River rafting through Angkor

September 19th, 2014

Bringing the Siem Reap River to life with exciting new raft adventures.

With the Flight of the Gibbon ziplines already a firm favourite amongst visitors to the Angkor Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a brand new activity is just about to take off with the arrival of Float Angkor, and their eco-tour raft adventures. Amongst the temples of Angkor lies the Siem Reap River, as it meanders its way from the hills above Angkor, through the temple complex and out into the Tonle Sap Lake. Float Angkor will bring the river and the natural beauty of the surrounding forest to life. Their rafts will accommodate no more than six people at a time, everyone gets a safety briefing and equipment before they are allowed on the river and go-pro helmet cams are also available. All of the river guides have been trained by a world champion kayaker, Eric Southwick, so you know you’ll be in safe hands. Float Angkor is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.

Hanuman at PATA Mart

September 18th, 2014
The Hanuman booth at the PATA Travel Mart

The Hanuman booth at the PATA Travel Mart

The Asia Pacific region’s largest travel trade show, the  PATA Travel Mart 2014, kicked off in Phnom Penh at the Koh Pich Exhibition Center today. The 2-day PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Travel show brought together more than 1,000 delegates from over 60 countries and regions around the world. The Hanuman booth at the event was manned by Nick Ray, Patrick Chase, Andy Brouwer and Tugdual Paul on day 1, and they welcomed a succession of visitors, eager to find out more about Cambodia and the Mekong Region. It’s an excellent platform for buyers, sellers, travel agencies, hoteliers, restaurant owners, airline operators, and all tourism stakeholders from all over the world to meet and explore possibilities for business cooperation.

Pandaw’s newest luxe adventure

September 15th, 2014
Pandaw break new ground in northern Vietnam.
Pandaw to break new ground

Pandaw to break new ground

Luxury river expedition company, Pandaw has announced a new 10-night Halong Bay and the Red River sailing. The itinerary will commence in July 2015 and is open for bookings now. The sailing will offer Pandaw guests the chance to explore the beautiful limestone islands in the iconic Halong Bay, before travelling to the remote upper Red River. Pandaw is the first river expedition operator to do so.

Pandaw press release says: “The new Halong Bay and the Red River itinerary provides agents with a luxury expedition product like no other. Customers looking for that once in a lifetime experience without compromising on luxury will, for the first time, be able to visit the iconic Halong Bay as well as the remote upper Red River in one 10-day itinerary.” Pandaw’s newest sailing includes two days of sightseeing in the bustling city of Hanoi before entering the Red River with its emerald green rice paddies and 8th and 11th century Buddhist temples. Unexplored by any other river expedition company, Pandaw’s route into the upper Red River will visit the region close to China’s Yunnan Province where the river narrows. Hiking from a remote river village is on offer for guests keen to make the most of this unique off-the-beaten-track experience.

Pandaw guests will enjoy a ‘yacht-like’ feel onboard the 16-suite Angkor Pandaw as well as five-star luxury service and a crew to passenger ratio of 2:1. All excursions are included in this unique itinerary. Guests will also visit floating villages, a floating school and limestone caves in Halong Bay before entering the Kinh Thay River, mooring at Yen Duc Village surrounded by historic mountains. On the Duong River, the Angkor Pandaw will visit local villages known for their 11th century folk painting and traditional ceramic production.

Guide Training in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

September 11th, 2014

As high season approaches, the Hanuman team hosted another refresher session for the leading tour guides in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Hanuman Siem Reap Guide Training at Sala Kdei, Angkor

Hanuman Siem Reap Guide Training at Sala Kdei, Angkor

The Phnom Penh training took place on 3 September 2014 in the Hanuman head office and included a practical session out and about in the city in the afternoon. Guides joined our revised Living History of Phnom Penh tour and explored the new route to discover some new buildings and stories along the way. This original Hanuman itinerary includes some of the most iconic colonial-era buildings in the city, as well as some hidden gems in the back streets of Cambodia’s charming capital.

Trainers Patrick Chase and Nick Ray then travelled up to Siem Reap to work with the leading Angkor tour guides based in Siem Reap. The guide training was hosted in the stunning Sala Kdei overlooking Sra Srang which was looking better than ever with the gardens flourishing in the green season rains. The morning session was lively with lots of shared ideas on temple timings and best secret spots for sunrise and sunset, and was followed by a catered lunch.

In the afternoon we ventured into Angkor Thom for a practical session to teach the guides the philosophy behind the Angkor Thom Photographic Scavenger Hunt. Starting out at the Bayon Temple, we explored the smaller temples of Angkor Thom on foot, including the atmospheric Preah Palilay and the seldom visited Preah Pithu. This is an original, interactive way for families to explore the temples and keep their children interested. Highly recommended.

Latin fusion in Phnom Penh

September 9th, 2014

Inside a renovated colonial mansion on the corner of Street 178 and 19 in the Cambodian capital, sits the Latin Quarter, serving up dishes from Colombia, Peru and Spain. Hanuman paid a visit this week.

Inside the Latin Quarter

Inside the Latin Quarter

Making the fusion of South American and Spanish cuisine more popular is the aim of the relaunched Latin Quarter restaurant, with an exciting new menu which three fortunate members of the Hanuman team were invited to try. The tapas-style menu certainly hosts a few stand-out culinary delights with our favourites including the Bombas de la Barceloneta, a meat and potato concoction; Chicharron, a delightful crispy pork belly served with a strong coriander puree; and the beef and chicken Cannelloni with parmesan cheese sauce. The offerings continued with Peruvian Ceviche seabass, Ox-tail with apricot stew, Chorizo A La Plancha sausage and of course, Spanish Omelette with a twist. The menu includes a host of other options to tickle your tastebuds from Paella to Suckling Pig, to Cuttlefish Meatballs and spherical olives as an appetizer with zest. For drinks we sampled the Peruvian Pisco Sour and the refreshing Gin Basil Mountain cocktails, and finished off our lunchtime extravaganza with a decadent chocolate coulant. The fusion food we enjoyed certainly worked for us and the Latin Quarter is definitely a recommended drop-in for lunch or dinner in central Phnom Penh.

Dining for a cause in Siem Reap

September 4th, 2014

Check out some of Siem Reap’s good cause dining possibilities when in temple town.

Marum, courtesy of Asia Life Magazine

Marum, courtesy of Asia Life Magazine

Siem Reap has some good restaurants that support worthy causes or assist in the training of Cambodia’s future hospitality staff with a subsidized ticket into the tourism industry. If you dine at the training places, it gives the trainees a good opportunity to hone their skills with real customers.

Marum, Wat Polanka area: Brings the best of Friends to Siem Reap. Set in a delightful wooden house, there’s a good selection of mains, vegetarian and seafood dishes and mouthwatering desserts. We recommend a visit.

Haven, Sok San Street; A culinary haven indeed, dine here for the best of East meets West. Proceeds go towards helping young adult orphans make the step from institution to employment. Loved by Trip Advisor regulars.

Blossom Cafe, Street 6; Creative cupcakes and coffees and the profits assist Cambodian women in vocational training.

Joe-to-Go, near Psar Chas; Gourmet coffees, shakes and light bites, with proceeds supporting street children. Upstairs is a small boutique supporting The Global Child.

Les Jardins des Delices, Paul Dubrule School; Enjoy good standards at affordable prices with a three-course meal prepared by students training in the culinary arts.

Peace Cafe, Street 26; Popular cafe serving affordable vegetarian meals. A focus of community activities, there are cooking classes daily, yoga sessions and Khmer classes every weekend.

Sala Bai School; This school trains young Khmers in the art of hospitality and serves an affordable western and Khmer cuisine.

Sister Srey Cafe, Pokambor Ave; Offers an ambitious breakfast menu and a Western lunch with a creative twist.

Good cause dining in Phnom Penh

September 3rd, 2014

Dining for a cause in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

Romdeng, part of the Friends' family

Romdeng, part of the Friends’ family

Phnom Penh has several restaurants that are run by aid organisations to help fund their social programs in Cambodia. These are worth seeking out, as the proceeds of a hearty meal go towards helping Cambodia’s recovery and allow restaurant staff to gain valuable work experience.

Friends, Street 13; One of the city’s best-loved restaurants with tasty tapas and heavenly smoothies. It offers street children a head start.

Romdeng, Street 174; Part of the Friends’ extended family, it specialises in fare from the provinces of Cambodia, and is staffed by former street youths.

Sugar n Spice Cafe, Street 178; Located on the top floor of the Daughters visitors center, it features soups, smoothies and mains served by former sex workers.

Jars of Clay, Street 155; Part of the profits go to helping women rescued from trafficking. Enjoy the bakery, Khmer mains and drinks.

Le Lotus Blanc, Street 51; Upmarket diner acts as a training center for youths from the city dump. Run by NGO PSE, serves classy French and Khmer cuisine.

Ebony Tree, Street 29; Stylish little cafe with health shakes and veggie treats. 20% of profits go to the arts and HIV orphanage.

Hagar, Street 310; Profits help destitute and abused women, with an all you can eat buffet.

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.