Take an exotic journey to Southeast Asia, traveling through breathtaking landscapes that showcase ancient histories, diverse cultures, and many World Heritage sites. Plus, experience the Golden Age of train travel aboard the elegant Eastern and Oriental Express.
Singapore, Thailand, and Angkor Wat
Featuring The Eastern & Oriental Express
14 days from $8,290
- A Q&A with Expert Ross King
- A Q&A with Expert Cassandra Potts Hannahs
- A Q&A with Expert Grant Nel
- A Q&A with Expert Michelle Thaller
FlexAir is designed to provide you with the flexibility and choice you need to personalize your air travel experience. Explore a wide range of flight options in consultation with our experienced travel professionals to select the flights, routing, class of service, and dates of travel that most fit your needs. Our partner tour operator has negotiated contracts with a wide variety of carriers that allow them to hold flight reservations and then issue your ticket close to departure without additional fees. This protects you from the need to purchase published-fare tickets, which must be ticketed within 24 hours of purchase. FlexAir reservations provide the flexibility to adjust reservations without penalty and to accommodate extensions and upgrades right up until ticketing time, usually around 45 days before departure. We look forward to providing you with more choice and the best possible itinerary for your air travel plans.
- Guaranteed transfers between the airport and your overseas accommodations upon arrival and departure (in most cases). We will provide you with all of the details you need to guarantee your transfer.
- Air schedule change and delay assistance. Book FlexAir to ensure assistance should schedule changes or delays impact your air travel plans.
- Flight insurance worth up to $250,000, subject to policy terms, is automatically included.
- Confirmed airline seat assignments at the time of booking (in most cases).
To see itinerary, please click on an option below.
Day 1 — Depart the U.S.
Depart home cities for your international gateway and the trans-Pacific flight to Singapore.
Day 2 —In Flight
Cross the International Date Line en route to Singapore.
Day 3 —Singapore
Arrive at Singapore’s Changi International Airport. After brief customs and immigration formalities, transfer to the deluxe Shangri-La Hotel. The balance of the day is reserved for quiet time to relax and get settled. This evening, gather for a welcome reception followed by a short introductory talk by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. Afterward, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel. (R)
Day 4 — Singapore
Each morning, an American-style buffet breakfast will be served in the hotel. After breakfast, join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an informative lecture. Begin discovering Singapore on a morning panoramic tour of city highlights. See Merlion Park and Esplanade Bridge. Continue with a drive through the Civic District, past the Padang, Cricket Club, Parliament House, Supreme Court, and City Hall. Visit Thian Hock Keng Temple, one of the most venerated Hokkien temples in Singapore. The temple is dedicated to Mazu, goddess of the sea and built-in traditional southern Chinese style featuring intricate sculpture and imposing columns.
There's leisure time at leisure for lunch on your own. Singapore’s diverse culture and fascinating past are showcased this afternoon during an excursion to visit Kampong Glam, a Malay neighborhood that was once a fishing village at the mouth of the Rochor River. This area of the city was known for its abundant gelam trees that were used in shipbuilding. Continue on to visit Chinatown with its ubiquitous shop-houses and Little India, a bustling community replete with food, flower and spice markets.
Early this evening, join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for friendly conversation. (B)
Day 5 — Singapore / the Eastern & Oriental Express Train
Start the day with a talk by a local speaker about current-day economics and cultural influences affecting Singapore. Later, set out on a fascinating excursion to learn about Singapore’s Peranakan people who are locally born of Chinese and Malay ancestry. This community is an important part of Singapore’s multi-cultural heritage.
Travel to the Katong District, a Peranakan enclave, and visit a family business noted for their Peranakan cuisine and learn about the preparation of the Chinese rice dumpling. Watch the preparation of these tasty dumplings and then enjoy a sampling. Next, visit a home workshop and learn from your Peranakan hostess about their traditional beadwork and embroidery. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant before transferring to the Woodlands Railway Station and The Eastern & Oriental Express. After a warm welcome aboard this elegant train, settle into your cozy compartment. Enjoy afternoon tea and the passing scenery as the train crosses into Malaysia via the causeway across the Straits of Johor. This evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner then spend a relaxing evening in the Bar Car listening to the music of the resident pianist. During the evening, the Eastern & Oriental Express Train pauses at Kuala Lumpur’s Moorish-style station where you may disembark for a stroll. Retire to your compartment which has been transformed into a comfortable bedroom. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Eastern & Oriental Express Train
Relax this morning before breakfast in your cabin as the Eastern & Oriental Express enters Malaysia. Notice the landscape change as limestone massifs rear up dramatically from the rice fields. Spend the morning relaxing in the Observation Car or Saloon Car, reading, chatting with fellow guests or simply gazing at the passing scenery. After lunch, you’ll arrive in Kuala Kangsar where you’ll board a motorcoach and travel away from the city to a rural village set among the rice paddies and surrounded by hills and mountains. Here, you have a choice of excursions.
Choice #1 – Traditional Village Experience – Immerse yourself in the rural life of Malaysia. Villagers welcome you with a traditional martial arts dance, sample local food and drinks, and see locally produced crafts. Walk through rice paddies to learn about planting and harvesting, visit a plantation where rubber, bananas, and durian are grown. Stop for refreshments and snacks at the conclusion of the tour.
Choice #2 – Countryside Hill Trek – Begin with a visit to a banana and durian plantation. After sampling local snacks, meet your naturalist-guide for a walking tour and learn about the local area. After refreshments, and cold towels, enjoy stunning panoramic views of the area.
Return to the train at Padang Rengas station. Luncheon will be served on board the train. After departure, the train takes you through the Malaysian countryside and rice fields as it travels towards the border where Malaysia meets Thailand. Enjoy a gourmet dinner and afterward enjoy a drink with friends in the Bar Car. (B,L,D)
Day 7 — Eastern & Oriental Express Train / Bangkok
After breakfast, the train arrives at the River Kwai Bridge Station where it stops to allow you to disembark. Here, you will have your choice of one of the following excursions.
Choice #1 – Kanchanaburi and Kwai Yai River Tour - Local guides will take you on a short walk to the dock to board a boat for a cruise along the picturesque Kwai Yai River, passing under the infamous bridge built with forced POW labor during World War II. After the cruise, travel to the Thailand-Burma Railway Center. There is time to visit the poignant Don Rak POW Cemetery adjacent to the museum.
Choice #2 – Cycle Tour - Board a private coach to rural Nong Kao village for a one-hour bicycle tour through local rice fields, stopping for a fascinating visit at a local Thai farm and refreshments. On the return, visit a traditional Thai Wooden House for a relaxing herbal infusion before returning to the train by motor coach.
Choice #3 – Culinary Tour - Begin with a visit to a vibrant “wet” market that sells fresh meat and produce. Continue to an acclaimed rice noodle house, where you gain insight into traditional cooking. Proceed to Wat Nue pier to board a flat-bottom riverboat and participate in a traditional Thai cooking class on board as you sail along the River Kwai. Disembark at Chong Kai War Cemetery for a moving visit before returning to the train by motor coach.
Rejoin the train and enjoy lunch aboard. Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to the deluxe Bangkok Peninsula Hotel situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. (B,L)
Day 8 — Bangkok
After breakfast, join fellow travelers for a talk by a local speaker about the history and culture of Thailand. From the pier at the hotel, board a private boat for a cruise on the Chao Phraya River and the Thonburi canals where you’ll experience the stark contrast between the frenzied activity of modern Bangkok and life on the canals. See family homes, temples and a local market en route to the Grand Palace. At the Grand Palace see the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, that dates from the 15th century. This lavishly adorned wat or temple is one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand. Continue by local transportation on a tuk-tuk ride to Wat Pho to see the Reclining Buddha. This temple is also considered the country’s first university. Sit down to lunch at the Blue Elephant restaurant, housed in a century-old building that’s evocative of an earlier time in Bangkok.
The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure so you can follow your own path. This afternoon, the Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer an engaging presentation. Gather with fellow travelers this evening for a special dinner at the renowned Sala Rim Naam restaurant. Enjoy exquisitely prepared Thai cuisine and watch an exotic classical dance performance. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Bangkok / Ayutthaya
Today begins with a morning drive from Bangkok to Bang Pa In, the renowned Summer Palace complex of Thai kings. During your visit, you’ll see remarkable gardens and fascinating architecture that’s an amalgam of native Thai, Chinese and classical European styles. Continue to Ayutthaya, a World Heritage site and former capital of the Kingdom of Siam from 1351 to 1767. Burmese forces laid siege to Ayutthaya in 1766 and ultimately conquered the city. Today it stands in ruins, having once been a flourishing city hosting visitors and delegations from around the world. After exploring the historical and cultural highlights, board a modern riverboat for a leisurely luncheon cruise on the Chao Phraya River to Bangkok. Marvel at scenes of Thai river life including bustling villages, markets, and magnificent temples. (B,L)
Day 10 — Bangkok / Siem Reap
This morning, transfer to the Bangkok International Airport for the flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Upon arrival, transfer to the deluxe Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf and Spa Resort where accommodations await. After lunch, take an orientation tour of Siem Reap by local tuk-tuk. Visit a cultural center for demonstrations by local artisans and a performance by an ensemble of classical dancers. (B,L)
Day 11 — Siem Reap
This morning, you'll experience the breathtaking Temple of Angkor Wat, a highlight of the World Heritage site of Angkor. Built in the 12th century, it is the largest temple in the world and was originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple became filled with Buddhist elements as the new religion spread through the empire. See the extensive gallery of bas-relief murals, one of the highlights of the temple.
This evening, transfer by remork or tuk-tuk to attend a performance of Phare, the Cambodian Circus. The circus will amaze with spellbinding choreography and color that is a feast for the senses. The performance blends remarkable theater with folk music and distinctly Cambodian lore. (B)
Day 12—Siem Reap
Spend the morning exploring Angkor Thom and other sites. Angkor Thom was a great walled city that was once home to a million people and was the last capital of the Khmer Empire, which ended in the mid-15th century. Discover the Bayon, a remarkable temple in the center of the site. Marvel at the 54 towers that feature carvings of more than 200 large enigmatic smiling faces. The bas-reliefs of ancient battles are among the most compelling aspects of the site. Explore the temples of Ta Prohm, a temple that has, for the most part, been left in its natural state since its discovery by French explorers in the late 19th century. Here, the roots and branches of ancient Banyan and Kapok trees have overwhelmed the stone structures like monstrous tentacles. One of the largest temples at Angkor, it is a favorite for many travelers. Continue to Thommanon, a recently restored temple with exquisite Apsara carvings. The balance of the day is free of planned activity so you can relax or follow your own path and explore on your own.
This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a festive farewell dinner. The highlight of the evening will be a presentation of Khmer classical dance by performers in exquisite silk brocade costumes fashioned after the bas-relief sculptures seen at Angkor Wat. (B,D)
Day 13 — Return Flights to the U.S.
This morning, travelers will transfer to Siem Reap International Airport for their homeward flights. (B)
*Please Note: Based on international airline schedules and routings, some travelers arrive home the same day; others may arrive home the next day. This information is based on preliminary 2021 airline schedules.
Day 14 — Arrive in home cities
Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)