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Travellers' checks

 

The snow show If you've always wanted to see the White Continent but haven't had the time to take a lengthy Antarctic cruise from Australasia or South America, one option would be to join one of the Antarctica Sightseeing Flights (right) operated by Australian company Croydon Travel. Flying on a Boeing 747 aircraft chartered from Qantas, you'll spend about 12 hours in the air, roughly four of which will be over Antarctica at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Seating is rotated so everyone gets some window time, unless allocated a centre seat - in which case you'll have to wander the aisles in search of a free window. A "fantastic atmosphere of co-operation among passengers as they share the experience" is promised, however, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem. The next departure is a New Year's Eve flight from Melbourne (complete with inflight jazz band), which will be followed by a flight from Adelaide on January 20, from Perth on January 26, from Sydney on February 10 and from Melbourne again on February 17. There will also be a departure from Auckland, New Zealand, on February 3. Prices start from A$1,199 (HK$9,600) for an economy-class centre-row seat, and go up to A$6,999 for first class. For more information, visit www.antarcticaflights.com.au

 

Take charge While Samsonite's claim that its new solar-powered Torus Backpack (left) "eliminates the unnecessary stress that low battery warnings can cause while on the move" might sound a bit dramatic, it's certainly true that a battery-sucking smartphone can be a worry on the road, where you'll probably be using it even more than usual. An improvement on last year's Solar Business Laptop Backpack, the Torus comes with a detachable battery unit that can also be charged through a USB port, charging cables for a wide variety of phones, and tips on charging different types of mobile devices. It's available at local Samsonite outlets for HK$1,790. For an introduction to the world of solar-powered backpacks, and reviews for some of the many other models available, take a look at solarbackpackhq.com

 

Double the happiness One of Bhutan's premier luxury resorts, Uma by Como, Paro (known until recently by the less cumbersome name of Uma Paro) was officially joined yesterday by a new sister property, Uma by Como, Punakha (right; www.comohotels.com/umapunakha). The two resorts are about a five-hour drive apart, and a new five- or seven-night Himalaya Explorer package linking both is now available. Travel to Bhutan still involves a significant amount of red tape and a daily minimum-spend tourist tariff, which you probably won't notice if you're staying at either of the Como properties, but which is explained in full at the above website. Flights, which can also be booked through either of the Como resorts, can only be made on Bhutan's national carrier, Druk Air (www.drukair.com.bt) with Bangkok being the closest departure airport for Hong Kong travellers.

 

Deal of the week Tiglion Travel's two-night package to Yangon in Myanmar starts from HK$3,590 per person, twin share, with accommodation at the Central Hotel (www.centralhotelyangon.com) and daily breakfast. More familiar names on offer include the Traders Hotel (left; www.shangri-la.com/traders) for HK$4,090, The Strand (www.ghmhotels.com) for HK$4,590 and The Governor's Residence (www.governorsresidence.com) for HK$4,490. Half- and full-day city tours can also be booked in advance from HK$570 to HK$790 per person. For further details and reservations, visit www.tiglion.com or call 2511 7189 and quote Package ID 4257. Myanmar visas can now be obtained online at www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm

 

 

 

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