Feb 16, 2012|
Craving a little island getaway? (And really, who isn’t this time of year?) They’re about to get a little easier to plan, now that Bangkok Airways is upping the number of flights it operates between Hong Kong and Koh Samui. Currently they’ve got an outbound flight at 4:55pm and an inbound one at 11:30am every day, but as of March 31, they’re adding three additional flights per week for each leg. I’m nonetheless a little peeved at Bangkok Airways, and here’s why: because they own the airport in Samui, they have a virtual monopoly over flights, except for a handful from Thai Airways. That means prices can be high—but it’s often worth it for a direct flight, so I’ll just continue to harrumph in vain about cartels at my desk. I visited the idyllic island (okay, idyllic except for the seedy-tacky parts of Chaweng) for the first time last year after being invited by a beautiful-yet-reasonably-priced resort, Hansar Samui. But there are a ton of reasons to go—from checking out the brand-new Intercon (formally known as the Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort, excuuuuuse me) to having an exquisite Japanese meal with a twist at the W Retreat Koh Samui’s Namu.
For more information and reservations, contact Bangkok Airways at (+66) 2270-6699 or via www.bangkokair.com.
Singapore is so universally hailed a foodie’s paradise that I couldn’t help but chuckle when I received a notice proclaiming that Resorts World Sentosa was opening up a “Malaysian Food Street” to bring the best of that country’s diverse cuisine to its city-state neighbor to the south. I mean, when there’s so much to devour at the hawker centers and in Chinatown and Little India and Arab Street and beyond, why set up a Disneyfied food court? But then I took a closer look, and learned that the resort has actually imported some culinary heavy-hitters, like Helen Lem, the proprietress of a famous hokkien mee stall in Kuala Lumpur that opened in 1979, and the Lims of Penang, who run a decades-old char kway teow stall there. From porridge to claypot rice, this area seems to offer a chance to experience authentic, old-timey dishes from Malaysia. Admission to the resort is free and walk-ins are welcome; dishes start at about HK$25. Turns out there’s always room—in the market, and likely my stomach, too—for one more foodie-focused destination in Singapore.
Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, Singapore 098269, (+65) 6577-8888, www.rwsentosa.com.
I lived in Florence for a few months in my itinerant days, working as an au pair for a picture-perfect Italian family. (Ciao, Cusimanos!) While the kids were off at school I would explore, but it was often hard to navigate the mobs of tourists while reading my oversized guidebook and trying to piece together the context behind what I was seeing. So when I went to Rome for a weekend, I took a tour of the Vatican from Through Eternity, a company that has been taking small groups (10 people max) and leading private excursions around Italy’s historic and cultural sights since 1999. It was years ago, but I distinctly remember my guide—a didactic, down-to-earth gent who delighted in sharing quirky details and engaging tales about the big-deal attraction we were trying to fathom. Through Eternity is offering springtime deals on two of their offerings in my old stomping ground of Florence, including a tour of the city center (with stops at the Duomo and the famed Ponte Vecchio) for just 35 euros (HK$360), as well as a guided excursion to both the Uffizi and the Accademia, home to Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and Michelangelo’s “David,” respectively, for 39 euros (HK$400). Take it from me, the latter deal is worth it just for the advance reservations to avoid long queues. The special rates start on March 26; book online by April 20 using the promotional code “firenze2012.”
Sign up at www.througheternity.com. For more information, call (+39) 06-70-09-336 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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