In the raw in Phuket, Tiger trims down, checking out the Flying Doctors: Takeoff travel news

In the raw on Phuket
The luxury Sri Panwa hotel on Phuket’s southern coastline has opened its newest dining option, an authentic Japanese restaurant called Baba IKI. Order from the sake cocktail list and get up close and personal at the sushi bar with head Chef Haru, who trained under Iron Chef Boontum Pakpo. Top picks include the toro sashimi (premium tuna belly) and sake sashimi (Norwegian salmon). Seating 60 people, Baba IKI has expansive views over the Andaman Sea. This is the fourth restaurant at the hotel on Cape Panwa including Baba Soul Food, which serves traditional southern Thai cuisine such as as Hell Chicken and crab and coconut curry.  The hotel has been named Thailand’s best resort and its Baba Nest rooftop bar one of the world’s best beach bars. A night in the pool suite ocean view costs from $800. See

Tiger trims carry-on kilos
Low-cost airline TigerAir is dropping its free carry-on luggage limits to 7kg a person on flights booked from March 17 for travel from April 17. Currently, passengers are allowed to bring two pieces of cabin luggage weighing up to 10kg in total. The airline said the move will help prevent over-filled overhead lockers and save time both on the plane and at check-in. Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Rex Airlines have 7kg carry-on limits on their economy domestic routes, while Qantas allows two bags of 7kg, totalling 14kg. TigerAir passengers can buy an additional 5kg of carry-on luggage, bringing the total to 12kg, with its new Cabin+ product, which costs from $18 in advance or from $36 at check-in. See

Backyard explorers
Teach the kids a love of the great outdoors, stylishly, with a night under canvas in the new Joey tent. Created by outdoor goods manufacturer Homecamp, the sturdy Joey is made from canvas, has a waterproof floor and is fire and mould resistant. Pitching at just under a meter high and 1.4m wide, it fits in the backyard or pitch it beside the family tent for a kids-only zone on holidays. The Joey weighs 8kg and will sleep three little ones. So all you have to worry about now is dead torch batteries and marshmallow overdoses. Costs $325. See 

Gallipoli No. 1 destination
Travellers wanting to visit the battle sites of Gallipoli, Turkey, are being advised to avoid not only ANZAC Day, on April 25, but also weekends until mid-June. Lonely Planet named the Gallipoli Peninsula the world’s number one travel destination for 2015, and its new Turkey guide advises that massive crowds are expected to visit the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park this year, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. Author James Bainbridge adds that weekends in September are another peak time, when vacationing Turks visit the region. Lonely Planet Turkey (14th Edition), $39.99.See

Check-up at the Flying Doctor
The Royal Flying Doctor Service in Broken Hill has opened a new GP clinic beside its visitor centre, where travellers heading into central Australia can seek medical advice and ensure they’re in fine form for the road. The RFDS has visitor centres at Broken Hill, Longreach, Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie and Dubbo, as well as Charleville, which also as a GP clinic. Last year, its 63 aircraft flew more than 26 million kilometres caring for 282,000 people, and says about a quarter of its emergency medical evacuations are road warriors driving in the outback. Broken Hill is 935km from Sydney and 725km from Melbourne, and the last medical service until Alice Springs, so plug the new Clive Bishop Medical Centre into your GPS: it’s at the RFDS Base on Airport Rd, next to Broken Hill Airport, open 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday. The Bruce Langford Visitor Centre lets you go behind the scenes and into the RFDS airport hangar, open seven days. For medical appointments, call (08) 8080 3780. To donate to the not-for-profit service, see

Indigenous inspiration
Wear your country with pride with this fashion range designed by indigenous artists. The Community Unity lifestyle bag is painted by artist Robert Levi and measures 45x36.5cm. It’s made from polyester drill by indigenous clothing brand Bundarra which designs, cuts and sews all its garments here in Australia. Levi, who is from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, says the bag’s design shows hope for indigenous unification. It’s one of several designs across Bundarra’s range, which includes fashion leggings and its new singlets. Bags cost $39.95. See

This weekly column by Belinda Jackson is published in Sydney's Sun-Herald newpaper's Traveller section.


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