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The Eastern & Oriental Express Announces 2024 Relaunch to Great Fanfare

By Rachel M. Hardy

The Eastern & Oriental Express rounds a bend.

Southeast Asia’s premier luxury train, the Eastern & Oriental Express, will renew operations in February, 2024, after a years-long hiatus. Bookings open today — Tuesday, July 11, 2023.

If you have been biding your time and waiting for this announcement, don’t wait. Email us today at with your preferred date and cabin type. Luxury rail aficionados the world over have been waiting for this news, and we expect departures to sell out rapidly.


The Eastern & Oriental Express (E&O) ceased operations in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Angela Walker, IRT’s VP, Operations, and her husband Shawn were two of the last guests to get to experience the E&O pre-pandemic when they went in fall 2019. Read Angela’s blog here.)

Rather than rush back into the fray, the train owners and operators have been laying careful plans for the resumption of service — keeping some things exactly as they were, while breathing new life into other areas of the experience. We have been keeping tabs on developments throughout, and are delighted at last to spread the news.

Guests can expect to see completely restyled interiors, from lush greens and yellow velvets in the Piano Bar car that reflect the native Tiger Orchid, to rich plums and vibrant blue silks in the Pullman cabins, to refreshed marquetry in the open-air Observation Car.

Angela enjoys the open-air observation car in 2019. IRT Photo by Angela Walker.

Nanyang jazz — a revival of Chinese Jazz in the Peninsula — will once again be performed in the bar car by the resident pianist.

Off the train, guests can look forward to brand-new offerings: unusual, off-the-beaten-path, small-group activities hosted by local guides, storytellers, and artisans.

Passenger capacity has been reduced to an intimate 64 guests.

The E&O‘s crack management team will remain the same, with Wolfgang Eipeldauer as Train Manager, and Valentin Waldman as General Manager.

One piece of very sad news: Executive Chef Yannis Martineau has just passed away unexpectedly. We send our deepest condolences to his family and many friends. His replacement will have huge shoes to fill. Chef Martineau had been the Executive Chef with the E&O for over 15 years. His culinary team will continue to borrow heavily from local Peranakan influences — a fusion of Chinese, Malay, and other Southeast Asian cooking. Lunches, dinners, and some breakfasts will be served in the two dining cars, with remaining breakfast and afternoon tea enjoyed at leisure in guest cabins.

Presidential Cabin made up for night.

Two Exciting Routes:
Two itineraries are available: the Essence of Malaysia (running in February, November, and December of 2024), and Wild Malaysia (running March-May, and July-October, of 2024). 2025 dates have not yet been released.

Both itineraries are four days and three nights and begin and end in Singapore. Both travel into Malaysia. (At this time, no itinerary is traveling to Thailand. We have our fingers crossed that itineraries involving Thailand will be added in the near future.)

Both journeys begin at an attractive price point: $3,410 per person for a Pullman Cabin, double occupancy; $4,840 per person for a State Cabin, double occupancy; and $8,600 per person for a Presidential Cabin, double occupancy. Single traveler pricing begins at $6,820 for a Pullman Cabin. (Note that pricing is dynamic and is subject to change. Those booking earliest will pay the lowest price.)

Highlights of the Essence of Malaysia itinerary include a private cruise to Langkawi’s best snorkeling spot in Pulau Payar Marine Park, and a choice of carefully designed small group tours in Penang.

Highlights of the Wild Malaysia itinerary include a special journey on Malaysia’s ‘jungle line.’ The destination? Taman Negara National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in the world, and home of the endangered Malayan Tiger, where guests will be guided by local wildlife experts.

Cabin attendant pouring coffee. IRT Photo by Angela Walker.

Extend your journey off the train:
Why not make the E&O the highlight of a longer trip to Southeast Asia? We offer five-star Virtuoso hotels, private VIP airport services and custom, private sightseeing. We leverage our great relationships with the best partners throughout Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam for the best guides for private, custom programs. Let us help you with a custom journey. Some of our favorite hotels are Mandarin Oriental, Raffles and The Fullerton Bay (three of our favorite properties in Singapore).

Alternatively, guests on select departure of the Essence of Malaysia itinerary have a ready-built option to break their train train up with a week’s stay at a top resort on the island of Langkawi — home to an abundance of wildlife, outdoor activities, and incredible ocean vistas. (We recommend our Virtuoso partner hotel, The Datai Langkawi.)

Board the E&O as usual in Singapore and spend one night on the train. The next day, enjoy snorkeling with the group before checking in to your resort. After one week, catch the next train for the return 2-night journey to Singapore.

Dim sum in the dining car; Welcome Dancers in Bangkok; Angela sipping champagne in her cabin. IRT Photos by Angela Walker.


Again, don’t wait — email us today at with your preferred date and cabin type. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!