The Eastern & Oriental Express returns with revamped trains

Bookings are open with journeys starting in February 2024.

Close company for intimate events.
Close company for intimate events. Photo Credit: Belmond

The Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, Southeast Asia is set to return to the rails in February 2024. Bookings are now open and the train will launch two new seasonal journeys departing from Singapore and travelling through Malaysia: the Essence of Malaysia (November to February) and Wild Malaysia (March to October).

The train’s 15 dark green carriages will leave Singapore’s Woodlands station, taking in destinations like Penang, Langkawi and for the first time, the Taman Negara National Park, before heading back to Singapore.

With new interiors, improved on board experiences, and journeys encompassing culture, gastronomy, architecture and the arts, the Eastern & Oriental Express aims to take railway travel in the region to new heights.

The first bookable trip will be Essence of Malaysia (19 to 22 February 2024) and for the first time the train will offer a snorkelling excursion in Langkawi as part of its regular itinerary and travel on the 'Jungle Railway' to bring guests to the Taman Negara National Park, where exclusive experiences will be offered in ‘Wild Malaysia’.

Essence of Malaysia

The three-night Essense of Malaysia journey starts from Singapore through Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and finally to the colourful island of Penang. After a relaxing first day of on-board indulgence, guests will disembark the train in Alor Setar and join a private cruise to Langkawi. Guests can go on a snorkelling excursion and encounter the underwater life of Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi’s top snorkelling spot.

The third day is a tour of Penang, whose capital, George Town, offers century-old UNESCO World Heritage sites, lively street art, and a vibrant food scene. Delving deep into the essence of Penang, guests can visit cultural highlights such as local art galleries and ancient temples in George Town’s Old Quarter; shop in the local markets and go for an authentic Peranakan cooking class in a private hillside residence followed by a traditional tea ceremony; or soak up the views of George Town’s picturesque streets at their own pace, hopping on traditional trishaws and touring the surroundings, before rejoining the train and travelling south towards Singapore.

Taman Negara National Park: home to tigers and leopards.
Taman Negara National Park: home to tigers and leopards. Photo Credit: Belmond

Wild Malaysia

The Wild Malaysia itinerary covers the untouched areas surrounding the ‘Jungle Railway’, towards the Eastern side of the peninsula, where guests visit the Taman Negara National Park. Working in partnership with the global tiger conservation organisation, Save Wild Tigers, the journey combines moments of relaxation on the train with some adventure. One of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, the Taman Negara National Park is home to tigers, leopards, and Sumatran rhinos. Excursions will include learning about the safeguarding of the Malayan Tiger, a unique photography masterclass and a foraging experience in the jungle.

On day three, guests will travel to the west side to visit Penang. With a choice of three different activities to explore Penang’s artistic, culinary and historic heritage, guests will enjoy local culture before returning to the train for their last night on board.

Both itineraries start from US$3,410 per person in a Pullman cabin and include all meals, a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, on board entertainment, onboard and offboard activities as per the itinerary.

Life on board

As they step on board the Eastern & Oriental Express, guests are invited to live and breathe the captivating culture of Southeast Asia. Days are punctuated by interesting encounters with local characters and artisans, who will reveal the secrets of the region as they teach ancient crafts and tell century-old tales. Nanyang jazz and vintage Malay tunes will accompany guests throughout the evenings.

Enticing food

An elevated menu of contemporary dishes rooted in the Peranakan culture awaits guests on board. A blend of Chinese, Malay, and other Southeast Asian culinary influences that originated in the Straits Settlements of Penang, Malacca, and Singapore, Peranakan cuisine is known for its bold flavours and intricate preparation methods. The train’s executive chef will celebrate this gastronomic tradition while adding a modern twist to ancient recipes.

Cozy sleeping arrangements.
Cozy sleeping arrangements. Photo Credit: Belmond

Re-styled carriages

The Eastern & Oriental’s 15 restyled carriages will include eight sleeping cars, two restaurant cars, a Piano Bar Car and the iconic open-air Observation Car. From ornate marquetry, to Malaysian embroidery and oriental silks, the train will boast of contemporary grandeur.

Cherry wood panelling are in the three different cabin categories - Pullman, State and Presidential – which come complete with air-conditioning and 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 colour palette. The Presidential cabins celebrate regional opulence, with hues of gold and embroidered décor elements.