Heather Russell, Event Operations Director at SevenEvents, gives the lowdown on a very memorable trip on the Eastern Oriental Express…
We’re always searching for the ultimate once in a life time experience for our incentive clients and we were very lucky to be invited and hosted by Belmond on the Eastern Oriental Express. World renowned, the celebrated trains are known for their iconic art deco style and timeless elegance. We couldn’t wait to get on board…
Starting our adventure in Singapore, the train check in took place at the landmark Raffles hotel. Formalities aside, you are transferred to the departure check point before setting off in true Orient Express style with afternoon tea and a glass of champers served in your cabin.
As you sit back and relax and watch the train make its way into Malaysia, your cabin steward ensures you are comfortable and gives you the low down on the cabin and services onboard.
Cabins are cosy with a traditional elegance that doesn’t lack functionality. Everything has been considered for maximum comfort with the bed doubling up as a sofa in the daytime, a folding table for dining below the window, and a small en suite bathroom. Then not forgetting all important little luxuries with, plush fabrics, cotton robes, embroidered slippers, a welcome gift with journey info, special keep sakes and personalised stationary.
Dinner on board is a true highlight, with a dress code of understated elegance. Tables are dressed with crisp white table cloths, silver is polished to perfection and crystal glassware sparkles. Dinners on board are a three-course affair, fine dining with Asian flare and beautifully paired wines. Then after dinner, drinks can be enjoyed in the bar, alongside the tinkling of the piano, with requests taken and a sing along encouraged.
Day two on board began with breakfast served in your cabin, before heading out for the daily excursion. Heading off the beaten track in Malaysia, we embarked on a hill trek to a view point to look down on the mountain and paddy fields below. At the view point, local fruits and produce are enjoyed as a refreshing break, before heading back down the hill and back to the train for a cool shower before lunch.
As the train rolls on you spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying a drink in the observation cabin where you can feel the warmth of the sun, while you watch and the ever-changing landscape rolling through rainforests, past mountains and paddy fields. Afternoon tea bridged the gap between dinner, with patisserie focusing on local flavours with lychee choux and palm leaf flavoured sponge.
The final day on the train was a real highlight, with an excursion beginning at the infamous Bridge of the River Kwai, in the town Kanchanaburi. Heading off the train we visited a local market, sampled local ingredients and learnt about the culture and technique of making a Thai staple, rice noodles.
Then making our way back to the river, we boarded a badge boat, set up for our cooking class, made extra special with champagne on arrival and personalised aprons. We were joined by acclaimed Bangkok based chef Ian Kittichai, who devised the menu of local dishes we cooked and then enjoyed while floating down the river Khwae Yai River.
Back on board for a finale lunch as the train moved on to our final stop, Bangkok. Enjoying our last lunch, we reflected on a truly unique experience and the wonderful memories to cherish. The Eastern Oriental Express is coined “art in motion” and it’s exactly that! Exquisite, iconic, glamorous and totally unique. The perfect recipe for extra special incentive events!
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