Posts Tagged ‘Temple Safari’

Celebrities travelling in Cambodia with Hanuman

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Check out this video compilation of celebrity travellers in Cambodia with Hanuman, including Gordon Ramsay, Charley Boorman and Samantha Brown.

 

Travel Channel host Samantha Brown travelled all over Cambodia and finished her trip with a signature Hanuman Beach Safari in Ream National Park.

Charley Boorman swung through Cambodia as part of his epic London to Sydney journey for By Any Means and travelled the length of the country with Nick Ray, including riding the rocket boat to Stung Treng, dirt biking to the temples of Angkor and then experiencing the Bamboo Train around Sisophon.

Celeb Chef Ramsay cooked his way around the country for Gordon’s Great Escapes, meeting Bunong tribes people in Mondulkiri, hunting for tarantulas in Kompong Thom and learning some new recipes with some of the Friends team in Phnom Penh. He finished with a cook-off against Chef Luu Meng from Cambodia, with a gala guest list that included members of the Cambodian royal family.

Don’t just watch the celebrities, follow in their footsteps. Try a Beach Safari like Samantha Brown, or even a Temple Safari like Charley Boorman experienced at Beng Mealea. Or try a cooking class in Cambodia with Chef Luu Meng from Malis. Hanuman will soon be announcing a celebrity cooking class at Sala Roluos in Siem Reap, using the key recipes that Gordon Ramsay discovered on his great escape to Cambodia.

Or just take the easy option and book a stay at HanumanAlaya, Angkor’s Boutique Residence, the regular choice of TV celebrities when staying in Siem Reap.

Sacred Mountain Safari

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Join Hanuman for a safari to the home of the lost city of Mahendraparvata.

Two stone lions keeping guard at Srah Damrei on Phnom Kulen

Two stone lions keeping guard at Srah Damrei on Phnom Kulen

The international news media has been awash with stories over the past few days about the discovery of an Atlantis-like lost city found in the jungle of Cambodia. In fact, the city of Mahendraparvata on the Phnom Kulen plateau, a few miles north of the main Angkor complex, has over two dozen temples that are already well-known, but by using Lidar technology — a cutting-edge airborne laser technology used in archaeology to help map features that may be indistinguishable on the ground — the research team could clearly see a whole urban network including roads and dykes linking the temples. That was the main discovery, that under the vegetation on Kulen mountain lies the remnants of a city older than Angkor Wat. Perhaps the international news media went a little overboard with their headlines but the discoveries are of great archaeological value.

Hanuman has been running its own Sacred Mountain Safari onto Phnom Kulen for the past couple of years. One of the most holy places in Cambodia, the location where King Jayavarman II proclaimed the independence of Cambodia and pronounced himself a Deva Raja or God-King. Located about 50km from Siem Reap, the jungle plateau is home to a rich array of natural and historic sites offering the most diverse variety of experiences amongst our safari products. The Sacred Mountain Safari is a fantastic way to get off-the-beaten-track around the temples of Angkor and get closer to nature at this remote and beautiful location. If clients are to do just one safari on their trip to Cambodia, this would certainly be our top recommendation for the sheer variety of attractions and experience.

Our 2 day-1 night safari to Kulen includes a visit to an important place of pilgrimage for Cambodians at the giant reclining Buddha, a trek to see the monolithic stone animals at Srah Damrei, some of the remote ancient temples identified by the new laser technology, the riverbed carvings of the River of a Thousand Lingas and the famous waterfall so loved by Cambodians making the trip to this holy location. And you also get to experience our comfortable safari overnight accommodation far from the madding crowds.

For more on our safari experiences, please visit http://www.hanuman.travel/safari/safari.html.

Leading TV Celebrities on Safari with Hanuman

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Hanuman’s signature Temple Safari is an original and innovative product in Cambodia. A lot of people know that. But not a lot of people know that several leading television personalities have been ‘on safari’ with Hanuman in the past few years, including celeb chef Gordon Ramsay, Travel Channel host Samantha Brown, motorbiking adventurer Charley Boorman and Snakemaster Austin Stevens.

 

Gordon Ramsay, Gordon’s Great Escapes, 2010
TV chef Gordon Ramsay travelled to remote Mondulkiri Province for a Bunong minority wedding. As well as helping to collecting
honey and witnessing a buffalo sacrifice, he also stayed overnight in one of Hanuman’s safari tents in the remote jungle.

Samantha Brown, Samantha Brown’s Passport to Asia, 2010
Popular US presenter Sam Brown explored much of Asia for her 2010 series, but Cambodia was the one country she loved more
than all the rest. The episode closes with a beautiful Beach Safari in Ream National Park as she muses over her experiences.

Charley Boorman, By Any Means, 2008
One half of the famed Long Way Round and Long Way Down team with actor Ewan McGregor, Charley travelled through
Cambodia as part of his overland journey from London to Sydney, which included a Temple Safari at Beng Mealea.

Austin Stevens, Snakemaster: The Flying Snake, 2005
South African snake expert Austin Stevens came to Cambodia for an episode of Snakemaster for Animal Planet and the support
crew camped out at Beng Mealea temple for about six days, including full catering support for 10 people.

The King of the Mountain Temples

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Onwards and upwards on the trail of the ancient temples of the Khmer Empire, read all about a ‘Temple Safari’ to Preah Vihear, the height of architectural audacity during the Angkor period.

The following article originally appeared in Fah Thai, Bangkok Airways inflight magazine. Hanuman has not been running Temple Safaris to Preah Vihear since border skirmishes broke out between Thailand and Cambodia in 2008. However, as relations between Cambodia and Thailand are fast improving, a visit to this most mountainous of mountain temples may soon be possible once again. The new road from Stung Treng to Siem Reap via Tbeng Meanchey is improving dramatically and should be finished in 2013, offering new overland links from Champasak to Siem Reap and Ratanakiri to Siem Reap via the majestic temple of Preah Vihear.

Former Temple Safari at Preah Vihear

Former Temple Safari at Preah Vihear

Location, location, location, you know the old adage and the magnificent temples of the ancient Khmer empire are no exception. The classic Khmer temple of Phnom Rung boasts Thailand’s boldest location, perched atop an extinct volcano, while in Laos the Khmers left their legacy under the shadow of Lingaparvata mountain in the elegant lines of Wat Phu. But both these perfectly proportioned prasats (temples) pale into insignificance when confronted with the dramatic profile of Preah Vihear temple, clinging to a cliff face in the Dangrek Mountains, towering hundreds of metres above lowland Cambodia below.

The views from this most mountainous of temple mountains are breathtaking, the foundation stones of the temple stretching to the edge of the cliff as it plunges precipitously away to the plains of Preah Vihear province below. The holy mountain of Phnom Kulen and the great lake of the Tonle Sap are vaguely visible in the distance, suggesting a horizon hundreds of kilometres away.

We are on a Temple Safari tour, a pioneering trip established by local company Hanuman Travel to take adventurous tourists to the lost temples of Preah Vihear province. Using fully furnished luxurious African bush tents, complete with bathroom facilities, Hanuman take visitors to places other companies fear to tread. The mysterious faces of Banteay Chhmar, the usurper capital of Koh Ker, the massive city of Preah Khan and the forgotten temple of Neak Buos, all become accessible on a Temple Safari. We journey by 4WD into the heart of northern Cambodia and experience the magic of these temples with not another visitor in sight. Spiritual sunsets, personal sunrises, this is Angkor 20 years ago before it became Cambodia’s golden goose.

Once at the summit it is late afternoon, but we are exhilarated explorers, buoyed by the befuddled looks of Thai tourists wondering from where on earth we have appeared. Curiosity compels us to explore by torchlight, a privilege not possible at the popular temples of Angkor. We have come prepared with chloh, the traditional torches made from bark and sap and make our way through by the light of the flame, deciphering the architecture for clues to its age. Reaching the drop-off of the Dangrek Mountains we sit in silence, awed by the audacity of the ancestors, the light of the moon bathing the temple in ethereal splendour.

We retire to our tents for the night, appreciative of little hotel-like touches such as antique fans, silk throws, slippers and bathroom amenities. There is even electricity thanks to the distant murmur of a generator. It’s a world away from the usual remote temple experience of hammocks and a mosquito net. The next morning, our hosts wake us early for a coffee on the porch. It is still dark and we make our way to the ridge to see the sun cast its subtle light over the Cambodian countryside. This is one of Cambodia’s most moving places and will be well worth its Unesco World Heritage status when approved.   

This temple was considered so sacred that a succession of Angkorian devarajas (God kings) left their mark from Yasovarman I (ruled 889-910) to the great Suryavarman II (ruled 1113-1150), builder of Angkor Wat. In all seven monarchs contributed to the construction of Preah Vihear in work spanning three centuries, including celebrated kings Jayavarman V (ruled 968-1001) and Suryavarman I (ruled 1005-1050).

The 300-year chronology of its construction is reflected in the progressive gopuras or sanctuaries stretching up the mountainside and offers an insight into the metamorphosis of carving and sculpture during the Angkor period. There are several impressive pieces, including a rendition of the Churning of the Ocean of Milk so perfectly mastered at Angkor Wat.

Preah Vihear was built, like other monumental mountain temples from this period, to represent Mt Meru and was dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. The complex includes five principal sanctuaries, and their state of preservation improves with their elevation. The central sanctuary is constructed right up to the edge of the mountain and the foundation stones of the temple blend into the cliffs, further proof of the architectural genius of the ancient Khmers.

Stylish dining 'on safari'

Over breakfast, our guide Tra tells us a little of the modern history of the place. Long contested by Cambodia and Thailand, Prince Sihanouk took the controversy to the International Court after the Thais seized the temple in 1959. The court ruled in Cambodia’s favour and the temple was returned to Cambodian control in 1962. “It was a proud moment for my people, as Preah Vihear was acknowledged as Cambodian by the international community,” Tra added. Later it became the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge as the civil war rumbled on and one of the most heavily mined places in all Cambodia. Today it is once again at peace and looks set to become the leading destination in the far north of Cambodia.

Preah Vihear, known as Praa Viharn to the Thais, translates as sacred monastery and it was a prominent place of pilgrimage during the Angkor period, with the faithful coming from as far as Preah Khan or Phimai. Pilgrims of old would have made their way on foot or cart before climbing the mountain on the ancient bandai stairway carved into the mountainside, partial remains of which are still visible today. Like the pilgrims of old, we have journeyed far from the Cambodian capital to earn our encounter with this king of the mountains, the majestic temple of Preah Vihear.

 

Temple Safari in the Press

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Hanuman’s signature Temple Safari product has been feted in the press in recent years. Here we look back on some of our favourite quotes.



Pucker Lips Now

Lusso Luxury Lifestyle Magazine

“There are no other visitors at the temple of Banteay Chhmar. Just us. It attracts 100 tourists monthly, but once the new road is built, 10,000 are expected. We stand alone amid the almost untouched antiquity or the architectural masterpiece commissioned by King Jayavarman VII in 1191. For 800 years, until 1956, its towers and temples lay hidden in undergrowth, harmed only by nature. And then looting began in the 1990s.

We clamber amid a jumble of fallen sandstoneblocks. Think arches, walls, temple ruins, nearly everything lopsided and toppling. Light filtering through the dense jungle foliage, we discover magnificent carvings. Here, a bas-relief of naval warfare, with some dead sailors being gobbled by crocodiles; there, scenes of warfare with infantry and elephants; and over there, carvings of the Bodhisatva Lokesvara with 32 arms.

Now we go glamping (glamorous camping) by the temple. We have a butler in a white jacket, cook, driver, tour guide and endless factotums. I could get used to this. I take a shower, the hot water from an African-style bush bag. Then Jeeves serves a great Khmer dinner on a wooden table with a silk cloth. Blissfully, our staff have also dotted candles over the nearby temple and lit a fire. Fireflies flit through the air. And we dine to the ‘music’ of cicadas. When we go to bed, it’s a tent with a double bed, fan and bedside tables.”

Tomb raiding, fried tarantula and sunrise over the world’s greatest wonders in Cambodia

The Daily Mail

“We were spending the night in what our tour company called a ‘luxury safari camp’, with the promise of a ‘traditional local dinner’. My immediate thought was of a tarantula starter, followed by civet cat, gently roasted after being shot out of a tree by a member of the kitchen staff armed with a catapult. The orange canvas tents of the camp were set up almost against the walls of an ancient temple, in a forest clearing. As darkness fell, oil-rag torches lit up the pathways to the dining area. A substantial table with matching chairs, crisp tablecloth and napkins had been set up for the traditional local meal. It also came with a printed, gold-embossed menu and waiters in uniform. Soon a long glass of gin and tonic was coursing into my pot hole-battered limbs, followed by a substantial goblet of Chardonnay. Boy, the locals around here really live well, I thought. The dinner itself was a menu that might have come from the kitchens of a Raffles hotel.”

Camping it up in Cambodia

The Sunday Times

“Angkor must be seen, certainly — but if you wonder what the 1,000-year-old civilisation of the Khmers looked like before it got “discovered” by French colonists and tarted up for the megaphone masses, you need to strike out beyond Siem Reap into Cambodia’s steaming, spidery highlands. Here lie the outposts of Khmer empire: Sambor Prei Kuk, a religious complex even older than Angkor; Koh Ker, jungle stronghold of the usurper king Jayavarman IV; and especially Preah Vihear, a cathedral-sized monastery chipped into the top of a 2,000ft crag. A new “temple safari” promises to take travellers with intrepid urges to find them — and that’s what I’ve signed up for: just me and my tent (and my driver, my tour guide, my cook and my factotum).”

“This is Indiana Jones made real: along shadowy corridors, into flooded vaults, never sure whether you’ll find Buddhas or bats. We finally emerge onto a craggy balcony 2,000ft above the jungle, where kings once came to greet their gods. Sunset seeps across the plain; the roar of the cicadas is lion-loud. It’s quite incredible. It’s the most astounding camp site I’ve been to… I feel privileged to be here and very well looked after.”

Unique Safaris

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

We take a quick look at Hanuman’s signature Temple Safari at the ancient temple complex of Koh Ker, just to give you a taste of our very own unique temple experiences. Temple Safari was originally conceived to take visitors off-the-beaten-path to encounter the magnificent jungle temples beyond Angkor, far from the madding crowds.

Temple Safari delivers the Angkor experience of old, timeless temples with not a visitor in sight. Witness the most atmospheric temple ruins on earth, forgotten in the forests for almost a millennia. See sunrise inching over the horizon, the temple ruins lost amid the jungle canopy, the modern world forgotten for a moment in time. Temple Safari is an original Hanuman creation and although it may sometimes be copied, it is never rivalled, as we are the only company with many years of experience in this sort of trip.

Koh Ker is a popular option as it includes a visit to the jungle temple of Beng Mealea en route. Koh Ker was a 10th century rival capital to Angkor and is home to a prolific array of temples from this era. The Mayan-esque step pyramid of Prasat Thom is most impressive, but other smaller temples are also striking, including Prasat Bram with its suffocating strangler figs.

If Temple Safari is for you, please contact our team at Hanuman for more details.

The Other Preah Khan

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Adventure Temple Safari at Preah Khan

Many visitors have been awed and amazed by the temple of Preah Khan at Angkor. Immense garudas guarding the walls, ornate apsaras decorating the lintels in the Hall of Dancers, a curious Grecian-style two-storey structure, and a number of iconic trees, it is s stunning temple. Preah Khan is spectacular and often considered one of the ‘Big Five’ at Angkor, together with Angkor Wat, the Bayon, Ta Prohm and Banteay Srei. However, rather less visited by comparison is the ‘other Preah Khan’ located in Kompong Svay district of Preah Vihear. Inaccessible for many years, adventurous travellers are now making their way there by motorbike or 4WD. Hanuman pioneered our very own Temple Safaris to Cambodia’s most remote jungle locations back in 2004, including the ultimate lost temple of Preah Khan. Access has got easier over the years, as roads slowly improve, but it remains the most adventurous of all Temple Safari destinations and only for the dedicated temple hunter. One of the largest temples during the Angkor period, it includes several satellite temples, Prasat Preah Stung intricately decorated with the signature four faces of Jayavarman VII. It was badly damaged by looters during the 1990s, but remains an atmospheric location thanks to the almost complete lack of visitors. Camp outside the gates for a night to remember under the stars.

Our Company Advisor, Lonely Planet author Nick Ray has visited the temple about half a dozen times in the past decade. He shares his stories of early disasters here in an  excerpt from To Cambodia With Love: A Travel Guide for the Connoisseur, available from ThingsAsian Press. Read on safe in the knowledge that the roads really are getting better, although it remains a rollercoaster ride for dirt bike enthusiasts. Nick travelled there as recently as February 2010 with a group of US pilots on a dirt biking tour to some of the most remote parts of Cambodia, including Temple Safaris at Preah Khan, Koh Ker and Banteay Chhmar.

Nick Ray is haunted by the curse of Preah Khan

Not to be confused with that Preah Khan on Angkor’s Grand Circuit—lest you want to spend several days lost in the jungle—this is the sleeping giant that is Preah Khan in Kompong Svay. A satellite city during the golden age of Angkor, it quite literally fell off the map in recent decades. It was lost in the impenetrable forests of northern Cambodia, but we were resolved to discover its secrets by following an ancient Angkorian highway.

The paths split and reformed like the mouths of the Mekong. Sometimes the trail ran cold—into a confused farmer and his buffalo surprised to see barangs in his rural retreat. But east is east, and the ancient Khmers were like the Romans of Europe, distilling culture throughout mainland Southeast Asia via a network of straight highways. Noble sandstone bridges provided historic waymarkers along the route.

Following the devout and destructive before us, we eventually stumbled upon Spean Ta Ong, a seventy-seven-meter bridge guarded by fearsome nagas. Camping out under the stars at Preah Khan, I realized how privileged we were to have chanced upon our very own Angkor without the tourists.

But did we inadvertently offend the gods by sleeping in their sanctuary? They certainly did their damnedest to make a return to this marvelous place all but impossible.

On my next try in 2002, I traveled the old Angkor road, scouting for Jean-Jacques Annaud’s film Two Brothers, a story of tigers in colonial-era Cambodia. The heavens opened, and the trails turned to streams. Before we knew it, we were knee-deep in mud. Annaud took it in his stride, snapping away on his Leica, as we tried to pull the bikes out of the treaclelike mud. “I need to understand the difficulties involved in the locations I am working with,” was JJ’s philosophy.

But failure wasn’t an option on my part, and a dry November convinced me to try again. The gods deigned otherwise. The heavens opened again, and we were soon sliding around like Ski-Doos.

Unrepentant and still oblivious to the curse, I ventured forth once more to conduct a community tourism assessment. This time it was going swimmingly up until the point my colleague, John, took this literally and went up to his neck in a river. I pushed ahead for help.

As dusk was closing in, I came upon a second river, wide and dry. Squirming through the sand, I reached a narrow channel of water. The bank was steep and sandy; the wheels of my bike just churned and spun. Pushing, pulling, raging, cursing, I tried everything, but I couldn’t get the bike to budge. I abandoned it and stumbled on to Ta Seng to raise the rescue committee. We found John dazed and delirious on the outskirts of town, carrying a dirty bowl he’d been using to drink from puddles.

The next morning we set off with ox carts in search of our steeds. As we came upon the first river, it had swollen overnight and was now a raging torrent. All I could see was a handlebar sticking sorrowfully out of the water. Stripping off, we hauled my bike out. John swam the river and trekked in search of his bike. Remarkably, it started, and he came roaring out the forest. Mine, on the other hand, was paraded around Ta Seng in search of a mechanic or magician. After taking it apart with the precision of a surgeon, the local mechanic reassembled it and beeped the horn triumphantly. It wouldn’t start, but face was saved.

We eventually made it out on a combination of ox carts and motorbikes. It was time to return to civilization. Third time unlucky, and I realized the curse of Preah Khan was upon me.

Getting to Preah Khan
There is no public transport to Preah Khan itself, but there are very infrequent trucks to the nearby village Ta Seng. Realistically most visitors are going to get to the temple under their own steam, either by moto, rented motorbike, or chartered 4WD. Getting to Preah Khan is quickest by motorbike from Kompong Thom. Follow National Highway 64 north toward Tbeng Meanchey. After about 80 kilometers, a small track leads west from the village of Phnom Dek through the forest to Ta Seng and Preah Khan. The total distance is about 120 kilometers from Kompong Thom, and it takes about five hours in the dry season.

Coming from Siem Reap, it’s multiple choice. By 4WD, take National Highway 6 to Stoeng, before heading north on a long, long dirt road to Ta Seng and Preah Khan. By motorbike there are two options. Easiest is to follow National Highway 6 southeast to Kompong Kdei before heading north on a good dirt road to the village of Khvau. From Khvau, it is forty kilometers east to Preah Khan on a miserable ox-cart track. Or … get your kicks on Route 66.

More adventurous and romantic is to follow the old Angkor road from Beng Mealea east to Preah Khan, which includes about ten Angkorian bridges dating from the twelfth century. Forget about trying this in the wet season, unless you can handle an ox cart. The best time to visit is from January to April, as the trails are reasonably dry.

Visit our new website at www.hanuman.travel

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Hanuman is pleased to announce the launch of its completely new website at www.hanuman.travel. Please take your time to visit and check out some of the new features.

We have a whole selection of new Journeys for Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam which include themed trips such as Cycling Cambodia, Trekking Northern Laos, Culinary Vietnam and Good Cause visits throughout the region.

Our featured hotels include some of the most celebrated properties in the region from grand colonial palaces to boutique resorts and ecofriendly mountain lodges.

Our Authentic Experiences include one-off moments that can elevate a trip from the ordinary to the extraordinary. We also have a collection of travel themes to help you browse if you don’t really know where you want to go. These include Unique Journeys, Original Adventures, Temple Safaris, Romantic Escapes, Inspirational Family Holidays and Responsible Tourism.

To learn more about why it makes sense to work with us, check out our Why Hanuman page on the website. Or if you are still unsure, then visit our In the Press page to find out what the international media think about us and why The Sunday Times named us ‘One of the World’s Top Travel Fixers’. Or if the words of journalists don’t sway you, then take a look at our testimonials, a eulogy to the art of service and hospitality.

Finally, if you want to learn more about us, then check out our Company Story, a little different from the usual road to success. There are links to follow our blog, regularly updated on all things Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, there are links to other areas of our business such as HanumanAlaya, Angkor’s Boutique Residence, Hanuman Films, the leading production servicing company in Cambodia, and Hanuman Traditional Arts, the finest collection of collectables in the country.

We encourage you to drop into www.hanuman.travel and take a look for yourselves. Discover travel with a personal touch in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Discover why it really does make a difference to travel with Hanuman.

Inspirational Holidays, Unique Journeys and Original Adventures.

Local knowledge, international experience, est 1990.

Samantha Brown goes on Safari

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Travel Channel host Samantha Brown Experiences a Beach Safari

Renowned Travel Channel host Samantha Brown travels to Cambodia for her Passport to Asia show. Journeying to Phnom Penh and the fabled Temples of Angkor, her incredible trip ends with a unique Beach Safari in Ream National Park. See the experience for yourself. Beach Safaris can be arranged on mainland beaches around Sihanoukville and Kep or on remote islands off the coast.

This is what Samantha Brown had to say about her Cambodian experience on her personal blog:

Cambodians: The Irish of Southeast Asia

Just like parents who “equally” love all their children, as a traveler I don’t like to admit that I have a favorite, but I do. Out of the eight countries visited in the Asia series, Cambodia was my favorite. I knew from the beginning that this was a different place.

Landing anywhere in Asia makes a recess of an elementary school look like naptime. It’s just that chaotic. When you leave the airport you might as well be walking onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange right before the closing bell. As I leave the shelter of the airport I always brace myself for the onslaught of people asking if we need a ride or a guide. My attention is more focused on navigating an errant luggage cart topped with four heavy pieces of baggage plus a tripod or lens case while following the other 5 members of my crew with equally temperamental carts as we try to locate the person who is officially our guide and ride. Whew. But as we left the airport terminal in Cambodia in Phnom Penh the glass door slid apart to reveal a scene of utter calm — just as many people who are always congregated outside an airport but they all stood there with soft eyes and slight smiles. That’s when I knew I was going to love it here.

I had some advice to brace myself for Cambodia, a country just coming out a vicious and cruel civil war still showed a lot of scars physically and mentally. I was told that adults and children missing limbs having been victims of land mines would be begging in the streets. I thought I was walking into a country depressed and floundering and that the only reason to go would be to see the great city of Angkor with its now famous temple Angkor Wat.  I was wrong.  I never saw those with missing limbs although I don’t doubt they’re there and as for homelessness and those very down on their luck? Sure, but that’s a problem we all have. In fact, as I write this I am back home in Portsmouth, NH where for the first time in 30 years I saw a man with a cardboard sign at an intersection. Travel teaches you that there’s always a difficult side to any destination and that you never look down on another person (or country) but show compassion. There’s no reason to pity Cambodia, the people have an amazing sense of themselves and that they are finally going places.

I found the Cambodians to be the easiest people to talk to. I call them the Irish of Southeast Asia. On the whole they speak a lot of English, which I wasn’t expecting and an overwhelming curiosity about Westerners since it’s only been recently that we’ve been allowed to come. That’s not to say the ancient city of Angkor isn’t a showstopper.  I’ve seen it from pages of my National Geographic but really just had no idea what an amazing place it is. Experts say it’s on par with the Pyramids of Egypt (I wouldn’t know, unfortunately I’ve never been  — hint, hint Travel Channel) but I would say its worthy of the bucket list.

Our new Hanuman Brochure

Friday, November 5th, 2010
The new Hanuman Brochure

The new Hanuman Brochure

The Hanuman Travel Collection 2011 is now available for browsing, including Inspirational Holidays, Authentic Journeys, Original Adventures and Unique Experiences. The collection features our recommended hotels and cruises around the region, as well as themed trips to help your journey planning.

Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite:

Travel with a Personal Touch

Here at Hanuman, we want to put the personality back into travel. We want to share our expertise, that elusive combination of knowledge and experience, to help create the perfect journey to Indochina. Our travel collection is inspired by imagination, driven by our daydreams. We love Cambodia, Laos 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.

We have crafted a selection of authentic journeys, one of a kind trips that take in the best the region has to offer. We have designed a variety of original adventures, our inventive, innovative tours that including hiking, biking and a little bit of adrenaline. And we have created some unique experiences, genuine encounters with real people from the Mekong region and memorable moments that elevate the ordinary into the realms of the extraordinary.

Hanuman is proud to have been selected by The Sunday Times of London as one of the World’s Top Travel Fixers.

To view the brochure online, please visit http://www.hanuman.travel/pdf/HNM-brochure-web.pdf

As you might notice from the website address above, we are launching a brand new website today, Friday 5 November. We are planning some fireworks in London to celebrate!