Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Gibbons in the Wild

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Gibbon Spotting in the jungles of Ratanakiri with the local community.

Rare gibbons in Ratanakiri

Rare gibbons in Ratanakiri

Wildlife enthusiasts have a couple of months left to enjoy the opportunity of seeing and hearing an endangered species of gibbon in their natural habitat before the monsoon rains make it a much more difficult proposition. The Gibbon Spotting program in the Veun Sai-Siem Pang area of Ratanakiri, two hours distance from the provincial capital Banlung, is now run by local community members, with profits spread amongst the community group, and as a result, costs have been greatly reduced for visitors wishing to experience these rare creatures. Only small groups of between 2-6 visitors are allowed to visit the site in order to control the risk of the human impact as well as optimising chances of viewing the gibbons. The community guides run 2 day-1 night treks, with accommodation at the nearby ranger station, rudimentary and spartan but isn’t that all part of the adventure? The community have constructed a new five-room wooden building with mattress-bedding and a shower block within the confines of the ranger station. Food is prepared by the community members. The tour begins in Banlung and a one-hour motorbike ride to Veun Sai, on the banks of the Sean River. Once across the river, access to the ranger station is either by motorbike or an hour-long bicycle ride, and the trekking to see the gibbons will be first thing the following morning, with a 4am wake-up call.

As the gibbons are in the wild, the community, who have been supported in establishing this program by Conservation International, indicate visitors have an 80% chance of seeing the gibbons, though when Hanuman’s Andy Brouwer visited the site, he not only saw and heard them, he followed them through the jungle for an hour. This is a unique way to experience gibbons in the wild and the memory of the their piercing jungle call is unforgettable. The project is constantly evolving and additional viewing may include red-shanked douc langurs in the future. For now, the focus is firmly on the rare northern yellow-cheeked gibbons, and an experience and interaction that takes you up close and personal with a family of habituated gibbons in their natural environment. For more details, contact the Hanuman team.

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.

Fun for all the Family at Angkor

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Hanuman’s exciting Family Angkor Tour includes temples and lots of fun activities.

Flying through the trees with Flight of the Gibbon

Flying through the trees with Flight of the Gibbon

With more families travelling together than ever before, the temples of Angkor are a fascinating attraction for young and old and we have combined these amazing structures with a series of activities that we believe will wow all of the family, in our new 5-day/4-night Family Angkor program. Arrival day will be rounded off with a dinner and classical and folk dance performance. Our first sight of Angkor will be on the back of an elephant in Angkor Thom and onto the giant faces of the Bayon. If it’s activities you seek, Jungle Junction in town is the perfect place after lunch for families and children up to ten years old, or stay at your hotel for a relaxing swim. Mini-golf at Angkor Wat Putt is the next day’s morning activity, followed by a visit to the actual majestic temple itself after lunch – the largest religious monument in the world. An early wake-up to visit the atmospheric jungle temple of Ta Prohm will get you in the mood for an exhilarating experience on the ziplines of Flight of the Gibbon, through the treetops of Angkor. The excitement continues with an evening visit to the acrobats, jugglers and modern circus antics at Phare. For our final day, it’s off to the Great Lake for a glimpse of how the locals live their lives on the water followed by a visit to wood and stone carving workshops to see how the traditions of the country are being kept alive. That brings the curtain down on your Angkor adventures, with priceless memories stored in your memory banks and on your iPhones.  To get a feel for the ziplines of Flight of the Gibbon (pictured above), watch this Lonely Planet video of this fantastic adventurous activity at Angkor; http://youtu.be/UJzEtKoITrg. Contact us at Hanuman for more details.

Behind the scenes at Phnom Tamao

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

 

In the latest video from Hanuman Travel TV, we take a behind the scenes tour to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center near Phnom Penh, home to more than 1200 animals, including tigers, elephants, bears and much, much more. All profits from this Wildlife Alliance-run tour go towards wildlife conservation work. For a more comprehensive tour of Phnom Penh or the Kingdom of Cambodia, contact the Hanuman Sales team on sales@hanumantourism.com or visit the website at www.hanuman.travel.

Hanuman Films produced this wildlife experience video to support the work of Wildlife Alliance with whom Hanuman enjoys a close working relationship. Hanuman offers a Wild Cambodia itinerary that includes this behind-the-scenes experience at Phnom Tamao, as well as Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri, dolphin-spotting in the Mekong River and the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary.

To book this trip directly with Wildlife Alliance, email wildlifetoursPT@wildlifealliance.org or visit the website at www.wildlifealliance.org.

Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Horse riding in the kingdom of Cambodia is starting to take off, with classes available and opportunities to test yourself on a trusty stead or a pony, popping up in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and on the south coast.

Horse riding with Happy Ranch

Horse riding with Happy Ranch

The best known of the horse riding schools is Happy Ranch, which offers the chance to explore Siem Reap on horseback, taking in surrounding villages and secluded temples. This is a calm way to experience the countryside, far from the traffic and crowds elsewhere. Popular rides, with experienced horse riding guides, take in Wat Athvea, a modern pagoda with an ancient temple on its grounds, and Wat Chedi, a temple set on a flood plain near the Tonle Sap Lake. Riding lessons are also available for children and beginners.

In the capital Phnom Penh, the Cambodian Country Club, just on the outskirts of the city, offers lessons with larger horses and ponies for children. For those that prefer their horse riding under strictly controlled conditions, the carousel horses at the funfair opposite NagaWorld are worth considering.

Down on the south coast, the Ranch de la Plantation has opened up in Kep, with more than ten horses, which can take visitors on scenic rides around Kep, or more experienced riders to the pepper plantations and mountains of Phnom Voar. In Sihanoukville, Liberty Ranch offers horseback riding along the beach at Otres or in the nearby countryside, as well as lessons for beginners and youngsters.

Certainly an activity worth considering when you are in Cambodia and you are looking either at trying something new or getting back in the saddle whilst on holiday.

Adrenaline Activities around Luang Prabang

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

Lovely Luang Prabang is not all about saffron-clad monks and timeless temples. Beyond the historic heart of town lie action-packed adventures on land and water, as this video showcases.

One of Hanuman’s long-term partners in Laos, Tiger Trail pioneered the Fair Trek concept in Laos, ensuring money from overnight treks is ploughed directly back into local host communities. Tiger Trail also offer multi-activity adventures including mountain biking, kayaking and even the odd elephant encounter. If you thought Luang Prabang was all culture, think again, as there are plenty of activities to keep adrenaline junkies riding high.

 

The Elephant Conservation Center in Laos

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

Check out this video put together by together by Nick Ray and Andy Richardson during his recent Lonely Planet research trip through Northern Laos for the new Laos Lonely Planet guidebook, out in bookshops now.

Nick was covering Luang Prabang and Northern Laos for new 8th edition of the Laos guidebook. The Elephant Conservation Center was one of the standout new additions for the latest book, located in Sayaboury Province in the far west of the country. A new bridge and road link means it is just two hours from Luang Prabang.

Nick Ray and Andy Richardson studied at the University of Warwick together back in the 1990s and have since had the opportunity to work together on several filming assignments for Lonely Planet and other leading global brands.

Nam Nern Night Safari

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

Take a boat upstream in the afternoon, and after dinner, float downstream at night without engines to spot wildlife including sambar deer, dhole, sun bear, wild pig and macaques. This is the award-winning Nam Nern Night Safari in Laos.

The Nam Nern Night Safari

The Nam Nern Night Safari

An ecotourism project in a remote part of Laos has won the World Responsible Tourism Award for Best for Responsible Wildlife Experience. The Nam Nern Night Safari, an ecotour in Lao’s Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in Houaphan Province, was recognized by the World Travel Mart for its innovative approach to generating benefits for local communities. “Nam Nern Night Safari has been designed to support the conservation of tigers and their prey, as well as other wildlife, by placing a monetary value on tigers and other wildlife for local people,” said the judges. “Each reported sighting of wildlife by a tourist results in a financial reward for the villagers, and this includes people who might otherwise poach… The initiative has been very successful in increasing the number of wildlife sightings per boat – they have doubled.”

Poaching in Nam Et-Phou Louey has been a major challenge for conservation efforts. But the ecotourism project now generates funds to support rangers who go on long patrols collecting snares, looking for signs of poachers, and monitoring wildlife. The project also discourages poaching by providing alternative livelihoods for villagers in the form of employment as guides, boatmen, cooks, and handicraft makers. A local community manages an overnight ecolodge as well. Since the project launched in 2010, some 370 tourists have visited, generating revenue amounting to $200 per village across 14 villages. While the amount of money is small, it is significant in an area where cash incomes are very low. It also has created a potentially replicable model that values wildlife alive instead of dead in a cooking pot, according to the judges. “This approach should be replicable and would contribute to creating a more positive relationship between local communities, wildlife and tourism.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which set up the project, welcomed the award. “This award is a result of the commitment and tireless work of our local staff and 14 partner communities who believe in the importance and value of wildlife,” said Paul Eshoo, WCS Ecotourism Advisor. “Laos is a country with very rich biodiversity and important ecosystems that hold enormous potential for ecotourism. We hope that our model inspires other projects and areas to develop wildlife tourism in a way that provides tangible conservation results and economic benefits through direct incentives for protection.”

Giving Wildlife A Helping Hand

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Wildlife Alliance are offering a great opportunity for animal lovers to help secure a happy and healthy future for rescued animals at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC), just outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Chhouk, the Elephant with a prosthetic foot

Chhouk, the Elephant with a prosthetic foot

Animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade are brought to Phnom Tamao, primarily to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. In many cases this is possible. Unfortunately some animals cannot be released and are given a permanent home at the Center. Take for example Chhouk, a young male Asian Elephant, found as a baby, wandering alone in the forest in northeastern Cambodia. He had lost a foot to a poachers’ snare, was gravely ill from an infection in his wound, and was severely under-nourished. After caring for him for two weeks in the forest and gaining his trust, WA transported him to PTWRC and were able to heal his wounds. Unfortunately, his foot was gone for good, so they partnered with the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics to provide him with a prosthesis, which has changed his life completely. He can now walk normally and has avoided any serious skeletal deformities. He is the first elephant in Cambodia to receive a prosthesis and is a celebrated rescue success story. Or there’s the lively Pursat, the Hairy-Nosed Otter. Pursat was rescued from the province of Pursat on Tonle Sap Lake. He is likely the only hairy-nosed otter in captivity anywhere in the world. Extremely sensitive to stress and pollution, this species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. We bring unpolluted water from Phnom Penh three times a week, and feed Pursat only live fish in an effort to reduce the chance of toxins entering his system. Pursat is a playful and energetic otter, and is doing really well in his new secluded enclosure.

To support animals like these, and others such as Araeng – the Indochinese Tiger or Bangroul – the Sunda Pangolin, Wildlife Alliance have started a Sponsor An Animal program. There are two levels of sponsorship available: basic and premium. The basic level is $5 per month and the premium level is $20 per month. They seek a 12-month minimum commitment, with each sponsor receiving a certificate, photograph, newsletter and factsheet. We think this is a great way for animal lovers to contribute to the fantastic work that Wildlife Alliance are committed to doing in Cambodia. And of course, you can come and see the animals for yourself, with a Wildlife Experience behind-the-scenes tour of Phnom Tamao with the WA team. You can find out more information on sponsoring an animal at http://www.wildlifealliance.org/page/view/423/sponsor-an-animal.

Into the Southern Cardamoms with Wildlife Alliance

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Hanuman recently travelled with NGO Wildlife Alliance across and into the Southern Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia.

Wildlife Alliance are dedicated to preserving the tropical forest, wildlife and empowering local communities to earn a sustainable income and protect their own environment. Now, WA are opening their doors and inviting interested observers into see their work at close quarters. Contact Hanuman if you are interested in an inspection tour by helicopter.

The evergreen forest cover in the Southern Cardamoms is stunning - 1.7 million acres, patrolled by Wildlife Alliance's forest rangers, are protected and is thriving

The evergreen forest cover in the Southern Cardamoms is stunning – 1.7 million acres, patrolled by Wildlife Alliance’s forest rangers, are protected and is thriving

Wildlife Alliance's Million Tree Nursery, where 99 species of tree are being cultivated, is helping to replant the forest in the Southern Cardamoms

Wildlife Alliance’s Million Tree Nursery, where 99 species of tree are being cultivated, is helping to replant the forest in the Southern Cardamoms

Despite their best efforts, WA are unable to release tigers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Center back into the wild for fear of poachers

Despite their best efforts, WA are unable to release tigers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Center back into the wild for fear of poachers

WA are working in partnership with experts to protect remote burial jar sites deep in the jungle

WA are working in partnership with experts to protect remote burial jar sites deep in the jungle

Sopheap, a 2-year-old sun bear waiting to be released back into the wild, as part of WA's animal release program

Sopheap, a 2-year-old sun bear waiting to be released back into the wild, as part of WA’s animal release program

The evidence room at WA's Chambok Ranger Station containing confiscated chainsaws, snares, guns and timber

The evidence room at WA’s Chambok Ranger Station containing confiscated chainsaws, snares, guns and timber

Overlooking the Southern Cardamoms and listening to the calls of wild gibbons below

Overlooking the Southern Cardamoms and listening to the calls of wild gibbons below