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TOURS & CRUISES

Beads, Fabrics, Crafts at Folk Festivals in Budapest

May 30, 1999|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Specialty World Travel of Cambridge, Mass., has designed a tour for people who appreciate folk art, native crafts, handmade glass and beads, fabrics, scenery, old cities, and ancient castles.

The 16-day tour begins Sept. 21 in Budapest, Hungary, where the city tour includes one of the largest flea markets in Central Europe and a private visit to the studio of a Hungarian bead artist. Tour participants travel to the Hungarian countryside to attend village folk festivals and craft markets. The annual Paprika Festival in Kalocsa attracts artisans from across the country as well as folk dancers and native costume designers. The tour includes visits to several craft museums and ceramic factories.

A city tour of Prague, Czech Republic, includes a visit to the factory of one of the oldest glass manufacturers in Central Europe. Excursions to medieval towns in northern Bohemia, where crystal and glass are produced, include visits to glass bead factories, private artists' studios, ancient castles and craft museums.

Cost: $4,290 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from New York, round-trip air fare from Budapest to Prague, all hotels, breakfast daily, many dinners, motor-coach transportation and folk art guides.

Contact: Specialty World Travel; telephone (800) 645-0001.

Sri Lanka: Festivals

Festivals and elephants are on the itinerary for a tour to Sri Lanka from Aug. 15 to 30. The highlight is the Kandy Perahera festival, a pageant with hundreds of decorated elephants, dancers, drummers and torchbearers that parade the streets of the hill capital of Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The trip includes the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, an elephant orphanage, the tea country of Nuwara Eliya, the gem city of Ratnapura and the beach resort of Bentota. Guests will stay in unique properties, such as a tea factory now converted into a luxury hotel, an ecology-friendly hotel built into a rock in Kandalama, the Mahaweli Beach hotel on the Mahaweli River, and the Taj Exotica hotel on the beaches of the south.

Cost: $3,495 per person, double occupancy, including air fare, with a two-night stay in Bangkok, a river cruise, hotels, some meals, all tours, transfers, entrance fees and special tickets for the festival at the Queen's Hotel balcony. Extensions are available to South India and the Maldive Islands.

Contact: Ceylon Express International, 9542 Dumbreck Drive, Huntington Beach, CA 92646; tel. (714) 964-6896, (800) 423-9566, Internet http://www.ceylonexpress.com.

California: 4-Wheelers

Four-wheeling fans can follow the trail of early settlers on the fifth annual "Lassen-Applegate Emigrant Trail Ride," scheduled for July 17 to 19. The 170-mile trip offers desert and mountain scenery with many historical points of interest.

Participants will follow the route that was heavily used during the Gold Rush between 1849 and 1852, with the exception of a few areas where the original trail remains in relatively pristine condition.

This year's tour will mark the 150th anniversary of the first group of emigrants who used this trail in 1849. The ride begins in Mill City, Nev. (on Interstate 80 approximately 28 miles west of Winnemucca), and concludes in Surprise Valley near Alturas, Calif.

Cost: $250 per person, including all meals. Participants will need tents and sleeping bags as well as snacks and drinking water. Space is limited to 25 vehicles.

Contact: Ed Dunkley at (916) 988-4690 or Warner Anderson at (530) 878-8833.

Canada: Rafting

A week of rafting on British Columbia's Chilcotin and Fraser rivers for soft-adventure seekers is available Aug. 10 to 15 and 17 to 22. Offered by Canadian River Expeditions, the journeys depart from Williams Lake--about 330 miles north of Vancouver--and travel down the Chilcotin through Big Creek Rapids, Deux Tetons, Farewell Canyon and into the Fraser and the "hoodoos" (tower-like sandstone formations).

Cost: $999 per person including all meals, equipment and guides--one to each four travelers. Transportation to Williams Lake is extra.

Contact: Canadian River Expeditions; tel. (800) 898-7238.

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. These should be confirmed with travel agents or tour operators.

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