Join a trekking exhibition to K2 and raise money for two good causes, or give someone a gift of a National Geographic Traveler one-day travel photography seminar.
Charity summit, Etihad offers, festive hotel packages, Nile for New Year's
Johnny Bealby, the writer and managing director of the UK-based adventure travel company Wild Frontiers (www.wildfrontiers.co.uk; 0044 20 7736 3968) has introduced a 22-day charity trek to the K2 base in northern Pakistan next year. The camp is located in the heart of the Karakoram mountain range and is unaffected by the military action taking place in the north-west of the country. The group of trekkers will travel along the Karakoram Highway into Baltistan, through Skardu and Askole before hiking to the Baltoro Glacier at Concordia, viewing some of the world's most spectacular mountain landscapes: four of the peaks are above 8,000 metres. The trek departs from Islamabad on September 4 and returns on September 25. The trip costs US$3,893 (Dh14,300) per person and includes all ground transport, accommodation and food. On top of this, participants are required to raise at least $800 (Dh3,000) for charity - with half going to support a local school through the Central Asian Institute and the other half to the Wild Frontiers Foundation, a new charity set up to support other communities visited on Wild Frontiers' many trips.
Etihad Holidays (www.etihadholidays.com) has released its World Deals from now until January 31, for which bookings must be made by December 31. The offers include two-night breaks in Cyprus from $600 (Dh2,210) and Muscat from $770 (Dh2,835). Prices are per person and include flights, accommodation and taxes. From January 1 until February 28, Etihad Holidays is offering a two-night break in Sri Lanka from $671 (Dh2,465) per person.
Looking for an original travel-related gift idea? For budding travel photographers, National Geographic Traveler is running one-day travel photography seminars in Chicago, Denver, Atlanta and San Diego in the spring. The courses cost $195 (Dh715) per person and cover how to tell a story through a travel photograph as well as preparation, methods and tips. For further information and to book, go to www.ngtravelerseminars.com.
If you're staying in the UAE for the Christmas weekend, hotels are offering keen last-minute rates to tempt those wanting to take the stress out of the event. The Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi is offering a one-night stay on December 24 or 25, including a four-course dinner at Frankie's restaurant on Christmas Eve or a champagne brunch on December 25, for $568 (Dh2,087) for two, including taxes. Its New Year packages, which include two nights' accommodation and dinner on New Year's Eve, cost from $979 (Dh3,595) for two, including taxes. Visit www.fairmont.com/babalbahr or call 02 654 3333 for more details.
At the Yas Hotel (www.theyashotel.com; 02 656 0000), two-night Christmas packages cost from $544 (Dh1,999) per person, including breakfast and a $54 (Dh200) food and beverage voucher. In Fujairah, the Hotel JAL Fujairah Resort & Spa in Dibba has a Christmas offer for $623 (Dh2,290) for two people for two nights, including breakfast, Christmas dinner and taxes. For further info visit www.jalfujairahresort.ae, or call 09 244 9700. Further afield, the new Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore is offering a particularly lavish three-day, two-night New Year package for $3,235 (Dh11,880) for two. The price includes an outdoor New Year's Eve dinner and party featuring Karina Serbina, a soprano from the Bolshoi Theatre and Parisian DJ duo Brahms & Co. There's a recovery brunch on New Year's Day, a New Year's Day dinner and fashion show, and lunch on January 2. Go to www.capellasingapore.com, or call 0065 6591 5000.
If you haven't yet seen Egypt's southern temples and are looking for somewhere to escape the crowds on New Year's Eve, consider a five-day Nile cruise through Bales Worldwide (www.balesworldwide.com; 0044 8456 345 114). The trip, departing from Aswan on December 28 and finishing in Luxor on January 1, 2010, is on board the 12-person Zahra, a luxury dahabiyya. The trip is normally eight or 12 days, but places on this special New Year departure cost just $811 (Dh2,980) per person, including accommodation, all meals and entrance to the temples of Kom Ombo, Edfu, Karnak, the Valley of the Queens and Valley of the Kings. Flights from Dubai to Aswan and returning from Luxor to Dubai (via Cairo) cost $997 (Dh3,665) with Egypt Air (www.egyptair.com).