Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Travel Auction and the Other China

Stay at the Four Seasons Resort on Lana''i
Pick your place and your price at the annual Society of American Travel Writers' Travel Auction and you may take home a great vacation in 2017.

Between now and Dec. 4, here are some of the goodies up for bids.

10-day Amazon River Cruise in Peru for two aboard the Amazon Star.

 Four-day/3-night inclusive vacation for two adults in a deluxe category room at the adults-only Sandals Resort located in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, The Bahamas or Grenada.

Two-night all-inclusive stay for two in an Ambassador Suite at the Grand Velas Los Cabos, opening in December on Mexico's Baja Peninsula.

 Five nights accommodation for two in the Marcliffee Hotel and Spa, Aberdeen, Scotland's only 5-star hotel. plus a round of golf for two at Trump International Links, Royal Aberdeen, Cruden Bay and Murcar.

Three or four days Maine Windjammer cruise.

Much more including luggage, travel books, dinners, City Passes and getaways to St. Augustine, Branson, Nashville, Charleston, Toronto, Fort Myers Beach, Alabama's coast, Jekyll Island, Dollywood, Maine, Asheville and Hawaii to name drop a few.

The auction is open to the public; check it out by going to satw.org and clicking on "View Online Auction."

Another China 

Typical tour of China: Beijing, The Great Wall, the terra cotta warriers in Xi'an, the Three Gorges and Shanghai.

My recent China itinerary: Whenzhou; Wencheng County; ancient villages of Furong,  Yantou and  Cangpo;  and in Sichuan Province, ChengDu, two National Parks in Jiuzhaigou Valley and Huanglong, a UNESCO site in the Tibetan plateau and the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base.

The large, manufacturing city of Whenzou is not a tourist center but they welcome them, especially Westerners.

See the real martial arts in Whenzhou.
The cuisine is superb, the hotels excellent (I recommend the Shangri-La) there are interesting things to see.

Try on costumes at the Kun Qu Opera House.
Try the Arts and Crafts Research Institute, a martial arts school, the Kun Qu Opera House to Jiangxin Islet in the middle of the city's Ou River with its pagodas, temples and shaded paths and ponds.

Ming dynasty era Linkeng Village.
Day trips will take you to Ming and Tang era villages, the World Geological Park at Yandang Mountain,and Tongling Mountain.

Urbane, colorful and sophisticated, ChengDu, a city of more than 14 million, is the Shanghai of Southwest China.

Something red that dangles? Try Jiangli Road.
I highly recommend you add it to your China itinerary.  Most Western tourists come to see the nearby Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, but the city is well worth an extra few days.

Become part of a sculpture on Kuanzai Alley.
Fanciful skyscrapers blend with the ancient market and entertainment centers of Kuanzai "wide" Alley and Jiangli "old" Road.

Not to be missed is an evening at the Shufengyayun Opera Teahouse.

The Giant Pandas are endlessly entertaining and the park is beautiful, well worth a day or more visit. If you can watch one of these two-toned butterballs without grinning, consider yourself dead.

Adventurous travelers will love the National Parks of Jiuzhai Valley and Huanglong. Between the nine Tibetan Villages, thousands of lakes, forests, waterfalls and hiking trails, there is much to do and see for those who can handle the altitude (2,000 to 8,000 feet unless you are scaling a mountain) and physical demands (lots of steps).

 It is a major vacation spot for the Chinese but you will see few Westerners.

Oh, you can ride a yak, too.