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Indochina is in vogue, its popularity fuelled by new fl ights and attractions beyond its historic sites – such as beaches, village visits and new fi ve-star hotels, says Debbie Ward

INDOCHINA  Top Selling Tips...

• Keep adventuring cool… “If your client’s trip involves activities avoid the humid Indo-China monsoon season from May until September” NICK LADD Business Development Director PlanetWildlife

• Pick and Mix…

“To cheaply combine Thailand, Laos and Cambodia choose Bangkok Airways’ Discovery Airpass from US$88 per sector (minimum three sectors, maximum six)” ANDREW HOSKINS

Sales and Marketing manager UK & Ireland, Bangkok Airways

• Extend to unwind…

“For a relaxed extension to our Indochina Delights tour we offer five days at Mui Ne beach, Vietnam, which has

excellent seafood and lively markets” MANUEL

MASCARENHAS Managing Director Wendy Wu Tours

introduction last December of direct flights between Gatwick and both Saigon and Ho Chi Minh City. Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temples have


long been an attractive side trip from Thailand but until now the region has been primarily visited on tours. Larger Vietnam is usually the anchor destination with neighbours Cambodia and Laos often visited in combination. “Vietnam’s beaches are starting to sell well now and offer a great alternative for clients who have usually ventured to Thailand for their rest and relaxation,” says Travel Indochina International Sales and Marketing Manager Lesley Wright.

Hayes & Jarvis has boosted its

Vietnam programme by 12 beach hotels in Hoi An/ Danang, with plans to

expand even

ndochina has emerged this year as an attractive fly and flop destination, thanks partly to Vietnam Airline’s


further as 2012 progresses. Funway has also reworked its programme in light of the new flights to offer a greater choice of extensions plus more flexible regional itineraries into Cambodia and Laos. Pretty Unesco-listed town Hoi An and

the nearby beach resort Danang are the likely winners with Vietnam’s new breed of one-stop and twin-centre tourists, being around an hour’s flight from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. “With Danang International Airport opening very soon, the whole of Danang Beach is seeing new developments of five-star properties,” says Hayes & Jarvis Lead Regional Product Manager, Andrea Loddo. A Hyatt Regency featuring

contemporary Australian-inspired design opened recently and a Le Meridien is under construction. Fusion Resorts is launching the culinary-focused Fusion Alya in nearby Hoi An this spring, with foodie experiences like cooking lessons included in the room rate. In Cambodia, top-notch luxury is in

the spotlight. New upmarket Song Saa Island Resort at Sihanoukville is being featured by operators that include Ampersand Travel, Indus Tours, Kuoni and Cox & Kings. Meanwhile heritage properties Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh and Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, the oldest five- stars in the country, have recently completed extensive renovations. Both introduced a butler service last year.

“New hotels are opening in Vietnam, while Cambodia and Laos’s growth is more limited”

Tourism Talk Indus Tours has launched its first Indochina brochure offering various combinations of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Burma. Due to better flight connections, Funway now offers three-day extensions to Phan Thiet beach, Phu Quoc island and Siem Reap on certain tours. Wendy Wu has introduced an Indochina Delights itinerary, from £2,990, covering the three countries in two weeks. Among Inspired by Asia’s new

product is Mai Chau Lodge in North Vietnam, from where tribal village visits are possible. The River Cruise Line has launched a 16-day trip Mekong River Cruise & Highlights of Vietnam and Cambodia itinerary including Halong

Top: A lone hawker traverses the sand dunes on southern Vietnam's coast: Left: welcome to Raffl es in Cambodia. • April 2012 21



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