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
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
- Haydn Seek
- Smithsonian Journeys to Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
- A Leopard Named "Hollywood"
Join us for an exotic journey to the East, traveling through sumptuous, ever-changing landscapes that showcase ancient histories and diverse cultures. In Bangkok, experience Thailand’s history, customs, and art at the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and at Wat Pho with its famous Reclining Buddha. During a leisurely cruise up the Chao Phraya River, explore the extravagant royal Summer Palace and the World Heritage site of Ayutthaya (an ancient capital of Siam), and visit a special sanctuary for endangered Asian elephants.
Board the opulent Eastern & Oriental Express for a three-night rail journey through lush tropical landscapes, stopping off to boat down the River Kwai and learn about the Thailand-Burma Railway. You’ll also see the Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences in the old trading port of George Town, capital of Penang, Malaysia, and a World Heritage site. Spend a day exploring the modern city of Singapore, then fly to the luxuriant island of Bali for a three-night stay. Meet a spiritual healer, visit with students and teachers at a local school, and take in the rice fields that are so central to the culture (and considered a World Heritage site). You’ll also discover an ancient temple, the Sacred Monkey Forest, and the artistic enclave of Ubud, and relax on the beautiful white-sand beaches of your resort. Limited to 28 participants.
May Departure Itinerary
Days 1-2 — U.S., Bangkok, Thailand
Depart the U.S. for Bangkok, Thailand. After crossing the International Dateline, arrive in Bangkok and transfer to the Peninsula Hotel, a Bangkok landmark and luxury hotel located on the Chao Phraya River with magnificent views of the city. After checking in, enjoy the many amenities of your hotel until the welcome reception.
Day 3 — Bangkok
Today, learn about Thailand’s history, customs, arts, and more. See Bangkok’s river life as you cruise the Chao Phraya to see the famous Thonburi canals, a floating community with homes, temples, markets and more. As the cruise ends, continue your excursion on land. Visit the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha Temple, take a tuk tuk ride to Wat Pho to see the reclining Buddha, and stop to take a photo of Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. Stop for lunch of Thai cuisine at a restaurant in a century-old historic building. (B,L)
Day 4 — Bangkok, Ayutthaya
Enjoy a leisurely cruise up the Chao Phraya River to visit Bang Pa-In, the extravagant royal Summer Palace, surrounded by manicured gardens. Another highlight this morning is the World Heritage site of Ayutthaya, the grand, ancient capital of Siam from the 14th to 18th centuries. You'll also visit the Royal Elephant Kraal, a sanctuary for endangered Asian elephants, which are a Thai national symbol. Tour this exceptional facility that promotes the humane treatment and conservation of these gentle giants, newborns to seniors. (B,L)
Day 5 — Bangkok, Embark the Eastern & Oriental Express Train
Begin your day with a cruise of the famous Thonburi klongs. This canal network forms a floating community, where people live and work. Then ponder the story of Jim Thompson, the mysterious American who brought Thai silk to international attention, as you explore the teak buildings that comprise his antique-rich home. Enjoy some free time to browse the shop, which is filled with exquisite silk goods. Enjoy a Thai lunch at the Thompson Bar & Restaurant. In the afternoon, board the opulent Eastern & Oriental Express. As the train departs Bangkok, watch the cityscape fade into a lush rural tapestry. (B,L,D)
Day 6— Kanchanaburi
Sip your morning coffee as the Eastern and Oriental Express departs from Wang Po along the wooden trestle viaduct beside a towering cliff. Board a boat at River Kwai Bridge station and learn about the Thailand-Burma railway from a local historian as you float down the Kwai Yai River. Then, drive past the North Temple and Chinese Cemetery to the Thailand-Burma Railway Center and the Don Rak War Cemetery, where 7,000 Allied soldiers who died while building the railway during World War II are buried. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Georgetown, Malaysia
The Eastern and Oriental Express arrives in Butterworth. You'll then transfer to Georgetown, a World Heritage site, and stroll the narrow streets of this colonial town, the capital of Penang, Malaysia. See the Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences in this old trading port as you explore historic mosques, churches, temples, bazaars, and shops before returning to Butterworth. This evening, sip a nightcap in the piano bar with friends on the final evening aboard the elegant Eastern and Oriental Express. (B,L,D)
Day 8 — Singapore
Arrive in Singapore this morning and during a city tour see the skyscraping Marina Bay Sands resort and Merlion Park. Drive through the Civic District past the Padang, Cricket Club, Parliament House, Supreme Court, City Hall, and more. Explore Thian Hock Keng Temple, the Temple of Holy Bliss, one of the city’s oldest temples. This afternoon, check in to the Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, an award-winning hotel. (B)
Day 9 — Bali, Indonesia
This morning, depart for the airport for your flight to Bali. Bali lies between two islands, Java and Lombok and two continents, Asia and Australia. It is one of more than 18,000 islands that make up the Indonesian Archipelago. Upon arrival, transfer to the Jimbaran Puri Bali, a luxury resort on the southern tip of the island, overlooking one of the island’s most beautiful beaches. The rest of the day is at your leisure to enjoy the hotel's many amenities. (B)
Day 10 — Bali
Go behind the scenes to learn about some of the many traditions of Bali. Meet a spiritual healer, visit with the students and teachers in a local school, and stop at a traditional Balinese housing compound to observe the local lifestyle and traditional activities. Continue to the rice fields to learn about subak, an ancient irrigation system still in use today. However, this cooperative system is more than a means to water fields—it is an extension of temple culture, and considered a World Heritage site. If you wish, you can try your hand at planting or harvesting rice. If you choose, surrender your feet to the relaxing experience of a traditional Balinese foot massage. During the day’s activities, enjoy Balinese coffee and tea. At lunch, savor Indonesian specialties during an al fresco lunch by the rice fields. (B,L)
Day 11 — Pura Tirta Empul, Ubud Monkey Forest and a Traditional Market
Today, head up into the hills of Bali. The morning begins with a visit to Pura Tirta Empul, a temple in Tampak Siring where the water from a bubbling spring is believed to have healing powers. The temple, built in 926, features two bathing pools where the Balinese hold purification ceremonies. Continue to the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal near the village of Ubud to see the long-tailed macaques who live in this rain forest and to learn about this sacred area. The long-tailed macaques are protected by Balinese Hindu beliefs, which teach that monkeys are the embodiment of both positive and negative forces. Enjoy a lunch of Balinese cuisine in Ubud. Conclude with a visit to Ubud’s famous market, where you will find batiks and other textiles, silver jewelry, woodwork, and other traditional crafts. This evening, gather with fellow travelers to bid farewell to Bali at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Days 12-13 — Bali to U.S.
Transfer to the airport for flights home to the U.S. (B)