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|Itinerary at a Glance
Kuala Lumpur Pre-Tour Extension
|4||Kuala Lumpur & Malacca|
|5||Kuala Lumpur & Kuching
Join main tour from day 3 below
|Exotic Borneo & Bangkok|
|4||Kuching & Bako|
|6||Batang Ai Longhouse Excursion|
|9||Bangkok & River Kwai Optional Tour|
|Phuket Island Post-Tour Extension|
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Kuching, Bako, Batang Ai, Bangkok. Bako National Park, Semengok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, Wat Arun. Optional extensions to Kuala Lumpur or Phuket Island|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, escorted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, requiring a high level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip.|
|As Seen in|
If you've been dreaming of a vacation to Southeast Asia, then this is the tour for you! Your journey begins on the island of Borneo, where a mosaic of indigenous tribes, intriguing history, ancient rainforests, and diverse wildlife await. Your discovery of this fascinating region continues in Thailand, where you'll enjoy 5 days in the bustling capital city of Bangkok and a special opportunity to take an optional tour of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the historic River Kwai. Top off your visit by taking advantage of your already-included airfare and joining our optional extension to Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort.
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Day 2: En route. Cross the International Date Line and lose one day en route.
Day 3: Arrive Kuching. Via Kuala Lumpur, arrive today in Kuching, the gateway to the legendary island of Borneo. After customs formalities, you'll be escorted to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to relax and get acquainted with your new surroundings. Accommodations: Hilton Kuching.
Day 4: Kuching & Bako. Sightseeing begins today at Bako National Park, one of the best places in Sarawak to see wildlife in its natural surroundings. After arrival at Bako, a Malay fishing village built on stilts over the river, enjoy a 30-minute cruise on the South China Sea to this remote coastal park.
Millions of years of erosion have sculpted a coastline of steep cliffs, rocky headlands, fantastically shaped arches and seastacks, and stretches of beautiful white, sandy beaches. The park is a unique botanical treasure housing 25 distinct types of vegetation that form seven complete ecosystems. Your local guide will help you to explore on well-marked jungle trails.
Keep an eye out for some of the park's most famous residents: the rare, long-nosed Proboscis monkeys, macaque monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, sambar deer, Borneo bearded pigs, mousedeer, otter, and monitor lizards. After lunch, return to your hotel in Kuching, where you'll have the rest of the day at leisure. (The Bako National Park excursion is subject to weather conditions, alternative sightseeing to Kubah National Park may be provided.) Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 5: Kuching & Batang Ai. Today's touring begins with a short, scenic drive to the Semengok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Established in 1975, this 1800-acre virgin forest provides sanctuary to some of Malaysia's most protected wildlife, including hornbills, monkeys, and especially, orphaned or rescued orangutans. At the center, the orangutans are carefully nurtured and rehabilitated for eventual release into the jungle, their natural habitat. You will have the opportunity to learn about the rehabilitation process and to observe and photograph the orangutans from a distance. Note: Since the orangutans in Semengok are semi-wild, sightings cannot be guaranteed.
From Semengok, proceed to Batang Ai. After lunch in the small town of Lachau, sit back and enjoy the rest of the drive through the scenic countryside of rice fields, cocoa and rubber plantations, luxuriant tropical rainforest, wild orchids, and mountain ranges. Travel by boat across the Batang Ai Reservoir to your hotel. Accommodations: Hilton Batang Ai Longhouse Resort. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 6: Batang Ai Longhouse Excursion. A special treat awaits you today as take a longboat down the Engkari River to a real Iban longhouse, an entire village under one roof. Experience the legendary hospitality and charm of the locals as you learn about their fascinating culture. Join in their traditional dance and music as they welcome you with a cultural performance, followed by a blow pipe demonstration.
Enjoy a picnic lunch by the riverbank or in the longhouse, depending on water conditions. Time permitting, enjoy a short walk trek through the jungle around the longhouse before returning to Batang Ai. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 7: Borneo/Thailand. After breakfast, depart for Kuching, stopping for lunch at a charming roadside town. Later today, transfer to the Kuching Airport for your flight to Thailand. Following customs formalities, meet our representatives and transfer to your centrally located hotel in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand's bustling capital city. Accommodations: Rembrandt Hotel. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 8: Bangkok. After breakfast this morning, an exciting canal boat ride gives you a close up of traditional Thai life as you explore some of Bangkok's waterways. The network of canals (klongs) branching out from the main Chao Phraya river still follows an old lifestyle that leaves the modern face of Bangkok behind. Visit the Royal Barge Museum to view the beautiful barges used by the King on state occasions.
Continue to Wat Arun, the magnificent temple of Dawn with its 79-meter pagoda or 'prang,' built in Khmer style. After an included lunch, continue to Wat Po, founded in the 17th century and the oldest temple in Bangkok. This temple is also home to the amazing Reclining Buddha, one of the largest in the world, whose face depicts the attainment of Nirvana and whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
Conclude your temple tour at Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the "Marble Temple' because of its abundance of white Italian marble. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Explore the Damnoen Saduak market and the bridge over the River Kwai. Begin in the Ratchaburi province with boat ride along the canal to see the colorful Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, bustling with boats and vendors selling tropical fruits and other delights.
Continue to Kanchanaburi where you'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant overlooking the historic bridge over the River Kwai, part of the infamous Death Railway built by the Japanese using Allied prisoners of war during World War II.
Visit the JEATH Museum, whose name is an acronym for the five main countries from which workers on the construction of the railway came from: Japan, England, Australia, Thailand and Holland. At the museum, you'll learn more about life in the camps, the building of the bridge, and the more than 8,000 POWs who died during construction. Return to Bangkok this evening. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 10: Bangkok. Your last full day in Thailand is at leisure for independent sightseeing, shopping, or optional tours. Your tour director will gladly offer suggestions for independent exploration. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Visit the Grand Palace, which for about 150 years functioned as the home of the King and his court as well as the entire administrative seat of government. Within its grounds, you'll also visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) built to house a large Buddha image carved from a solid piece of green jadite (jasper). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: Tonight, enjoy a visual extravaganza at the Ratchada Grand Theatre, one of the biggest stages in the world. Travel back in time through the Kingdom of Siam and experience Thai history and culture during this spectacular show. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 11: Bangkok/USA. Bid farewell to Thailand today as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Taipei. Or, take advantage of your already-included international airfare and join our optional extension to Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort island! Breakfast provided.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and visit the bustling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia? You will depart the U.S. 2 days earlier than the departure dates listed.
Day 2: En route. Cross the International Date Line and lose one day en route.
Day 3: Kuala Lumpur. Arrive in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital. After customs formalities, you'll be escorted to your 5-star hotel to check in and rest from your flight. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore the city on your own, or enjoy the wonderful facilities of your hotel. Accommodations: Prince Hotel & Residence.
Day 4: Kuala Lumpur & Malacca. Enjoy a day at leisure to explore one of the most modern of Asian cities. Your centrally located hotel is within walking distance of major attractions, shopping & restaurants. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: On our half-day city tour, you'll start where the city began, at the confluence of the Gombak & Klang rivers. Visits include the King's Palace, the National Museum, the National Monument, and Independence Square (Dataran Merdeka), where Malaysia declared its independence from British rule in 1957. Independence Square is lined with impressive buildings, including the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, once home to the Malaysian Supreme Court, and Kuala Lumpur railway station, a fascinating mix of Moorish, Indian, Mughal and Western architectural styles. Observe the contrast between Kuala Lumpur's historic structures juxtaposted against modern skyscrapers in a setting of abundant greenery. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: Take a full day tour, including lunch, to the nearby city of Malacca. Founded in 1403, the Sultanate of Malacca was once the greatest and most powerful empire and seaport in South East Asia. Siamese, Chinese and European powers all vied for Malacca's lucrative port. Ultimately, it was the Portuguese, Dutch and British who each ruled Malacca for a time, controlling its coveted silk and spice trade. This rich heritage is evident in the unique mix of architectural styles. Malacca is also one of the birthplaces of the "Babas"—a mix of Chinese and Malay cultures uniquely its own. Visit the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, and the ruins of St Paul's Church where the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier was once buried. See the surviving gate of the A Famosa Portuguese fort, built in 1511 to defend Malacca. Linger at the picturesque Stadthuys Square, with its fountain, old Dutch city hall (Stadhuys), and charming pink Christ Church. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 5: Kuala Lumpur & Kuching. After breakfast, transfer to the airport to meet your fellow travelers arriving from the USA and continue together on your flight to Kuching, where you'll begin your tour of Borneo. Breakfast provided.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort?
Day 11: Bangkok & Phuket. Today you'll fly to Phuket, where the balance of the day is at leisure. Accommodations: Cape Panwa Hotel & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 12 & 13: Phuket. Two full days at leisure to relax, shop or tour this scenic island, Thailand's largest. Phuket and the 39 smaller islands to the southeast are studded with tropical forests, mountains, gravity-defying limestone formations, and pristine beaches, surrounded by coral reefs and the aquamarine water of the balmy Andaman Sea.
With warm, humid weather year-round, you'll enjoy plenty of sun-drenched days lounging on the beach and all manner of water sports, including jet-skiing, parasailing, surfing, scuba and snorkeling. Most of the dive locations are suitable for all skill levels, and the waters abound with colorful coral forests, tropical fish and other marine life, including leopard sharks, moray eels, octopus and turtles.
Phuket is also the sailing and yachting center of Thailand and adjacent countries, with several races and regattas happening throughout the year. And in the unlikely event that you can pull yourself away from the beach, you'll find opportunities to ride horses or elephants, hike, mountain bike, and even golf. Afterwards, unwind at one of the many spas or one of the excellent acrobatic, theatrical or cultural shows.
Join an optional tour to the breathtaking Phi Phi islands, filming location of The Beach. Take a trip by boat and bus to Phang Nha Bay and to the famous limestone spire known as "James Bond Island" for its role in The Man with the Golden Gun.
Phuket is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies, whom you'll find warm and welcoming. The west coast of Phuket was hit severely by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, but the resilient people have quickly rebuilt, and almost no evidence of the damage now remains. Breakfast provided.
Day 14: Phuket, Bangkok, USA. Enjoy a final day at leisure. Later today, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei, arriving in Los Angeles later today. Breakfast provided.
This...was a terrific and inexpensive way to see the beauty and history of Southeast Asia. There was a very good balance of group and leisure time, and the accommodations were excellent.
Jennifer Rumain, Philadelphia, PA