Times Staff Writer


A Peace Corps point of view

TRAIPSE through Thailand on and off the beaten track on a 12-night tour that begins Feb. 12.

The tour will visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket, and will be led by former Peace Corps member Patricia Absher, who served in Thailand in the early 1960s.

“We left off some of the real touristy things and do some of the things most tours don’t,” said tour director Kenneth Blaker of Experience Asia. “The unique aspect of this tour is that you get the benefit of the people leading the tour [who provide] an interesting perspective on the country.”

In Bangkok, participants will visit the Grand Palace and Wat Po, known for its reclining Buddha.

The group flies to Chiang Mai to see the temples and the mountain of Doi Suthep. In Chiang Rai, they will cruise the Mae Kok River, see villages and visit the trading town of Mai Sai in the Golden Triangle region, where Thailand, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Laos meet.


After a flight to Phuket Island, the group will travel around Phang Nga National Park by longtail boat, and tour James Bond Island, made famous by the films.

Cost: $3,995 per person, double occupancy ($800 single surcharge), including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, hotels, most meals, internal flights, ground transportation, sightseeing and entrance fees.

Contact: Experience Asia Tours, Irvine; (877) 481-2446,



Breezing along Baja’s coast by bike

BIKE Baja’s East Cape region on six-night trips from San Jose del Cabo to Punta Pescadero.

The trips will be offered weekly Jan. 5 through Feb. 2.

Tour groups cycle along the coast of the Gulf of California. Among the stops are Cabo Pulmo, where participants can snorkel or kayak in a protected coral reef, and Los Barriles, the hub of several mountain biking trails.

The ride ends in the beach town of Punta Pescadero.

Cost: $1,695 per person, double occupancy ($400 single surcharge), including hotels, meals, ground transportation, guides and support vehicles, entrance fees and airport transfers. Airfare from Los Angeles to San Jose del Cabo and $140 bike rental fee are not included.

Contact: Great Explorations, Vancouver, Canada; (800) 242-1825,



Hail the New Year on a Yosemite hike

CELEBRATE the New Year on a family trip to Yosemite National Park that begins Dec. 28.

The three-night visit to Yosemite Valley includes cross-country skiing lessons, guided hikes and a New Year’s Day brunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel.

Cost: $375 per adult and $150 per child, including accommodations at Yosemite Lodge, lessons and guide. Transportation from Los Angeles and most meals are not included.

Contact: Family Adventure Tours, Los Angeles; (323) 377-7565,

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