After a several year hiatus, the Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, announced its highly anticipated return to the rails in February 2024. This iconic train, renowned for its luxurious travel experiences, is set to offer two new seasonal journeys that will take you on an enchanting exploration of Southeast Asia’s ever-changing landscapes and vibrant cities. Departing from Singapore, the train will unveil the Essence of Malaysia (November to February) and Wild Malaysia (March to October) journeys, promising unforgettable moments and a new standard of excellence in railway travel.
Restyling of an Icon
The Eastern & Oriental Express returns with 15 restyled carriages, including eight sleeping cars, two restaurant cars, a Piano Bar Car, and the iconic open-air Observation Car. Prepare to be dazzled by the contemporary grandeur that pervades the train, showcasing Southeast Asia’s layered vibrancy through meticulously curated design details and color schemes.
Step into warm sanctuaries adorned with cherry wood paneling in the three different cabin categories: Pullman, State, and Presidential. The Pullman cabins, inspired by the radiance of Kuala Lumpur, feature vibrant red sofas juxtaposed with blue cushions, drapery, and pelmets that mirror the city’s dramatic skies. Reflecting Penang’s marine locale, the State cabins present a soothing blue and green color palette. The Presidential cabins epitomize regional opulence, adorned with golden hues and embroidered décor elements. Design highlights include the eye-catching green carpet with a Tiger Orchid blooming across the entire length of the Piano Bar Car, traditional Malay batik infilling the carpets in the Malay restaurant, and the laid-back interiors of the Observation Car, enhanced by natural wicker details, colorful cushions, and hand-painted pots that add a playful touch to the train experience.
Life on Board: A Celebration of Local Culture
Stepping aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, guests are invited to immerse themselves in the captivating culture of Southeast Asia at every moment. Each day is filled with exciting encounters with local characters and passionate artisans, who will unveil the secrets of the region, share ancient crafts, and regale century-old tales. The enchanting melodies of Nanyang jazz and vintage Malay tunes will serenade guests throughout the evenings, creating a truly immersive experience.
The train’s culinary offerings are a highlight of the journey. The train’s Executive Chef, renowned for his expertise in Peranakan cuisine, will curate a menu that celebrates the rich culinary traditions of Southeast Asia. Drawing inspiration from the Peranakan culture—a fusion of Chinese, Malay, and other Southeast Asian influences—each meal will be a culinary journey through the region’s vibrant flavors and local ingredients.
The Essence of Malaysia: Gateway into Malay Culture
Embark on a three-night journey through Malaysia’s western wonders with the Essence of Malaysia itinerary. Beginning in Singapore, the train will take you through Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, and finally to the colorful island of Penang. After a day of indulgence on board, guests will disembark in Alor Setar for a private cruise to Langkawi. For the first time, the Eastern & Oriental Express will offer an exciting snorkeling excursion at Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi’s prime snorkeling spot, allowing guests to get up close with the underwater wonders.
The third day is dedicated to exploring Penang, a multicultural island known for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, lively street art, and tantalizing food scene. Delve deep into the essence of Penang by visiting local art galleries and ancient temples in George Town’s Old Quarter, exploring the vibrant local markets, participating in an authentic Peranakan cooking class in a private hillside residence followed by a traditional tea ceremony, or simply soaking up the picturesque views of George Town’s streets. After immersing yourself in Penang’s vibrant culture, rejoin the train and continue your journey south towards Singapore.
Wild Malaysia: Discovering Sights Unseen
For the adventurous souls, the Eastern & Oriental Express presents the Wild Malaysia itinerary. This brand-new journey covers the untouched areas surrounding the ‘Jungle Railway’ on the eastern side of the peninsula, offering guests a unique opportunity to visit the Taman Negara National Park. Created in collaboration with the global tiger conservation organization, Save Wild Tigers, this journey combines moments of blissful relaxation on the train with thrilling adventures. The Taman Negara National Park, one of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, is a true explorer’s paradise, home to a diverse range of species, including tigers, leopards, and Sumatran rhinos. Guests can embark on various excursions, from learning about the safeguarding of the Malayan Tiger to a one-of-a-kind photography masterclass and a foraging experience in the jungle.
After an inspiring immersion in the rainforest, guests will travel to the west side to explore Penang. With three different activities to choose from, guests can delve into Penang’s artistic, culinary, and historic heritage, immersing themselves in the local culture. As the journey concludes, guests will savor their final night on board the train.
Whether you choose the Essence of Malaysia or Wild Malaysia itinerary, you’ll be immersed in captivating cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and unrivaled luxury. The return of this iconic train is set to redefine railway travel in the region, offering an unforgettable experience that seamlessly blends adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration. Don’t miss your chance to be part of this extraordinary voyage in February 2024.