Bargain of the week: Thailand

Competition among airlines flying between the UK and Bangkok is intense between now and mid-December. Non-stop flights from Heathrow are available through discount agents at around £430 return on EVA Air (the Taiwanese airline) and Thai Airways. From other gateways, the lowest fares are on Gulf-based airlines: from Manchester, Etihad goes via Abu Dhabi at £404 return through Opodo (, while Expedia has the same price on Qatar Airways via Doha (with a stop-over in the Gulf on some dates). From Birmingham, Emirates is a good bet at under £500 return, via Dubai.

Fares will rise over Christmas and the New Year. The lowest quoted by Expedia from Manchester on 20 December, returning 4 January, is £1,630.

Warning of the week: dangerous driving in Dubai

"The UAE has one of the world's highest rates of road deaths per capita," warns the fourth edition of Lonely Planet's Dubai City Guide (£13.99). "At the beginning of 2006, there was nearly one road death per day on Dubai's roads", about five times worse than the UK's rate.

"There doesn't seem to be sufficient incentive not to drive badly," say the authors. "Causing a death through an accident requires a payment of blood money (dhiyya) to the victim's family. Although this is a large sum (up to Dh200,000/ £35,000), nationals are insured against it. This often means that the only punishment for causing death or injury through reckless driving is an increased insurance premium."

Destination of the week: Greek island-hopping with Stelios

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, owner of easyCruiseOne (, is moving his ship from the French and Italian Rivieras to go island-hopping in Greece. She will sail from near Athens from 31 May 2007, calling at Spetses and Poros on a three-night cruise (from £30 per person), with a long weekend itinerary to Mykonos and Paros from £60. A one-week Alternative Aegean option is available, calling at quiet but beautiful islands such as Naxos.