Light reading Louis Vuitton has just launched a new City Guide app for iPhone and iPad, which is similar in style and content to the guide books it started publishing a few years ago. The basic app is free to download but you'll have to pay for each destination added to your virtual LV library. The good news is that they cost only HK$78 each (the physical books retail at HK$310), and the Paris guide will be available for free download until the end of this year. Sample pages of each guide are offered for preview, including a hotel and restaurant review, and attractive photographs. (Oddly enough for a "luxury" guide, the Hong Kong preview includes a photo of a minibus passing a branch of Circle K, and a nighttime shot of a bus station in what looks like a public housing estate). Twenty-five destinations are available, including Bangkok, Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. A demo video can be found at eu.louisvuitton.com/eng-e1/apps. While you are there, take a look at the promo video for the 100 Legendary Trunks iPad app, which is a digital version of the book Louis Vuitton: 100 Legendary Trunks: The History of the Travel Trunk. This surprisingly engaging volume was first published in 2010 and is filled with photos of some remarkably inventive items of luggage from the company's creative heyday, when it was at the forefront of practical luggage design. The book is priced at HK$1,600 but the app can be downloaded for just HK$128.
New frontiers With river cruising gaining popularity in Southeast Asia in the past couple of years, boat operators have not only been adding vessels to their fleets, but exploring new stretches of water, too. In September, cruise company Pandaw took pioneering passengers up the Chindwin River, in Myanmar, as far as Nagaland, in India, for the first time, and next March and April will be operating an even more ambitious trip. The Mekong: From Luang Prabang to China is a 10-night, four-country excursion that begins in the former Laotian capital and ends in Jinghong, in southern Yunnan province. Most of the trip will be spent aboard the new Laos Pandaw (above), which the company launched this month. Border-crossing delays and route changes are a possibility and travellers "who might find sudden changes of plan or delays stressful" need not apply. Easygoing and adventurous travellers can find out more by scrolling down at www.pandaw.com/expeditions. Both upstream and shorter downstream trips are available from about US$3,000 with a 20-per cent discount available if you book by November 30 for the later April departures.
Suite deal The New World Shanghai Hotel is offering an upgrade from superior room to one-bedroom suite for only one yuan (HK$1.20) from now until the end of February. This includes full access to the Residence Club Living Room (above), with complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, all-day refreshments and evening cocktails. No minimum stay is required, and superior room rates start from 770 yuan. For further details and reservations, go to www.newworldhotels.com/shanghai.
Deal of the week Flights with Cathay Pacific and a two-night stay at the Fragrance Hotel Joo Chiat, which is about halfway between the airport and downtown Singapore, is on offer from only HK$1,450 with Farrington Vacations. This property gets mostly positive online reviews, but if you prefer something more upmarket, the Mandarin Oriental and Westin and are available from HK$2,590 and HK$2,750, respectively. The St Regis is priced from HK$3,550 and rates at the Fullerton Bay Hotel (above) start from HK$3,990. This package, which includes breakfast at any hotel other than the Fragrance, will be available for departure until December 18. For more hotels and reservation details, visit www.amextravel.com.hk.