Imagine a holiday mixed with luxury and romance; a journey filled with the nostalgic appeal of a bygone era, when formal dinners were cherished, and no matter what time of day, men and women looked the part, as though they had stepped off the pages of a 1930s Hollywood screenplay – in casually glamorous fashion of course.
Long before the unrelenting demands of emails and mobile phones, before the ‘selfie’ obsessed masses turned every waking moment into a staged prop, travellers could take comfort in the certainty that style and grace, and the beauty of their surroundings, would remedy the inconveniences of distance and time.
While today’s travel scene is one of harried airports, and of mega-cruise ships big enough to hold the citizenry of a small city, there is still one way to bring back the romance and the time honoured traditions that travel once held – the railway journey.
Decades ago, the airplane was seen as the new pre-eminent way to travel, but interestingly, we seem to have come full circle, with experienced travellers now looking at the world’s top railway journeys as the epitome of distinction and class.
Planes certainly get you to where you’re going, but a trip by train is an experience to be savoured.
One railway journey in Asia – the Eastern and Oriental Express – provides just that kind of distinction.
One of the most iconic rail journeys in the world, The Eastern and Oriental Express offers travellers the opportunity to experience true five-star luxury on rails.
Operating between Singapore and Bangkok, with a stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the train sets out on its return journey about twice per month. It also operates a number of sightseeing routes for in-depth tours around the region.
Pass the time in one of the luxury rail cars while enjoying the scenic views of bustling cities and traditional villages.
Admire the view of an ancient temple or pagoda as the train winds its way through the scenic countryside, it’s lush green forests drawing you in with its beauty.
Relax with a cocktail in one of the two bar cars before dining on fine cuisine for lunch and dinner in the formal dining car.
Top international chefs specialise in both eastern and western fare (sample dinner menu), creating dishes one could expect to find in the most celebrated restaurants. Even outside main meal times, a steward is on call 24 hours a day.
Spend the morning in your plush bed with a book and cup of tea. For breakfast, a selection of fresh croissants and fresh fruit, tea, coffee and juices are delivered right to your elegantly appointed cabin.
In the afternoon, your cabin can be used as your own private lounge, with large windows offering an excellent view of the passing scenery.
Of course, every cabin on this luxury train comes with its own bathroom too.
Most rail packages on the Eastern and Oriental Express last between 7 and 16 nights, with itineraries beginning in Singapore or Bangkok. Depending on the itinerary you choose, stops can include Kuala Lumpur, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, the once isolated Myanmar, and Laos.