Amansara offers special access to Bauphon Temple in Cambodia

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Amansara Luxury Resort in Cambodia will be offering its guests special access to the 11th century Bauphon temple, which is not yet open to the public.  Between 9 and 16 December, 2011, Professor Roland Fletcher, an expert in Asian archaeology at the University of Sydney and co-director of a research effort called the Greater Angkor Project, will be their annual Scholar in Residence and will escort guests to Bauphon and give them an insight into its unique history.

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The temple, one of Cambodia’s biggest after Angkor Wat, was built in 1060 by King Udayadityavarman II, in honour of the Hindu god Shiva. The rebuilding of the temple began in the 1960s when a French-led team of archaeologists dismantled the pyramid structure because it was falling apart.  However, the restoration attempt was hampered by the country’s civil war in the 1970s, when all records relating to the rebuilding of the temple were destroyed by the Khmer Rouge.  Eventually the rebuilding started again in 1995 and the temple is now close to completion.

During Amansara’s Scholar in Residence programme guests can also visit Angkor Wat and the West Mebon temple with Professor Fletcher.

A night at Amansara costs from £519 (US$850) per room per night plus tax and service.  Each room comes with an English speaking driver/guide and a remork (motorised tuk tuk).  There is a compulsory board and touring charge of US$125 per person per day, which includes breakfast, lunch or dinner plus house beverages and two outings a day with your guide and round trip airport transfers.

Wine Tasting in local home in Montenegro

Montenegro has been producing wine for centuries and in recent years its wine has been gaining a reputation amongst wine connoisseurs.  Guests at the recently opened Aman Sveti Stefan can now visit the home of the Masanovic family, who have been making wine in Montenegro for centuries.  Mr Masanovic and his family will offer you Vranac Barrique, a premium dry red wine, produced from the indigenous Vranac grape variety, which has been grown locally for centuries.

You will be able to taste the 2009 and 2010 vintages and will be offered homemade dried figs and walnuts from their own garden as well as Montenegrin pastries and cheese.  Mr Masanovic also produces a wide selection of brandies including plum, grape, kiwi, apple and pear, which can also be tasted.  If you wish Mr Masanovic will be more than happy to take you round the family vineyards and orchards located 2km from their home.  The wine tasting trip costs from 150 euros per couple.

A night on the island of Sveti Stefan costs from £609 (700 euros).

A day in the life of a Lao rice farmer

Amantaka in Luang Prabang in Laos is encouraging its guests to spend a morning on the Living Rice farm in the countryside near Amantaka, which is surrounded by mountains and rice.  This community enterprise focuses on growing rice and vegetables.  Guests can immerse themselves in the daily life of a Lao farmer and try their hand at some of the various farm activities, such as planting rice or working the fields with buffalo.

A night at Amantaka costs from £427 (US$700) per room, including airport transfers, plus government tax and service charge.

New Trek in Bali

Guests staying at Amankila in East Bali can now explore the surrounding villages and historic buildings on a new four hour trek from the village of Tenganan to Tirta Gangga, one of the regency’s iconic water palaces.

Tenganan is a storied village close to Amankila, famed for its basket weaving and double woven ikat material, which is believed to have magical powers. The traditions and ceremonies of the village date back beyond the Majapahit empire of the 16th century.

From Tenganan guests climb a ridge for a 360-degree view of the terraced rice fields and then they navigate their way through rice fields and traditional villages before reaching the Water Palace. The one hectare complex was built in 1946 by the late King of Karangasem, but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963.  It has since been rebuilt and restored. It has an eleven-tiered fountain as its centrepiece and is adorned with carvings and statues.

A night at Amankila costs from £519 ($850) per room, including concierge airport service and transfers, plus government tax and service charge.


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