Travel Weeklys Asia-Pacific E-letter: January 19, 2006

EXOTIC ESCAPES, based in Beaverton, Ore., is marking its one-year anniversary with a contest for travel agents. For every booking made between Dec. 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, the booking agents name will be entered in a drawing for one of three prizes. The grand prize is an air-inclusive vacation package to the Fiji Islands that includes three nights at the Tokoriki Island Resort; three nights at the Qamea Resort and Spa with meals and a spa treatments included; a three-night cruise with Blue Lagoon Cruises with meals included; and a one-night stay at the First Landing Beach Resort & Villas. The second prize is a $200 gift card while the third prize is a tropical gift basket. For information call (866) 666-8922, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.eevacations.com.

MIR CORP., a Seattle-based operator specializing in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, is offering a tour that heads deep into western China to the Karakorum Mountains. Called The Backside of K2, the trip gives its participants a rare glimpse of the 28,250-foot K2 peak in the Himalayas, second only to Mount Everest in height. Its a 23-night program that begins with a flight to Beijing followed by flights to Urumqi and Kashgar before finally settling down to a land itinerary in four-wheel drive vehicles that includes many stops along the Silk Road and the Taklamakan Desert to the Karakoram Mountains, 60 of the highest peaks in the world. The land price of the tour is $7,495 per person, double, with a departure set for Sept. 17. For information, call (800) 424-7289 or visit www.mircorp.com.

AMONG GLOBUS new offerings for 2006 is the Classic China itinerary, so called because it includes a well-rounded selection of the most popular tourist attractions of the mainland, including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs, the Terracotta Warriors, and Shanghais Bund. The nine-night program provides three nights in Beijing, two in Xian, one in Hangzhou, one in Suzhou and two in Shanghai. Land prices range from $1,719 to $1,859 per person, double occupancy; air-inclusive rates are $2,627 to $2,758. For information, see www.globusandcosmos.com. To book, call (800) 221-0090.

PARK PLAZA Hotels & Resorts, a Carlson Hotels brand, opened its first property in China. The 216-room [including 16 suites] Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing is located minutes from such attractions as The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The hotel, described as a contemporary yet classic hotel by Park Plaza, has three meetings rooms, a business center, a lounge/bar, two restaurants and a fitness center. Special grand opening rates start at about $87 per night, double. For details, visit www.parkplaza.com.

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