Emerging from Dutch, Portuguese and British rule, Malaysia has prospered into a diverse and multicultural country where Chinese, Malay, Indian and Indo-Chinese cultures have combined to give the nation its unique flavour. Beginning in the futuristic city of Singapore, journey to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur, hop down to fascinating Malacca (Melaka), enjoy the cultural spoils of an island hideaway and get a dose of colonial history in Penang before winding up the adventure on the beaches of Pulau Langkawi. Sample mouth-watering foods, see a wealth of modern and historical sights and savour the natural beauty of the Malaysian landscape on this treasure-filled trip.<br />
Thailand is jam-packed with experiences and destinations that ventures beyond where other trips go. The country's stunning beauty and charismatic culture are ever present on this adventure - discover the exquisite 'Land of Smiles' in style. Thailand conjures up images of spicy delicacies, majestic elephants, golden Buddhas, colourful hilltribe villages, fantastic shopping and exotic hideaways - and we experience it all on this trip. Witness traditional hilltribe life in a H'mong village, support the rehabilitation of the endangered Asian elephant, step back in time in the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai and try your hand at creating some gastronomic delights. This is your chance to capture the adventure and essence of timeless Thailand.
Day 1 - Singapore
- Arrive in Singapore where you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel.
- A pre-trip briefing will be held in the evening, where you will meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary. Please check for a welcome notice on the hotel noticeboard located near the hotel lifts, which will provide your tour leader's name and the details of the meeting.
- In the meantime we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Singapore has to offer including trying some of its famous cuisine.
- After the group meeting you may head out to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a meal together (this is optional and at your own expense). The rest of the evening is free - perhaps a quiet drink in the Clarke Quay or Boat Quay areas. You may wish to arrive a bit earlier before the start of the tour to explore the island-state's many other attractions.
- Singapore has one of the best zoos in the world and Sentosa Island has its share of tourist attractions including a few small beaches, Fort Siloso and the Universal Studios theme park.
Day 2-3 - Malacca (Melaka)
- You will travel to Malacca today. This town is a former colonial outpost, its history is still evident in the pretty streets that remain today - it maintains a distinctive old world charm that makes it a delight to visit.
- A trishaw ride through the city is a great way to acquaint yourself with the winding streets and must-see sights.
- You will also take part in a wonderful cooking class, where you will learn the art of fusing the flavours of Malay and Chinese cuisine.
Day 4-5 - Kuala Lumpur
- From colonial charm to the bustling capital, today you will make your way to Malaysia’s most cosmopolitan city, Kuala Lumpur.
- With a wonderful mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, Kuala Lumpur is a truly unique city.
- Discover the key sites of Kuala Lumpur on a half-day city tour. Visit some of the city's most impressive architecture such as the National Monument, National Mosque, Istana Negara (National Palace), Batu Caves and Royal Selangor Pewter.
- You will have some free time to explore the city and soaking in the spectacular views from the top of Menara Kuala Lumpur is a wonderful way to while away the hours.
- An optional evening out (at additional cost) is a buffet dinner followed by a cultural performance of traditional dances from around the Malay Peninsula as well as Borneo.
Day 6 - Kuala Kangsar - Lakeside Homestay
- Again you will enjoy the great juxtaposition of this beautiful country by travelling from a busy city to the heart of Peninsular Malaysia.
- We travel towards Kuala Kangsar and make our way to a local-style hideaway located by the side of a lake.
- You will be accommodated by a local family here, and will have the opportunity to indulge in the local traditional delicacies and learn more about day-to-day life of the more rural Malay people on a guided walk around the village.
- Stay in basic traditional houses with twin-share beds and cold showers. Please note that out of respect for our hosts, alcohol is not available during our stay.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 7 - Kuala Kangsar - Penang
- Discover the rich Malay culture on a tour of the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, with its sultans' palaces and the Ubudiah Mosque with its impressive golden dome.
- Continue to Penang, another Malaysian city successfully fusing the best of a myriad of cultures.
- From the ornate Indian temples to the Islamic mosques and Chinese shop houses, Penang is a city of contrasts, and boasts a rich and varied history.
- You will have the opportunity to tour the grand and opulent Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Khoo Kongsi (both optional - small entrance fees payable) today, as well meander past wonderful antique shops and absorbing the old-time Chinatown charm of Chulia Street, evoking the ambiance of a bygone era.
Day 8-9 - Penang - Pulau Langkawi
- A morning tour of Penang takes in Fort Cornwallis, the site of the original British settlement. You also take a drive to Kek Lok Si, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia.
- You then fly from Penang to the island of Langkawi.
- Finish your trip with a few days of blissful relaxation in the beautiful beachside villages of Pulau Langkawi. From the pristine white sand beaches to the luscious rainforests and quiet, untouched Malay villages, this is a truly beautiful place to let your hair down.
- You will have the opportunity to swim amidst beautiful shoals of brightly coloured fish in the local marine park and enjoy an indulgent barbecue dinner.
- Taking a cable car to a lookout where you’ll enjoy expansive views across this tropical paradise is another highlight.
- Just pull up a towel and take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of this magical place from the beach.
Day 10-11 - Bangkok - overnight train
- Today you fly from Langkawi to Bangkok. Please note that this flight is not part of the tour package and needs to be booked separately.
- Please note we do not include a departure transfer in Langkawi from your hotel to the airport. Your hotel will be able to organise transport for you to the airport. The airport is only 15 minutes drive away.
- On arrival in Bangkok, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Please advise flight details so as we can book this transfer for you.
- Upon arrival you will be collected at the airport by one of our transfer representatives and taken to your hotel. The Thai sector of your adventure will begin with another group meeting at 6pm. You will find details of this meeting venue at the hotel reception.
- Keep in mind that you will need your next of kin and insurance details with you at this meeting. This trip is a combination trip so your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location.
- Bangkok is the colourful and frenetic capital of Thailand. Characterised by its iconic tuk tuks, fragrant street vendors and the traditional khlong boats that wind down the Chao Phraya River, it a wonderful city to explore.
- You will enjoy a city tour of Bangkok. You will visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), a must for first-time travellers to Bangkok.
- Visit Wat Pho, home of the famous Reclining Buddha. (When visiting temples and palaces in Thailand, please dress conservatively in order to respect the local culture)
- A long-tail boat trip along the canals is another lovely way to enjoy the natural scenery and buzz of daily life in Bangkok.
- In your free time you can visit the chaotic tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or prepare for the journey ahead with a relaxing Thai massage.
- You will depart Bangkok on an overnight train journey in the evening of Day 11, which will carry you north to Chang Mai. You will be accommodated in a shared, air-conditioned sleeping berth with a bunk bed arrangement. Sheets and pillows will be provided and there will be a food and beverage service on board. (Train travel: approximately 13 hours).
Nouvo City Hotel or similar
Day 12-13 - Chiang Mai
- Chang Mai is a vibrant city situated in northern Thailand. It is awash with famous temples and quaint cafes, and is known as one of the friendliest cities in the country.
- You will have the opportunity to take part in a local cooking class today where you will uncover the secrets of aromatic Thai cuisine. You will learn everything from the most important ingredients and what to use in their place if you can’t access them at home, to preparing dishes from a comprehensive book of recipes (that you will be able to take with you).
- Sitting down to feast on the fruits of your labour at lunch is the perfect way to finish the class.
- After lunch you will go on a scenic, winding drive up a mountain to the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep (approximately 45 mins). On arrival you will be met with an impressive 300-step naga-guarded stairway to reach the temples.
- The climb is well worth the effort, this is one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. The sweeping views of the city and the hypnotic chanting by the resident Buddhist monks combine to make this a memorable experience.
- You will awake to a free day for independent exploration on Day 13. Your leader can help you to arrange optional activities - you might like to hire a bike and ride to a nearby temple, or indulge in a Thai massage or spa treatment, or simply relax by the pool.
- As evening falls, you will enjoy a traditional Khantohk Dinner while being entertained by Akha, Yao, Lahu, H'mong, Lisu and Karen tribal dances.
Imperial Mae Ping or similar
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 14 - H'mong Hilltribe
- You will drive through the picturesque, undulating countryside today, to reach the H’Mong Hilltribe Lodge.
- The H’mong are an ethnic minority in Thailand. They originated in the south of China and today make up the second largest hilltribe group.
- In the evening you will enjoy a barbecue dinner along with a cultural show by the H’mong people.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 15 - Lampang - Sukhothai
- You will depart the hilltribe village this morning and head on to Lampang (approximately two hours).
- Lampang is considered to be one of the last remaining paradises in Thailand, and is referred to by locals as mueang rot ma – Horse Carriage City.
- In Lampang you will visit the Friends of Asian Elephant Hospital, the first elephant hospital in the world to be established, before driving on to Sukhothai, where you will spend the night (approximately 3.5 hours).
Day 16-17 - Sukhothai - Kanchanaburi
- Sukhothai was established in the 13th century and was the first ancient capital of Siam. It is famed for its World Heritage listed park that captures the Golden Age of Thai civilisation; its name literally translates to Dawn of Happiness.
- You will hire bicycles upon arrival at the park, before embarking upon a cycle tour that overviews the history of this fascinating wonderland.
- A home-cooked picnic lunch will be enjoyed at some stage throughout the tour.
- You then drive on to Kanchanaburi (approximately 6 hours), where the Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi rivers meet. This is also where the infamous Bridge Over the River Kwai is housed. On your first night here, you enjoy an included dinner at the Felix River Kwai Resort.
- On your day trip around Kanchanaburi you will visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial. It commemorates the allied prisoners of war and Asian conscripts that died while building the most dangerous and challenging sections of the Thai-Burma Death railway.
- To complete this experience, you will take a ride along the historic tracks of the railway. Boarding at Nam Tok, the main terminal, you will wind along the scenic riverside tracks before crossing the original, POW-built wooden viaduct over the River Kwai.
Day 18-19 - Bangkok
- A relaxing river cruise with dinner along the grand Chao Phraya River as evening falls makes for a memorable end to the trip.
- You will have the final day free so you can choose to depart at your leisure.
- Your trip ends after breakfast on Day 19.
Nouvo City Hotel or similar
Breakfast | Dinner