Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Above Ground Adventures at Angkor

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Hanuman’s Andy Brouwer reviews the adventures to be found above ground in Siem Reap.

My view of Bakong at Roluos from the flying moto

My view of Bakong at Roluos from the flying moto

Seeing Angkor and the surrounding countryside from what the locals affectionately call a “flying moto” is nothing short of exhilarating. I can vouch for that. But sat in a two-seat microlite is not for everyone. Especially if you have a nervous disposition. It took me most of an hour long flight for my heart to stop racing before I began to really enjoy the experience. And what an experience it was. Aero Cambodia operate two microlites from a landing strip just outside Siem Reap and are licensed to fly over many of the Angkor temples (but not Angkor Wat or Angkor Thom), the Tonle Sap Lake and above the lovely Siem Reap landscape. Eddie Smith is a very experienced pilot and he’s been taking satisfied guests into the air for many years before moving his operation to Siem Reap. If you would like to experience Angkor from the air, contact the Hanuman Sales Team for details. It’s definitely worth considering.

Another fun-packed adventure to be found above ground is the Flight of the Gibbon Angkor ziplines in the Angkor Park. Opened a few months ago, I had the opportunity to experience it for myself and not only was it a lot of fun but I was very impressed by the safety aspects of the whole operation. They take safety very seriously. Now, they have introduced a short, quicker package for guests who don’t have four or five hours to enjoy the whole course. The shorter version will still include four ziplines, sky bridges and an abseil and there’s a special introductory price if you book before the end of October.

Flight of the Gibbon have also teamed up with another of Siem Reap’s best adventures, the Quad Adventure Cambodia people and are offering a joint package of the full course of 10 thrilling ziplines, lunch in Angkor and then a 2+ hour quad adventure around the Siem Reap countryside, in their new Gibbon Quad Adventure. Definitely a great day out if you want a break from the temples for a while during your visit to Siem Reap. Contact our Sales Team for more details.

Looking for clues

Monday, April 7th, 2014
The Hanuman Scavenger Hunt teams

The Hanuman Scavenger Hunt teams

The Hanuman Group celebrated ahead of the Cambodian New Year with a thank you party for all the staff, as well as invited guests at HanumanAlaya in Siem Reap at the weekend. On Sunday, teams of staff members then visited the Roluos Group of temples, the floating village of Kompong Pluk and then spent the afternoon exploring Angkor Thom, as part of a scavenger hunt, that added a touch of mystery and intrigue to their visit. With a list of clues the teams had to find individual destinations within a series of different temples and take a snapshot of the location with their iPhones, before the winners were announced at the final meeting point, the Gate of the Dead. Here is a picture of the exhausted teams at the finishing stage. It was a lot of fun.

Glorious Bagan

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Hanuman Travel TV takes a look at the amazing temples and lifestyle of Bagan, the jewel in Myanmar’s crown.

 

Myanmar’s top tourism draw card is undoubtedly the 4,000 Buddhist temples of Bagan. A building frenzy in the 11-13th centuries produced a stunning array of iconic brick stupas that dot the plains as far as the eye can see. Today, the temples are as venerated as they were when they were built and though a few popular structures are crowded with visitors, many remain remote and quiet and just waiting to be explored. Temple viewing around dawn and dusk is a must as Bagan is hot, especially in the sizzling months of March to May, and cooler in the peak travel season of November to February.

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.

Temples of Angkor

Monday, March 17th, 2014

Join Hanuman Travel TV for a three minute look inside the Temples of Angkor, Cambodia’s favourite tourist destination.

Inside Hang Son Doong, the World’s Largest Cave

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Hang Son Doong is the largest cave in the world, located in the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park in Quang Bing Province in North Central Vietnam. Check out this video showing an Oxalis expedition into the cave.

Only explored for the first time by a British caving team in 2009, it is now possible for very limited numbers of visitors to undertake an expedition to Hang Son Doong. Only 22o permits are available to explore this cave complex in 2014 and group departures are limited to just eight people per day. Oxalis Adventures offers 7 day/6 night tours of Hang Son Doong costing US$3000 per person. For some incredible photos of this cave complex, check out the National Geographic images by Carsten Peter: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/01/largest-cave/peter-photography#/04-jungle-inside-cave-714.jpg

For more on Hang Son Doong, visit http://www.sondoongcave.org/. For more on tours to Hang Son Doong, visit http://www.oxalis.com.vn/son-doong-cave

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.

Adrenaline Angkor

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Seeking some excitement and adventure on your trip to Siem Reap and the wonderful temples of Angkor, then look no further than our 4-day Adrenaline Angkor program.

Quad-biking is a fun activity in Siem Reap

Quad-biking is a fun activity in Siem Reap

We begin Day 1 with a cycle ride to the Roluos Group of temples some fifteen kilometres east of Siem Reap and onto the floating village of Kompong Pluk, which we discover by boat. In the evening the fantastic modern circus of Phare! awaits us. A hike to see the riverbed carvings of Kbal Spean begins the next morning, followed by the petite and perfectly-formed temple of Banteay Srei and the educational Landmine Museum. We end the day with a sunset visit into rural Cambodia on quad-bikes. For Day 3, it’s an early start to catch Ta Prohm at its solitary best and then into the treetops surrounding Angkor to experience the adrenaline rush of the ziplines of the safety-focused Flight of the Gibbon. In the afternoon we get into the saddle for a four-legged tour of the countryside. Our final day will concentrate on the best of the temples of Angkor, an early-morning visit to Angkor Wat and a walk or cycle tour of the ancient city of Angkor Thom, with a hot-air balloon or helicopter flight sandwiched in between. Contact us at Hanuman for more details.

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.

Prasat Thom Re-Opens

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Good news for travellers to the 10th Century Angkorian capital of Koh Ker, 130kms northeast of Siem Reap.

The Mayan-like Prasat Thom at the Koh Ker complex

The Mayan-like Prasat Thom at the Koh Ker complex

After falling stones made the staircase unsafe a few years ago, the wonderful views from the top of the 40 metre-high sandstone seven-tier pyramid of Prasat Thom have been out of bounds. However, news has just reached us that a brand new wooden staircase has been erected and fifteen visitors at one time, are being allowed to climb the steep stairs to the top. The views over the surrounding forest and west to Phnom Kulen are fabulous and if you don’t mind heights, it’s definitely worth the climb to the top. There is a wooden platform at the  postage-stamp sized summit for extra safety. The pyramid is almost Mayan in appearance and is an amazing feat of engineering from when the Koh Ker complex was being constructed by King Jayavarman IV from 928. The Koh Ker period is known for its impressively large sculptures and some of the biggest Shiva lingas in the country, and just over two hours drive from the main Angkor Park.

The top photograph of Prasat Thom was taken in 2001. The one below was snapped much more recently, in February 2012.

The Prasat Thom pyramid in 2012

The Prasat Thom pyramid in 2012