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Beijing, China

 Beijing, capital of China, is located northwest of the Gulf of Bo Hai (Po Hai) in northeastern China. Formerly known as Peking, the city is surrounded by Hebei (Ho-pei) Province but constitutes an independently administered municipal district with an area of about 18,000 sq km (about 6950 sq mi). Situated at the northern edge of the North China Plain and circled on three sides by mountains, Beijing was a strategic northern outpost of the Chinese Empire throughout much of its history. With interruptions, it has been a capital of China for approximately 1000 years. Today it is the cultural, political, and intellectual center of China, as well as a major industrial and commercial metropolis. Beijing is the second largest city in China, after Shanghai.

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Bora Bora, French Polynesia

 Bora Bora lies 150 miles (240 Km) northwest of Tahiti in the Leeward Society Islands. The main island, home to 4,225 inhabitants, is in the center of a multicolored lagoon, surrounded by offshore motu islets inside a protective coral necklace. There is only one navigable pass, facing the principal village of Vaitape. A 29 km (18 miles) partially paved road circles the island, passing colorful villages, archaeological sites, old Army bunkers and cannons left over from World War II, when 5,000 American G.I.'s made a "friendly invasion". Matira beach has white sand and warm, shallow water. Bora Bora's lagoon is world-famous for its beauty.

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Hong Kong, China

 In 1841, Hong Kong became a British Crown colony when it was acquired from China. Hong Kong also established democratic reforms, despite opposition from the Chinese. In 1984, Britain and China signed an agreement stating that Hong Kong could maintain its capitalist system for 50 years beginning in 1997, when it officially became part of China. From 1949 until 1962, an influx of refugees from China settled in Hong Kong, and today its 409 square miles are home to a population of 6 million. Its enormous harbor, vast industrialization and free port status make it a major Asian crossroad, and perhaps the best place to shop in the world. But for the visitor shopping is only one of many highlights, since there is much more to do and see in this picturesque, bustling metropolis.

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Moorea, French Polynesia

 Moorea which has often been likened to James Michener's mythical island of Bali Hai, is only 11 miles (17 km) from Tahiti. Many visitors say it is worth the airfare to see Moorea's spectacular bays. The volcanic peaks, reflected in the tranquil waters of Cook's Bay and Opunohu Bay, rise like a shark's jaw from the island's basaltic base. The mountain slopes are covered with pineapple plantations, and white sand beaches border crystalline lagoons. Moorea is ideal for a day's visit and is even better when you visit by air. After only a few days, you will discover that Moorea has filled you with peace, delight, and a wonderful sense of happiness.

Whether you choose to visit the turquoise lagoon or the majestic mountains you'll remember Moorea with fond memories. The Tiki Theater Village is the setting for experiencing ancient Polynesian traditions. Although a bit touristy, it is good fun. Shopping is quite good in Moorea. You can find hand-painted designs on clothing that is ideal for tropical climate. Shop for precious black pearls, curios, perfumes, pareu, sundresses etc.

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 Papeete, French Polynesia

 It is not surprising that Tahiti, the largest of the Society Islands, attracted the attention of Paul Gauguin. Explorers, scientists, and other luminaries took the arduous journey to heed its calll. But today's travelers don't need to spend months at sea to arrive in Papeete, French Polynesia's laissez-faire capital. One of the first things you'll notice are the brightly painted jitney buses called "Le Truck" which careen all over town. Another is Marche Papeete, overflowing with fresh fruits and flowers. And lastly the people, who display an open warmth that is unfeigned and purely natural.

An exploration from Papeete to the interior reveals a land of unbounded natural beauty where Mother Nature is an irresistably alluring siren. Crowned by the two highest peaks in Polynesia, robed in luxuriant flora and skirted by black velvet sands and pink coral reefs, Tahiti needs no enhancements to be called the Queen of the Pacific.

On a spectacular drive into the mountains, bamboo and fern forests give way to tumbling waterfalls watched over by the stone-faced tiki gods. A lake, the only one in French Polynesia, cloaks its depths in ancient myths, and hidden pools invite you to dive into a dream. At Point Venus, walk in the measure footsteps of Captain Cook as he peered through his telescope to record the path of the planet Venus in 1769. At the Gauguin Museum, located in Tahiti's splendid botanic gardens, you learn something of the life and legend of Paul Gauguin. And you discover how his artistic spirit found new nourishment in a new life. Just as your spirit will find renewal in the dramatic beauty and smiling faces of Tahiti.

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Raiatea, French Polynesia

 Raiatea and Taha'a are two separate islands sharing the same lagoon. Located 120 miles (210 km) North East of Tahiti, between Huahine and Bora Bora among the leeward Society islands. Raiatea is the second largest island of French Polynesia after Tahiti. The island tour reveals lush green valleys, numerous waterfalls, pineapple and vanilla plantations. Taha'a has no airport, but regular shuttle boats depart from the docks of Raiatea joining various villages around the island.

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Rangiroa, French Polynesia

 At 42 miles (67 km) long and 16 miles (26 km) wide, Rangiroa is the largest atoll of The Tuamotu Archipelago which is comprised of 78 low islands or coral atolls, scattered over several hundred miles of the eastern Pacific Ocean and governed by French Polynesia. Life on these remote atolls is simple, quiet and peaceful. In the small villages the visitor can discover the true flavor of the Tuamotu, often participating in the daily activities of the Paumotu people. The interior lagoons are a haven for black pearl farms, fish parks, snorkeling and scuba diving. The outrigger speed canoe or motor boat is used to reach the distant motu islets across the lagoon, where the day is spent preparing copra and searching for colorful seashells. This archipelago is rapidly being developed, with telephone and television services now reaching even the most remote islands.

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