(Bagan, Inle Lake)
Hovering in a private helicopter over the lost temples of Angkor Wat is just the start of this A-list adventure by private jet through Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. Packed with rich cultural encounters, VIP guides and privileged access to historic sites, this opulent odyssey featuring a Private Cessna Citation CJ3 simply spares no expense.
Connect with a collection of celebrated experts, personalities, and figures in art, history, and conservation. Gallery-hop and meet some of the shining stars of Bangkok’s art scene led by a connoisseur. Delve into the legendary fairy-tale stupas of Bagan with Mr Khin Maung Aye, an archaeologist responsible for the preservation of their murals under UNESCO. Give into the call of the wild and spend a day on safari in the jungles of Kalaw with Burmese Elephant conservation specialist Mr U Ba Kyaw Than.
Unique once-in-a-lifetime travel memories are fused together with 5-star luxury as you tour Bangkok, Kalaw, Ku Kut, Bagan, Inle Lake, and Siem Reap. From unveiling the controversies of the South East Asian ruby trade in Ko Kuts famous gem markets, sipping champagne on an intimate sunset Ayeyarwaddy river cruise and a private candlelit cellar dinner hosted by the vintners of Myanmar’s only winery, there are too many highlights to list. Enjoy an exclusive Robinson Crusoe picnic lunch on a deserted isle and another upon a private boat while taking in the famous leg rowing fishermen of Inle Lake. Culinary lessons, exclusive behind the scenes access to Angkor Wat and Bagans temples – it goes on and on.
Rest in some of the finest five-star hotels, resorts, and spas, the likes of which have hosted Joseph Conrad, Tennessee Williams, presidents, movie stars, and kings. Enjoy white glove services, private pools, butlers, villa, VIP airport treatment, chauffeur driven cars, police escorts, speedboats, impossible to access restaurant reservations, gourmet chefs, and red carpet arrivals.
Avoid the potentially long queues at the immigration counter with an exclusive immigration fast track service. You will be met by a hostess and porter after exiting your aircraft and will be escorted to the fast track immigration counter where your entry into Thailand will be quickly expedited. The airport staff will handle all airport formalities with immigration and customs officials. Your hostess and porter will also assist in obtaining your baggage from the carousel and escort you through customs. In the event of lost luggage, your hostess will assist in filling out any necessary forms.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle and English speaking guide. Transfer from the airport to your central Bangkok hotel. To avoid delay; a morning arrival is suggested.
Consider some pampering during your time in Bangkok. As you would expect from the Mandarin Oriental, the spa is very special and boasts a serene design and a range of unique treatments blending contemporary and ancient techniques. Offering pioneering therapies and a holistic philosophy, the spa is frequently voted among the best in the world. The experience begins with a short boat ride to the spa, which is situated across the river from the hotel, followed by a welcoming soothing tea, a foot cleansing ritual, and a private consultation that allows the therapist to tailor the treatment to individual needs. Facilities include 10 treatment rooms with private shower and steam facilities, 3 treatment rooms dedicated to facial therapy, 5 specialty suites - including 4 for couples - with private steam, vitality pools, and heated scrub tables, Moroccan Rhassou, yoga and meditation rooms, private manicure and pedicure area, poolside spa cabana for aqua treatments, and a spa boutique.
You will be spoiled by the choice of dining options within the Mandarin Oriental as there are nine different restaurants to choose from. There is French dining at Le Normandie, Seafood at Lord Jim's, Traditional Thai at Sala Rim Naam, Chinese at The China House, international BBQ style at the Riverside Terrace, international casual cuisine at the Verandah, classic Italian at Ciao, international fare at L'Espace, and afternoon tea at Author's Lounge.
Morning alms offering or ‘Tak Bat’ in Thai is a pure living Buddhist tradition. The food offering is a meritorious act which reminds Buddhists to give and to let go. The monks usually leave the temple early before the sun has risen. They walk bare feet with their alms bowls. This morning, experience this unique tradition. You will be privately transferred to the nearby temple. To indicate that you would like to offer food, remove your shoes, lower your upper body and put your palms together in front of your chest in “Wai” gesture. Offer the food into the alms bowl and give a bouquet of flowers on top. Then do the “Wai” one more time and be blessed for your great fortune by the monk. You will be fulfilled with peace in your heart. After, take a short ride in a tuk-tuk to visit Wat Pho with its Reclining Buddha image for the morning monk chanting and monk chatting (informally talk with the monk). You will get insight into the monk’s life, Thai culture and tradition, and Buddhism. Later in the morning, you’ll return to your hotel.
Explore Bangkok’s vibrant contemporary art scene with a leading art expert as your guide today. Visit diverse galleries, discover Thailand’s most creative artists, and explore the cutting edge exhibits on display throughout the city. From painting to sculpture, photography to video, this unique half day excursion is a fascinating, in-depth look at the country’s emerging arts scene. Since most of the city's small private or commercial galleries promote Thai and regional artists, a couple of hours of gallery hopping is a great way of getting a taste of the local scene. Like with many things in Bangkok, the city's galleries are scattered all over town for the most part, although The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, opposite MBK shopping complex, is the city's latest effort to create an all-integrated art experience. Popular Galleries include: La Lanta Fine Arts, National Art Gallery, Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre as well as Tonson Art Gallery.
After being picked up at your hotel, your guide will accompany you on a private transfer to China Town, a district full of traditional, cultural, and excellent food. Bangkok is an amazing city for its culinary side of life and there is no better place that showcases this than its myriad of street food stalls. Discover delicious and amazing tastes of authentic Thai food at Chinatown, locally called Yaowarat. Taste a variety of dishes such as Hong Kong noodles, dim-sum (pan-fried taro cake, steamed pork rib with preserved soya bean), grilled jumbo prawn with Thai seafood chili sauce, fried battered mussels, Chinese bun, traditional Chinese herbal drink, black sesame dumpling in ginger tea, and Thai tropical seasonal fruit. (Subject to change due to local condition). After the tour you will be brought back to your hotel.
Enjoy a guided tour outside of Bangkok to visit the former capital of Thailand, Ayutthaya. Situated approximately 75 kilometres north of Bangkok, it is one of those destinations you have to see. The mixing of cultures in Ayutthaya began in the mid 16th century when ships from Ayutthaya plied the Asian seas, trading with neighbouring countries. When the Dutch began showing up in the 17th century, Ayutthaya became a port city and trade routes were extended to China, Japan, Indonesia, Portugal, Holland, and France and up to the Scandinavian countries later. Although the ancient villages of foreign traders lining the Chao Phraya riverbanks were abandoned when the city was sacked by Burmese troops in 1767, some remnants survive to showcase the city's past glory. The tour starts at the Summer Palace, a complex formerly used by the Thai kings. The facilities include vast gardens and landscaping, Wehart Chamrunt (Heavenly Light), a Chinese-style royal palace and throne room; the Warophat Phiman (Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode), a royal residence; Ho Withun Thasana (Sages' Lookout), a brightly painted lookout tower; and the Aisawan Thiphya-Art (Divine Seat of Personal Freedom), as well as a pavilion constructed in the middle of a pond. Continue to the magnificent ruins of early splendour that Ayutthaya is famous for. Visit the most impressive ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and along the way enjoy a detailed lecture on the rise and fall of Ayutthaya and the importance of the various monuments by your guide - a local expert. Return to Bangkok by cruising down the Chao Phraya River on a comfortable, air-conditioned cruise ship, while enjoying a sumptuous buffet lunch on board. Upon arrival at the disembarkation point in Bangkok in the late afternoon, you will be transferred back to your hotel.
The renowned Thai Cookery School at the Mandarin Oriental has taught thousands of people from all over the world the art of preparing fine Thai cuisine. Consider partaking in a class during your stay and learn how to create stunning Thai meals while gaining insight into the fascinating culture and traditions of Thailand. During an interactive class, you will get to see the methods and steps of Thai cookery from ingredient preparation to cooking. You are encouraged to practice grounding pastes, chopping up meat and vegetables, stir-frying, deep-frying, and stewing food to create dishes of the highest quality and flavor. Please let your Sales Advisor know if you would be interested in adding a cooking class to your itinerary.
Sit back and relax on your private jet between Bangkok and Bagan. The Cessna Citation CJ3 seats six clients very comfortably. For increased interior comfort, the CJ3 cabin is more than 4 feet (1.22 m) longer than the original CitationJet's - that's nearly two feet beyond even the CJ2+'s. With all that room, even long-legged passengers can stretch out in the plush new seats with ease. The deep-cushioned executive recliners slide forward and track inboard toward the aisle to give passengers an extra helping of room, comfort, and workspace. Flight time between Bangkok and Bagan is approximately one and a half hours.
Your visa will be looked after for you upon your arrival at Bagan airport.
Bagan is known for its stunning landscape of ancient temple ruins that seem to be spread around randomly in between toddy palms and bamboo huts. Your guide will bring you to a temple showcasing an amazing view of the city where a specialist of the history of the temples will give an hour long lecture on the history of Bagan. Your Specialist, Mr Khin Maung Aye, has been working for the Myanmar Archaeological Department in Bagan for over 20 years and one of his achievements has been the preservation of mural painting in the ancient temples under UNESCO. During his time with the department he has worked on the preservation and restoration of the temple, measuring and making drawings for ancient monuments, and doing excavation works for ancient mounds grave yards. (Please note that having Mr Khin Maung Aye as your specialist guide is based on availability).
After the tour, you will proceed to the hotel for refreshments and check in.
On a half day biking excursion your guide will show you some of the most spectacular scenery around Bagan, dotted with ancient temples. The best of all of course, is that you can stop at any time to take your time absorbing the sights and to take some photos. The favourite temple area amongst frequent Bagan visitors is Minnanthu because of its tranquility and scenic location where the temples are often completely deserted. Your guide will accompany you by bike to this forgotten part of Bagan and here you will get to enjoy a lovely picnic outdoors in this historical setting before or after visiting two or three ancient temple ruins in the area. After the tour you will return to the hotel.
Start your evening on a private boat ride on the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River and enjoy champagne and canapes on a sandbank in the middle of the river (if the river is not too high). A private boat tour on the river during sunset time will hopefully show you a spectacular sunset while your guide will be happy to serve you wine and some snacks.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in Bagan by private vehicle.
Fly by private jet from Bagan to Heho. Flight time is approximately 45 minutes.
Upon arrival at Heho airport, you will be transferred to Kalaw by private vehicle (1hr).
Your guide, who specializes in elephant conservation will meet you in Kalaw and take you for a rewarding day in the forest surrounding Kalaw encountering elephants, their mahouts, and hill tribe people living in the surrounding areas. Your tour begins with an hour of trekking through the forest before enjoying lunch in the camp.
Over lunch, a veterinarian, Mr U Ba Kyaw Than (a retired vet from Myanmar elephant sector, Myanmar Timber enterprise), who specializes in elephants and elephant health will join you and give a 30 minute lecture about Burmese elephants. Mr U Ba Kyaw Than has been dedicating his whole life to the elephants in Myanmar. Even after his retirement Uncle Ba Kyaw Than is often found in the thick jungles of the former Burma studying elephant behaviour and health.(Please note that this is on availability).
After lunch it's time to help the mahout wash, feed, and even ride an elephant. Later you will get to walk back to the main road where you will continue on to Inle Lake.
Transfer from Kalaw to Inle Lake with a private vehicle and driver (2hrs).
Kalaw is a hill town in the Shan State of Burma. It is located in Kalaw Township in Taunggyi District. The town was popular with the British during colonial rule. Kalaw is the main place of the novel by Jan Philipp Sendker, "Das Herzenhören".
Consider dining in the Inle Lake View's onsite restaurant tonight. The Bourgainvillaea offers some of the finest cuisine in the country with a focus of influences from Shan, Myanmar, India and China.
After breakfast, you will be taken to see the southern part of the lake where you will discover the ruins of Indein which are certainly worth a visit. Partly covered by vegetation the area looks like a “pagoda forest”. Your guide will take you on a walk for about one hour to enjoy a fantastic view over the lake and visit the primary school in Sae Ma Village.
A home-made cooked lunch will be served in a local house.
After lunch, you may like to test out a local canoe and paddle through the small canal. From here, a private motorboat will whisk you away to the Phaung Daw Oo pagoda where you will be taken around the lake to discover the natural beauty of the lake, visit the floating gardens, hopefully see some of the famous leg rowers, and have some tea at a local family’s house. On and around the lake, traditional markets are held in different villages according to a 5 day rotating schedule and you will be taken to visit a colourful market frequented by Shan and PaO people living nearby.
In the evening a private dinner will be organized in the Wine Cellar of the Inle Princess Resort accompanied by a tasting of wines from the nearby Red Mountain Estate.
Visiting Inle Lake is not just about being on the water but also about discovering the Shan and Intha villages on the banks of the river. After leaving the hotel and in the company of your guide, bike past several picturesque villages and stop for a chat with the local monks at the forest monastery in Mine Thauk for a good view over the lake.
Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the mountains of Shan State. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar. Most transportation on the lake is traditionally by small boats, or by somewhat larger boats fitted with outboard motors. Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants making it difficult to see above them while sitting.
Continue by private boat passing through the floating gardens.
An exclusive style lunch will be served on a rice carrier boat in the middle of Inle Lake which will be catered by a service boat and a kitchen boat from a nearby restaurant.
Transfer from Inle Lake to Heho by private vehicle and driver.
Sit back and enjoy the flight between Heho and Bangkok on a private jet this evening. The flight should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Relax in one of the six CIP lounges at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport between flights and receive first class service. A wide range of refreshments are available on a complimentary basis as well as a shower service, fun space, TV's, newspapers and magazines.
Your Soneva experience begins the moment you disembark at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport. You will be greeted by Soneva Kiri’s private airport representative at the gate and escorted through fast track immigration to your waiting BMW 7 Series limousines for the 30 minute drive to Don Muang Airport. You will be met by a second airport team who will welcome you on board the resort’s luxurious custom-fitted eightseater Cessna Grand Caravan for the 90 minute flight to Koh Mai Si. From there it's just a 2-kilometer trip by luxury speedboat to the resort’s jetty, where you will be met with warm greetings from resort staff.
There are lots of various tours and activities that you can choose from at Soneva Kiri. Here are a few of them:
Consider taking a Thai cooking class, enjoying a local fishing adventure onboard a local fishing boat (day or night), exploring Chanthaburi, where 80% of the world's supply of rubies and sapphires pass through and discovering the wonderful gem market after a visit at Prew Waterfall and National Park. Mountain biking is also an option, as is jungle trekking, and private boat chartering to unearth some of the most magnificent areas of natural beauty to be found in this corner of paradise.
Enjoy a dining experience at one of the islands amazing waterfalls.
The most romantic way to enjoy the passing of another day in paradise. Cruise along around the west side of Koh Kood and quietly wander the waters, while sipping champagne and nibbling on the chefs gourmet canapé’s and enjoy as the sun falls into the sea.
Today you will depart from Soneva Kiri by speedboat, which will take you to Ban Had Lek, a Cambodian border town. From there, you will enjoy breathtaking views from your private helicopter as you fly north over the National Park Cardamom Mountain Range finishing with a bird’s eye view of the Angkor Wat. Landing at Siem Reap Airport, your temple guide will escort you around the temple complex. After the tour you will be taken back to Soneva Kiri. Lunch is included.
Traveling by speedboat, you will get to a great spot to do some snorkeling. Snorkel with the parrot fish at Bang Bao reef; try to spot the lion fish along Anna's Reef at Ao Tum. Away from the crowds, Koh Koods snorkeling sites are a fun way to explore.
End your Soneva experience by taking the luxury speedboat back to Koh Mai Si where you will board the resort’s luxurious custom-fitted eightseater Cessna Grand Caravan for the 90 minute flight to Bangkok.
A haven of calm on the banks of the river, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is a truly remarkable hotel. Excellently situated within easy reach of all Bangkok’s main attractions, the hotel enjoys a peaceful yet central location. A sophisticated retreat in one of the world’s most exciting cities, they enjoy a reputation for style, service, and excellence. Combining elegant Thai style with seductive modern touches, each of the rooms and suites has its own distinct character. Home to nine outstanding restaurants and bars, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is the city’s premier gourmet destination. The exquisite spa boasts a serene design and over forty unique treatments blending contemporary and ancient techniques.
Set within Bagan Archaeological Preservation Zone amongst the ancient temples of The Kingdom of Bagan, Aureum Palace is a resort with a luxury spa set amidst 27 acres of tropical landscaped gardens which offers the ultimate in relaxation for guests seeking a unique experience for the historical traveler. Antiques, artifacts and local arts uniquely adorn each property, complementing the majestic ambiance of the resort and surroundings. Bedrooms are spacious and elegant with all modern facilities: bathrooms are large and lavishly equipped with luxurious amenities. Indoor or al-fresco dining options and bars, cultural entertainment or rest by the poolside for ultimate repose.
Villa Inle Resort & Spa is located beside the cultural and natural icon that is Myanmar’s Inle Lake. Spread over more than 20 acres on the eastern fringe of the lake near the village of Maing Tauk, the property features secluded lakeside villas. All villas at Villa Inle Resort & Spa are designed to harmoniously blend in with the natural environment and feature hand-selected local paintings and antiques, high wooden ceilings, spacious living areas and well-appointed bathrooms. Rooms include king size beds, air conditioning with heating facility, LCD television, Wi-Fi access and lakefront balconies. The hotel restaurant and bar is the ideal place to unwind at the end of the day, sipping a cocktail or eating the Shan or Inle Lake traditional food as the sun sets above the lake.
Unspoiled and untamed, Soneva Kiri is home to Thailand's most luxurious island hideaway. Thirty five vast villas nestle among palm fringed hills around a secluded bay. King size daybeds swing above golden sand. Stars shine onscreen at the outdoor Cinema Paradiso and in the high tech observatory. Diners enjoy homemade Thai cuisine as fireflies flicker past or rise to gourmet heights in a treetop Dining Pod. The villas at Soneva Kiri are all vast and luxurious. Built from local, sustainably sourced timbers and furnished in effortlessly chic style, these are blissful retreats are designed to blend in with the landscape. Some villas face the sunset, some the sunrise. Views of the secluded bay are magical. Private swimming pools wrap seductively around the accommodation. Electric buggies provide easy access to the resort's facilities. A wide range of accommodation is available, from intimate one-bedroom suites to the palacial five-bedroom Private Beach Reserve.
Maynard Fossum ,
December 12, 2014
"My trip to China proved to be an outstanding experience. Each location provided excellent learning and entertainment opportunities. The country was very impressive both in its deep history and in the huge modernization that has taken place in recent decades. The tour guides at each location were well informed and able to answer questions while also offering detailed information at all sites. It was a pleasure to be so well taken care of. The guides and drivers were always helpful. The meals on the tour were delicious and varied. I was pleased with the choice of restaurants. The hotels were comfortable and well located. I will recommend Kensington Tours. "
December 12, 2014
"I was a bit nervous about visiting Myanmar. Thanks to the outstanding help and planning via Kensington Tours, everything went off without a hitch!! It was a fantastic experience, that I would recommend to anyone with a spirit of adventure. "
Craig Gelman ,
December 12, 2014
"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent. "
Ruth Reinhard ,
December 12, 2014
"The trip was fantastic!!!Each guide and driver gave us so much information and were so helpful. They made sure that they took good care of our well being and requests. My husband, who we all call "the reluctant traveler" said, halfway through the trip, where are we going next? He said if he can go with Kensington then he will go anyplace. Thanks for making our trip to China a memorable experience."
SixtoCastenada Jr. ,
December 12, 2014
"100% satisfied! We had a wonderful trip. Our travel adviser, Tony Newman put together a tour that included everywhere we wanted to visit and within our very limited time frame. Conrad, who booked our transportation was very professional. The tour guides, hotel accommodations and transportation arrangements were all excellent. We will be using Kensington Tours again!"
December 12, 2014
"We were so impressed with all aspects of the trip that Kensington arranged for us - even at short notice. The itinerary was perfectly planned, full of extra activities like riding an elephant and a water buffalo cart ride. The guides were wonderful in all the places we went and the travel was easy between locations. Vietnam is a wonderful destination and Angkor Wat is amazing too. We loved the overnight on the boat in Halong Bay and the train ride to Sapa. The day we spent trekking between indigenous villages in the mountains of Sapa was one of the most interesting days of my life! We have travelled a lot and this was one of the best trips we have ever taken."
Olive Ramchand ,
June 03, 2014
"I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.
Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on, from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
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