A Journey from Bangkok to Bali

Experience the magic of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Bali, and a three-night luxury train ride aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express

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 Bali's rice terraces at dawn  The World Heritage <i>subak</i> or rice terraces in Bali  The white-sand beaches of Bali  Singapore in the evening  Enjoying the scenery of Thailand from the <i>Eastern & Oriental Express</i> observation car  The World Heritage site of Ayutthaya, near Bangkok  Detail from the Emerald Buddha Temple, Bangkok  The Golden Buddha at Wat Pho, Bangkok  Village along the River Kwai  Thailand's River Kwai

Explore the bustling city of Bangkok and marvel at the opulence of the Grand Palace. Visit the Wat Phra Kaew with its Emerald Buddha. Learn about endangered Asian elephants, cruise the Chao Phraya River and immerse yourself in the beauty of ancient Siam at Ayutthaya. Travel for three nights aboard the legendary Eastern & Oriental Express train as it takes you through rural Thailand and Malaysia. Experience an exotic kaleidoscope of colors, sounds, cultures and ancient history on this exciting journey. Raft down the Kwai Yai River, and visit colonial Georgetown, a landmark Malaysian city. Discover historic Singapore before flying on to the island of Bali. Observe daily life with a visit to a traditional Balinese family compound and at the local market in Ubud. Admire Bali’s breathtaking scenery, volcanoes, forests and splendid beaches.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S.; Cross the International Dateline

Smithsonian travelers depart their gateway city and cross the International Dateline as they fly to Bangkok, Thailand. Meals appropriate to the time of day will be served in flight.

Day 2 — Bangkok

Arrive at Bangkok International Airport, and transfer to the deluxe Peninsula Hotel, a Bangkok landmark, where accommodations await. After checking in, there’s time to relax and explore the hotel. Gather with your fellow Smithsonian Travelers this evening for a Welcome Reception.

Day 3 — Bangkok

Learn about Thailand’s history, customs, and arts at an informative lecture. Depart the hotel by motor launch and see Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, Klongs and the Temple of the Dawn or Wat Arun. Continue to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Take a tuk-tuk, a motorized rickshaw, for the ride to the elegant Wat Pho, Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple to see the gold-plated Reclining Buddha. In late afternoon, attend an engaging lecture by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Later you’ll savor Thai cuisine and see an authentic classical Thai dance performance at the lovely Sala Rim Naam (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Ayutthaya

Depart Bangkok for a leisurely luncheon cruise on the Chao Phraya River to visit the extravagant Royal Summer Palace and the Chinese Wehat Chamrun Palace. Continue on to the Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch and the Wat Yai Chai Mongkol. Next, visit the ruins of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam from 1350 to 1767. Visit the Royal Elephant Kraal, then visit ElephantStay where you’ll learn about the endangered Asian elephants that are Thai national symbols. This exceptional not-for-profit facility promotes the humane treatment and conservation of these gentle giants from newborns to seniors. (B,L)

Day 5 — Bangkok and Eastern & Oriental Express Train

Learn about the life and mysterious disappearance of Jim Thompson, the American expatriate thought to have U.S. intelligence connections. Thompson revived the Thai silk industry after World War II. Explore the authentic teak buildings that made up his beautiful antique-rich home. Enjoy some free time to explore the complex. After an elegant “Thompson-style” lunch board the luxurious Eastern & Oriental Express. As the train departs Bangkok watch the city fade into a lush rural tapestry. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Kanchanaburi

Enjoy a leisurely morning as the train travels south through Thailand. At River Kwai Bridge Station, board a raft and cruise down the Kwai Yai River. Learn about the building of the Thailand-Burma Railway during World War II from a local historian. Then drive past the North Temple and Chinese Cemetery to the Thailand-Burma Railway Center and the moving Don Rak War Cemetery where 7,000 Allied soldiers who died building the railway are laid to rest. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Georgetown

The Eastern and Oriental Express arrives at Butterworth in the state of Penang, Malaysia. Drive to Georgetown the colonial capital of Penang. On a nostalgic stroll see the narrow streets of this fascinating colonial town. Recognize the Malay, Chinese and Indian influences on this old trading port as you explore historic mosques, churches, temples, bazaars and shops. This evening, have a nightcap in the Bar Car with friends on the final evening aboard this elegant train. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Singapore

After crossing the Straits of Johore the train arrives at Woodlands Railway Station in Singapore. Explore Singapore and see Merlion Park, the Civic District past the Padang, Cricket Club, Parliament House, Supreme Court, and City Hall. Arrive at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for an overnight stay. Gather in late afternoon with fellow travelers at a Smithsonian Traveler’s Corner where you can share experiences with your fellow adventurers. These informal get-togethers will be held occasionally during your journey to exchange experiences and enjoy informal discussion. (B)

Day 9 — Bali

Depart for the airport and the flight to Bali. Upon arrival at Denpasar Airport, drive to the Jimbaran Puri Bali Hotel, which overlooks one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. The rest of the day is free to follow your own path. (B)

Day 10 — Bali

This day of discovery begins with a visit to a local school to meet students and their teachers. You will also visit a traditional Balinese Family Compound to meet the residents, and learn about their lifestyle and traditional activities. See the terraced rice paddies and to learn about an ancient irrigation system still in use today. Join lively discussion and exchange experiences at a Smithsonian Traveler’s Corner with fellow travelers. (B,L)

Day 11 — Bali

Travel inland to visit a fascinating temple at Tampak Siring where the water from a bubbling spring is believed to have healing powers. The temple, features bathing pools where the Balinese hold spiritual purification ceremonies. Continue to the Sacred Monkey Forest near the village of Ubud to see the amusing long-tailed macaques that live there and learn about this sacred area. Visit Ubud’s famous market, where you will find batik and other textiles, jewelry, remarkable woodwork and other traditional crafts. Join fellow Smithsonian Travelers at a Farewell Reception and Dinner highlighted by a performance of authentic traditional Balinese Dancers. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Depart for U.S.

Depart the hotel for Bali International Airport for your return trans-Pacific flights to the U.S. (B)

Meals appropriate to the time of day will be served in flight.

Note: Itinerary sequence and/or included tours and scheduled events may change due to operational consideration.