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April 5, 2004 -- The white sands and exotic culture of Bali are cheaper than ever with Cathay Pacific's (www.cathay-usa.com) Deal of the Month fare of only $599 from LA to Denpasar, Bali. We expect this fare will sell out very quickly, so book it now if you can.

This is an odd fare, and really one for early birds -- you must buy it this month for travel in September or October. September is the better month of the two in Bali. The rainy season kicks in during October, and while the rain is usually brief (albeit intense), the humidity can be suffocating.

You can stay up to 30 days on this fare, and you can stop over in Hong Kong for as long as you like, too. ($599 for Bali is great; $599 for two cities is even better.) The major thing you lose is frequent-flier miles, which this fare doesn't collect.

Given the low price of domestic flights to LA right now, this is a fare worth crossing the country for. You should be able to get flights from most US destinations to LA for around $200 right now, getting you to Bali for around $900 including tax. Just remember that when you make your own arrangements like this, your connections aren't guaranteed, so leave quite a bit of time in LA in case things go wrong in your home city.

If you're interested, go to www.cathay-usa.com/dotm/dotm.asp.

Cathay's fare is one of the few we've seen that even beats Go-Today's Bali packages. Go-Today's "Bali Nusa Dua Special," for example, charges $999 per person for a couple to stay 5 nights at a 5-star hotel in the heart of Bali's nightlife.

But combine the Cathay Pacific fare with five nights at Nusa Dua's Grand Mirage Resort purchased through Expedia, and you get $842 per person. Rates for single travelers are similarly lower. Go-Today wants $1,299 for five nights at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel; Cathay Pacific and Expedia can get you into the Grand Mirage for $1084.

Cathay themselves have a special deal at the Grand Hyatt Bali in Nusa Dua, another super-deluxe resort. Travelers flying on Cathay's special fare can nab rates of $145.20/night including tax if staying for three nights or more -- and that includes breakfast for up to two adults and two children. To book the Grand Hyatt deal, call 800/233-1234 after you book your flight and mention booking code DOTMCX. (Think of it as "Deal Of The Month Cathay: Xcellent!")

If you're stopping over in Hong Kong, Cathay has highly discounted rates at four of the Regal hotels, including the Frommer's-rated Regal Kowloon. Rooms at this "middle of the road ... adequate" hotel are a reasonable $81/night during September, but $132/night during October. Rooms at the posher Regal Hongkong are $94 during September and $145 during October. You'll find cheaper rooms at the Regal Oriental and Regal Riverside, which we unfortunately haven't reviewed: they're $56 in September and $81 in October. To get these rates, call 800/222-8888 and ask for rate code CXDOTMAPR.

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