travellers' checks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 January, 2008, 12:00am

Splashing out

If you're looking for something special for St Valentine's Day, you have deep pockets and are partial to a drop of bubbly, the One&Only Kanuhura resort in the Maldives is selling a Private Affair package that includes a bottle of champagne on arrival, one 50-minute couple massage, dinner on the beach with champagne, an in-villa 'romantic bath ceremony' with a half-bottle of champagne and chocolate-dipped fruit and something called a 'romantic villa turndown' on the last evening of your stay. At US$810 per couple per night, this package doesn't include accommodation, which, until March 14, starts at US$760 for a beach villa. Seaplane transfers are not included either, but you can enjoy free non-motorised water sports, tennis and squash courts, billiards, table tennis and - an unlikely deal-clincher at these rates - darts. For reservations, visit

The Hai life

The Nam Hai resort, located on China Beach a few kilometres outside the historical town of Hoi An in central Vietnam, is offering a package until the end of March. The nightly rate is US$550 (plus 15 per cent service and tax) for two guests in a villa and the extras included depend on the length of stay: buffet breakfast and airport limousine transfers for those staying two nights; one three-course dinner for stays of two to six nights; and a complimentary night for stays of seven nights or more. A similar package is offered for Pool Villas but with a US$850 (plus tax) nightly rate and more attractive extras such as massages, butler service, free minibar and daily afternoon tea. Since there are no direct flights to Danang from Hong Kong, guests will have to change in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. The Nam Hai is about 30 minutes' drive from the airport. For further details, visit

Pass masters

Singapore has introduced the Tourist Pass, a prepaid Octopus Card-type travel pass that gives unlimited rides on the MRT, LRT and standard bus routes for S$8 (HK$43) a day. Valid for one, two or three days, the cards also offer a selection of discounts at various tourist attractions and restaurants around the city, and can be bought, with a refundable S$10 deposit, at several MRT stations, including Changi Airport, Orchard and Chinatown. They will be available for purchase online from March at, which has a selection of suggested itineraries for making the most of your pass.

Happy campers

Should the 1982 Men at Work lyric, 'Travelling in a fried-out Kombi, on a hippie trail, head full of zombie', mean anything to you, you might be interested in Australian campervan outfit Hippie Camper. Although operating Mitsubishi vans rather than the above-mentioned classic Volkswagens, the firm makes up in spirit what it lacks in vintage vehicles. They're cheap too. Prices start from AUS$56 (HK$385) a day for a colourfully painted campervan with double bed, refrigerator, cooker and sink. Free maps and campground guides are provided, as is 24-hour roadside assistance. Hippie Camper has offices in Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, and you can pick up from and drop off at any of these locations. To book ahead and see an excessively upbeat, 10-minute promotional video, visit

This is your Thong

Travellers stopping over in Bangkok for the night on a budget long-haul flight, or with an early-morning departure, can avoid the overpriced Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel by staying at the much cheaper Thong Tha Resort. Published rates at the Novotel are about 9,350 baht (HK$2,470) per night (before tax) but at the Thong Tha you can book a double room for just 900 baht, including tax and American breakfast. It's a five-minute drive from the airport and staff will arrange a pick-up for 150 baht per room. See for more information. If the Thong Tha is full, try the nearby Queen's Garden Resort (, which charges marginally higher prices and has Wi-fi access.

Deal of the week

Farrington American Express Travel's Brunei Indulgence Package includes round-trip, economy-class flights on Royal Brunei Airlines and two nights' superior room accommodation at the sprawling Empire Hotel & Country Club ( On top of this comes daily buffet breakfast, one high tea in the lobby lounge, a food and beverage credit worth B$100 (HK$550) per room, 200 balls at the Empire Driving Range (the resort has an 18-hole floodlit golf course), an hour of badminton, squash or tennis, a facial and airport transfers. The price for all this (available until the end of March) is HK$4,210 per person, for two people sharing. Don't expect any alcohol to be included because Brunei is a dry country. However, incoming duty-free allowances are more generous (two litres of spirits, for example) than those permitted by most countries. For further details, call Farrington American Express Travel on 3121 3000 (Hong Kong) or 3121 3900 (Kowloon), or e-mail [email protected], quoting package ID: GTH131207-I-T.