A Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Featuring the Eastern & Oriental Express
Discover the temples and palaces of Bangkok, and relive the Golden Age of travel on a luxury vintage train through the Malay Peninsula to Singapore then travel on to explore the fascinating island of Bali.
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- The Forbidden City: Official Spaces and Private Quarters
- Journey from Bangkok to Bali: Following the Spirits
- Haydn Seek
Join us on one of life’s great adventures as we explore the bustling city of Bangkok and marvel at the opulence of its Grand Palace. Visit the Wat Phra Kaew and see the Emerald Buddha. Learn about endangered Asian elephants, cruise the Chao Phraya River and immerse yourself in the beauty of ancient Siam at Ayutthaya. Travel in luxury for three nights aboard the legendary Eastern & Oriental Express train that will make stops at the River Kwai Bridge station and Butterworth. Experience an exotic kaleidoscope of color, sound, and culture on Penang Island. Discover cosmopolitan and historic Singapore before flying to Denpasar on the mystical island of Bali. Observe daily life with a visit to a traditional Balinese family compound and explore the local market in Ubud. Admire Bali’s breathtaking scenery, volcanoes, forests and splendid beaches.
Days 1 and 2 — Depart the U.S. and Cross the International Date Line
Smithsonian Journey Travelers depart their gateway city and cross the International Date Line as they fly to Bangkok, Thailand.
Day 3 — Bangkok, Thailand
Arrive at Bangkok International Airport, and transfer to the deluxe, riverside 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 Journeys Travelers this evening for a Welcome Reception.
Day 4 — Bangkok
Learn about Thailand’s history and culture at an informative lecture. Depart the hotel by motor coach 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 (motorized rickshaw) for the ride to the elegant Wat Po, Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple to see the golden Reclining Buddha. In late afternoon, attend an engaging lecture by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Later, savor Thai cuisine and see an authentic Thai dance performance at the lovely Sala Rim Naam. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Ayutthaya
Depart Bangkok for a leisurely luncheon cruise on the Chao Phraya River to visit the extravagant Bang Pa In 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 and a World Heritage Site. Visit the Royal Elephant Kraal, and 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 6 — Bangkok and Eastern & Oriental Express Train
Learn about the life and enigmatic disappearance of Jim Thompson, an American expatriate thought to have secret U.S. intelligence connections. Thompson revived the Thai silk industry after World War II. Explore the authentic teak buildings that comprise his beautiful antique-rich home. Enjoy some free time to explore the complex. After an elegant Thai lunch, board the luxurious Eastern & Oriental Express. As the train departs Bangkok, watch the city fade into a lush rural tapestry of villages and rice paddies. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — 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 and guide. 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 8 — Kuala Kangsar, Malaysia
After a leisurely morning aboard the train, disembark to explore this fascinating royal town taking in such sights as the Ubudiah Mosque, reputed to be one of Malaysia's most majestic. Following a view of the Royal Museum of Perak, the tour concludes at the Sultan Shah Gallery. Rejoin the train as it continues southwards through the lush forests and the rural west-coast towns of peninsular Malaysia. Dine in one of the opulent dining cars then spend a relaxing evening in the Bar Car with its resident pianist. Spend your last night on board. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — 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 Journeys Travelers' 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 10 — Bali, Indonesia
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 11 — 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, enjoy refreshments and learn about their lifestyle and traditional activities. See the terraced rice paddies and learn about an ancient irrigation system known as Subak. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a picnic lunch by the rice field, enjoy a foot massage and return to the hotel. Join lively discussion and exchange experiences at the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers' Corner. (B,L)
Day 12 — 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 town 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 Journeys Travelers at an exclusive Farewell Reception and Dinner highlighted by a performance of authentic traditional Balinese Dancers. (B,L,D)
Day 13 — Depart for U.S.
Depart the hotel for Denpasar International Airport for your return transpacific flights to the U.S. (B)
Note: Itinerary sequence and/or included tours and scheduled events may change due to operational consideration.