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Explore Himalayas in comfort

Times Staff Writer

NEPAL

JOURNEY through Nepal but leave the camping gear at home on a 16-day women’s trip.

The tour, which will depart Oct. 12 from Los Angeles, will include two nights in Bangkok, Thailand.

In Nepal, group members will travel from lodge to lodge in the Annapurna region of the Himalayas, said tour director Deb Scisco. They will be accompanied by Sherpa guides and porters.

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The trip is designed for people who “aren’t into camping [but] want to go to Nepal,” said Scisco, owner of Outdoor Beyond.

“You’re just blown away by the beauty of [the Himalayas],” Scisco said.

The tour includes two days of river rafting on the Seti River and a two-day safari on elephants in Royal Chitwan National Park.

Participants will visit Bhaktapur and tour the city’s palaces, then fly from Katmandu east along the Himalayas.

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Maoist rebels have been operating in the country for some time, and the State Department warns travelers to Nepal to remain vigilant, keep a low profile and avoid demonstrations.

Cost: $4,655 per person, double occupancy ($650 single surcharge), including hotel, lodge and luxury tent accommodations, most meals, round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, guided rafting and safari trips, sightseeing, Mt. Everest flight, internal air and land transfers, trekking permits, departure taxes, use of equipment and laundry services.

Contact: Outdoor Beyond, Adventure and Expedition Travel for Women, Apache Junction, Ariz.; (480) 671-0416; www.outdoorbeyond.com.

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GERMANY & AUSTRIA

It’s all about the beer

TOAST spring on a 12-day beer tour of Bavaria, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria.

The May 8 tour begins in Munich, Germany, and stops at the Erdinger wheat beer brewery in Erding, King Ludwig’s Castle in the Bavarian Alps and the Andechs Monastery Brewery outside Munich.

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The group will visit the Franconian Beer Brewing Museum in Bramberg, Germany, and the Augustiner Brewery near Salzburg. Tourgoers will take a cable car up Mt. Wallberg in the Alps and stay in the village of Aying, Germany.

Also in Germany, the group will sample the hot spots of Cologne and tour the breweries of Dusseldorf.

Cost: $1,969 per person, double occupancy ($356 single surcharge), including hotels, daily breakfast, ground transportation, brewery tours and tastings, excursions, admissions and airport transfers. Airfare from Los Angeles is not included.

Contact: Specialty International Tours, New York; (646) 435-2833, www.specialtyinternationaltours.com

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JAPAN

Sunrises in the countryside

EXPERIENCE the farms, shrines and architecture found in the Japanese countryside on a two-week tour.

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The May 7 trip begins in Tokyo and travels north to villages along the Sea of Japan. The group will stay in inns with hot springs and thatched-roofed farmhouses and visit the manor homes of the Niigata Plains, the temples of Nagano and the sake breweries of Takayama.

The tour will end in Kyoto, with three nights in a ryokan, a traditional garden guesthouse.

Cost: $4,885 per person, double occupancy ($600 single surcharge), including lodging, most meals, ground transportation, airport transfers. Airfare from Los Angeles is not included.

Contact: Journeys East, Middletown, Calif.; (800) 527-2612, www.journeyseast.com.

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SOUTHWEST

Author’s land of mystery

Explore the land and meet the people who inspired author Tony Hillerman.

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The five-day Southwestern tours, with departures April 11 through Oct. 20, leave from Phoenix and proceed to Grand Canyon National Park, the Hopi mesas, Canyon de Chelly Tribal Park and Sedona, all in Arizona.

The tours also stop at Chaco Culture National Historic Park and Gallup, both in New Mexico.

The group will meet with a Navajo silversmith who appears in Hillerman’s mystery novels “The Wailing Wind” and “The First Eagle.”

Cost: $990 per person, double occupancy ($260 single surcharge), including lodging, transportation during the tour, guide services and park entrance fees. Transportation from Los Angeles and meals are not included.

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Contact: Detours, Phoenix; (866) 438-6877, www.detoursaz.com.

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The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012 or write via e-mail to travel@latimes.com.


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