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Dining car of Eastern and Oriental Express, Singapore, Republic of Singapore
Photograph: Altrendo Images /

Asia’s most luxurious train ride is coming back in 2024

All aboard! One of the world’s most indulgent train journeys is making a comeback and we’re here for it

Charmaine Wong
Written by
Charmaine Wong

When it comes to the world’s greatest luxury train rides, the Eastern & Oriental Express is right up there. We can’t think of much better than voyaging through Southeast Asia on board a handsome, luxurious emerald-and-gold train, enjoying the ever-changing landscapes of Malaysia from the observation car.

Sadly, the route was discontinued in 2020. But now it’s making a comeback in all its grandiose glory. The historic train service will roam the tracks again from February 2024, with revamped carriages and new itineraries.

The first departures will be on its three-night Essence of Malaysia route, which takes passengers through lush rainforests, vast rice paddy fields and rural villages. Starting at Singapore’s Woodlands Station, the journey carries on north to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, before stopping by for a boat excursion to the magnificent island of Langkawi.

Headed back on board, passengers will then travel further north to Penang Island – which seriously deserves its reputation as the food capital of Malaysia. You’ll be spoiled for choice on local excursions there, whether you’d rather discover the culinary art of Peranakan cooking or explore the stunning temples and culture in George Town Old Quarter.

The original E&O route continued through Thailand to Bangkok, and that leg isn’t making a comeback just yet. But destinations aside, the highlight of the trip is undoubtedly the legendary trains. Recently ‘restyled’ with exquisite Malaysian embroidery and silk, the 15 carriages include eight sleeper cars, two restaurant cars, and an open-air observatory car. There’s even a car with a piano bar in it! Think the Orient Express (minus the murder) meets a glowed-up The Darjeeling Limited.

As for the price… well, tickets for the Eastern and Oriental Express start at $3,410 (£2,607) per person. A little steep, you might say. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime sort of experience.

Did you see that a brand new night train between Paris and Berlin is launching soon?

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