The Water Festival in Cambodia is to return to Phnom Penh this year for the first time since 2010, when a stampede on a bridge packed with revellers killed more than 350 people. Officials announced recently that the traditional event, which marks the end of the rainy season and the reversing course of the Tonle Sap, will be held over three days. 5, 6 and 7 November have been earmarked for the festival, which will be held in front of the capital’s Royal Palace. With its longboat races, colourful atmosphere and the presence of royalty, the Water Festival has long attracted packed crowds to the city, creating a shoulder-to-shoulder party that can number more than a million people. After the disaster of 2010, in 2011 the government cancelled the festival due to mass flooding. In 2012, the reason given was the death of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who died in October, just weeks before the event is usually held. Last year, flooding was again cited as the reason. A smaller version of the event is also held in Siem Reap.
Posts Tagged ‘Unique Experiences’
Prek Toal is the entry point to a majestic bird sanctuary and is a fascinating floating village in its own right.
Prek Toal is one of the most important floating villages on the Tonle Sap as it acts as the gateway to the stunning bird sanctuary of the same name, where a significant number of rare breeds gather in a small area. Prek Toal village itself is one of the Great Lakes’ most visited as it sits on the waterway between Siem Reap and Battambang. Take a look yourself with Hanuman Travel TV.
Life on the water at Kompong Luong in rural Cambodia is a world away from the frenetic streets of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. See for yourself.
Everything in Kompong Luong floats on water – houses, cafes, shops, chicken coops, fish ponds, karaoke bars, you name it, even the local pagoda. This picturesque partly ethnic-Vietnamese floating village is located around 40km east of Pursat, and lies just off national highway 5 between Battambang and Phnom Penh. It’s one of the largest of the Tonle Sap lake floating villages and is much less visited than the ones closer to Siem Reap. Enjoy this video from Hanuman Travel TV and ask for more information from the Hanuman Sales Team if you want to visit Kompong Luong or any of the unique floating villages in Cambodia.
Sinat and Sreymom stretch their legs around Angkor for charity.
We managed to catch up with one of our fastest Sales Team members at Hanuman, Sinat, the moment she got back from a muscle-stretching weekend in Siem Reap, where she took the opportunity to satisfy one of her ambitions and take part in a charity run around the Angkor temples. It was the day of the first-ever Angkor Empire marathon and whilst Sinat decided against going the full distance, she did sign up for the 10km road run, with all proceeds going toward the Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital. Joining her, unofficially as she sent in her application a few days too late, was her colleague Sreymom, and whilst their times for the run won’t break any records, they were proud to be a part of such an enjoyable event, having spent many early evenings at Wat Botum park in the capital city, doing their limbering up exercises. A tip from a friendly French couple, to eat spaghetti the day before the race, seemed to do the trick said Sinat, and both she and Sreymom are now seriously considering putting their name down for the full marathon next time. They enjoyed it that much. They also filled the rest of their weekend with a sunset quad-bike ride in the rural countryside around Siem Reap, ziplined through the forest around the Angkor temples with the Flight of The Gibbon crew, as well as making a series of hotel calls for room and restaurant inspections. Their colleagues in the Sales Team were eager to welcome them back after such an active and fun-filled few days away from the office. Maybe they can persuade more colleagues to join them next time.
The remote Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia have long been considered the final frontier in ecotourism and the Wild KK Project goes deep into the heart of the beautiful Areng Valley.
Started as part of a grassroots community-based initiative to save the Areng Valley from a planned dam, the Wild KK Project (www.wildkkproject.com) offers unique ecological tours in the Areng area. Trips can be individually tailored to include walking, kayaking, and mountain biking through lush forests, countryside villages and meandering rivers. The Areng Valley boasts incredible scenery, some shy wildlife, and a traditional village culture, adding up to a great place to get off-the-beaten-track.
Groups are small, tours take at least five days and the cost is all-inclusive. The Wild KK Project is linked to the Mother Nature (www.mothernature.pm) environmental pressure group.
The latest Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia has just been published. Read on.
Despite having the eighth wonder of the world in its backyard, Cambodia’s real treasure is its people, says the introduction to the brand new Lonely Planet guide to Cambodia, that hit bookshops this month. Hanuman agrees. Siem Reap and Phnom Penh may be the heavyweights, but to some extent they are a bubble, a world away from the Cambodia of the countryside, it continues. Well you can see for yourself by getting a copy, whether its the print edition or online. There are 370 pages of great tips, maps, photos and recommendations that will enhance your visit to Cambodia and here is LP’s Top 10 of what you must not miss:
1 – Siem Reap & Temples of Angkor. 2 – Phnom Penh. 3 – Sihanoukville. 4 – Battambang. 5 – Kampot & Kep. 6 – Mondulkiri. 7 – Ratanakiri. 8 – Kratie. 9 – Prasat Preah Vihear. 10 – Khmer Cuisine.
It’s obvious why Siem Reap and the Angkor Temples made it to the top spot. LP confirms why: One of the world’s most magnificent sights, the temples of Angkor are so much better than the superlatives. Choose from Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious building: Bayon, one of the world’s weirdest, with its immense stone faces: or Ta Prohm, where nature runs amok. Buzzing Siem Reap, with a superb selection of restaurants and bars, is the base for temple exploration. Beyond lie floating villages on the Tonle Sap lake, adrenalin-fuelled activities like quad biking and ziplining, and such cultured pursuits as cooking classes and birdwatching.
Khmer cuisine made it into the Top 10 so its worth hearing why LP included it: Everyone has tried Thai and Vietnamese specialities before they hit the region, but Khmer cuisine remains under the culinary radar. Amok (baked fish with lemongrass, chilli and coconut) is the national dish, but sumptuous seafood and fresh-fish dishes are plentiful, including Kep crab infused with Kampot pepper. It wouldn’t be Asia without street snacks and Cambodia delivers everything from noodles (mee) and congee (bobor; rice porridge) to deep-fried tarantulas and roasted crickets. With subtle spices and delicate herbs , Cambodian food is an unexpected epicurean experience.
Phnom Penh’s first capsule hotel opens. And take the opportunity to enjoy the Mekong waterways in style.
The Tama Hotel is perched on the 22nd floor of the Phnom Penh tower, an addition to the already existing chic D22 Restaurant, which serves French-Italian cuisine. The hotel – also known as H22 – is Phnom Penh’s first ever capsule hotel. Hotel guests can squeeze themselves into narrow bunks, which are right next to the glass windows of the tower, to enjoy a stunning aerial view of the city. For those visitors requiring a bit more space, larger deluxe and superior rooms are available. 26 rooms in total. Definitely a room with a view.
Down on the South Coast, the desirability of Kep is showing no signs of slowing down with roads in and out of the resort dramatically improved in recent months. Another new face on the accommodation front in town is a new private beach hotel, Samanea, which is spread over two hectares of natural landscape with 10 spacious and elegant villas, a sea-front infinity pool, al fresco restaurant and spa. Well worth checking out.
Cruising the waterways of Cambodia and Vietnam, is becoming increasingly popular for many visitors. With that in mind, Haimark are keen to expand their operations along the Mekong River and will introduce the 68-guest Mekong Navigator in September, a few days after they launch the 56-passenger Irrawaddy Explorer in Myanmar. In twelve months time, they will also set sail with a 24-guest, all-suite, “spa concept” ship named Mekong Princess. The company says it will have “the most extensive spa menu of any ship on the Mekong River” with several types of massages, facials, scrubs, and body wraps. Each guest will receive one free hour-long spa treatment during the cruise to begin the week-long rejuvenation.
Also gearing up for a luxury river-cruise launch is the Aqua Mekong in September. They will be offering a truly personalized, enriching and unique life-on-the-river experience, on board a five-star floating boutique hotel. Their itineraries have been customized to allow guests to get up close to life on the river and experience first-hand the colorful and varied cultures, religions and timeless traditions. After the excursions each day, guests are able to return to an elegant river facing suite on their floating sanctuary, and enjoy the comforts of the ship, like the plunge pool, indoor and outdoor bar, observation deck and gym, private screening room, games room, library, and last but not least, the spa. The cuisine will be taken care of by Chef David Thompson who has just been named a top ranked chef in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
Relax at the serene La Maison d’Angkor in Cambodia’s temple town.
La Maison d’Angkor is a charming boutique resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia and ideally located for discovering the nearby Angkor complex. Within its lush tropical gardens, it hosts 17 beautifully furnished rooms that provide a serene way to unwind after a day visiting the glorious temples. Each room balcony overlooks the infinity swimming pool and the outdoor dining room. Relax and enjoy the tranquility. Definitely recommended.
The Lonely Planet guide to Myanmar is hot off the press. It’s definitely worth reading especially as previously off-limits areas are opening up and the crowds are heading to Myanmar in ever-increasing numbers.
The brand new Lonely Planet guide to Myanmar, 425 pages of hotel and eating suggestions, maps, photographs and recommendations that will help you to plan your perfect visit from your armchair at home. Their Myanmar Top 10 is a listing of what you must include in your itinerary, and here it is:
1 – Shwedagon Paya. 2- Inle Lake. 3- Bagan. 4 – Mrauk U. 5 – Kalaw. 6 – Pyin Oo Lwin. 7 – Mt Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock). 8 – Mawlamyine. 9 – Hsipaw. 10 – Myeil Arcgipelago.
So why did the Shwedagon Paya come in at number 1? Is there a more stunning monument to religion in Southeast Asia? We don’t think so – says LP. In fact, the sheer size and mystical aura of Yangon’s guilded masterpiece may even cause you to question your inner atheist. But it’s not all about quiet contemplation: Shwedagon Paya is equal parts religious pilgrimage and amusement park, and your visit may coincide with a noisy ordination ceremony or fantastic fortune-telling session. If you’re looking for one reason to linger in Yangon before heading upcountry, this is it. Make sure Myanmar is on your radar.
Lonely Planet has the low down on Vietnam. Check it out.
The brand new Lonely Planet guide to Vietnam is fit to burst with detailed information on what to see and enjoy in this beguiling country. Over 500 pages with great tips, maps, photographs and recommendations that will help make your visit so much more enjoyable. Their Vietnam Top 20 is a listing of what you must not miss. Here it is:
1 -Hoi An. 2 – Food. 3 – Mui Ne. 4 – Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps. 5 -Hue. 6 – Halong Bay. 7 – Ho Chi Minh City. 8 – Phong Nha-Ke BAng National Park. 9 – Angkor Wat (in Cambodia). 10 – Biking the North. 11 – Cat Tien National Park. 12 – Phu Quoc Island. 13 – Hanoi’s Old Quarter. 14 – Coffee Time. 15 – Con Dao Islands. 16 – Ba Be National Park. 17 – Nha Trang. 18- Bia Hoi. 19 – Ethnic Minority Markets. 20 – Dalat.
So why did Hoi An make it to the top spot? Vietnam’s most cosmopolitan and civilised town, this beautiful, ancient port is bursting with gourmet Vietnamese restaurants, hip bars and cafes, quirky boutiques and expert tailors. Immerse yourself in history in the warren-like lanes of the Old Town, shop till you drop, tour the temples and pagodas, and dine like an emperor on a peasant’s budget (and even learn how to cook like the locals). Then hit glorious An Bang Beach, wander along the riverside and bike the back roads. Yes, Hoi An has it all. So now you know.