Posts Tagged ‘wild’

Walking with the herd

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Original elephant adventures with Cambodia’s EVP.

Gee Nowl, one of the EVP elephants

Gee Nowl, one of the EVP elephants

For an original elephant experience, visit the Elephant Valley Project. The project entices local mahouts to bring their over-worked or injured elephants to this sanctuary, where, in the words of project coordinator, Jack Highwood, ‘they can learn how to act like elephants again.’ A Briton with a contagious passion for elephants, Highwood is on a mission to improve the lot of Mondulkiri’s  working elephants. While Bunong tradition calls for giving elephants a certain amount of down time, Highwood says that economic incentives to overwork elephants prove too great for the impoverished mahouts of Mondulkiri. In addition to toting tourists around on their backs, elephants are hired to haul around anything and everything, including illegally cut timber. Most tour companies in Mondulkiri stress that their tours employ only humanely treated elephants. Highwood commends this, but says it’s the exception rather than the rule. “Most elephants in Mondulkiri are in a highly abused state. They are beaten on the head and made to do things they aren’t meant to be doing.’

Enter the Elephant Valley Project. Mahouts who bring their elephants here are paid a competitive working wage to retire their elephants full time to ecotourism. Mahouts continue to work with their elephants, feeding and caring for them and making sure they don’t escape into the wild. The elephants, for their part, can spend their days blasting through the forest in search of food, uprooting saplings to get to their yummy roots and hanging out by the river spraying mud on one another. You are not allowed to ride the elephants here. Instead, you simply walk through the forest with them and observe them in their element. In the process you learn a lot about not only elephant behaviour but also Bunong culture and forest ecology. Other project components include health care for the Bunong communities in the project area, and health and veterinary care for the mahouts of Mondulkiri. The Wildlife Conservation Society lauds the EVP for helping to protect the eastern reaches of the Seima-Protected Forest.

The main option for visiting the EVP is a day trip in which half the day is spent observing the elephants, and half the day is spent washing the elephants and doing other tasks around the project site. There are a few exquisite bungalows at EVP but at the moment they are not able to accept overnight stays. Access to the site is strictly-controlled so don’t show up unannounced and the maximum number of day trippers allowed per day is 12. The site is not open to visitors on Saturday and Sunday, however there are plans to open six days a week in the future.

The EVP recently announced a fund-raising effort so that one of Phnom Penh’s best-known residents, Sambo the elephant, can see out his final years enjoying himself with the other elephants at the project. Forced to retire by authorities from giving rides at Wat Phnom and then his daily walk along the riverfront of the capital, Sambo has been in limbo for a while but it looks likely that he will be the latest addition to the EVP. Which is welcome news. Hanuman have been big supporters of EVP for many years, so don’t hesitate to contact us for more details on this excellent adventure in northeast Cambodia.

River rafting through Angkor

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Bringing the Siem Reap River to life with exciting new raft adventures.

With the Flight of the Gibbon ziplines already a firm favourite amongst visitors to the Angkor Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a brand new activity is just about to take off with the arrival of Float Angkor, and their eco-tour raft adventures. Amongst the temples of Angkor lies the Siem Reap River, as it meanders its way from the hills above Angkor, through the temple complex and out into the Tonle Sap Lake. Float Angkor will bring the river and the natural beauty of the surrounding forest to life. Their rafts will accommodate no more than six people at a time, everyone gets a safety briefing and equipment before they are allowed on the river and go-pro helmet cams are also available. All of the river guides have been trained by a world champion kayaker, Eric Southwick, so you know you’ll be in safe hands. Float Angkor is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.

Koh Ker awaits

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Abandoned for centuries, the temple complex of Koh Ker with many major structures including the pyramid of Prasat Thom, can now be seen in a day trip from Siem Reap. Hanuman Travel TV takes you there.

Koh Ker was the capital of the Angkor Empire from AD 928 to AD 944, but for a long time was one of the most remote and inaccessible temple complexes in Cambodia. Located a little over two hours northeast of Siem Reap by road, the complex has 42 major structures including the 40-metre high seven-tier pyramid of Prasat Thom and some of the largest lingas in the country. Koh Ker is also known for some of the most impressive sculptures of the Angkor period, some of which can be found in Phnom Penh’s National Museum.

Contact the Hanuman Team for more details on visiting Koh Ker, including our popular overnight safari. A trip there can be combined with a visit to Beng Mealea, another favourite temple of many visitors.

Remote Preah Khan of Kompong Svay

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Enjoy a look at one of Cambodia’s most remote temple sites at Preah Khan of Kompong Svay with Hanuman Travel.

Traditionally, Preah Khan of Kompong Svay district has been the toughest of the remote Angkorian temples to reach. Even now getting there at the peak of the wet season is almost impossible, and the best time to visit is between January and April when the trails are dry. It’s located some 93km north of Kompong Thom and 64km south of Tbeng Meanchey in Preah Vihear Province.

Most locals call the temple complex Prasat Bakan but it’s common name is Preah Khan of Kompong Svay. Covering almost 5 sq km, it’s actually the largest temple enclosure constructed during the main Angkor period, dating from the 9th to 13th centuries. The central tower at Prasat Preah Stung is adorned with large enigmatic faces and the central area of Preah Khan is overgrown by forest and has been badly damaged with many towers collapsing. Some of this was caused by severe looting at the site. If you are looking for a remote temple complex, then it doesn’t get much more remote than Preah Khan. Contact the Hanuman Team for more details, including our overnight safari at Preah Khan.

The Safari Experience

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Try our adventure in style in remote Cambodia.

Temple Safari is our signature trip and one we recommend to guests ahead of the forthcoming high season, from late October onwards. You will be transported back in time to an era before mass tourism and enjoy the intimacy and privacy of a remote jungle temple all to themselves. Solitary sunsets, spiritual sunrises, the Temple Safari experience brings the magic back to travel. It’s an original Hanuman creation and although it may sometimes be copied, it is never rivalled. Our pick of the one night Temple Safaris is Koh Ker, accessible in less than three hours from Siem Reap. It’s 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 views from the top of the Mayan-esque step pyramid of Prasat Thom is very impressive, and once again available to visitors after a few years off-limits, but other smaller temples are also striking, including Prasat Bram with its suffocating strangler figs. Our overnight location next to the temple walls, complete with a private candlelit dinner and a night in your comfortable tent, with Prasat Thom as your backdrop, is unrivalled. Boutique camping at its finest, as you can see on our video.

Another safari, the Sacred Mountain Safari, takes guests onto the top of Phnom Kulen, one of the most holy places in Cambodia. 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 trips. It’s a fantastic way to get off-the-beaten-track. The discovery of the extent of the ancient city of Mahendraparvata, has opened up new sites to visit and if you are prepared for an adventurous motorcycle ride, then even more of these sites become accessible to you. If not, there are still a wide variety of sights to enjoy. You can find out more about Temple Safari or the Sacred Mountain Safari from the Hanuman team, or online at http://www.hanuman.travel/safari/safari.html and we promise, it’s an experience you won’t forget.

Fun for all the Family at Angkor

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Hanuman’s exciting Family Angkor Tour includes temples and lots of fun activities.

Flying through the trees with Flight of the Gibbon

Flying through the trees with Flight of the Gibbon

With more families travelling together than ever before, the temples of Angkor are a fascinating attraction for young and old and we have combined these amazing structures with a series of activities that we believe will wow all of the family, in our new 5-day/4-night Family Angkor program. Arrival day will be rounded off with a dinner and classical and folk dance performance. Our first sight of Angkor will be on the back of an elephant in Angkor Thom and onto the giant faces of the Bayon. If it’s activities you seek, Jungle Junction in town is the perfect place after lunch for families and children up to ten years old, or stay at your hotel for a relaxing swim. Mini-golf at Angkor Wat Putt is the next day’s morning activity, followed by a visit to the actual majestic temple itself after lunch – the largest religious monument in the world. An early wake-up to visit the atmospheric jungle temple of Ta Prohm will get you in the mood for an exhilarating experience on the ziplines of Flight of the Gibbon, through the treetops of Angkor. The excitement continues with an evening visit to the acrobats, jugglers and modern circus antics at Phare. For our final day, it’s off to the Great Lake for a glimpse of how the locals live their lives on the water followed by a visit to wood and stone carving workshops to see how the traditions of the country are being kept alive. That brings the curtain down on your Angkor adventures, with priceless memories stored in your memory banks and on your iPhones.  To get a feel for the ziplines of Flight of the Gibbon (pictured above), watch this Lonely Planet video of this fantastic adventurous activity at Angkor; http://youtu.be/UJzEtKoITrg. Contact us at Hanuman for more details.

Behind the scenes at Phnom Tamao

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

 

In the latest video from Hanuman Travel TV, we take a behind the scenes tour to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center near Phnom Penh, home to more than 1200 animals, including tigers, elephants, bears and much, much more. All profits from this Wildlife Alliance-run tour go towards wildlife conservation work. For a more comprehensive tour of Phnom Penh or the Kingdom of Cambodia, contact the Hanuman Sales team on sales@hanumantourism.com or visit the website at www.hanuman.travel.

Hanuman Films produced this wildlife experience video to support the work of Wildlife Alliance with whom Hanuman enjoys a close working relationship. Hanuman offers a Wild Cambodia itinerary that includes this behind-the-scenes experience at Phnom Tamao, as well as Elephant Valley Project in Mondulkiri, dolphin-spotting in the Mekong River and the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary.

To book this trip directly with Wildlife Alliance, email wildlifetoursPT@wildlifealliance.org or visit the website at www.wildlifealliance.org.

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.”

Giving Wildlife A Helping Hand

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Wildlife Alliance are offering a great opportunity for animal lovers to help secure a happy and healthy future for rescued animals at the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC), just outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Chhouk, the Elephant with a prosthetic foot

Chhouk, the Elephant with a prosthetic foot

Animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade are brought to Phnom Tamao, primarily to be rehabilitated and released back into the wild. In many cases this is possible. Unfortunately some animals cannot be released and are given a permanent home at the Center. Take for example Chhouk, a young male Asian Elephant, found as a baby, wandering alone in the forest in northeastern Cambodia. He had lost a foot to a poachers’ snare, was gravely ill from an infection in his wound, and was severely under-nourished. After caring for him for two weeks in the forest and gaining his trust, WA transported him to PTWRC and were able to heal his wounds. Unfortunately, his foot was gone for good, so they partnered with the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics to provide him with a prosthesis, which has changed his life completely. He can now walk normally and has avoided any serious skeletal deformities. He is the first elephant in Cambodia to receive a prosthesis and is a celebrated rescue success story. Or there’s the lively Pursat, the Hairy-Nosed Otter. Pursat was rescued from the province of Pursat on Tonle Sap Lake. He is likely the only hairy-nosed otter in captivity anywhere in the world. Extremely sensitive to stress and pollution, this species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. We bring unpolluted water from Phnom Penh three times a week, and feed Pursat only live fish in an effort to reduce the chance of toxins entering his system. Pursat is a playful and energetic otter, and is doing really well in his new secluded enclosure.

To support animals like these, and others such as Araeng – the Indochinese Tiger or Bangroul – the Sunda Pangolin, Wildlife Alliance have started a Sponsor An Animal program. There are two levels of sponsorship available: basic and premium. The basic level is $5 per month and the premium level is $20 per month. They seek a 12-month minimum commitment, with each sponsor receiving a certificate, photograph, newsletter and factsheet. We think this is a great way for animal lovers to contribute to the fantastic work that Wildlife Alliance are committed to doing in Cambodia. And of course, you can come and see the animals for yourself, with a Wildlife Experience behind-the-scenes tour of Phnom Tamao with the WA team. You can find out more information on sponsoring an animal at http://www.wildlifealliance.org/page/view/423/sponsor-an-animal.

Into the Southern Cardamoms with Wildlife Alliance

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Hanuman recently travelled with NGO Wildlife Alliance across and into the Southern Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia.

Wildlife Alliance are dedicated to preserving the tropical forest, wildlife and empowering local communities to earn a sustainable income and protect their own environment. Now, WA are opening their doors and inviting interested observers into see their work at close quarters. Contact Hanuman if you are interested in an inspection tour by helicopter.

The evergreen forest cover in the Southern Cardamoms is stunning - 1.7 million acres, patrolled by Wildlife Alliance's forest rangers, are protected and is thriving

The evergreen forest cover in the Southern Cardamoms is stunning – 1.7 million acres, patrolled by Wildlife Alliance’s forest rangers, are protected and is thriving

Wildlife Alliance's Million Tree Nursery, where 99 species of tree are being cultivated, is helping to replant the forest in the Southern Cardamoms

Wildlife Alliance’s Million Tree Nursery, where 99 species of tree are being cultivated, is helping to replant the forest in the Southern Cardamoms

Despite their best efforts, WA are unable to release tigers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Center back into the wild for fear of poachers

Despite their best efforts, WA are unable to release tigers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Center back into the wild for fear of poachers

WA are working in partnership with experts to protect remote burial jar sites deep in the jungle

WA are working in partnership with experts to protect remote burial jar sites deep in the jungle

Sopheap, a 2-year-old sun bear waiting to be released back into the wild, as part of WA's animal release program

Sopheap, a 2-year-old sun bear waiting to be released back into the wild, as part of WA’s animal release program

The evidence room at WA's Chambok Ranger Station containing confiscated chainsaws, snares, guns and timber

The evidence room at WA’s Chambok Ranger Station containing confiscated chainsaws, snares, guns and timber

Overlooking the Southern Cardamoms and listening to the calls of wild gibbons below

Overlooking the Southern Cardamoms and listening to the calls of wild gibbons below