Something To Declare: Sydney, via Singapore; Kazakhstan; Fez


Destination of the week: Sydney, via Singapore

Much fuss has been made of the impending launch of the Airbus A380 "superjumbo", due to enter commercial service on 25 October on a flight from Singapore to Sydney. The seats for the maiden commercial flight, on Singapore Airlines, have been auctioned, with the proceeds going to charity. But British travellers heading for Sydney early this winter can be among the first passengers to travel on this new aircraft, without having to bid for the privilege. The plane will be flying daily on the premier link between South-east Asia and Australia's largest city.

Flying from London Heathrow or Manchester on 5 November, for example, you can connect in Singapore for a flight on the new aircraft to Sydney – and repeat the experience on the way back from Australia. A return ticket for a fortnight's stay in Sydney costs £782 from Manchester, £809 from Heathrow.

Stopovers in Singapore are available in either direction. For advice on how to spend time in the city-state, see the video version of 48 Hours in Singapore at www.independent.co.uk/singapore.

The A380 is an aircraft designed for Heathrow, but the UK's leading airport is unlikely to host the aircraft regularly until next March, which is when Singapore Airlines hopes to introduce the new Airbus on one of the daily flights currently being operated by Boeing 747s.

Warning of the week: Kazakhstan

Travelling in the homeland of the fictional TV reporter, Borat, is, according to the new Lonely Planet guide to Central Asia (£17.99), "a delight", and "crime is minimal by Western urban standards". You should not, however, expect anything to go smoothly, and are warned that "Central Asian officials and police generally create more problems than they solve". In the biggest city, Almaty, you are warned about the wallet-full-of-dollars scam: "Someone finds a wallet lying on the ground as you pass, opens it and finds hundreds of dollars inside. They draw your attention to it and, if you stop, it becomes clear there's nothing in the wallet to identify its owner. The person offers to share the loot with you, and if you start to get involved, another person appears, claiming the wallet is theirs and that it originally contained much more money. They demand compensation or threaten to take you to the police."

While Kazakh hospitality is renowned, you should be wary of accepting offers of free accommodation. The new book warns: "One traveller's 'hosts' demanded a large amount of money to let her leave with her luggage."

If you are flying within Kazakhstan, be wary about "meeters and greeters". The Foreign Office says that passenger lists may fall into the hands of villains: "There have been instances of people being met from an aircraft by someone using their name and subsequently being robbed."

Bargain of the week: Fez

The best-preserved medieval city in the Arab world is easier to reach than ever this winter. From 30 October, GB Airways launches flights from Gatwick to Fez on behalf of British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com). Fares are available on a wide range of dates for the remarkably low fare of £77 return. More than half of this goes direct to the government as Air Passenger Duty.

Ryanair (0871 246 0000; www.ryanair.com) currently flies from Luton to Fez, but the service is being withdrawn for the winter from 27 October; the airline blames the high rate of tax for the cancellation. Fares as low as £70 return are available on some dates in the next six weeks.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there