March 20-April 4, 2020 – Hosted by Teri
RSVP for trip on the Meetup Website here
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Join Teri on this adventure of Southeast Asia! This trip has two parts: First an optional 5 night land tour of Thailand (think elephants, temples, Thai food, etc.) followed by a 7 night cruise sailing the coast of Southeast Asia from Phuket, Thailand to Singapore. Although the five night land tour is optional–seems silly to fly all this way and miss the best parts of Thailand (unless you are short on time) it is a must see! SIGN UP BY MAY 3, 2019 FOR $100 ON-BOARD-CREDIT!
Please call Teri at 608.335.8764 to reserve your spot!
If you are going on the 5 night pre-cruise tour:
MARCH 20 – Depart the US on your overnight flight.
MARCH 22 – CHIANG MAI
Arrive in Chiang Mai and transfer to hotel. We have rooms reserved for any arrival time. Rest or explore today; we will ask our Tour Director about the possibility of Thai massages. In the evening, head to the NIGHT BAZAAR, which is perhaps the city’s most popular must-see attraction. The colorful mix of regular shops and stalls create a unique market buzz. You’ll find everything for sale here, from ersatz designer brands to embroidered hill tribes textiles, lacquer ware, silver jewelry, carvings, silks, ceramics and antiques. (B)
MARCH 23 – CHIANG MAI
CHIANG MAI CITY & TEMPLE TOUR and evening THAI COOKING CLASS.
This amazing siteseeing tour will take you around Chiang Mai for an up-close and personal look at some of its most notable highlights; it will include stops at temples, old city walls, gates and moats, as well as at the local market. This tour includes a visit to Wat Chiang Man, the city’s oldest temple and famous for a Chedi supported by rows of elephantine buttresses. It also includes a stop at Wat Phrasing, which is home to the beautiful Lai Kham chapel with its exquisite woodcarving and northern style murals. We will then go to Wat Chedi Luang and its enormous Pagoda (which was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545) before heading to Wat Suan Dok, which dates back to the 14th century when the Thai monarchy was taking leisurely walks in its gardens. Nowadays, it houses several while Chedis, all containing the ashes of Chiang Mai’s former Royal Family, and features one of the most famous Monk Schools in Chiang Mai.
MARCH 24 – CHIANG MAI and ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
Visit to an ETHICAL & HUMANE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY and KHANTOKE DINNER in the evening. We will be picked up at our hotel and drive approximately 1.5 hours through rural landscapes, agricultural areas and forested hills to the Karen village. We’ll meet our guide and walk through the village for 10-15 minutes to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. We’ll change into traditional Karen clothing and enjoy an introductory lesson about elephant anatomy, history and behavior. We’ll meet the elephants and feed them, interact and play with them in their natural home so we can learn about their behaviors. We’ll break for a lunch of traditional Thai food and fresh fruit and then walk the elephants to the river where we’ll bathe and brush them. We’ll join them for a therapeutic mud spa and swim in the river with them. Then we’ll change our clothes, walk back through the Karen village and return to the hotel. After a BRIEF time at the hotel, we’ll leave again to experience a traditional Khantoke Dinner and Show. We’ll enjoy Thai fare served family-style on low tables while you sit cross-legged on floor mats with our fellow guests. While we savor typical Thai dishes, performers from across northern Thailand will entertain with songs, dances and music from the region. Watch as locals perform the Thai Finger Dance, a candle dance, and even a thrilling sword dance. Guests are usually invited to participate in the traditional Ramwong (a Thai folkdance synchronized to drum beats). The evening ends with a final show by members of hill tribes like Yao, Meo, Karen andd Lahu. (B/L/D)
MARCH 25 – CHIANG MAI – BANGKOK
Flight to Bangkok. Our transfer to the hotel includes a GRAND PALACE/EMERALD BUDDHA/WAT PHO (the Reclining Buddha) Temple Tour. We will visit Wat Phra Kaew and the nearby attractions first, before moving on to the Grand Palace. Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is located right next to the Grand Palace, and together, they are the greatest attraction for visitors in Bangkok. A visit to the Royal Grand Palace, the nation’s landmark and most praised royal monument in Thailand, is a must. The palace, which is the former royal residence of the Chakri Kings, is the perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Built in 1782 by the King Rama I, it was the center of power for more than 150 years. Today, the palace is Bangkok’s most famous landmark and most popular tourist attraction. The Grand Palace is an amazing place to visit, as it consists of over 100 brightly colored buildings, golden spires and glittering mosaics, all dating back to the foundation of Bangkok in 1782. Last, we will visit Wat Pho. It’s regarded as the first center of public education and is sometimes called “Thailand’s first University”. Mural paintings, inscriptions, and statues found in the temple educated people on various subjects such as literature, warfare, archaeology, geology, meditation and is considered to be the home of Thai traditional massages. (B)
MARCH 26 – BANGKOK
Visit the famous FLOATING MARKET and the RIVER KWAI. First, we will visit the rural yet world-famous floating market of Damnern Saduak, situated about 100 kilometers west of Bangkok. It is generally known as Klong Ton Khem Floating Market or Kamnernsaduak Floating Market. Damnernsaduak has officially three floating markets. A narrow canal flanked with food stalls and souvenir shops form the principal market at Ton Kem. Farther south are the rarely visited markets of Her Kui and Khun Pitak. Photographers at Ton Kem will get their best shots from the bridge which crosses over the canal and from the shed on the right. Nowadays, the market is bustling with activity from very early in the morning until 11:00 AM.
We will continue on to the world famous bridge on the River Kwai, built during World War II by the prisoners of war. The bridge is located near Kanchanaburi town, 130 kilometers west of Bangkok. You will visit the well kept War Cemetary of Allied Prisoners, which contains the graves of an estimated 9,000 Allied soldiers. These soldiers died while building the bridge and the notorious “Death Railway” which the Japanese had hoped to stretch all the way to the Burmese border. This tour will also bring you closer to the past by paying a visit to the JEATH Museum (JEATH is an acronym for Japan, England, America/Australia, Thailand and Holland), where the past has been recreated with pictures and artifacts from this time. (B/L)
MARCH 27 – BANGKOK – PHUKET
Flight to Phuket and transfer to hotel. Free time to enjoy the beach or explore.
If you are only going on the Tall-Ship Sail:
MARCH 25 – Depart the US on your overnight flight to Phuket, Thailand.
MARCH 27 – PHUKET, THAILAND
Arrive in Phuket and transfer to your hotel. Rest, explore or enjoy the beach for the remainder of the day.
For doing BOTH tour and sailing…
MARCH 28 – PHUKET
Have the morning and early afternoon to enjoy the resort, take a tour or relax at the beach. Phuket (pronounced poo-ket) measures approximately 21 km wide by 48 km long. It’s Thailand’s largest island and a province in its own right. The landscape is one of lush green hills, coconut groves, rubber plantations and a coastline dotted with a dozen spectacular beaches. Patong Beach is the most developed area and appeals to those who seek a variety of attractions and easy access to all parts of the island. Board the STAR CLIPPER late afternoon for a late-night departure.
The Andaman Sea, with Phuket at its hub, will always be he jewel in Thailand’s maritime crown. Some of the world’s most stunning scenery is to be found here, framed by beautiful crystal-clear waters. The vegetation is lushly tropical with forests reaching up to 80 meters high, and vast rubber and coconut plantations, instead of the rice and sugar cane fields of central Thailand. The region’s heartland is characterized by the sheer limestone crags which pierce the horizon, providing stunning views from the road and enhancing the dramatic intensity of the landscape. Even more spectacular is the Andaman Sea itself; the translucent turquoise water is so clear that in some places you can see to a depth of 30 meters. Home to the country’s largest coral reefs, it is without a doubt the best diving area in Thailand.
NOTE: Several of these ports are uninhabited, except by park officials and other tourists. Some are not on the radar for tourism yet!
MARCH 29 – KO MIANG, SIMILAN ISLANDS, THAILAND
Ko Miang is accessible only by water and is widely known for its underwater siteseeing. Diving enthusiasts rave about the Similan islands and their incredible underwater panorama. The water is so clear here that you can see to depths up to 30 meters. The islands are also known as the Ko Kao or Nine Islands, because the name “Similan” derives from the Malay word Sembilan, meaning “nine” and there are a total of nine islands, each with its own designated name and number. The islands are particularly well known for the 32 indigenous and migratory bird species found there, as well as reptiles, amphibians and mammals, such as the bush tailed porcupine and flying lemur.
MARCH 30 – PHANG NGA BAY – KO HONG
We make two stops today; the first at Phang Nga Bay, shielded from the ravages of the Andaman Sea by Phuket, offers visitors a strange and wonderful seascape. Sheer limestone cliffs, reaching up to 300 meters, covered with lush jungle vegetation rise vertically out of the bay.
Shore Excursion –Koh Panyi & James Bond Island by Speed Boat. (~5 hrs) Cruise through the picturesque Phang Nga Bay with its dramatic limestone islands, before reaching James Bond Island, one of the locations featured in the film “The Man with the Golden Gun”. After stopping on the island, the trip continues through the bay until you reach Koh Panyi village, one of the region’s typical Muslim villages. En route you will cruise through mangrove swamps and get the opportunity to explore some remarkable grottos. In the village you will be able to look around and learn about everyday life in the village. Enjoy Asian specialties at one of the little restaurants where you will be offered a buffet of local dishes. Afterwards, enjoy some free time to relax, swim or explore the village on your own. Refreshments will be served on the tour boat throughout the excursion. Restrooms are available on the boats.
MARCH 31 – KO ADANG, BUTANG GROUP
We spend the day in Ko Adang, in the Butang Group of Islands today. Ko Adang is composed of dense forests and freshwater streams. The island is a valuable nesting area for the green sea turtles which come ashore between the months of September and December to lay their eggs. The ship will anchor in front of a beautiful sandy beach.
APRIL 1 – PENANG, MALAYSIA
Today we arrive in MALAYSIA. We port in Penang, which is the most culturally diverse East Asian holiday destination, a melting pot of Chinese, Indian and Malay civilization with a little British, Dutch and Portuguese influence thanks to the lucrative spice trade. The island was a busy port for tea and opium trading between India and China, attracting over ten thousand traders and settlers of different origin. Today, Penang is a fascinating mixture of past and present: colonial buildings ancient temples and Clan Piers (Chinese fishing villages) rub shoulders with high rise buildings and shopping centers.
Shore Excursion – Pearls of Penang by Motor Coach (~8 hrs) Discover Penang, Pearl of the Orient, on a grand tour which will take you from the pier to the surrounding countryside and back to the city again. The tour starts wit a visit to Chew Jetty, the early Chinese migrant settlement in Penang, the intricate stone carvings of the Khoo Kongsi, an ancestral Chinese clan house, the colorful little India and Peranakan Mansion. Your guide will give you insight into the rich culture of the Peranakans or Straits born Chinese, whose ancestors intermarried with the local Malay population. The striking green mansion which houses the museum was the residence and office of Chung Kay Quee, a prominent citizen and businessman who was one of the richest men in Penang in the late nineteenth century. The collection includes many precious antiques and artifacts and is a veritable treasure trove of Peranakan culture.
The tour continues to the Snake Temple. This unique temple was built around 1850 to honor the memory of a Buddhist monk, Chor Soo Kong, who had a reputation as a great healer and looked after snakes in the jungle. As the story goes, after the temple building was finished, the snakes came of the own accord and have stayed there ever since. The snakes are pit vipers and it is said they are drugged by the heavy incense laden atmosphere and never bite anyone (OMG). Nevertheless, they have all their venom removed just in case! What, REALLY?
Back to town for a trishaw ride and lunch at the famous E&O Hotel. Finally, a visit to Wat Chayamankalaram to pay our respects to the world’s largest reclining Buddha and Kek Lok Si, south Asia’s largest Buddhist temple. See some street art in Georgetown before returning to the pier.
Shore Excursion: Bukit Merah Orang-utan Island and Charcoal Factory by motor coach and by foot, (~7 hrs). Your guide will be waiting on the pier to welcome you, and you will travel together to Bukit Merah, about one hour’s drive across the Penang Bridge. Here you will visit a colony of Orang-utans living on a small island which is part of the eco-friendly 7000- acre Bukit Merah Laketown Resort. There are about 25 to 30 Orang-utans on the island and at least 10 to 15 of them were born on site. You will come into close contact with wild free ranging adults and younger orang-utans, although you are not allowed to touch them. Orang-utan means “Man of the Forest” in the Malay language and we do indeed have a lot in common. For example, Orang-utan mothers and children have an incredibly close bond; a mother Orang-utan will carry her baby for five years and nurse it until the age of seven. When you consider that female orang-utan’s only start to breed at 17 and there is an 8-year gap between each birth you will understand the devastating effect of poaching on the community. Here orphan Orang-utans are nurtured and rehabilitated before being released into the wild. Upon arrival you will board a lake cruiser to reach the island. As you step on to the jetty look up into the trees, you may see an Orang-utan swinging from the treetops or just taking a quiet nap. Orang-utans are the world’s largest tree dwellers and build sturdy, comfortable nests which show a surprising degree of technical skill. You will get to walk through a steel fenced tunnel and observe the animals. Tables will be turned with a vengeance as you watch these gentle apes roaming free in the trees, on the grass, by the lake, wherever they want, while you peer out from your enclosure. It is a truly humbling experience and one which raises the question of Man’s treatment of his ape cousins Let us not forget that we share nearly 97% of the same DNA. Orang-utan island was created as a temporary holding facility for orang-utans rescued from illegal possession or trade before being released, as well as caring for those deemed unfit for an immediate return to the wild. This immersion into the Orang-utan world is a unique and thought-provoking experience. It is fitting that Walt Disney’s famous Jungle Book ape with his toe tapping song “I Wanna be like you” was an Orang-utan, and after this visit we can reply in all sincerity “you already are”. The next stop on the agenda is to a nearby charcoal factory to see how old tree trunks from the Mangrove forest are turned into charcoal. The charcoal is still produced using old kilns and production methods which have not changed since World War II. The wood is smoked and dried before being transformed into high quality charcoal which is mainly exported to Japan. That will be your last visit before returning to the ship.
Shore Excursion – Penang Hill Nature Walk, Temple and Colonial Museum by Motor Coach, (~7 hrs). Depart from pier for a 30 minutes’ drive to the hill train station and ascend the 720m high Penang hill by funicular train to the summit of the hill also known as Bukit Bendera. The summit offers a magnificent panoramic view of Georgetown, the mainland and Penang Bridge. A few minutes’ walk from the Top Station of Penang Hill Funicular Railway marks the starting point of the 1.6km long The Habitat nature trail. A trail that meanders below three of the hill’s oldest historic bungalows, and through the entire stretch of The Habitat themed park. Several themed gardens charmingly line the way and include the Colour Garden, Butterfly Bank, Fragrant Garden and Ginger and Palm Grove. Educational signs are positioned unobtrusively along the way in such a way to educate you on the flora, fauna and history of the pathway, but not in such away to spoil your experience. You will then enjoy the fantastic view from the 230m long canopy walk, across the hills to the state of Kedah, with multiple viewing platforms, and the
circular treetop walk which is also the highest viewing platform on Penang island. Designed to handle up to 120 people at a time, it offers mesmerizing 360-degree views of Penang, including George Town, and serves as the highest public viewing point on the island. Lunch will be taken at the summit before descending to visit the Kek lok Si temple, largest in South Asia and the Penang colonial museum.
APRIL 2 – DAY AT SEA
Enjoy the ships pools, have a massage or join in the on-board activities.
APRIL 3 – MALACCA, MALAYSIA
The state of Malacca is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, and its capital is Malacca City. The town is said to be one of the oldest trading ports in Malaysia, and it is certainly one of the most attractive, with a strong Dutch and Portuguese influence. The city was founded in 1402 by a prince from Sumatra called Parameswara. Legend has it that while on a hunting expedition he decided to stop for a rest under the shade of a Melaka tree. It was here that he saw one of his dogs attacking a mouse deer. The deer not only stood its ground but forced the dog into the water. Parameswara was so impressed by this courageous animal that he decided there and then to find a city on that very spot, a city he named Melaka. Malacca enjoyed its first Golden Age in the 15th century, despite being under Chinese rule. In 1511 Malacca’s wealth attracted the attention of Europeans, eager to expand their sphere of influence. It was annexed by the Portuguese, who built an impressive fortress and castle on the hill above the town. Between 1545 and 1552, Saint François Xavier pursued his evangelising mission in Malacca, and established quite a few convents and churches as well as a small Christian community. The Dutch wrested power from the Portuguese in January 1641 and remained in control of the town until 1825 when, under the terms of the Anglo Dutch treaty, the British gave Bencoolen in Sumatra to the Dutch in exchange for Malacca. Known as the Historical City, Malacca has been featured on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2008.
Shore Excursion: Historical Malacca by Motor Coach, Boat and on foot, (~5 hrs). Despite the successive influence of Portuguese, Dutch and English settlers, Malacca is often called the cradle of Malay civilisation. This historical tour starts off on St Paul’s hill where you will enjoy fine views of the town and the river as well as seeing the ruined chapel of St François Xavier, built in 1521. The saint was buried here for nine months before his remains were transferred to Goa. The Jesuits called the church “Nossa Senhor do Monte”, but in 1641 it was re-consecrated for Dutch Reform use and renamed St Paul’s church. There are quite a few Dutch gravestones still standing. Next you will visit the “Baba Nyonya” museum which showcases the local history of ethnic Chinese-Malays called Baba-Nyonya or Peranankan in Malacca. The excursion continues with a trip on the river Malacca to Kampong Morten a Malaysian heritage village named after J.F Morten who was the British Land Commissioner in the early 1920’s when many of the houses were built. Explore a different side of Malacca, and admire some charming riverside houses,
fine examples of traditional Malay architecture. You will then visit Cheng Hoo Teng temple “the Temple of perpetual clouds”, which is the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia. Your guide will tell you about Chinese religious practices and describe how the Malays honour the memory of their ancestors. Afterwards you will have some time to go shopping in Jonkers Street before returning to the ship at your leisure
April 4 -SINGAPORE: DISEMBARKATION – OPTIONAL POST NIGHT AVAILABLE
The first mention of Singapore comes from a Chinese manuscript dating from the third century where the island is called « Pu-Luo-Chung” which translates as “Island at the edge of the peninsula”. In the 14th century Singapore became part of the powerful Sri Vijaya empire and was known rather appropriately as Temasek, or sea town. Singapore is located at the centre of a maritime crossroads at the edge of the Malaysian Peninsula. It has always been a port of call and in its time has welcomed: Chinese Junk ships, Indian vessels, Arab Feluccas, Portuguese Man-ofWars and traditional Indonesian sailing ships. In the 14th century this strategically placed island got another name “Singa Pura”, the Lion City. It is said that a seafaring prince, visiting the islands off the coast of Sumatra, got caught up in a violent storm and ended up at the mouth of the Singapore River. Once on land he saw a strange animal which he took to be a lion. As the lion was considered to be a sign of good fortune, he decided to name the island after the creature: Singa means lion in Malay, while Pura stands for City. The British have also played a major role in Singapore’s history. In the 18th century, they realised the importance of the island as a port of call where they could repair, restock and protect their fleet. The British empire was expanding, and they needed to stop their Dutch rivals from extending their influence. In January 1819 Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles established a free trade port in Singapore. The
success of his enterprise attracted merchants from all over Asia as well as from the United States and the Middle East. In 1819 there were 150 inhabitants in Singapore, and a mere five years later the population swelled to 10.000. By 1832 Singapore had become the centre of government for three areas under British rule: Penang, Malacca and Singapore and in 1867 it became aCrown Colony. In 1959 with the rise of Nationalism a more independent form of government was put in place and on August 9th, 1965 Singapore attained independent status.
We arrive in Singapore in the morning and disembark. You may transfer to the hotel or the airport and below is a shore excursion that will drop you off at the airport.
Shore Excursion: Singapore City Tour by Motor Coach, (~4.5 hrs) – This is an ideal first timer’s tour of Singapore, featuring many of the highlights of this dynamic island nation. We kick off with a drive to the heart of Old Singapore, passing St Andrew’s cathedral, city hall and Padang, formerly known as the Padang Cricket Ground. You will get the opportunity to explore the historic Colonial district on foot and admire many imposing buildings, a legacy of the British Empire. You will also see Singapore’s emblematic mascot, the Merlion, a mythical beast half fish and half lion, which stands guard by the harbour, welcoming visitors. After leaving the port area, the coach tour will drive through the midst of this bustling city, passing Parliament House and the historic buildings of the Colonial district before a stop at Esplanade Walk, the site of the Esplanade Theatre, Singapore’s new landmark performing arts centre Highlights of the
City Tour include:
•Little India with its tempting boutiques selling an array of spices, colourful saris, glittering jewellery, fresh flowers and other exotic items
•Thian Hock temple, the Temple of Heavenly Happiness, the oldest Chinese temple in Singapore. It was built in 1840 and is dedicated to Mazu the Sea goddess and Protectress of sailors. Immigrant sailors would gather here to give thanks for a safe passage over the rough South China Sea. Notice the finely decorated beams and roof top dragons
•China town with its quaint shops, and little alley ways. Step back in time and explore little streets lined with century old houses and shops selling food items and trinkets. You may also like to visit Sri Mariamman, the oldest Hindu temple on the island.
Next stop on our City Tour is Mount Faber (107m/ 350ft high) which offers superb views of the city, harbour and outlying islands. Mount Faber is linked to Sentosa island and the Singapore cruise centre by cable car. The coach will then take you to the airport (arrival around 13h00/13h30) p
OPTIONAL PRE-CRUISE TOUR: $1199 double
Single Supplement: $450
Inter-tour flights: TBD, budget $350 approx
Airfare from/to USA: $1100 approx (into Chiang Mai, out of Singapore)
Non-refundable Deposit: $200
7-NIGHT CRUISE: Outside cabins starting at $2135 per person, dbl. occupancy. Includes pre-night hotel in Phuket and transfer to ship. Single cabins – call me for pricing.
Optional Post-night in Singapore: $225 per person, dbl.,
Flights from USA: $1200 approx (into Phuket, out of Singapore)
Non-refundable deposit – $400
TOTAL COST for ALL: THAILAND TOUR, CRUISE AND SINGAPORE: $3909*, excluding air to/from US, insurance and a few transfers. (*Based on lowest outside cabin price.)
Cancellation Insurance Due with Deposit: $289 and up (based on age & cost of trip), call for pricing.
FINAL PAYMENT DUE: December 13, 2019.
CALL TO GUARANTEE YOUR SPOT – Teri Engelhart 608.335.8764