by Jeff Smith
Luxury Train to Resume: CNN
Famed luxury train is returning to Southeast Asia with two new routes
In February 2024, The Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train will launch two seasonal return-trip journeys out of Singapore that take in the landscapes of its northern neighbor, Malaysia.
Guests can choose from three cabin categories – Pullman, State and Presidential. All come with private bathrooms.
“The Pullman cabins are inspired by the radiance of Kuala Lumpur, boasting red sofas juxtaposed with blue cushions, drapery and pelmets that reflect the city’s dramatic skies, while the State cabins reflect Penang’s marine locale, with a bright blue and green color palette,” says a Belmond news release announcing the new routes.
“The Presidential cabins celebrate regional opulence, with hues of gold and embroidered decor elements.”
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.
The second trip on offer is called “Wild Malaysia: Exploring Sights Unseen” and heads up the eastern side of the Malaysian peninsula.
Among the highlights is a visit to the Taman Negara National Park. Train travelers will visit one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests, which is home to hundreds of species including tigers and Sumatran rhinos. They can also learn more about the work of local tiger conservation groups, join a photography masterclass or go on a jungle foraging trip.
Travelers familiar with the luxury train’s long-established presence in Southeast Asia might be asking: why isn’t it traveling up through Thailand to Bangkok?
The Eastern & Oriental Express – a sister train of the famed Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express – made its inaugural journey from Bangkok to Singapore in 1993, and before the pandemic offered a variety of routes between the two cities that included stops in popular destinations like the historic town of Kanchanaburi in Thailand’s west, as well as Malaysia.
A representative of Belmond tells CNN Travel they are now in discussions with Thai authorities to reinstate routes in and out of the country and “look forward to offering them again in due course.”