All Aboard The Oriental Express For A Southeast Asia Adventure

2 August 2014
Read Time: 2.3 mins

Get set for an incredibly indulgent, romantic and inspiring train trek across the heart of Southeast Asia’s stunning landscape when you catch the Eastern and Oriental Express. This isn't typical  train travel, with luxury, style and exotic destinations along every step of the way.

 There's rarely a dull sight right outside the train (Photo by Ron Bambridge)

Modern travel meets yesteryear

A deluxe train journey onboard the Eastern and Oriental Express is a great way to traverse the delights of Southeast Asia, rolling on through the majestic landscapes of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Laos. There seems to be something alluring about train travel in the way it makes travelling as exciting an adventure as the destinations. A touch of nostalgia is never far away, thanks to the colonial decor inside every carriage.

The Observation Car, located at the rear of the train, provides the best sights, mainly because this part of the carriage is outdoors. This is the place to be if you want to snap a few holiday moments, because your photos won't be tarnished by smudged windows. When the sun sets, the carriage takes on a new life, delivering cocktails and entertainment to sway you into the night.

Exotic landscapes await

You can take your pick from a number of journeys that transport you around northern Thailand, carrying you from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore and back again. There’s also the Tales of Laos trip, which leads you around on a four-day expedition through the jungle and across the Mekong River via the Friendship Bridge.

Alternatively, you can hop on the seven-day Fables of the Hills tour and indulge in a pampering session at a Malaysian spa village or guided walk through fragrant tea gardens. If you’re looking for some New Year’s Eve festivities, you might be inclined to jump onboard an end of year train from Singapore to Thailand. Celebrations kick off on a Thai beach for the final countdown, complemented by live music, drinks, fireworks and good company.

Cabin contentment

With three different styles of opulent wood-panelled cabins on offer, you don’t run the risk of ever getting cabin fever. You may actually fall too in love with spending time inside, thanks to all the sumptuous amenities including air-conditioning and an en suite. There’s also a steward on hand 24 hours a day, who makes sure you're always looked after. Come nightfall, your cabin converts to a sleeper and allows you to shut out the rest of the world for a good night's sleep.

As well as the decorative marquetry on display, the large windows in each cabin frame the exquisite and changing landscapes perfectly. If the Pullman Cabin isn't roomy enough for your needs, you're only a simple upgrade away from the more spacious State or Presidential cabins.

 The Presidential Cabin (Photo by Mark Hind)

Dinner is served

You can rest assured that the onboard, renowned chefs are up to the challenge of preparing world-class dining to accompany the stunning scenery across from your dinner table. The fine-dining options combine the delectable flavours of Eastern and Western cuisines, delivering various meals that change with the seasons. Breakfast is served in your cabin, while lunch and dinner can be eaten in the two restaurant cars.

There is a dress code to be mindful of, particularly for dinners, so it’s a good idea to pack something formal for evening soirees. Dressing up also makes you feel like a true exotic traveller.


Different journeys offer diverse experiences including meeting with expert winemakers in Gran Monte, partaking in traditional dancing, visiting bustling marketplaces, observing wildlife in natural habitats and having your fortune told by an onboard astrologer. Regardless of what you do, you come away with treasured memories of activities most other travellers never even know about.

Not only do the daily activities give you a chance to meet locals; they also let you enjoy the pleasure of mingling with fellow travellers, who you can swap tales with over a few drinks in the onboard piano bar.

Marina Barbaro

Marina Barbaro has written for Australian travel guides and traversed widely for business and pleasure. She loves to tour a city by night, mix with the locals and hear her name pronounced differently around the world. She has enjoyed the beauty of many countries including Fiji, Vietnam, Mexico, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.