Whether you are after authentic culinary delights, three thousand years of history, architecture or culture, China is the perfect destination for the discerning traveler. In the low season, prices plummet and you can find your way to the mystical Far East for much less.

Try Angel Travel (tel. 800/922-1092; for changing specials and super low prices to Asian destinations including Beijing and Shanghai. They also provide great deals on Business and First class fares. During several different periods that are categorized as "low season" (April 26 - May 24, September 1 - October 9 and October 26 - November 28) a round-trip discount airfare from Los Angeles to Guangzhou is $550 plus $170 in taxes. A 14-day advance purchase is required.

Ever-reliable Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; has a seven-day "Beijing Value Vacation" starting at $749 plus taxes. The independent package includes return airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, five nights' accommodation at a first class hotel, arrival transfer and daily breakfasts. Other departure cities are available for additional cost. Select departure dates from November 2005 to March 2006. Their nine-day "China Value Vacation Tour" starts at $1,149 per person and includes flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle to Beijing and from Shanghai to Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle, intra-China flights, seven-nights accommodation (in Beijing, Xian and Shanghai), transfers, daily breakfasts, two lunches, sightseeing, entrance fees and a professional English-speaking guide. Tours depart regularly from November 2005 to March 2006.

Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235; also has several China packages at budget prices. Purchase by March 31, 2005 and you can have a three-night getaway to Beijing including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, accommodation at a tourist class hotel and breakfasts from $659 plus taxes. Stay two additional nights for $140 more. Rates valid for travel from now until June 8, 2005 or from December 24 2005 to March 24, 2006.

You can find additional budget-priced packages from both China Focus (tel. 800/868-7244; and Champion Holidays (tel. 800/868-7658;, which are offering similar combos. The former is selling a 10-night, five-city tour starting from just $1,199; the latter has an 8-night, multicity tour starting from $1,299 (fewer nights, but better hotels). Both include airfare, meals and transportation within the country for departures in April and May.

If the idea of traveling with a large group doesn't appeal to you but you aren't quite ready to go it alone, China Highlights (tel. 800/268-2918; has an appealing option, which provides you with your own personal car, driver and tour guide. The 10-day "Shanghai, Beijing and Xian" package, that starts at $1,925 per person including taxes per person includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, a private car or van with a guide/driver, visits to major tour sites such as the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors and the Yu classical gardens, domestic flights, hotel accommodation, all entrance fees and most meals. Departures are available Monday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday. Add $210 from New York (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday). These prices reflect departures during the low season from 8 September to October 30 2005. Visa charges are additional. The company also has a selection of land only tours including a six-day "Southern Silk Road Tour," which takes in the highlights of Guilin, Xing'an and Guanyang. The tour starts in Guilin and is priced at $778 per person dual occupancy including accommodation, most meals, entrance fees, private car, driver and tour guide. Airfare is additional.

No trip to China would be complete without a visit to the Great Wall. If this 4000-mile miracle of construction is your dream destination and you are an avid walker, then Explorient's (tel. 800/785-1233; eight-day "Great Wall Trekking Adventure" may be the perfect tour for you. Prices range from $1,165 to $1,225 per person (land only) and these private tours for a minimum of two people depart daily from May to October. The package includes four-nights first-class accommodation at the Renaissance Hotel in Beijing, three nights accommodation during the trekking tour, most meals, a private tour with services of English-speaking guides, transfers with a guide upon arrival and departure and all entrance fees. Airfare is additional.

Discount airfares to Beijing and Shanghai are available through Travelocity ( on various airlines including direct flights on Air China or flights via Japan on All Nippon Airlines or Japan Airlines for around $760 plus taxes from New York throughout April. This fare is only slightly higher than most of the flights from Los Angeles, which range from $593 to $867 round-trip.

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