Viva la vida locomotion

Have you always fantasized about going on a whimsical trip on an old-school train as in the movie The Darjeeling Limited? Well, there’s a similar locomotive experience waiting right here in our backyard in the form of the luxurious Eastern & Oriental Express operated by Belmond.

Belmond is part of luxury goods purveyor LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy). For over 40 years they have followed their pioneering spirit and passion to create some of the world’s greatest travel adventures.

Connecting Singapore to Bangkok, the sleeper takes guests through the heart of the Southeast Asian peninsular, passing by pristine villages and vibrant cities while still enjoying all the luxuries of a boutique hotel.

The one-of-a-kind vacation option transports passengers to colonial times, not only by restoring the beauty of what was once an opulent way of travel in the carriages which comprise the observation, saloon and bar cars but also by showcasing regions that have remained timeless since then.

The itinerary for passengers is not confined to the train alone, although its plush comfort might make you want to stay put. It includes various sightseeing excursions, trips to the tea plantations of Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, the beautiful Thai island of Koh Chaan and night stays at the most picturesque hotels along the passage.

In an effort to add more local touches to the colonial symbol, Belmond commissioned Singapore-based graffiti artist Rajesh Kumar to add artwork to the exterior of two Eastern & Oriental Express carriages. ‘The Koi Pond’ depicts the joy of travel, movement and the coming together of friends and family. The result is a visual surprise as the train weaves through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Further driving the concept of ‘Art in Motion,’ Belmond also unveiled the Cocktail Professor, a new cocktail menu devised by the region’s leading mixologists to take guests on a gustation journey befitting their visual one, with exotic monikers like ‘Mist of the Rice Paddies’ and ‘Malay Jungle.’

As for art of the auditory-kind, producer and DJ Mr Has from Singapore crafted a soundscape that pays homage to train-unique adventures in bonhomie by combining live recordings of cool jazz with uplifting future classics and deep grooves.

Eastern & Oriental Express travels between Singapore and Bangkok on 2 and 3 night journeys from January to April and September to December carrying up to 82 passengers in all en-suite cabins. Expect a vantage point like no other as you savour breathtaking landscapes and strike up the unlikeliest of camaraderie with fellow adventurers.

This article first appeared in