To enhance the catalytic activity of gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) for the hydrogenation of nitro-aromatic chemicals, Pt was introduced into AuNPs to form ``bare'' PtAu alloy NPs using a physical approach, pulsed laser ablation in liquid (PLAL), on single metal-mixture targets. These PLAL-NPs are deemed to favor catalysis due to the absence of any surfactant molecules on their unique ``bare and clean'' surface. The PLAL-NPs were facilely assembled onto CeO2 nanotubes (NTs) by simply mixing them without conducting any surface functionalization, representing another advantage of these NPs. Their catalytic activity was assessed in 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) hydrogenation. The reaction catalyzed by alloy-NP/CeO2-NT catalysts demonstrates a remarkably higher reaction rate in comparison with that catalyzed by pure Au and Pt NPs, and other similar Au and Pt containing catalysts reported recently. A ``volcano-like'' catalytic activity dependence of the alloy NPs on their chemical composition suggests a strong synergistic effect between Au and Pt in the 4-NP reduction, far beyond the simple sum of their individual contributions. It leads to the significantly enhanced catalytic activity of Pt30Au70 and Pt50Au50 alloy NPs, outperforming not only each single constituent, but also their physical mixtures and most recently reported AuNP based nanocatalysts. The favorable d-band center shift of Pt after alloying, and co-operative actions between Pt clusters and nearby Au (or mixed PtAu) sites were proposed as possible mechanisms to explain such a strong synergistic effect on catalysis.