Something to declare: Malaysian liaison; bargain Yorkshire; Porto Santo; Jamaica
Saturday 29 May 2010
Bargain of the week: Malaysian liaison
This time last year, Singapore Airlines came up with some amazingly good fares for off-peak months; in 2010, it is the turn of Malaysia Airlines (0871 423 9090; malaysiaairlines.com ) to startle the market with very low prices for off-peak travel to a range of Malaysian destinations.
Beginning this weekend, you can fly from Heathrow via Kuala Lumpur to any Malaysia Airlines domestic destination for as little as 449; this fare applies to the holiday islands of Langkawi and Penang, with the Malaysian Borneo cities of Kuching and Kota Kinabalu priced at 469.
The 449 fare also applies to Terengganu and Kuantan, and for non-stop London-KL fares providing stiff competition for the low-cost operator from Stansted, Air Asia.
Book by the end of June, for travel in October and November, or from 16 January until 31 March next year. As always, the offer is for a limited number of seats. When they're gone, they're gone.
Tip of the week: Yorkshire on the cheap
The Yorkshire Pass offers more than 70 attractions, from the Jorvik Centre in York to the North Yorks Moors Railway. With the First TransPennine code FTPE0410, get 20 per cent off at yorkshirepass.com
Destination of the week: Porto Santo
The Portuguese island of Madeira is back on its feet after the mudslides earlier this year but its sister island, Porto Santo, will prove more rewarding for travellers in search of a beach.
Porto Santo is a fragment of rock on the wild western edge of Europe. It is smaller than Madeira, just seven miles by four, and while Madeira is lush and verdant, this small island is relatively dry. It also possesses one of the finest beaches in the mid-Atlantic: five unbroken miles of sand.
While it may look like an archetypal desert island, Porto Santo has a typically Portuguese past, with legends of shipwrecked sailors, marauding pirates and Christopher Columbus, who lived here for a while before his American adventures: his reputed home, Vila Baleira, is open for visitors.
The one problem of Porto Santo, from a British perspective, is access: usually you have to travel via Lisbon and/or Madeira. But Viking Airlines starts flying there from Gatwick on Monday, and will repeat the flight once a week until 19 July. The programme starts again on 6 September for the remainder of that month.
Atlantic Holidays (01452 381888; atlanticholidays.net ) offers trips based on these flights. A week, half-board, at the five-star Pestana Porto Santo costs 499 including flights and transfers for the first two departures (31 May and 7 June), 529 thereafter.
Warning of the week: Jamaica
The British High Commission in the capital, Kingston, closed this week because of unrest. The latest Foreign Office advice says "UK citizens are strongly advised to avoid all non-essential travel in and around the Kingston area. A limited State of Emergency has been declared covering Kingston and St Andrew". There is also "an increased risk of civil disorder and street violence in other urban areas in Jamaica". British citizens "should continue to take extra care if travelling away from their homes or hotels".
The US State Department is explicit about places to avoid, including Mountain View, Trench Town, Tivoli Gardens, Cassava Piece, and Arnett Gardens in Kingston; and Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights, Clavers Street and Hart Street in Montego Bay.
"Crime is exacerbated by the fact that police are understaffed and ineffective. Additionally, there have been frequent allegations of police corruption."
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