Laura and I recently journeyed over 1,200 miles from Singapore to Bangkok on the Orient Express’ Eastern and Oriental line. We decided to make the most of our one night in Singapore and stayed at what is often billed as the world’s greatest hotel…the Raffles Hotel. Since 1887, this hotel has been a destination in of itself and exudes a colonial ambiance and history that no other hotel can match.
The next morning we boarded the train and settled in to our TINY compartment, which was ingeniously designed to hold all of our luggage with room left over to breathe! Now, it was time to explore our glamourous new environment. We adored the open air observation car and spent relaxing time with a coffee (or beer!) watching the lush landscape pass us by. Lunch and dinner was served in one of three ornate dining cars (breakfast served in our compartment) and often we were seated with fascinating passengers from around the world. There was also a bar car with pianist and for one evening…Thai dancers.
After a brief stop the first night at the historic Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, we disembarked the second day at the Butterworth railway station for our visit to George Town on Penang Island, Malaysia. By motor coach, we crossed the longest bridge in Malaysia to the Penang capital of George Town. We toured this delightfully historic town by trishaw. The multi-cultural heritage was evident by the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. We saw vibrant markets, elaborate temples, mosques and colonial architecture throughout the city.
On our third and final day, we visited the Thailand-Burma Railway. You probably know it best from the Academy Award winning motion picture Bridge over the River Kwai. The railway is an extraordinary 257 miles in length over mountainous jungle and unbelievably constructed with hand tools and some dynamite in just twelve months in 1942 during WWII at a cost of over 130,000 lives.
Were you worried that I forgot to make a movie? You are one of the select few to get a sneak peek of this Spring’s blockbuster – Mystery on the Orient Express. Feast your eyes:
We had a hunch this might be one of those “once-in-a-lifetime” trips. We were correct! Saigon LOVE to all, Lisa