Archive for May, 2014

Scavenger Hunt at Angkor

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Explore Angkor Thom interactively.

Scavenger Hunt at Angkor Thom

Scavenger Hunt at Angkor Thom

We have explored the ancient city of Angkor Thom in Siem Reap and chosen a series of locations for families and groups to enjoy their visit in a much more interactive way, with our brand new Angkor Thom Photographic Scavenger Hunt. You get to explore the immense walled city and find some intriguing little gems along the way. We could’ve easily picked twenty or thirty locations, but we’ve kept it to ten and all of the challenges will require a photograph of a specific statue or carving. We provide a map to give you some help, together with a list of clues to uncover the answers, though our tour guides, who will provide the in-depth explanations behind the main temple highlights, have been told not to make it too easy for you. Especially if you are going to use it as a challenge between family and friends to add some fun and healthy competition to your temple touring at Angkor. Enjoy your visit to Angkor Thom with Hanuman.

Mystery at Angkor Wat

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Paintings that are invisible to the naked eye have been found on the walls of the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.

A pinpeat orchestra painting on the wall of Angkor Wat

A pinpeat orchestra painting on the wall of Angkor Wat

There is much to marvel at when you visit Angkor Wat. But what visitors cannot see are 200 hidden paintings on the temple walls. New, digitally enhanced images reveal detailed murals at the temple showing elephants, deities, boats, orchestral ensembles and people riding horses, though all are invisible to the naked eye. Of course, many of the faded markings could be graffiti left behind by pilgrims after Angkor Wat was abandoned in the 15th century. But the more elaborate paintings may be relics of the earliest attempts to restore the temple, researchers said. A technique called decorrelation stretch analysis, which exaggerates subtle color differences, was used to bring them to life. One chamber in the highest tier of Angkor Wat’s central tower, known as the Bakan, contains an elaborate scene of a traditional Khmer musical ensemble known as the pinpeat, which is made up of different gongs, xylophones, wind instruments and other percussion instruments. In the same chamber, there’s an intricate scene featuring people riding horses between two structures and so on.

Though researchers don’t know exactly when the paintings were created, speculation suggests that the most elaborate artworks may have been commissioned by Cambodia’s King Ang Chan, who made an effort to restore the temple during his reign in the 16th century. During this time, unfinished carvings were completed and Angkor Wat began its transformation into a Buddhist pilgrimage site, and some of the newly revealed paintings have Buddhist iconography. The mystery continues.

The Safari Experience

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Try our adventure in style in remote Cambodia.

Temple Safari is our signature trip and one we recommend to guests ahead of the forthcoming high season, from late October onwards. You will be transported back in time to an era before mass tourism and enjoy the intimacy and privacy of a remote jungle temple all to themselves. Solitary sunsets, spiritual sunrises, the Temple Safari experience brings the magic back to travel. It’s an original Hanuman creation and although it may sometimes be copied, it is never rivalled. Our pick of the one night Temple Safaris is Koh Ker, accessible in less than three hours from Siem Reap. It’s a popular option as it includes a visit to the jungle temple of Beng Mealea en route. Koh Ker was a 10th century rival capital to Angkor and is home to a prolific array of temples from this era. The views from the top of the Mayan-esque step pyramid of Prasat Thom is very impressive, and once again available to visitors after a few years off-limits, but other smaller temples are also striking, including Prasat Bram with its suffocating strangler figs. Our overnight location next to the temple walls, complete with a private candlelit dinner and a night in your comfortable tent, with Prasat Thom as your backdrop, is unrivalled. Boutique camping at its finest, as you can see on our video.

Another safari, the Sacred Mountain Safari, takes guests onto the top of Phnom Kulen, one of the most holy places in Cambodia. Located about 50km from Siem Reap, the jungle plateau is home to a rich array of natural and historic sites offering the most diverse variety of experiences amongst our safari trips. It’s a fantastic way to get off-the-beaten-track. The discovery of the extent of the ancient city of Mahendraparvata, has opened up new sites to visit and if you are prepared for an adventurous motorcycle ride, then even more of these sites become accessible to you. If not, there are still a wide variety of sights to enjoy. You can find out more about Temple Safari or the Sacred Mountain Safari from the Hanuman team, or online at http://www.hanuman.travel/safari/safari.html and we promise, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Exploring Mahendraparvata, the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen

Friday, May 16th, 2014

The Hanuman team was recently up on the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen to explore some new sites discovered as part of an aerial LIDAR survey of the ancient Khmer city of Mahendraparvata.

 

Mahendraparvata hit the headlines in 2013 as a ‘lost city’ was revealed through the use of aerial LIDAR data. This was 21st century archaeology at its very best and several new sites were discovered as well as a much bigger urban settlement than was previously realised. Phnom Kulen has long been known to archaeologists as one of the earliest capitals of the Khmer empire and a holy site where King Jayavarman II is said to have invoked the devaraja ceremony, making him the human incarnation of the Hindu God Shiva on earth. Long removed from the tourist map by civil war, Phnom Kulen was occupied by the Khmer Rouge for nearly three decades, only falling to government forces in 1998. In recent years, travellers have been able to visit and Hanuman operates the unique Sacred Mountain Safari to Phnom Kulen, a luxury camping adventure: http://www.hanuman.travel/pdf/Hanuman-Temple-Safaris-Guide.pdf

In this video, our team explores some new remote sites on the holy mountain, including the brick temples of Damrei Krab and Thmor Dap, the early pyramid temple of Rom Cheng and holy carvings of Poeng Tbal. The temples date from the 9th century and the reign of Jayavarman II, pre-dating the relocation of the capital to Angkor by almost a century. Rong Chen is believed to be the temple where the devaraja ceremony actually took place, although it is in a very dilapidated condition today.

King Jayavarman II later moved the capital to the temples of Roluos, about 15km southeast of Siem Reap and the temple of Preah Ko was dedicated to his posthumous name of Paremesvara.

Contact the Hanuman team for more details on an adventurous motorbike exploration of the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen or enquire about our original Sacred Mountain Safari, the only luxurious way to explore the mountain on an overnight expedition.

 

Last minute Green Season offers

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Great deals await you in Siem Reap & Angkor.

http://www.hanuman.travel/images/hotels/Lounge-Pool316.jpg

There are some great Green Season (aka Low Season) hotel offers in Siem Reap at the moment, which would top-off a three-day tour of the Angkor Temples very nicely and will give you a wonderful introduction to Cambodia. Both the Tara Angkor Hotel and the Navutu Dreams Resort (pictured above) have special offers for last-minute bookings. The Superior Rooms at the Tara Angkor, a super 4* contemporary property on the road to the temples, are on special low offer throughout May and June. At Navutu Dreams Resort, in its rural setting a short ride from downtown Siem Reap, a package with their Explorer Rooms with breakfast from mid-May through to the end of June, is also a fabulous deal.  The 3-day Angkor tour would encompass a visit to the temples on each of the three days and include the highlights of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm as well as the gorgeous Banteay Srei and a visit to one of the floating villages on the Great Lake. A third hotel option would be the traditional boutique oasis of HanumanAlaya and Villa which have a ‘Stay Longer, Save More’ special offer until August. Go on, you know you want to go to Angkor and these deals make it even more attractive. Contact Hanuman for more details of these special deals.

Hotel of the Week – 4 Rivers

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

 

Hanuman’s Hotel of the Week is Cambodia’s first floating ecolodge – 4 Rivers Floating Lodge – with 12 double and twin tented villas offering comfort and quality, as well as a restaurant, bar and library located on the Tatai River in the shadow of the Cardamom Mountains. 4 Rivers can provide a variety of activities including kayaks and treks for those who like to be active. Or why not simply unwind and relax in a fabulous location. The video was shot by satisfied customers.

From Hanuman
And now for something completely different. This luxurious floating ecolodge has a beautiful setting on the edge of the Cardamoms near the Cambodian coast. Relax in comfort, swim in the river or enjoy some adventurous excursions in the surrounding area.

Stylish Le Blanc Boutique Hotel

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Bright and stylish, welcome to Le Blanc in Phnom Penh.

 

Le Blanc Boutique Hotel in Phnom Penh welcomes visitors into a dazzlingly white villa of nine elegant, modernist rooms spread over a two-storey building, overlooking their canopied swimming pool. Their Le Coco restaurant provides open-air, poolside dining. Located in the relative quiet surroundings of Boeung Keng Kang, hand-painted artwork decorates the walls of the hotel’s open areas and in their five contemporary deluxe rooms, three luxury rooms and a single suite. Small and intimate, Le Blanc offers a stylish and original twist on the boutique accommodation in Cambodia’s capital city. Watch our Hanuman Travel TV video of Le Blanc to see for yourself.