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Tours & Cruises

Let Saigons Be Saigons in Scenic Vietnam

September 28, 1997|KARIN DOMINELLO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Experience the scenery, culture, cuisine and history of Vietnam on a tour from Feb. 16 to 25. Participants will shop the markets of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), visit Halong Bay and study some of the ancient culture through museum visits. One afternoon is spent taking a downhill bicycle ride through the French provincial town of Da Lat. Aboard the Reunification Express train, guests cross Hai Van Pass (in the mountains in central Vietnam), then see the South China Sea and visit the temples and caves of the Marble Mountains. There will also be a dinner cruise on the Saigon River, a boat ride to the Tombs of the Emperors on the Perfume River, visits to scenic beaches and a water puppet show in Hanoi.

Cost: $1,895 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations at first-class hotels, all breakfasts, airport transfers, boat rides, motor-coach and train travel, and services of a guide-historian.

Contact: The Gurnham Group, 11950 Ventura Blvd., Suite 4, Studio City, CA 91604; telephone (800) 475-0004.

Bible Countries

A pilgrimage to biblical sites in Israel and Jordan runs Jan. 12 to 21. The group will cross the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum; follow along the Dead Sea to Masada, the Jewish fortress high above the ruins of Roman encampments; see the site of the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found; visit Bethlehem, Bethany and the Mount of Olives; and head to Jerusalem to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall and Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition to pilgrimage sites, participants will cross into Jordan to see the rock-cut tombs of ancient Petra and the 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem at Madaba.

Cost: $2,098 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, accommodations in first-class hotels, breakfast and dinner daily, admission fees and motor coach transportation with guides.

Contact: The Rev. Colville Smythe, 2103 N. Hill Ave., Altadena, CA 91001; tel. (818) 791-3111.

Christmas in Salzburg

Spend the holidays having an old-fashioned Christmas in Salzburg, Austria, and Munich, Germany. Guests will spend five nights at the Hotel Schloss Fuschl just outside Salzburg and then five nights at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in the center of Munich. The tour runs Dec. 22 to Jan. 2. In Salzburg guests enjoy candlelight dinners, sleigh rides, a visit to the Christmas market, an excursion to Oberndorf, Austria, where "Silent Night" was composed, a concert at a Salzburg palace and an opera performance at the Marionette Theatre. In Munich, guests enjoy fine restaurants, visits to museums, a performance at the Bavarian State Opera, shopping and a New Year's Eve black-tie ball.

Cost: $5,992 per person, double occupancy, including five-star hotels, all meals, entertainment and entrance fees and ground transportation. Air fare is not included.

Contact: Buckman's Traveltime, 203 N. Wabash Ave., Suite 804, Chicago, IL 60601; tel. (800) 621-4725.

'Soul Fest' in Mexico

A tour designed to bring out your creativity will take place in Mexico's colonial city of San Miguel de Allende from Jan. 9 to 18.

An American artist and a British actress and author will lead the trip. Experts will give workshops such as painting, clay sculpture, photography, writing, Aztec art and Mexican metal work, and crystals and stones. Guests also have time to tour the city and go shopping. A choice of accommodations will be provided, either at the deluxe colonial style Casa de Sierra Nevada hotel or the Posada Carmina bed and breakfast. The cost includes contributions to two charities, Mujeres en Cambio and the Shannon Centre for Performing Arts.

Cost: $2,492 per person, double occupancy at Casa de Sierra Nevada, or $1,817 at Posada Carmina, including nine nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, several lunches, five dinners, a special Shakespeare evening, a Flamenco evening and all local transportation.

Contact: SterlingTours, 2707 Congress St., No. 2-G, San Diego, CA 92110; tel. (800) 727-4359.

Italy's Food and Wine

A 12-day regional tour in the Italian countryside of Veneto, Tuscany and Umbria is being offered Nov. 3 to 14 by Certified Travel Consultants and Crown Travel.

The tour will feature wine-tasting in the old wine cellars of each region, olive oil processing, cheese making, dining in historic villas, palaces and castles, savoring homemade risotto, prosciutto, balsamic vinegars, porcini mushrooms, truffles, local sausages and meats, homemade breads and pastries.

Cost: $3,145 per person, double occupancy, includes round-trip air transportation from Los Angeles to Milan on Alitalia; private motor coach; first-class accommodations in Asolo, Parma, San Casciano, Cenerente (in a medieval castle) and Frascati; two meals per day; and entrance fees to museums and villas.

Contact: Jeanne at Certified Travel, tel. (619) 437-4477 or Jo at Crown Travel, tel. (619) 435-1831.

Skiing the Alps

Carlucci's Italy is offering three ski vacations, which include the best of the Italian Alps: The Dolomites, Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

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