with Nicholas Walton
Go with the flow
Exotissimo Travel (www.exotissimo.com) has new Laos itineraries. The three-day Luang Say Cruise & Kamu Lodge trip focuses on the laid-back charm of the Mekong River (below), between Huay Xai on the Lao-Thai border and the Unesco-listed city of Luang Prabang. It includes a cruise aboard a 34-metre vessel modelled on traditional riverboats. The Akha Experience is a three-day eco-tourism trek that explores the hunting grounds of the Akha hill tribes. Days will be spent hiking across the Muang Sing region's mountains and the nights listening to folklore with the village elders. The Luang Say Cruise is priced at US$550 per person until April 30. The Akha Experience is valid until September 30 and costs US$110 per person if there are six to eight people in the group.
Guests at the Anantara Phuket (anantara.com), in Thailand, can now sail aboard the luxurious Minor Affair private charter yacht (above). The vessel can take up to eight guests to the nearby Racha and Coral islands and snorkelling or diving in Phang Nga Bay. Two-day cruises to the Similan Islands for whale shark spotting and eight-day jaunts to Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago can also be arranged. Minor Affair charters start from 205,000 baht (HK$48,000) plus tax for a full day, including lunch.
Virgin Atlantic is encouraging its passengers to car pool when they arrive at their destinations. Through the website Taxi2 (www.taxi.to), the airline is connecting passengers who are headed in the same direction and are willing to share cabs in an effort to cut travel costs and carbon emissions. The site also accommodates women who want to travel only with other women and the service is not limited to Virgin passengers. The idea is a result of a recent Virgin-sponsored open innovation programme aimed at finding ways to benefit travellers.
The government has introduced a simplified travel advisories system, making it easier for those going overseas to see what prevailing conditions or threats exist at their intended destination. The Outbound Travel Alert (www.sb.gov.hk/eng/ota), introduced by the Security Bureau, covers 60 destinations that are popular with locals.
Deal of the week
Escape to Australia's Gold Coast (below) for five days with Farrington American Express Travel's GV2 package. The deal includes three nights' accommodation, in hotels such as the Mantra Legends (HK$6,490 per person, twin share) and the Sheraton Mirage Resort & Spa (HK$8,550 per person, twin share), with breakfast and round-trip economy-class flights to Brisbane on Cathay Pacific. Blackout dates and surcharges apply. To book, go to www.amextravel.com.hk.