A trip aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express is a journey through three exotic countries, combined with exquisite cuisine and excellent service on board, which made our experience one of the best of my life. A trip like no other!
On this occasion, the Eastern & Oriental Express departed from the capital of Thailand to Singapore in a 3-night and 4-day journey.
It was necessary to arrive in Bangkok with enough time to ensure a comfortable connection, this is why we decided to stay there for one night and enjoy one day in this fascinating city.
We decided to leave out the conventional and typical visits to the temples and, instead, we delved into the colours, smells and flavours of Bangkok. Together with one of our most charismatic insiders we enjoyed an authentic gastronomic tour, ideal for foodies.
We started in a local market on the outskirts of the city where we were the only tourists. There, we tried many of the typical Southeast Asia specialties: from som tum, a delicious and refreshing papaya salad, to hoo grab and crispy pork belly. We were also brave enough to try the durian, a typical Asian fruit, famous for its stinky smell. So much so that it is banned in airports, hotels and public transportation throughout Southeast Asia. If you can stand the smell of the durian, the taste is very sweet; it's like eating a vanilla cream!
We continued to Khlong San Seab, a channel that connects the city with fast boats; you have to jump off the platform quite fast because they barely stop. I really enjoyed moving around like the locals do and getting to see the city from a different point of view.
Most tourists go to the Chao Praya River, which is always busy with large ships and cruises, while Khlong Son Seab feels more authentic. Definitely better for those who want to enjoy a local experience.
At nightfall we climbed into a fun tuk-tuk and headed to Chinatown. There, the show is guaranteed: hustle and bustle, street food stalls, people eating at all hours... Chinatown at night is full of life, plus all shops and small workshops are open; whatever you are looking for, you can find in Chinatown!
The next day we headed to the Hua Lamphong station, where the elegant and legendary Eastern & Oriental Express awaited us.
After a brief registration process in the company’s exclusive lounge, they accompanied us to the platform and to our cabin.
As if it were a black and white film, embarking on the Eastern & Oriental Express is like immersing yourself in the atmosphere of a Golden Age classic journey, evoking an era in which traveling was an adventure, only suitable for the wealthy and most adventurous. The train, thus, becomes a destination in itself, a time capsule where you can go back in time.
Upon arrival we settled in our cabin. The space is limited but everything is thought out, every little corner has its function, and the decoration is romantic, typical of a vintage train.
Leaving the Hua Lamphong station we went to the Observation Car, an open space at the end of the train from which we wanted to witness the start-up and departure of what was to be our adventure for the next 4 days. It’s certainly the best place to take pictures!
Meals and dinners are the most anticipated moments of the day, and the gastronomy aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express is the best I have ever tasted, like in a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s incredible that in such small kitchens they are able to create such dishes, using the freshest products of the season.
Upon returning to our cabin, the set up had changed to night mode: the sofa becomes a cozy and comfortable bunk.
The next day we woke up in Kachannaburi, where we went on an excursion to visit the bridge on the Kwai River, famous for its sad history, built by the World War II prisoners who were used by the Japanese as labor for the construction of a railway line between Thailand and Burma.
Back to the train, we enjoyed beautiful panoramas through exotic landscapes.
Evenings at the Eastern & Oriental Express are ideal to enjoy reading in the Reading Car, as well as interacting with the rest of the passengers or enjoying a signature cocktail at the Observation Car.
A charismatic pianist on board is in charge of delighting the passengers in the evening.
We spent the following morning enjoying the views and a delicious brunch on board. We arrived in Kuala Kangsar and headed to Lobu Kabong, the starting point of a trekking through lush landscapes. We also visited a Malay village to learn about rural life. They greeted us with a warm welcoming ceremony, regional dances and local delicacies surrounded by a beautiful environment and rice fields.
The last dinner was undoubtedly the most glamorous of all; we wore our best clothes and enjoyed an excellent menu. The party continued at the piano bar until late at night, amid laughter and anecdotes with our traveling companions, who had also become our friends.
The next day we arrived in Singapore. It was time to say goodbye to an unforgettable and wonderful experience that far exceeded my expectations, and that every traveler should experience at least once in their life.
In Singapore we stayed at The Warehouse, a charming boutique hotel. The lobby is striking, with high ceilings and modern design, and is often frequented by locals as an afterwork venue.
Also noteworthy is its Pó restaurant, where they prepare delicious popiah in a traditional way. The popiahs are similar to spring rolls, but they’re not fried. Usually they are already rolled when served, but here you can roll them yourself as you like, with fresh local seasonal products.
We only spent one night in the city, as it was our second time there, but certainly Singapore deserves a 2 or 3 night stay to get to know it well.
During the day we visited the famous Garden by the Bay tropical gardens, with all kinds of huge trees. We were lucky and arrived in time to witness the light and sound show.
To top it all, we climbed to the highest outdoor terrace-bar in the world, from where we bid farewell to Singapore with stunning 360º views of the city.