An art lovers' tour of China, led by art museum docent Ellen Schwartz and He Ling Yun of China, will focus on Buddhist art along the Silk Route, as well as the museums of Beijing, Xian, Lanzhou and the new Shanghai Art Museum. The group will visit a variety of workshops and will see the Imperial Gardens and several gardens in Suzhou.
The 19-day tour leaves Los Angeles Sept. 8 and will include cruises on the Yellow River in northern China; the Li River, surrounded by steep rock-shaped hills depicted in southern Chinese landscape painting; a cruise on the Grand Canal, a main artery for commerce since the Han Dynasty; and a relaxing trip on Lake T'ai.
Cost: $3,589 per person, double occupancy, includes round-trip air from Los Angeles, hotels, all meals, sightseeing and guides. Contact UET Travel, 19355 Business Center Drive, Northridge, CA 91324; tel. (818) 886-0633.
One of the highest gardens in Europe, the Schynige Platte at 7,000 feet in the Jungfrau range of the Swiss Alps, is part of a garden tour of Switzerland and the Italian Lake Region scheduled June 14 to 26, starting in Geneva and ending in Lugano. Guests will see many Alpine flowers found wild on mountain slopes, such as the blue and yellow gentians, as well as rarer varieties.
More formal gardens are visited on the shores of lakes Maggiore, Lugano and Como, where English gardeners practiced their skills in the 18th century.
The tour starts in Geneva and proceeds by motor coach to Lake Brienz, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, spending three nights at each. Ferries and private boats are used to cross the lakes and to reach Isola Bella and other Borromean islands, and cog railways and cable cars take guests to picnic spots in the mountains. French, German and Italian and culinary specialties of each region are sampled.
Cost: $3,900 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, transfers from arrival and departure airports, touring, entrances, events and most meals. Not included: international air fare. Contact: Ingatours, 5 The Dell, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3 EW, UK; tel. (800) 786-5311 (ask for Marilyn).
Discover Ireland's best-kept secrets on two bicycling tours of Yeats country and the Donegal Coast July 24 to Aug. 2 and Sept. 19 to 28 in the counties of Sligo and Donegal, along Ireland's northernmost coast.
The 10-day trip will begin in Sligo Town and follow the Atlantic coast north to the Fanad Peninsula. The route begins in the lush countryside of County Sligo, which inspired the poetry of William B. Yeats and the paintings of his brother Jack. Museums and interpretive centers along the cycling route offer glimpses into Irish history and culture. Guests visit Glenveigh National Park, where red-tailed deer still roam freely. Evening entertainment includes traditional music, dance and storytelling.
The cyclists will be lodged in bed and breakfast inns. Irish cuisine includes fresh salmon and rack of lamb--the reigning favorites. A support van will carry luggage and offer assistance.
Cost: $1,750 per person, double occupancy, including all accommodations, most meals, special events, and airport transfers. Air fare is not included. Bicycle rental is an additional $139. Contact: Easy Rider Tours, P.O. Box 228, Newburyport, MA 01950; tel. (800) 488-8332.
The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with cruise lines, travel agents or tour operators.