Posts Tagged ‘avoiding crowds’

Laos Discovery

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Pushed for time but you really want to see the charms of Laos. Try our 8-day Laos Discovery tour.

Discover Laos with Hanuman

Discover Laos with Hanuman

The sleepy capital of Vientiane and its alluring riverside setting with historic temples and the eccentric Buddha Park begin our journey in this relaxed and laid-back country. We then head to the Plain of Jars, a mysterious mountainside dotted with ancient burial jars from a forgotten civilisation for a brief adventure before we arrive at the highlight of our tour, the World Heritage city of Luang Prabang. Home to 32 stupa-studded wats, it remains one of the most atmospheric destinations in all Asia. We take in the Royal Palace Museum, classic Wat Xieng Thong, enjoy a boat upstream to the Buddahs of the Pak Ou Caves and a day of relaxation in the turquoise waters of the multi-tiered Kuang Si Falls.

Contact our Sales Team at Hanuman for more information or visit our website at http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Laos/Laos_Discovery.html to find out more about the delights that Laos has to offer visitors.

With Laos in mind, we love this article by Richard Waters for the Independent newspaper, as he takes to his motorcycle and explores this beautiful country. Read about his trip at http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/asia/on-your-bike-in-central-laos-8873871.html.

Colourful Independence

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

The Independence Hotel on the south coast gets a make-over.

Independence Hotel

Independence Hotel

Occupying an extensive wooded headland overlooking Independence Beach, the Independence Hotel in Sihanoukville was one of the most modern hotels in Cambodia in the 1960s. Tastefully restored, it offers panoramic coastal views and a private beach below. Four-star standard and very secluded.

Currently, all 52 rooms and suites in the original building are being renovated to accommodate larger bathrooms with separate showers, modern furniture, alongwith with touches of vibrant colors. Each floor will feature a distinctive color scheme, bright yellow, south sea blue, sunset orange, tropical forest green reminiscent of the original colors of ochre, mint green, chartreuse and orange together with flat screen TVs and WIFI connectivity throughout the building.

In addition to the recently opened unique glass lift linking the hotel to the beach and Sunset restaurant, the stunning jouvence spa will be crowned by a state of the art yoga and exercise Sala nestled under the canopy. Whilst the rooms in the main building are being renovated, the Sea Pavilion rooms, Premier villas and pool villas remain open and welcome guests. The Independence Hotel will be back in full working order in October, ready for the new high season.

Aman luxury comes to Vietnam

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Elegance and luxury comes to Vinh Hy Bay with Amano’i.

An infinity pool at the new Amano'i

An infinity pool at the new Amano’i

The third Aman hotel in Indochina will open on 1 September overlooking the gorgeous Vinh Hy Bay some 50kms south of Nha Trang in central Vietnam. With Aman Resorts already in Cambodia (Amansara in Siem Reap) and Laos (Amantaka in Luang Prabang), Amano’i, will combine Aman (Sanskrit for ‘peace’) and no’i (‘place’ in Vietnamese), and will host 31 pavilions and five villas. Designed by Jean-Michel Gathy, it’s famed contemporary look will continue, with one open-plan living and sleeping area and outdoor sundeck. The villas will consist of individual bedroom pavilions grouped around living-dining pavilions and a private pool and come with a housekeeper and personal chef. Down by the sea there is a Beach Club with a second pool and a range of leisure facilities. The main restaurant is in a central pavilion, as is the library, bar, and boutique. Aman is a by-word for restrained luxury and elegance and that extra special touch of personal service and Amano’i is set to continue that theme. It will be Aman Resorts’ 26th property.

A look inside one of the new Amano'i villas

A look inside one of the new Amano’i villas

Boutique with a difference

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Three boutique hotels with a difference.

The Guardian newspaper recently highlighted a series of hotels in Asia, Australia and New Zealand that offered budget deals with style and a touch of the unusual. The three that caught our eye were in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Here’s what they had to say:

Maison Polanka, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photograph: John W McDermott

Maison Polanka, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Photograph: John W McDermott

Maison Polanka, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Tucked behind Wat Polanka, near Siem Reap’s leafy riverbank, peaceful Maison Polanka boasts a palm-lined swimming pool, sprawling gardens, and personal service more befitting a luxury hotel. Spread across two traditional Khmer wooden houses, six light-filled rooms are decorated with retro-Cambodian furniture, locally-made crafts, and art and antiques the French-Cambodian owner has collected on her travels.
maisonpolanka.com. Orange room from £98, other rooms £113-£200.

The Sanctuary, Luang Prabang, Laos

A brief amble from the Mekong river in laid-back Luang Prabang, this 30-room boutique hotel is set around a palm-lined pond in colonial-inspired buildings with red roof tiles, wide verandas and wooden shutters, in keeping with the Unesco world heritage-listed town’s architecture. Only the Bauhaus-style handmade furniture gives things away. An on-site spa offers 40-minute Laotian massages for £6.
sanctuaryluangprabang.com. Doubles from £45.

The Alcove Library Hotel, Saigon, Vietnam

In a residential neighbourhood, 10 minute’s drive from downtown Saigon, this elegant hotel with its French-style facade and Parisian-like courtyard garden, offers respite from the chaotic centre. Once inside, you’ll find prettily-tiled floors, comfy padded armchairs, black and white prints, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves crammed with reading material, and more books in the 38 classical rooms. Surprisingly, the rooftop restaurant-bar serves American, rather than French, food.
alcovehotel.com.vn. Doubles from £58.

Boutique addition

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Villa Nane joins the boutique throng in BKK1, Phnom Penh.

A deluxe room at Villa Nane

A superior room at Villa Nane

The plethora of small boutique hotels opening in the Boeung Keng Kang 1 area of Phnom Penh, known as the NGO quarter, continues apace with the opening of Villa Nane on Street 306. Following on the heels of boutique offerings at Villa Salt, Arun Villa, Villa Samnang, Villa Srey and many more, Villa Nane have followed a classical Khmer style for their rooms, with minimal but tasteful decoration. Fourteen rooms in total, with all the usual amenities including flat-screen tv’s and wi-fi throughout, the hotel also has a small pool and a cafe-restaurant, with a Khmer and western menu, on the premises. A very pleasant, intimate place to stay.

The intimate pool at Villa Nane.

The intimate pool at Villa Nane.

The larger of the superior deluxe rooms.

The larger of the superior deluxe rooms.

Featured Tour: Hanoi to Luang Prabang Overland

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Following on from a busy ATF in Vientiane last week, the Hanuman team was inspired to pick this 15-day overland trip through some of the most remote and beautiful parts of mainland Southeast Asia as the tour of the month.

Where the Mekong River meets the Nam Ou

Where the Mekong River meets the Nam Ou

One of Hanuman’s more adventurous itineraries, this trip offers an intriguing overland journey from Hanoi to Luang Prabang via some remote and beautiful regions. Starting out in historic Hanoi, we explore the lively Old Quarter of the city and some of the city’s most famous sights. We travel to majestic Halong Bay to experience a night aboard a traditional junk, perfect to soak up the stunning scenery. From here, we swing west into the striking mountain landscapes around Mai Chau, our base for some trekking amid the ricefields and villages of the White Thai minority. We then cross the mountainous border with Laos to explore the infamous Vieng Xai Caves, which served as a secret base for the Pathet Lao leadership during the war. Our journey continues through some remote parts of Laos to the enigmatic Plain of Jars. The culmination of this adventurous trip is the charming World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, an atmospheric town of ancient wats and designer shops.

For more details on this off-the-beaten-track itinerary, see: http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Indochina/Vietnam_Laos_Revealed.html

City of the Gods

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Undertake a historical pilgrimage to Angkor, home to the greatest concentration of architectural riches anywhere on earth.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, the Mother of All Temples

Angkor Wat is everywhere in Cambodia, the symbol of a nation and a source of national pride. It’s on the flag, it’s the national beer, it features in almost every hotel name in Siem Reap, gateway to the majestic temples. It’s a statement to the world that no matter how far the country has descended into darkness, let no-one forget that Cambodians built Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building.

Many visitors focus on the Mother of all Temples, but Angkor is more than its wat. Visitors are staggered by the sheer scale of Angkor, the incredible volume of temples and the diversity in design from one era to another. Angkor has the epic proportions of the Great Wall of China, the detail and intricacy of the Taj Mahal and the symbolism and symmetry of the pyramids, all rolled into one.

The hundreds of temples surviving today are but the sacred skeleton of a sophisticated empire (802-1432) that at its height stretched from the shores of Burma in the west to the South China Sea to the east. In the 12th century, Angkor boasted a population of one million when London could muster a mere 50,000 inhabitants. Holding sway over the empire were the deva-rajas or God Kings, representatives of the Hindu deities on earth.

The traveller’s first glimpse of Angkor Wat, the ultimate expression of Khmer genius, is matched by only a few select spots on earth such as Macchu Picchu or the Pyramids. When it comes to sheer size, scale and symmetry, it is a vision that overwhelms the senses. Wrapped around its base are a series of monumental bas-reliefs depicting myths and legends, breathing life into the ancient sandstone walls. Stretching for almost one kilometre, they must be a candidate for the world’s longest piece of art.

Angkor Wat was the inspiration of Suryavarman II (1113-1152), one of Cambodia’s greatest kings, although his military acumen was not quite the equal of his architectural audacity. He launched a military campaign against the Dai Viet (Vietnamese), which was to spark a rivalry which has persisted for 800 years. Cambodia has ended up the loser on more than one occasion, the Cambodian village of Prey Nokor better known as Saigon these days.

It is hard to imagine any building bigger or more blessed than Angkor Wat, but in Angkor Thom the sum of the parts add up a greater whole. The gates are flanked by a monumental representation of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk, 54 demons and 54 gods engaged in a titanic tug of war along the causeway.

At the heart of the ancient city is Bayon, the mesmerising and mind-bending state temple of Jayavarman VII (1181-1219). He was a conquering king and planned to promote a new religion, so what better way to do it than outdoing all your predecessors with the most surreal structure at Angkor, complete with 216 enigmatic faces keeping watch over the population?

Jayavarman VII is revered by Cambodians, a national icon and benevolent leader who built schools, hospitals and rest houses throughout the empire, and abolished the divisive caste system. But his obsession with temple construction left the state coffers drained and the nobility divided into Buddhist and Hindu. As the irrigation network began to choke and the Siamese pushed south to flee the rampaging Mongol armies, the Angkor empire imploded.

Nothing epitomises this decline better than iconic Ta Prohm, the original jungle temple of Angkor, left by conservationists as a testament to the force of nature. Ancient corridors groan under the weight of immense trees, the root systems serpentine, slowly and stealthily strangling the life out of the stones. It is an Indiana Jones fantasy where visitors can experience the awe of the early explorers.

Ta Prohm is a reminder that while empires rise and fall, the riotous power of nature marches on, oblivious to the dramas of human history. Left as it was ‘discovered’ by French explorer Henri Mouhout in 1860, man has first conquered nature to create, nature later conquering man to destroy.

Angkor briefly gained celebrity status in the 20th century when a string of luminaries such as Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maughm and Jackie Kennedy cam to visit, but war and genocide wiped it from the map. However, it has rightfully reclaimed its place among the stellar attractions of Asia, a map of the cosmos writ in stone.

The ancient Khmers were the Romans of South-East Asia. They came, they saw, they conquered. They dominated the mainland, spreading the culture and civilisation of the Indian subcontinent throughout the region. They built long, straight highways criss-crossing their empire, linking the important cities of the day. They left temples to their Gods as far afield as Thailand and Laos, and successive empires claimed their old capitals as their own. If Europe owes a debt of gratitude to the Romans, so too must South-East Asia thank the Khmers.

This article, written by Lonely Planet author Nick Ray, originally appeared in the BBC History magazine in 2008.

Reinventing the Low Season in Indochina

Friday, May 25th, 2012

The majority of visitors to Indochina prefer to travel during the high season which runs from November through March. Here are some insightful reasons to buck the trend and travel during low season which we prefer to call the ‘green’ season.

Angkor is certainly more crowded than it used to be. That is why Hanuman has carved a niche for itself as the company that approaches the temples differently, striving to avoid the crowds and to make the experience more personal, more intimate, more spiritual. Visitor numbers have risen tenfold in a decade from around 250,000 to around 2.5 million. However, the vast majority of these visitors are travelling during high season and the five months from November to March. Why not consider promoting Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam during green season? Here are a few highlights about the green season that could make the difference.

Rain clouds over Angkor Wat

Rain clouds over Angkor Wat... and not a tourist in sight.

Saving Money

In these difficult economic times, price matters. Until recently, there was little difference between high season and low season prices, so there was no real economic incentive to promote the region during green season. This has all changed with the advent of the global crisis and green season rates are now substantially lower than high season, particularly for some mid-range to high-end hotels and long-haul flights. A number of hotels in places such as Siem Reap, Luang Prabang and Hoi An are offering discounted rates of 30% to 50% off the high season price. This particularly applies to Myanmar, where high season rates at hotels are spiraling out of control, but low season rates remain affordable.

Avoiding crowds
Peak season is a busy time and it means the leading destinations (and by default the leading hotels) are very busy. Travel off-season and the numbers plummet. This means the sights are less crowded and the hotels less busy, adding up to a more relaxed and serene experience. In the past week, our team has been in both Luang Prabang and Siem Reap and it is very tranquil compared to the high season. It almost feels like a flashback to bygone days when Cambodia and Laos were truly off-the-beaten-path and only for the most adventurous travellers. This can be particularly important for the more wealthy and discerning traveller who really wants a different experience. It is that much harder to create with ten times the number of tourists in town. The best rooms are available, the best places calm and peaceful and the best restaurants not overcrowded. Coupled with price, this is quite an incentive.

The Weather
This is the big fear when it comes to green season travel. What will the weather be like? Well the honest answer is that we don’t know anymore. Global warming, El Nino, unexpected typhoons, many elements have combined to ensure the weather is not as predictable as it once was. The monsoon no longer arrives and departs to schedule.  Even when it rains, the showers are usually short and sharp, falling at the end of the day, some time between 5pm and 8pm. Yes, there may be some instant floods here and there, but this can be quite a spectacle in itself. So the weather should no longer be an obstacle for a low season visit, as it is too unpredictable these days. If we are choosing our favourite green season months, then June to August are probably the best. May is very hot in many areas and still arid, while September is traditionally the wettest, although in recent years Siem Reap has experienced major flooding in October. There’s never been a perfect season to travel to Vietnam, as there are microclimates up and down the country, so make that the perfect excuse to travel to Indochina when you want and not when everyone else does.

Spectacular Clouds
Well it’s linked to the weather, but the incredible clouds that appear during the wet season are something to behold. Like post-nuclear mushroom clouds, they tower in the sky and make for some spectacular sunsets. These are clouds the like of which you may never have seen. Similarly the storms are a force of nature and witnessing one roll in across the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to Can Tho is something visitors will never forget.

The Landscape
Travel in many parts of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar from December to April and it will be dry and arid in the countryside as the rice has already been harvested. Travel in the green season and the landscape is a rich tapestry of emerald greens glistening in the sun. Not only are the paddy fields more alive, but the lakes, rivers and streams are flowing with water, making for faster and safer boat trips across the region. The moats and ponds at the temples of Angkor fill up, making for spectacular reflections for photographs. The moss and lichen that clings to many temples comes alive, adding a dramatic carpet of green or orange to many of the ancient stones.

So whether you are looking for better value, a more intimate experience without the crowds or a more spectacular landscape, the low season can deliver. Add these together and it might just be a better time to travel to the countries of the Mekong region.

HanumanAlaya is playing its part in promoting the green season with an incredible 50% all rooms from now through until 30 September 2012. For more details, visit http://www.hanumanalaya.com/.

Temple-hunting in the jungle

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

One of the ruined brick towers at Prasat Preah Neak Buos

Andy Brouwer’s temple-hunting adventures take him into the remote northern jungle of Cambodia.

Re-discovering Angkor temples lost in the mists of time is an exciting hobby. Back in January 2003 I went in search of the fabled Prasat Preah Neak Buos, a temple built in the eighth century but because of its remote location, inaccessibility and the ever-present danger posed by landmines, it was one of the last remaining ancient Khmer temple sites to escape close scrutiny by archaeologists and tourists alike. It lies at the foot of a promontory of the Dangrek Mountain range that forms a natural border between Thailand and northern Cambodia.

Prasat Preah Neak Buos is an unusual monument. Its location demands that it faces south, and with various structures added during the reign of different Kings, it houses an eclectic cluster of temples rather than one large imposing structure. Early inscriptions call the location at the foot of the mountain, Canandagiri as well as Sivapadapurva. In later centuries, additional monuments were built at the same location, including brick temples with inscriptions facing east, whereas the original temple faced westwards. In the eleventh century, a new group of buildings were erected, with a large brick sanctuary holding centre stage and other smaller edifices and galleries amidst the rocky outcrops and boulders.

Located just a few kilometres east of the small town of Choam Khsan in the far north of the country’s Preah Vihear Province, I enlisted the help of a couple of locals, who’d visited the temple before but who stressed that landmines, lain indiscriminately by both sides during hostilities just five years before, were everywhere so we had to be careful. To get the temple we took motorbikes but with deep sand along the trail we spent most of our time walking the nine kilometers. We criss-crossed three deep and dry riverbeds, meandered along a cool and shady forest section and got stuck in ox-cart tracks before we arrived at a border police checkpoint, a kilometre from the foot of the mountain range. Surprised by our appearance, the police had not encountered foreigners before and took some persuading to let us continue our journey. They confirmed that there were no landmines inside the temple but that we must stick to the main trail for our own safety and waved us on our way. We soon abandoned our motos to continue on foot and stumbled upon a large laterite wall, which my guide confirmed was the southern entrance to Neak Buos. We had arrived. Nearby, a broken statue of a lion and a finely carved colonette lying in the grass was early confirmation that this was indeed the prize I was seeking.

The southern entrance is a mishmash of building styles. On one side is a well-defined stepped laterite wall, whilst the opposite side is a natural ridge with sandstone boulders. The main entrance staircase is overgrown, whilst brick and laterite structures lie in ruin on top of the terrace behind. At one of the outer brick buildings, a damaged lintel at the base of a sandstone doorframe was ferociously guarded by red ants, a common enemy throughout my exploration. Walking through the undergrowth along a path of sorts, we encountered another large entry building, this time constructed of brick with a distinctive sandstone double doorframe, before a laterite gopura signalled the beginning of the inner enclosure, where the largest collection of buildings were to be found. Negotiating our way through the two-metre high vegetation, we stumbled across a sandstone lintel with well-known Hindu motifs carved in minute detail, poking out of the earth and likely to have come from one of the five brick towers to our left, in the southwest corner of the enclosure. Thorn bushes made up much of the foliage we encountered and I silently cursed myself for not insisting that we brought with us some machetes to cut our way through. In the excitement of the morning, I’d forgotten something so fundamental. As the sharp thorns penetrated my shirt and trousers, I vowed not to make the same mistake again.

We headed for the largest of the towers in the center of the inner enclosure. Like so many of the more dramatic of Cambodia’s ancient temples, this was partly engulfed in the clutches of a strangler fig tree whose trunk sprouted skywards from the top of the tower. As we got closer we could hear the bats inside the tower signal our presence and the smell of their droppings was overpowering as I peered into the gloom of the sanctuary. The tower is of brick construction and has a stepped-pyramid or tapered appearance, opening out to the south. It was built later than most of the other structures and had survived in a much better condition. The main doorway, the three other doorways are false, boasted half a decorative lintel with an elephant and hermits in meditation, and a broken colonette. Lying closeby was the other half of the lintel where apsara dancers flying above elephants had their heads chipped away. No temple in Cambodia is safe from the temple thieves who seek to cash in on the trade in Angkorian material. I could find no other decoration on the tower as we inched our way through the brush to a large laterite gallery, with crude sandstone pillared windows, on the east side of the courtyard. Climbing to the top to gain a better view of our surroundings, we could just make out the pinnacle of at least eight towers but it emphasized exactly how wildly overgrown with vegetation the whole complex was. We rested for a while, listening to the quietness of the surrounding forest as our exertions had been tiring, with perspiration soaking my skin and clothes even though the overhead sun had not yet reached its’ hottest.

Our adventures continued on a more difficult route around the rear of the central brick tower, stepping gingerly through the thorn bushes and on top of discarded bricks and boulders. There was no path, we made it up as we went. A sandstone lotus flower, fallen from the summit of a tower and another half lintel protruding from the ground led us onto another two ruined brick towers. Both opened out to the east and both had inscriptions on their sandstone doorframes in Pali, an old Khmer script and in Sanskrit. Closeby was the original temple, known as Sivapadapurva, built in the eighth century and with its main doorway opening to the west. The base of the tower was laterite, whilst the top half was made of brick and housed another Sanskrit inscription, with some modern graffiti superimposed, as well as a perfectly rounded colonette and an intricate piece of carving. A few bats had also made their home in the upper reaches of its sealed tower. Another brick tower, opening out in a southern direction, stood a few metres away.

From atop the gallery we had spied another set of structures, lying in the southeast section of the enclosure and that’s where we headed next. We were more than two hours into our exploration of the temple complex and whilst we hadn’t uncovered anything as remarkable as the main temples of Angkor, the thrill of exploring a virgin site was no less palpable. Reaching the southeast corner, next to the surrounding laterite wall were two very ruined brick buildings. In front of the first was a large decorative lintel with gods, hermits and dancing figures carved in intricate detail. Scrambling around in the undergrowth nearby, we found more finely-carved stonework. At this point the vegetation was almost impenetrable and I just managed to reach two more small sandstone towers with carvings of demon faces, both in situ and lying in the undergrowth. Balancing precariously on fallen blocks of stone, I decided safety was the best option and that we’d seen as many of the structures as we could within the main enclosure. We now headed for the large brick gopura with the double sandstone doorframe we’d seen on our earlier arrival. A row of rectangular sandstone posts preceded the doorframe where I noticed a date carved on the stone, 8.2.1904, most likely from one of the French archaeologists that documented this and many of Cambodia’s ancient temples in the early part of the twentieth century.

After a final inspection of the outer southern entrance, we ended our visit to Neak Buos. The thick undergrowth, the vicious ants and the incredibly hot and muggy conditions had made it a hard slog for more than three hours but the thrill of uncovering a major temple complex that few, if any, had visited for many decades, made it all worthwhile. We called in at the police station to rest, eat our lunch and to mend two punctures on one of the motos. If you are seeking to explore a temple that doesn’t conform to the more popular versions you find at Angkor and you aren’t afraid of a fair amount of discomfort then Prasat Preah Neak Buos may be just what you’re looking for. If you do pay a visit, make sure you heed seriously the warnings about landmines and are accompanied by a knowledgeable local.

If visiting a remote temple grabs your imagination, Hanuman can look after you in comfort with our Temple Safaris to the large temple complexes of Koh Ker, Preah Khan of Kompong Svay and Banteay Chhmar. Contact us for more details.

Hanuman launches its Myanmar Collection

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

The Hanuman team is pleased to announce that Myanmar has been launched on the Hanuman website at http://www.hanuman.travel/Myanmar/Myanmar.html

The Myanmar welcome page on www.hanuman.travel

Hanuman plans to bring its own blend of innovation and originality to journeys in Myanmar now that the country is itself travelling the road to political reform. Many overseas tour operators are experiencing availability, booking and confirmation problems in Myanmar with the sudden surge in visitors in the past 12 months.  As a new operator in the destination, we have more flexibility on who we work with and can source rooms from a range of local DMCs rather than being tied to any one operator and we believe this may give us a competitive advantage in time.

As you know, Hanuman prides itself on its approach to popular sights like the temples of Angkor and its ability to ensure an enriched experience by avoiding the crowds. Thanks to a combination of carefully crafted itineraries and well-trained tour guides, we are able to avoid the major crowds at the most important temples and help make a more memorable experience. We have taken this same approach to our itineraries in Myanmar and, in particular, to the temples of Bagan and the old capitals around Mandalay. Bagan is one of the most breathtaking sights in Southeast Asia, but it is also getting rather crowded with the sudden boom in tourist numbers. Many of the Bagan guides do not always consider careful timings for the temples and this can mean sharing the most popular payas with busloads of other visitors. We prefer to customize an itinerary that goes to the right temples at the right time and avoids the crowds, particularly at popular times such as sunset. Similarly around Mandalay, all too many groups travel from ancient capital to ancient capital in sequence like a merry-go-round. We do not favour this one-size-fits-all  and try and ensure a creative approach to avoid the crowds.

Back to the Hanuman website, the new Myanmar section includes the same features as our other existing destinations of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The drop down menu includes the same combination of Journeys, Destinations, Hotels, Experiences and Responsible Tourism. It is possible to search via the drop down menu or to visit the Myanmar landing page and browse from there. Here is what we currently have on the Myanmar section of the site:

Journeys (http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Myanmar/Myanmar.html): Top 10 Journeys for Myanmar and Myanmar/Cambodia or Myanmar/Laos combinations.

Destinations (http://www.hanuman.travel/Destination_Guides/Myanmar/Myanmar.html): Destination Guides to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Around Myanmar and Country Info.

Hotels (http://www.hanuman.travel/Hotels/Myanmar/Myanmar.html): Recommended Hotels in Myanmar, to be expanded in the coming weeks.

Experiences (http://www.hanuman.travel/Unique_Experiences/unique_experiences_myanmar.html): Top 10 Myanmar Experiences

Responsible Tourism (http://www.hanuman.travel/Responsible_Tourism/Myanmar/Myanmar.html): Top 10 Responsible Tourism initiatives in Myanmar

Hnit Thit Ku Mingalabar or Happy Burmese New Year 2555.