Agatha Christie once said “trains are wonderful… to travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns… and rivers, in fact, to see life”. There is some truth in there. I’ve always maintained that the second best way to travel is by train; the first being on foot.
A train journey sets the perfect pace that allows you to enjoy the authentic flavor of the journey and discover new delights and stunning visuals between stops. And when you are on a pleasure train like the Eastern and Oriental Express (E&O), you aren’t required to give up on the simple luxuries that help you travel in comfort, not to mention style
Running through the Malay Peninsula, the E&O starts from Singapore , moves on to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, before coming to a stop in the capital of Thailand, Bangkok. The panorama changes every day. Breakfast amidst the gloriously green trees of the rainforest; have lunch looking over traditional paddy fields or rubber plantations; for the evening tea you might want to take in the beauty of the mountains in the backdrop and at dinner thousands of stars twinkling over the dome of a golden temple. This is no ordinary trip through South East Asia but rather a kaleidoscopic glance at some of the more inaccessible sights and visions of the place.
The E&O is a sister train to the immensely popular Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. It was first built in 1972 in Japan, at which time it was operated in New Zealand as the Silver Star. When it was decided to set the Eastern & Oriental rolling on the tracks Gérard Gallet was called in to remodel the carriages. In fact, he is the same person that was entrusted with the designing and refurbishing of the not just the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express but also the British Pullman.
Eastern and Oriental Express set off on its maiden journey in September 1993. It wasn’t too long before the frenzy of travelling aboard E&O caught on and those with means were soon falling over themselves to get the much coveted tickets for this exciting and adventurous train journey.
The accommodation provided in the 66 air-conditioned compartments, can rival the finest hotels in the world. All units are air-conditioned and come with an en suite shower, WC, and washbasin. And to ensure that you don’t miss out on a single minute of the world flying by outside, each compartment has beautiful picture windows in it.
What do you do when you are on board the E&O and wish to indulge in something more besides sitting in the open air observation deck and taking in the ever-changing landscape whizzing past you? I can’t imagine how that can ever happen but to each their own I guess.
Coming back to the diversions, there are several of them on board the E&O. If you are a die-hard foodie, you could put your taste buds to the test and get ready to churn some gastronomic juices with the variety of expertly prepared European and Asian dishes complimented by the finest wines possible. Or, you could mingle with your fellow travelers and make new friends in the Bar Car as you listen to the resident pianist play his favorite tunes. For some introspective quite time by yourself you steal into the Reading Room and choose an interesting book to keep you company for several hours.
In everything that you see, touch, feel and experience, both onboard and outside, the Eastern and Oriental Express is the ultimate tribute to beauty, perfection, luxury, comfort, fine craftsmanship, and the spirit of adventure.