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Tours & Cruises

A Rail Adventure From Singapore to Bangkok

June 09, 2002|KARIN ESTERHAMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Pacific Bestours has linked up with the Eastern & Oriental Express to offer a 1,200-mile train journey from Singapore to Bangkok.

The six-night trip begins in Singapore, where travelers spend two days visiting Thian Hock Keng, one of the oldest temples in the city; the National Orchid Garden; Chinatown; and handicraft shops.

Then passengers will board the train for a two-day ride to Bangkok, where they will spend two nights, take a half-day city tour and visit temples, including Wat Benchamabopit, built of white Italian marble. Departures are through September.

Cost: from $2,229 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, transfers, sightseeing tours, hotel and train accommodations, and meals on board the train.

Contact: Pacific Bestours; (800) 272-1149, www.bestour.com.

Australia: Solar Eclipse

Twilight Tours of Westlake Village is offering a two-week tour to Australia timed to the total solar eclipse on Dec. 4. Participants will view the eclipse in the Outback, about 200 miles northwest of Adelaide, before sunset, when the sun is four degrees above the horizon.

The tour, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 14, includes stops at Ayers Rock, Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney.

Cost: $4,095 per person, double occupancy, including transpacific and intra-Australian flights, hotel accommodations, most meals, porterage and a farewell dinner at Gledswood Sheep Station outside Sydney.

Contact: Twilight Tours; (818) 575-9580, www.sciencecenter.net/twilighttours.

Myanmar: Festival

Near Inle Lake in central Myanmar, the Phanungdaw Oo festival is celebrated every October. As part of the ceremonies, villagers pay homage to four large sculptures of the Buddha, which are sailed clockwise around the lake on boats. The festival culminates in boat races.

On a tour Oct. 2 to 17, participants will observe the festivities and visit the capital of Yangon, the temples at Bagan, the extinct volcano of Mt. Popa and Mandalay.

Cost: $2,795 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, daily breakfast, entrance fees and all boat and air tickets in Myanmar. Extensions to Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos are available.

Contact: Ceylon Express International; (800) 423-9566, www.ceylonexpress.com.

Europe: Top Cities

Insight Vacations' 10-day journey to London, Paris and Rome will give travelers a taste of three great European cities. This trip will begin in London with tours of St. Paul's Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and Parliament.

In Paris, travelers will visit the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, among other sites.

In Rome, the tour includes the Vatican, the Colosseum and Michelangelo's artwork in the Sistine Chapel. Three nights will be spent in each city. Tours run year-round.

Cost: from $1,499 per person, double occupancy, including train transportation, hotels, some meals and guides. Air fare is extra.

Contact a travel agent to reserve the tour. An online brochure is available at www.inusa.insightvacations.com.

Michigan: Foliage

Mature travelers can see the colors of Michigan from Sept. 18 to 28. The tour includes two nights in Chicago; a visit to Holland, Mich., to see the Delft store, windmills and the Klompen dancers; a carriage ride on Mackinac Island; a dinner cruise; and a tour of the Detroit area, which includes the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Deerfield.

Cost: $2,150 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotel accommodations, admissions, many meals, porterage and bus transportation.

Contact: Friendship Cruises and Tours; (866) 200-8626.

Japan: Fall Festivals

October is festival month in Japan, and a small group tour, from Oct. 14 to 28, will catch up with some of them.

The itinerary includes the town of Nikko, where a procession of lords and samurai leaves from Yomeiman Gate and goes to the Toshogu Shrine; city tours of Tokyo, Hakone and Kamakura; Kyoto for the 1,000-year-old Festival of Ages; the ancient capital of Nara; Okayama to see the Festival of Flowers and Bonsai; the island of Miyajima to see the Shinto shrine; Hiroshima; and a hydrofoil ride to Beppu for a stay in a traditional spa and hot springs.

Cost: $5,250 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, hotels, most meals and ground transportation.

Contact: Harry Lawrence of Warren Imports; (949) 494-9778, e-mail mail@warrenimports.com.

More Japan: Baseball

Bavasi Sports Partners, a professional baseball consulting group, will lead a small group on a Japanese baseball tour from Sept. 4 to 12.

The group will attend games at three ballparks in Tokyo and in Kobe and Nagoya, with a stop in Hiroshima to see its ballpark and the A-Bomb Museum. Meetings with baseball personnel are included.

Participants will also visit Kyoto to see its ancient temples.

Cost: $2,250 per person, double occupancy, including hotels, tickets for high-speed trains, admissions and some meals. Air fare to Tokyo is extra.

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