After the devastating tsunami that rocked the seas of Southeast Asia, travel to the region has helped bring necessary funds and smiles back to native faces. Always interested in Western travelers, Southeast Asians love to romance Western tourists with delicious meals, ancient history, folklore and peaceful religion, and hand-crafted artifacts and objet d'arts that decorate occidental homes across the Western hemisphere. Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, all hold very special attraction for travelers worldwide. This spring and summer, many good deals to the region are bringing travelers back in droves.
Djoser Travel (tel. 877/356-7376, www.djoserusa.com) a Dutch-based tour company with U.S. headquarters in Paoli, Pennsylvania offers two trips to the Vietnam/Cambodia area. An 18-day full tour of the countries complete with night trains and long walks through the countryside as well as detailed tours of Ho Chi Mihn City, the famed Mekong Delta and Hanoi costs approximately $1,975 from New York and $1,925 from Los Angeles. A 23-day trip costs $2,345 from Los Angeles and $2,395 from New York. The five extra days buys you more time in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap region filled with ancient temples. Both trips emphasize the mixture of ancient practices and French colonial influence on the region from a cultural and culinary point of view. The trips depart once a month in April and May, twice a month in June and August. Djoser trips are known for showing travelers the local side of life.
Go-Today (tel. 800/227-3235, www.go-today.com) has a long-list of tours to Southeast Asia from which to choose. A five-night air/land inclusive trip departing out of Los Angeles in June starts at $1,299 for double occupancy in a "modern" hotel in the center of the city. Other hotels are available for a greater cost as are other U.S. departure cities. In addition to airfare and accommodations, the trip includes three nights in Beijing and two nights in Xian as well as ample sightseeing, shopping and eating in both cities. Air departure fees and security taxes are not included in the total price of the trip. Go-Today also offers getaways to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo as well as combination trips. A five-night shopping and sightseeing spree to Hong Kong departing from May to September starts at $799. Decide quickly on this trip as it need to be booked by March 31, 2005, or check back to the site after March 31 to see if other trips have been added or purchasing deadlines have been pushed back.
Pacific Delight Tours (tel. 800/221-7179; www.pacificdelighttours.com) has "Super Value" deals to the Far East that balance budget with travel experience. A 19-day China extravaganza that brings you to up and down the Yangtze River and through China's incredible diverse regions and cities and ancient sites such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City starts at $2,639 for twice a month departures in April through July. If you book online and can depart on specific pre-ordained dates, you can save $200 per couple. This is a fully-escorted locally-guided tour that stops in virtually every big city in China and ends up for three nights in Hong Kong in a hotel with harbor view room. Additional charges are tacked on for other departure cities besides Los Angeles, but fees are small. Air travel on this trip is through Northwest Airlines and accommodations are in three-star hotels throughout the region. Air taxes and Visa fees are not included in the trip cost. Check out the tour details and itinerary page for all insurance and Visa issues.