Fall and winter mark the low season for travel to China, so prices generally fall and there are some excellent vacation packages with offers to help you navigate your way around this unique travel destination.
Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com) currently has a "Seven-day Beijing Value Package" starting from $699 per person plus taxes. This price includes round-trip flights from Los Angeles to Beijing (other departure cities also available fro additional cost), five-nights accommodations at the First Class Best Western Hotel, arrival transfer and daily breakfasts. This price is valid for the February 14, 2006 departure only. Add $50 for departures on November 22, 2005 and January 17, 2006. Add $70 for November 1 or 15, December 27, 2005, January 31 or March 7, 14 or 21, 2006. Their "Seven-day Shanghai" package is priced from $979 per person for departures from Los Angeles from November 30, 2005 to February 23, 2006 with five-nights accommodations, arrival transfer and daily breakfast.
Canadian operator, Laurus Travel (tel. 604/438-7718; www.laurustravel.com) runs a variety of China tours that generally depart from Vancouver, but the land-only component can also be purchased. Their "China In-depth" tour is a 24-day trip that is their 2005 special of the year. Visiting Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wuzhen, Suzhou, Yangtze Cruise, Chongqing, Xi'an, Tai'an, Qufu, Jinan and Beijing, this leisurely paced tour introduces you to China's largest metropolises of Shanghai and Beijing as well as off-the-beaten-path towns and villages. Highlights of the trip include a cruise along the mighty Yangtze, the Terra Cotta Warriors, classic Chinese gardens, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. The tour is priced from $2,450 per person and includes 22-nights accommodation in four and five-star hotels (except for three nights in towns where three-star hotels are the best available), most meals, transportation and sightseeing per itinerary. Land-only tours start in Shanghai on March 25, April 1, 8, May 6, 13, June 10, July 8 and August 12, 2006 at the $2,450 price (a day earlier from Vancouver for $2,999). Sept 2, 9, Oct 7, 14, 21 tour start dates are $100 more.
Friendly Planet (www.friendlyplanet.com) has a sensational 17-day China, Yangtze River Cruise & Hong Kong tour that includes round-trip flights on Korean Air from Los Angeles ($100 more from New York) all intra-China flights, ground transportation and all transfer accommodations at deluxe hotels (5-stars) with private bath, deluxe Yangtze River cruise aboard Victoria Cruises ship in outside cabins with picture window, private balcony and private bath, 33 meals - 14 buffet breakfasts, 11 lunches and 8 dinners, comprehensive touring program including entrance fees, shore excursions during Yangtze River cruise, two days in Hong Kong at the conclusion of the tour, professional English-speaking tour director and local guides.
This tour is priced from $2,199 per person. All the remaining 2005 dates are sold out so book early for the 2006 dates - March 22 or Nov 15, 2006. Additional 2006 tour dates range in price from $2,399 to $2,699. You must book by March 14, 2006 to receive these discount prices which reflect a saving of $400 per person.
Pacific Holidays (www.pacificholidaysinc.com) has a hot deal to China from $1,150 plus taxes per person from Los Angeles or San Francisco for a six-night package to Beijing and Shanghai. The tour includes round-trip airfare on Air China, inter-China domestic airfare, airport transfers, three-nights each in Beijing and Shanghai, daily breakfasts, full-day Forbidden City and Summer Palace tour with lunch in Beijing and half-day city tour in Shanghai. The $1,150 price is valid for January, February and March 2006 departures staying in standard class hotels. Hotel upgrades are available. Optional tours include $65 for a full-day Great Wall and Ming Tombs tour with lunch, $100 for a Peking duck dinner with transfers, $80 for a Peking Opera with transfers in Beijing. In Shanghai, $130 for a Suzhou full day tour with lunch and transfers.
Asia Classic Tours (tel. 800/717-7752; www.asiaclassictours.com) is featuring a "Super Value China Splendor" tour with prices starting at $1,899 per person for a 13-day/11-night trip that takes you to Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin and Shanghai. The package includes round-trip international airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, (add-on fares from other cities are available upon request) domestic airfare Beijing / Xi'an / Guilin / Shanghai, 11-nights four and five-star hotels with buffet breakfast, sightseeing with lunches and dinners, professional English-speaking tour guides, airport/hotel transfers in each city. Cultural highlights include Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall of China, Ming Tombs, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Ancient City Wall of Xian, Terracotta Army Museum, Tang Dynasty Show, Guilin Elephant Trunk Hill, Piled Sild Hill, Li River Cruise, Yangshuo, Yuyuan Garden, the Bund in Shanghai, Jade Buddha Temple, Zhujiajiao, Shanghai Museum, and an acrobatic show. This price is valid for departures on November 4 and 11, 2005 and January 6, 20, February 3, 17 and March 3, 10 and 17, 2006. December 2005 departures are $100 more.
Angel Travel (tel. 800/922-1092; www.angeltravel.com), Asian flight specialists, have low-priced flights on China Southern Airlines from Los Angeles to Guangzhou during the low season, from now until November 28, 2005 and from February 5 to March 31, 2006. Prices start at $550 round-trip for 14-day advance purchase, $600 for ten-day advance purchase and $660 for seven-day advance purchase.
Chinese visa fees, airport taxes, security fees and in some cases, fuel surcharges are additional costs to take into account when booking your China vacation.
Whether traveling independently or in a group, for more information about this exciting and culturally rich country, visit www.frommers.com/destinations/china.
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