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Posts Tagged ‘Unique Experiences’
Come and experience the pristine Cardamoms with Wildlife Alliance.
Wildlife Alliance are an international non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the environment, habitat, wildlife and reducing poverty. They are known in Cambodia for their care for endangered and trafficked animals, their innovative wildlife patrols, their efforts to halt deforestation as well as empowering local communities to earn a sustainable income and to preserve their environment. Now, the folks at Wildlife Alliance want to share their successes and challenges in their brand new Southern Cardamoms Experience. Aimed at the upper sector of the tourist market, their 4-day itinerary is packed full of exciting and unique opportunities to experience their ground-breaking work, as well as getting to see a slice of Cambodian life that few have seen before.
It begins with a personalized tour of the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, where 1,200 animals are housed in modern, comfortable enclosures. Wildlife Alliance has rescued more than 50,000 animals from poachers and illegal wildlife traders and many find their way to Phnom Tamao before being released back into the wild. An in-depth inspection of the elephant, tiger, bear, gibbon and waterbird enclosures are included. Next on the agenda is a helicopter ride into the Southern Cardamom mountains, a stop-over at a ranger patrol station and a visit to an inaccessible and rare ancient site containing burial jars that have remained undisturbed for centuries.
Another of Wildlife Alliance’s success stories that you will get to see, is the rural community eco-tourism center at Chiphat, which allows the community to derive benefits from tourism and appreciate the long-term incentives to protect the surrounding forest and environment. Planting your own tree at the Million Tree Nursery will precede a spot of lobster night-fishing and an overnight stay at the Koh Sathun ecolodge.
A secret wildlife rehab station, deep in the forest, will give you a first-hand insight into how WA re-introduce animals back into their natural habitat, whilst a patrol boat ride with the rangers will demonstrate the challenges they face in countering illegal loggers and wildlife traffickers. Wildlife Alliance will also take you to see how they have helped some of the poorest farmers develop sustainable agriculture all year round, before you enjoy the luxury and relaxation offered by the 4 Rivers Floating Lodge on the Tatai River.
If you are interested in finding out more about this unique interactive tour – Wildlife Alliance also have a six-day itinerary that spends more time in Chiphat and travel is by road rather than by helicopter – contact the Hanuman team at email@example.com. This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Coming soon – Fly through the forest around the temples of Angkor.
Later this month, there will be a brand new experience for visitors to the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia. None other than The Flight of the Gibbon – Angkor Experience, which has been running successfully in rainforest locations in Thailand for the last few years. The new arrival at Angkor offers an opportunity to soar on ziplines, traverse suspended sky bridges and abseil from towering trees, all within the forest surrounding the Angkor temples, giving you a birds-eye view of the jungle canopy. It will provide access to the forest in an exciting fashion while also protecting the eco-system. Planting new trees and other conservation projects will be a key element of the new Flight of the Gibbon Experience. More details, once we experience it for ourselves. We can’t wait.
On the trail of tigers and big cats in north-eastern Laos.
In the vast Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area, rare civets, Asian Golden Cats, river otters, white-cheeked crested gibbons and the utterly unique Laotian warty newt share 4200 sq km of relatively pristine forests with around a dozen tigers. Approximately half is an inaccessible core zone. The remainder includes 98 ethnic minority hamlets. Two-day wildlife-watching excursions have been pioneered to the park’s remote Nam Nern field station, a road-less former village site where a campsite and surrounding walking trails have been professionally cleared of UXO. Highlights of the trip include a night-time boat ride ‘spotlighting’ for animals and day-time guided hikes learning about wildlife tracking. Actually seeing a live tiger or leopard is unlikely but there’s more hope of spotting Sambar and Barking Deer and for each significant sighting, nearby villages receive a small payment. This is a cleverly thought-out scheme that encourages the local population to work actively against poachers. Find out more at http://www.namet.org/.
The majority of visitors to Indochina prefer to travel during the high season which runs from November through March. Here are some insightful reasons to buck the trend and travel during low season which we prefer to call the ‘green’ season.
Angkor is certainly more crowded than it used to be. That is why Hanuman has carved a niche for itself as the company that approaches the temples differently, striving to avoid the crowds and to make the experience more personal, more intimate, more spiritual. Visitor numbers have risen tenfold in a decade from around 250,000 to around 2.5 million. However, the vast majority of these visitors are travelling during high season and the five months from November to March. Why not consider promoting Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam during green season? Here are a few highlights about the green season that could make the difference.
In these difficult economic times, price matters. Until recently, there was little difference between high season and low season prices, so there was no real economic incentive to promote the region during green season. This has all changed with the advent of the global crisis and green season rates are now substantially lower than high season, particularly for some mid-range to high-end hotels and long-haul flights. A number of hotels in places such as Siem Reap, Luang Prabang and Hoi An are offering great discounted rates off their high season prices. This particularly applies to Myanmar, where high season rates at hotels are spiraling out of control along with tourist numbers, and the green season offers an attractive alternative.
Peak season is a busy time and it means the leading destinations (and by default the leading hotels) are very busy. Travel off-season and the numbers plummet. This means the sights are less crowded and the hotels less busy, adding up to a more relaxed and serene experience. In the recent past, our team has been in both Luang Prabang and Siem Reap and it is very tranquil compared to the high season. It almost feels like a flashback to bygone days when Cambodia and Laos were truly off-the-beaten-path and only for the most adventurous travellers. This can be particularly important for the more wealthy and discerning traveller who really wants a different experience. It is that much harder to create with ten times the number of tourists in town. The best rooms are available, the best places calm and peaceful and the best restaurants not overcrowded. Coupled with price, this is quite an incentive.
This is the big fear when it comes to green season travel. What will the weather be like? Well the honest answer is that we don’t know anymore. Global warming, unexpected typhoons and many elements have combined to ensure the weather is not as predictable as it once was. The monsoon no longer arrives and departs to schedule. Even when it rains, the showers are usually short and sharp, falling at the end of the day, some time between 5pm and 8pm. Yes, there may be some instant floods here and there, but this can be quite a spectacle in itself. So the weather should no longer be an obstacle for a low season visit, as it is too unpredictable these days. If we are choosing our favourite green season months, then June to August are probably the best. May is very hot in many areas and still arid, while September is traditionally the wettest, although in recent years Siem Reap has experienced major flooding in October. There’s never been a perfect season to travel to Vietnam, as there are microclimates up and down the country, so make that the perfect excuse to travel to Indochina when you want and not when everyone else does.
Well it’s linked to the weather, but the incredible clouds that appear during the wet season are something to behold. Like post-nuclear mushroom clouds, they tower in the sky and make for some spectacular sunsets. These are clouds the like of which you may never have seen. Similarly the storms are a force of nature and witnessing one roll in across the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to Can Tho is something visitors will never forget.
Travel in many parts of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar from December to April and it will be dry and arid in the countryside as the rice has already been harvested. Travel in the green season and the landscape is a rich tapestry of emerald greens glistening in the sun. Not only are the paddy fields more alive, but the lakes, rivers and streams are flowing with water, making for faster and safer boat trips across the region. The moats and ponds at the temples of Angkor fill up, making for spectacular reflections for photographs. The moss and lichen that clings to many temples comes alive, adding a dramatic carpet of green or orange to many of the ancient stones.
So whether you are looking for better value, a more intimate experience without the crowds or a more spectacular landscape, the low season can deliver. Add these together and it might just be a better time to travel to the countries of the Mekong region.
HanumanAlaya is playing its part in promoting the green season with a Stay Longer, Save More promotion through til 30 September 2013. For more details, visit http://www.hanumanalaya.com/.
Roll Up, Roll Up, the Big Top has arrived.
The Big Top circus tent at Phare – The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap has arrived and is in place. Performances from 1 June will be under cover, which will mean no more shows will be cancelled because of the rain and the atmosphere and excitement will be much more tangible for visitors. The Big Top will cater for 400 people and will include VIP seating areas. This is a must-see for visitors to Siem Reap. The shows are modern circus theatre displaying high level juggling, trapeze, contortion and acrobatics, with a story that unfurls itself throughout the performance. Under the original Big Top in Battambang, Phare Ponleu Selpak are continuing their twice-weekly shows, on Monday & Thursday, for visitors to Cambodia’s second city.
HanumanAlaya earns Trip Advisor recognition.
The HaunmanAlaya Boutique Residence in Siem Reap is delighted to receive a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honours hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 per cent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.
To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months. See the HanumanAlaya Boutique Residence for yourself at http://www.hanumanalaya.com/.
Cambodia has many traditional celebrations and ceremonies throughout each year. In a week’s time, on Tuesday 28 May, one of those timeless traditions will be enacted – The Royal Ploughing Ceremony.
This particular ceremony is used to mark the onset of the rainy season, and dictates when the farmers must prepare their fields for the next crop of rice. Each year the Ceremony, ‘Pithi Chrat Preah Neang Korl’, is held at the Veal Preah Mean Square, situated across the road from the northern perimeter of the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh. Cambodian farmers will be waiting anxiously as the traditional ceremonies are undertaken to try and predict the weather for the coming year. The festival consists of a symbolic ploughing procession before the King or his representatives. At the end of the procession, harnesses are removed from the oxen and they are led to seven golden trays containing rice, corn, sesame seeds, beans, grass, water and wine. The oxen are allowed to eat from any of the trays and, depending upon their choice of feed, the Cambodian people believe that they can prognosticate the weather for the coming year and determine the harvests.
A visit to Golden Silk, outside of Siem Reap, is to discover their unique traditional methods in producing silk products.
The Golden Silk plantation and workshops are located 30kms northeast of Angkor, Cambodia’s famed complex of ancient temples. Visits to Golden Silk are by appointment only, where the visitor will see the different phases of production (silkworm breeding, maintenance planting, spinning, and weaving) as well as daily village activities (fishing, farming, etc). The Golden Silk project has enabled more than 100 women to develop a skill, gained regular employment and secured regular income, with its stated aim to restore, to upgrade and to safeguard the Khmer traditional methods and techniques of silk making which are handed over to the present generation by the art craft ancestors. Entirely handmade, and made exclusively with natural dyes, each fabric is unique and one of a kind. A fabulous community-based, eco-friendly project of which Hanuman is fully supportive. Contact us if you wish to include a visit during your time in Siem Reap. It can be combined with a visit to the Banteay Srei temple for example, and Golden Silk also has the facilities to hold MICE events.
Join Hanuman for an escorted seat-in-coach two-week Cambodia Revealed trip of a lifetime that will begin on 17 August 2013.
An in-depth journey throughout Cambodia that will take you beyond the highlights and under the skin of this beguiling country, beginning with the Kingdom’s riverside capital, Phnom Penh. More adventures await you in the remote northeast in Mondulkiri, especially at the Elephant Valley Project before we follow the Mekong River and enjoy a close encounter with the rare and unique Irrawaddy dolphins near Kratie. We head off to discover the first temple city built in Southeast Asia at Sambor Prei Kuk. At Angkor, over 1000 temples were built between the 9th and 13th centuries, so we select the best of them including the world’s largest religious monument at Angkor Wat, the enigmatic and enchanting Bayon and the atmospheric Ta Prohm, consumed by jungle and fighting a losing battle with nature. Cambodia Revealed is a trip through an amazing country that will leave you with so many lasting memories.
The cost of the two-week land-only Cambodia Revealed tour is from US$965 per person, based on a minimum tour party of six persons. View our detailed fact-sheet on the tour at http://www.hanuman.travel/Tours/Cambodia/CT_Cambodia-Revealed.html. Contact the Hanuman sales team to book directly.