Something To Declare: North Korea; Bali; Los Angeles; Tenerife

Destination of the week: North Korea

Access to the communist republic is getting easier by the week. Passenger rail services across the "DMZ" (Demilitarised Zone) are expected to begin shortly, though initially it seems unlikely that foreign visitors will be permitted to use the line to reach North Korea from Seoul, capital of South Korea.

A safer approach by air to the capital Pyongyang will soon become available, however. From the end of March, Air China is reinstating its link from Beijing to the North Korean capital. At present, only Air Koryo flies the route, and the Foreign Office currently warns tourists that "international aircraft safety procedures are not observed on all flights". Given the airline's poor safety record, British diplomats are urged "to use alternative means of transport if possible".

Neil Taylor, who, as a director of Regent Holidays (0845 277 3317;, pioneered travel to North Korea in 1985, welcomes the move. "It must now make commercial sense for Air China to return to Pyongyang. They had been in before, but I imagine withdrew when they realised that the aircraft could be used more lucratively elsewhere – perhaps to Seoul."

But Taylor says that Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean dictator, is unlikely to be a passenger on the new link: "The 'Dear Leader', following in the footsteps of his father and Stalin, does not fly, even though it is thought that he learnt how to fly in the old East Germany."

Warning of the week: Bali

The advice from some Commonwealth governments against visiting this troubled isle is getting increasingly strident. This is how the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs addresses prospective travellers: "Ask yourself whether, given your own personal circumstances, you're comfortable travelling to Indonesia, including Bali, knowing that there is a very high threat from terrorism and you may be caught up in a terrorist attack.

"Ask yourself whether travel could be deferred or an alternative destination chosen. If, having considered these issues, you do decide to travel to Indonesia, including Bali, you should exercise extreme caution. If you are already in Indonesia, including Bali, and concerned for your safety, consider departing."

The Australian government highlights Jakarta, Bali and Batam (south of Singapore) as likely targets for terrorist attacks. And it urges particular vigilance "during holiday periods such as Easter".

The official advice also points out that "on 4 July 2007, all Indonesian airlines were banned from operating in the EU".

Finally, there are a number of substances that are best avoided. "Avoid temporary 'black henna' tattoos as they often contain a dye that can cause serious skin reactions," is the advice of the Australian government.

Meanwhile, the British travel advice warns: "Even the possession of small amounts of drugs such as marijuana or ecstasy can lead to prison sentences longer than four years."

In August 2005, the Indonesian police launched a campaign against illegal drug use. "This included raids of popular nightclubs across Indonesia, including Bali and Jakarta, and urine tests of suspected drug-users. A number of foreigners were arrested in these raids."

Bargain of the week: Los Angeles

Connect the capital of the world with the capital of America's West Coast this spring aboard the new Air France flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles.

In previous years, the French airline (0870 142 4343; has offered connecting flights via Paris, but from March 2008 it will take advantage of the "open skies" agreement between the EU and US to launch non-stop services. Fares of £335 return are available for the daily flight for travel in April.

Air France is also selling Heathrow to New York JFK flights, operated by its alliance partner Delta. Fares start at £275 return in April.

British Airways this week announced a subsidiary, OpenSkies, which, from June, will fly from New York to Brussels or Paris CDG.

Island of the week: Tenerife

You can enjoy even more travel than usual today: look out for the special supplement on Tenerife with today's Independent. It includes the five best day-trip escapes from the beach, an exploration of the wild and unspoilt north-west of Tenerife, and the insider's guide to the island's capital, Santa Cruz. You can also discover the way to the top of Spain's highest mountain, Mount Teide, "3,718 magical metres above the Atlantic Ocean".

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power