Archive for the ‘Unique Experiences’ Category

Come to Cambodia in the Green Season

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

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, including half price hotel rooms.
  • 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.

Hanuman Teams Up with Backstreet Academy

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Hanuman Travel has teamed up with peer-to-peer experiential travel provider Backstreet Academy to offer some new experiences in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Backstreet Academy homepage

Backstreet Academy homepage

Backstreet Academy has been cited by the BBC, National Geographic, The Guardian and Forbes for its original workshops with local characters from around the region and with Hanuman Travel’s penchant for original experiences with unique personalities we couldn’t help but take an interest. Choose from anything to wood and stone carving lessons to pencil and watercolour painting classes at the temples of Angkor. Classes in kickboxing are available, as well as the traditional Cambodian martial art of Bokator.

From the inception of Backstreet Academy as a social enterprise in Kathmandu, Nepal, the founders have promoted profit making and social impact hand-in-hand. Check out some of their original experiences in 10 countries across Asia at https://www.backstreetacademy.com/

Cambodia’s Sam Veasna Center a finalist for 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

It has been announced that Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation (SVC) is one of just 13 finalists up for the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards at the World Travel Market in London in November 2016, putting Cambodia firmly on the global map for bird and wildlife ecotourism.

Gibbons in Cambodia

Gibbons in Cambodia

Hanuman has worked with SVC for more than a decade now, sending visitors to Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, Ang Trapeang Thmor, Tmatboey and new wildlife sites such as Seima Protected Forest in Mondulkiri. Hanuman congratulates SVC on this nomination and looks forward to a continued close relationship in promoting the wildlife of Cambodia as a sustainable model to flora and fauna in the kingdom.

SVC is entered for the ‘Best Contribution to Wildlife Conservation’ award, highlighting the key role that ecotourism can have in preserving wildlife and habitats in Cambodia and around the world.
SVC has successfully made it through the most rigorous tourism Awards judging process and is now in contention to be globally awarded for its contribution to wildlife conservation. Innovation, inspiration and repeatable models were key criteria for this year’s finalists and SVC’s unique approach, working closely with WCS Cambodia, of conservation through community based ecotourism has been celebrated for the clear conservation success it has shown.

Cambodia is home to unique habitats and species that have all but vanished across Southeast Asia and has some of the world’s most threatened birds and wildlife, including critically endangered species such as Giant Ibis, 3 vulture species, numerous primates, Asian Elephants and the emblematic Eld’s Deer. Species that can only be seen with SVC. By taking birding and wildlife safaris throughout Cambodia and working closely with rural and indigenous communities in the most vulnerable habitats, SVC and conservation partner the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have been able to measure the stabilisation and growth of critically endangered species, and a reduction in deforestation. The SVC model for eco-tourism both directly incentivizes conservation in communities by paying a fee to the community when certain wildlife are seen, as well as training and employing community members as guides and ecotourism service providers.

SVC Director, Johnny Orn says: “Being recognised in this way puts Cambodia on the world map for its incredible birding and wildlife tourism – not something Cambodia is traditionally famous for. It also highlights the importance of ecotourism in Cambodia and the success for conservation achieved through responsible tourism. The more tourists who come to see our wildlife in a responsible way, the more of that wildlife that can be protected, and the more communities can directly benefit.”

Dr Ross Sinclair, WCS’s Country Director says: “Being a finalist in the 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards is recognition of the quality and impact of SVC’s ecotourism products. By partnering with a conservation NGO like WCS to ensure there are conservation outcomes, and working with communities to ensure livelihood benefits, SVC are a world class example of responsible tourism.”

Sam Veasna Centre is a Cambodian wildlife conservation NGO sustaining Cambodia’s wildlife and communities through ecotourism, running wildlife viewing trips with exclusive access to Wildlife Conservation Society sites across Cambodia. The goal is to provide an alternative sustainable livelihood from ecotourism for the local communities at priority sites for conservation. In return for the income and employment received they are asked to sign no hunting and land use agreements, which are monitored by Ministries of Environment and Forestry patrol teams advised by WCS. SVC now works with 8 communities around the country.

The funds generated from ecotourism go back into community, conservation projects and ecotourism development creating a ‘local environmentally sustainable economy’. SVC’s unique collaborative approach has been held up by the Government of Cambodia as a model of successful community based ecotourism in protected areas which can be replicated across the country.

By investing in communities SVC has reduced, and in some cases, reversed species and habitat degradation by providing a sustainable livelihood option that reduces rural poverty, and SVC’s Environmental Education Training (EET) is teaching the next generation of Cambodians about the importance of conservation.

All Aboard: On the Rails in Phnom Penh

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Royal Railways of Cambodia is set to launch the first passenger services in the kingdom for more than a decade over Khmer New Year. The Hanuman Travel team had an exclusive early look at the new carriages on a ride out of Phnom Penh. 

Royal Railways Cambodia VIP Carriage

Royal Railways Cambodia VIP Carriage

 

The Southern Line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville via Takeo and Kampot has been completely overhauled and freight services have already been running up and down the line for a couple of years. Passenger services will be launched on 9 April 2016 with fares ranging from US$3 to US$6 depending on the class and destination. The trains will be slow, taking about five hours to Kampot and eight hours to Sihanoukville, but the railway passes through some beautiful countryside in Kampot Province that is not seen from the highway.

Hanuman Travel Team aboard the Royal Railways train

Hanuman Travel Team aboard the Royal Railways train

Some of the Hanuman team had never travelled on a train before, as services have been suspended for so long and were traditionally not considered safe due to old track and occasional derailments. Now the line is in good shape and the old royal railway carriage of King Norodom has been rehabilitated as a VIP coach for charter. Hanuman is planning to create some unique steam train itineraries for rail enthusiasts and special interest groups. Watch this space and many thanks to John Guiry and the Royal Railways team for making this exclusive experience possible.

The view from the driver's seat on Royal Railways

The view from the driver’s seat on Royal Railways

 

The Royal Railways of Cambodia carriages before refurbishment

The Royal Railways of Cambodia carriages before refurbishment

Hanuman Guide Training 2015

Monday, November 2nd, 2015

Hanuman’s General Manager Patrick Chase and Product Manager Harold de Martimprey recently headed to Siem Reap to conduct our annual guide training for 2015.

They were joined for a morning classroom session by some of Cambodia’s leading tour guides, many of whom work exclusively with Hanuman. Training took place at our beautiful Sala Kdei, a traditional Khmer wooden home we use for exclusive meals, events, yoga sessions and cooking classes.

Harold starting off the training at Sala Kdei

Team photo at beautiful Sala Kdei

During the training we were delighted to welcome the fantastic team from Flight of the Gibbon Angkor who updated us on one of Southeast Asia’s top adventure activities and then invited us all to join them on tour in the afternoon! We took our superb guides and were also joined by team members from our hotels – Hanuman Alaya Boutique Residence and Hanuman Villa.

The team all geared up at Flight of the Gibbon Angkor

Enjoying the ziplines at Flight of the Gibbon

A great way to start off the high season in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

“It’s not where you go, it’s who you know when you get there” – The Sunday Times.

To join one of our very special guides on a tour of Cambodia, contact sales@hanumantourism.com – One of the Worlds Top Travel Fixers

Pchum Ben festival underway

Friday, October 9th, 2015

On Monday and Tuesday 12-13 October 2015 the Pchum Ben national holiday will be in full effect here in Cambodia. This is one of the most important festivals of the year so Hanuman close our offices to pay our respects to our ancestors.

Monk and gong

Monk and gong

Running for 15 days, usually from the end of September into early October, Pchum Ben festival is dedicated to blessing the spirits of the dead and is one of the most culturally significant events in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The exact date changes from year to year with the festival being based on the lunar calendar. Each household visits their temple of choice and offers food to the monks.

Offering food is seen as a generous act, earning merit and ensuring good luck. It is one of the oldest and most common rituals of Buddhism. During the Pchum Ben festival, people bring food to the temple for the monks to feed hungry ghost ancestors, relatives and friends. Pagodas are often crowded with people patiently waiting their turn to make offerings and requesting monks pray for their late ancestors and loved ones. Many stay on at the pagoda to listen to Buddhist sermons.

Monks & nuns gather at a pagoda near Siem Reap

Monks & nuns gather at a pagoda near Siem Reap

Pchum Ben roughly translates as taking a piece of rice in your hand and moulding or pressing it into a ball to place as an offering to hungry ghosts on alters and around temple grounds. Hungry ghost or Preta (meaning departed ones in Sanskrit) is one of the six modes of existence in the Wheel of Life. They are seen as pitiful creatures with huge, empty stomachs and tiny mouths, with necks so thin they cannot swallow and always remain hungry. It is believed that beings are reborn as hungry ghosts because of their greed, envy and jealousy. As well as food offerings, the hungry ghosts also have lively entertainment laid on for them during Pchum Ben!

Phum Baitang opens in August

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Phum Baitang (Green Village) is set to open in August of this year and promises to be a leading addition to the luxury hotel options available in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Phum Baitang, Siem Reap

Phum Baitang, Siem Reap

Hanuman recently visited the 8 acre site to check on progress. The setting is quiet and secluded yet still convenient for downtown and the temples. Once the landscaping is complete with lush gardens, sugar palms and paddy fields it will be a real oasis and offer some of the most elegant and luxurious villas in Cambodia. All structures are already complete with a handful of their beautiful villas now ready for booking.

This elegant hideaway comprises forty-five spacious villas, twenty-five with private terrace and twenty with private plunge pool. The wooden and stilted villas are inspired both inside and out by traditional Cambodian design, offering guests a unique experience in Siem Reap. A luxurious and tranquil Spa Temple offers seven treatment rooms, a sauna, steam room and relaxation area. A yoga pavilion, fully-equipped fitness room and 50m outdoor infinity pool complete the resort’s leisure facilities. During the day, guests can enjoy a light meal or sample a refreshing homemade juice at the Pool Bar. For elegant dining, Phum Baitang’s two restaurants, one locally-inspired and the other offering international cuisine, serve delicious meals using fresh organic herbs and vegetables from the resort’s own gardens. At the Cigar/Cocktail Lounge, guests can sip a cocktail while watching the sun set over lush paddy fields. 5-star luxury coming your way very soon in Siem Reap.

Phnom Penh performances

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

From May through until August, you can catch these excellent classical and traditional performances in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city.

Children of Bassac

Children of Bassac

The fabulous Children of Bassac show will continue throughout May at the National Museum in Phnom Penh from 7-8pm every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Tickets cost $15 for adults & $6 for children under 12. This is classical and folk dance at its very best. RECOMMENDED.

In the 2nd week of June, the Plae Pakaa Season will resume, 3 nights a week until August. Performances at the Phnom Penh National Museum, starting at 7pm and costing $15 for adults. On Fridays, it will be the Dance show by Children of Bassac; Saturdays – Cambodian Opera, the Story of Mak Therng by Yike Amatak; Sundays – Large Shadow Puppets, The War of Indrajit by Department of Performing Arts and Children of Bassac. Also highly RECOMMENDED.

Our Laos’ Top 5

Saturday, April 25th, 2015
The Gibbon Experience - Laos

The Gibbon Experience – Laos

Enjoy our Top 5 Hanuman Experiences in Laos.

Whether it’s flying through the forest on a zipline, learning the local culture and ceremonies or something completely different, then Laos offers  its own unique experiences which we can  arrange for you. If you want to learn the secrets of Lao cuisine with a celebrity chef, or the art of travel photography with a professional or how about  enjoying a yoga class in the jungle, then we have an experience to suit you. Just ask Hanuman.

HANUMAN TOP 5

The Gibbon Experience

‘Fly’ (via ziplines) through the jungle canopy like a long-armed gibbon and spend the night in the treetops in an eco-friendly treehouse. This is one of those experiences you will never forget. Laos’ premier wildlife and adrenaline rush.

Be a Mahout for a Day

Learn the language of the mahout to control these graceful elephants as you move through the beautiful Lao countryside, just outside Luang Prabang. Help to give the elephants a bath in the Nam Khan River.

Discover the Vieng Xai Caves

Travel to the remote and remarkable Vieng Xai Caves in the NE province of Sam Neau, once used as a remote base for the leadership of the Pathet Lao. We tour the complex with a survivor from the Indochina War to hear the stories at first-hand.

Learn the Art of the Silk Weavers

Sign up for a silk weaving course with Ock Pop Tock in Luang Prabang. Learn about the traditional silk production process and weave your own piece of beautiful Lao silk to take home.

Traditional Baci Ceremony

Partake in a traditional Baci ceremony to welcome you to the UNESCO town of Luang Prabang. Guardian spirits will be bound to your wrist in the shape of 32 strings to protect you on your journey.

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.