The Orient-Express company, now Belmond, acquired New Zealand’s famed Silver Star, brought it to Southeast Asia, and refurbished it in elegant style, then re-christened it the Eastern & Oriental Express (E&O). The train runs 1,262 miles between Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand. The inaugural journey was September, 1993.
New for 2018: A smaller, more intimate experience on board. The consist now takes a maximum of 82 guests. Plus, guests in all cabins will receive complimentary well drinks and house wines. (Premium drinks go on your tab.)
Guests in Presidential Suites still enjoy a host of new (and valuable) amenities, including private limousine transfers to/from train stations in Singapore & Bangkok. Presidential Suites also include:
– A bottle of Champagne and fruit basket in cabin on arrival
– Complimentary mini bar – stocked with a selection of spirits, local beer, soft drinks, and chocolate
– Complimentary on-board pressing service
– Wireless speaker in cabin
Click here for owner Eleanor Hardy’s blog about the Epic Thailand journey aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express.
In our opinion, the Eastern & Oriental Express is one of the most beautiful trains in the world, with service to match. Recent changes to the consist mean the staff can offer more intimate service. The train, which used to take 132 maximum passengers, now can take 82. It usually carries about 66. The result is more of a clubby feel, with much more special, fine-tuned off-train events.
All cabins are air-conditioned, have complimentary Wi-Fi, and include a private bathroom with sink, shower, and toilet. All sleeping compartments are paneled with cherry wood and elm burr and adorned with decorative marquetry and intricate inlays. All have 24-hour service, called by a bell.
The train has two Presidential Suites, with a whopping 125 square feet of space, two lower berths and a separate lounge area. This gorgeous suite takes up half a train car. Belmond announced a new slew of benefits from champagne in the cabin to complimentary station transfers that go with the suite.
Guests in Presidential Suites enjoy a host of new amenities, including private limousine transfers to/from train stations in Singapore & Bangkok. Presidential Suites also include:
– A bottle of champagne and fruit basket in cabin on arrival
– Complimentary mini bar – stocked with a selection of spirits, local beer, soft drinks and chocolate
– Complimentary on board pressing service
– Wireless speaker in cabin
There are 24 State compartments, with 84 square feet, which have two lower berths.
There are 15 double Pullmans with 62 square feet and one upper and one lower berth. A limited number of cabins without a single supplement is available.
On this train, all the beds fold into comfortable seating during the day.
Storage: each cabin has a luggage rack over the window; there is a small cupboard on board with some hangers. Larger bags should be stored in the baggage car; only smaller bags should be brought into the compartment.
Breakfast and afternoon tea are served in your compartment; lunch and dinner are taken in the two restaurant cars, lavishly decorated with rosewood and elm paneling. House drinks are complimentary. Dining on board is a highlight: the train’s French chef and its food service has received international accolades for the blending of Western and Eastern culinary styles. Food and service, in our opinion, match that of its famous European Venice Simplon-Orient-Express sister train, which is a feat. Chef Jannis’ creative offerings of European Style, Asian and fusion offer a memorable experience.
There are three restaurant cars — Adisorn, Rosaline, and Malaya. One car joins the train for every journey. Each is decorated in floral motifs reflecting the culture of the region. The lighting, china, crystal, and flatware adds up to a gorgeous ambience — heightened by their signature pink lamps.
The Observation Car is located at the very end of the train—a favorite public space. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available here for all guests. At the rear is an outdoor observation area decorated with teak wood. (Smoking is permitted in the outdoor area only.) Its interior section is the perfect place to enjoy cocktails amidst a colonial ‘veranda’ ambiance. It has teak wood flooring, paneled walls, rattan furniture and potted plants. The saloon car, toward the middle of the train, is open throughout the day and includes a reading lounge, boutique, and small restaurant area. IRT highly recommends a 45-minute foot massage as you enjoy the view in the reading lounge. The piano bar is in the center of the train, and it’s decorated with pale ash-wood paneling. A lively pianist keeps things hopping. You can stay late into the evening for cocktails; local entertainment is performed in the evenings. The train includes well drinks and house wines — and they also offer a fantastic list of specialty (and pricey) cocktails, such as “Mist over the Rice Paddy,” using the magical effects of dry ice.
The train runs between Singapore and Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok. The longer, once-a-year Fables of the Peninsula journey includes hotel stays in Singapore and the Cameron Highlands and four nights aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express. The program covers all meals and includes sightseeing. On all trips, alcoholic drinks on board are now included. On the longer Fables of the Peninsula journey, everything is included except gratuities to the train staff.
If you want to meet fascinating people on board — and off, this is a great experience. There’s a good mix of adventure, discovery, and excitement. One thing to note: the train runs from January to April and from September to December. Also good to know: the train is now offering some great choices of off-train touring. For instance, when the train stops in Kanchanaburi, guests can choose between a classic cruise along the Khwae Yai River and a visit to the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre; a cycle tour through farms and fields to a village; or a culinary tour to a vibrant market and an ancient noodle house.
In Kuala Kangsar, guests have the chance to visit a village and take a guided walk through ride paddies, or take an invigorating hill trek to visit a banana and rubber plantation — and enjoy the reward of a panoramic view over the village at the top.
Please note: The Eastern & Oriental Express travels over rough track in Thailand. If you have back issues or other health issues that would be exacerbated by rough track, you may be more comfortable on a different train. Call or e-mail us to discuss which journey is right for you.to top