Archive for the ‘Celebrities’ Category

Recognition for Angelina

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Cambodian citizen Angelina Jolie becomes an honorary British dame.

Hollywood actor and UN special envoy Angelina Jolie was accorded one of the highest accolades granted by the British establishment when she was made an honorary dame in the Queen’s birthday honours a few days ago. The 39-year-old Oscar winner, who has spent much of this week co-chairing a London summit on war rape with foreign secretary William Hague, becomes a dame commander of the order of St Michael and St George courtesy of the foreign office in recognition of her work on conflict sexual crime. Jolie is co-founder with Hague of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and was nominated in the diplomatic service and overseas birthday 2014 honours for services to UK foreign policy and the campaign to end war zone sexual violence.

Jolie, who is UN special envoy for refugees, said of the award: “To receive an honour related to foreign policy means a great deal to me as it is what I wish to dedicate my working life to. Working on PSVI and with survivors of rape is an honour in itself. I know that succeeding in our goals will take a lifetime and I am dedicated to it for all of mine.”

It was while she was in Cambodia in 2001, shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (see the Hanuman Films video link below), that Angelina Jolie became aware of the suffering of the people in that war-ravaged country — “my eyes started to open,” she would later say. That experience — and a greater understanding of a worldwide humanitarian crisis – led the actress to contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees later that year. In the years since, her work as a Goodwill Ambassador on behalf of the homeless and dispossessed has taken her to more than 30 countries — including a few war zones — and to Washington, D.C., where she has pushed for legislation to assist refugees in troubled regions around the world. In recognition of her conservation efforts within Cambodia, King Norodom Sihamoni awarded her Cambodian citizenship on 31 July, 2005.

 

Talking about awards, did you know that Cambodia is the current holder of the title, ‘World’s Best Rice’?

It was a moment to savour for Cambodian Rice as Cambodian Premium Fragrant Rice was awarded the ‘World’s Best Rice’ Award for the second straight year in a row at the global rice tasting competition during the World Rice Conference in Hong Kong, China in November last year. Cambodia owed its victory for being not only tasty but also natural, green and healthy. This second year win in a row, 2012 and 2013, has helped to raise Cambodian rice’s status to greater world recognition, leading to a boost in demand for the best rice on the global market and attracting an increased number of international buyers. Now Cambodia will seek to make it a hat-trick of wins at the next World Rice Conference. Fingers crossed.

Actually to make it a hat-trick of awards, “Pour un Sourire d’Enfant” or PSE as everyone knows it by, have proudly announced that their book “The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia” participated in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013 ceremony – which took place in Beijing last month – and won the award as Best Fundraising Book in Asia. The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia was created by a team of PSE staff who went on a journey through 11 provinces and collected 29 traditional Khmer desserts recipes, tales, legends, cultural and tourist information as well as astonishing pictures of landscapes and individuals. Books in English and French cost US$20, while the Khmer edition costs US$14. PSE offers schooling and vocational training to thousands of impoverished children in Cambodia.

A personal look at Yangon

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Fodor’s Travel invited author Jan-Philipp Sendker to blog about one of his favourite cities, Myanmar’s Yangon.

With the exception of the magnificent Shwedagon Pagoda, the city of Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, is surprisingly devoid of major sightseeing highlights. But what the city lacks in obvious points of interest, it makes up for in ubiquitous charm. The best way to enjoy the city is oftentimes simply just to step outside your door and wander. Rather than worry about checking off all the major tourist destinations in a city, you’ll be free to simply enjoy Yangon without the pressure of having to “see it all.” Here are five things to keep in mind when exploring the city.

Keep an Open Mind

Strolling the city without a must-see, must-do list is one of the most pleasant and exciting things about visiting Yangon. Only a few years ago, Yangon was one of the most laidback cities in Southeast Asia, with only a few cars on the streets, no high-rise buildings, and no neon signs. Today, the first thing you’ll notice is how much it’s changing. This sleeping beauty is evolving into a typical Asian cosmopolitan city, with the cars, traffic jams, and construction to match. Still, Yangon has held onto its unique charm and the best way to enjoy the city is simply to see where the wind takes you.

Visit Downtown

Though the size of downtown means that it is far too large to see all at once, it’s worth a stroll through the city’s center. Leave the main roads and crisscross the side streets, where the sidewalks are covered with stalls full of tropical fruits and chairs and tables from tea houses. You should sit down and try the local specialty, a Burmese tea, a strong black tea with lots of sweetened milk. While enjoying your beverage, people may walk by and greet you with a smile or a nod, or a student may approach you hoping to practice his or her English. Be sure to take in the impressive colonial style buildings you find downtown and you’ll understand why many travelers have called Yangon the most beautiful city in Southeast Asia. For a taste of local diversity, walk through Chinatown and Little India. They are only a few blocks apart, and both are overcrowded and full of small shops and restaurants, but have completely distinct feels: different smells, different sights, and different sounds.

Keep an Eye on Local Events

Grab a copy of one of the English-language weeklies or dailies to see what is going on in the city, or buy an issue of The Irrawaddy, the best monthly political magazine. It will update you on all the challenges the country is facing in its difficult transition to democracy.

Be Wary of Traffic

Traffic is heavy nowadays and most people only acquired a driver’s license rather recently. But Yagonians drive the way they conduct other businesses, patiently and passively. Rarely will you hear a horn or see cars jump lanes or cut off other drivers. When you want to cross the street, it won’t take long for someone to stop and let you cross. In other Asian cities, you could be waiting for days. The particularly daring traveler should head to 19th Street at night, when the area is closed to traffic and full of crowded restaurants. Chairs, tables, and grills crowd the sidewalk and road, with the delicious smell of freshly barbecued meat, fish, and vegetables wafting through the air. Enjoy your food with a cold beer or white wine from Myanmar. The local vineyard was founded and is still run by a German.

See the Shwedagon Pagoda

No matter how often you’ve been to Yangon, the highlight of any trip is sure to be a visit to the magical Shwedagon Pagoda. Crowded from sunrise to sunset with people praying, meditating, eating, and chatting, you can easily spend hours here. Find a spot in the shade of the temple or pavilion and people watch while listening to the chime of the bells. Very little has changed here, with the exception of new ATMs scattered throughout.

Jan-Philipp Sendker is the internationally bestselling author of  The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. His latest novel is A Well-Tempered Heart.

For inspiration on visiting Myanmar, take a look at Hanuman’s suggested tours throughout the country at http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Myanmar/Myanmar.html.

Yamashita Authentic in Laos and Cambodia

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Celebrated National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita will be running two photographic workshops in Laos and Cambodia later this year, with Lonely Planet author Nick Ray as Tour Leader.

The Mekong River at Luang Prabang, Michael Yamashita

The Mekong River at Luang Prabang, Michael Yamashita

Michael Yamashita is one of the great National Geographic photographers, spending more than 30 years traversing Asia on dozens of assignments, photographing the people, the lands, and unique cultures. His whole career has been spent portraying the authentic Asia, from Japan to Indonesia, and from Turkey to China.

Whether you are an emerging photographer or a professional, these workshops will give you the opportunity to work closely with Mike and other experts who know how to produce shots with impact, compose photo essays that tell a story; and show you how to raise your own level of image making.

From secrets of remote lighting to street photojournalism and landscape photography techniques, Yamashita Authentic is designed for small groups of 10 to 20 participants, ensuring that you get the maximum amount of guidance from Mike, while experiencing an authentic Asian experience.

The Enigmatic Faces of Bayon Temple, Michael Yamashita

The Enigmatic Faces of Bayon Temple, Michael Yamashita

Yamashita Authentic in Laos: 30 August – 7 September 2014

Join veteran National Geographic photographer Mike Yamashita on a workshop in Laos, the enigmatic Land of a Million Elephants. This handcrafted itinerary will take photographers to off-the-beaten-track locations and offer a unique insight into the life of a world-renowned professional photographer. Luang Prabang oozes class and old world charm, it’s a living, breathing museum with its gleaming temple roofs and crumbling French architecture and deserves its World Heritage status as one of the most atmospheric cities in the whole region. We delve into some of its 32 stupa-studded pagodas like Wat Xieng Tong and the Royal Palace Museum, we take a boat upriver to river to visit the massive collection of Buddhas in the Pak Ou Caves and enjoy a relaxing day in the turquoise waters of the Kuang Si Falls. Beyond Luang Prabang, we venture into the countryside around Nong Khiaw and Muong Ngoi Neua, an area of poetic landscapes and timeless traditions. Mike has teamed up with Lonely Planet author Nick Ray, location scout and manager for countless film and television shoots in the Mekong region to ensure an original experience in Laos.

Monk at Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang, Michael Yamashita

Monk at Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang, Michael Yamashita

Yamashita Authentic in Cambodia: 7 – 14 September 2014

This unique photographic workshop brings veteran National Geographic photographer Michael Yamashita back to the majestic temples of Angkor to share his skills and knowledge. This is no ordinary Angkor experience as Michael takes photographers deep into the Cambodian countryside to discover traditional villages, floating communities on the Tonle Sap Lake and some of the more remote temples around Angkor. The itinerary has been carefully crafted to avoid the crowds that now flock to Angkor, but the iconic monuments are all here, including: Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building; the surreal and strange faces of the Bayon; and the jungle ruin of Ta Prohm. Starting early, we concentrate on temple photography for sunrise and early morning light. During the day photographers will enjoy feedback on their photographs and one-on-one sessions with Michael and tips and techniques around the temples. In the afternoons, we switch to lifestyle and capturing some of Cambodia’s incredible countryside and lifestyle. Michael has teamed up with Lonely Planet author Nick Ray, location scout and manager for countless film and television shoots around the temples to ensure that we have a unique encounter with Angkor.

For more details on these unique trips, visit http://yamashitaauthentic.asia/

Tonle Sap Lake, near Siem Reap, Michael Yamashita

Tonle Sap Lake, near Siem Reap, Michael Yamashita

Hanuman to keep the Bamboo Train on Track?

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

The Bamboo Train has been a quirky highlight of a trip to Battambang for many years, but is in danger of going off the rails once again thanks to the renovation of the Phnom Penh line.

Charley Boorman testdriving the road version of the Bamboo Train

Charley Boorman testdriving the road version of the Bamboo Train

Almost a national treasure, Hanuman has plans to keep the Bamboo Train alive by taking it on the road. As you see from the image above, we have already test-driven it with some celebrity guests, including motorbiking adventurer Charley Boorman on By Any Means.

In another exciting development, we plan to turn the Bamboo Train into a signature luxury product with the integration of a royal elephant chair as seen below.

Antique Howdah for the Bamboo Train

Antique Howdah for the Bamboo Train

The Bamboo Train, the new word in upcountry luxury from Hanuman.

Gems at Angkor

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Capturing the Angkor Temples for a jewellery commercial shoot.

Leading Hong Kong jewellery company Chow Tai Fook chose Cambodia for its latest commercial. Hanuman Films coordinated the shoot around the temples of Angkor and Siem Reap, including locations such as Ta Prohm, Bayon, Angkor Wat and the floating villages of the Tonle Sap Lake. The Hanuman team worked in partnership with Radical Media of London and have worked on several previous commercials with them, including Pepsi, TUI Travel and Cisco.

Tantalizing Khmer Fare

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Take home the secrets of the Cambodian kitchen.

Luu Meng, Cambodia's master chef, in action

Luu Meng, Cambodia’s master chef, in action

Learning to prepare and cook Cambodian food is becoming more and more popular amongst visitors to the country. Returning home with some of the secrets of tantalizing Khmer fare is a great way to remember your trip to the Kingdom of Wonder. Hanuman can offer a variety of opportunities to receive expert tuition from the likes of Cambodia’s top chef, Luu Meng at one of Phnom Penh’s best restaurants, Malis, or a cooking class in Siem Reap that follows in the footsteps of the famous and infamous television chefs that have passed through Cambodia on their global culinary journeys. There are a number of other options to get immersed into the world of Cambodian food, just ask the Hanuman team for details. In the picture above, Luu Meng is putting on a food demonstration in the grounds of the Amarak Organic Garden, just fifteen minutes from Phnom Penh, where great food goes hand in hand with healthy and natural organic farming methods.

Our Top Ten Experiences

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Try Hanuman’s Top Ten Authentic Experiences in Indochina.

Elephants in Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Elephants in Mondulkiri, Cambodia

Enjoy a helicopter ride over remote temples or the islands of Halong Bay, enjoy a nostalgic city tour by vintage car, meet leading artists and sculptors in the regional art scene, learn the secrets of local recipes with a celebrity chef and learn the art of travel photography with a professional. All these authentic experiences are possible in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam through Hanuman.

Helicopter Flights : Take to the skies to see the region from a different view. Fly to remote jungle temples in the far north of Cambodia, the endless array of temples in Bagan or discover the dramatic scale of Halong Bay from the air.

The Art of Travel Photography : Learn the tricks of the photographic trade from one of the professional photographers living in the region, including diverse destinations such as the temples of Angkor, lovely Luang Prabang, balloons over Bagan and the Mekong Delta.

Living History in Selected Cities : Understand the complicated history of the war years in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with a history tour of the leading cities. Experience an intimate tour of iconic locations in Phnom Penh, Saigon and Vientiane.

Wine and Dine in Memorable Places : Enjoy an exclusive private champagne dinner in a unique location. Imagine dinner at one of Angkor’s ancient temples or a romantic picnic on a deserted tropical island.

Encounter Wildlife in Remote Places : Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam have an extensive network of national parks. Sleep in a treehouse with the Gibbon Experience in Laos, visit Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary near Siem Reap or see rare langurs in Vietnam.

Cooking with a Celebrity Chef : Experience a cookery demonstration with one of the region’s finest chefs to learn more about the delights of Cambodian, Laotian or Vietnamese cuisine. This can be arranged in most popular visitor destinations.

Meet the Movers and Shakers : Enjoy a private meal with one of the leading lights of the Mekong region, from royal family members in Cambodia to respected international figures who live in Laos and Vietnam.

Hidden Treasures of Indochina : Enjoy exclusive access to leading museums and conservation departments of the region with leading art experts and archaeologists. Go behind the scenes to see forgotten treasures not on display.

City Tour by Vintage Car or Motorcycle : Explore the bustling streets of cities in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam by vintage car. For the more adventurous, it is possible to experience a city tour on the back of an old motorbike.

Yoga Class in Unique Locations : Relax and unwind with your own private yoga session somewhere to remember. Try one of the more remote and secluded beaches of Vietnam or one of the lesser known temples around Angkor.

Cooking with the Celebrity Chefs

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Hanuman’s unique cooking class follows Ramsay, Bourdain and Stein’s Cambodian adventures.

Gordon Ramsay trying his hand at stuffed frog in his Roluos cooking class

Gordon Ramsay trying his hand at stuffed frog in his Roluos cooking class

This unique cooking class follows in the footsteps of the famous and infamous television chefs that have passed through Cambodia on their global culinary journeys. This course takes us deep into the Cambodian countryside around Siem Reap where we visit the local market of Roluos, a traditional town far removed from the tourism industry around Angkor. After browsing the local market for some fresh ingredients, we travel to the beautiful wooden house of Sala Roluos, contemporary take on a traditional Cambodian design. This was the location where Gordon Ramsay learnt to cook stuffed frog with kreung paste, a delicious Cambodian dish involving lemongrass, turmeric, garlic and more, as part of his Gordon’s Great Escape series. Guests will learn this dish in the same surrounds and will also be shown options for how it might work with a more traditional meat such as chicken.

Other celebrity chefs have passed through Cambodia and we will take inspiration from their journeys. Kitchen Confidential chef Anthony Bourdain visited Cambodia for his No Reservations show and we will learn how to make delicious fresh spring rolls as he did when in Cambodia. Finally we will look to Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey for inspiration and learn to cook amok, Cambodia’s national dish involving a mild baked fish curry in banana leaf. Note that the menu can be varied to take into account dietary requirements or individual tastes.

Contact Hanuman for more details on how to follow in the footsteps of the Celebrity Chefs.

Celebrities travelling in Cambodia with Hanuman

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Check out this video compilation of celebrity travellers in Cambodia with Hanuman, including Gordon Ramsay, Charley Boorman and Samantha Brown.

 

Travel Channel host Samantha Brown travelled all over Cambodia and finished her trip with a signature Hanuman Beach Safari in Ream National Park.

Charley Boorman swung through Cambodia as part of his epic London to Sydney journey for By Any Means and travelled the length of the country with Nick Ray, including riding the rocket boat to Stung Treng, dirt biking to the temples of Angkor and then experiencing the Bamboo Train around Sisophon.

Celeb Chef Ramsay cooked his way around the country for Gordon’s Great Escapes, meeting Bunong tribes people in Mondulkiri, hunting for tarantulas in Kompong Thom and learning some new recipes with some of the Friends team in Phnom Penh. He finished with a cook-off against Chef Luu Meng from Cambodia, with a gala guest list that included members of the Cambodian royal family.

Don’t just watch the celebrities, follow in their footsteps. Try a Beach Safari like Samantha Brown, or even a Temple Safari like Charley Boorman experienced at Beng Mealea. Or try a cooking class in Cambodia with Chef Luu Meng from Malis. Hanuman will soon be announcing a celebrity cooking class at Sala Roluos in Siem Reap, using the key recipes that Gordon Ramsay discovered on his great escape to Cambodia.

Or just take the easy option and book a stay at HanumanAlaya, Angkor’s Boutique Residence, the regular choice of TV celebrities when staying in Siem Reap.

More of our favourite Siem Reap restaurants

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Following on from our look at Siem Reap’s evolving restaurant scene, Hanuman offers a snapshot of our favourite long-running restaurants in town in a handy Top 10.

Reahoo Restaurant, Siem Reap

Reahoo Restaurant, Siem Reap

Abacus: Stylish French restaurant offering haute cuisine and sophisticated ambiance.

Cuisine Wat Damnak: Celebrated chef Johannes Rivieres offers a contemporary take on Khmer cuisine.

FCC Angkor: Old timer set in a striking deco building with an international menu.

Il Forno: Delicious Italian dishes served in a small trattoria that spills on to the streets near Old Market.

Le Malraux: Fine French dining, some Asian specialities and an impressive selection of Armagnac.

Marum: Lovely garden restaurant run by Friends International, offering traditional Khmer recipes with a twist.

Reahoo: Royal Khmer cuisine artfully presented in a delightful al-fresco setting.

Sala Bai: Good cause restaurant offering a helping hand to youngsters wanting to get into the hospitality industry.

Sugar Palm: Classic Khmer dishes in this traditional wooden house where Gordon Ramsay learned some tricks.

Viroth’s: Outdoor garden restaurant serving a selection of contemporary Khmer cuisine.