Luxury at Song Saa Private Island in Cambodia

First Time Asia: A Luxurious Journey Through Thailand and Cambodia

Countries: CambodiaThailand

14 Days | $20,045

From Muay Thai in Bangkok to Elephants in the Jungles of Northern Thailand and from the temples of Angkor Wat to ruins well beyond, this is the ultimate trip for first time visitors to Asia. Spend two weeks exploring Thailand and Cambodia through each country’s unique sights, flavors and traditions. Start your journey in Bangkok, where our knowledgeable guide will help you unravel the secrets of this ancient empire, then investigate the various tastes of this culinary capital with one of the city’s top chefs.

Become an Elephant researcher for a day at the Four Seasons Tented Camp, using the luxury retreat as your base to hop across the border and discover Burma. Next head to Cambodia and let us help you beat the crowds at Angkor Wat before being whisked away to the remote temple at Preah Vihear by helicopter.

No first-time tour of Southeast Asia would be complete without a stopover at one of the area’s most spectacular beach resorts — choose between one of Phuket’s paradise resorts or the secluded Song Saa Island in Southern Cambodia. This 14-day tour is the perfect introduction to the land of wonder.


Day 1  Bangkok: VIP Arrival

Arrive in Bangkok where you will be greeted at the jet way in the terminal building by a uniformed hostess with a welcome sign with your name on it. You will be escorted to the Fast Track Immigration counter where your entry into Thailand will be expedited. The hostess will handle all airport formalities with immigration and customs officials. Your hostess and porter (the porter will wait at the luggage belt) will assist in obtaining all baggage.

The hostess and porter will escort you through customs and to your waiting guide. Your guide and driver will then transfer you into the city to check into The Siam Hotel.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at The Siam Hotel – Pool Villa Riverview

Day 2  Bangkok: Highlights of the City and Muay Thai Experience

Bangkok Muay Thai

You will be met by your guide at your hotel at 8.00am before transferring to the pride of Thailand – the Grand Palace, also visiting Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the famous Emerald Buddha. Take a stroll down the street to a local Buddhist amulet market before taking a lively tuk-tuk ride to Wat Pho to see the famous Reclining Buddha.

Continue on to visit the nearby flower market, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. The local restaurant will be suggested by your guide. Only the most authentic local restaurants will be recommended. Chat with your guide about the food before ordering your favorite dishes.

After lunch, board a local long tail boat and set off along the klongs (canals), passing by the famous Wat Arun. Mid-afternoon you will then be returned directly to your hotel by boat.

Here you will then be treated to your very own private Muay Thai class, where you will spend the next 60 minutes learning from a highly trained Kru Muay (trainer) about the different Muay Thai techniques. After the class, you will be escorted to the hotel spa where you will be given a special Muay Thai herbal steam and 90-minute oil massage.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Overnight at The Siam Hotel – Pool Villa Riverview

Day 3  Bangkok: Bangkok’s Culinary Delights with Local Chef

Bangkok local chef

Today you will be joined by your guide as well as a local chef. Your guide and chef will help you discover Bangkok through the many local dishes the city is so famous for. Explore everything from street food to fine dining with these food experts. You’ll start by walking through Lumpinee Park where you can see the locals do their daily exercise, whether it’s running, cycling or often the mesmerizing art of Tai Chi.

Take a stroll through the park to where the local food stalls are set up for breakfast and try some delicious congee along with local tea or coffee. Continue on down to Silom Road and explore the Lalai Sub morning market where you can see how they prepare the famous Thai dish “Pad Thai” along with other interesting local dishes which you can sample along the way. Return to your hotel for a swim and a rest.

Your guide will then pick you up again later in the afternoon and take you to the Old Market in China Town. With an amazing mix of fresh food, Thai food and Chinese food, this is a hodgepodge of flavors and smells. As the sun sets, head to the Flower Market and Vegetable Market, where you can try the fruits and local snacks, followed by dinner at the world famous Vertigo restaurant. You may choose to have the food experts stay with you through dinner to discuss the dishes and dining in the city, or you may choose to have the evening on your own at this beautiful restaurant.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at The Siam Hotel – Pool Villa Riverview

Day 4  Bangkok: Departure & Four Seasons Tented Camp: Arrival

Four Seasons Tented Camp

You will be transferred to Bangkok Airport for your flight to Chiang Rai.On arrival at the Chiang Mai Airport you will be met by a Four Seasons Tented Camp representative and will have a private transfer to the world renowned tented camp.On arrival at the camp you will be met by your host and shown to your private luxury tent.

After you have settled in, you will be treated to a 60-minute spa treatment of your choice. Amidst the bamboo forests of the Golden Triangle are two open-air salas featuring double treatment rooms, spa beds and a bathtub/shower area. With their rustic design and use of natural materials, the salas blend in with the environment.

In the evening you will be picked up and taken to the wonderful Khantoke Dinner Show, a wonderful example of classical Thai dancing. Your meal will be served on the wooden tray, known as the ‘khantoke’’, with a fine range of authentic Northern Thai delicacies. During your meal you can enjoy a range of dance and music, performed by different hill tribes in the area, each with their own distinct dress and traditions.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Four Seasons Tented Camp

Day 5  Four Seasons Tented Camp: Elephant Research Program

Elephant research program

Become an elephant researcher and learn about elephant intelligence with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF), and help better protect these creatures in the wild. You will have the opportunity to be involved in running a research session, acting as a researcher yourself. You will be involved in the discussion that goes on during each study about the elephants’ progress and thought processes during the research, and will also take part in recording the different types of behaviour displayed by each of the participating elephants. The program is overseen by John Roberts, director of elephants at Four Seasons Tented Camp and founder of the GTAEF, and Joshua Plotnik, PhD, a Newton Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge, head of research at the GTAEF and founder of Think Elephants International (TEI). All funds will go to support the works of the GTAEF and TEI.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Four Seasons Tented Camp

Day 6  Four Seasons Tented Camp: The Burma Discovery Tour

Discover Burma and its fascinating culture on a half-day visit to the border town of Takilek. Depart the Tented Camp by boat and then transfer by private car to the town of Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand. Visit Wat Pradhat Doi Wao, also known as the Scorpion Temple, located on a hilltop with views of Thailand and Burma, before walking across the bridge that forms the border. Pass through Thai and Burmese immigration, and enter the town of Takilek, where you will begin your Burmese discovery.

Visit the Temple of the Jade Buddha, where you will learn about Burmese Buddhist traditions. From there you’ll be driven to a replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda and learn about the animal corresponding to your birthday, make temple offerings, and enjoy the stunning views over the town, the surrounding mountains, and back into Thailand. Head back down into Takilek to visit the bustling Chinese Market, full of produce from the countries bordering the Mekong River, including antiques and artifacts from Burma and products from Thailand and China.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Four Seasons Tented Camp

Day 7  Siem Reap: Arrival and Blessing Ceremony

Today you will be transferred by private air-conditioned vehicle to Chiang Rai airport in time for your onward flights to Siem Reap.

Welcome to Cambodia! On arrival you will be met in immigration for your fast-track visa service. Look for the person with our welcome sign for you, and hand over your photo and passport. Your visa will be issued and then you can continue through immigration to collect your luggage and clear customs. Your driver will be waiting with a sign for you at the arrivals meeting area just outside the airport entrance doors.

Your guide will take you to an active Wat where you should change to clothes you can get wet in as here you will experience the ceremony Srouch Tec”, which roughly translates into “pour water”. A monk will chant in ancient Pali as he splashes water over you, washing away your sins and bad luck so you can start fresh and by being a good person can increase your good luck.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 8 Siem Reap: Discovering Angkor

Angkor Wat

Wake up early and head out to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat. Return to your hotel for a delicious breakfast. After breakfast head back to Angkor Wat with your guide. Explore this majestic temple throughout the morning while it is still cool and has fewer tourists. Return to your hotel for lunch and a nap.

In the afternoon head to Angkor Thom, the famous walled city and see the many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon temple with its many magnificent faces smiling out. Discuss with your guide the best place to view the sunset for the perfect end to a magical day.

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 9  Siem Reap: Helicopter to Preah Vihear and Koh Ker

Leave early morning for your helicopter ride to Preah Vihear, a Khmer temple situated atop a 525-metre cliff in the Dangrek Mountains in Cambodia, close to the Thailand border, but most notably in Cambodian territory. As a key edifice of the empire’s spiritual life, it was supported and modified by successive kings and so bears elements of several architectural styles. Affording a view for many kilometers across a plain, it has the most spectacular setting of all the temples built during the six-century-long Khmer Empire.

Long been the subject of intense ownership disputes between the two neighboring countries, Cambodia was officially awarded control of Preah Vihear in 1962 by the International Court of Justice and it is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Depart here for Koh Ker temple area, located 100km northeast of Angkor Wat. It was briefly the capital of the Khmer empire between 928 and 944 under King Jayavarman IV and his son Hasavarman II. A vast number of temples were built under his reign, until his successor returned to the Angkor area about twenty years later.

The Koh Ker site is dominated by Prasat Thom, a 30 meter tall temple mountain raising high above the plain and the surrounding forest. Currently, access to the top is closed. Koh Ker is very attractive for anyone who would like to experience lonely temples partially overgrown by the forest and inhabited only by birds, calling to each other from the trees above. In the evening return to Siem Reap via helicopter. Upon landing you will be met by your driver and will be transferred back to your hotel. If you would like to head into town for dinner in the evening, this can be arranged through our concierge.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

Day 10  Siem Reap: Beyond Angkor Wat with JWOC Active Philanthropy, Free Class Sponsorship

Siem Reap Angkor Wat

This morning set off with your guide to Banteay Srei, the intricately carved temple located just 30km beyond Angkor Wat. You will also take some time to visit Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, two of the prettiest temples in the complex. Return to your hotel for lunch and a mid-afternoon break.

JWOC’s Free Classes program provides free English, IT, Science and other special subjects to over 800 students who would otherwise not be able to afford these extra-curricular learning opportunities. These classes give students an amazing opportunity and a chance to compete in the local job market. As a sponsor of a class, you will see firsthand the opportunities that you have provided to these students when you visit our community center. You will meet the teacher (who is also one of our scholarship students) and the class that you are supporting, before engaging with them as a teaching assistant (perhaps to provide a cultural exchange or reading out loud) during the lesson. This is a wonderful opportunity to witness first-hand the ambition and hunger for learning that these local students possess. After the lesson, you will have the opportunity to see the community where our students are reside and gain a better understanding of their daily lives as you visit a local village, before returning to JWOC to meet with an alumnus of the Free Classes program.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor – Cabana Suite

To end this tour we recommend some much deserved days of R&R. The beauty of Southeast Asia is that you have many incredible beaches to choose from. We’ve suggested two very special and very different beach locations as the perfect end to this trip. In designing your First Time Asia experience, your Journeys Within Tour Consultant will discuss your specific interests to decide the best beach destination for your trip.

The World Famous Paradise of Phuket Island

Day 11  Phuket – Arrival

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight to Phuket.

On arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred by private air-conditioned vehicle to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at The Shore at Kata Thani Resort – Sea View Pool Villa

Day 12  Phuket: Day at Leisure

Phuket

Enjoy this day at your leisure in Phuket. You may simply want to relax on the beach, or you may want to explore Phuket Island by private sail boat, or jet skis or maybe have a guided trek through the National Park. The Journeys Within Luxury Concierge is available to take your call and arrange any activities or restaurant or spa reservations as you wish.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at The Shore at Kata Thani Resort – Sea View Pool Villa

Day 13  Phuket: Day at Leisure

Enjoy this day in Phuket at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at The Shore at Kata Thani Resort – Sea View Pool Villa

Day 14 Phuket: Departure

You will be met by your guide and transferred from your hotel by private air-conditioned vehicle to the airport in time to catch your onward flight to Bangkok.

Meals included: Breakfast 

Tour Rate starting at: $19,900 per person based on 2 people traveling

Song Saa Private Island

The Secluded Paradise of Song Saa Private Island

Day 11  Siem Reap to Song Saa Private Island

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight to Sihanoukville. **Note, this flight is dependent on date of travel. If not running, an alternate route will be suggested.

You will be met at Sihanoukville airport by a representative from the Song Saa Resort. You will then be transferred by private air-conditioned car to the Sihanoukville pier (about 15 minutes) where you will climb aboard the Song Saa speed boat to the island (about 30-45 minutes). Upon arrival at Song Saa you will be greeted by the staff with a welcome drink and will be shown to your villa.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Song Saa Private Island – One Bedroom Overwater Villa

Day 12 – 13  Song Saa Private Island: Leisure days

Song Saa Leisure

Enjoy these days at your leisure at Song Saa Private Island. You can arrange many activities or day tours through the resort, including the opportunity to learn about the resort’s conservation program and visiting its projects, as well as more active or relaxing activities like morning yoga or a guided kayak trip.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at Song Saa Private Island – One Bedroom Overwater Villa

Day 14 Song Saa: Sihanoukville and Departure

Say goodbye to your secret paradise and board the speedboat back to Sihanoukville (about 30-45 minutes). Upon arrival you will be met by a private air-conditioned car to the airport in time to catch your onward flight to Siem Reap.

Meals included: Breakfast 

Tour Rate starting at: $20,045 per person based on 2 people traveling

Price includes:

  • Air tickets – as specified above *business class fare booked as available for routing.
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Luxury air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including non-alcoholic drinks
  • Journeys Within Luxury Tours Concierge service

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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