Bali and beyondTimothy Lee, a professional biologist in...


April 30, 1995|By Suzanna Stephens

Bali and beyond

Timothy Lee, a professional biologist in Davis, Calif., who spent two years exploring the rain forests of Indonesia, will lead a series of two-week "ecotours" to that part of the world this summer. Tours begin in Bali and continue to Sumatra, where participants will embark on a 10-day rain-forest trek to include visits to traditional villages and white-sand beaches. The tour ends at a camp where participants will learn to ride and care for elephants.

Trip departures are July 1, Aug. 1 and Sept. 1; cost excluding airfare is $2,595 per person. Contact Natrabu Travel in San Francisco; (800) 628-7228.

Time in Thailand

Tourists from the United States and 55 other countries may now stay in Thailand without a visa for 30 days; the previous maximum stay was 15 days. The new rule applies only to visitors on pleasure trips; business travelers must get a visa regardless of how long they intend to stay.

Tourists need a current passport and an airline ticket with a confirmed return date. American tourists planning to stay longer than a month, as well as business travelers, must apply, either by mail or in person, at a consulate office in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, or the embassy in Washington. The Thai embassy in Washington is located at 1024 Wisconsin Ave., N.W., 20007. Call (202) 944-3608.

Spoleto Festival

The Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, S.C., will resume a 17-day schedule this season after having pared its schedule to 12 days in 1994. Now in its 19th year, the festival will run May 26 through June 11, with 51 classical, jazz, dance, opera and theater programs, as well as a new literary and visual-arts series.

The festival opens with a ceremony at Charleston City Hall and the first of four performances by the festival's orchestra of Strauss' "Rosenkavalier," directed by Giulio Chazalettes and conducted by Spiros Argiris, with the soprano Renata Scotto. Other performances throughout the city will include the American premiere of the opera "Der Prinz von Homburg," the FTC North Carolina Dance Theater in "Coppelia" and the American debut of the National Ballet of the Ukraine in "Swan Lake."

Single tickets range from $10 to $65. For information, call (800) 255-4659 or (803) 577-4500.

Canterbury tales

England's Canterbury Cathedral has been drawing streams of tourists since the 12th century, but starting this summer, they will have to pay to enter.

At least 2.25 million people came last year, when the church asked for voluntary donations, but they gave an average of just 19 cents each.

Beginning June 5, visitors will be charged 2 pounds (about $3.20) for access to the cathedral precincts, including the vast church, the cloister and the surrounding ruins and buildings.

Admission will not be charged on Sundays, and residents and those with a "genuine wish to worship" will still be admitted free.

Canterbury has been a magnet for travelers since Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in the church by henchmen of King Henry II in 1170. The church was expanded to accommodate the throngs who came to venerate Becket's tomb, and the pilgrimage was the basis for Geoffrey Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales."

Canterbury joins a growing number of hard-pressed English cathedrals that are selling tickets, including St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey in London, and Ely Cathedral, 70 miles northeast of London.

The church hopes the plan will raise $1.6 million the first year, to help offset maintenance costs that run nearly $11,000 a day.

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