Kenji Fujimoto was accepted into Kim Jong-il's inner circle during a 13-year stint serving North Korea's first family. The Japanese sushi chef gives Julian Ryall his take on the communist dynasty'...
Travellers flying to Europe on KLM with connect- ing flights in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, can kill some time on the new Floating Dutchman (right) amphibious bus tour. Running on a circular route from Schiphol Airport, the bus drives into the outskirts of Amsterdam then plunges into the city's canal network, passing sights such as the Magere Brug, Oude Schans and Oosterdok. The whole trip takes almost three hours, departing at 9am, midday and 3pm. Tickets cost Euro39 (HK$430) for adults and Euro19.50 for children. Anyone visiting Amsterdam for a holiday, rather than just making flight connections, will probably prefer more traditional canal cruises as the Floating Dutchman starts and ends at the airport and passengers are not allowed to get off the bus at any point. For reservations, visit www.floatingdutchman.nl.
As the world's newest country, South Sudan is also by default the world's newest travel destination, although PR companies would have a hard time selling it as such. The capital, Juba, was a regular stopover for Imperial Airways flights from Britain to South Africa in the 1930s, but most passengers who alighted for the overnight refuelling stop got swiftly back on board the next day. Most flights arriving in Juba these days carry foreign- aid workers and foreign government representatives, and it's their benevolent presence in recent years that has helped the tiny capital become one of the most expensive in the world for visitors. The most basic hotel rooms, even ones made from converted shipping containers, can cost US$200 a night. Don't expect much in the way of historical interest, either, as Juba was only established by Greek businessmen on the banks of the White Nile in the 20s. South Sudan is, then, still a destination for the in- trepid traveller, or for those with pass- port stamps to collect, after-dinner stories to tell and T-shirts to buy. If you do fancy being among the first to visit, then Ethiopian Airlines (www.flyethiopian.com) will get you from Hong Kong to Juba and back, via Addis Ababa, for HK$14,623, and the Bradt guide (www.bradtguides. com) to Sudan, last published in 2009, has the most extensive coverage on the area. The most affordable good-quality accommodation is said to be offered by Acacia Village (www.acaciavillage. com), where an 'en-suite container' costs US$95 a night. For up-to-date travel advice, visa requirements and all sorts of warnings, visit the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at www.fco.gov.uk.
Deal of the week
A two-night stay at the Ana Mandara Hue resort (below), just outside the central Vietnamese coastal city of Hue, is on sale at Tiglion Travel for HK$4,290. For this price you'll be staying in a modest deluxe room, but if you're willing to pay more, you can upgrade to a duplex room (HK$4,690), beach villa (HK$5,690) or pool villa (HK$7,190). See www.epikurean.ws/ana-mandara-hue for room types and other resort details. Also included are round-trip flights between Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh City, and between Ho Chi Minh City and Hue on Vietnam Airlines, and free stopovers in Ho Chi Minh City are permitted in either direction. Daily breakfast is included in these prices, which are per person twin-share. For further details and reservations, call 2511 7189, or e-mail email@example.com, quoting package ID 2462.