Offering a similar but rather less cynical approach to the places-to-see-before-you-die format, Make the Most of Your Time on Earth, published by Rough Guides, features '1,000 must-do experiences from around the world'. These include the usual line-up of places and events, such as the Icehotel in Sweden and India's Pushkar camel fair, as well as a few more original suggestions - trekking to the source of the Ganges and tagging dolphins off the coast of Spain, for instance. The book is accompanied by a CD of the same name, also available separately and featuring musicians from as far afield as Romania, Ethiopia, Cuba and Scotland. The book (US$19.79) and the CD (US$14.98) are available from www.amazon.com.
Don't just sit there
Phuket's Indigo Pearl resort (above) - themed around the island's tin-mining heritage - is running a selection of activity-based packages (not including flights) until April. Seven- and three-night Explorer packages offer a choice of two recreational sea- or land-based activities, including fishing, a cooking class, sea canoeing, Thai kickboxing, a yoga class and a snorkelling excursion to the nearby islands of Koh Phi Phi or Koh Kai. A 60-minute massage is also an option for visitors overdoing any of the above. The three-night package starts from US$674 for two, rising to US$938 for a private pool pavilion. Seven nights cost from US$1,262 to US$1,879.
A golf package for two includes two rounds at the island's Blue Canyon club - playing both the lake and canyon courses. This two-night package is priced from US$794 to US$912, depending on accommodation, and includes golf course transfers, a 60-minute massage and a drink back at the resort's bar.
Also on offer is a range of scuba-diving packages, including the five-night Andaman Discovery, which features a half-day excursion to Koh Waeo for two dives, a full-day trip to Phi Phi, another full day with three dives at Similan Island and a half-day trip diving at either Shark Point or the King Cruiser wreck. The package, including one dinner and all meals on dive trips, is priced from US$1,496 rising to US$1,937 for accommodation in a private pool pavilion, with a 25,850 baht (HK$6,400) supplement for a second diver and 10,000 baht supplement for PADI Advanced Course certification. For further details, visit www.indigo-pearl.com.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel group's Seasonal Choices promotion includes American breakfast, late checkout (subject to availability), double occupancy for single rates and a free bed for children under the age of 12 at its properties worldwide. Even the new Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya
in Mexico (see above for nearby scenery) is available for reservations from January 15. The full range of Seasonal Choices rates can be viewed at www. mandarinoriental.com.
Deal of the week
Tiglion Travel is selling a two-night package to Kuching in Sarawak, Borneo, from HK$3,590 per person, twin-share, with accommodation at either the Holiday Inn Kuching (www.ichotelsgroup.com) or the Grand Continental (www.ghihotels.com). For a further HK$500 you can stay at the more desirable Hilton Kuching (www.hilton.com). These prices are available for travel ending on or before December 19 and include daily breakfast, airport transfers and flights via Kota Kinabalu (where one free stopover is possible if desired) with Malaysia Airlines. For further details and reservations, call Tiglion Travel on 2511 7189, or e-mail email@example.com, quoting Package ID 4548.