Posts Tagged ‘Kep’

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.

Relax at Starling Ridge

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014
Starling Ridge Resort

Starling Ridge Resort

Nestled in the tranquil hills surrounding Kep, Starling Ridge Plantation Resort offers a luxurious private plantation stay for visitors to Cambodia’s South coast. With stunning views over the Kep National Park and the Gulf of Thailand coupled with a cooling sea breeze, you can relax in one of the resort pools, cycle one of the hill trails, hike through the forest or enjoy a relaxing massage at their spa. Starling Ridge Resort is a part of the family owned pepper plantation located in the heart of the world’s premier pepper growing region, Kampot. With a choice of accommodation options, such as their Hermitage Villa or their intimate wooden bungalows, this newly-opened resort also offers a series of excursions and of course, their own plantation tours. Well worth considering if you are seeking a relaxing break from the hustle and bustle of Phnom Penh.

On dry land and the waterways

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Phnom Penh’s first capsule hotel opens. And take the opportunity to enjoy the Mekong waterways in style.

A deluxe room at the Tama Hotel

A deluxe room at the Tama Hotel

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.

Hi-Yo, Silver! Away!

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Horse riding in the kingdom of Cambodia is starting to take off, with classes available and opportunities to test yourself on a trusty stead or a pony, popping up in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and on the south coast.

Horse riding with Happy Ranch

Horse riding with Happy Ranch

The best known of the horse riding schools is Happy Ranch, which offers the chance to explore Siem Reap on horseback, taking in surrounding villages and secluded temples. This is a calm way to experience the countryside, far from the traffic and crowds elsewhere. Popular rides, with experienced horse riding guides, take in Wat Athvea, a modern pagoda with an ancient temple on its grounds, and Wat Chedi, a temple set on a flood plain near the Tonle Sap Lake. Riding lessons are also available for children and beginners.

In the capital Phnom Penh, the Cambodian Country Club, just on the outskirts of the city, offers lessons with larger horses and ponies for children. For those that prefer their horse riding under strictly controlled conditions, the carousel horses at the funfair opposite NagaWorld are worth considering.

Down on the south coast, the Ranch de la Plantation has opened up in Kep, with more than ten horses, which can take visitors on scenic rides around Kep, or more experienced riders to the pepper plantations and mountains of Phnom Voar. In Sihanoukville, Liberty Ranch offers horseback riding along the beach at Otres or in the nearby countryside, as well as lessons for beginners and youngsters.

Certainly an activity worth considering when you are in Cambodia and you are looking either at trying something new or getting back in the saddle whilst on holiday.

The Best of the Rest of Cambodia’s Islands

Friday, December 13th, 2013

It’s not only Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samloem that offer idyllic island escapes. There are another two dozen or so islands off the coast from Rabbit Island near Kep to Koh Kong Island, the largest of the kingdom’s islands.

Koh Kong Island, Cambodia

Koh Kong Island, Cambodia

Starting out in the west near the border with Thailand, Koh Kong Island holds huge potential as the country’s largest island. However, it has remained somewhat impenetrable to hospitality and tourism developers due to a rumoured lease to exiled Thai business interests and military control of the area. Day trips to the island have long been possible, taking in the several beaches that line the western coast of the island. However, there is now one hotel on the island in the shape of Koh Kong Island Resort, offering rustic beachfront bungalows in the US$50 to US$100 range.

Moving further west along the coast, visitors arrive at the tiny Koh Sdach archipelago of islands. Located off the southern tip of Botum Sakor National Park, this cluster of islands offers a mixed bag of accommodation for intrepid beachcombers. Hanuman clients should make for Belinda’s Beach, a Belgian-run bungalow operation on Koh Sdach itself. While it lakes the quintessential tropical beach, it does have the best bungalows this side of Koh Rong and the hosts whip up some excellent cuisine, handy given how far it is to the nearest restaurant. However, the island pricing still applies, meaning rates pushing US$150 per night are considerably higher than one would pay on the mainland. Other accommodation options in this area include the very basic Mean Chey Guesthouse on Koh Sdach and the eco-friendly resort of Nomad’s Land on nearby Koh Totang, but both are a touch too rustic for Hanuman travellers.

Belinda Beach, Koh Sdach, Cambodia

Belinda Beach, Koh Sdach, Cambodia

Directly off the coast of Sihanoukville are several smaller islands with a range of accommodation available, but none quite fits the bill for Hanuman at this stage. A large part of Koh Russei and Koh Ta Khiev islands is leased by French investment firm Citystar, with plans in the pipeline for a 5* Alila Resort on Koh Russei, including a 150-room hotel and one/two/three bedroom villas. Spread over 25 acres, this promises to be a significant development on the Cambodian coast with rooms starting from around US$200 and villas from US$400. However, hold your breath, as it is unlikely to be ready before 2015 at the earliest.

Elsewhere options are similarly thin on the ground. Tiny Koh Pos just a few hundred metres off Sihanoukville, now has a splendid bridge but it leads to nowhere, as the Russian investors haven’t actually built any of the planned villas. Some observers suggest it might have been better to build the villas first rather than the bridge. Another Russian-owned resort looks like something out of James Bond, the lair of Scaramanga, and is known as the Mirax Resort. It might work well of Russian billionaires seeking something different, but Hanuman prefers to recommend Song Saa Private Island for a luxury escape. Other islands have one or two options, but they are predominantly aimed at backpackers looking for some peace and quiet. Koh Thmei, part of Ream National Park, has the German-run rustic Koh Thmei Resort. Further afield, islands such as Koh Tang and Koh Prins don’t yet offer any accommodation, but it is possible to visit as part of a liveaboard dive trip or even camp on the beach.

Scaramanga's Hideaway? Or the Mirax Resort, Sihanoukville

Scaramanga’s Hideaway? Or the Mirax Resort, Sihanoukville

The final small group of Cambodian islands lies off the coast of Kep. Here the sophisticated resorts are all found on the mainland with very little development on the islands. Rabbit Island has a cluster of ramshackle bungalows on the beach, but these are backpacker crashpads and not really suitable for Hanuman guests. The island has been leased to a major Asian developer and there are plans to create a resort complex at some time in the future.

There ends a snapshot of the Cambodian coastline in 2013. Koh Rong remains the best all-round island with everything from ultra-luxury Song Saa Private Island to rustic resorts of Koh Tui. Koh Rong Samloem is another fine option for an island escape, including long-running Lazy Beach and the up and coming resorts of Saracen Bay. Elsewhere the choice is more limited and it’s really all or nothing once you have selected your resort. Belinda Beach on Koh Sdach and Koh Kong Island Resort are the best of the rest, but it might be smarter to opt for Koh Rong or Koh Rong Samloem with room to move if the accommodation doesn’t fit the bill.

 

 

 

South Coast welcomes Hanuman

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Hanuman on a working holiday to the South Coast of Cambodia.

The Hanuman team at Ream

The Hanuman team at Ream National Park

The sales, reservations and operations teams at Hanuman’s Phnom Penh HQ, accompanied by a six-person contingent from our Siem Reap office, enjoyed a South Coast familiarization trip at the weekend. They spent two nights enjoying the sights and sounds of Kep, Kampot and Sihanoukville. A series of hotels opened their doors for inspections and graciously offered up free overnight accommodation, the party decamped by boat to Rabbit Island for an afternoon on the beach and as if that wasn’t enough, they spent even more time on the sand in Ream National Park (pictured above) and in Sihanoukville. It was important that the staff updated their knowledge of the attractions in these three key destinations, as well as the range of hotel accommodation on offer, but they also found time to let their hair down and enjoy themselves. A win-win for all. A big thank you to the following hotels for their co-operation with complimentary accommodation: Knai Bang Chatt, Kep Lodge, OC Hotel, Independence and Sokha Beach.

South Coast Hot List

Friday, November 9th, 2012
OC Hotel in Sihanoukville

OC Hotel in Sihanoukville

Cambodia’s south coast proves ever-more popular.

On Cambodia’s increasingly popular south coast, Kep is making a return to the days when the French elite used it as a colonial retreat and Cambodian high rollers in the 1960s did the same. The ultrachic Knai Bang Chatt will soon re-open its doors after a few months of expansion, taking its boutique room count up to 18 in its waterfront villas. Next door, their very own Sailing Club remains one of the country’s top sundowner spots. Nearby, Le Flamboyant Resort is expanding too. From 1 December, they will complete an expansion to 28 private bungalows, two swimming pools and an al fresco restaurant. For romantic getaways, the Veranda Natural Resort remains a firm favourite, with stunning sunset views from its restaurant and the biggest pool for miles around. If you are seeking a socially responsible ecolodge, then consider the Vine Retreat, a dozen kilometres northeast of town, with solar power, an organic farm and naturally filtered swimming pool. In the relaxed riverside town of Kampot, The Columns have re-opened this week, expanding their renovated French Colonial rooms to 17 and are one of the best choices in town. Meanwhile over in Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s most happening beach destination, a newcomer to the hotel options is the OC Hotel, with 66 suites and rooms, just a block or two from the seaside town’s most popular beach, Occheuteal. Contemporary in design, with rooms to match, the OC has submerged beds in its pool. The new bungalows amongst the landscaped gardens of the Independence Hotel get consistently good reviews, whilst Pagoda Rocks sits on a hill with an infinity pool and swanky cottages, and is a fave choice of in-the-know expats. But the top choice has to be the exclusive, award-winning Song Saa Private Island, distinctive, remote, romantic, intimate, responsible and on everyone’s hot list.

Spotting the Sarus Crane in Kampot

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Anlong Pring Bird Sanctuary in Kompong Trach, Kampot Province, is home to nearly 300 sarus cranes.

Sarus Cranes

The sarus crane is a striking bird. One of the world’s largest birds in full flight, the bright red head is in stark contrast to the grey plumage. Anlong Pring Bird Sanctuary is an official Important Bird Area (IBA) and home to about  30% of the world’s sarus cranes. The wet grasslands in this area draw the birds to the area from mid-November until early May when they migrate to northern Cambodia. The sarus crane is a magnificent bird and seeing these creatures in their natural habitat or in flight is a rare privilege. The sanctuary is about 35km from Kep and takes about one hour to reach. This will an impressive half-day module to add to Kep and Kampot programmes for the coming high season, as it is more accessible than Ang Trapeang Thmor in Banteay Meanchey, the other popular sarus crane spotting area about 100km from Siem Reap.