Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Thimphu – Punakha – Phobjika Valley – Paro – Singapore
Welcome to the Land of Smiles, Kingdom of Happiness, and the city state of Crazy Rich Asians! Join us for an unforgettable experience.
- Small group size – 16 maximum.
- Experienced tour leader.
- Expert local guides.
- First-class accommodations.
- Quality local and international cuisines.
- Unlimited supply of bottled water during group activities.
- Free Wi-Fi in all hotels.
- Village and school visits.
- All gratuities included.
- Most meals included.
- All local airfares and transfers included.
- Bhutan visa fee and handling charge included (no visa needed for Thailand & Singapore).
Meal Code: B = breakfast / L = lunch / D = dinner / IM = In-flight Meal
Day 1/Sun: Departing Home City
The journey begins with the transpacific flight departing from a city of your choice. The international airfare to Bangkok and from Singapore is not included. You’ll lose a day upon crossing the International Date Line.
Day 2/Mon: Arrival in Bangkok
Welcome to Bangkok! Meet your guide on arrival and transfer to the hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.
Day 3/Tue: Bangkok (B/L/D)
Located in Chao Phraya River delta, Bangkok is the capital and the most populous city of Thailand, with a population of 8 million within the city proper or nearly 13% of the country’s total. The city is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon.
Bangkok traces its roots to a small trading post during the Ayutthaya Kingdom in the 15th century, which eventually grew in size and became the site of two capital cities: Thonburi in 1768 and Rattanakosin in 1782. Bangkok was at the heart of Siam’s (as Thailand used to be known) modernization during the later 19th century, as the country faced pressures from the West. The city was the centre stage of Thailand’s political struggles throughout the 20th century, as the country abolished absolute monarchy, adopted constitutional rule and underwent numerous coups and uprisings. The city grew rapidly during the 1960s through the 1980s.
We begin our sightseeing today at the Grand Palace. Established in 1782, the palace was dramatically expanded throughout successive reigns. The king and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The Grand Palace is still used for official events.
We then proceed to the National Museum, which is the largest museum in Southeast Asia and features exhibits of Thai art and history.
Afternoon sightseeing takes in Wat Arun, a Buddist temple on the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand’s landmarks.
Later on, we board a long-tail boat for an hour-long cruise on Chao Phraya River and the Klongs (canals) of Thonburi on the west side of the river.
Day 4/Wed: Bangkok – Chiang Mai (B/D)
The morning is set aside for you to explore on your own. We transfer to the airport for late afternoon flight (1hr) to Chiang Mai, the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand.
Nestled in high mountains and 750 kilometres north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the capital of Chiang Mai Province with a population of over a million in its metropolitan area. The city once served as capital of the Kingdom of Lanna (1296–1768) and is known for its artistic and cultural heritage. Chiang Mai sits astride the Ping River, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River that flows through Bangkok before emptying into the Gulf of Thailand.
Day 5/Thu: Chiang Mai (B/L)
After breakfast we drive 50km north of the city to visit Maesa Elephant camp. Considered Thailand’s national animal, these giant beasts are an integral component of Chiang Mai’s economy. During the hour-long show, the elephants perform a string of tricks at the command of their mahouts.
We then proceed to a hillside Hmong village set in a lush national park. Be prepared for lots of walking and stair climbing.
We stop by Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a Theravada Buddhism temple, on the way back to the city.
Day 6/Fri: Chiang Mai – Bangkok (B/L)
Our half-day walking tour of the old city includes the Three Kings Monument, Dragon Temple and Wat Lok Molee.
After spending some time exploring on our own, we fly back to Bangkok in late afternoon. Transfer to a 4-star Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport on arrival.
Day 7/Sat: Bangkok – Paro – Thimphu (IM/L/D)
We walk to the airport terminal through the underground passageway for flight departing for Paro at 6:30 AM. Hot breakfast will be served onboard.
Transfer to Thimphu (one-hour drive) on arrival. After lunch we visit the Memorial Chorten (temple) built in memory of the late 3rd king. Afterwards, we proceed to Changangkha Lhakhang, an ancient temple offering a panoramic view of Thimphu Valley. Later in the afternoon, we tour Tashichho Dzong, a fortress that houses the throne of the king and serves as the seat of the Bhutanese government.
Day 8/Sun: Thimphu (B/L/D)
In the morning we visit a local market where residents from the surrounding villages come to buy and sell. This is followed by a tour of the School of Arts and Crafts where students learn 13 different forms of traditional arts including sculpture and furniture making.
Afternoon schedule includes the National Museum, National Library, and Bhutan Post Office where you can order stamps of your own design!
Day 9/Mon: Thimphu – Punakha (B/L/D)
After breakfast we drive three hours to subtropical Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. On a clear day, the Dochula Pass en-route provides spectacular view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. Prior to arrival at the hotel, we hike through lush rice paddies to Chimi Lakhang (temple of fertility and phallus worship) located on a hilltop.
If time allows, we’ll also visit a school today.
Day 10/Tue: Punakha (B/L/D)
We begin the day with a visit to Punakha Dzong, a historical fortress exemplifying the best of traditional Bhutanese architecture. After the visit, we go for a hike to lookout points for bird’s-eye view of the magnificent dzong.
Day 11/Wed: Punakha – Phobjika Valley (B/L/D)
After breakfast we drive 2 hours further east to Phobjikha valley. The scenic drive is simply breathtaking. This valley is paradise for nature lovers and hosts a protected sanctuary for the endangered Black-necked Cranes which migrate here every winter.
After lunch at a farmer’s house, we spend the afternoon at leisure. Our afternoon hike from the bottom of the valley to the hilltop Gangtey Monastery takes two and half hours. A monk-led meditation session is arranged.
Day 12/Thu: Phobjikha Valley – Paro (B/L/D)
Free morning to explore on your own. We drive back to Paro (5 hours) after lunch.
Day 13/Fri: Paro (B/L/D)
Paro Taktsang, better known as Tiger’s Nest, is probably Bhutan’s most prominent Buddhist monastery. It is situated on a steep cliff side overlooking Paro Valley. The hike up to the monastery this morning takes 3 hours.
Afternoon sightseeing at Rinpung Dzong. The dzong is a practising monastery that also serves as the government offices of the district.
Day 14/Sat: Paro – Singapore (B/IM/D)
Our flight to Singapore (07:35/15:35) with a 40-minute layover in Guwahati, India takes up most of the day. Sightseeing may be arranged on arrival if time allows.
Day 15/Sun: Singapore (B/L)
We begin our sightseeing today at Merlion Park; the Merlion is a mythical creature with a lion’s head and the body of a fish that is widely used as a national symbol of Singapore. A quick stop at Chinatown on our way to Singapore Botanic Gardens is planned.
Singapore Botanic Gardens is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in this city state. The tropical rainforest here is one of the few pockets of original jungles left on the island. The National Orchid Garden within the Botanic Gardens is a key highlight. Orchids have been part of the collections here since the gardens’ beginnings in 1859. Early directors commissioned extensive orchid collecting expeditions.
After lunch, we move on to the National Museum of Singapore, the country’s oldest museum which traces its roots to the Raffles Library and Museum established in 1849.
Day 16/Mon: Singapore (B/L/D)
Morning sightseeing includes Kranji War Memorial and the Pinnacle@Duxton.
About 22 kilometres from the city centre and full of nurseries and mangroves is Kranji, the only food producing area in Singapore. While the drive is pleasant, the main purpose for us to come here is to pay homage at Kranji War Memorial to the Allies’ fallen soldiers during World War II.
The Pinnacle@Duxton is on the south side of Singapore Island, opposite the war memorial and half hour away by drive. Completed in 2009, the Pinnacle@Duxton is a public housing project comprised of seven 50-storey towers linked by open-air sky bridges. The project is a masterpiece of architectural design with the buildings staggered artfully on the irregular site to create welcoming public spaces and conceal the massive scale of the complex. The garden on the 50th storey (sky bridge) is open to the public daily, except during special events.
Afternoon schedule takes in Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay and OCBC Skyway.
Our first stop is Marina Bay Sands. This Integrated Resort fronting Marina Bay was developed by Las Vegas Sands and is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property. The complex includes a convention centre, a shopping mall, two concert venues, numerous restaurants and its own museum.
Afterwards we venture into the stunning Gardens by the Bay, a park spanning 101 hectares of reclaimed land adjacent to the Marina Reservoir. The park consists of three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. The largest of the three gardens is Bay South Garden, standing at 54 hectares.
Two enormous conservatories and a grove of “Super Trees” dominate the site. Super Tree is the name given to the towering, 16-storey structures that act as frames for climbing and epiphytic plants, as well being supports for solar panels. The Super Trees are lit at night in exhilarating displays.
The conservatory complex at Gardens by the Bay comprises two cooled conservatories – the Flower Dome and the Cloud Forest. The conservatories, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, are intended to be an energy efficient showcase of sustainable building technologies and to provide an all-weather edutainment space within the Gardens. Inside the giant bio-domes are exotic plants collected from South Africa, California, southern Spain, Italy, and south-western Australia.
There are two distinctly different sets of horticultural themed gardens which centre on the relationships between “Plants and People” and “Plants and Planet”. They are an important part of the Gardens’ edutainment program, which aims to bring plant knowledge to the public. The “Plants and People” theme features a Heritage Garden that highlights the various cultural groups in Singapore and the important role that plants play in their respective cultures, as well as the country’s colonial history.
Day 17/Tue: Return Home (B)
Bid farewell to your fellow travellers and transfer to the airport on your own. The taxi fare from the hotel should be no more than US$15.
|Bangkok – 1st stay||2||Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit||Luxury/ 5 stars|
|Chiang Mai||2||Bodhi Serene||1st class/4 stars|
|Bangkok – 2nd stay||1||Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport||1st class/4 stars|
|Thimphu||2||Terma Linca||1st class/4 stars|
|Punakha||2||Dhensa Boutique Resorts||1st class/4 stars|
|Phobjikha Valley||1||to be advised||1st class/4 stars|
|Paro||2||Le Meridien Paro||Luxury /5 stars|
|Singapore||3||InterContinental Singapore||Luxury /5 stars|
Dates and Prices
|Depart (Sun)||Return (Tue)||Land Only*||Single Supplement|
|Sep 29||Oct 15||CA$14,950
|Apr 19||May 05||CA$14,950
* Land Only price does not include international air. Contact us for a competitive fare quote.
Maximum group size: 16
|Tour price includes:
||Tour price does NOT include:
See Terms & Conditions for more information.
A passport with at least two (2) blank visa pages and six (6) months validity at the end of the tour is required.
Thailand & Singapore Tourist Visa
Visa is not required of nationals from Canada, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and a host of other Western countries if the stay is within 30 days.
Bhutan Tourist Visa
Laurus Travel will take care of your application. You are not required to do anything on this.
Health & Immunization
You are not required of any inoculation certificate to enter the above countries. However, we suggest you visit your family physician or a travel clinic to determine what precautions you should take. We recommend inoculation shots for hepatitis A and suggest that you check out advice provided by the US CDC and Health Canada.
Tap water is safe to drink in Singapore. It may not be the case in Thailand and Bhutan. Ask for bottled water when eating in restaurants in Thailand and Bhutan. Bottled water is readily available for purchase. The hotels also provide two bottles per room per day.
Always carry a roll of toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer containing more than 60% of alcohol, no matter where you go. Since you will be asked to remove shoes and socks to enter Buddhist temples in Myanmar and the ground can be very dirty, we recommend that you always carry some wet wipes or towels during your stay in that country.
Major credit cards are accepted throughout the above countries and can be used for major purchases. Purchases must be made in local currencies. You may be able to withdraw cash from local ATMs using your home bank issued bank card but we strongly advise you bring a few hundred US dollars. Make sure the banknotes are free of stain, marking or missing corner.