Southeast Asia comes alive on this trip from the dynamic streets of Singapore to the lush rainforests of Malaysia and Thailand’s stunning temples. Cross the boundary between the city and the wild in Singapore’s Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the Lake Gardens of Kuala Lumpur, and explore echoes of extraordinary history in Melaka and the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya. Savor local flavors at bustling markets overflowing with exotic fruits and during a Thai cooking class.

Trip highlights

Meet with Monks, Visit the 14th-century Wat Suan Dok Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai’s Suthep district. Sit down with young monks to discuss daily life and Buddhism, and leave feeling spiritually refreshed.

Wat Po Visit, This temple is known for its reclining Buddha, its feet covered with mother-of-pearl engravings of Buddhist symbols. Explore the large grounds and other compounds to see other Buddha figures, murals and the chedis that contain the ashes of Buddha. This is also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

Itinerary - 22 Days

Day 1 Singapore

Arrive at any time; your arrival transfer is included.

Day 2 Singapore

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. Savor flavorful 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.

Day 3 Singapore/Melaka

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.

Day 4 Melaka/Kuala Lumpur

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 colorful world of Kuala Lumpur’s night market, sampling delicious dishes and browsing stalls offering an endless variety of goods.

Day 5 Kuala Lumpur

Spend a full day exploring Kuala Lumpur. Marvel at the brightly colored 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.

Day 6 Kuala Lumpur/Taman Negara

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.

Day 7 Taman Negara

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 colorful bird species. After a picnic lunch, cruise up the Tahan River to Lata Berkoh, a series of waterfalls cascading into deep pools.

Day 8 Taman Negara/Cameron Highlands

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.

Day 9 Cameron Highlands/George Town

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.

Day 10 George Town

Enjoy a morning walk along the bustling streets of George Town, passing colorful 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.

Day 11 George Town/Ko Yao Yai

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.

Day 12 Ko Yao Yai

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.

Day 13 Ko Yao Yai

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 colorful tropical fish, or relax on the sand surrounded rhythmic waves.

Day 14 Ko Yao Yai/Bangkok

This morning, travel to Phuket, where we’ll catch a flight to Bangkok. Enjoy free time to explore the city. Opt to explore Thailand’s dynamic capital by boat, cruising aboard a khlong water taxi up the Saen Saep Canal; or choose to visit the spectacular Wat Pho temple to experience Bangkok’s Buddhist heritage. Enjoy a free evening to stroll bustling streets and get a taste of Thai cuisine in the vibrant night markets.

Day 15 Bangkok

Enjoy the day in bustling Bangkok. Option to visit temples, museums, a spa, or go shopping.

Day 16 Bangkok/Kanchanaburi

Travel to Kanchanaburi, home to the "Bridge on the River Kwai." Take a train journey over the bridge and marvel in a piece of World War II history. Visit the Thai/Burma War Museum and War Cemetery.

Day 17 Kanchanaburi/Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

Enjoy a morning visit to Erawan National Park and waterfall. This afternoon, travel to Ayutthaya and enjoy dinner on a converted 1930s rice barge.

Day 18 Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya/Chiang Mai

Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Ayutthaya Historical Park, which served as Thailand’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it ranked as one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Later, return to Bangkok and catch a flight to Chiang Mai. Travel to the nearby countryside and enjoy a khantok-style dinner — a must-do when you reach northern Thailand.

Day 19 Chiang Mai

Visit the local markets with a chef to collect ingredients to use in our Thai cooking class, the results of which we'll enjoy for lunch. Later, we'll visit a historic temple and sit down with one of the young monks to discuss daily life and Buddhism. Listen to monks chanting at Doi Suthep Temple, one of the most stunning golden Temples in Thailand.

Day 20 Chiang Mai

Enjoy the day to explore or participate in some optional activities.

Day 21 Chiang Mai/Bangkok

Fly back to Bangkok for a klong riverboat ride through the city's canals and a visit to Wat Po, the famed Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Day 22 Bangkok

Depart at any time.

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