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.

No 1 Best-Selling Guide to Cambodia

August 18th, 2014

The latest Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia has just been published. Read on.

Fish amok - Cambodia's national dish

Fish amok – Cambodia’s national dish

Despite having the eighth wonder of the world in its backyard, Cambodia’s real treasure is its people, says the introduction to the brand new Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia, that hit bookshops this month. Hanuman agrees. Siem Reap and Phnom Penh may be the heavyweights, but to some extent they are a bubble, a world away from the Cambodia of the countryside, it continues. Well you can see for yourself by getting a copy, whether its the print edition or online. There are 370 pages of great tips, maps, photos and recommendations that will enhance your visit to Cambodia and here is LP’s Top 10 of what you must not miss:

1 – Siem Reap & Temples of Angkor. 2 – Phnom Penh. 3 – Sihanoukville. 4 – Battambang. 5 – Kampot & Kep. 6 – Mondulkiri. 7 – Ratanakiri. 8 – Kratie. 9 – Prasat Preah Vihear. 10 – Khmer Cuisine.

It’s obvious why Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples made it to the top spot. LP confirms why:  One of the world’s most magnificent sights, the temples of Angkor are so much better than the superlatives. Choose from Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building: Bayon, one of the world’s weirdest, with its immense stone faces: or Ta Prohm, where nature runs amok. Buzzing Siem Reap, with a superb selection of restaurants and bars, is the base for temple exploration. Beyond lie floating villages on the Tonle Sap lake, adrenalin-fuelled activities like quad biking and ziplining, and such cultured pursuits as cooking classes and birdwatching.

Khmer cuisine made it into the Top 10 so its worth hearing why LP included it: Everyone has tried Thai and Vietnamese specialities before they hit the region, but Khmer cuisine remains under the culinary radar. Amok (baked fish with lemongrass, chilli and coconut) is the national dish, but sumptuous seafood and fresh-fish dishes are plentiful, including Kep crab infused with Kampot pepper. It wouldn’t be Asia without street snacks and Cambodia delivers everything from noodles (mee) and congee (bobor; rice porridge) to deep-fried tarantulas and roasted crickets. With subtle spices and delicate herbs , Cambodian food is an unexpected epicurean experience.

Work experience

August 12th, 2014

Hanuman will be working closely with UK-charity Golden Futures to offer an insight into what we do, for two young Cambodians next week. The two teenage girls, Lay Lily and Sorn Sreychom, will spend the week with Hanuman getting to see what life is like in an office environment and whether working in the tourism industry is a possible future career path for them. They are both living at a children’s center in Phnom Penh, called New Future for Children and their time with Hanuman is part of the life skills educational training they receive at the center. We were only too happy to help when Golden Futures contacted us.

Lily is just fifteen years old and has been at New Future since she was three years old. She’s keen on coming to Hanuman to see what its like. “I’m friendly and hardworking and responsible and I like working with people. I’m interested in history and English. I’m interested in the tourism industry and I would like to have some work experience because it will show me what the job is like and whether I enjoy it. Hanuman Travel has been established for a long time, has a good reputation and involves local people, ” said Lily. We are looking forward to having her with us.

Her New Futures colleague, Sorn Sreychom, is already 18 years old and has her sights set on becoming a tour guide. “I love history and English and I think I would enjoy being a tour guide because it would give me the opportunity to improve my English, talk to different types of people and have a good relationship with them. Working at Hanuman will help me find out if I am suited to this work, as my future career. I’ve been at NFC since I was seven and they have given me an education, a place to live, friends and family.” Both girls have a great attitude and will be made very welcome.

On dry land and the waterways

August 6th, 2014

Phnom Penh’s first capsule hotel opens. And take the opportunity to enjoy the Mekong waterways in style.

A deluxe room at the Tama Hotel

A deluxe room at the Tama Hotel

The Tama Hotel is perched on the 22nd floor of the Phnom Penh tower, an addition to the already existing chic D22 Restaurant, which serves French-Italian cuisine. The hotel – also known as H22 – is Phnom Penh’s first ever capsule hotel. Hotel guests can squeeze themselves into narrow bunks, which are right next to the glass windows of the tower, to enjoy a stunning aerial view of the city. For those visitors requiring a bit more space, larger deluxe and superior rooms are available. 26 rooms in total. Definitely a room with a view.

Down on the South Coast, the desirability of Kep is showing no signs of slowing down with roads in and out of the resort dramatically improved in recent months. Another new face on the accommodation front in town is a new private beach hotel, Samanea, which is spread over two hectares of natural landscape with 10 spacious and elegant villas, a sea-front infinity pool, al fresco restaurant and spa. Well worth checking out.

Cruising the waterways of Cambodia and Vietnam, is becoming increasingly popular for many visitors. With that in mind, Haimark are keen to expand their operations along the Mekong River and will introduce the 68-guest Mekong Navigator in September, a few days after they launch the 56-passenger Irrawaddy Explorer in Myanmar. In twelve months time, they will also set sail with a 24-guest, all-suite, “spa concept” ship named Mekong Princess. The company says it will have “the most extensive spa menu of any ship on the Mekong River” with several types of massages, facials, scrubs, and body wraps. Each guest will receive one free hour-long spa treatment during the cruise to begin the week-long rejuvenation.

Also gearing up for a luxury river-cruise launch is the Aqua Mekong in September. They will be offering a truly personalized, enriching and unique life-on-the-river experience, on board a five-star floating boutique hotel. Their itineraries have been customized to allow guests to get up close to life on the river and experience first-hand the colorful and varied cultures, religions and timeless traditions. After the excursions each day, guests are able to return to an elegant river facing suite on their floating sanctuary, and enjoy the comforts of the ship, like the plunge pool, indoor and outdoor bar, observation deck and gym, private screening room, games room, library, and last but not least, the spa. The cuisine will be taken care of by Chef David Thompson who has just been named a top ranked chef in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.

Political situation in Cambodia improves

August 5th, 2014

Parties finally agree to end the political impasse in Cambodia.

Cambodia's Parliament

Cambodia’s Parliament

Today, the 55 opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party politicians who won office in last year’s disputed election will officially take their oaths as lawmakers in front of King Norodom Sihamoni, ending more than 10 months boycotting parliament. The ceremony at the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh comes two weeks after the CNRP and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party agreed a deal to end the year-long political deadlock that began after the opposition rejected last July’s election result.

The CNRP decided to officially join parliament after finalizing constitutional and legal amendments that will be pushed through the assembly as part of agreed-upon reforms between the parties, officials said yesterday. The agreement saw the CNRP win, among other concessions, an overhaul of the National Election Committee – which it has maintained is a partisan institution that needs to be reformed in order to make the next election free and fair – in exchange for joining parliament.

Serene La Maison d’Angkor

August 4th, 2014

Relax at the serene La Maison d’Angkor in Cambodia’s temple town.

The serene La Maison d'Angkor

The serene La Maison d’Angkor

La Maison d’Angkor is a charming boutique resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia and ideally located for discovering the nearby Angkor complex. Within its lush tropical gardens, it hosts 17 beautifully furnished rooms that provide a serene way to unwind after a day visiting the glorious temples. Each room balcony overlooks the infinity swimming pool and the outdoor dining room. Relax and enjoy the tranquility. Definitely recommended.

A deluxe room at La Maison

A deluxe room at La Maison

Myanmar is THE place to go

August 2nd, 2014

The Lonely Planet guide to Myanmar is hot off the press. It’s definitely worth reading especially as previously off-limits areas are opening up and the crowds are heading to Myanmar in ever-increasing numbers.

Shwedagon Paya, Myanmar

Shwedagon Paya, Myanmar

The brand new Lonely Planet guide to Myanmar, 425 pages of hotel and eating suggestions, maps, photographs and recommendations that will help you to plan your perfect visit from your armchair at home. Their Myanmar Top 10 is a listing of what you must include in your itinerary, and here it is:

1 – Shwedagon Paya. 2- Inle Lake. 3- Bagan. 4 – Mrauk U. 5 – Kalaw. 6 – Pyin Oo Lwin. 7 – Mt Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock). 8 – Mawlamyine. 9 – Hsipaw. 10 – Myeil Arcgipelago.

So why did the Shwedagon Paya come in at number 1? Is there a more stunning monument to religion in Southeast Asia? We don’t think so – says LP. In fact, the sheer size and mystical aura of Yangon’s guilded masterpiece may even cause you to question your inner atheist. But it’s not all about quiet contemplation: Shwedagon Paya is equal parts religious pilgrimage and amusement park, and your visit may coincide with a noisy ordination ceremony or fantastic fortune-telling session. If you’re looking for one reason to linger in Yangon before heading upcountry, this is it. Make sure Myanmar is on your radar.

The heart of Shinta Mani

August 1st, 2014

A warm and generous welcome awaits you at the Shinta Mani Club in Siem Reap.

Shinta Mani Club

Shinta Mani Club

If you are looking for 4* contemporary luxury at an excellent price, great extras thrown-in and a hotel that supports the local community through their dedicated foundation, then look no further than Shinta Mani Club in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Paying that little bit extra can get you a lot of quality in temple-town. Here’s what they are offering guests:

  • complimentary mini bar
  • 1 time 30 minute foot massage
  • complimentary early and late check in / out (subject to availability)
  • complimentary room upgrade (subject to availability)
  • complimentary light refreshments served at Bensley’s Bar between 3-5 pm daily
  • complimentary poolside treats
  • complimentary 2 pieces of laundry per stay
  • complimentary visit to their development centre to learn more about Shinta Mani Foundation

The Shinta Mani Foundation is a registered local NGO and focuses on the three core areas of education, small business start-ups and health care. The Foundation is guided by a philosophy of Open Doors, Open Hearts and is the essence of the Shinta Mani brand.

Ask Hanuman for more details and read what we have to say about Shinta Mani Club @ http://www.hanuman.travel/Hotels/Cambodia/Siem_Reap/Shinta_Mani.html.