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Tours & Cruises | VIETNAM

A look at a vanishing way of life

September 19, 2004|Maggie Barnett | Times Staff Writer

Explore the hills of northern Vietnam and experience the culture of mountain people on two-week tours Dec. 10 and April 1.

The tours begin in Hanoi, where guests will visit the Museum of Ethnology, the old craft quarter and several pagodas and temples, including the Tay Phuong Pagoda.

The group will travel by car or jeep into the countryside between Hoa Binh and Son La, passing tea plantations and rice fields. Other destinations include Dien Bien Phu, the mountainous province of Lai Chau, Bac Ha and the township of Sapa, with visits to tribal markets and treks on foot to remote villages. The tour is led by English-speaking guides.

"This area is so beautiful. It is really ideal for adventurers and photographers," said Hima Singh, owner of Asian Pacific Adventures.

The tour is designed to focus on the tribes still living as their ancestors did. "So much modernization is coming, we want to see them before they are gone," Singh said.

Cost: $2,095 per person, double occupancy ($440 single surcharge), excluding airfare. Hotels, ground transportation, boat ride, sightseeing, entrance fees, most meals, taxes and service charges are included.

Contact: Asian Pacific Adventures, Tarzana; (818) 881-2745,


History along the Amazon

Navigate the Amazon River and historic Atlantic seaports of Brazil on a 15-day cruise departing Nov. 6 aboard the 122-passenger Clipper Adventurer.

Ports of call include the centuries-old cities of Sao Luis, Fortaleza, Recife and Sao Salvador.

Naturalists will be available on board to identify the tropical plants, animals and birds along the route.

Cost: Begins at $4,260 per person, double occupancy ($2,170 single surcharge), including all meals aboard ship, sightseeing, shore excursions and all transfers. Airfare to Belem, meals on shore and gratuities are not included.

Contact: Clipper Cruise Lines, St. Louis; (800) 325-0010 or (314) 655-6700 or visit


Bed, breakfast and buggy

DRIVE through England, Scotland and Wales on an eight-day car-and-lodging package from CIE Tours that begins Oct. 28.

Travelers can fly into London, or Glasgow or Edinburgh in Scotland, and pick up a rental car at the airport. Motorists can choose from more than 1,500 bed-and-breakfasts throughout Britain, which can be booked online.

Cost: $850 per person, double occupancy (single not available), includes airfare on British Airways from Los Angeles, lodging, breakfast, rental car with insurance, roadside assistance, unlimited mileage, taxes and service charges.

Contact: CIE Tours, Cedar Knolls, N.J.; (800) 243-8687,


Shoot Tetons like the pros

CAPTURE the majestic Tetons during a photography workshop Oct. 20-24 in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

The course will be taught by National Geographic contributors William Albert Allard, Jodi Cobb and James Balog. The program is hosted by the Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole.

Sunrise shooting sessions in Grand Teton National Park are followed by breakfast, lectures and a critique. Evenings bring slide shows and discussions.

Cost: $3,430 for double room with one workshop participant. Fee includes four nights' lodging, most meals, four days' instruction, use of photo equipment and supplies and one spa treatment. Transportation not included.

Contact: Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, Jackson Hole, Wyo.; (800) 295-5281,


A foray into colonial days

Discover colonial Mexico on an eight-day, anthropologist-led tour of Puebla and Oaxaca beginning Nov. 28.

The group will see the 17th century chapel Capillo del Rosario in Puebla and the pyramid Tepanapa at Cholula.

In Oaxaca, the tour includes exhibitions, visits to artisans' studios, and a tour of the archeological sites at Monte Alban and Mitla.

Cost: $2,875 per person, double occupancy ($705 single surcharge), including seven nights' lodging, some meals, excursions, lectures, guides, ground transportation, airport transfers and most gratuities. Airfare not included.

Contact: Santa Barbara Museum of Art, (805) 884-6476,

The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A, CA 90012 or

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