Archive for May, 2013

Roll Up, Roll Up

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Roll Up, Roll Up, the Big Top has arrived.

Inside the Big Top at Phare

Inside the Big Top at Phare

The Big Top circus tent at Phare – The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap has arrived and is in place. Performances from 1 June will be under cover, which will mean no more shows will be cancelled because of the rain and the atmosphere and excitement will be much more tangible for visitors. The Big Top will cater for 400 people and will include VIP seating areas. This is a must-see for visitors to Siem Reap. The shows are modern circus theatre displaying high level juggling, trapeze, contortion and acrobatics, with a story that unfurls itself throughout the performance. Under the original Big Top in Battambang, Phare Ponleu Selpak are continuing their twice-weekly shows, on Monday & Thursday, for visitors to Cambodia’s second city.

Certificate of Excellence

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

HanumanAlaya earns Trip Advisor recognition.
 

The HaunmanAlaya Boutique Residence in Siem Reap is delighted to receive a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. See the HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence for yourself at http://www.hanumanalaya.com/.

Harvest Time Ahead

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Cambodia has many traditional celebrations and ceremonies throughout each year.  In a week’s time, on Tuesday 28 May, one of those timeless traditions will be enacted – The Royal Ploughing Ceremony.

 

This particular ceremony is used to mark the onset of the rainy season, and dictates when the farmers must prepare their fields for the next crop of rice. Each year the Ceremony, ‘Pithi Chrat Preah Neang Korl’, is held at the Veal Preah Mean Square, situated across the road from the northern perimeter of the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh. Cambodian farmers will be waiting anxiously as the traditional ceremonies are undertaken to try and predict the weather for the coming year. The festival consists of a symbolic ploughing procession before the King or his representatives. At the end of the procession, harnesses are removed from the oxen and they are led to seven golden trays containing rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine. The oxen are allowed to eat from any of the trays and, depending upon their choice of feed, the Cambodian people believe that they can prognosticate the weather for the coming year and determine the harvests.

Silk is Golden

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

A visit to Golden Silk, outside of Siem Reap, is to discover their unique traditional methods in producing silk products.

Inside the Golden Silk workshop

Inside the Golden Silk workshop

The Golden Silk plantation and workshops are located 30kms northeast of Angkor, Cambodia’s famed complex of ancient temples. Visits to Golden Silk are by appointment only, where the visitor will see the different phases of production (silkworm breeding, maintenance planting, spinning, and weaving) as well as daily village activities (fishing, farming, etc). The Golden Silk project has enabled more than 100 women to develop a skill, gained regular employment and secured regular income, with its stated aim to restore, to upgrade and to safeguard the Khmer traditional methods and techniques of silk making which are handed over to the present generation by the art craft ancestors. Entirely handmade, and made exclusively with natural dyes, each fabric is unique and one of a kind. A fabulous community-based, eco-friendly project of which Hanuman is fully supportive. Contact us if you wish to include a visit during your time in Siem Reap. It can be combined with a visit to the Banteay Srei temple for example, and Golden Silk also has the facilities to hold MICE events.

Revealing Cambodia

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Join Hanuman for an escorted seat-in-coach two-week Cambodia Revealed trip of a lifetime that will begin on 17 August 2013.

Revealing Cambodia

Revealing Cambodia

An in-depth journey throughout Cambodia that will take you beyond the highlights and under the skin of this beguiling country, beginning with the Kingdom’s riverside capital, Phnom Penh. More adventures await you in the remote northeast in Mondulkiri, especially at the Elephant Valley Project before we follow the Mekong River and enjoy a close encounter with the rare and unique Irrawaddy dolphins near Kratie. We head off to discover the first temple city built in Southeast Asia at Sambor Prei Kuk. At Angkor, over 1000 temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries, so we select the best of them including the world’s largest religious monument at Angkor Wat, the enigmatic and enchanting Bayon and the atmospheric Ta Prohm, consumed by jungle and fighting a losing battle with nature. Cambodia Revealed is a trip through an amazing country that will leave you with so many lasting memories.

The cost of the two-week land-only Cambodia Revealed tour is from US$965 per person, based on a minimum tour party of six persons. View our detailed fact-sheet on the tour at http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Cambodia/CT_Cambodia-Revealed.html. Contact the Hanuman sales team to book directly.

Saving Elephants from Extinction

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Hanuman recommends the Elephant Conservation Center as an authentic Laos experience.

A female elephant at ECC named Mae Kham Ohn

A female elephant at ECC named Mae Kham Ohn

Elephants are on the brink of extinction in Laos, so the Elephant Conservation Center of Laos at Sayaboury is the only place to meet elephants in their natural environment. Set at the tip of a naturally forested peninsula of over 100 hectares and bordering the Nam Tien lake, the Center boasts a stunning view over the Elephant Mountain range to the north east. It’s a good 3 hours drive from Luang Prabang.

The Center offers an experience of watching the elephants feeding and bathing, trekking through the forest to the ‘Buddha’s Footprint’, exploring the lake by boat or learning with mahouts, as well as finding out more at their living museum. ElefantAsia, a French-based non-profit organization, runs the country’s elephant conservation program from the facility. You can enjoy a day visit at ECC though perhaps the most ideal way is to spend a couple of nights at the Center with briefings from the vets and mahouts to better understand the elephants with whom you will interact freely for the next two days. Accommodation at ECC in bungalows and dorms is pretty rustic. There is better accommodation in Sayaboury town, a few kilometers away. If you are seeking an experience to tell your friends and family about, look no further than the Elephant Conservation Center at Sayaboury.

Cultural Boost

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Cambodian Culture Gets A Boost Through Cambodian Living Arts.

The drum of truth in Mak Therng

The drum of truth in Mak Therng

Plae Pakaa, a program consisting of three rotating shows of Cambodian dance, theater and music will be presented year-round in the gardens of the National Museum of Phnom Penh. In April, NGO Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), which is leading this project, invested $9000 in building a roof and preparing the venue to accommodate audiences during the rainy season, thus allowing the creation of a long-term self-sustaining performing arts space in the heart of Phnom Penh’s heritage museum. Plae Pakaa now offers visitors the opportunity to see a regular cultural attraction in Phnom Penh, while also creating long-term work opportunities for emerging and established arts professionals. During the past dry season, the program was able to employ over 120 artists and other arts professionals, offering them a springboard toward future career opportunities in arts production.

The program will stage the dance show Children of Bassac on Fridays and the theater and music shows Mak Therng  and Passage of Life on alternate Saturdays until October when the program will  be back to six nights a week again. From November 2012 through the end of March 2013, Plae Pakaa welcomed approximately 6000 visitors to the shows six nights a week. This compared to only 1000 visitors during the same period in the previous year. Following the very positive feedback received by the audience, CLA saw the opportunity to create a sustainable model for the performing arts in  Cambodia. Plae Pakaa, which  translates  literally  as  “coming  to fruition”, symbolizes the emerging artists who are sharing the fruits of their hard work with us, with 65 of the 90 performers having been trained by CLA, including Nhok Sinat, music ensemble leader in the theater and music play, Passage of Life, who says “Plae Pakaa gives us a great opportunity to earn a living through art, to develop our skills, and to raise awareness about Cambodian traditions.”

CLA is a non-profit organization based in Cambodia that focuses on Cambodian arts. CLA implements a series of programs with the intention of creating a self-sustaining environment where individuals and communities can be empowered through the arts. CLA’s Community Arts program, offers Cambodians the opportunity to learn their country’s traditional arts, while in its Capacity Building program, motivated students receive education to improve their skills as arts professionals.  The Creative Industries program actively seeks out and creates regular, well-paid work in the arts sector through exhibitions and performances which  raise awareness  about Cambodia’s traditional arts among foreigners and Cambodians. As a true springboard for emerging arts professionals, Plae Pakaa plays an integral role in this program.

Inside Phnom Tamao

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Take a look inside Phnom Tamao with Wildlife Alliance Director Nick Marx.

Nick Marx is the man behind Wildlife Alliance’s Care for Rescued Wildlife Program at Phnom Tamao Rescue Center. In the course of his decade of work in Cambodia, Nick has rescued more than 45,000 live animals from poachers and traders, and cares for a vast array of rescued wildlife – from elephants and tigers to gibbons, sun bears, and endangered tropical birds. He talks about his personal commitment to save these animals, and the impact that he’s seen over the course of his work. For a behind-the-scenes insight into the work of the Wildlife Alliance team, join Hanuman’s full-day Wildlife Experience at Phnom Tamao for a close encounter with some of Cambodia’s rarest wildlife.