Posts Tagged ‘indochina’

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

Tree Alliance’s latest addition

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Cambodia-based NGO Friends-International has opened Khaiphaen restaurant, its sixth training restaurant and vocational school, and their second in Laos.

The staff at the newly-opened Khaiphaen restaurant

The staff at the newly-opened Khaiphaen restaurant

Named after the tasty local snack of fried Mekong River weed, Khaiphaen will give marginalized and at-risk youth the chance to receive professional restaurant training, safe accommodation and counseling, including work placement support after they graduate from the 18-month program. Khaiphaen was funded by the 2013 Luang Prabang Half Marathon, which raised over $120,000 to open the vocational training restaurant from scratch. Currently nine teachers guide 21 students ranging from 15 to 24 years of age – some of them coming from villages over four hours away. The students will receive hands on experience in food, beverage and service, developing confidence and skills highly sought after in Luang Prabang’s bustling hospitality and tourism industry.

Located between the French Institute and the Mekong River, Khaiphaen is open Monday to Saturday 11am to 10:30pm (kitchen closes at 9.30pm). The other TREE Alliance outlets include Makphet in the Laotian capital of Vientiane, the two restaurants in Phnom Penh, Friends and Romdeng, Marum in Siem Reap and Sandan in Sihanoukville. All profits from the six TREE restaurants are invested in the students who train there and the social programs which support them on their journey to becoming a skilled, productive and happy young person with a more secure future. Definitely recommended.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Virtual Tour of La Residence d’Angkor, Siem Reap

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Embark on a virtual tour of La Residence d’Angkor, one of the leading hotels in Siem Reap, in this exclusive Hanuman Films video.

From the Hotel

Set in a verdant jungle and surrounded by lush riverside gardens, the hotel celebrates the splendour of Khmer architecture. Built out of wood and furnished in the local style, modern comforts and luxurious touches give La Résidence d’Angkor a welcoming atmosphere.

From Hanuman

The delightful lobby is the epitome of understated elegance, with beautiful Angkorian sculptures adorning the walls. Rooms are open plan and inviting, including Jacuzzi-style terrazzo plunge tubs. The new wing is ultra-contemporary and includes the stunning Kong Kea Spa. The pool is long enough to invite a languorous dip. Dining outlets include the best in French cuisine and mod Khmer tasting menus. Orient-Express through and through.

Uncover the Majesty of Luang Prabang

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Continuing the Laos theme of recent days, discover Luang Prabang with our 4-day Explorer tour.

Giving alms in Luang Prabang

Giving alms in Luang Prabang

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. In our 4-day Luang Prabang Explorer tour, 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. To complete our immersion into this lovely city, we also enjoy a cooking class of authentic Lao food at the classy Tamarind restaurant by making a classic dish such as mok pa (steamed fish in banana leaves). Recommended hotels in Luang Prabang include La Residence Phou Vao, Auberge les 3 Nagas, Apsara and Le Sen Boutique Hotel. Eat at Tamarind but also try the fare at Le Banneton, Coconut Garden, Rosella Fusion, Le Patio and Dyen Sabai. You are spoilt for choice.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Indochina’s Heritage

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Immerse yourself in the trio of beautiful and varied World Heritage locations in Luang Prabang, Halong Bay and Angkor with our 15-day journey of discovery.

Monks at Angkor Wat

Monks at Angkor Wat

Indochina is home to several stunning UNESCO World Heritage Sites and this signature trip takes in the most impressive of these in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Starting in lovely and languid Luang Prabang, we enjoy the combination of rich culture and lush nature in this charming town. Flying to elegant Hanoi, we pay our respects to Uncle Ho and explore the exotic Old Quarter. Halong Bay is the only natural World Heritage Site on this list, but it is undoubtedly one of the most memorable with a forest of karst peaks soaring skywards from the sea. Flying south, we stop in Hoi An to explore the compelling historic house, tailor shops, galleries and cafes of this atmospheric place. We leave some time to enjoy the beach before flying on to Siem Reap, our base to visit the simply sublime temples of Angkor. Our visit includes all the world famous temples such as Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building, as well as some of the floating communities of the Tonle Sap.

Contact our Sales Team at Hanuman for more information or visit our website at

Invoking the Golden Age of Travel

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Colonial tented luxury at the edge of historic Bagan.

The pool at Bagan Lodge

The pool at Bagan Lodge

The archaeological wonders of Bagan in Myanmar will have a new neighbour on its doorstep in the form of 85 stylized tented rooms and suites at the brand new 4-star Bagan Lodge, which opens its doors today. Invoking the Golden Age of Travel, the interiors at the Lodge are of traditional Burmese design, with colonial-era trappings and contemporary decor. Accommodation ranges from 50sq metre deluxe rooms to the 196sq metre Queen Victoria Suite with four bedrooms and private garden. An open-air restaurant, Tiffin Box, a 20 x 9-metre swimming pool and a beauty spa complete the facilities.

More than 2,000 historic temples and ruins rise from the landscape east of the resort, many dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries at the height of the Kingdom of Bagan, a breathtaking archaeological heritage in Myanmar, and the largest concentration of Buddhist monuments anywhere in the world.

Green Season Travel in Indochina

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
Rain clouds over Angkor Wat... and not a tourist in sight.

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

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.

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 great discounted rates off their high season prices. This particularly applies to Myanmar, where high season rates at hotels are spiraling out of control along with tourist numbers, and the green season offers an attractive alternative.

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 recent past, 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, unexpected typhoons and 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 a Stay Longer, Save More promotion through til 30 September 2013. For more details, visit