Back on board
Following its suspension of services last April (when Tamil Tigers used light aircraft to bomb the air force base adjoining Bandaranaike International Airport), Cathay Pacific will resume flights to the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, at the end of this month. Daily services will be routed through Singapore and Bangkok, with the flights via Singapore having a more convenient arrival time. Flights with Bangkok stopovers will depart Hong Kong at 6.35pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday and arrive in Colombo at 12.15am. Those routed through Singapore will depart Hong Kong at 4.15pm on the other days of the week, arriving in Colombo at 10.45pm. All return flights are scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong at 12.10am or 12.15am, which doesn't leave passengers much time to catch the last Airport Express train at 12.48am. Travellers seeking accommodation beyond the usual list of hotels and resorts offered by local travel agents should look at www.boutiquesrilanka.com. It has extensive accommodation listings under categories such as Plantation Bungalows & Heritage Homes and Prestige Guesthouses. New properties, such as Vil Uyana (above), at Sigiriya, an archaeological site in central Sri Lanka, are also featured.
The Peninsula Tokyo recently launched what it says are the first iPod audio tours to be offered by any hotel in the city, with The Peninsula Eye Walk guiding listeners on a 60-minute ramble around the nearby Hibiya Park, the Imperial Gardens and down Marunouchi Naka-dori Street to Ginza. The Peninsula Art Walk is an audio guide to the hotel's impressive in-house art collection. If you're not staying at The Peninsula and would like an MP3 guide to other parts of the city, or other international destinations for that matter, head to www.tourcaster.com, which offers audio files and printable maps at reasonable prices.
Deal of the week
Westminster Travel is offering two nights in Manila from HK$1,490 per person, twin-share, including round-trip economy-class flights with Philippine Airlines. Accommodation at this price is at the Best Western Astor (www.bestwesternastor.com) in Makati, or you can choose from several similar mid-range properties. Top of the price range is the Makati Shangri-La (right; www.shangri-la.com), which is priced at HK$2,290 for weekends and HK$2,450 from Monday to Thursday. These prices are for travel between now and March 14 but a HK$450 surcharge applies from March 15 to 31. For reservations, call Westminster Travel on 2313 9800 or e-mail [email protected], quoting reference number 7588.