Where to next?

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Africa: We can offer you  tailor-made itineraries, we can also help with  a selection of small group safaris, Escorted Tours, and Adventure Camping Tours for those interested in having a group experience. And for those who want to make a difference on their holiday, we have recently introduced Volunteering Trips which offer a huge variety of community, wildlife, and environmental projects and provide an authentic cultural experience.

I have spent 8 weeks in Africa, travelling from Uganda all the way to South Africa, so I can give you lots of first hand knowledge. Africa will change you, it really is a must for everyone.

Lion CubLeopard

 

 

America:  What is not to love! Who doesn’t want to tick New York City, LA, Las Vegas off their bucket list?  There are 2 ways to see this great country, you can do it all independently and I will put the whole itinerary together with you to see the cities and places that are a must for you to see, we will include all the flights, transfers, hotels and sightseeing so all you need to worry about is taking in the local culture and sights.

Or if you would prefer to sit back and let someone else organise the whole thing for you, why not hop onto an organised tour. This is a great way for you to really make the most of your time on your holiday, you will have a local guide with you so you will learn so much about the history and really get to know each city thoroughly.There are some great tours that take in Canada and Alaska too. It is a great way to meet like minded people your age too. I have lifelong friends that I have met on various tours around the world.

Also remember that a great way to finish off a mainland America trip is to stop at Hawaii on the way home for some well deserved R&R.

 

NYC

NYC

Stunning Hawaiina Sunset

Stunning Hawaiina Sunset

 

Cruise: What a great way to travel. You settle into your cabin, you only unpack once and you wake up in a new destination almost every day. There are so many cruises to choose from that it can become overwhelming, but we have great contacts with all of the cruise companies that will find a cruise suited perfectly to you. We have it all covered from Family cruises to 6 star luxury small ships and everything in between. You might be surprised to know that there is a cruise for nearly every part of the globe, and they are very economical. All you need to worry about is what activities you want to take part in on the ship and what shore excursion you would like to make the most of once you come into the port. It really is a great relaxing       holiday.

So where is your next cruise to?

 

Celebrity CruiseAzamaraseabourn butlet

Europe: With the Australian winter just around the corner, you know what that means it’s European summer time!! What better time to experience Europe in all her glory, and don’t think that you have left it too late as there are still some great deals going around.. Have you seen the main countries already, Germany, Italy, Spain, France? Well it’s time to head North and take in the stunning Scandinavia countries, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway. Or what about  The Med: Croatia, The Greek Islands, Turkey.. You can take this all in on your own time, or sit back and relax and jump on an organised tour or even a cruise..

 

Greek Islandscropped-croatia-boat.jpg

 

Luxury:This is something that we specialise in, we have amazing contacts around the world, so if you are after the wow factor you need to book your next luxury holiday through Riche. How do these sound: Maldives, Bora Bora, Mauritius, Private Islands, luxury villa’s with your own private butler, luxury camping in Africa, Abercrombie and Kent 5* tours, 6* small cruises, Castle stays in Europe, Ski-in, Ski-out luxury chalet stays, private seaplane or helicopter transfers, First Class, Business Class we can help with it all.

We can help with room upgrades, free nights, VIP treatment.. Notice the difference on your next luxurious holiday..

20130529-184815.jpgSarojinTrisaraAfricaVAIL

Mexico Beaches: This really is the place to be seen in 2014. It is cheap, the hotels are stunning and the best part about it they are all inclusive. And when I say all inclusive, I mean all inclusive from your meals to your drinks, including alcohol.. You have a few choices of where to stay, our 2 favourite beaches are either Playa Del Carmen or Los Cabos. There is so much to do there too, from water sports to taking in the local Mexican cuisine (who doesn’t love burrito’s, taco’s, enchiladas) + all the amazing history for the inca’s and some amazing ruins. Do I really need to say any more just take in the picture.

And for all you surfers out there you need to head to Puerto Vallarta.

20130202-230747.jpgSunset

 

 

Thailand: I have a great hint for you from April – October Thailand is cheap!! They have great deals for the hotels, most of them are stay 10 nights, only pay for 5, you would be crazy not take advantage of this great offer.. I know that most people think of over crowded Patong Beach when they first think of Thailand but there are so many other places and islands to visit, Don’t get caught up in the touristy areas.

At the heart of the northern uplands, Chiang Mai is both an attractive historic city and a vibrant cultural centre, with a strong tradition of arts, crafts and festivals. It does a burgeoning line in self-improvement courses – from ascetic meditation to the more earthly pleasures of Thai cookery classes. I have done an amazing 5 day trek starting in Chang Mai it is definitely something you should consider, don’t think you need to be super fit either we had all walks of life on our tour.

Sand and sea are what most Thai holidays are about, though, and the pick of the coasts are in southern Thailand, Ko Samuiitself has the most sweeping white-sand beaches, and The remotest island, rocky Ko Tao, is acquiring increasing sophistication as Southeast Asia’s largest dive-training centre.

Large, forested Ko Lanta is, for the moment at least, a calmer alternative for families, but for genuine jungle you’ll need to head inland, to the rainforests of Khao Sok National Park. We stayed at Khao Sok National Park on one of the adventure tours I did and wow is all I can say. Getting to spend a few nights on the overwater rafts was a memory that will stick with me forever.

 

Khao Sok National Park

Khao Sok National Park

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai

Looking forward to help plan your next amazing holiday..

 

Royal Annual Sale Now Includes More Cruises

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The Royal Annual Sale is offering free upgrades and half price deposits on select global voyages departing between 1 May and 15 December 2014.

We’ve now expanded the cruises available under this fantastic offer to include select Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific and Asia repositioning voyages departing between October 2014 and April 2015!

Offer ends 31 March 2014.

Royal Caribbean

Celebration of the Century

To celebrate this extraordinary ship’s service to the Celebrity fleet we are offering you up to US$200 onboard credit* when you book any Celebrity Century cruise departing April 2014 to April 2015. Plus Captain’s Club members will receive up to $250* in savings.

Simply quote promotional code CNFAREWELLOB to apply this offer. Offer ends 30 April 2014.

Celebrity Cruise

Azamara Choices Ends 31 March!

Book  on one of Azamara’s select 2014-2015 voyages before this offer ends! You can choose from:

-US$1,000 per couple in onboard credit* (Promo code: Choices OBC)
-AU$1,000 per couple in ChoiceAir®* Credit (Promo code: Choices CHS)
-A free Stateroom upgrade*(Promo code: Choices UPG)

Azamara

Contact your travel stylist today..

Tahiti Private Island “The Brando” – **OPENING JULY 2O14**

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THE ISLAND OF TETIAROA

Tetiaroa is located 30 miles (60 km) northeast of the island of Tahiti and is surrounded on all sides by the great blue expanse of the South Pacific. Tetiaroa is completely private with its own airfield and is accessible by a short flight of approximately 20 minutes between a private terminal at Tahiti’s Faa’a International Airport and Motu Onetahi.

tetiaroa

Purchased by Marlon Brando in 1966, Tetiaroa is an atoll composed of 12 motus (islets) and surrounded by a vibrant, annular reef that is impenetrable to marine navigation and accessed by guests by an Air Tetiaroa private airplane.

Onetahi. The Brando Resort is located on the island that was once the favored retreat of Tahitian royalty.
Honuea. Venture the short distance by outrigger canoe to explore white-sand beaches and a shallow, crystalline lagoon.
Tiaraunu. The largest of the motus with an abundance of coconut palms.
Tauini, Tauroa & Hiraanae. The northernmost cluster of motus are separated only by little hoa (breaks in the coral reef) and the location of lemon shark nurseries.
Oroatera. An island paradise with spectacular beaches and a lagoon along with a seahorse-shaped pond which spawned an ancient legend.
Aie. The smallest of the 12 motus.
Tahuna Iti & Tahuna Rahi. A sanctuary for birds such as red-breasted black frigates, phaetons, brown gannets, and other petrels.
Reiono. The only motu that has preserved its primitive, original rain forest. Reiono also serves as the wilderness home for Kaveu (coconut crabs).
Rimatuu. The first of these motus to be inhabited by Europeans, Rimatuu was once a coconut plantation islet with its own village and dock.

TetiaroaTHE BRANDO

 

The Brando is a unique resort and model of sustainable technology on a private island. The resort is located on Motu Onetahi in Tetiaroa, the former playground of Tahitian Kings, in French Polynesia’s idyllic islands. Purchased by Marlon Brando in 1966, the resort was inspired by Brando’s original vision to create a venture of sustainable development that resonates with visitors and also fosters opportunities to get to know both the place and people of French Polynesia. The private hideaway of Motu Onetahi is nestled among white sands, shielded from view by a screen of waving coconut palms and features lush vegetation and the impossibly blue waters of the lagoon. The Brando features 35 private villas, two restaurants, two bars, a spa built over a tropical pond, a fitness center, tennis court, infinity pool, organic fruit orchard, vegetable garden, scientific research eco-station facility, and various island activities including scuba diving, bonefish fly fishing, and archaeological tours of ancient Polynesian sites.

The Brando

THE VILLAS

30 One Bedroom Villas

4 Two Bedroom Villas

1 Three Bedroom Villa One-Bedroom Villas

The interior of each 96-sq.-m villa has been designed to enhance the serenity of the surroundings, with the feeling of the indoors and outdoors merged together. Pass beneath a covered porch and stroll the boardwalk that leads to the front door. Enter into a cozy sitting room in tasteful shades of ecru and taupe, furnished with soft and comfortable chairs and sofas. To the side is a media room to listen to music and watch movies on the TV/DVD. WiFi is accessible throughout the villa and its exterior sun decks. A walkthrough dressing area adjoins the spacious bedroom, where a king-size bed invites you to relax and gaze through a large window at the lagoon, visible through a screen of pandanus, miki miki, and coconut trees. The adjoining bathroom features a welcoming outdoor bathtub, set modestly behind a wooden screen. Outdoors, the villa’s private 56-sq.-m terraced deck adorned with chaise lounges, leads to a 10-sq.-m plunge pool. To the side, is a shaded table and chairs. Just beyond the natural boundary of the villa is private access to the white-sand beach.

The Brando

Two-Bedroom Villas All the appointments of a one-bedroom villa—plus many built-in extras—in any of the four, 168-sq.-m two-bedroom villas. Each two-story structure rises up from a lush forest of coconut palms and puatea trees. Inside, a large, airy living room combines all the features of the one-bedroom villa’s sitting and media rooms. The living room also provides a private dining area with seating for six, a kitchen for the resort’s chef to use for private functions for villa guests, and a wide entryway onto a large, two-tiered deck. In these villas, the second bedroom is situated directly above the first. Outside, the villa’s 154-sq.-m private yard has a larger deck area and 13-sq.-m plunge pool.

The Brando

Three-Bedroom Villas The resort’s only three-bedroom villa on Mermaid Bay can accommodate gatherings of six family or friends. This 246-sq.-m getaway boasts all the features of the two-bedroom villa but on an even larger scale. Separated from the main villa is the third bedroom, which includes its own dressing room, bathroom, and outdoor bathtub. The private 206-sq.-m outdoor space, also includes an expanded deck and 22-sq.-m pool.

Amenities and Facilities

Beachfront Restaurant Exceptional lagoon and ocean views for savoring breakfast, lunch, and dinner to in this casually elegant, indoor/outdoor venue. The menu features a variety of Polynesian-inspired dishes and French-style cuisine.
Fine Dining Restaurant Open for dinner only, this 20-person, air-conditioned fine dining venue features sweeping views, a world-class wine cellar, and the cuisine of Guy Martin, Chef Propriétaire of the three-star Michelin-rated Le Grand Véfour Restaurant in Paris. The menu will offer the same flavors and quality that have made his restaurant one of the most respected dining establishments in Paris. The restaurant features a roof shaped like an upside down canoe, elegant décor in beautiful tones of tropical light and sand, and a moat that surrounds the restaurant provides the sensation of floating on a lagoon.
Main Bar Lounge Located on the second floor, this open-air lounge with a comfortable arrangement of sofas and chairs features splendid views of the lagoon and sunsets over Moorea. A wooden walkway leads to a more intimate pocket of seating.
Dirty Old Bob’s Bar Named in honor of Marlon Brando’s factotum on film sets, Bob, who became friends with the actor. At the end of each day, they would wind up at the bar together. The original bar from lodge that Marlon Brando built is showcased here. The name has been kept out of respect for Marlon Brando, and for all those who work anonymously to bring his vision to life. The open air bar is set right on the beach where the sand is the floor, and seating is in the round on high rustic benches. It is the perfect place for watching the sunset or gathering with friends for an evening cocktail.
Main Pool The resort’s infinity pool is located on the beach. Around the pool, guests can relax on one of the deck chairs under the shade of an umbrella and enjoy the companionship of other guests.
Spa Arii Vahine Set in a lush, tropical oasis where the Tahitian royal family retreated to relax or indulge in rituals of beauty, Spa Arii Vahine which means “Queen’s Spa” in Tahitian, offers the finest holistic treatments inspired by ancient Polynesia traditions coupled with world-class modern techniques. Surrounded by more than 21,350 square feet (more than 2,000 square meters) of forest and plants, the spa offers a sense of privacy, as well as dramatic views over a tropical pond. A unique Spa Suite nests in the trees, offering a memorable experience, and other amenities include steam baths, a waterfall, tea lounge, and yoga shelter.
Concierge & Cultural Lounge In this two-story building, you’ll find the Concierge, who is available to help guests plan activities at The Brando. Upstairs, in the Cultural Lounge, learn about Polynesian culture through books, lectures, demonstrations, and other activities.
The Library A quiet and relaxed environment to read, watch TV, surf the Internet, enjoy snacks and refreshments.
Youth Club A place where the younger generation can gather to relax and enjoy activities designed specifically for them.
EcoStation An institute with a laboratory where scientists from around the world can conduct scientific research in the field for preserving Tetiaroa and also help tropical islands everywhere find their own path to sustainable development. Complimentary interactive visits are available.
Activities and Excursions Enjoy Tetiaroa’s royal history and culture through dance, music, storytelling, and other cultural experiences. Experience nature’s bounty discovering plants, birds, old native forest, a lemon shark nursery, and other marine life. Explore spectacular lagoons by Polynesian canoe, kayak, paddleboard, snorkeling, or SCUBA diving. Other activities include: fly fishing to catch one-of-a-kind Tetiaroa bonefish; taking a guided tour of the atoll’s motus; stargazing with a naturalist; swimming at Mermaid Bay or relaxing at the beach or pool.
Organic Garden & Orchard Every day, The Brando’s chef selects fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables grown from the orchard and garden on Tetiaroa to prepare for guests in the dining venues.
Fitness The Brando offers a fitness room equipped with cardio and strength training equipment and is accessible 24 hours a day.
Tennis Court The Brando offers top notch tennis facilities and equipment for use.
Luxury Pearl Shop Exclusive Tahitian Black Pearl jewelry by Hinerava, a local designer known for her “island chic” appeal.
Resort Boutique Everything from toiletry essentials to mementos. Among the items available are cosmetics, creams and suntan oils that are coral and lagoon-friendly; apparel and footwear; artwork; books and music; postcards and stamps; cigarettes; and snacks.
Meeting Room The Brando is the ideal venue for a business meeting or incentive program and offers a meeting room equipped with the latest presentation equipment.
Special Celebrations The Brando can arrange special celebrations for honeymoons, weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays.
Room Service As a guest of The Brando, dine any time, day or night. Room service is available, so that guests can enjoy a meal in the privacy of their villa, al fresco on their private deck, or a romantic picnic on the beach.

Thanks to Tahiti Travel Connection.

For more information contact your travel stylist today..

Fun in the Philippines – Cloud 9 adventure.

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It's More Fun

It’s More Fun

13th November – Just 5 days after Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines we were on a flight there. I was in two minds about going there, but after being in the travel industry for so long I knew a couple of things:

1. The media coverage made it sound like the whole country had been affected, which was untrue

2. This country still needs as many tourists to be coming here as possible.

The Visayas region, despite Typhoon Haiyan, plays host to several top destinations such as Boracay, Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo, and Bacolod, which remain open for business with their respective ports of entry still accessible to tourists. Having one of the world’s longest coastlines, the Philippines offers an array of limitless attractions found all over her more than 7,100 islands.

Boracay

Boracay

To say I’m glad we still travelled there is an understatement, it was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had and am looking forward to exploring many more of her amazing islands.

Let’s go to cloud 9 he said, its the #9 best wave in the world. I happily agreed then started to realise what I had got myself in to. Now being a travel stylist all the planning and organising basically falls in my lap, being a surfing WAG (wives & girlfriends) adventure is always high on the agenda.

Cloud 9

Cloud 9

Cloud 9, Siargao Island, Cebu Pacific huh.. These were all foreign to me. I’ve planned thousands of holidays in my career but none to here, I was starting to realise why…

Check in Sydney airport: “Can you please confirm we are sitting next to each other on this flight, we are flying home separately so just wanted to make sure this was still booked ok”. The Reply: “Yes, you are on row 1J, 1K” – Ahhhh the joys of having contacts in the right place..

Gotta love an upgrade

Gotta love an upgrade

Off to Manila we flew,  on a recommendation from a friend we were advised to stay at the New World Makatai, this is a fabulous hotel in a perfect location. Safe area, lots of restaurants in walking distance and surrounded by huge shopping centres.

New world Makati

New world Makati

Just one quick night in Manila then the real adventure was to start. 4am start, quick drive back to the airport (no traffic in Manila at that time) and check in to Cebu Pacific, for you who don’t know who they are, they are the cheap internet airline for the Philippines, I had heard some horror stories so was prepared for just about anything.

Cebu Pacific

Cebu Pacific

Smooth check in, no extra charge for surfboard, so far so good. Now there are no direct flights to Siargao Island you need to fly via Cebu. The flights connect quite nicely so not too much hassle. A short delay and then we were on our way to Siargao, I’m not a huge fan of hoping on a plane that I can see the propellors but with only one airline flying there you don’t have too much choice.

Siargao airport is well lets say one of the smallest aiports I have been to and that is saying something as I have travelled ALOT.. Bags and surfboards are brought off the plane and basically dumbed on a small concrete hill that leads to the exit gate, in situations like this it always best to let what I call the vulture passengers get their belongings first, then the rest of the passengers with some kind of manners can get theirs too.

Welcome to Siargao

Welcome to Siargao

The flying part is done, but we still had an hours drive to our hotel. By now I was thinking this place better to worth it!!  You want to make sure you have a transfer organised before you get there, we did so we were on our way. It was a scenic drive, very green and tropical looking – driving through the local villages I started to realise this was up there with one of the most remote places I have visited. It was refreshing to not see any high rises, any 7 11’s, no big resorts (the building has begun tho), as we got closer to cloud 9 you could see the roads are sand roads with hardly anyone on there apart from the occasional motorbike.

There are quite a few resorts here to choose from, it really depends on your budget/taste. From 2 star budgets up to 5 star boutique luxury. If you are here for the surf you can’t go past the Boardwalk, it is in line with Cloud 9 surfbreak. We could see the surf from our balcony. The standard is probably around 3 star, nothing too flash, but hot running shower (well for the first few days), comfy beds, tv (that didn’t work), wifi that only works occasionally when you are in the restaurant. Great food, great staff, amazing location.

The view from our room

The view from our room

I was actually surprised to see how many people were there, its not an easy destination to get to like Bali is for Australian’s or Spain is for the Poms. There was travellers from all over the world, plenty from Europe and the UK, Aussie’s (that’s pretty much a given anywhere in the world) and Canadian’s. Pretty impressive as it is an adventure to get there. Being tropical and just coming off a huge typhoon we were pretty lucky with the weather, it was 85% sunny with a few short lived down pours. The photo above was taken 10 minutes apart.

The WAGS and non surfers will appreciate that you can watch all the action from the comfort of the viewing platform.

Viewing platform

Viewing platform

Bali and Thailand are so 5 years ago, this is the place to be seen. It is so crazy cheap, it is still at the prices that Bali was 15 years ago. The colour of the water here is on par with Tahiti but about 1/4 of the price, the locals are the friendliest people you will find, they aren’t greedy or try and rip you off, great surfing and activities – what is there not to love!!

You can either surf at Cloud 9 (crowd 9 it is called locally) itself or there are numerous other breaks around the island, get one of the local guys to take you out in a boat for $5aud and they’ll sit and wait for you as long as you want. If you aren’t a confident surfer, there are local surf schools who will help teach you, or if you aren’t a surfer at all there is still plenty to do.

Surf Boat

Surf Boat

There are other islands to explore, fishing, stunning rock pools, island tours, snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding, diving and of course relaxing.

Snorkelling

Snorkelling

Being the travelling princess that I am, it was time to move to a better resort – I can not highly recommend the Isla Cabana resort enough. It was simply stunning, right on the beach front, swimming pool, hammocks,  kayaking, amazing rooms, attentive staff, and perfect food.

Isla Caba Villa

Isla Caba Villa

Beachfront with Pool

Beachfront with Pool

Isla Cabana Pool

Isla Cabana Pool

Isla Cabana Hammock

Who doesn’t love a hammock with this view

Beachfront - Low tide

Beachfront – Low tide

Siargao island is a perfect holiday destination for just about anyone, there were couples, families with teenagers, younger kids and babies too, group of mates and solo travellers.

I am so glad that we went, it was an amazing holiday and I can’t wait to head back and explore more this stunning country. Next stop Palawan..

Where is your next adventure to?

United Airlines Update

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United Airlines upgrades Australian product – FINALLY

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United Airlines is set to deploy 777-200ER aircraft on its Australian routes, with the new aircraft replacing Boeing 747-400s on UA’s trans-Pacific services from Sydney and Melbourne to San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The significant move for the carrier will mean that the Star Alliance member carrier will for the first time offer on-demand seat-back inflight entertainment for economy class passengers.
Effective from 01 Apr 2014 777s will operate on all United’s Australian flights with a three class configuration – eight seats in Global First, 40 in Business/First and 221 in Economy, including 117 Economy Plus seats which offer increased personal space and added legroom.

All seats on the 777 have multi-channel audio/video on demand and access to power outlets, and United is also outfitting the aircraft with global satellite Wi-Fi to offer inflight connectivity on long-haul international flights.

“The 777 will be the ideal aircraft for our Australian routes in terms of both capacity and customer amenities,” said UA vice president Atlantic & Pacific sales, James Mueller.

Helen Wong’s Amazing China Special

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  1. Partners Fly FREE
    Family Deal Kids Fly Free too !
    (Give the kids the best life education they can get – TRAVELLING)Flying Cathay Pacific on Selected tours to China

    Yangtze Wonders 15 days from $4990
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    Splendid Yangtze 26 days from $8340
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    Premium China
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    Shanghai – Yangtze Cruise – Guilin – Xian – Beijing

    Save $980 per couple
    Save up to $2450 for family (2 adult & 2 children)
    Further Saving $100 Per Person For Seniors

    Photo: Helen Wong - Amazing China Specials<br />
Partners Fly FREE<br />
Family Deal Kids Fly Free too ! (Give the kids the best life education they can get - TRAVELLING)</p>
<p>Flying Cathay Pacific on Selected tours to China</p>
<p>Yangtze Wonders 15 days from $4990<br />
Shanghai – Yangtze Cruise – Xian - Beijing</p>
<p>Mighty Yangtze 18 days from $6220<br />
Shanghai – Yangtze Cruise – Guilin – Xian – Beijing</p>
<p>Splendid Yangtze 26 days from $8340<br />
Shanghai – Hangzhou – Suzhou –Yangtze Cruise – Guilin – Lijiang – Xian - Beijing</p>
<p>China Highlights 14 days from $6630<br />
Premium China<br />
Shanghai – Guilin – Xian – Beijing</p>
<p>Supreme China 17 days from $7830<br />
Premium China<br />
Shanghai – Yangtze Cruise – Guilin - Xian - Beijing</p>
<p>Save $980 per couple<br />
Save up to $2450 for family (2 adult & 2 children)<br />
Further Saving $100 Per Person For Seniors