Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Cambodia’s two world records

Thursday, April 16th, 2015
The new Madizon dance world record

The new Madizon dance world record

The Angkor Sangkran Festival that has just taken place in Siem Reap, Cambodia welcomed more than half a million visitors to the festivities held amongst the Temples of Angkor, and the massive Khmer New Year crowds witnessed two world records. A 3.2 tonne sticky rice cake made it into the Guinness Book of World Records, and so did a 2,015-person Madizon line-dance (pictured), as Cambodia made their new year celebrations even more memorable with two records.

Travel insider’s last-minute Khmer New Year getaway tips

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Hanuman's Patrick Chase

Hanuman’s Patrick Chase

The Phnom Penh Post Weekend edition’s Will Jackson spoke to Hanuman’s General Manager Patrick Chase.

Patrick Chase’s job is to put together custom travel experiences, so with the Khmer New Year break looming, Will Jackson quizzed him on some lesser-known, last-minute getaway options for the less organised among us.

KEP
They’ve just built these new chalets and villas at Starling Ridge Plantation Resort and it’s just a great place to stay. There’s a main house where you can use the pool. The chalets are really, really nice, and from there you escape the crowds at Kep and Kampot but you’re only a 20-minute drive from both. It’s got a nice restaurant there, too. Obviously, they have the pepper, but they grow a lot of other organic produce down there as well. We sent some very high-end clients there for lunch who raved about it. They loved the journey from Kep through all the little dusty roads, paddies, sugar palms. The countryside is so beautiful down there.
Rooms start from $35 per night. Web: starlingridge.com.

PREAH VIHEAR
If you want to go see the escarpment temple at Preah Vihear – while tensions with Thailand are at a low ebb – the new Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel is the first decent place to stay in Sraem which is about 20 minutes away. It’s four-star and has air-conditioned rooms, a swimming pool, pool table and bar. It’s really nice. It would fit in in Siem Reap no trouble. And that could be something a little bit different.
Standard rooms start from $30 per night. Web: preahvihearhotels.com.

PHNOM PENH
If you actually decide just to stay in Phnom Penh, a lot of the hotels put on some great specials because the city’s just empty. The five-star Raffles Hotel Le Royal is doing “staycation” packages all through April with rooms starting at $125 including a buffet breakfast, three hours complementary babysitting and they will double the credit if you spend $50 or more on a restaurant, bar or spa voucher. La Rose Suites and Boutique Hotel and Spa is offering 50 per cent off its public room rates and bonuses like free massages and free use of the minibar. And Villa Sovanna, which is another nice little boutique place, is doing rooms starting at $50 with a free upgrade plus 15 per cent off food and 50 per cent off cocktails. Again, if you spend at least $5 on food and drinks, they will let you use the pool.
Web: raffles.com/phnom-penh, larose.com.kh and villasovanna.com

BANTEAY CHHMAR
If you want to see an Angkorian temple I guarantee a lot of people haven’t and don’t mind a bit of a bumpy ride, then driving north of Battambang to Sisophon and then continuing on a bumpy road about an hour north from there, you get to Banteay Chhmar, where there’s a full-blown, Jayavarman VII temple. It’s magnificent. The main structure is crumbling stone surrounded by jungle with huge towers everywhere, and there are several satellite temples to boot. If you want to stay up there, this really interesting community which looks after the temples – all the entrance fees and everything go directly to the community; they also do home stays.
Home stays cost $7 per room. Web: visitbanteaychhmar.org

BATTAMBANG
I just love Battambang, but it’s often forgotten. Last year at Khmer New Year, there was space at the best hotel in town, Bambu. It has a really airy, open-plan feel and combines contemporary design with a colonial feel. They have a lovely big swimming pool, nice informal outdoor bar/restaurant area and a great location. Great value for money.
Prices over KNY start from $90 for a standard twin or double. Website: bambuhotel.com.

Wildlife at close quarters

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Feeling adventurous and want to see at close quarters the work of Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia?

Sopheap the Sun Bear

Sopheap the Sun Bear

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Station is located in protected forest within the Cardamom Mountains in Koh Kong Province. Wildlife Alliance now offer the unique opportunity to stay in locally built chalets in an natural open grassland on site, while participating in one of many activities offered including: hiking to nearby hilltops and swimming in cool streams, setting up camera traps to help document the resident fauna and discovering the wildlife at various stages of release!

During your stay at the Wildlife Release Station, your guide will accompany you into the jungle and nearby surroundings to penetrate regenerating forest protected by Wildlife Alliance and the Cambodian Forestry Administration and situated far from human settlements or disturbance. EcoTour visits can include a variety of activities according to your schedule and all are provided as part of your donation to the Wildlife Release Station.

Savour the jungle:

Enjoy the isolation of the protected forest! Sleep in serenity in spacious thatched chalets and wake up to the sounds of its rare and endangered creatures including the morning call of wild pileated gibbons. Hike through the jungle tracking wildlife with your guide and swim in natural streams surrounded by trees.

Meet their animals:

Come see the wild animals around WRS who have been released by Wildlife Alliance and are making the protected forest their new home, including macaque monkeys, binturongs, civets and birds. Get up close with the bears (including Sopheap the sun bear in our photo) and other rescued animals living at WRS during their soft release, where they stay in safe forested enclosures to acclimatize to their new jungle habitat before release.

Get to know their dedicated staff:

Meet the full-time Cambodian staff rehabilitating and releasing animals rescued from illegal trafficking, raising orphaned animals and protecting the nearby forest. Tour the surrounding jungle with your English speaking guide and help staff set up camera traps and check them the following day for images of bears, binturongs and other wildlife!

For more on Wildlife Alliance’s unique Wildlife Release Station tours, visit http://wildlifealliance.org/page/view/507/wildlife-release-station-tours.

Come to Cambodia in the Green Season

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

We recommend you 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 lots of 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.

Discounts at HanumanAlaya until October

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Enjoy our fantastic value Green Season discounts at HanumanAlaya until 31 October 2015.

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence

HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence

Once again we offer superb Green Season Discounts for the HanumanAlaya and HanumanAlaya Villa in Siem Reap, the gateway to the Temples of Angkor, from today through until 31 October 2015, where we have discounts of up to 50% on room nights.

Stay minimum 5 nights get 50% Discount including breakfast.
Stay minimum 4 nights get 40% Discount including breakfast.
Stay minimum 3 nights get 30% Discount including breakfast.
Stay minimum 2 nights get 20% Discount including breakfast.
Stay 1 night get 10% Discount including breakfast.

It’s easy to book online @ http://www.hanumanalaya.com/

Large Shadow Puppets in Phnom Penh

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Large shadow puppetry at the National Museum

Large shadow puppetry at the National Museum

We spent an hour of culture at the National Museum last night in the company of a full house who turned up to watch The War of Indrajit, the first showing of a large shadow puppetry performance, that will begin its run of shows on Sunday evenings from June thru til August at the Museum in Phnom Penh, courtesy of Cambodian Living Arts’ Plae Pakaa program. It’s a slice of the Reamker, the Cambodian version of the Ramayana starring gods and demons, monkeys and drunken soldiers, all manipulating the traditional large leather sbaek thom puppets. You can also watch a sbaek thom show in Siem Reap at Wat Reachbo Pagoda every Saturday too. This truly Cambodian art form was recognised with World Patrimony Status of intangible culture by UNESCO in 2005. Cambodian Living Arts, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the transformation of Cambodia through the arts, hosts a range of traditional art forms under its Plae Pakaa program at the National Museum in Phnom Penh. Check their website for details @ http://www.cambodianlivingarts.org/.

The large leather puppets are held behind and in front of the screen

The large leather puppets are held behind and in front of the screen

Dancing in the heavens

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Recommended viewing in Phnom Penh. Contemporary classical Cambodian dance at its best.

The Lives of Giants - photo by Chan Sopheap

The Lives of Giants – photo by Chan Sopheap

Art and culture lovers are in for a real treat in Phnom Penh from 12-15 March when the Sophiline Arts Ensemble will put on a performance of contemporary classical Cambodian dance at the Chaktomuk Theatre on the riverfront in the capital city. Their performance of “The Lives of Giants” is expected to attract big crowds for this rare run of shows at the city’s top venue.

The story is based on the “Reamker,” or the Cambodian version of the Sanskrit epic, the “Ramayana,” but more deeply informed by the legacy of a traumatized Cambodian civil society. Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, the founder and artistic director of the Arts Ensemble, was only eight years old when Pol Pot’s regime took over the Cambodian capital in 1975, establishing an authoritarian order that resulted in the deaths of around two million Cambodians. Shapiro survived, and became the first generation to be trained by the remaining masters of classical Cambodian dance, part of millennium-old Khmer traditions nearly stamped out by the Khmer Rouge.

Now a significant leader in teaching traditional Khmer arts and pushing its experimentation, Shapiro’s passion to advance Cambodian dance in the wake of national devastation and loss shines through in this production. The drama focuses on the corruption of power, in which the giant Akaeng Khameaso, picked on by angels in the heavenly realms since childhood, begs the local divine ruler, Preah Eyso for help. Given a magic finger for self-defense, the abused becomes the abuser, and soon Khameaso wreaks havoc in the heavens.

Ticket prices for the 4 shows, which begin at 7pm, except the final day, when it starts at 4pm, are priced between $3 for students up to $15. Call 011 594 673 or email tickets@khmerarts.org to reserve your tickets. It’s a show that is definitely worth watching.

Surviving on Koh Rong

Thursday, February 26th, 2015
One of Koh Rong's lovely beaches

One of Koh Rong’s lovely beaches

Television’s longest running reality TV show, Survivor, now into its 30th season, will be heading to the island of Koh Rong off the coast of Cambodia in March to film two episodes. The American show debuted in 2000 and is a reality contest where a group of strangers in an isolated location must find their own water, food and shelter whilst competing in challenges. The locals are hoping that the positive publicity will be a boost for tourism on the island, its gorgeous beaches and along the coast.

Koh Rong is the second largest island in Cambodia and offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. After years of minimal development, the island was leased to the Royal Group (Mobitel, ANZ Royal and many more companies) who laid out some grand plans to create the next Koh Samui, including an airport and ringroad. However, as the global economy imploded, these plans were put on hold and the island has begun to develop in a more traditional, organic sense, with lots of small backpacker pads and bungalow resorts springing up on the island. When it comes to activities on Koh Rong, it is mostly about relaxing on the beach. However, snorkelling and diving trips are popular and can be easily arranged.

Cambodia on the rise

Thursday, February 12th, 2015
Angkor Wat, Cambodia's premier attraction

Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s premier attraction

Cambodia is one of the top 10 fastest-growing tourism destinations for British travelers, according to a report released by UK-based travel company Kuoni. The report said visitors view the Kingdom “as a natural next step from Vietnam”, with Cambodia moving up five places from 27th position to 22nd in the top 30 destinations for British tourists. Thailand remains at number two, Vietnam are in 13th place. According to the British embassy, 133,000 British nationals visited Cambodia in 2014, up 10,000 from 2013.

Keeping fit and raising money in Kep

Monday, February 9th, 2015
Participants in the 2015 Kep Solidarity Run

Participants in the 2015 Kep Solidarity Run

Hanuman were proud to be an event supporter for yesterday’s Kep Solidarity Run 2015, held at the seaside resort in Cambodia. Organised by Max Discovery, the run was over a course of 12kms and other lesser distances for the younger runners and was staged around Kep National Park. The proceeds of this charity event will go towards supporting the educational needs of underprivileged children in the Kep region – with the help of 1234KIDS Organization this money will be allocated to children who they will identify as in most need of this support. Well done to all the participants yesterday, young and old, some of whom can be seen in the photo above.