Sana's Eastern and Orient Express Journey

Staff member: Sana // Trip date: Nov 2009

Eastern & Oriental Express

Singapore to Bangkok
(3 days/2 nights)

Pre Hotel accommodation: Mandarin Oriental Singapore

Day One SINGAPORE - KUALA LUMPUR

Thursday, 5 November 2009
Depart: 11:10am from Singapore (Keppel Road)

The train station is located approximately 10-15 minutes from the Mandarin Oriental.

The E&O check in desk is situated on the main concourse at Keppel Road train station, and is open two hours prior to departure. Passengers are to show their tickets and will be handed their boarding pass upon arrival.

Boarding takes place 30 minutes prior to the train's departure.

Staff available at the entrance of the train station and will take care of your checked in bags. You need to advise staff of which bags are to be checked in, and which ones to be sent to your cabin- cabin luggage will be sent directly to your room. Space is limited in your cabins and it is recommended that you check in as much luggage as possible to the baggage car- you will not have access to these bags until your final arrival station. Items required for overnight should be packed into a lighter suitcase (all required medication should be carried onboard).
Passengers are advised to fill in Malaysian custom forms whilst waiting in the air conditioned lounge (bathroom facilities available). Passports are held by the cabin stewards. Passport and custom formalities take place at the Malaysian/Thailand border and upon boarding or disembarking in Singapore. You will not normally be disturbed during the journey. Passports will be returned to passengers immediately prior to disembarking.

Pullman cabin

In-room facilities: Daytime seating is a banquette style sofa which converts to upper and lower berth at night. Cabins contain an en-suite shower, washbasin, WC, shampoo, soap, towels, bottled water, bowl of fruit, hair dryer and safe deposit box are all included and available in your cabin. There is 1 overhead rack to place your bag and a footrest in the Pullman cabin.

The cabin stewards are responsible for your carriage and is available at all times. He is responsible for passports, changing the compartment from day to night time configuration, serves breakfast and afternoon tea in your compartment. Once in our rooms, our cabin steward came around to go through details and showed us where everything was in our room and brought over a welcome drink (orange-juice).

Once onboard, the Maitre D will come around to all passenger compartments to take lunch and dinner reservations. There are 3 different restaurant cars on the E&O that have tables for parties of 2 or 4 persons. The Maitre D may ask passengers to join others for lunch and dinner. Once decided, guests are handed a coupon that outlines which dining car to go to, table number, time and whether you are on the 1st or 2nd seating.

At 11:30am, the train gets to the border of Singapore and Malaysia, and an announcement is made to get off once the train stops, and clear customs. This process took approximately 20 minutes and is very simple. Once we got back on board, an announcement was made for guests to be ready for the 1st lunch seating at 12:15pm.

Lunch is a 3 course set menu, followed by tea or coffee. Once lunch is over, the attendants or Maitre D will come around and hand over dinner coupons which outlines timing for and which dining car you will be in.

Afternoon tea was served in cabin at 4pm. A selection of teas, cakes & pastries. It was very filling and appetising.

First seating for dinner was at 6:45pm followed by the 2nd seating at 9:15pm. An announcement is made before every lunch & dinner seating so guests know when to start making their way to the restaurant cars.

Cabin stewards will be making up your room whilst passengers are at dinner to ensure the beds are ready for when you return back. Some guests may wish to make their way to the bar car for some drinks and entertainment after dinner. This is a great opportunity to mingle with fellow travellers and to enjoy a sing along with the pianist onboard.

At approximately 8:15pm the train arrives at Kuala Lumpur train station for a 45 minute stop to pick up/drop off passengers. Guests are free to stretch their legs and get off the train; however are advised to stay close.

When I arrived into my room, information on the day tour of Penang was left on our table. Your train attendant will come around to ask what time you wish to have breakfast delivered to your room in the morning.

Day Two BUTTERWORTH

Friday, 6 November 2009
Depart: 8:45am Arrive at Butterworth for a tour of Penang Island

Breakfast was delivered to our room at 7:30am and consisted of juice, croissants and fresh bread, cereal, fruit and tea or coffee.

We arrived into Butterworth at 8:30am. Passenger's board motorcoaches, and are taken onboard a ferry for a 15 minute crossing of the straights to Georgetown, the capital city of Penang.

George Town is a historic town with old shop houses and few modern buildings. The culture is a mixture of Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. This guided excursion includes a tri-shaw ride through the oldest sections of the city, and a stop at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel overlooking the sea front.

We arrived back at the train station at 11am and made our way back to our cabin. Juice is served once you are back onboard.

Today, we were moved to the state cabin which is a roomier version of the Pullman cabin; with 2 single beds at night (both lower). All other amenities are the same as the Pullman cabin.

Lunch was served at 11:45am in the Malaya restaurant car.

The train travelled onto Padang Besar, where the train was stationed for 4 hours as the tracks going forward were closed due to flooding. The train manager made an announcement and advised all passengers that the train would be moving once the floods have cleared.

Afternoon tea was served in our compartment at 3pm. After afternoon tea, all guests were invited to attend a 'Fruits of the Tropic' presentation in the main bar car. This was an informative session followed by fruit tasting for guests as the train was not moving for a few hours.

The train manager then made an updated announcement on the flooding situation, and unfortunately all guests were advised that the train will be going back to Butterworth and all passengers will be flown to Bangkok. All flights were arranged by Orient Express staff, and staff onboard re-arranged passenger's transfers to ensure they were picked up from the point of arrival. This was all handled smoothly and I applaud Orient Express for their crisis management plan.

Our last dinner onboard was prawn dumplings as an entree, Thai green curry for our main meal followed by cheese cake. As a goodwill gesture for the train stopping, all guests were treated to complimentary wine served during dinner.

Once I got back to my room, there was a note left advising to change our watches back to Malaysian time and to ensure we were ready by 7am for our 10:30am flight out of Butterworth.

As our tour was cut short, passengers unfortunately missed out on the tour of the Bridge over the River Kwai. Passengers were handed vouchers which they could later use in Bangkok for the tour of the Bridge over the River Kwai.

Day Three FLIGHT FROM BUTTERWORTH TO BANGKOK

Saturday, 7 November 2009
Depart: 10:30 am Flight to Bangkok

Breakfast was delivered to our room and at 7:30am all guests were escorted to motor coaches and onto the airport for our Air Asia flights to Bangkok. All luggage was sent in a separate truck to the airport where guests were handed their bags.

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