Archive for the ‘Press Articles’ Category

Unrivalled Preah Vihear

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The temple of Preah Vihear stands alone in its stunning location. Atop the Dangrek Mountains it offers unrivalled views of northern Cambodia. Take a look with Hanuman Travel TV.

 

Prasat Preah Vihear is perched on a promontory high in the Dangrek Mountains and became Cambodia’s second Unesco World Heritage site in 2008. The effect of that and the subsequent confrontation with neighbours Thailand, has improved access to this stunning temple, which can be visited in a day from Siem Reap. At an elevation of 625m the views are breathtaking and the northern Cambodian plains stretch as far as the eye can see. Construction of the temple began in the 9th century and continued through the next three centuries. Access to the temple from Thailand is not currently possible. A day trip to Preah Vihear temple from Siem Reap is possible, or take an overnight stop in the province to make the most of your visit. Ask Hanuman for details.

Impressive Banteay Chhmar

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Hanuman Travel TV takes you to the remote and stunning temple complex of Banteay Chhmar in the northwestern region of Cambodia. Discover it with us.

 

The impressive temple complex of Banteay Chhmar was largely constructed in the 12th Century and is currently undergoing renovation by the Global Heritage Fund. It hosts over 2000 sq metres of intricate carvings including two spectacular multi-armed Avalokiteshvaras on its western wall, though others were dismantled and removed by looters in the late 1990s. Inside the main temple, you can see some of the enigmatic four-faced, Bayon-style faces which some believe to be King Jayavarman VII. Banteay Chhmar is a fascinating temple. Nearby the smaller Prasat Banteay Top looks to be in a precarious state by comparison. You can visit Banteay Chhmar as part of the road journey between Siem Reap and Battambang. Just ask Hanuman for details.

Remote Preah Khan of Kompong Svay

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Enjoy a look at one of Cambodia’s most remote temple sites at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay with Hanuman Travel.

Traditionally, Preah Khan of Kompong Svay district has been the toughest of the remote Angkorian temples to reach. Even now getting there at the peak of the wet season is almost impossible, and the best time to visit is between January and April when the trails are dry. It’s located some 93km north of Kompong Thom and 64km south of Tbeng Meanchey in Preah Vihear Province.

Most locals call the temple complex Prasat Bakan but it’s common name is Preah Khan of Kompong Svay. Covering almost 5 sq km, it’s actually the largest temple enclosure constructed during the main Angkor period, dating from the 9th to 13th centuries. The central tower at Prasat Preah Stung is adorned with large enigmatic faces and the central area of Preah Khan is overgrown by forest and has been badly damaged with many towers collapsing. Some of this was caused by severe looting at the site. If you are looking for a remote temple complex, then it doesn’t get much more remote than Preah Khan. Contact the Hanuman Team for more details, including our overnight safari at Preah Khan.

On Yer Bike

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Hanuman are big fans of Battambang, Cambodia’s laid-back second city, and the work of Soksabike is one good reason to stay an extra day in this quiet haven.

Soksabike in Battambang

Soksabike in Battambang

Soksabike bicycle tours are a social enterprise offering people an insight into the traditional livelihoods of the Cambodian countryside. They place an emphasis on educating guests in the realities of life in rural Cambodia, and ensure that the visit makes a positive impact on the local communities – economically, socially and ecologically. The cycling guides are all knowledgeable Battambang locals. Soksabike have created unique bicycle tours that provide an imaginative insight into the Cambodian countryside and daily life but also supports local the local economy and culture. They have half day and full day tours. The trips call in at a rice paper making village, a wine making village, a village that makes Prahok (fermented fish paste) and a cake making village. The full day trip includes lunch with a Cambodian family in a rural setting. The trails follow quiet, flat, partially shaded country roads and the distances travelled are 25kms and 40kms respectively.

Soksabike work in tandem with Kinyei Café, which is located on Street 1.5, right next to the Battambang’s central market. The cafe is staffed by youth from disadvantaged backgrounds and the premises comprise two floors and comfortable balcony of a French colonial era townhouse. The cafe serves expertly made espresso coffee – they recently won a nationwide barista championship – and a small selection of baked goods. The first floor has been renovated to a gallery space that will feature visual art. A worthy cause I’m sure you’ll agree. Ask the Hanuman sales team for more details.

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.

Vietnam’s Remote Beaches

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Vietnam is is fast emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s new beach destinations.

Vietnam's Remote Beaches

Vietnam’s Remote Beaches

Some of Vietnam’s beaches are already quite heavily developed, but this 8-day itinerary from Hanuman ventures off the trail to connect you with some more remote beach destinations. The journey begins in Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) where we visit the War Remnants Museum and the haunting Requiem exhibition of war photography. Later we venture further afield to see the Cao Dai Temple at Tay Ninh, a unique religion that blends the world’s spiritual beliefs together. We also venture underground to explore the Cu Chi Tunnels. We then fly to the remote Con Dao Islands. Once used as a political prison by the French authorities, they are emerging as Vietnam’s best kept secret. Try pristine snorkelling or just relax on the beach. We then continue south to Phu Quoc, destined to become the Phuket of Vietnam one day soon. Relax on the beaches or explore the nearby An Thoi Islands or inland forests. This is a beach holiday with a difference.

For our top recommended hotel on this itinerary, look no further than Six Senses. The spectacular Con Dao archipelago of islands hosts the Six Senses Hideaway Con Dao along a white sand beach surrounded by dramatic mountain landscapes. The remote setting and preserved natural landscape provides an extraordinary sense of seclusion, creating an ideal place to escape and relax close to the natural elements. Six Senses are masters of subtlety and style and their new development in the Con Dao Islands is the perfect blend of eco-friendly island retreat, modernist design and unabashed luxury. A different destination, done differently, look forward to exploring these beautiful islands the Six Senses way. Embrace the slow life.

Contact the Hanuman sales team for more details or visit our website here.

Six Senses Con Dao

Six Senses Con Dao

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.

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.

 

Kids City Phnom Penh Celebrates 1st Anniversary

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Kids City is the top spot for children to have fun in the Cambodian capital with 11 floors of entertainment, education and interactivity. It’s a must for families in Phnom Penh seeking to keep the children entertained during the hot weather.

Clip 'n Climb at Kids City, Phnom Penh

Clip ‘n Climb at Kids City, Phnom Penh

Starting at the top, Kids City includes an ice skating rink with real ice, something that might come as a surprise when the thermometer touches 4o degrees. Currently the only ice rink in Phnom Penh, it will soon be joined by the larger Ice Park in the Aeon Mall (coming June 2014).

Science Gallery, Kids City, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Science Gallery, Kids City, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Another highlight is the ever-popular Laser Tag on Level 6 with an action-packed combat area including dry ice and strategic hides. But our favourite is Clip ‘n Climb on Level 4, with 28 different climbing walls to choose from. Supervised to international safety standards, this is a fun challenge for all the family and is open to all ages. Tackle the Triffid if you dare, the hardest of the climbing walls or go Head to head on a transparent climbing wall.

Laser Tag, Kids City, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Laser Tag, Kids City, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

For younger children, there are two large play areas on Levels 1 and 6, including the new Toddler Town for little ‘uns and the children’s playground, full of the usual slides, trampolines and obstacles. Coming soon are family go karts on Level 3. For an altogether more educational experience, try the Science Gallery on Level 9 where learning is fun for all the family. Coming soon is Science Discovery, an interactive floor or 70 experiments for children to work on under expert supervision.

Blue Pumpkin ice cream, Kids City, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Blue Pumpkin ice cream, Kids City, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

As well as all the air-con activities set over 11 floors, there are also several dining outlets in Kids City, including a branch of The Blue Pumpkin on Level 5, overlooking Clip ‘n Climb, and a Gloria Jeans Coffee on the ground floor. Other pit stops include a small Pop Tea counter on Level 4 and a Blue Pumpkin ice cream spot on Level 1.

Reading this from afar, it might sound like parental hell travelling thousands of miles to end up in a children’s activity centre, but wait until you have experienced a few days in the tropical heat. It’s the perfect trade-off to keep the children onside for sight-seeing around the Royal Palace and National Museum, so set aside a half day to escape the heat and enjoy some unexpected family fun in the Cambodian capital.

 

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