Experience the lively traditions and cultural riches of Southeast Asia on this epic adventure, taking you from Singapore's dynamic streets to Malaysia's lush rainforests and the stunning temples of Thailand. Cross the boundary between city and wilderness in Singapore's Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur, and explore the remnants of an extraordinary past in multicultural Melaka and the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya. Savour local flavours at bustling markets overflowing with exotic fruits; and roll up your sleeves to whip up delicious Thai dishes at a cooking class.
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Chinatown Street Food Walking Tour, Singapore
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Melaka Historical Walking Tour, Melaka
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Traditional Thai Home Dinner, Chiang Mai
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Meet with Monks, Chiang Mai
Your Local Living Moment: Suka Suka Homestay Lunch, Chenderoh Lake
Your Discover Moment: Bangkok
Your Foodie Moment: Cooking Class, Chiang Mai. Arrival transfer. Welcome cocktail at world-famous Raffles Hotel. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve guided walk. Full-day tour of Kuala Lumpur and visit to the Batu Caves. Taman Negara nocturnal jungle walk. Taman Negara rainforest canopy walk and waterfall visit. Cameron Highlands BOH tea plantation visit. Ubidiah Mosque visit. Penang street art and street food walking tour. Free time in Ko Yao Yai island. Ko Hong Island trip. Entrance to the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre war museum and Bridge on the River Kwai train ride. Visit to Erawan National Park. Guided tour at Ayutthaya Historical Park. Dinner on a traditional rice barge. Sunset visit to Doi Suthep monastery. Bangkok Wat Po & Klong Tour. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Eat your way through a street food tour in Singapore, Embark on a nighttime jungle walk through Taman Negara National Park, Soak in the sounds of the bustling capital of Bangkok, See the Bridge on the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Dine on a converted 1930s rice barge, Learn about Buddhism from monks in Chiang Mai
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Please note that this trip is part of a combination of multiple tours. As such, the CEO, staff and/or particular vehicles operating your tour may change between tour segments. You may also expect some group members to join or leave the tour, between tour segments.
According to the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between April 23rd and May 23rd, 2020. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-Muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can't at that time.
Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops
Generally Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian, American, and most European passport holders are granted 30-day visa free entry on arrival in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
Please ensure you check with the appropriate embassy in your home country prior to arrival, especially for certain South American passport holders. Please note that some nationalities (eg. Colombian) are not allowed to enter Malaysia or Singapore overland and instead must fly to enter these countries. If this is applicable to you please note that we can assist you with making flight arrangements for this tour for you but these costs would be additional and not included in tour costs.
Thailand: Most nationalities do not need a visa for Thailand for stays of 30 days or less but if you do they are available on arrival at Bangkok Airport. Please note that as of December 2008, 30 day Thai visas are no longer available at land borders. Only 15 day tourist visas are issued when you enter Thailand overland. If you are staying more than 15 days you should consider getting your visa prior to your trip.
*Please note that certain nationalities (including: Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan and Ukraine) may not be able to obtain visa at a land border.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Private bus/minivan, train, boat, plane, walking.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this tour. Each passenger is allowed to carry one checked bag with a maximum weight of 20 kg (44lbs). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.
An arrival transfer is included when you arrive on Day 1, or when you arrive up to three days prior to the tour, provided that you have booked your pre-accommodation through National Geographic Journeys in our joining hotel. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous. Please note that Day 1 you may arrive at any time.
Please note that day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned on this day. Upon arrival to the city on day 1, please make your way to the joining hotel via your included transfer. Details on where to meet your transfer can be found in your voucher notes or on the G Adventures app.
Meeting point of arrival transfer:
There are 4 terminals at Changi Airport, Singapore. Each terminal have their own arrival hall. Please look out for your National Geographic Journeys representative holding a National Geographic arrival sign with your name at the arrival hall area. Maximum waiting time is 1.30 hours. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 1.30 hours from flight landing time, please call to our local supplier at +6596807419 to inform and make necessary arrangement.
If you have booked pre-tour accommodations through G Adventures, please note that you must contact us to confirm the included arrival transfer. Check-in time at your start hotel will be in the afternoon.
Once you arrive at the hotel, look for a note or bulletin board in the reception with a note from your CEO. This note will give the details of your Welcome Meeting on day 1.
Your CEO will contact you at the hotel on Day 1 and make sure you are settled comfortably. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning. Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip.
We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Departure Tax is Included in all International and Domestic tickets.
- Spectra Light Show (Free)
- Gardens by the Bay Visit (8-28SGD per person)
- Melaka Tri-Shaw Ride
- Melaka Boat Cruise
- Menara KL Tower (12USD per person)
- Islamic Arts Museum (15MYR per person)
- Petronas Towers Visit (85MYR per person)
- Khoo Kongsi Visit
- Kek Lok Si Temple Visit
- Penang Peranakan Museum Visit
- Penang Hill Visit
- Indian Street Visit
Ko Yao Yai
- Island Tour
- Thai Massage
- Wat Po Visit (3.50USD per person)
- Grand Palace Visit (15USD per person)
- Bangkok Cycling Tour
- Optional Welcome Meeting for Travellers on Combos
- National Museum Visit (2USD per person)
- Chiang Mai Cycling Tour (30USD per person)
- Night Market
- Full Day Tuk-Tuk Adventure
- Half-Day Tuk Tuk Adventure
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
Health & Safety:
• Face masks (required)
• Hand sanitizer (required)
• Pen (Please bring your own pen for filling out documents.)
• Rubber gloves
• Smart outfit (For evenings out)
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Max 16, Avg 10.
21 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
Hotel (19 nts), lodge (2 nts)
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 1.30 hours from flight landing time, please call to our local supplier at +6596807419 to inform and make necessary arrangement.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 508 8630
From within Thailand: 02 508 8630
After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below which will connect you directly with our Sales team who will happily assist you. Hours of operation by region can be found here.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tank-tops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.
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Max 16, avg 12
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 15kg/30lb. We recommend a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.
During this tour the local currencies you will use are the Thai Baht, Malaysian Ringgit and Singaporean Dollar. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers' cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
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After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at [email protected] and we will send it on to you.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Arrive at any time; your arrival transfer is included.
After the welcome meeting your CEO will take you to the historic Raffles Hotel to try the legendary Singapore sling cocktail. Head to the Marina Bay sands to view the incredible Singapore skyline from this iconic building.
Spend a full day exploring Singapore, beginning with a guided tour of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, an important rest stop for thousands of the world's migratory bird species. Enjoy free time in the afternoon before setting out on a walking tour to sample Singapore's famed street food. Savour flavourful chicken rice, spicy noodles, and chili crabs in this melting pot of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cuisine. Explore on your own this evening, opting to catch sunset views from a rooftop patio or wander among the stunning neon-lit sculptures at the iconic Gardens by the Bay.
This morning, cross into Malaysia en route to the multicultural city of Melaka, ruled over its history by Malay sultans and Portuguese, Dutch, British, and Japanese colonists. Delve into layers of history on a walking tour of the city's most prominent landmarks, from busy Jonker Street to the 17th-century Cheng Hoon Teng temple. In the evening, opt to gain an alternative perspective on the city as you explore by boat or bicycle rickshaw.
Today, head to the buzzing metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital. Enjoy free time to explore on your own, getting a taste of the city's vibrant mix of ancient and modern influences. Choose to visit the Petronas Twin Towers, soaring 1,483 feet above the busy streets below; delve into Malaysia's Muslim heritage at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia; or stroll among tranquil pools in the lush Lake Gardens park. Tonight, opt to enter the colourful world of Kuala Lumpur's night market, sampling delicious dishes and browsing stalls offering an endless variety of goods.
Spend a full day exploring Kuala Lumpur. Marvel at the brightly coloured staircase and temples built among the limestone cliffs of Batu Caves, and visit the modernist National Mosque, with its distinctive bright blue roof. Stroll Merdeka Square, once a private cricket ground, and explore the extensive historical collections of the National Museum.
Travel by road and boat to our forest lodge in Taman Negara National Park, home to one of the world's oldest areas of deciduous rainforest and several rare tropical species, including the Asian elephant and the Malayan peacock-pheasant. After dinner, set out on a nighttime jungle walk with a naturalist guide, looking for the tracks of the elusive Malayan tiger and listening to the calls of birds and frogs.
Venture into the lush, green heart of the rainforest on a trek to the top of Teresek Hill. Traverse an elevated canopy walkway, enjoying stunning aerial views of the park and keeping an eye out for a multitude of colourful bird species. After a picnic lunch, cruise up the Tahan River to Lata Berkoh, a series of waterfalls cascading into deep pools.
Leave the rainforest behind and drive into the green hills of the Cameron Highlands, named for a British explorer who first mapped the area for the colonial government. Visit the BOH tea plantation, one of many plantations spread over rolling hills, and one of the primary suppliers of black tea in Malaysia. Spend the rest of the day exploring on your own, opting to hike along one of many trails winding past hillside terraces, visit another tea plantation, or relax in the cool mountain breeze.
Descend from the highlands and travel west toward the coast. Stop en route to visit the Ubidiah Mosque and enjoy lunch at Suka Suka Homestay, offering a glimpse into traditional Malay kampung, or village, life. Continue to Penang, an island off the western coast. Spend the afternoon exploring George Town, Malaysia's second largest city and a historic center of exchange between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Enjoy a morning walk along the bustling streets of George Town, passing colourful colonial mansions and vibrant street art, and opt to grab a bite at food stalls. Spend the afternoon exploring Penang on your own. Choose to set out on a bicycle rickshaw tour or ride a funicular to the top of Penang Hill, taking in sweeping views of George Town spreading towards the sapphire sea. Delve into cultural heritage at several historic temples, or wander among the stalls of the lively night market while sampling local delicacies.
Transfer to the airport and fly to Phuket, Thailand. Settle aboard a speedboat for the exhilarating journey to Ko Yao Yai, a secluded island in Thailand's stunning Phang Nga Bay. Ko Yao Yai, and its sister island Ko Yao Noi, remain some of the least developed islands in the region, offering a truly authentic tropical getaway among dense forests, golden beaches, and sparkling seas.
Ko Yao Yai is a jewel in the Andaman Sea, with stunning beaches, coral reefs, mangroves, small fishing Villages and rubber plantations.
Today, set out to explore Ko Yao Yai on your own. Stroll down sweeping crescents of sand and enjoy the view of soaring limestone karst islets just offshore. Opt to rent a kayak and paddle along the island's untouched coast, or slip on a snorkel and fins to discover vivid underwater worlds. Visit a local village and stop for a chat with friendly residents, or simply choose to relax by the pool.
Hop aboard a boat to explore Ko Hong and other nearby islands. Marvel at vine-draped limestone cliffs towering above turquoise bays and white-sand beaches shaded by swaying palms. Anchor in secluded inlets where you'll have the opportunity to swim in warm waters, snorkel with colourful tropical fish, or relax on the sand surrounded by rhythmic waves.
This morning, travel to Phuket, where we'll catch a flight to Bangkok. Enjoy free time to explore Thailand's dynamic capital, and opt to visit the spectacular Wat Pho temple for a glimpse of the city's Buddhist heritage. This evening, stroll Bangkok's bustling lanes at leisure and sample Thai street food in the vibrant night markets.
Enjoy a free day in bustling Bangkok. Opt to visit the dazzling Grand Palace, formerly the official residence of the Thai royal family, and gaze upon the sacred statue of the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew. Browse the stunning collections of Thai art and artifacts at the Bangkok National Museum, including weaponry, ceramics, textiles, and musical instruments; or hop on a bike to explore the quieter side of the city, pedalling past hidden temples and lush parks.
After breakfast, travel to the city of Kanchanaburi, situated at the convergence of the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai Rivers. Board a train for a winding journey into World War II history as you cross the bridge made famous by the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai. At the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, learn about the Burma Railway, constructed by imperial Japanese forces to connect Bangkok and Burma; then visit the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery to see where the prisoners of war who worked on the railway were laid to rest.
This morning, hike into the lush landscapes of Erawan National Park, located high in the mist-shrouded Tenasserim Hills. Take a dip in the turquoise pools of the Erawan Falls-so called because its top tier of cascades resemble the three-headed, mythological elephant known as Erawan. This afternoon, transfer to the historic city of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, a former capital of the medieval kingdom of Ayutthaya, also known as Siam. Sample traditional Thai dishes during dinner on a converted rice barge from the 1930s.
Set out to explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ayutthaya Historical Park, centered on the old city which served as the Siamese capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it was one of the largest and most cosmopolitan regions in the world. Stroll down well-planned city streets to view magnificent palaces and Buddhist monasteries that set the standard for Thai architecture for generations to come. Later, return to Bangkok and transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. Visit a traditional village in the countryside and enjoy a khantok-style dinner, served on low pedestal trays.
Khantok in the Northern dialect means wooden tray, used for carrying dishes, round in shape and made of teak wood. The host will invite guests to sit on the floor around the khantok. After dinner, enjoy tea time with the opportunity to talk with local people to learn their way of living.
Delve into the bustle of Chiang Mai's morning markets with a local chef, and learn about colourful fruits and fragrant herbs as you select ingredients for a Thai cooking class. Enjoy your creation for lunch, then set out to visit a historic temple. Sit down with one of the resident monks to discuss daily life and the tenets of Buddhism. Later, clear your mind to the chanting of monks at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most spectacular gilded temples in Thailand.
Monk chats are a great cultural exchange, but also important in helping the young Monks improve their English.
Spend a full day exploring Chiang Mai's temples and forested hills on your own, or choose between a variety of optional activities. Opt to take a cycling tour through verdant rice paddies and the elegant historic district. In the evening, choose to visit Chiang Mai's vibrant night market.
This morning, fly to Bangkok and board a traditional klong boat for a ride along the winding canals that have earned the city the nickname the “Venice of the East.” Glide past colourful temples, modern skyscrapers, and houses perched above the water. Visit Wat Pho, Bangkok's largest and oldest temple complex, and often considered Thailand's first public university-its many inscriptions were intended to instruct visitors. Marvel at the magnificent statue of the Reclining Buddha, glittering with gold leaf and mother-of-pearl.
Depart at any time.
Duration: 22 Days
Trip Type: Small Group
Service Level: Upgraded
Travel Style: National Geographic Journeys
Physical Grading: 3 - Average
22 day National Geographic Journeys tour