Myanmar’s e-Visa

September 2nd, 2014

Myanmar aims for 5 million through its doors.

Beguiling Myanmar Beguiling Myanmar

Myanmar has this week introduced a new e-Visa service, designed to encourage more tourists to visit the country, as they aim to welcome 5 million visitors by 2015. The e-Visa is open to tourists from 41 countries, including the UK and USA, but only grants entry to the country at Yangon International Airport, making the method unsuitable for those crossing at land borders. The single-entry e-Visa costs $50, will be stamped on arrival (it must be stamped within 90 days of the approval letter being issued) and is valid for 28 days. Applicants need to supply a colour, passport-size photograph taken in the last three months and details of a return ticket. For anyone looking to visit Myanmar and its intriguing sites, the best time to visit is during the cool, dry season between November and February.

Ta Prohm’s trees

September 1st, 2014

Some trees at the Tomb Raider Temple of Ta Prohm at Angkor will soon disappear.

Tomb Raider Temple of Ta Prohm Tomb Raider Temple of Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm, loved by many for its overgrown feel as well as its links to Angelina Jolie and her Tomb Raider adventures, will lose four of its distinctive trees very soon after officials overseeing the Angkor park decided to remove them for safety reasons. Three of the cotton-silk trees intertwined with the ruins are already dead and rotting on the inside, and another larger tree growing on one of the temple’s walls and careening sideways over the structure is in a precarious state, and must come down. The safety of visitors to Ta Prohm is paramount and though the temple’s fame is built around it back to nature atmosphere, the authorities have to strike the right balance at the 12th Century temple.

The Koki Cruise

August 27th, 2014

Hanuman join the Koki Cruise in Phnom Penh.

The Koki Cruise The Koki Cruise

The Hanuman Sales Team enjoyed a sunset cruise at the weekend with the Koki Cruise company, a new venture started by local entrepreneur Tong Khiev. Koki’s traditional style wooden boat takes 25 people in comfort to explore the waterways surrounding Cambodia’s capital.  Drinks and tasty snacks are served by the friendly, welcoming Koki cruise team and the boat is available for private hire at very affordable prices. A sunset cruise is a great way to enjoy a different perspective of Phnom Penh and enjoy one of the city’s famous sunsets in a relaxed, comfortable and fun environment. Koki also takes passengers all the way up to Silk Island (Koh Dach) on full day trips and also offers fun fishing tours. Ask the Hanuman team for more details.

Timeless Laos

August 26th, 2014

Laos remains one of the most authentic locations in Asia. See it soon.

Young monks in Luang Prabang Young monks in Luang Prabang

According to Lonely Planet writer Nick Ray, Laos, long a forgotten backwater, combines some of the best elements of Southeast Asia in one bite-sized destination. If you want a guidebook that does the same, get a copy of the Lonely Planet guide to Laos, which came out earlier this year, and is filled with detailed information on what to see and enjoy in this charming and authentic country. Over 340 pages with great tips, maps, photographs and recommendations that will help make your visit so much more enjoyable. The LP Laos Top 10 is a listing of what you must not miss. Here it is:

1 – Luang Prabang. 2 – Si Phan Don. 3 – The Gibbon Experience. 4 – Vang Vieng. 5 – River Trips. 6 – Trekking & Homestays. 7 – Vieng Xai Caves. 8 – Bolaven Plateau. 9 – Tham Kong Lo. 10 – Vientiane.

So what makes Luang Prabang the No 1 attraction? Hemmed in by the Mekong and Khan rivers, this timeless city of temples is a travel editor’s dream: rich in royal history, saffron-clad monks, stunning river views, world-class French cuisine and the best boutique accommodation in Southeast Asia. Hire a bike and explore the tropical peninsula’s backstreets, take a cooking class, go on an elephant trek or just ease back with a restful massage at one of the many affordable spas. Prepare to adjust your timetable and stay a little longer than planned.

Charming Battambang

August 25th, 2014

Battambang, the real Cambodia, far from the jet-set destinations of Phnom Penh and SiemReap.

 

Unfurling along the banks of the Sangker River, Battambang is one of the country’s best-preserved colonial-era towns. Shophouses host everything from fair-trade cafes to bike excursions. Beyond the town lie the Cambodian countryside and a cluster of ancient temples – while they’re not exactly Angkor Wat, they do lack the crowds. And don’t forget the fun and thrill of a ride on the bamboo train. Battambang in a word? Charming. See for yourself with our Hanuman Travel TV video tour of Cambodia’s laid-back second city.

Water Festival is back

August 21st, 2014
Boat races draw in the crowds Boat races draw in the crowds

The Water Festival in Cambodia is to return to Phnom Penh this year for the first time since 2010, when a stampede on a bridge packed with revellers killed more than 350 people. Officials announced recently that the traditional event, which marks the end of the rainy season and the reversing course of the Tonle Sap, will be held over three days. 5, 6 and 7 November have been earmarked for the festival, which will be held in front of the capital’s Royal Palace. With its longboat races, colourful atmosphere and the presence of royalty, the Water Festival has long attracted packed crowds to the city, creating a shoulder-to-shoulder party that can number more than a million people. After the disaster of 2010, in 2011 the government cancelled the festival due to mass flooding. In 2012, the reason given was the death of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who died in October, just weeks before the event is usually held. Last year, flooding was again cited as the reason. A smaller version of the event is also held in Siem Reap.

Prek Toal floating village

August 21st, 2014

Prek Toal is the entry point to a majestic bird sanctuary and is a fascinating floating village in its own right.

 

Prek Toal is one of the most important floating villages on the Tonle Sap as it acts as the gateway to the stunning bird sanctuary of the same name, where a significant number of rare breeds gather in a small area. Prek Toal village itself is one of the Great Lakes’ most visited as it sits on the waterway between Siem Reap and Battambang. Take a look yourself with Hanuman Travel TV.

Afloat at Kompong Luong

August 20th, 2014

Life on the water at Kompong Luong in rural Cambodia is a world away from the frenetic streets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. See for yourself.

 

Everything in Kompong Luong floats on water – houses, cafes, shops, chicken coops, fish ponds, karaoke bars, you name it, even the local pagoda. This picturesque partly ethnic-Vietnamese floating village is located around 40km east of Pursat, and lies just off national highway 5 between Battambang and Phnom Penh. It’s one of the largest of the Tonle Sap lake floating villages and is much less visited than the ones closer to Siem Reap. Enjoy this video from Hanuman Travel TV and ask for more information from the Hanuman Sales Team if you want to visit Kompong Luong or any of the unique floating villages in Cambodia.

Running for charity

August 20th, 2014

Sinat and Sreymom stretch their legs around Angkor for charity.

Sreymom (2nd left) and Sinat (3rd left) at Angkor Sreymom (2nd left) and Sinat (3rd left) at Angkor

We managed to catch up with one of our fastest Sales Team members at Hanuman, Sinat, the moment she got back from a muscle-stretching weekend in Siem Reap, where she took the opportunity to satisfy one of her ambitions and take part in a charity run around the Angkor temples. It was the day of the first-ever Angkor Empire marathon and whilst Sinat decided against going the full distance, she did sign up for the 10km road run, with all proceeds going toward the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. Joining her, unofficially as she sent in her application a few days too late, was her colleague Sreymom, and whilst their times for the run won’t break any records, they were proud to be a part of such an enjoyable event, having spent many early evenings at Wat Botum park in the capital city, doing their limbering up exercises. A tip from a friendly French couple, to eat spaghetti the day before the race, seemed to do the trick said Sinat, and both she and Sreymom are now seriously considering putting their name down for the full marathon next time. They enjoyed it that much. They also filled the rest of their weekend with a sunset quad-bike ride in the rural countryside around Siem Reap, ziplined through the forest around the Angkor temples with the Flight of The Gibbon crew, as well as making a series of hotel calls for room and restaurant inspections. Their colleagues in the Sales Team were eager to welcome them back after such an active and fun-filled few days away from the office. Maybe they can persuade more colleagues to join them next time.

The Wild KK Project: A Walk on the Wild Side

August 19th, 2014

The remote Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia have long been considered the final frontier in ecotourism and the Wild KK Project goes deep into the heart of the beautiful Areng Valley.

Monks in the Areng Valley, Cambodia Monks in the Areng Valley, Cambodia

Started as part of a grassroots community-based initiative to save the Areng Valley from a planned dam, the Wild KK Project (www.wildkkproject.com) offers unique ecological tours in the Areng area. Trips can be individually tailored to include walking, kayaking, and mountain biking through lush forests, countryside villages and meandering rivers. The Areng Valley boasts incredible scenery, some shy wildlife, and a traditional village culture, adding up to a great place to get off-the-beaten-track.

Groups are small, tours take at least five days and the cost is all-inclusive. The Wild KK Project is linked to the Mother Nature (www.mothernature.pm) environmental pressure group.