Category Archives: Asia

Traveling with Children to China. Part #3 Xi’an and Qingdao

We loved Mian Shan area so much that we decided to postpone our planned trip to Xi’an in few hours, and take a speed train afternoon. So..whole morning we explored new areas of Mian Shan with Beautiful Taoist temples and valleys. Our favorites are: Chess Cave in Qixuan Valley
Chess Cave in Qixuan ValleyZhujia Hollow Area
Zhujia Hollow Area

Lingbao God TempleLingbao God Temple
Lingbao God TempleLingbao God TempleLingbao God TempleLingbao God Temple

It takes almost an hour with taxi to drive from Mian Shan area to Jiexiu Speed Train Station. It’s a large modern facility, with wide road and large concrete empty space in front of the building.
Jiexiu Speed Train Station
Although, right next to the raised plaform , down below bordering farmer’s fields with greeneryFarmer's Fields next to Jiexiu Speed Train Station
We arrived to Xi’an by bullet train from Jiexiu. It was fun to look outside and to the screen of the tablo showing “250 km/hr” speed of the train.
After train we took a subway. It is very economical, comfortable and convenient way to travel in the city. Xi'anDowntown Xian
Downtown XianMuslim Quarters in Xian with rows of small shops and restaurants with food to taste is a must area to visit in the evening while in Xian.
Muslim Quarters in XianWe stayed in Downtown Hotel Xi’an, very convenient hotel for travellers.
Next morning we took a bus to enormous exhibition of Terracota Army. It’s gigantic place and unbelievable artifacts attracts billions of people from around the world as a “Must See in China” tourist attraction.
Next early morning we flew to relaxing and beautiful Qingdao city- “Oriental Switzerland”
Qingdao Airport Treminal 2Qingdao Airport Terminal 2
Next morning we decided to visit Laoshan. It is a well known area, and better to visit it early in the morning before the crowds. Also, when you take a shuttle bus to temples, first start with the farthest areas to explore..
Lao Shan area in QingdaoLaoshan
LaoShanLaoshanLaoshan

You need at least a day in Laoshan (better two, if you can arrange staying overnight in beautiful challets in this area.
Also, Qingdao is an interesting city as well. We visited Military museum, Bathing Beaches and downtown narrow streets..
Qingdao
Old Qigdao

 

Traveling with children to China, Part#2 Pingyao and Mian Shan

Beijing Railway Station From Beijing Railway Station we took overnight train to Pingyao.

Beijing Railway Station
Interior of Beijing Railway Station
Beijing Railway Station at night
Beijing Raylway Station at night

Even we  booked our tickets well in advance, the softsleeper was sold out, and we had left with hard sleeper choice only. Before the trip I worried about safety, and personal belongings in the train, but after great experience with hard sleeper, all our family would love to experience this trip again. may be we were lucky, may be all tourists in hard sleeper cars are so nice, that we ended up with new friends, and lots of great memories just from overnight trip.

Beautiful Pingyao Cheng Jia hotel we booked well in advance in advance, so in the morning, on the railway station, the driver from hotel was waiting for us. After 5-10 minutes ride, we comfortably explored our room, and hotel grounds.   Pingyao Cheng Jia Hotel was decorated in national style, with mix of old and traditional, kang bed and carved furniture, and modern; heated floors and stylish showers.

Pingyao Ancient City
Pingyao Ancient City
Pingyao
View from the City Wall of Pingyao Ancient City
Pingyao West Road
West Road in Pingyao Ancient City
Ancient City Pingyao Temple area
Ancient City Pingyao Temple area
Pingyao City Temple
Pingyao City Temple
Pingyao
Pingyao
Pingyao
Pingyao
Pingyao, China
Pingyao City Wall
Pingyao Ancient City Wall, Shanxi, China
Pingyao Ancient City Wall, Shanxi, China
South East Gate, Pingyao
South East Gate of Pingyao Ancient City Wall
Pingyao Ancient City Wall, China
Pingyao Ancient City Wall, China
Pingyao Ancient City- UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Pingyao Ancient City- UNESCO World Heritage Site.
View from Pingyao City Wall, UNESCO WORLD Heritage Site
View from Pingyao City Wall, UNESCO WORLD Heritage Site

Northern Gate in Pingyao Ancient City

Our stay in Pingyao Cheng Jia Hotel , probably is one of the finest experiences with hotels in China. After showers, and good breakfast we walked around the ancient city walls. Cause we were at the end of the touristic season, we were lucky to see only few tourists on our way, and had fun experience browsing and  participating in local activities with personal attention.

Pingyao Ancient City West Ring Road at night
Pingyao Ancient City West Ring Road at night
Beautiful Pingyao
Beautiful Pingyao
Pingyao Ancient City South Street at night.
Pingyao Ancient City South Street at night.
Pingyao Ancient City East Street. Evening view
Pingyao Ancient City East Street. Evening view

After overnigh in Pingyao, next morning we took a short 25 minutes train ride to Jiexiu, than another 20 minutes on taxi to Mian Shan Touristic Area.  Mian Shan met us with crispy clean mountain air and warm sunshine.

True! It was unbelievable experience, one-of-a-kind! We drop all our luggage in Yunfeng Hotel, and walked to one of the nearest Yunfeng Temple. From the Temple we took Cloud Road to the Heaven. The name said everything. Wow! No photos, or videos can descibe our feelings, and surrounding views..Tranquility, inviting warmth of bright sunshine, fresh air and panoramic breathtaking views were like a magic energy pouring into our bodies to give us enough to climb and walk for a day without any snacks and water stops. We were like hungry to see more and more of the surrounding beauty. All unique, and beautifully restored temples on high cliffs, untouched by centuries trees and rocks, peacefull smiles of locals, interactions with monks… all of these unforgettable experiences of joy we keep in our heads, and keep reminiscing often…

That day we explored also Rabbit Bridge area, Daluo Temple, Iron Chain Ridge and Universe Pagoda…

Dinner at Yunfeng Hotel was more delicious than expected, probably we were very hungry and tired…

Next morning after delicious buffet breakfast in Yunfeng Hotel, first we explored Qixian Valley Area with caves along the way. No any Wonderland-Disneyland or other amusement park can compete with natural beauty of the Valley and entertainment with climbing through the obstacles. This valley was the Highlight of the trip for our children. After the valley we took a shuttle bus to Zhujia Hollow Area visited Cave God Temple, Lingbao God temple and Sight Seeing Pavillion, then again shuttle bus, toFunnel Spring Area, visiting Daluo Temple & Beehive Spring, than magnificient Plank Road on Cliff… The Plank road on Cliff is another “Wow” experience of lifetime. Imagine CN Tower glass floor experience, when you walk on thick glass floor, which can withhold an elephant…so, like this, but without any glass, and thin planks offer you see-through-the-floor experience, while you walking above the clouds…Yes, it’s thrilling experience,..that’s why we came here to enjoy it…and tranquility..and crisp air..and sunshine…just made it to be perfect. If we ever happened to visit this Mian Shan Scenic Area again, we stay here at least a week, without rush, enjoying life together with local monks… Unfortunately our time in China was limited, and after lunch we rushed to shuttle bus, then to waiting us taxi to railway station, to take a speed train to Xi’an.

Cave God Temple view
Cave God Temple area
The Cave Gods Temple with above Plank Road on Cliff
The Cave Gods Temple with above Plank Road on Cliff
View of the Water Goddess Temple and Sky Bridge Are
View of the Water Goddess Temple and Sky Bridge Are
Marquis Pavillion at the entrance to Qixian Valley area
Marquis Pavillion at the entrance to Qixian Valley area
View of the Emperor Pavillion in Mianshan Dragon Head area
View of the Emperor Pavillion in Mianshan Dragon Head area
Cloud Road to The Heaven in Mianshan Scenic Area
Cloud Road to The Heaven in Mianshan Scenic Area
Daluo Temple
Daluo Temple in Mian Shan Scenic Area
Cloud Road to The Heaven
Thrilling Experience on Cloud Road to The Heaven
Breathtaking Cloud Road to the Heaven in Mian Shan Area
Breathtaking Cloud Road to the Heaven in Mian Shan Area
Five Dragon Temple
Five Dragon Temple in Mummy Temple Area
Universe Pagoda
Road to Universe Pagoda
Cave
Yuantong Cultivation Cave in Yunfeng Temple Area

PEK_8473w

Breathtaking views on the way to Universe Pagoda in Mianshan Scenic Area
Breathtaking views on the way to Universe Pagoda in Mianshan Scenic Area
Tassel Gate on the way to the Universe Pagoda in MianShan Scenic Area
Tassel Gate on the way to the Universe Pagoda in MianShan Scenic Area

Cave God Temple

Cloud Road to The Heaven in Mianshan Scenic Area
Cloud Road to The Heaven in Mianshan Scenic Area
Yunfeng Hotel, Cloud Rad to the Heaven and Yunfeng Tmple Area
Yunfeng Hotel, Cloud Rad to the Heaven and Yunfeng Tmple Area

Mianshan Dragon head Area

Mianshan experience is like a dream...dream of joy and happiness..
Mianshan experience is like a dream…dream of joy and happiness..

 

 

 

The Cave Gods Temple with above Plank Road on Cliff
The Cave Gods Temple with above Plank Road on Cliff
Mianshan experience is like a dream...dream of joy and happiness..
Mianshan experience is like a dream…dream of joy and happiness..
Zhujia Hollow Area Mian Shan
Zhujia Hollow Area in Mian Shan
Road to The Heaven in Mian Shan Scenic Area, Shanxi, China
Road to The Heaven in Mian Shan Scenic Area, Shanxi, China
Mian Shan road to The Heaven
Mian Shan road to The Heaven
Mian Shan
Road to The Heaven, Mian Shan Scenic Area
Luangong Cave
Luangong Cultivation Cave in Mian Shan

CHINA, traveling with children Part #1 Beijing

When I visited Qingdao, China on my first trip, right from the first day, I came up with ideahat I have to come again with my whole family. Children must see the different world, different culture and traditions,..show to them that not the whole world speak English…That there are places where you have to struggle with comprehention of foreign language.

Our trip to China was in November 2014. First of all, children are small enough, that in many placetickets either free, or half-priced, and also large enough to remember the trip and apreciate the excitement of travel.

We bought our airflight tickets, and booked hotels during the summer, when the prices were extremely low…Also, the High Travel season in China concidered in Spring and Autumn: August, September and October. We decided to travel in November, enjoying low volumes of tourists, while catching Indian Summer feel. Although Beijing weather was getting cold at nights, during the day it was just perfect, with clear bright skies, and no wind at all.

Traveling in Beijing is easy, inexpencive and fast.
Subway ssystem is clean,and  easy to navigate, almost everywhere signs in Pynyin, so it’s easy to comprehend. Beijing Subway system is fast and efficient , platforms are equipped with mostly glass walls, and gates to access the tracks, ensuring safety, that none will fall on tracks.

#1st Day

We hired a taxi (600-700RMB for round trip from downtown) to visit China Great Wall section at Mutianyu. If you want to take a skylift and on the way back toboggan, it’s better to take the furtherst skylift, so while on the wall hiking you will be decending to toboggan ride, and wouldn’t have to come back. Views at Mutianyu Great Wall were breathtaking, with clear sky and visibility to thousands kilometers…

  

   

We spent almost whole day at Mutianyu, enjoying panoramic views, and warmth of Autumn Sun,and tranquility of surrounding mountains.

One of the practicalities came up to my mind is to bring some snack, and a bottle of water with you on the wall, and keep yourself hydrated and energised, so you can enjoy more time on the wall.

#2nd day we visited Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street

Forbidden City is a must place to visit., although after first half an hour it’s boring to kids. We found the clock museum, with enormous collection of mechanical clocks from miniature to gigantic waterclocks, worth visitng to return an interest of kids.

Wangfuijing Street has an interesting part as Wangfujing Snak Street where you can encounter weird snacks, like fried scorpions, starfish, fried seahorse, lizards…

That evening we spent in Red Theatre, watching performance on Shaolin…Performance was well horeographed, and performed.

 

Our last day in Beijing we were busy visiting Temple of Heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

Point Yamu by COMO – A New Resort for Phuket Designed by Paola Navone – Opening November 2013

Como Hotels

Resort will be first in Thailand for COMO Hotels and Resorts outside Bangkok

Point Yamu by COMO, the new resort from COMO Hotels and Resorts designed by Paola Navone, will open in November this year.

Point Yamu is located on Cape Yamu, a peaceful peninsula on the east side of Phuket. The resort overlooks the limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and the Andaman Sea. The resort comprises 106 rooms and private villas, a 100m swimming pool, a COMO Shambhala Retreat with eight treatment rooms, including one beauty treatment room and yoga studio offering yoga, Pilates and Asian-inspired therapies, Italian and Thai restaurants and a child-friendly interactive learning area. Private residences with access to all Point Yamu’s facilities are also now available to purchase.

Point Yamu is COMO’s first resort in Thailand outside Bangkok and it is also the first property designed for COMO Hotels and Resorts by Italian design talent Paola Navone (Navone is also working on COMO’s first Stateside hotel, Metropolitan by COMO, Miami Beach, set to open in December this year.) At Point Yamu, the collaboration sees COMO’s signature clean lines and pared-back, contemporary style united with the Italian designer’s eclectic, colourful approach and the use of local materials. Guests can expect a dazzling palette of bright aquamarines and hot oranges, with Thai artisanal techniques such as traditional wood tiling and woven rattan adding texture. The ocean-facing, floor-to-ceiling windows in each room, offers spectacular views of the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

Cuisine, prepared in a wood-fired oven also plays a star role at Point Yamu, with the resort offering a range of options, including relaxed Italian cooking and locally caught seafood at ‘La Sirena’, and spicy southern Thai cooking at ‘Nahmyaa’. Healthy COMO Shambhala Cuisine, designed to maximise energy and wellbeing, can be enjoyed at The Central Bar, while private dining such as beach picnics and romantic sunset meals can be arranged in-room and at a number of special locations in and near to the resort.

Point Yamu’s COMO Shambhala Retreat is extensive, with a 100m swimming pool, yoga studio, a large gym and signature treatments such as the COMO Shambhala Massage and PURIFY holistic facial. For the more actively inclined, Point Yamu offers adventure with biking through nearby villages and plantations, snorkelling and diving off remote islands, all under the guidance of COMO’s expert, English-speaking guides.

Families will also find much to do at Point Yamu, with plenty of interconnecting rooms and suites as well as a dedicated children’s play area with daily interactive games and activities. Family excursions can also be organized to include a visit to a Gibbons sanctuary, elephant rides and other exciting educational visits. Baby-sitting and childminding services are also available.

At just 20 minutes by car from Phuket International Airport, Point Yamu will appeal to Asia-based couples and families seeking a short break to rejuvenate as well as long-haul guests looking for a comprehensive escape. It is also well located for combined stays with the Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok.
About the COMO Group and COMO Hotels and Resorts
COMO Hotels and Resorts creates personalised luxury travel experiences in its Urban Hotels, Island Resorts, Adventure Retreats and Wellness Resorts – highlighting wellness, cuisine, adventure and culture, service and design – while always trying to uphold a strong, sustainable approach towards the people and places where we operate.

Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts develops and manages handpicked, individually curated properties: The Halkin by COMO in London, two Metropolitan by COMO hotels in London and Bangkok, Parrot Cay by COMO in the Turks and Caicos, Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives, and three Uma by COMO experience resorts in Bali and Bhutan. Point Yamu by COMO is a new property in Phuket, Thailand, opening 2013. The company also manages COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali in partnership with its sister brand in wellness, COMO Shambhala, which promotes health, relaxation and learning through its products, services, cuisine, treatments and spa facilities within each COMO property.

Tax Deductible Travel! Volunteer vacationing spots in the world!

Save Money with Tax Deductible Travel

Volunteer vacationers can get money back on project contribution costs


Online release with images: http://new.pitchengine.com/pitches/a794efb2-a0e4-4795-bbd4-5358e1ff4303

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, March 6 – Vacationers who thought certain destinations would be out of financial reach might want to investigate the tax deductions available with volunteer vacations. Travellers who participate in specific volunteer programs can deduct contributions and expenses on their tax return, making some of these projects up to 40% lower in cost than they might otherwise expect.

GoVoluntouring connects travellers to over 3,000 projects in over 100+ countries worldwide. Many of these programs are registered charities and not-for-profits that can issue tax receipts. For Canadians and Americans, this means a long list of projects where they can expect to receive a portion of their contributions and expenses returned as a tax deduction. Here is a selection of the projects partners offering possible tax benefits:

For Canadians:

Care for Cuba: http://goo.gl/RDrld

Get a chance to peer into the beauties, struggles, and determination of a society that has long been shrouded in mystery to many North Americans. This volunteer vacation program focuses on research and education, cultural awareness, and academics.

Help build a sustainable orphanage in Guatemala: http://goo.gl/WVgmi

Help build a village for orphaned and abandoned children. According to UNICEF, Guatemala is home to more than 340,000 orphaned and abandoned children. Extreme poverty is the main culprit for this situation, but there is something being done about it.

Fighting Poverty in India: http://goo.gl/I9181

Globe Aware works by providing support for teachers, working with rescued child laborers, and assisting at day care centers catering to children below the poverty line in Jaipur, India.

For Americans:

Sea Turtle Conservation in Costa Rica: http://goo.gl/07ZeZ

Imperiled by egg poaching, hunting, the lights of coastal development, and long line fishing practices, leatherback turtles are also under threat from climate change and ocean pollution.

On The Trail of the Giant Panda in China: http://goo.gl/C1hSr

The long-term aim of this project is to create healthy, self-sustaining wild panda populations through the release of captive giant pandas to strengthen small isolated populations of wild panda.

Expedition Vietnam: http://goo.gl/BdBhA

Volunteers will be engaged in a variety of projects, from teaching English, to the building of playgrounds and better homes, refurbishment of buildings for use as schools, as well as other infrastructure to help raise the standards of living throughout rural Vietnam.

GoVoluntouring recommends that all volunteers consult their personal tax advisor before making any decisions as tax regulations often change. For more information on the tax deductible projects visit: www.govoluntouring.com/tax-deductible-projects or call toll-free (Canada/USA) 1.888.988.7897

About GoVoluntouring: www.govoluntouring.com

Flight Centre’s responsible travel division, GoVoluntouring, is a leading online community for volunteers, overseas teachers, and learners abroad. Its unique search filters allow users to perform detailed and customizable searches from a huge database of projects and programs in over 110 countries around the world.

Hands-On volunteer travel project deals around the world!

Hands-On Time Travel

Dig into history with volunteer projects all over the world

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, February 26, 2012 – Help to unravel some of the world’s mysteries by assisting on archaeological sites where Roman soldiers, Mongolian warriors, and Rapanui sculptors once resided. Volunteers step back in time in spectacular locations whilst being guided by professionals in need of assistance. This is a hands-on way to help preserve vital cultural resources around the globe and learn more about ancient ways of life.

Discovering Italy’s Ancient Etruscan and Roman Coast http://goo.gl/l7Y0L

The ancient maritime settlement of Poggio del Molino is located in the heart of the former territory of Populonia, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. This excavation of the Etruscan coastal necropolis aims to fill key gaps in our knowledge of the industrial history and coastal economy, from the early Roman period to the Middle Ages. The project results will offer a profound understanding of the industrial aspects of Roman rule and exploitation. With treasure hunters, looters, and even development pressures threatening the integrity of the site, volunteer help is needed to secure the past before it is lost forever.

Origins of Angkor http://goo.gl/6exJR

The rural village of Ban Non Wat in Northeast Thailand is one of the most important sites for understanding indigenous societies ancestral to the Angkor Empire. Volunteers with Earthwatch will help to search for new prehistoric sites and identify the location of resources such as salt and potting clay. They will help reveal how Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron Age peoples were affected by their environment, changing climates, the development of agriculture, technological advances, and by contact with those from other lands.

Digging for the Deep World of Devon’s Roman Ruins http://goo.gl/jZpgF

The discovery of this Romano-British settlement is of tremendous importance. The settlement is the largest discovered in the county to date and detected structures hint at native roundhouses, enclosures, and a Roman road. At present, there is nothing comparable to the site in Devon and research will significantly contribute to our understanding of life in the Romano-British world. Earthwatch volunteers will be the first to conduct fieldwork helping further understand the nature, date, and extent of the site.

Restoring Prehistoric Landscapes on Easter Island http://goo.gl/H488W

The massive stone sculptures that dot this remote Polynesian island have perplexed centuries of explorers. Earthwatch probes the past to discover what forces led to disastrous changes here in the 17th century, ending a millennium of peace and prosperity. Volunteers will work in a uniquely beautiful landscape, searching for prehistoric gardens, livestock enclosures, and agricultural fields. Under the gaze of the giant stone moai, they’ll conduct surface surveys, take photographs and GPS coordinates, measure stone features and dig test-pits in gardens to document the evolution of farming on the island.

Archaeology of the Mongolian Steppe http://goo.gl/A6ylc

Earthwatch is supporting archaeological and cultural investigations in the stunning Ikh Nart Nature Reserve, needed to ensure a holistic approach to managing the area. Volunteers will be surveying the landscape for significant archaeological and cultural resources such as burial cairns, steles and other commemorative monuments or markers, the remains of campsites and rudimentary structures, rock art, and other indications of the cultural history and vitality of the region. The goal of the project is to establish baseline data and is a remarkable opportunity to be involved in designing an ongoing archaeological investigation.

About GoVoluntouring: www.govoluntouring.com

Flight Centre’s responsible travel division, GoVoluntouring, is a leading online community for volunteers, overseas teachers, and learners abroad. Its unique search filters allow users to perform detailed and customizable searches from a huge database of projects and programs in over 110 countries around the world.

Thirty-One Days of Wellness.

Thirty-One Days of Wellness

Como Hotels

Join our leading wellness experts at Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok during ‘Wellness Month’ in March

February 8, 2013 (Bangkok, TH) – Experts in ‘raw food,’ massage therapy and yoga will be on hand at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape throughout March as part of a dedicated ‘Wellness Month’ at Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok. The schedule is open to both guests of the hotel, Bangkok residents and members of the spa.

Raw food specialist Diana Von Cranach, and the renowned musculo-skeletal therapist Rohan Quarry Day, are among the experts who will be resident with us throughout the month. They will be delivering a packed schedule of classes and sessions that will help clients share in their knowledge and expertise. Experts in yoga (including facial yoga) and Pilates will also be running special classes during the month.

Diana Von Cranach, who is widely acknowledged for her contribution towards the raw food movement, collaborates with COMO Shambhala regularly at Metropolitan, Bangkok and at COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali. Together with the hotel’s Executive Chef Chris Miller, Diana will be on hand to share her tips for getting the most out of raw cooking. Guests will be able to take part in a raw cooking class with a specific focus on Thai and Balinese menus. Diana’s delicious, enzyme-packed raw menu will also be available to order at the Metropolitan’s healthy glow restaurant. Diana Von Cranach said: “I am excited to work again with Chris Miller of glow restaurant – our collaboration will highlight the best of Asian cuisine via Living Foods, specifically Thai and Balinese flavours, all sourced from the freshest, local produce.”

Australian-born Rohan Quarry Day is the founder of Musculo-skeletal Deep Tissue Massage Therapy, a powerful combination of many different types of therapy, personally developed by Rohan after years of studying and working with a wide range of clients, to relieve symptoms of pain, stress and tiredness. His renowned hands-on healing therapy has won him a dedicated clientele all over the world, from stressed out executives to Olympic athletes. Rohan, a long-term collaborator with COMO Shambhala will be offering a number of one-to-one sessions at the Escape over selected dates.

Other special classes on offer will include:

  • Yoga for Urbanites: Yoga expert Shane Cox will show you how to de-stress your life through yoga.
  • Strengthening the Core through Pilates: This class is led by Pilates instructor Bell Suphatachaya Lattisophonkul.
  • Face Yoga with Chatrisa Srisarntiwong: This half-day workshop will show you how to tighten tone and combat the signs of ageing.

For a full calendar of what’s on during Wellness Month at COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, Bangkok, visit comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok

Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok

Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok on South Sathorn Road enjoys close proximity to Bangkok’s urban nightlife as well as shopping and the city’s Sky Train. The 171 rooms and suites, defined by subtle contemporary design, offer cosseting luxury with attentive service. The Met Bar is a lively bar well known for its DJs and selection of martini cocktails. Australian chef David Thompson delivers award-winning Thai cooking at nahm restaurant whilst glow focuses on COMO Shambhala Cuisine—a nutritious, healthful menu. Relaxation is available at the hotel’s COMO Shambhala Urban Escape, comprising Asian-inspired treatments, a gym, yoga studio and 20m outdoor pool.

About the COMO Group and COMO Hotels and Resorts

COMO Hotels and Resorts creates personalised luxury travel experiences in its Urban Hotels, Island Resorts, Adventure Retreats and Wellness Resorts – highlighting wellness, cuisine, adventure and culture, service and design – while always trying to uphold a strong, sustainable approach towards the people and places where we operate.

Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts develops and manages handpicked, individually curated properties: The Halkin by COMO in London, two Metropolitan by COMO hotels in London and Bangkok, Parrot Cay by COMO in the Turks and Caicos, Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives, and three Uma by COMO experience resorts in Bali and Bhutan. Point Yamu by COMO is a new property in Phuket, Thailand, opening 2013. The company also manages COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali in partnership with its sister brand in wellness, COMO Shambhala, which promotes health, relaxation and learning through its products, services, cuisine, treatments and spa facilities within each COMO property.

COMO Hotels and Resorts, in collaboration with MasterCard, invites guests to ‘Purchase with Purpose™’

Como Hotels and Resorts

COMO Hotels and Resorts, in collaboration with MasterCard, invites guests to ‘Purchase
with Purpose™’

Como HotelsTuesday, September 11, 2012. (Singapore) – For the third year running, COMO Hotels and Resorts is teaming up with MasterCard to support development projects and charities across the globe.

From October 1 to December 31, 2012, COMO guests can help local community projects raise US $30 everytime they pay for their stay using their MasterCard. MasterCard’s generous contribution builds upon COMO’s partnerships with grassroots organisations to support underserved communities and enable sustainable livelihoods.

The MasterCard initiative applies across COMO’s nine luxury properties, this year including the newly-opened, Uma by COMO in Punakha, Bhutan. Each COMO property runs social and environmental programmes for staff and the local community throughout the year, focusing on projects and charities with immediate relevance to each location.

Projects currently supported by COMO that will benefit from MasterCard’s Purchase with Purpose™ donation include:

  • St. Mungo’s (personal and skill development for homeless women restarting life after domestic violence and the sex trade) in London, supported by The Halkin by COMO and Metropolitan by COMO, London, UK
  • Goodwill Group Foundation (vocational skills training for underserved young women) in Bangkok, supported by Metropolitan by COMO, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Maafushi and Guraidhoo Schools (hospitality skills training facilities for both high schools) in the Maldives, supported by Cocoa Island by COMO, The Maldives
  • Raymond Gardiner High School (sewing and hospitality skills training facilities) in North Caicos, supported by Parrot Cay by COMO, The Turks and Caicos
  • Loden Foundation (micro-grants for young female Bhutanese entrepreneurs) in Bhutan, supported by Uma by COMO, Paro and Punakha, Bhutan
  • Bali International Women’s Association (welfare services and employment initiatives) in Bali, supported by Uma by COMO, Ubud, Bali
  • Tirta Kumara Kindergarten (extension of classroom facilities) in Bali, supported by COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali

COMO Hotels and Resorts and MasterCard have worked together for the Purchase with Purpose programme since 2010, enabling community investment of US$ 75,580 thus far.

Kuno Fasel, Chief Operating Officer for COMO Hotels and Resorts, said: “COMO Hotels and Resorts is delighted to collaborate with MasterCard on Purchase with Purpose. The program builds upon community efforts by our properties throughout the year, so our staff takes great pride in sharing the initiative with our guests. Our guests, in turn, have demonstrated great interest in the projects as they focus on education, entrepreneurialism and supporting the local economy.”

Georgette Tan, group head, Communications, Asia/Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Worldwide, said: “More and more, we find that our well-travelled MasterCard cardholders are eager to give back to the community and continue to demonstrate a sense of responsibility about the products they are purchasing. We are pleased to collaborate once again with COMO through the Purchase with Purpose program. MasterCard cardholders who stay at COMO look forward to the program and appreciate the opportunity it presents – knowing they can make a difference, just by using their credit card.”

About COMO Hotels and Resorts
Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts is known for its handpicked, intimate and individually-curated properties. COMO Hotels and Resorts provides custom-made luxury travel experiences offering culture, memorable cuisine, adventure and wellness combined with the essence of COMO Shambhala. The COMO properties are: Cocoa Island by COMO, The Maldives; Parrot Cay by COMO, The Turks and Caicos; The Halkin, by COMO, London; Metropolitan by COMO, London and Bangkok; Uma by COMO, Ubud, Bali; Uma by COMO Paro and Punakha, Bhutan and COMO Shambhala Estate, Bali. For more information, please visit www.comohotels.com

MasterCard Purchase with Purpose™
MasterCard’s corporate social responsibility platform (CSR) in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) is focused primarily on bettering the quality of life for women and children. MasterCard does this by supporting a broad range of women’s and children’s causes through scholarships, financial assistance, educational and various sustainability programs, helping provide them with the skills required to stand on their own feet and support themselves and their families. This ultimately improves life and prospects within the communities that these empowered women live and work. Apart from the educational aspects of MasterCard’s CSR programs in APMEA, consumer education is an important area of focus for MasterCard given the significance of financial literacy in improving lives and the socioeconomic standing of families throughout the region.

A key component of MasterCard’s social responsibility and citizenship efforts across the region is MasterCard Purchase with Purpose™. Based on the concept of transactional philanthropy, it is at the heart of a drive by MasterCard to encourage responsible spending while, at the same time, making a difference in someone else’s life. Across APMEA, MasterCard Purchase with Purpose initiatives involve cardholders in the company’s efforts to give back to the community whenever they use their MasterCard cards. More information on MasterCard Purchase with Purpose in the region is available at www.mastercard.com/sea/purchasewithpurpose
Image: Jorge Monje, former GM of Uma Paro, presenting a cheque to their community partner Kela Goemba, a nunnery in Bhutan. Last year’s program supported the reparation of a dormitory which was damaged in an earthquake.

COMO Hotels and Resorts to open a new property in Phuket, Thailand in 2012

Como Hotels and Resorts

COMO Hotels and Resorts to open a new property in Phuket, Thailand in 2012

Como Hotels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2010. (Singapore)-COMO Hotels and Resorts, the award-winning five-star hotel group based in Singapore, is to develop and manage a new property on the Yamu peninsula of Phuket in Thailand. Located in Phang Nga Bay on the northeast coast of Phuket, this property is the ninth member of COMO’s family of unique destinations and is scheduled to open in September 2012.

The key partners in this project are property development company Campbell Kane, the KS Group and Hotel Properties Limited. COMO’s multi-year management role encompasses full branding, sales, marketing and operational responsibilities. COMO is also playing key roles in the concept, development and execution of design and cuisine, to bring the signature COMO experience to guests.

Located at the very headland of Yamu peninsula, the new property offers 129 rooms with panoramic views of the cape and the surrounding Andaman Sea. Guests can use the resort as a base to explore the dramatic limestone islands and calm turquoise waters of Phang Nga Bay. Just 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport, the hotel will be an attractive proposition for Asia-based guests looking for a short break to rejuvenate as well as long-haul guests seeking a comprehensive escape from city life.

The new COMO resort will offer a 100-metre swimming pool, a COMO Shambhala Retreat with yoga studio, two restaurants and a private beach.

Founded by Christina Ong, COMO Hotels and Resorts is known for its handpicked, intimate, and individually curated properties, including The Halkin in London, two Metropolitan hotels in London and Bangkok, Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, Cocoa Island in the Maldives, and two Uma experience resorts in Bali and Bhutan. It also manages, in partnership with its sister brand in wellness, the COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali.

”The addition of this Phuket property is aligned with COMO Hotels and Resorts’ expansion plans within the region, supporting our growth strategy to include key destinations within the COMO portfolio,” says Harry Apostolides, Vice President of Business Development, COMO Hotels and Resorts. “This new COMO resort will be our second Thai property, after the Metropolitan in Bangkok. These two properties will, in concert, showcase both the vibrancy and serenity of Thailand. Phuket is one of the top tourist destinations in the region, and we have focused on its east coast — an area of outstanding natural beauty and great biodiversity. The location perfectly frames the COMO experience of service and cuisine, complemented by a wellness focus delivered by our award-winning COMO Shambhala Retreat.”

“We are pleased to be working with COMO Hotels and Resorts on this venture” states Peter Hamilton, Managing Director at Campbell Kane and developer of the new hotel. “COMO’s range of properties and the experiences they offer continue to redefine luxury travel.”

The COMO Group and COMO Hotels and Resorts

Headquartered in Singapore, The COMO Group represents Christina Ong’s unique vision of contemporary living. This encompasses the hospitality collection known as COMO Hotels and Resorts, the international luxury fashion retailer Club 21, the award-winning wellness concept COMO Shambhala and the philanthropic COMO Foundation.

COMO Hotels and Resorts are renowned for accurate and intuitive service, sympathetic and elegant design befitting each location, and outstanding cuisine, including the Michelin-starred Thai restaurant nahm in London and Bangkok, and the internationally-renowned Nobu restaurant in London. COMO Shambhala, its sister wellness brand, promotes health, relaxation and learning through its products, services, cuisine, treatments and spa facilities within each property.

Urban Hotels: COMO Hotels and Resorts’ urban properties include the Halkin in London’s Belgravia, and the Metropolitan hotels in London and Bangkok. All three properties feature Michelin-starred chefs and a contemporary aesthetic and unobtrusive, Asian-style service. The lively Metropolitan hotels also house the world-famous Met Bars.

Island Resorts: COMO’s private resorts offer powder-white beaches and some of the world’s best diving. The understated style and laid-back nature of Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos and Cocoa Island in the Maldives belie the exacting service that has become a COMO hallmark. World-class cuisine and comprehensive wellness treatments and activities at COMO Shambhala Retreats complete COMO’s approach to a perfect beach holiday. The new Phuket property is the latest addition within this category of COMO properties.

Adventure Retreats: The Uma properties in Paro in Bhutan and Ubud in Bali unveil local culture, nature, and religious and folkloric traditions. Specialist guiding, treks and tours, physical activities and tailor-made programmes ensure memorable insights into some of the world’s most unique locations. Intimate and relaxed, the Uma properties reference local design and cuisine while providing an unmistakeably COMO experience.

Wellness Resorts: COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali is a sanctuary for holistic wellness. Expert staff are goal-oriented, relevant and realistic in their consultative approach. Each guest’s individual needs and ambitions determine the programme of nutrition, exercise, therapies and activities. Facilities and tropical villa-style accommodation are impeccably appointed.

For more information, visit www.como.bz

                                                  

Experience the Adventure of a lifetime with Uma Paro, Bhutan

Como Hotels and Resorts

Experience the Adventure of a Lifetime
with Uma Paro, Bhutan

Como Hotels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 14, 2010. (Paro, Bhutan)—Imagine centuries-old monasteries, emerald forests and colourful Buddhist celebrations – welcome to Bhutan.

Uma Paro, Bhutan offers a series of all-inclusive small group adventures to provide easy access to this breathtaking, remote country that has remained largely untouched by tourism.

For 2011, guests can choose from a selection of interesting itineraries that include activities as diverse as mountain biking and photography. These Adventure Retreats are ideal for single travellers wanting to join a group, or small private groups looking for a complete, well-priced package.

The Hidden Kingdom of Bhutan and the Punakha Festival – February 10th to 20th, 2011. Ten night full-board package (four nights at local hotels, six nights at Uma Paro).

Bhutan Through a Lens – June 22nd to 29th and November 2nd to 9th, 2011. Seven night full-board photographic adventure (five nights Uma Paro, two nights at local hotels).

The Dragon Kingdom of Bhutan and the Jhomalhari Trek – June 8th to 20th and November 2nd to 14th, 2011. Twelve night full-board package (six nights camping and six nights at Uma Paro).

Mountains and Monasteries: Bhutan by Bike – July 19th to 26th, 2011. Seven night full-board package (two nights local hotels, five nights Uma Paro).

Ride the Thunder Dragon: Bhutan by Bike – August 9th to 19th, 2011. Ten night full-board package (four nights at local hotels, six nights at Uma Paro).

To find out more about these Adventure Retreats as well as other packages and promotions, visit www.uma.paro.como.bz. Uma Paro can provide extensive travel assistance, including advice on visas and Drukair flights into Bhutan.

Understanding Uma: Uma means ‘Living House’ in Bahasa, the Indonesian national language. Developed by COMO Hotels and Resorts, Uma properties are located in unspoilt, inland locations. They are also ecologically aware. Every aspect of an Uma resort is infused with indigenous attributes, from design to cuisine to local staff knowledge. The intention is to immerse guests in the textural richness of the resort’s carefully chosen region – from culture to religion and landscape – offering the dual experience of escape and adventure. This is complemented by the holistic core of the COMO Shambhala philosophy, featuring Yoga and Asian-inspired therapies. Uma Paro’s sister resort, Uma Ubud, is located in Bali. For more information, visit www.uma.paro.como.bz