Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 12 March 2024

Four island boat trip organised by Sofitel Krabi Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort.

In the pink, celebrating sell-out reader events and the UK's greenest city, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield looks at another colourful week in Travel


Barbie was 65 on Saturday. Born on March 9, 1959, Mattel’s Barbie doll was created by Ruth Handler, based on the German Bild Lilli doll. It all goes back to a newspaper comic strip character Lili created by Reinhard Beuthien. It was quite raunchy for its time. Barbie was named for Ruth Handler’s daughter Barbara, and Ken for her son Kenneth.


Lots of places have capitalised on their Barbie connections, following the successful Barbie Movie, starring Margot Robbie. Visit California has a suggested Barbie itinerary for visitors: “See the Golden State through rose-coloured glasses with this list of 18 pink places to visit.” They include Holy Matcha in San Diego. A Visit California spokesperson says: “Holy Matcha’s Barbiecore design is as beautiful to look at as the tea it serves. The pink subway tile and leafy wallpaper mimic the shop’s signature two-toned strawberry matcha latte. Vivid ingredients like purple ube, blue spirulina and orange turmeric create vibrant beverages you could picture Barbie clutching. Even the waffles here are covered in edible flowers.”


Barbie: The World Tour is an illustrated book by Rizzoli and Mattel which captures the glamour and high style of the most popular doll in the world. For the tour that followed the release of Greta Gerwig’s award-winning Barbie movie, producer and star Margot Robbie and her stylist Andrew Mukamal immersed themselves in some of Barbie’s most iconic outfits and curated vintage pieces. They then approached designers, from Giorgio Armani to Donatella Versace, to create Barbie-inspired new pieces. Margot and Andrew then worked with fashion photographer Craig McDean to shoot her in the looks exactly as they were curated — Schiaparelli in Los Angeles, Vivienne Westwood in London, vintage Chanel with matching Streamline luggage at the airport, and beyond. Lisa McKnight, executive vice-president and chief brand officer of Mattel says: “Barbie: The World Tour is the ultimate realisation of Barbiecore, with iconic looks inspired by Barbie’s 65 years of fashion history, now brought to life by Margot and Andrew with best-in-class designers.”


Reader Clare Magee says she booked two return tickets to Bali in July last year through Citilink: “It seemed a good idea to support the new carrier. My account was immediately debited but the tickets were never issued. Some nine months later, they still have not refunded our money, even though they acknowledge we have not been issued the tickets.” Clare adds: “I’m not happy at all. Would really appreciate the media assistance ... there is nothing else helping at the moment. They don’t seem to care too much.”


Jetstar Asia is starting flights from Singapore to Krabi (pictured at the top of the page) in Thailand, with fares now on sale. Jetstar flies from Perth to Singapore from August.


Readers Jon and Ali Elliott have asked for recommendations for travel neck pillows. Actually, I have found over the years that the only thing that really works for me is a soft orthopaedic cervical collar. But I had to break my neck in a motorcycle accident to find out, and I don’t recommend that.

I think the most important thing is that neck pillows “join” around your neck — and I suggest searching “neck pillows” at I like the Globite The Concourse Neck Pillow at $34.

We have mentioned Trtl Travel Pillows before — and they are still liked and a bestseller, with more than two million out there somewhere. They sort-of wrap around you to give good support ($72.99 at An insider explains: “The secret of our Trtl Travel Pillow is our internal support system hidden in our super-soft fleece. Strengthened ribs provide scientifically proven head and neck support. Super-soft fleece and foam is stretched to create a comforting hammock effect. Patented design fits any neck shape, jaw, and shoulder. All this combines to give you the most comfortable sleep possible on the move.”


Sci-fi fans are pretty excited by the release of the move Dune: Part Two. The original Dune was a classic, released in 1984, based on Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel. The new movie was filmed in Budapest, Jordan, Abu Dhabi and Italy. The desert and sand dune scenes were all captured in Abu Dhabi and those rocky landscapes are in Jordan.


Landscapes and cultures shift and change, of course. It’s interesting to me that Sheffield, the biggest city in South Yorkshire (and one which I know well), grew out of blast furnaces and steelworks but is now reckoned to be the greenest city in the UK. There are about 4.5 million trees in a city of 550,000 people — about seven trees per person. That’s more trees per person than any city in the UK or Europe. The shift started in 2012, when the city council decided to chop down big trees to make way for saplings. It angered locals and the dispute led to the Sheffield 2019 Street Trees Partnership. Nathan Edwards, SSTP chair, told the BBC: “Some say that the dispute has changed the narrative in the city, connecting people to their green spaces. I think Sheffielders have always had a connection to green space. The street tree-felling incident re-energised and brought to the fore something that perhaps was always there.”


Our PhotoWalk with Phones in Fremantle on March 19 is SOLD OUT, as is our Round the World Dinner and trip to Antarctica. But the good news from West Travel Club is . . .

There are three more PhotoWalks, in Perth, Guildford and Hillarys (all $50.)

We have some spots left on our New Norcia Weekend. The photography package is sold out, but as we go to press, there are spots available for travel writing and New Norcia experience.


West Travel Club has something else which is new, A Nice Day Out with Writers. This handmade day is $120, including lunch.