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The much-anticipated return of the Eastern & Oriental Express, A Belmond Train, in February 2024 marks a new chapter in luxury travel through Malaysia. This iconic train, reminiscent of the region’s colonial past, offers an unparalleled way to experience the beauty and culture of Malaysia, now enhanced with two new seasonal journeys and restyled interiors.
Rediscovering Malaysia: A Blend of Culture and Nature
The Eastern & Oriental Express introduces two distinct journeys: “The Essence of Malaysia” from November to February and “Wild Malaysia” from March to October. Each journey offers a unique perspective on Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage and natural wonders, providing guests an immersive experience beyond traditional travel.
The Essence of Malaysia: This three-night journey from Singapore through Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi and Penang is a cultural immersion like no other. Guests will experience the vibrancy of Malaysian culture, from the bustling streets of Kuala Lumpur to the serene beauty of Langkawi. A private cruise from Alor Setar to Langkawi offers a snorkelling excursion in Pulau Payar Marine Park, showcasing the region’s rich marine life.
In Penang, guests will discover George Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its lively street art and thrilling food scene. An authentic Peranakan cooking class provides a hands-on experience with the local cuisine, blending the journey with cultural enrichment and culinary delight.
Wild Malaysia: The “Wild Malaysia” itinerary is an adventure into the heart of Malaysia’s natural beauty. The journey takes guests through the Taman Negara National Park, home to diverse wildlife, including tigers, leopards, and Sumatran rhinos. This unique experience includes a variety of excursions, such as learning about the safeguarding of the Malayan Tiger and a photography masterclass, offering a balance of relaxation and adventure. The journey culminates with a crossing to Penang, making it a fitting finale to an extraordinary journey.
Eastern & Oriental Express, a luxurious train journey through Malaysia
The Eastern & Oriental Express is a luxurious experience that captivates the senses. The train’s 15 restyled carriages, including eight sleeping cars, two restaurant cars, a Piano Bar Car, and the iconic open-air Observation Car, are adorned with ornate marquetry, Malaysian embroidery, and oriental silks, exuding contemporary grandeur.
The train offers three cabin categories – Pullman, State, and Presidential – each uniquely designed to reflect different aspects of Malaysia’s cultural and natural landscape. Inspired by Kuala Lumpur’s radiance, the Pullman cabins feature a vibrant colour palette, while the State cabins reflect Penang’s marine locale with bright blues and greens. The Presidential cabins celebrate regional opulence with gold hues and embroidered décor elements.
Guests on the Eastern & Oriental Express will enjoy exciting encounters with local characters and artisans, enriching their understanding of the region’s history and culture. The evenings are filled with Nanyang jazz and vintage Malay tunes, adding to the train’s enchanting atmosphere.
The dining experience on board is a culinary journey, with a menu featuring contemporary dishes rooted in Peranakan culture. This blend of Chinese, Malay, and other Southeast Asian culinary influences, with a modern twist on ancient recipes, offers guests a taste of the region’s rich culinary heritage.
The return of the Eastern & Oriental Express is not just a revival of a legendary train but a reimagining of Southeast Asian luxury travel. With its elevated onboard experiences, unique journeys through Malaysia, and commitment to cultural immersion, this iconic train sets a new standard of excellence.
As it glides through the Malaysian landscape, the Eastern & Oriental Express provides a window into the soul of the Malay Peninsula. From the bustling cities to the serene natural parks, each destination unfolds as a chapter in a grand narrative of discovery and elegance. The train itself is a moving testament to the art of luxury travel, where every moment is an opportunity for indulgence and exploration. ◼
© This article was first published online in Dec 2023 – World Travel Magazine.