Asia’s Eastern & Oriental Express :
The romance of railways is something that will forever spark imagination and nostalgia. Fuelled by cultural moments like Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, the world has embraced an enduring infatuation with train travel, putting it as one of the pinnacles of stylish, comfortable, and sustainable travel. Travelling by train, slowly, mindfully, and comfortably is one of travel’s greatest pleasures, making the journey part of the trip itself, and slowly taking in your destination as it rolls by. Resparking this fascination and encouraging luxurious slow travel once more, Asia’s Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond train, is returning to the rails in 2024.
Following a four-year hiatus prolonged by the global pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions, the iconic and much-loved train is returning to service in February 2023. The famed train – the Asian counterpart to the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express – was famed for its itineraries around Thailand and Southeast Asia, accommodating passengers in old-world, wood-panelled cabins with a dining and piano bar carriage and observation car reminiscent of a bygone era.
One of Asia’s most luxurious trains, the Eastern & Oriental Express will hit the tracks again.
A high-end passenger train is returning to the tracks in Southeast Asia: The Eastern and Oriental Express (E&O) will start rolling again in February 2024, reports Condé Nast Traveler’s Rachel Chang.
Operators of the upscale train suspended service in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, interior designers have been hard at work refreshing the 15 hunter-green carriages, which include a piano bar car, two restaurant cars, an open-air observation car and eight sleeping cars, per Robb Report’s Rachel Cormack.
The Eastern & Oriental Express journey will also offer guests the chance to meet local artisans, learn ancient crafts and hear centuries-old stories. Traditional Malay tunes and Nanyang jazz will accompany them through the evening, while a blend of Chinese, Malay and other Southeast Asian culinary influences will tantalise their tastebuds.
Two Malaysia experiences :
The first of the two experiences on offer is called “Essence of Malaysia: A Gateway into Malay Culture.”
This three-night trip takes in the west of Malaysia, heading from Singapore through Kuala Lumpur and up to the island of Langkawi and then Penang.
To get to Langkawi, guests will board a private boat from Alor Setar on the mainland. Once there, they’ll have the option of snorkeling in the Pulau Payar Marine Park.
On the third day, guests will head over to another famed island, Penang. Here, they can head for the capital, George Town, to enjoy its historic architecture and famed street food scene.
The second trip on offer is called “Wild Malaysia: Exploring Sights Unseen” and heads up the eastern side of the Malaysian peninsula.
As for the price… well, tickets for the Eastern and Oriental Express start at $3,410 (£2,607) per person. A little steep, you might say. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience.