Virgin’s guide to Hong Kong

Voyeur (Virgin Blue) inflight magazine, Dec 2011

The dense streets, the screaming neon, the waves of humankind –
Hong Kong’s pulse races at fever pitch. There’s nothing staid about this
waterfront jewel of Asia; it balances its past as a British colony with its present
as Asia’s hippest leader of the pack.
Hong Kong embraces its split personality: a Buddhist monastery shares
an island with Disneyworld, stately homes bunker down with Chinese chophouses,
and streets named after old Scottish towns and even older Chinese geographic
features. Old-world prestige and maintaining ‘face’ collide with killer cars
and killer heels: it’s old school versus 2 kool 4 skool.
Hong Kong’s also got a taste for the dramatic: world’s highest bar,
longest covered escalator, most outrageous real estate prices, stupendous bonuses.
It’s got glitz and polish, where nightclubs are open till noon, yet you’ll
still find the locals poking through street markets or traditional Chinese medicine
shops and comparing bargains while queuing at their favourite noodle maker. 
To read more about fabulous Hong Kong, click here 

New spring for a Hepburn staple

THE rain jacket is Prada, the wellies are limited-edition Hunter. We
must be in Daylesford. If I were enacting the vivid dreams of my
beautiful life, I would leap in my convertible and motor to Hepburn
Springs. But the reality is, it’s raining and my car has a hard roof. However, the destination is still the same — Hepburn’s newly renovated Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat.

Click here to read more.

Cheap and full of cheer

Rejoice, oh disorganised work slaves! Bargains still abound for those who don’t book their summer holidays a year ahead.

Everything about Malaysia screams “bargain” and it’s all
done so nicely. Getting to Kuala Lumpur is cheap, thanks to respectable
Malaysian budget airline AirAsia, and the shopping is fabulous, with
Chrissy sales making it even better (psst, and heaps cheaper than
Singapore). You can snap up a city five-star hotel for as little as $100
a night but for a cheap, authentic experience, try a home stay in a
kampong (village) house with a local family, eating home cooking and
experiencing the culture. The government-monitored initiative costs from
$27 a day. In January, the holiday islands of Penang and Langkawi are
starting to dry out from their November deluge but new hotels are
keeping the competition fierce – check out the new Four Points by
Sheraton on Langkawi and Penang’s new Hard Rock Hotel.
airasia.com, go2homestay.com, tourismmalaysia.com.au.

Others on the budget radar include Singapore, Tahiti, Hawai’i, Cambodia, New Zealand and our own Cairns is on sale, too.
Click here to read more.