Pandas, visiting with locals, and more things we love

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The spa and adventure packages profiled as today's Real Deal got us thinking about all the neat perks and packages in our Girlfriend Getaways issue. There's one in particular we wouldn't want you to miss--a women-oriented tour of China created specially for Budget Travel by Champion Holidays for the second year in a row. (Here's a photo of reader Linda Henriques, in the back far left, who went on last year's trip with four girlfriends.)

Participants get to befriend pandas at the Beijing Zoo, learn about the Chinese art of paper cutting, visit with a family, and tour a silk factory, where you can choose a fabric for your own custom-made, traditional qipao dress. Champion Holidays also covers the blockbusters you'd expect: guided tours of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, a Grand Canal cruise, and so on. You can find more details about the 12-night trip priced at $1,799 here.

And to spot some pandas closer to home, check out our adorable Zoo Babies feature, with fun facts and photos from five top U.S. zoos.

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