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July 12, 2009|Avital Binshtock

THAILAND, SINGAPORE, CHINA

'Exotic Asia' experience

Stand at the bridge over the River Kwai on Ritz Tours' "Exotic Asia." In Thailand, you'll experience Phuket's exotic beaches and Bangkok's rich culture; in Hong Kong, the cosmopolitan bustle, and in Singapore, the hyper-manicured sights.

Itinerary: Hong Kong to Bangkok, Phuket and Singapore.

Dates: Multiple 16-day departures between July 22 and Feb. 17.

Price: From $2,615 (double; single supplement from $900), including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, taxes, fuel surcharges, flights between destinations, lodging, some meals, entertainment and insurance.

Info: Ritz Tours, Alhambra, Calif.; (888) 345-7489, www.ritztours.com/tour

Package/tourDetail_2009.aspx?Id=

347&TourPackageId=1759&type=

searchTour

JAMAICA

Volunteer on vacay

Give and receive on this volunteer-while-you-travel opportunity: Jake's "Goodwill Jamaica" package invites guests who stay at least four nights at the 30-room, family-run resort to help Treasure Beach and its people by participating in guided activities benefiting schools, farms and development projects.

Dates: Through Dec. 14.

Price: Starting at $95 per two-person room per night (minimum four nights), including participation in the volunteer projects and a small charitable donation but excluding an 18.25% surcharge.

Info: Island Outpost, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica; (800) 688-7678, www.islandoutpost.com/jakes.

BOLOGNA, ITALY

Get cooking -- no, really

Indulge in a week of culinary delights planned for you by TourCrafters. A highlight is a four-hour cooking course at La Vecchia Scuola Bolognese.

Dates: Multiple weeklong departures between Sept. 1 and March 31.

Price: From $1,109 per person (double; single supplement from $425), including round-trip airfare from New York, hotel accommodations, the cooking class with lunch, daily breakfast, a guided city tour, an open-bus sightseeing tour, and hotel service charges and taxes. Airport taxes and fuel surcharges are not included. A two-night Tuscany extension is $160 per person.

Info: TourCrafters, Libertyville, Ill.; (800) 482-5995, www.tourcrafters.com/

sales/bologna_1109.htm

CATALINA ISLAND

An island adventure

Step aboard the historic S.S. Lane Victory for a daylong exploration of the waters surrounding Catalina Island.

Dates: July 18, Aug. 15, 16, Sept. 26, 27.

Price: $125 per person ($75 for children younger than 16), including the cruise ticket, a continental breakfast, a buffet lunch, live music, onboard tours, an aerial-dogfight show and four drinks (wine, beer or soda).

Info: S.S. Lane Victory, San Pedro, Calif.; (310) 519-9545, www.lanevictory.org

ANTARCTICA

Educational climate

Head to the world's southern extreme in comfort on Abercrombie & Kent's "Fighting Climate Change in Antarctica" cruise aboard the upscale MV Minerva. The itinerary is meant to highlight global warming's deleterious effects. Expert-led excursions include traversing Drake Passage, taking Zodiac rides to see wildlife and visiting a working scientific station.

Itinerary: Buenos Aires to Ushuaia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Dates: Dec. 7 to 20.

Price: Starting at $8,795 per person (double; single supplement $4,000), including onboard accommodations, guidance from an academic expert, most meals, a mostly open bar, gratuities and more. The price does not include international airfare, internal flights, taxes and some meals.

Info: Abercrombie & Kent, Downers Grove, Ill.; (800) 554-7016, www.aber

crombiekent.com/travel/index .cfm?tid=4347

-- Avital Binshtock

--

itinerary@latimes.com

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