Archive for the ‘Celebrities’ Category

Phum Baitang opens in August

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Phum Baitang (Green Village) is set to open in August of this year and promises to be a leading addition to the luxury hotel options available in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Phum Baitang, Siem Reap

Phum Baitang, Siem Reap

Hanuman recently visited the 8 acre site to check on progress. The setting is quiet and secluded yet still convenient for downtown and the temples. Once the landscaping is complete with lush gardens, sugar palms and paddy fields it will be a real oasis and offer some of the most elegant and luxurious villas in Cambodia. All structures are already complete with a handful of their beautiful villas now ready for booking.

This elegant hideaway comprises forty-five spacious villas, twenty-five with private terrace and twenty with private plunge pool. The wooden and stilted villas are inspired both inside and out by traditional Cambodian design, offering guests a unique experience in Siem Reap. A luxurious and tranquil Spa Temple offers seven treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and relaxation area. A yoga pavilion, fully-equipped fitness room and 50m outdoor infinity pool complete the resort’s leisure facilities. During the day, guests can enjoy a light meal or sample a refreshing homemade juice at the Pool Bar. For elegant dining, Phum Baitang’s two restaurants, one locally-inspired and the other offering international cuisine, serve delicious meals using fresh organic herbs and vegetables from the resort’s own gardens. At the Cigar/Cocktail Lounge, guests can sip a cocktail while watching the sun set over lush paddy fields. 5-star luxury coming your way very soon in Siem Reap.

Into remote Cambodia

Monday, March 30th, 2015
Filming the Red Bull mountain bikers in Cambodia

Filming the Red Bull mountain bikers in Cambodia

Hanuman recently looked after a major overland expedition for Red Bull Media House, the extreme sports specialists. For this trip they were following some competition mountain bikers, including Rebecca Rusch, the “Queen of Pain”, down the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and onwards south down the ‘Sihanouk Trail’ in Cambodia.

2 mountain bikes, 5 dirt bikes, 8 4WDs, this was an expedition through some of the most remote parts of Cambodia. Crossing into Cambodia at Trapeang Kriel, the crew headed northwest to Siem Pang before crossing the Sekong River and surfing through the sand to Veun Sai. After a comfortable overnight in Ban Lung, they continued south to Koh Nhek, using the old ‘Death Highway’ from Lumphat. From there, they blasted through Sen Monorom on the new road before veering off to follow the old King’s Highway through the jungles of Kaoh Seima Protected Forest, one of the most beautiful roads in Cambodia.

All of this was captured on state-of-the-art Red Epic Dragon 6K cameras, that means 9X the pixels of an HD camera or one hell of a lot of memory. It should make for an epic endurance film through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of Indochina.

A timeless river

Thursday, January 15th, 2015
River of Time by Jon Swain

River of Time by Jon Swain

‘A romantic, evocative and touching book, the story of a young man’s coming-of-age in the shocking but desperately alluring war zones of Cambodia and Vietnam’ - Sunday Telegraph.

Jon Swain, one of Britain’s foremost foreign correspondents, visited the Hanuman offices yesterday, whilst on a whistle-stop visit along the Mekong River in southern Vietnam and Cambodia. Swain, who reported for the Sunday Times for 35 years in some of the world’s most troubled hotspots, is the author of River of Time, a beautiful book exploring his time in both Vietnam and Cambodia, and a book we recommend you read as it’s definitely one of our personal favourites. He stayed for a couple of nights at Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh, the same hotel where he was holed up with the rest of the press corps just before the Khmer Rouge captured Phnom Penh in 1975. Swain was awarded the British Journalist of the Year for his reporting from Cambodia at that time and his character was famously portrayed in the movie, The Killing Fields, which then formed the backdrop for his bestselling memoir.

Jon Swain (right) with Hanuman's Andy Brouwer at the Elephant Bar, Raffles Le Royal

Jon Swain (right) with Hanuman’s Andy Brouwer at the Elephant Bar, Raffles Le Royal

The Last Reel homecoming premiere

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The homecoming premiere of Hanuman Films’ The Last Reel was a huge success on the opening night of the Cambodia International Film Festival at Major Cineplex, Aeon Mall, Phnom Penh.

The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar

The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar

Many of The Last Reel team were there to enjoy the moment, including Director Sotho Kulikar (pictured above), actors Ma Rynet (Sophoun), Dy Saveth (Srey Mom/Sothea), Sok Sothun (Vichea) and Rous Mony (Veasna), Writer/Producer Ian Masters; Producer Murray Pope, Nick Ray and many more.  Ma Rynet scooped the CIFF Talent Award 2014 reflecting her commanding performance as the lead actress in The Last Reel. Meanwhile some of the team from the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Japan Foundation flew in to Cambodia especially to present The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar with her engraved Spirit of Asia Award, with the Japanese Ambassador on hand to welcome them in the kingdom. Two festivals and two awards for those involved in The Last Reel, what an achievement.

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone involved in making the Cambodia premiere a special night, including the Cambodia International Film Festival team, the organisers, the sponsors and all those who turned out in force to make it so memorable. Particular thanks to the Minister of Culture H.E. Phoeurng Sackona (pictured below with the The Last Reel team) and the Minister of Information H.E. Khieu Kanharith for attending the opening night. There were many other VIPs and faces from the filmmaking community there and we hope everyone enjoyed the film.  Our thanks to our supporters Sabay for some great photographs on the night.

The Last Reel team

The Last Reel team

Feeling at home

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Sambo, Phnom Penh’s biggest star, heads for retirement in Mondulkiri’s forests.

Sambo says goodbye. Photo courtesy of PPP.

Sambo says goodbye. Photo courtesy of PPP.

There’s an important guest of honour at the Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri, northeast Cambodia this week. Sambo, the elephant who for many years was a well-known and distinctive Phnom Penh resident, has officially retired from giving rides at Wat Phnom, and is taking a well-earned retirement in the bamboo thickets of his new home in Mondulkiri. The Elephant Valley Project do fabulous work in providing a safe haven for former working elephants and Hanuman’s clients have been enjoying visits to the project for a few years now, to see these giants of nature enjoying themselves in their natural environment. And now visitors have a familiar face to meet when they visit EVP. Long may it continue. The Phnom Penh Post picture shows Sambo saying goodbye to well-wishers in the city.

The Last Reel wins the Spirit of Asia Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The 27th Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF Japan 2014) was a resounding success for The Last Reel team and the principals from Hanuman Films as debutant Director Sotho Kulikar won the Spirit of Asia Award.

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar accepts the Spirit of Asia Award at TIFF 2014 in Tokyo

The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar accepts the Spirit of Asia Award at TIFF 2014 in Tokyo

The Last Reel won the Spirit of Asia Award by the Japan Foundation Asia Center at the Tokyo International Film Festival 2014. There were 2300 submissions to TIFF 2014 and fewer than 200 films were selected for screening, with just 11 awards up for grabs. In her acceptance speech, Director Sotho Kulikar dedicated the award to Cambodia and Cambodians everywhere. For some photographs from the award ceremony and the latest news on The Last Reel, visit the Facebook page:

During the week Kulikar also met with Lord David Puttnam, Producer of The Killing Fields, Chariots of Fire and The Mission, which collectively won 10 Oscars and 25 Baftas in the 1980s. Indiewire called The Last Reel “a remarkable Cambodian film that we’ll be reviewing presently, but which details the country’s troubled recent history with real personal emotion”.

Up next is the Cambodia premiere of The Last Reel as the opening film of the Cambodia International Film Festival on 5 December and then the Singapore premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival on 7 December.

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

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

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.