resort and
vice versa with guaranteed departures.
The new service will be available from
1 May until 31 October 2011.
The island resort also announces it will maintain operations
during winter, starting 1 November 2011 until 31 April 2012.
During this period it will operate only a limited number of
rooms - three pool villas and two cottages, until further
notice. Services during the winter month will remain the
same as during the high season.
NEW ROOMS AND ADVENTURE WATER PARK
Hard Rock Hotel announces its brand new refurbished rooms,
which feature a fresh modern look. The rooms are now
re-equipped with new rock mattresses, pillows, duvets, bed
sheets, flat screen TV, iPod docking station and hifi system
with CD player.
The hotel has also launched the Adventure Water Park with
two water slides, ready for children to plunge into the
biggest pool in Bali. Along with the water play ground the
children are in for a stay filled with splashes at Hard Rock
FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
UBUD WRITERS AND READERS FESTIVAL
5-8 OCTOBER 2011
The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival is set to begin in
Ubud on the 5 October and will last for four days. Held for
the seventh time,
years theme is Cultivate the Land Within. This is taken
from the epic poem Gaguritan Salampah Laku by
Balinese artists Ida Pedanda Made Sideman. Considered one of
Bali's greatest Kawi-Wiku, poet-priest, Ida Pedanda Made
Sidemen penned numerous significant literary works,
officiated at religious ceremonies and was an acknowledged
expert on traditional architecture. He died in 1984 at the
age of 126!
Indonesian low-cost carrier Mandala Airlines suspended all
flight operations from mid-January. It revealed debts of
IDR800 billion (US$87 million). The Jakarta-based carrier
operated international services to Singapore, Hong Kong and
Macau, as well as numerous domestic routes. The airline has
grounded all flights until it is able to restructure its
debts or have interested buyers.
Following the success of previous inspection trips Asian Trails
once again sent six of its staff for a five-days Java
inspection. Focusing on the Yogyakarta-Bali overland route the
trip started out with two full days in Yogyakarta, the cultural
heart of Java, Yogyakarta. On the inspection itinerary were some
of the most renowned sights in and around the city, such as
Borobodur, Prambanan and Sultan Palace. They also visited new
attractions that included Taman Sari Water Castle and the Monggo
chocolate factory. The group also enjoyed the famous Java coffee
at selected authentic Java cafes.
Leaving the cultural heart the group boarded a train for the
seven-hour journey to Surabaya. enjoying amazing landscapes and
scenes of local villages along the way. In Surabaya the group
visited the ancient Majapahit Hotel, followed by the Sampoerna
house that displays the Kretek Cigarette, the Indonesian
version of Marlboro. A four- hour drive took the group to Tosari
Village on the slopes of Mount Bromo. Early next morning it was
a trip up to Mount Bromos crater to watch the sunrise at
Last stop of the trip was Ijen National Park and the crater of
the 2,883 metre high volcano. The trek up to the crater is 3.2
kilometers long. The trek is also used by sulphur miners caring
loads of up to 100 kg of sulphur mined at the edge of the
turquoise crater lake. The view is stunning and well worth the
2.5 hours trek. From Ijen the group returned to south Bali
For tailor-made programmes and quotations please contact our
Asian Trails, in cooperation with Alliance Francaise,
conducts its first French class with 10 students. The first
class started early in the morning on 8 February.
The course is held twice a week with focus on verbal
training in connection with tourism related topics. Once the
participants are familiar with the conversational level,
they will move on to simple reading and writing. The course
is to help both the staff and guides to gain knowledge of
the French language and further develop their skill in
serving clients and agencies better.