Posts Tagged ‘Phnom Penh’

Sailing the Mekong

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
Pandaw on the Mekong

Pandaw on the Mekong

The mighty river Mekong flows from the Tibetan Plateau through China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia into Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and the South China Sea. You can experience the fascinating and varied river life along the Mekong between Vietnam and Cambodia on a river cruise aboard the RV Mekong Pandaw. Pandaw River Expeditions operates weekly departures between Saigon and Siem Reap/Angkor. You will pass from the vibrant French colonial port of Saigon, through the vast delta so rich in human life and endeavour, to travel along the main channel into the rich countryside of Cambodia.  With a full day in charming Phnom Penh, you will then explore remoter waterways on the way to the great monuments of Angkor.

The RV Mekong Pandaw received a full refit in September 2013. In their spacious state rooms, guests can find finest teak wood, new bathroom, new air conditioning and new sliding French windows leading to the promenade deck. The numbers of cabins have been reduced to just twenty-four making way for a much enlarged spa, new gym, lecture and movie theatre, art gallery, fair-trade-shop and library on the lower deck.

Pandaw is providing pre-programmed iPads with new one-touch-applications to its guests on the RV Mekong Pandaw: itineraries, meal and spa menus, gather information on rivers tops, weather forecast, skype, send e-postcards, watch movies, read e-books and surf the internet. This ship has the largest public space to passenger ratio of any cruise ship in the world. Pandaw is preserving the classic yacht atmosphere but enhances service and facilities. On all Pandaw ships you will experience Asian hospitality and enjoy the highest staff – guest ratio afloat ensuring sensational service.

For July and August sailings the prices are reduced by up to 20%. Fantastic deals, contact the Hanuman Team today for more details.

Open-air cinema at Le Palais

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

An unusual aspect of a new hotel that has partially opened in Phnom Penh is the creation of an open-air cinema within the hotel’s main restaurant.

The exterior of Le Palais des Anges Hotel in Phnom Penh

The exterior of Le Palais des Anges Hotel in Phnom Penh

Part of the newly renovated Le Palais des Anges Hotel was previously known as Cine Hawaii, and it’s now been converted into a three-storey restaurant, called Phkar Romyool, which doubles as a dine-while-you-watch theatre. The only original feature that remains after renovations is a floral emblem above the space where the screen stood. Tables and chairs face a blank white canvas onto which films are projected after dinner. Everything is open to the sky – an extendable roof can be closed if there’s a threat of rain.

The hotel will host 70 rooms and a roof-top swimming pool and sky-bar when its finalised in a few months time. At the moment, thirty rooms have been completed and are open to the public. Le Palais des Anges is located a stone’s throw from the Cambodian capital’s recently renovated Central Market. Both buildings exude the yellow-painted charm of the French colonial style.

The interior of one of the rooms at Le Palais des Anges

The interior of one of the rooms at Le Palais des Anges

iRoHa Garden opens its doors

Monday, June 30th, 2014
A view of the main villa and pool at iRoHa Garden Hotel

A view of the main villa and pool at iRoHa Garden Hotel

A newcomer to the slew of boutique hotels opening their doors in Phnom Penh is the iRoHa Garden Hotel, tucked away in a quiet, secluded street in the Chamkarmon district of the capital city. Set in a renovated 1950s villa, with extensive gardens and a large swimming pool, iRoHa has 27 rooms in seven categories, with their good-sized superior and deluxe rooms with or without a balcony of particular interest. They also have two suites. A restaurant and bar is part of their offerings, alongwith a Samata Spa room, all tastefully furnished in a contemporary Khmer style. Some great opening room deals can be had too, so consider this quiet retreat in the heart of the city on your next visit to Cambodia.

One of the tasteful rooms at iRoHa Garden Hotel

One of the tasteful rooms at iRoHa Garden Hotel

A nighttime view of the iRoHa Garden Hotel in Phnom Penh

A nighttime view of the iRoHa Garden Hotel in Phnom Penh

The Green Season is Calling

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Come to Cambodia in the Green Season. We list below a few reasons why coming to this beautiful country in what is considered the low season, but what we like to call the Green Season, is a great time to visit.

Rice harvesting in Kratie

Rice harvesting in Kratie

  • A temple to yourselves. Angkor is considerably quieter in the green season, which is great for visiting the temples. Most of the big tour groups have vanished, the temples are often deserted, especially early in the mornings and even the Bayon and Angkor Wat are quiet. If you head out to Koh Ker and Beng Mealea you will not see many other tourists at all and our guides can take you to some lesser known temples like the isolated Ta Nei where you may be lucky to see some recently released Gibbons in the vicinity of the temple.
  • The scenery. Cambodia is at its most beautiful in the green season. The rice paddies are gorgeously green and verdant, the moats and Barays near the temples are full and when conditions are just right, you can expect spectacular sunsets.
  • It’s cooler. The rains break up the heat, it’s easier to explore and spend longer at each site and for much of the time it is still cloudless and sunny in the mornings.
  • Value for money. Cambodia is pretty unbeatable value for money compared to most other destinations, but in the green season, we offer seriously competitive rates and special offers.
  • The Tonle Sap Lake. The green season is the best time to visit the floating villages of Kompong Pluk and Kompong Khleang. Water levels are getting higher, making it much easier to navigate through the villages by boat. Travel in June and July and see the water levels rising, but still appreciate the height of the bamboo skyscraper houses on stilts. Visit in August and September and the water levels completely flood the mangroves, which is a beautiful sight and it laps at the front steps of the stilted houses.
  • Flights. They are much cheaper in the spring and summer months, both from the United Kingdom and Europe, and internally within Cambodia.
  • Pick of the very best guides. Our tour guides are not as rushed off their feet as they are in the high season, so take a look at our customer feedback and request the guides who appeal to you.
  • A second visit? Many first time visitors travel to Cambodia in the high season. The country takes on a different look and feel in the green season. The landscape changes, the Mekong River reverses its flow into the Tonle Sap Lake which expands, and there are less tourists. It’s a perfect time to return and visit some new and interesting areas like Battambang, Kampot, Kep, Kratie and even venture up to Mondulkiri in the Northeast.

So there you have it, 8 great reasons to visit Cambodia now. Contact the Hanuman sales team for the special offers and competitive rates we will be happy to provide.

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.

Vibrant Phnom Penh

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

Hanuman Travel’s latest video – vibrant Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia.
 

Welcome to Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s resurgent and vibrant capital. Once dubbed the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh is fast regaining its sheen, boasting the glimmering spires of the Royal Palace, the fluttering saffron of monks’ robes and a luscious location on the banks of the mighty Mekong River. The city streets and markets are a continuous hive of activity, the capital’s landmarks are an eclectic mix of old and new and Phnom Penh is now among the hip cities of the region, with an alluring café culture, bustling bars and a world-class food scene. Find out more about Phnom Penh and Cambodia with Hanuman. Visit our website at http://www.hanuman.travel/.

Coming home to Cambodia

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Visitors to the National Museum in Phnom Penh will soon be able to view three important historic sculptures that this week found their way back home to Cambodia.

Three ancient statues return home to Cambodia. Picture from Sabay.com.kh

Three ancient statues return home to Cambodia. Picture from Sabay.com.kh

Three statues, amongst many, were smuggled out of Cambodia in the chaos of the civil war in the 1970s, from Prasat Chen at the Koh Ker temple complex in northern Cambodia to be precise, and after much pressure from the Cambodian government, have been returned to their original birthplace. The Balarama (returned by Christie’s auction house), Duryodhana (from Sotheby’s auction house) and Bhima (from the Norton Simon Museum) statues – which were originally displayed with six other statues to depict a mythical battle scene from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata at Prasat Chen – will be housed in a special collection at the National Museum in Phnom Penh very soon.

Unesco country representative Anne Lemaistre said the return of the three statues was of particular significance in light of the conflict-related devastation of artifacts in countries such as Syria and Iraq. “It gives me extreme satisfaction to see them back and for me it’s—wow—an historic moment,” she said. “We’ve been working on it for three years, and now that I see them there, it’s like a dream. I cannot believe it.” The statues will ultimately be displayed in a permanent setting at the National Museum, Ms. Le-maistre added. “Young Cambodians now will be able to enjoy these new pieces of heritage…and we are not talking about small pieces, we are talking about masterpieces,” she said.

Stylish Le Blanc Boutique Hotel

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Bright and stylish, welcome to Le Blanc in Phnom Penh.

 

Le Blanc Boutique Hotel in Phnom Penh welcomes visitors into a dazzlingly white villa of nine elegant, modernist rooms spread over a two-storey building, overlooking their canopied swimming pool. Their Le Coco restaurant provides open-air, poolside dining. Located in the relative quiet surroundings of Boeung Keng Kang, hand-painted artwork decorates the walls of the hotel’s open areas and in their five contemporary deluxe rooms, three luxury rooms and a single suite. Small and intimate, Le Blanc offers a stylish and original twist on the boutique accommodation in Cambodia’s capital city. Watch our Hanuman Travel TV video of Le Blanc to see for yourself.

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.

 

Secluded Samsara Villa

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Samsara Villa – serene and secluded amongst Phnom Penh’s boutique offerings.

The pool and main building at Samsara Villa

The pool and main building at Samsara Villa

If you are seeking a quiet and relaxing stay in Phnom Penh, then you might want to consider Samsara Villa, tucked away in a quiet side-street of the embassy district of the capital. With the recent addition of a new block of rooms next to the spacious swimming pool, the twenty rooms are a mix of superior, deluxe and suites, with budget conscious travellers homing in on the superior category. There’s a good choice of deluxe options while the junior suites are well worth considering. For a family of up to five, the Samsara Suite is excellent value, spacious with a garden and large living room. There’s a large ground floor restaurant area adjacent to the pool and the contemporary feel of the boutique hotel is enhanced by a collection of artworks liberally placed in the rooms and common areas. Definitely worth considering amongst the ever-expanding collection of boutique accommodation in Cambodia’s capital.

A junior suite at Samsara Villa

A junior suite at Samsara Villa