Something to declare

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The Independent Travel
True or false

If you have bought tickets for a day when a rail strike is scheduled, you can use them on the previous or following day.

False, at least if you plan to travel on the West Highland Line sleeper between London and Fort William. Keen to sample the service before it ends, a reader booked a round-trip over the August bank holiday. One of the strikes is scheduled for 25 August. BR said the only departure dates were 48 hours earlier or later. He gave up, accepted the refund and bought a ticket to Prague (in Bargain of the Week below??). It cost only pounds 14 more than the trip to Scotland.

To find the alternatives that BR proposes for your journey, call Strikeline on 0800 585533.

Dream destination?

Good news for Burma this week when opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest after nearly six years. But is it good news for the concerned traveller? Anyone contemplating a visit to Burma (or Myanmar, as it is now officially called) should do so with their eyes wide open. According to Amnesty International, there are still hundreds of political prisoners, including 16 elected MPs. Human Rights Watch says that the overall human rights situation in Burma is getting worse.

SLORC (Burma's military junta) has declared 1996 as the "Visit Myanmar Year". On 19 January the Independent reported that forced, pressganged labour was preparing the country for a tourist boom.Slavery is alive and well - and being carried out in the name of tourism.

The Burma Action Group in London has published Burma; the Alternative Guide, available from: Burma Action Group UK, Collins Studios, Collins Yard, Islington Green, London N1 2XU (0171-359 7679).

Bargain of the week

Gatwick-Prague for pounds 89 return including tax, aboard a charter flight operated by Campus Travel (0171-730 3402). This price applies until the end of July; for the remainder of the summer the fare is pounds 99. Conditions: flights are only on Monday and Friday evenings, and you must book and pay by 5pm tomorrow.

Return flight from London Heathrow

A bed for the night

Around the island


Qantas, first-class Heathrow to Denpasar, Bali, pounds 4,822 including tax (from Qantas: 01345 747767).

The Oberoi, Sanur Beach: villa complete with private courtyard swimming pool and open-air garden bathroom (plus sunken marble bath), pounds 566 per night (breakfast not included - continental breakfast brought by room service from pounds 6). Total: pounds 572.

A tour to the art centre of Ubud, including lunch and a drive over the volcanoes nearby, comes to about pounds 40.

A silk sarong from the hotel shop is about pounds 100.

Aeroflot Heathrow-Moscow-Jakarta return pounds 480, including tax (from Regent Holidays: 0117-921 1711). Bus from Jakarta across Java to Denpasar, Bali (a 24-hour journey): economy ticket about pounds 7. Total pounds 487.

A room in a losman: basic but clean with communal washing facilities - usually a ceramic- tiled squat loo and a mandi, a large tub of water from which you wash: pounds 1.60 (picnic breakfast of bananas and papaya bought locally, less than 20p). Total: pounds 1.80

A trip from Kuta to Ubud on local transport costs about pounds 3 each way.

Cotton sarong bought on the beach, pounds 3.