GREAT ASIA ESCAPES
Seventh heaven: Creative Holidays has a seven-night package for the price of six at the five-star Nexus Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; the expansive property features landscaped grounds, 8km-long private beach, seven restaurants and bars, three swimming pools and an 18-hole golf course. From $503 a person, twin-share if booked by December 31 for travel to March 31. More: 1300 747 400; creativeholidays.com.
Take a hike: Korea Tourism Organization is promoting two new cycling and walking trails. The bicycle route covers stretches from Jamsil Han River Park in eastern Seoul to natural attractions in Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces, such as Cheongpyeong, Gapyeong (home of the Australian War Memorial), Chuncheon and Yangpyeong; week-long tourist packages are being developed for about $300, including meals and local-style accommodation. The hiking options are in national parks, including the ambitious 300km Jiri Mountain trail, divided into 16 sections. More: visitkorea.or.kr.
Vietnam for less: Stay three nights and pay for just two at the InterContinental Hanoi Westlake from $216 a person twin-share with daily breakfasts. Add a half-day tour of the capital for an extra $47 a person or a sunrise excursion for $52; on sale to November 30 for travel to March 31. More: 1800 044 066; travel-associates.com.au.
Blooming marvellous: Japan specialist Toursgallery has a 13-day guided Cherry Blossom Gardens Tour from April 1 with a focus on Zen-style gardens and art museums; accommodation is in traditional ryokan as well as conventional Western hotels in Tokyo, Hakone, Kamakura, Okayama, Takamatsu and Kyoto. From $8250 a person twin-share. More: 1300 307 317; toursgallery.com.
To the mountains: Under the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, Australian Red Cross is recruiting starters for year-long education and health assignments in the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. Volunteers receive return airfares, modest living allowances and accommodation. More: (03) 9345 1834; ausaid.gov.au/volunteer; redcross.org.au.
River rover: Pandaw River Cruises has announced its 30-stateroom Saigon Pandaw will be rebranded Sagaing Pandaw for 10 and 14-night sailings on the Irrawaddy and Chindwin rivers in Burma from July. Earlybird discounts of 10 per cent are offered for bookings made 12 months ahead of cruise departures. More: pandaw.com.
Fly me to the cruise: Cruise1st is selling a 14-night voyage aboard the luxury Azamara Journey from Hong Kong to Singapore via Hanoi, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City and Bang- kok; the package is for an April 1 departure and includes return flights from Australian ports, two nights pre-cruise accommodation at the Royal Pacific in Hong Kong, and two nights post-cruise at Berjaya Singapore Hotel; based on twin-share in an inside cabin, from $3799 a person ex Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide; $3699 ex Perth; $ 3899 ex Canberra; or $ 3999 ex Hobart. More: 1300 596 345; cruise1st.com.au.
Please be seated: Cathay Pacific Airways has unveiled its new regional short-haul business-class product as part of its 66th anniversary celebrations as Hong Kong’s home carrier. Seats now offer an extensive recline, extended leg rest, improved headrest and increased pitch. Each seat is encased in a fixed shell so there’s no intrusion from passengers in front. The product is being progressively installed on regional Boeing 777-200/300 and A330-300 aircraft. Earlier this year Cathay Pacific introduced premium economy cabins and improved long-haul economy-class seating. More: cathaypacific.com.
Be alert: Suresave Travel Insurance has compiled a list of typical tourist scams in Thailand, including fake gems and con artists posing as police. The insurer says personal property mishaps account for 35 per cent of claims for travellers in Thailand, a figure substantially higher than most destinations. More: 1300 787 376; suresave.net.au.
Fine china: The Smith Family’s Inspired Adventure 2013 is a new fundraiser to get the charity’s supporters involved in a China holiday. Participants are being sought for an 11-day Great Wall of China and Beijing tour from May 31; proceeds from the tour will help sponsor the education of two disadvantaged Australian children for one year under the Learning for Life program. Five days will be spent trekking sections of the Great Wall, including some rarely visited by tourists and featuring unique village stays. More: inspiredadventures.com.au/thesmithfamily/china.
Seasonal cherry blossoms in Japan