Tiger tracks Taking the Eastern & Oriental Express train (pictured above) is probably the most expensive, and comfortable, way to travel between Singapore and Bangkok. Now there's a good excuse for splurging on the journey - though only from October 3 to 7. Those are the dates on which an Eastern & Oriental Tiger Express package will be running for the benefit of Save Wild Tigers, a non-profit conservation group. This package includes one night at Raffles, in Singapore, two nights aboard the train and one night at the Mandarin Oriental, in the Thai capital. Along the way there's a fundraising cocktail reception and dinner with members of the Malaysian royal family at the Majestic Hotel, in Kuala Lumpur, and a tiger-themed art exhibition at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel (no relation), in Penang. Prices start from US$4,910 per person but Eastern & Oriental Express says that "up to" 30 per cent of each booking will be donated to Save Wild Tigers. See www.easternandorientalexpress.com for further details.
Maritime memories With the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal's first full cruise season now under way, it's unlikely that many passengers will be departing with copies of Kipling and the Sea stowed in their steamer trunks, nor with steamer trunks at all, come to that. But for those romantic souls who do sail off into the sunset with a yearning for vintage tales of ocean travel, of ships of sail and steam and the lives and times of the men and women who travelled in them, this new volume from Rudyard Kipling specialist Andrew Lycett looks tailor-made. Kipling crossed the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans, and this collection of short stories, poetry, speeches, letters and other jottings from the youngest-ever winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature is a comprehensive collection. Published next month, Kipling and the Sea: Voyages and Discoveries from North Atlantic to South Pacific is now available for pre-order and preview at amazon.co.uk.
Minor delight Following its surprising and swift takeover of The Chedi Chiang Mai late last year, the Minor Hotel Group rebranded the property as the Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa. With a foothold already in northern Thailand, at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort (pictured top), near Chiang Rai, the company is now selling a Northern Delights package that features two nights' accommodation at each resort, with a one-way overland transfer between the two (you can begin your trip at either), airport transfers and lunch and dinner at the Golden Triangle resort, from where a relaxing visit to the Hall of Opium Museum can be arranged. You can also choose one activity for every night stayed at that resort, including a Thai cooking class, spa treatment, "three country" tour and elephant camp experience. Pricing at the Anantara Chiang Mai website chiang-mai.anantara.com/Northern-Delights is only given per-night at each resort, but once you add everything up and include the 17 per cent tax and service charge, the total comes to 77,400 baht (HK$18,300).
London calling An opening date of May 6 for the much-anticipated (i.e. long-delayed) Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard (right), London has finally been announced. The hotel, which was originally scheduled to open in time for the London Olympics, in 2012, will be opened in phases, with level 52 - which contains the main bar (London's highest boozerie), fitness centre and infinity pool - due to open on July 1 and three signature suites on hold until September. Rooms will start from £450 (HK$5,700) per night, which includes tax. For details on the hotel and reservations (accepted from March 17), visit www.shangri-la.com.
Deal of the week A free stopover in either Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, in Vietnam, is offered with a Siem Reap, Cambodia, package from TLX Travel. Prices start from a very reasonable HK$1,820 for two nights at the Casa Angkor Hotel (which gets mostly positive online reviews) or you can go upmarket and stay at places such as the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor from HK$3,610 and the La Residence d'Angkor (pictured top) from HK$4,500. Prices also include round-trip flights to Siem Reap via either of the cities mentioned above with Vietnam Airlines and daily breakfast. For a full list of hotels and reservations, go to www.tlxtravel.com or call 2270 7600.