The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, seven nights' accommodations, breakfast daily, sightseeing tours, transfers, hotel taxes and fees, and fuel surcharges, from $1,899—plus an estimated $87 in airport taxes and fees.
When: Sept. 15, 29, Oct. 6, 20, Nov. 3, 24, 2008. Add $300 for June 9, 16, 23, July 7, 14, 21, Aug. 4, 11, 18.
Gateways: L.A. and San Francisco; add $90 for Boston; $175 for Denver, Phoenix, Seattle; $200 for New York City; $300 for Houston; other U.S. cities available.
The fine print: Price does not include departure taxes of about $87 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $450. Price does include a $340 fuel surcharge, flights within Asia, hotel taxes and fees, 10 meals, and transfers. Subject to seasonal supplements. A $300 per person deposit is required within seven days of confirmation. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: At least 30 days before departure.
Contact: Globotours, 800/988-4833, globotours.net.
Why it's a deal: Round-trip airfare in September between L.A. and Singapore costs $1,029 on China Airlines. In comparison, for $870 more, you can book the Globotours package, which covers round-trip airfare as well as the hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, flights within Asia, taxes and fees. Another huge benefit is that you get to fly on Singapore Airlines, which is famous for its excellent service (and would cost you about $600 more than the China Airlines flight if booked independently).
Trip details: The Singapore and Sarawak package covers round-trip airfare on Singapore Airlines to Singapore, a 239-square-mile island off the southern tip of Malaysia. If you've never been to Malaysia and the surrounding area, Singapore is the perfect first step (it's a modern, English-speaking city).
You'll spend the first of your three nights at the Furama Riverfront downtown, with a pool, a Jacuzzi, tennis courts, a putting green, and a gym. The hotel provides free shuttle service to shop-lined Orchard Road and Chinatown.
The next day, you'll be treated to a morning city tour. You'll see the Colonial district, including the Merlion—a mythical half-lion, half-fish beast—among other sights. Singapore has kept vast tracts of its old architecture intact, so get your camera ready. You'll also become familiar with Little India and Chinatown. There's another day to explore on your own, and these areas are fabulous for shopping. Bonus: Singapore is duty-free. Be sure to check out the Mint Museum of Toys.
Eat plenty of food. Singapore's ethnically diverse population (Chinese, Malays, and Indians) makes for an interesting place in many ways, especially when it comes to food.
Next, it's on to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, Malaysia's largest state, located in the northwestern part of the island of Borneo. After your included 90-minute flight on Silk Air, you'll check in to the Crowne Plaza Riverside. The hotel not only boasts a panoramic view of the city and the Kuching waterfront, but it's also near the Sarawak Cultural Village and a shopping complex and has a pool and recreation courts.
While in Kuching, you'll take a tour that covers the large cat statue that spawned the nickname Cat City as well as Tua Pek Kong Temple and the Sarawak Museum, where you can view native arts and crafts, including tattoo designs.
The following morning, you'll travel by boat to Batang Ai, an unspoiled area on the Engkari River. Here, you'll meet the residents of Ugat Sea Dayak longhouse, and they'll present a cultural performance. You'll be immersed in their customs and culture (plus, lunch and dinner are included).
Your accommodations here will be at the beautiful Batan Ai Longhouse Resort. Relax on the edge of the rain forest in traditionally designed, native Bornei longhouses, built on planks directly into the forest.
The next day, after a blowpipe demonstration, you'll go on a jungle walk with a native guide. Afterwards, take a boat ride back to Kuching and the Crowne Plaza.
Singapore and Kuching are warm and humid all year round, with only slight variations in the average of 73 to 88 degrees. The monsoon season is from November to January, with sudden and heavy showers.
Singapore has generally been thought of as a former British colony that puts the stiffest, prissiest English nanny to shame. But the city has been letting loose and courting tourists in recent years. It's clean and green—more than 5 percent of the island is reserved for nature—and there are many tree conservation areas. English is widely spoken, and credit cards are accepted. Law enforcement is rigorous; major crime, especially against foreigners, is not a problem.
Want more time? You can extend your stay in Singapore from $220 per room per night and in Kuching for $82 per room per night.
For more tips on what to do, visit the official tourism sites for Singapore and Sarawak and see the U.S. State Department's travel fact sheet for Malaysia. You can find the latest exchange rate, the local time, and the weather forecast at BudgetTravel.com.