Packages for punters
Australian casinos, which used to rely heavily on Asian gamblers to boost their coffers and, took a bashing when Southeast Asia was hit by the economic crisis, are hoping the rebound on stock markets will draw Chinese back to the roulette wheels. A number of casino packages are being planned for Christmas and the Lunar New Year by Qantas at establishments in Sydney, the Gold Coast, Perth, Melbourne, and Hobart, Tasmania.
For example, Gold Coast Conrad hotel has a three nights' package including air fares and breakfast for $7,720 over Christmas, and $10,530 over the Lunar New Year.
There is also a Japan Airlines package to Las Vegas from the SAR from $5,880 with a stopover in Japan and two nights in Vegas.
Isabel Siqueira at Concorde Travel has more information on these and other gambling packages. Phone 2526 3391, or fax 2845 0485.
Fungus festival Do not say we kept you in the dark about a rather unusual event in Korea next month: the Pine Mushroom Festival. Seek out and dig up your own mushrooms and keep them at a 10 per cent discount, the organisers promise. Of course, these are no ordinary mushrooms. They only grow on the roots of a certain type of pine tree 20 to 30 years old - and that means they are an expensive delicacy.
The festival takes place during the first three days of October, at Namdaechon Creek, Yang Yang, on the east coast of the peninsula where there are many natural attractions, including Mt Sorak.
Contact the Korean National Tourism Organisation in Hong Kong for details, tel 2523 8065, fax 2845 0765.
Double miles Until November 30, each time you stay at Club Inter-Continental or Crowne Plaza Club in Asia-Pacific, you can earn double miles from one of Inter-Continental's 31 and Crowne Plaza's 10 airline partners. Guests at Crowne Plaza hotels and resorts must be enrolled in Priority Club Worldwide to earn airline miles. Guests who are not members may enrol upon check-in.
A class of their own British Airways is offering bulkhead infant seats for children younger than two who are too active for the airline's bulkhead cots. Twelve of these seats can be used on some Boeing 747 long-distance flights; they are available in economy class by reservation. The seats allow infants to see their parents and can be adjusted from horizontal to upright; in the cots, the infants lie flat.
Fireworks in Beijing The Palace Hotel in Beijing is putting on a package for those interested in seeing the fireworks display marking the 50th anniversary of the People's Republic of China on October 1. The display at Tiananmen Square can be watched from the hotel's rooftop, which is adjacent to it.
The package includes accommodation in a deluxe room, breakfast and afternoon tea, cocktails on the roof and an evening tour of the Great Wall on October 2 with champagne and canapes. The cost is US$234 (about HK$1,808) per night for a double room. Minimum stay is two nights. Call Beijing 6559 2888 for reservations and inquiries.
National Day in Penang Thomas Cook has a number of specials on offer, including a four days/three nights' break in Penang, Malaysia, over the National Day holiday from $3,788 (September 30 to October 3). It also has three days/two nights' packages with Japan Air System to Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto from $3,999 with daily breakfast.
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