Something To Declare: Malaysia; better airport links; cheap UK hotels

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The Independent Travel

Destination of the week: Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is at the centre of a fares war from London involving both the big Malaysian carriers, Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines.

On Air Asia (0845 605 3333; from Stansted to Kuala Lumpur, if you book by Monday 10 August, and travel from 3 January to 31 March next year, you can find fares of typically £478 return. However, if you can track down one of the very rare "promo" fares between these dates it could fall to around the £300 mark.

The offer from Malaysia Airlines (0871 423 9090; is a flat fare of £519 return to a range of Malaysian destinations including the islands of Penang and Langkawi, and the cities of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo. You can book up to 21 August for travel 10 January to 31 March.

Tip of the week: Better airport links

This week the new Rhônexpress tram link from Lyon airport to Part-Dieu station near the city centre opens at last, offering a fast (half-hour) if expensive (€13 single/€23 return) connection.

Under-12s travel free, and those aged 12-25 qualify for a €2 reduction each way.

The service will operate 5am-midnight, with four trains per hour between 6am and 9pm, and the operator (, French only) even promises to lay on extra services after midnight if inbound flights are delayed.

Bargain of the week: Cheap UK hotels

Like many business-focused hotel chains, the Novotel brand is discounting rates at properties in city centres during August. Test bookings at for later this month reveal prices of £69 per room for Liverpool, £79 for Cardiff and £89 for Glasgow.

These are "no change, no cancel" rates that include breakfast and allow three or, in some cases four, people to stay for the same price as one.

The same website allows you to access discount rates for Ibis hotels, part of the same Accor group.