In the footsteps The boutique Villa Maly (below) in former Lao capital Luang Prabang is offering a package highlighting the legacy of the 19th-century French explorer Henri Mouhot. Although barely remembered outside France, Mouhot (1826-1861) is credited with first bringing Angkor Wat and its surroundings to the world's attention. Villa Maly's Mapping Monsieur Mouhot package includes a trek to the explorer's jungle grave (which was rediscovered by chance in 1990), a trip to a waterfall that he 'may' have visited, a copy of his journals and two nights' accommodation for two people. Mouhot picked up a dose of malaria in or near Luang Prabang and subsequently died aged 34, so you might want to take basic precautions against mosquitoes. Prices start from US$547 for superior and US$637 for deluxe accommodation throughout August and September, and rise to US$725 and US$815, respectively, from October. Vietnam Airlines flies from Hong Kong to Luang Prabang via Hanoi. See www.villa-maly.com for further details. Flight details Dragonair flights to Fukuoka, which were suspended in June last year because of the financial downturn, will resume on October 31, restoring Hong Kong's only non-stop air link with the southern Japanese city. The airline is also set to increase its flight frequency to and from Kathmandu, Nepal, from three to six times a week starting on September 1. This also ups the flight count to the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, which is a stopover on outbound flights to Kathmandu. Deal of the week Local online agent Aerohkg.com is offering a cheap two-night package to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, with prices for hotels hovering around the HK$2,200 to HK$3,000 range. Most interesting are a couple of centrally located historic hotels, including the Majestic (from HK$2,718) and the Hotel Continental Saigon (right; from HK$2,568), which dates back to 1880. These were the two best hotels in town in their heyday, and although unlikely to be hailed as such now, both offer an unusual flavour of old Saigon. For a more upmarket experience, the Park Hyatt is available from HK$3,898. These prices, all quoted per person on a twin-share basis, include round-trip, economy-class flights with Vietnam Airlines and daily breakfast, and are available until the end of September. For more information and bookings, call 5139 3721. End of an era One of Europe's most famous hotels will not be reopening after its reno-vation is completed next year. The Grand Hotel des Bains in Venice, which closed several months ago, will instead be converted into luxury apartments. Popularised in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film Death in Venice, which was based on Thomas Mann's novella (for which the hotel provided inspiration while the writer stayed there), the hotel also stood in for Shepheard's Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, for Anthony Minghella's The English Patient. Filming locations aside, the Grand Hotel des Bains, which opened in 1900, was considered to be one of the most romantic hotels in the world, and countless couples who spent their honeymoons here returned for anniversaries year after year.