Back to the top Mount Kinabalu (above), in Malaysia, was closed to hikers after it was disturbed by an earthquake last June, but the Timpohon Trail, which leads up to the Laban Rata resthouse (top), a couple of kilometres from the summit, was reopened last week. The more challenging Mesilau Trail, which also ascends to Laban Rata, will remain closed indefinitely, but a new summit trail from Laban Rata to Low's Peak should be open from December 1. Visit for further information and package deals. Direct flights from Hong Kong to nearby Kota Kinabalu leave two to four times daily.

Private pools Banyan Tree Phuket has just announced the completion of a major resort refurbishment, which has upgraded each of its Deluxe Villas to Banyan Pool Villas (above), so every guest can take a private dip on their own doorstep, whichever category of accommodation they choose to stay in. Two of its restaurants have also reopened, and to mark the occasion, which also ties in with the resort's 21st anniversary (this was the first Banyan Tree resort to open, back in 1994), a "Night On Us Re-Launch Offer - Stay 5 Pay 4" deal offers one night's free accommodation with a five-night booking. This includes daily breakfast and a 20 per cent discount at both restaurants (excluding alcohol), and will be available for booking until October 27 for stays from November 1 until October 31 next year. For further details and reservations, visit

Deal of the week Charlotte Travel is selling an affordable two-night Tokyo package that includes accommodation at a wide choice of hotels in all the major tourist areas. The cheapest is the Hotel Vintage, which has a good location in the Shinjuku district and is priced from HK$3,190 per person, twin share. Across town, in the Ginza area, good deals can be found at the Courtyard by Marriott (from HK$4,050), and the Shibuya Excel Tokyu is worth a try from HK$4,190. More upmarket hotels on offer include the Grand Hyatt in Roppongi Hills (from HK$5,790), the Mandarin Oriental in Nihonbashi (from HK$6,350) and the Shangri-La Tokyo, in Marunouchi (above; from HK$6,390). Package prices include economy-class flights with Japan Airlines and daily breakfast, and will be available (with occasional blackout dates and surcharge periods) until the end of this year. For further details and a much longer list of hotels, go to