After a four-year hiatus, the Eastern & Oriental Express is ready to make a highly anticipated return to southeast Asia. A pioneering new chapter begins as the Far East's most cherished luxury train boasts grand redesigned interiors, enhanced onboard experiences and a pair of brand-new captivating journeys from Singapore through Malaysia which uniquely showcase its culture, gastronomy, nature and the arts. Once you step aboard, you'll enter a world of ageless indulgence as you journey through some of Malaysia's most breathtaking landscapes – think sprawling rice fields, golden coastlines and dense jungles. So, fans of luxury rail – it's time to add this legendary journey back on your wish list. Below, we take a look at what to expect, as well as what's new.
Onboard the train there are 15 beautifully restyled carriages which include three cabin categories; namely 10 Pullman Cabins, 20 State Cabins and 2 Presidential Suites. The former has upper and lower berths, while the latter offer two single beds at floor level. Throughout each, you'll embrace a warm ambience thanks to polished cherrywood and elm burr panelling, decorative marquetry and fine fabrics.
Overall, the Eastern & Oriental Express features eight sleeper cars, two restaurant cars (see dining) and a bar with free-flowing drinks and piano accompaniment. You'll also find an open-air observation car at the back of the train – and, although the train is mercifully air-conditioned, it is the perfect spot for catching a breeze and enjoying a cocktail or two as you take in the passing panoramic scenery and breathtaking sunsets.
Fresh from a makeover, the brand-new Dining Cars will play host to gourmet full-board dining. Lunch and dinner will be served in both dining carriages (Adisorn and Malaya) along with breakfast on alternate mornings. Remaining breakfasts and Afternoon Tea will be served in the comfort of your cabins. Your steward will arrange dining times with you on board.
Meals will feature menus which include a variety of traditional Peranakan dishes, reinvented with a modern touch using sustainable ingredients. This regional cuisine is known for its eclectic mix of Chinese, Malay, Indian and Eurasian ingredients, cooking methods and traditions. What's more, as the train traverses the various parts of Malaysia, the food will reflect its cultural diversities, introducing you to the unique flavours and ingredients of each region.
Off the train, each day you'll be invited on incredible excursions, all delving deeper into the history, art or culinary character of each destination, meaning there’s a wealth of unique experiences at your fingertips. Depending on your itinerary you can expect the likes of immersive city and old town tours, vibrant cookery classes, paddle boarding and snorkelling in Penang and even the chance to visit the critically endangered Malayan tigers of Taman Negara National Park.
As if that wasn't enough, on board you can expect authentic encounters with local experts and passionate artisans, who will unveil unique insights into contemporary and ancient cultures. You can also expect Asia's most exciting contemporary entertainers each evening.
Set to resume next year with its first departure on 19 February 2024, the Eastern & Oriental Express will offer two brand-new 3-night round trip journeys, departing on a Monday from Woodlands Station in Singapore – travel through Malaysia celebrating the region's diverse landscapes with destinations including Langkawi, Penang and Taman Negara National Park – before returning to Singapore on Thursday. Between the months of November and February, the luxury train will explore the Essence of Malaysia, while March to October will be dedicated to the Wild Malaysia route.
As ever, we have carefully curated recommended itineraries to fit around each of these programmes. However, if you wish to extend your stay before or after your journey on the Eastern & Oriental Express, or wish to alter any part of the suggested itinerary around it, our specialists will be more than happy to tailor your trip.