Eastern And Oriental Express – A Journey Like No Other
After a couple of days enjoying the best of Singapore, we had the pleasure of traveling on the Eastern and Oriental Express up to Bangkok – the train took us through the jungles of Malaysia and rice fields of Thailand during 3 luxurious and unforgettable days.
Check-In & Boarding
Since Woodland’s train station is slightly out of town, we checked in for the train at the Regent Hotel, a five star hotel on Orchard Road with the same luxurious, traditional style of the Eastern and Oriental Express train.
The air was filled with excitement, and looking around the room there were all sorts of people who were taking the journey: solo travelers, couples, friends and families.
From the hotel we were driven by bus to the train station, where the border crossing was the smoothest I’ve ever experienced (why can’t all border crossings be like this?), a world away from how we crossed the border into Singapore just a few days earlier …
When boarding the Eastern and Oriental Express, your steward takes you to your “room” – there are 3 types of compartments: Pullman Cabins (bunk beds), State Cabins (twin beds) and Presidential Suites.
They’re all very well appointed and beautifully designed with walls of cherry wood and romantic decorations in Oriental style.
We stayed in a Pullman Cabin, which was slightly small but well laid out - each cabin has a bathroom with shower, a writing desk, panoramic windows and a couch that is converted into beds by the steward when you’re out for dinner.
The observation car was one of the highlights on the Eastern and Oriental Express, and one of the first things we decided to check out.
When there is no window separating you from the rice fields, jungles and rural countryside, it feels more real: you can smell the country – hear it – feel it.
The view from the train was exactly like in the movies, where children play by the tracks and farmers look up and waive their hands with a big smile as you pass.
The saloon car, library car, restaurant cars and piano bar car really made you feel like you had stepped back into a glamorous past.
There was a traditional luxury over the whole train, both in the design as much as in the service and general vibe.
Chit-chatting over a tray of peanuts and a glass of wine while listening to beautiful piano music was a reality I never thought possible on a train – everything was immaculate and so full of character and charm.
A lot of thought and skill were put into every single dish, from the unique mixture of Asian and European influences to the presentation - I have no idea how the chefs managed to make such great food in such tiny kitchens on a bumpy train!
Breakfast is served in the cabin on a big tray with everything from Danish pastries to local Malaysian tea.
Lunch is served in one of the restaurant cars, and we were surprised to find that even this was a full 4 course meal!
Afternoon tea was served in the cabin, with a nice selection of local treats to try.
We really liked how they used a lot of local Asian ingredients and specialties – the local cuisine is a big part of experiencing a country, and on the Eastern and Oriental Express you really got a taste of South East Asia.
I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much food in the span of three short days..!
The dinner on the Eastern and Oriental Express is quite an event, where suit jacket and tie is compulsory for men, and women dress up in evening dresses.
To see everyone dress up in their finest clothes, from a Kimono to evening gowns and lots and lots of glittering jewels, really enhanced the whole occasion – and I got to enjoy the rare sight of Nathan in a suit
In the romantic dining cars you’re served a 5-course meal every evening, with some absolutely delicious desserts and chocolates to finish the night in perfection.
With fruit tasting, palm reading, foot massage and a Thai dance show, there are many things to keep you busy on the Eastern and Oriental Express, and on both days of the journey you take a small excursion.
In Malaysia you go for a guided Trishaw tour around Georgetown, Penang, and in Thailand you visit the Bridge on the River Kwai for a boat tour and a museum visit.
These are great ways to take in the culture of the places you visit, but it’s the journey and the Eastern and Oriental Express in itself that is the real experience.
They treated it like something more than just a job, they were really enjoying it – and it showed through.
They were professional and yet personal, making us feel very pampered and special.
The staff makes all the difference, and the people working for this company were what made the journey the best it could possibly be – this trip was something very special for everyone onboard the train, and the staff treated it as though it was special also for them.
Our journey with the Eastern and Oriental Express was exactly what people say it is: a journey like no other!
Note: Our trip was sponsored by Eastern and Oriental Express, but as always our opinions are our own.