Posts Tagged ‘Laos’

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.

Laos’ Top Five Destinations

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

From a quiet backwater to today’s incarnation, Laos is one of the most beguiling destinations in all of Asia.

1. Luang Prabang

Languid and lovely Luang Prabang is one of the most alluring places in Southeast Asia. Nowhere else can lay claim to the city’s old-world romance of 33 gilded wats, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and exquisite Gallic cuisine. It’s a unique place where time seems to stand still amid the breakneck pace of the surrounding region. This UNESCO-protected gem has rightfully gained mythical status as a travellers’ Shangri La, and since its airport opened a decade ago the town has seen a flood of investment, with once-leprous French villas being revived as fabulous – though affordable – boutique hotels.

2. Si Phan Don

Si Phan Don is where Laos becomes the land of the lotus eaters, an archipelago of islands where the pendulum of time swings more slowly and life is more laid-back – yes, even by Laos standards. The name literally means ‘Four Thousand Islands’, and they are so tranquil that you can imagine them just drifting downriver into Cambodia with barely anyone blinking an eyelid. Many a traveller has washed ashore here, succumbed to its charms and stayed longer than expected.

3. The Gibbon Experience

Adrenalin meets conservation in this ecofriendly adventure in the 106,000 hectares of the Bokeo Nature Reserve wilderness. The Gibbon Experienceis essentially a series of navigable ‘ziplines’ criss-crossing the canopy of some of Laos’ most pristine forest, home to tigers, clouded leopards, black bears and the black-crested gibbon. Seven years ago poaching was threatening the existence of the black-crested gibbon, but thanks to Animo, a conservation-based tour group, the hunters of Bokeo were convinced to become the forest’s guardians. The benchmark for sustainable monkey business, this three-day experience is one of Laos’ most unforgettable adventures.

4. Vang Vieng

Like a rural scene from an Oriental silk painting, Vang Vieng crouches low over the Nam Song (Song River) with a backdrop of serene cliffs and a tapestry of vivid green paddy fields. Thanks to the iron fist of the Lao government finally making its presence felt in 2012 (when the river rave bars were finally closed down), the increasingly toxic party scene has been banished and the community is recalibrating itself as an outdoor paradise home with some achingly lovely boutique hotels and a raft of adrenalin-inducing and nature-based activities.

5. River Trips

Until the 1990s, riverboats were an essential form of inter-city passenger transport in Laos. Today villagers in roadless hamlets still travel by river, while several longer distance water routes remain possible thanks in significant part to tourist interest. River trips also offer a wonderful way to discover the bucolic scenery as well as a practical alternative to tortuous bus rides. In each case the journey is an attraction in itself.

This is an edited extract from Lonely Planet Laos (8th Edition) by Nick Ray, et al. © Lonely Planet 2014.  Published this month.

Hotel Inspections in Laos with Lonely Planet

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Nick Ray was recently working in Laos on a new edition of the best-selling Lonely Planet guidebook, out this month. This video takes readers behind the scenes to show them how LP goes about selecting the best places to stay.

The video starts with Nick inspecting the memorable Luang Say Lodge in Pak Beng. His cameraman colleague Andy Richardson then takes a look at the Xayana Guesthouse, also known as the X3 Capsule Hotel to see the dormitory options on offer in Luang Prabang. At the other extreme, Nick checks out the stunning La Residence Phou Vao, one of the most luxurious properties in all of Laos. Andy then gets to sample some style with a visit to Le Sen Boutique Hotel, one of the best all-rounders in Luang Prabang. They finish up at Villa Suan Mark, a family-run flashpacker pad with a great atmosphere.

Warning: these videos were made by toilet-humour obsessed Brits and several uncensored toilets appear throughout the video.

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.

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.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Highlights of Myanmar with Laos

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Uncover Myanmar and Laos on our 15-day tour of the best highlights of both countries.

The beauty of Myanmar and Laos

The beauty of Myanmar and Laos

Yangon is our starting point to uncover the essential elements of Myanmar, followed by the ancient Burmese capital of Bagan, with over 4,000 stupas satisfying your temple desires amidst dramatic scenery. Mandalay and the dazzling floating gardens of Inle Lake await us before we return to Yangon. The beautiful World Heritage city of Luang Prabang has much to offer as we explore its myriad wats and museums, Pak Ou Caves and take a dip in the Kuang Si falls before heading south to Vientiane. The bizarre Buddha Park offers an alternative experience to the more mainstream temples in the city. Later, we fly to the southern region of Champasak to experience our second Mekong River cruise to discover the awe-inspiring ruins of the mountain temple of Vat Phu and the magical 4,000 islands of sleepy Si Phan Don. The tour ends in Southern Laos with the option to continue southwards into Cambodia by land, return to Pakse or travel overland into neighbouring Thailand.

Find out more details on this 15-day tour of Myanmar and Laos at http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Myanmar/Myanmar_Laos_Uncovered.html.

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.”

Hanuman at ITB Asia, Singapore, 23-25 Oct 2013

Monday, October 21st, 2013
Hanuman will be exhibiting at the ITB Asia in Singapore from 23-25 October 2013 and we would like to extend an open invitation to friends, partners and travel professionals to drop by and see us at Booth M34, Hall 404.

Hanuman is the only Cambodian-owned, Cambodia-based destination management company exhibiting at this year’s ITB Asia so to learn more about our destination expertise, that elusive combination of knowledge and experience, we suggest you come over to have a chat. We hope you have heard of Hanuman already, as we are one of the most respected names in the business when it comes to arranging cultural journeys for discerning travellers. Hanuman is regularly cited in the international press and is proud to have been selected by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the World’s Top Travel Fixers”. These are “the best locally-run, well-established, reputable companies, the insiders with impeccable guides, and are masters of their region”.

 

Here at Hanuman, we want to put the personality back into travel. Our travel collection is inspired by imagination, driven by our daydreams. We love Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam and want to share our passion with you. A successful trip is down to service and we understand the importance of getting this right every step of the way, from hotels of distinction to guides with passion and personality. This is our commitment to travel with a personal touch.

Lots of other exciting things will be happening on the Hanuman booth at this year’s ITB Asia. Leading Cambodian circus performers Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) will be joining the Hanuman team at 4pm on Wednesday 23 October. PPS have been likened to the Cirque du Soleil of Cambodia, blending circus, performance art and powerful social commentary to their shows. PPS have toured the world with their cutting edge performances and we are very privileged to have them join the Hanuman booth at ITB Asia 2013. For more on PPS, see http://www.phareps.org/performing-art-schools#circus Hanuman (www.hanuman.travel) will have some cold Angkor beers on hand for those coming to watch the 15-minute performance so please drop by our booth to enjoy this unique Khmer circus performance. If you are travelling through Siem Reap after the ITB Asia, it is also possible to see their nightly show in a big top in town. Contact Hanuman for more details.
Also worth noting is that leading Lonely Planet author Nick Ray will be on hand to answer questions about Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam at the Hanuman booth. Nick has been writing Lonely Planet guides to the Mekong region for 15 years and is the author of, among others, the country guides to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, as well as the regional bestseller Southeast Asia on a Shoestring. Nick has travelled far and wide in the Mekong region and is regarded as a regional authority on travel in Southeast Asia.

As well as Lonely Planet, he also works as a freelance writer for leading newspapers and magazines such as BBC Travel, The Times and Wanderlust. He also works as a Location Manager and Producer for television and films, including work as the Location Manager on Tomb Raider and Line Producer on the famous Top Gear Vietnam special. He has worked with numerous celebrities over the years, including Gordon Ramsay, Angeline Jolie, Charley Boorman and Samantha Brown.

Should you have any questions for Nick on any aspect of travel in the Mekong region, don’t hesitate to drop by the Hanuman booth on 23-25 October 2013 at the ITB Asia.

We look forward to seeing you in Singapore.