Archive for April, 2010

Vann Nath appeal

Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Vann Nath describes life in Tuol Sleng to a visitor

Vann Nath describes life in Tuol Sleng to a visitor

Many will be aware of the story of the Cambodian artist Vann Nath, the painter who survived a year in the S-21 extermination center in Phnom Penh in 1978, who returned to paint the scenes he witnessed and which hang on the walls of Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum today, and who has been a key witness in the ongoing Khmer Rouge Tribunal currently taking place in Phnom Penh. He was the central character in Rithy Panh’s award-winning film, S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine.

On Tuesday Vann Nath was admitted into the emergency ward of Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh suffering from a bowel (duodenom) and stomach haemorrhage. He is fighting for his life, with his wife and children at his bedside.

Vann Nath’s resources are thin, so an immediate appeal has gone out for donations towards the family’s medical bills. This appeal will close this coming Saturday. Hanuman has worked with Vann Nath on many occasions over the years, both as a guide and speaker for tour groups at Tuol Sleng, as well as appearing in countless documentaries co-ordinated by Hanuman Films. We are supporting the appeal for our friend, Vann Nath.

Update on 11 May: I am pleased to report that Vann Nath is now out of hospital and recuperating at home. He is still quite weak and needs to rebuild his strength before any decision is made on whether surgery will be required but it seems he is over the immediate crisis of a few days ago. He is thankful to all those that offered their support and contributions to his medical care.

Happy Khmer New Year

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Soursdei Chnam Thmei – Happy New Year

We are fast approaching one of the favourite times of the year for all Cambodians, the arrival of the Khmer New Year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our partners and friends a very Happy New Year, the Year of the Tiger.

Hanuman’s offices will be closed over Chnam Thmei Khmer, or the Khmer New Year, on 14th until 18th April 2010.

We will re-open again for business on Monday 19th April 2010.

Hanuman, #12, Street 310, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Tel . +855 (0) 23 218396

In the lap of luxury

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Hanuman has been out on the road, and on the Mekong River, recently to give the once over to a newly-opened renovated villa in Kep, and the fanciest newcomer to the cruise boats that ply the Saigon to Siem Reap route.

Villa Romonea in Kep

A beautifully renovated Sixties modernist-style home that sits on the coastline in Kep.

Villa Romonea boasts an infinity pool with great sea views, a sun deck, tennis courts and a 6-hole pitch and putt golf course on this five acre estate. Inside the gorgeous villa are six rooms in total, downstairs are two smallish single rooms with one family room (2 separate bedrooms, 1 double, 1 twin) with a large shared bathroom. Upstairs are two expansive suite rooms. The property can accommodate twelve people with dining inside and outside, a television room and children’s play area.

For a family or small group wishing to hire the villa for complete privacy, it’s ideal. Individual rooms are only available at weekends. Kep is fast becoming the ‘in’ place to relax on the south coast of Cambodia, so more accommodation options are always very welcome. Website:

The Jayavarman Cruise Boat

A high level of luxury and attention to detail makes The Jayavarman a great way to experience life along the Mekong River and the waterways of old Indochina. If you didn’t see the water slipping by whilst relaxing with room service on your very own balcony, you would not believe you were cruising along one of the world’s biggest rivers, it was such a smooth ride.

In a charming replica of the 1930s cruise liner ‘Normandie’ with French colonial, art nouveau and Khmer touches throughout, the equally charming staff make this a trip to savour. There are 27 staterooms (including 2 signature staterooms), each individually decorated, all with private balconies and en suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, safe and fridge. You can relax with a cocktail in the Funnel Lounge, or catch the sun’s rays on the sun deck, before enjoying a varied menu in the Indochine indoor restaurant. If you need some extra pampering, pop into the Apsara Spa room.

Built in 2009, it can accommodate 65 guests and has a crew of 40 to serve your every need. They offer between 2-7 nights on board, upstream and downstream, and the trip can include visits to Cai Be, Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, Kompong Cham and Siem Reap.

They’ve just completed their first high season, are continually making small improvements and if they can add more variety to their food selection, a trip on The Jayavarman will be one to savour. Website:

Other News

Cambodia Angkor Air, now the country’s main internal carrier, and with a monopoly on flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, have increased their prices by US$12 on all flights from the start of this month. However they do now allow ticket changes for a US$10 fee and a ticket refund at a cost of US$15, which they didn’t before. Longer term, more competition on this route will hopefully cause prices to come down.

The culture of Laos

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

An opportunity to find out more about the culture and taste of Laos awaits you at the Phatoke Laoderm Lao Cultural Show and Dinner that is open daily from 7pm in the heart of Vientiane. Located next to the Senglao Hotel, your menu of authentic Laotian cuisine will be accompanied by traditional performances of folk dancing and music unique to each region of Laos. Phatoke Laoderm can seat up to 200 guests.

Find out more at

Snippets from Cambodia

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

To keep you up to speed on developments in Cambodia, here are some snippets that you might find of interest.

The swimming pool is now open for business at Veranda Natural Resort in Kep. It’s taken a while but they’ve finally completed it.

Talking of swimming pools, the one at Victoria Angkor Resort in Siem Reap is being upgraded and will be closed between 15 June-15 July 2010. For the 1-month duration, guests will be able to use the nearby Angkor Century Hotel swimming pool, free of charge.

With Cambodian New Year coming up fast next week (14/15/16 April), the top of Bokor Mountain near Kampot will reopen for a few days, from 12-18 April 2010, when visitors will be allowed to invade the mountaintop. It’s been closed for a year or so as the Sokha Hotel company are still constructing a new road to the top and of course, working on their plans for a new hotel and casino complex.

Hanuman stayed at the recently-completed Villa Romonea in Kep last weekend and we’ll let you have the details in a few days. We also spent a couple of nights on the Jayavarman Cruise Boat on the Mekong River last weekend and will spill the beans on that one too. Both are geared towards the luxury end of the market.

On the renovations front, the FCC in Phnom Penh tell us that two doors from The Quay Hotel along the riverside, a new hotel is under construction, though noise is restricted to the daytime.

The new block of rooms at Villa Lanka are still being constructed and looking at May for completion. This will add another 19 rooms to the property.

Down on the south coast of Cambodia in Sihanoukville, Sokha Beach Hotel have now completed the addition of a raft of new rooms. An extra 112 rooms (priced as per the main hotel), named Lakeside Hotel together with 69 chalets, known as Moha Mohori Water Chalets (at around $600/night), are either just about to come online or have just opened, almost as I type. They’re also extending their Jasmine Spa to 25 massage rooms.

The other quality residence in Sihanoukville is the Independence Hotel and they’ve added some attractive rooms as well. 36 in total, in three new accommodation blocks, all with individual balconies and sea views. The private setting, though a 5 minute walk up the steps to breakfast, is enhanced by the improved quality of the rooms over the originals.

Oh, and don’t forget the Shinta Mani Hotel in Siem Reap is closing this month, for up to 9 months, as it undergoes a complete refurb and rebranding.