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Global travel exposes us to all sorts of cheap eats from roadside vendors, whether it’s dim sum in Hong Kong (pictured) or a hot dog with relish in New York City. New this spring, Peninsula Hotels gives a nod to this kind of street food with room service menu items called “Snacks & the City.” I’d like to know what street cart is selling Kobe beef sliders and fries with truffle aioli, like the Peninsula Chicago, or filet mignon hoagies, like the Peninsula Beverly Hills. Also, buying “street food” on the street is kind of half the fun. However, as room-service options these new menu items really spice up the old stand-bys, and they’re available 24 hours a day (unlike food trucks or street vendors). Though prices may start at street fare levels of around $3, expect to pay a bit more for many of the upscale delights. Participating Peninsula locations also include Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Manila. www.peninsula.com
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The Luxury Top China tour specialist Wendy Wu Tours offers a 12-night sampler itinerary mixing well-known attractions with lesser-known charms. A China Experience for Smart Luxury Travel readers includes a mainland visit and a Hong Kong extension, with excursions led by expert local guides. Highlights include the Terracotta Warriors in Xian, the Forbidden City in Beijing, and cosmopolitan Shanghai.
The Value Rates start at $2,880 and include airfare from LA or New York, stays at four-star hotels, most meals, tours, entertainment, transfers, and visa fees. Readers will receive perks totaling $320, including a spa package and a guided day trip to Macau or a sunset dinner cruise in Hong Kong.
The Catch The group tours typically include 20 or fewer travelers. An upgrade to a private tour runs an extra $800 a person.
The Details 877-993-6399 (mention Smart Luxury Travel); wendywuschina.com
From the Winter 2010/2011 issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine by ShermansTravel.com.
For general trip-planning information, see our China Travel Guide.
Having made headlines last year with mainland China’s first public LGBT event, including an unprecedented front-page story on China Daily, the government’s English-language mouthpiece and perhaps its first public acknowledgement and tacit endorsement of LGBT life, ShanghaiPRIDE’s second go was in danger of being cancelled so as not to conflict with the all-encompassing Expo 2010. (2009′s inaugural event was in the traditional Pride month of June.) But say xie xie for the fortitude of the mixed gay-straight-Chinese-expat group of organizers and mark your calendars for October 16-31: ShanghaiPRIDE 2010 is on and twice as long as last year.
Discover the amazing culture of one of the world’s oldest civilizations on this affordable tour through historic China. This popular 10-day itinerary from Friendly Planet Travel covers three fascinating cities – all for the low price of only $999. Begin your tour in the cultural capital of Beijing, where you’ll have four full days to explore renowned sites like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the extraordinary Great Wall of China. Next, board a transfer flight to ancient Xi’an, home to the life-sized army of 2,200-year-old Terra Cotta Warriors. Round out your tour with several days spent in bustling Shanghai, renowned for its gorgeous gardens and picturesque canals. A full-day optional sightseeing trip includes tours of the renowned Shanghai Museum and the soaring 1,536-foot-high Oriental Pearl TV Tower. The trip includes round-trip airfare on Air China, transfers, and many meals, with various departures available throughout 2009. Package rates normally start at $1,299, but you’ll save $600 per couple if you book before September 23.
Jet of on an exciting tour of China with this air-inclusive offer available from SmarTours. This 8-night adventure combines two fascinating cities, Beijing and Shanghai, and includes round-trip airfare from San Francisco and all local flights. Begin your trip with a few nights at the upscale Marriott Courtyard Beijing Hotel, conveniently located just steps from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Head out on your own to explore the 3000-year-old city or choose from several optional guided excursions. Tours include a full day sightseeing with visits to the legendary Great Wall and Ming Dynasty tombs ($60), a full-day tour of the labyrinthine old city ($60), and a traditional Peking Duck dinner and Opera performance ($45). Next, you’ll board your transfer flight to bustling Shanghai, China’s largest city, for a stay at the modern Holiday Inn Shanghai Vista Hotel. Round out your tour exploring the city’s colorful markets and temples on your own, or try an optional guided excursion to Suzhou, the nearby Yangtze River city known as the “Venice of the East.” This tour starts at just $799, with various departures available throughout 2009. Book by July 21 to save up to $800 per couple; reservations made after this deadline cost $400 more per person.
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