Something To Declare: Bahrain; Papua New Guinea

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The Independent Travel

Warning of the week: Bahrain

Despite the many attractions of the Gulf region (see pages 16-18) there is also a continuing threat of terrorism there, according to the Foreign Office.

This has prevailed for many years; in 1996, for example, the advice for Bahrain read: "There have been a number of security incidents in Bahrain in recent months, including incendiary devices placed in shops overnight and two arson attacks on restaurants, one resulting in loss of life. Three minor bomb attacks have occurred at hotels."

This month, the latest Foreign Office bulletin says: "Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests." The official warning also says that passengers merely changing planes at the nation's airport are expected to be sober: "Even travellers transiting Bahrain who are clearly intoxicated can be denied boarding and are detained and fined by Bahraini Public Security."

Destination of the week: Papua New Guinea

One of the least-visited destinations on the map becomes more accessible this month thanks to new flights from Brisbane to the capital, Port Moresby, on the Virgin offshoot, Pacific Blue. Return fares start at around £120; with flights from the UK to Brisbane typically available for less than £900, this means that you could get to Papua New Guinea for under £1,000.

The nation is one of the least known yet most culturally and naturally diverse in the world. Only 1,500 British visitors go there each year. The dangers in Port Moresby – whose airport is known as POM – are substantial, which is why the Pacific Blue flights may appeal: you can change planes to a destination elsewhere in Papua New Guinea on the same day.

Bargain of the month: Spain

The second half of November and the first half of December look grim for Britain's low-cost airlines. Over the next month, the y will struggle to entice passengers on board, and this year looks worse than usual.

As a result, fares to popular destinations are low. If you fancy seeing Malaga's Picasso Museum (below), Monarch (08700 40 50 40; flymonarch.com) will take you there from Gatwick for £80 return; Liverpool to Barcelona on easyJet (0871 244 2366; easyJet.com) is available for £50 return.

Finally, from Birmingham, Thomsonfly (0870 1900 737; thomsonfly.com) will get you to Palma in Mallorca and back for £52 return.

Winner of the Week: Mike Unwin

The 2008 British Guild of Travel Writers awards were held this week, with Mike Unwin claiming top prize in the overseas category for a piece written for theIndependent Traveller on Rwanda.

To read his story again, go to tinyurl.com/6ozznq

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