Ancient temple grounds and fascinating stone sculptors take you on an epic journey through time in Thailand and Bali. Thick tree roots frame the stoic face of a Buddha statue at Ayutthaya. Natural spring water cascades out of spouts resembling dragons in a Balinese shrine. Rice paddies terrace the hillsides of Ubud, and a shimmering gold Buddha reclines inside a famous sanctuary. Your customizable tour introduces you to captivating history told through dance and preserved architecture, having...
Bangkok – At the Center of Bustling Bangkok
Bangkok is a city of captivating history and remarkable culture, embodying an elegant past and fast-paced present. Street vendors mix spicy, sour, and sweet flavors. Lavish hotels rise along the banks of the Chao Phraya River offering unfettered views of passing long-tail boats gliding down the waterway. Your flight lands at Suvarnabhumi Airport, where your private transfer meets you upon arrival. The fragrance of fresh flowers emanates from the Flower Market at Pak Klong Talad. Exotic purple and red hues offer sweet and herbaceous scents for a sensory symphony.
A staggering three-headed elephant statue stands on a pedestal adorning the entrance of the Sumat Prakan Erawan Museum. The statue reaches a height of 95 feet above the bustling streets below. The heads glow pure green from the copper embellishments. You settle into the comforts of your lavish hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at your preferred pace. You can make your way along the river and into the canals on a long-tail boat. The fresh water propels the vessel into the antique suburbs that showcase the history of the city through its architecture and lifestyle.
Traditional houses made from teak wood rise along the riverbanks. The slower pace creates a tranquil atmosphere that contrasts the endless bustle of the city center. Houses on stilts stand beside mansions crafted with traditional Thai elements. The tower of Wat Arun soars above the surrounding streets. The spire rises to a height of nearly 230 feet tall and was originally erected in the 18th century. The drifting sunlight washes over the gems and stones blended into the architecture, causing the temple to shimmer in the light like a beacon.
Bangkok – Interspersed with History
In the morning, the aroma of freshly baked cakes and steeping tea emanates from a popular tea room located in the heart of Chinatown. The service blends contemporary comfort with the traditions of a customary tearoom, allowing the herbaceous scent of the tea leaves to fill the gallery. The famous MBK Center in Siam Square fills with locals on the weekend as residents comb through the range of stalls and shops to enjoy the shopping across the eight-story structure. After breakfast, your guide meets you in the hotel lobby and leads you on an encompassing journey through Bangkok’s elaborate history. Once at the Grand Palace, you discover the splendor of the complex originally constructed in the 18th century.
The Boromphiman Hall was erected between 1910 and 1925 with a focus on French architectural style and elements. The throne in Amarindra Hall contains a golden throne shaped like a boat. The natural light pouring through the tall windows caused the commanding seat to shimmer against the open gallery. You leave the palace complex for Wat Pho, a temple home to the celebrated Reclining Buddha. The structure was erected in the 16th century, making it the oldest standing temple in Bangkok. The grounds contain a hint of incense drifting out of the shrines. You enter the main gallery to find the more than 150-foot long statue glistening with gold and watching over the entrance door.
Bangkok – History in the Marketing
Celebrated works of Thai and Southeast Asian artists decorate the galleries of the comprehensive collection at Museum of Contemporary Art Bangkok. The five-story structure contains 800 pieces of work that helps showcase the development of Thai fine art after the arrival of European techniques. In the early hours of the morning, your guide meets you at the hotel and leads once more down the Chao Phraya River, heading to the famous floating market. The sun stretches over the traditional homes lining the suburban riverbanks. Boats begin to swarm the waters around you, each filled with different goods ready for the market to begin.
Vendors contain bunches of bananas and mounds of pineapples. The scent of Chinese spinach gives way to zesty oranges. A woman wearing a traditional conical hat to protect herself from the sun blends nuts, chilies, and egg into a wok, making a traditional breakfast soup for marketers standing on the riverbank. Monks in sage robes perform their morning round of alms. Locals offer rice, noodles, and cookies in exchange for a blessing. You return to the heart of Bangkok before reaching the home of Jim Thompson, an American expatriate who helped build Thailand’s worldwide textile industry.
Bangkok – Finding the Former Capital
The former capital of Thailand captivates visitors with an extensive history captured in the preserved ruins and marvelous scenery allowing you to step back in time to a golden era of Siam. Your guide meets you at the hotel and escorts you north to the heart of Ayutthaya. The city was founded in the mid-14th century. Gilded spires once rose above the streets, visible from miles away, and offering a glimpse of a glorious cosmopolitan kingdom. The spires continue to rise above the walkways and now entice travelers and locals eager to learn more about the regional history. Wat Phra Si Sanphet was erected in the late 15th century under the reign of King Ramathibodi.
Three large chedis, shrines topped with elegant spires, held the ashes of the king, his father, and his brother. The largest temple once contained a more than 50-foot tall standing statue of Buddha, which was covered with more than 300 pounds of gold. The entire city contains a tangible ambiance of historical importance. Your guide leads you to the most famous image of the city at Wat Mahathat. King Ramesuen erected the temple in the 14th century and adorned the structure with impressive embellishments. Your guide points out the Buddha head framed by the thick roots of a tree growing along the historic walls of the temple.
Bangkok – A More Contemporary History
In the morning, monks ring bells at temples hidden around the city. The small hidden street of Soi Rambuttri runs adjacent to Khao San Road. The lane has a quieter, more serene ambiance winding beneath the shade of banyan trees. The aroma of banana pancakes spills out of the quiet restaurants and drifts away from the food stalls. In the morning, your guide leads you from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi for a full day tour along the banks of the River Kwai. Traditional huts and contemporary structures line the riverbanks. The turquoise water reflects the encompassing jade forest and emerald grass. Waterfalls trundle off limestone cliffs, and the railway contains stories of World War II history.
The Japanese Imperial army attempted to build a railway running from Kanchanaburi to the Burmese border. The episode in history was immortalized in the movie “The Bridge Over River Kwai,” representing the struggle for allied prisoners of war during their time building the railway. The pristine and tranquil landscape hides the nature of the railway’s past. Trains continue to cross the water along the bridge. You hear the trains chugging past, with their colorful edges shimmering against the water’s surface. While visiting the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, you have a more in-depth view of the past, along with a chance to walk along a portion of the railway constructed by the hands of detained allied forces. In the center of town, edging the waters, you can see restaurants floating along the river, offering a unique atmosphere to enjoy the local flavor.
Nusa Dua – To the Relaxing Shores of Bali
The Ancient City of Samut Prakan was erected to imitate the shape of Thailand and feature replicas of the country’s significant landmarks and monuments over 116 structures. Images of Buddha adorn the walkways and pavilions rise above the edges of a representation of the floating market. Rural arts and ancient tools encapsulate a rich history connected to the ever-evolving culture. After breakfast, your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to the airport for your flight to Bali, Indonesia. As the plane descends to the airport, you look out the window to find a mixture of jade-colored rainforest and indigo waters of the Indian Ocean. The island has a remarkable past with deep connections to Hinduism, contrasting the Muslim customs of the surrounding islands.
You make your way from Ngurah Rai International Airport to a stunning resort-style hotel overlooking the white sand beaches of Nusa Dua. The relaxed ambiance is immediately apparent, emanating from the lapping waters and serene coconut palms. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to indulge in the laid-back atmosphere of the beaches or explore the streets of the town. The scent of frangipanis lingers in the air, blending with the prevalent aroma of the sea. Fishermen cast nets from their boats in search of a perfect catch. You dig your toes into the warm, powdery sand along Geger Beach and settle into the comforts of island life.
Nusa Dua – In the Company of Others
In the morning, the scent of hyacinth overtakes the refreshing aroma of coffee emanating from the beachside cafes. Surfers take to the waves at Geger Beach, and the sea erupts over the rugged coastline at the Water Blow. After breakfast, your guide escorts you into the countryside to meet with students and teachers at a local school. You enter into a traditional family Kampong, a Malaysian enclosure, to learn about the daily lives of local villagers. The traditional house blends Hindu and Buddhist beliefs with traditional Balinese architectural elements. Whitewashed outer walls surround the residential pavilions and a central courtyard. Each edifice is situated according to the Balinese concept of sacredness.
The children are eager to share their experiences and meet with people different than themselves. While leaving, the schoolchildren wave excitedly and jump into photos. You continue your exploration of the countryside at the famous rice terraces of Tegalalang. The iconic feature of the Balinese countryside has tiers of rice paddies texturing the hills beneath soaring palm trees. Farmers walk barefoot through the fields and cultivate the paddies throughout the season. The microclimate along the valley is hotter than the upper tiers, where a cool breeze helps refresh the air. Coconut fronds fall from the canopy and villagers wave as you pass. The gorgeous landscape fringes the mystical in its enrapturing ambiance.
Ubud – Rejuvenating Waters and Captivating Movement
The sound of small waves lapping at the soft sand fills the air at sunrise. Bougainvillea drape over village walls stretching beneath the rainforest and along the hills. After breakfast, you venture to Tampaksiring, a village close to the edges of Ubud and home to Tirta Empul. The impressive ancient structure was erected in the Pakerisan Valley in the 10th century. For more than a millennium, people from Bali have made pilgrimages to the temple to cleanse themselves in the crystal-clear holy waters. The natural spring filters through dragon spouts standing upwards of 10 feet above the waiting pool. A split gate separates the two inner shrines where the bathing pools trickle.
After participating in a ritual bathing, you make your way to Ubud to enjoy the fascinating culture on display in the city, from the Art Market featuring elegant sculptures and handcrafted jewelry to the Agung Rai Museum of Art, which focuses on a collection of preserved traditional works exhibited over the 12 acres. As the sun sets behind the hills outside of Ubud, you watch the cultural performance of the Legong Dance. The refined movements tell the classical tale of a heroic romance. The smallest detail of how the dancer’s fingers move to the complicated footwork adds layers of motion and emotion to the story.
Ubud – Beaches from Above
The sunlight washes over the white sand of the hidden Pandawa Beach. Limestone cliffs frame the water. Graceful statues depicting characters from the Mahabharata epic fill six niches overlooking the shoreline. The stone-white figures stand out from the striations glowing along the limestone. Seaweed farmers take to the crystal-clear waters of Geger Beach to cultivate their crop and surfers carve the waves breaking beyond the reef. At breakfast, you bask in the soft aromas of hyacinth and jasmine. You could always extend your time in Bali and visit the neighboring islands or continue a discovery tour of Vietnam. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel when you are ready and escorts you to Ngurah Rai International Airport for your flight home.
- Witness the detail and magnificent size of the 16th-century Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
- Wander through the remarkable history of Thailand’s former capital of Ayutthaya to view preserved temples and iconic images of Thai culture
- Relish a unique view of Balinese culture during a performance of a Legong Dance
- Discover the stunning landscape of the Tegalalang Rice Terraces on the outskirts of Ubud
- Traverse the historic waters of the Chao Phraya River for an unencumbered view of the Thai Royal Palace, antique neighborhoods, and Wat Arun
- Visit the bridge over the Kwai Yai River and the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre for insight into the Japanese occupation during World War II
- Meet local Balinese school children inside a traditional complex that embodies architectural elements of both Hindu and Buddhist spirit
- Dip into a sacred pool on the hills outside Ubud in the 10th-century Tirta Empul Temple
- Traverse the traditional Thai architecture and history of Jim Thompson’s home, an American expatriate who helped globalize the Thai textile industry
History reveals itself during your 9-day tour of Bangkok and Bali. Experience the past in a tangible way, while able to walk along ancient temples and touch elegant sculptures. Discover charm and beauty, enchantment and mystery while uncovering heritage and tradition. Your tour begins with your flight landing at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand. Your private transfer meets you upon arrival and escorts you to a luxurious hotel overlooking the banks of the Chao Phraya River, which once acted as a royal highway for the king. The remainder of the day is yours to discover the bustling streets and active lifestyle of the city, from cruising on the river to strolling along the charming street of Soi Rambuttri.
The next morning, your guide takes you on an encompassing tour of Bangkok, visiting the Temple of the Dawn and Grand Palace complex. Witness the Emerald Buddha and the unforgettable Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. In the evening, you partake in a traditional Thai dance performance, learning the importance of the movements and décor. Begin a new day at the floating market outside of the city center for insight into the preserved culture and lifestyle along the waterway. In the afternoon, you continue to Jim Thompson’s house to see the classic architecture and beginnings of the global silk industry. Then, you venture outside of Bangkok for a full day of exploring the former capital of Siam at Ayutthaya. Discover the extensively preserved temples that tell of an enlightening past.
Afterward, you traverse the riverside town of Kanchanaburi for a more contemporary view of Thailand’s past. See the Bridge over the Kwai Yai River and view the galleries at the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre before returning to Bangkok. Your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your flight to Bali, Indonesia. Upon landing, you make your way by private transfer to the luxurious resort-style accommodation at Nusa Dua, located overlooking the waters of the Indian Ocean. The remainder of the day is yours to relax on the white sand or visit the erupting waters of the Water Blow.
Your guide leads you to a traditional village to meet with students and teachers for direct insight into the life and culture of Bali. Continue to the rice terraces outside of Ubud to view the marvelous landscape and meet with farmers cultivating crops, from rice to coconuts. You venture into the central highlands to linger in the pure mountain spring of Tirta Empul Temple. Continue to Ubud for a day of culture at the contemporary art museum and the art market. In the evening, you watch a traditional performance telling captivating folklore through enchanting movement. On the final day, your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby and escorts you to Ngurah Rai International Airport for your flight home.
$1,885 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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