{ GREAT ASIAN ES­CAPES }

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Asia - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

Sev­enth heaven: Travel As­so­ci­ates has a seven-night break (with one night free) on Malaysia’s west coast from $2109 a per­son twin-share at Pangkor Laut Re­sort, stay­ing in a ro­man­tic over­wa­ter bun­ga­low with daily break­fast plus re­turn pri­vate car and ferry trans­fers from Kuala Lumpur air­port. Book by Novem­ber 30 for travel April 1 to July 31 and Septem­ber 1 to De­cem­ber 19, 2012; flights ex­tra. More: 1800 044 066; travel-as­so­ci­ates.com.au. Me­an­der the Mekong: Save 40 per cent on Ecruis­ing’s 11-night Lost Civil­i­sa­tions cruise-tour pack­age ; from $4199 a per­son in­clud­ing re­turn econ­omy air­fares with Sin­ga­pore Air­lines from Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, Bris­bane and Ade­laide, a guided tour of Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi un­der­ground tun­nels, a seven-night cruise through Viet­nam and Cam­bo­dia aboard the Ja­han, and two nights in Siem Reap, in­clud­ing a tour of Angkor Wat tem­ples. Book by March 31 for the dis­count on mul­ti­ple de­par­tures this year and in 2012. More: 1300 369 848; ecruis­ing.travel. Feel­ing Krabi: Ac­cor has opened the newly built, 213-room Mer­cure Krabi Dee­vana on the is­land of Krabi off Thai­land’s south­west coast; Krabi is a pop­u­lar hol­i­day desti­na­tion eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by air from Bangkok, or two hours by road from Phuket in­ter­na­tional air­port. Open­ing spe­cials from 2430 baht (about $75) a night to March 31; deals in­clude in­ter­net ac­cess, 20 per cent dis­count at the re­sort’s Swan Spa and 10 per cent off meals at King­fisher Restau­rant. More: ac­corho­tels.com; mer­cure.com. Gar­dens and gal­leries: Desti­na­tion Man­age­ment has a fully es­corted 14-day small-group gar­dens and gal­leries-themed tour de­part­ing Tokyo on March 31; in­cludes ac­com­mo­da­tion in tra­di­tional ryokan, spa re­sorts and first-class ho­tels with daily break­fast and se­lected din­ners, lux­ury coach tour­ing and travel on the Shinkansen bul­let train. From $7988 a per­son twin-share. Flights ex­tra. More: 1300 307 317; toursgallery.com. Sin­ga­pore shopfest: Look­ing for a lit­tle hol­i­day-sea­son re­tail ther­apy? Stay at Sin­ga­pore’s Ren­dezvous Ho­tel, close to the Or­chard Road shop­ping precinct, from $154 a room a night with 25 per cent dis­count for a min­i­mum three-night stay be­fore De­cem­ber 31. More: 133 810; ex­pe­dia.com.au. Not your av­er­age sa­mu­rai: The 15th an­nual Ja­panese Film Fes­ti­val is about to get un­der way. Syd­ney’s mid-city venue is Event Cine­mas, Ge­orge Street (Novem­ber 17-27). In Mel­bourne, ACMI Cine­mas, Aus­tralian Cen­tre for the Mov­ing Im­age and Hoyts Mel­bourne Cen­tral (Novem­ber 29-De­cem­ber 6); this year, 30 films are show­cased, in­clud­ing sci-fi, an­i­ma­tion and quirky fea­tures such as Aba­cus and Sword, about an ac­count­ing geek who de­fends his fam­ily by us­ing a tra­di­tional count­ing de­vice, not a sa­mu­rai katana. More: japane­se­film­fes­ti­val.net.

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