Runway success Despite the best efforts of architect Norman Foster and his ilk, airports really aren't much to look at - inside or out. They're generally filled with people displaying what travel writer Peter Fleming described as far back as the 1930s as "those traces of nervous exhaustion which are the hall-mark of the holidaymaker on his way home", or an impatience to get on their plane without delay. They are not, generally speaking, places for quiet contemplation and they easily slip from holiday memories. So a book of photographs filled with hundreds of seemingly random shots taken at airports around the world would seem an unlikely candidate for most coffee tables. Leafing through 800 Views of Airports, a celebrated collection of pictures by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss taken over 25 years and published in a single collection for the first time, however, is surpri-singly engaging - some might even say entrancing. There's no accompanying text, even to identify the airports, which only adds to the mysterious appeal of this inexplicably addictive volume. The book is available at amazon.com for about US$40, not including shipping.
Destination Myanmar Dragonair (www.dragonair.com) began flights to Yangon, Myanmar, earlier this month and Cathay Pacific Holidays is already offering packages to the city, with prices starting from HK$3,890 for round-trip, economy-class Dragonair flights and two nights' accommodation at the Summit Parkview Hotel, which has received good online reviews. The city's two top hotels - The Strand and The Governor's Residence - are available from HK$5,570 and HK$6,230, respectively. Prices don't include fuel surcharges and tax but do cover breakfasts, airport transfers in Yangon and travel insur-ance. Reservations can be made and details found at www.cxholidays.com.
Make way for Marseille The cultural accent of Provence, France, will be even more acute this year with the city of Marseille taking on the mantle of European Capital of Culture 2013. In recognition of the accolade, events and exhibitions will take place year-round in the city and throughout the region, in places such as Arles, Aix-en-Provence and Aubagne. Air France is offering fairly cheap flights to Marseille, via Paris, starting from HK$4,400 - which with fuel surcharges and tax comes to about HK$7,800. An 11.35pm departure from Hong Kong will have you in Marseille soon after 10am, so you can have your head in a bowl of bouillabaisse at the Vieux Port by lunchtime. Alternatively, you can make a stopover in Paris for an extra HK$750. The same fare applies to flights to other French cities and European destinations, with departures up to June 24 - just about the time the famous Provencal lavender comes into bloom. The official European Capital of Culture 2013 website is at www.mp2013.fr, although more well-presented information can be found at www.marseille-provence.info. Book your flights at www.airfrance.com.hk.
Deal of the week Swire Travel is offering a cheap getaway to Kota Kinabalu that starts from a low HK$2,950 for round-trip, economy-class flights with Dragonair and two nights' accommodation at the Grand Borneo Hotel. This place is in town, however, where the pickings are fairly slim from a tourist's point of view - the vast majority of visitors are only interested in the nearby beach resorts and the aquatic attractions of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Most of the big properties are also available, though, with the Nexus Resort & Spa Karambunai offering the cheapest rooms, from HK$3,450, and accommodation at the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria and Tanjung Aru (below) resorts starting from HK$3,730 and HK$3,850, respectively. Prices, available until mid-April (with Lunar New Year and Easter surcharges), include daily breakfast but exclude fuel surcharges, tax and airport transfers. For a full list of hotel choices and online reservations, go to www.swiretravel.com and search for the Kota Kinabalu Winter Promotion link in the Malaysia section, under Leisure Holiday/Vacation Package.