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HK Express to start flights to Mandalay; the Povie – travel gimmick or great idea?

An alternative Pov The Povie is a new neck-mounted device that lets smartphone users record hands-free, point-of-view videos. As demonstrated in the promo video (below), it has many practical uses, and looks like it could be helpful for travellers who like to record and share their holidays with all and sundry, ad infinitum. Like many travel accessories, it will make its owner look quite ridiculous, but no more so than a head-mounted GoPro or selfie stick.

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Turning your phone into a bodycam, it leaves you free to experience things in the moment with your own eyes rather than second-hand through your phone’s display. You probably wouldn’t want to leave your phone recording for extended periods, as you would a GoPro, but for particular occasions – like stepping onto your romantic hotel balcony for the first time, boarding your first luxury cruise, walking through the Uffizi Gallery or getting into a heated argument with a local taxi driver – the Povie lets you make the memories while it records them. One downside is that the magnetic attachment only allows use of the phone’s front camera, which is usually lower resolution than the main camera. The Povie can be purchased online, direct from the maker, Edelkrone – which specialises in professional camera rigs – for US$49.99. Expect cheaper copies to be shoved in your face at international tourist sites soon.

The route to Mandalay Hong Kong Express was due to begin flights to Yangon and, more interestingly, Mandalay, in Myanmar, last February. Both routes were, however, put on hold – and refunds given – a few weeks earlier, for unspecified “regulatory reasons”. Those flights are now due to commence next month, and while Yangon is already served by Dragonair and Myanmar National Airlines, this will be the first and only scheduled service between Hong Kong and Mandalay.

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Flights will depart Hong Kong every Monday and Friday from September 5, while the Yangon service will depart every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from September 1. For good practical information about Mandalay, and the must-do boat trip down the Irrawaddy from there to Bagan, visit www.go-myanmar.com. The latest edition of the DK Eyewitness Travel guide to Myanmar – the best guidebook to the country – will be published early next month.

Viva Las Vegas The gaming tables of Macau will no doubt be a little quieter from December 2, when Hainan Airlines will, barring any last-minute hiccups, start flying thrice weekly from Beijing to Las Vegas. This will be the first ever air route between China and Sin City, and while perhaps not everyone will be heading straight for the casinos, I doubt many will be flying over for the pleasure of seeing “Mr Las Vegas” Wayne Newton singing Danke Schoen. The only other Asian airline currently serving Vegas non-stop is Korean Air (four flights per week), but as Hainan Airlines doesn’t fly from Hong Kong to Beijing and is not a member of any alliance, it might still be more convenient to fly via Seoul if you fancy a flutter, or need to get married in a hurry.

Deal of the week The upmarket Sireeampan Boutique Resort Spa, just outside Chiang Mai, in north­ern Thailand, is offering a Getaway Package that comes with plenty of extras at an affordable price. For 21,980 baht (HK$4,900) it includes two nights’ accommodation for two in a Studio Room (usually priced from 15,900 baht per night), round-trip airport transfers, “anytime, anywhere” made-to-order breakfast served in a “luxury hamper”, a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (a temple with great views over Chiang Mai), a visit to the Maesa Elephant Camp with packed lunch, and an outing to the city’s night bazaar.

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This package will be available until the end of September and can be booked at sireeampan.com. Several airlines fly between Hong Kong and Chiang Mai. For a handy list of departure times, google “flights from HKG to CNX” and vice versa.

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