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TOURS & CRUISES

Music, Lore, Legends With a Son of Ireland

May 28, 2000|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Irish storyteller Batt Burns, who has degrees in history and literature, will entertain as he enlightens visitors on a tour of Ireland from Aug. 16 to 30. Burns will share the history and folklore of his homeland beginning with Dublin and the Cistercian Abbey, the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle and the Kerry Mountains. Travelers will continue on to Limerick, Galway, Connemara, Kylemore, Armagh and Wicklow. The group will also attend plays and learn Gaelic songs and traditional Irish dances in village pubs.

Cost: $3,250 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, daily Irish breakfast, 11 dinners, theater tickets, baggage handling and gratuities.

Contact: Betty Leonard at Shamrock Travel; telephone (949) 470-0301.

Myanmar and Cambodia

Known for fascinating archeological sights, Myanmar and Cambodia are the focus of a luxury 14-day journey offered by InnovAsian Travel, specialists in Southeast Asia. The tour is available any day through March 31. In Yangon, Myanmar, guests visit the pagodas of Sule and Shwedagon before flying north to Mandalay. Then they continue to the Lost City of Pagan, an archeological site, where hundreds of temples from AD 1000 dot a desert plain along the Irrawaddy River. The tour continues by air to central Cambodia to see the jungle temples of Angkor Wat and the Khmer civilization. The temple complex is explored in great detail with visits to Ta Prohm, Bayon and the Terrace of the Elephants. The tour concludes in Phnom Penh, visiting some of Cambodia's more infamous sights including the Tuol Sleng Museum and the fields at Cheung Ek, where a memorial has been erected in memory of the Cambodian people. Guests stay at Raffles Grand Hotel at Angkor and Le Royal in Phnom Penh.

Cost: $3,595 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, luxury accommodations, all meals, entrance fees and hotel taxes.

Contact: InnovAsian Travel, 40 Edgewood Road, Hartsdale, NY 10530; tel. (800) 553-4665, Internet http://www.InnovAsian.com.

India: Peace Service

Snow Lion Expeditions of Salt Lake City is offering a 23-day trip to attend a Tibetan Buddhist prayer for peace service performed by the Dalai Lama in the remote and picturesque Spiti Valley of northeastern India.

The tour begins July 31, and guests will visit several historical monasteries including Tabo, built in the 11th century and containing colorful frescoes.

Cost: $3,000 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, ground transportation and guides. Air fare to India is extra.

Contact: Snow Lion Expeditions; tel. (800) 525-8735, Internet http://www.snowlion.com.

Hong Kong: Shopping

Attention Hong Kong shoppers: A tour to Hong Kong with shopping professional Sheila Schneider is planned for Sept. 16 to 23. Guests will be guided to the best shops for discounts on jewelry, silks, clothing and electronics. A tour of Hong Kong is also planned. Optional sightseeing tours and trip extensions to mainland China and the New Territories are available.

Cost: $1,559 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare, six nights' accommodations at the Marco Polo Hotel, baggage handling, daily buffet breakfast, sightseeing tours and taxes.

Contact: Sheila Schneider at Classic Travel, 9393 W. 90th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85258; tel. (480) 860-0090, Internet http://www.classictravelaz.com.

Canada: Whales

Summer is the best time to see whales along Canada's coasts. "Beluga Whales, Polar Bear and Arctic Culture" is an eco-tour available June 25, July 14, Aug. 6 and 13 and Sept. 10. Each summer up to 3,000 beluga whales congregate in the estuary near Churchill, Manitoba. Viewing of the whales is by boat. Viewing of polar bears is by helicopter. The tours are escorted by local naturalists, and the group can participate in research, including photo identification and data collection. Also planned are evening presentations and lots of coastal exploration.

Cost: $1,085 per person, double occupancy, including accommodations, meals and tours. Air fare is extra. The tour leaves from Churchill.

Contact: Tours of Exploration; tel. (800) 690-7887 or (604) 886-7300, Internet http://www.toursexplore.com.

Russia: River Cruise

Eastern Tours/Morris Travel is offering a cruise along the Volga and Russia's canal system from St. Petersburg to Moscow or in the reverse direction. Ten departures are open between May 29 and Sept. 1.

The Moscow-to-St. Petersburg tour takes 12 nights, while the St. Petersburg-to-Moscow trip is 11 nights.

Two days will be spent each in St. Petersburg and Moscow. These days provide ample time to visit the Kremlin and St. Basil's in Moscow and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

The river barge stops for shore picnics and for visits to old Russian cities with ancient fortresses, convents and monasteries. Guests will be entertained with authentic Russian folk shows, dancing and singing.

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