Hostelling expands in China
Hostelling expands in China Many of the colonial-style buildings on Shamian Island in Guangzhou, which were occupied by Western traders after the opium wars, have been given a facelift, and it is planned to convert one into a hostel up to International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) standards. Another is in the pipeline for Shenzhen.
Guangdong now has five hostels for budget travellers, including one opposite the railway station in Guangzhou which provides 80 beds for about HK$80 a night. There are no age restrictions, but you must be an affiliated member of IYHF to be able to book rooms. The Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association (HKYHA) can book hostel accommodation worldwide for its members. There are 4,500 hostels offering cheap accommodation in more than 60 countries.
The HKYHA is at Room 225, Block 19, Shekkipmei Estate, Shamshuipo. Tel: 2788 1638 or fax: 2788 3105. The IYHF has a Web site: www.iyhf.org. There is also an on-line booking service worldwide for members.
Speedier transfers Alitalia has improved its connections to Rome from Milan. Passengers from Hong Kong now have to wait only 50 minutes at Malpensa Airport before taking off for the Italian capital. Alitalia operates three weekly late-evening flights direct to Milan on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Before the schedule change, passengers had to wait for a little more than two hours for a connection to Rome.
France toasts Champagne France is hoping to boost tourism in its regional centres, according to Jean Silvestre, who has just taken up the Hong Kong-based post of regional director for the French Government Tourist Office. Mr Silvestre, who was previously based in Japan, was hosting a lunch for the travel media with a presentation on the Champagne-Ardenne area.
He is hoping to lure Hong Kong tourists to Reims, which is only about 90 minutes' drive from Paris, to follow the champagne historic and heritage routes to the towns of Epernay and Troyes. The Ardennes forests are also being promoted, with barge trips on the River Meuse and trekking. Check out the Web site: www.tourisme-champagne-ard.com Mileage calculator If you want to keep tabs on how many miles or hotel points you have clocked up under your frequent flyer programme, the MileageMiner may be able to help. It promises to provide a regular on-line statement of your entitlements. The service is free for the first three months, after which there is a charge of US$2.95 (about HK$23) per month. For information, look up Frequent Flyer under www.excite.com A treat for Trekkies Star Trek has been beamed up to the Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of the island state's 15-month-long MillenniaMania celebrations. The Star Trek World Tour will be staged there until next February 8. Visitors are promised hi-tech adventures aboard a mock-up of the USS Enterprise. The exhibition takes up more than 12,000 square metres of floor space. Admission might leave a black hole in your pocket, though, at around HK$175 per adult and HK$148 for children as young as three. There are some family packages, for two adults and two or three children.
Look up www.star-trek-world-tour.com