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Eastern & Oriental Express to launch New Rail Voyages through Thailand, Malaysia, Laos and Singapore

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Luxury train operator Orient-Express is to launch a series of new three and six night rail voyages through Thailand, Malaysia, Laos and Singapore aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express (E&O), commencing in November 2010. The programme contains many elements brand new to E&O.

The quartet of new rail voyages entitled Chronicles of South-East Asia will be offered alongside E&Oís existing year-round schedule of classic departures between Bangkok and Singapore. Each itinerary has been specially crafted to offer a unique, enriching and in-depth travel experience by allowing guests to immerse themselves in the panorama and culture of these fascinating countries and discover new locations.

The voyages are limited to just 60 guests (normal capacity is 132) per journey and all are accommodated in spacious State and Presidential cabins. As well as offering guests the most luxurious and stylish way to see the exotic landscapes, all itineraries offer an extensive programme of exciting excursions, overnight off-train experiences and guest lecturers on board. A selection of wines during meals is also included in the price. These are all a first for the train.

This new chapter for the E&O opens with Legends of the Peninsula a six-night tour of South East Asia; from the bustling city of Bangkok, to the white beaches of Trang and the kaleidoscope of cultures in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

This majestic route travels through great cities and through the jungle-covered hills of Thailand. En route to Malaysia, the train crosses the spectacular wooden trestle viaduct at Tham Kasae, one of the most beautiful stretches of railway in Thailand, and visits the historic River Kwai Bridge before arriving in Trang for a two day stopover at the Anantara Ski Kao Resort. Guests will be able to relax on the beautiful island of Koh Kradan, in the Andaman Sea, and enjoy its stunning white beaches and crystal clear waters. Alternatively, they can take part in a Thai cooking class, go Dugong trekking, or go coral-reef snorkelling or sea kayaking. Following this, and after the train crosses into Malaysia, guests will have a morning in Penang and a full day in Kuala Lumpur, both with a variety of activity and excursion choices.

The story continues with the six-night Fables of the Hills journey departing from Singapore. This itinerary takes guests north through Malaysia and into Thailand before arriving in Bangkok. Highlights include an overnight stay in the lush Cameron Highlands, a leisurely barge cruise along the River Kwai and visit to the historical island of Penang. Along this fascinating trail of discovery, guests will not only have the chance to admire the breathtaking landscape from the open-air Observation Deck on the train, but also learn about the different cultures along the way. The stay in the Cameron Highlands, for instance, includes tasting of tea grown in the hills as well as learning about the tea making process, while a tour of the Monkey Training College at Surat Thani provides a fascinating insight into monkeys being trained to assist local farmers in harvesting coconuts.

There is also an Epic Thailand voyage which showcases the very best Thailand has to offer during this thrilling and journey into off-the- beaten track areas visited by very few foreign visitors. This journey covers large areas of Thailandís beautiful and remote countryside, through distant settlements on the Isan plains and past 12th century Khmer temples in faraway settings. The journey begins with a visit to a traditional village in rural northeastern Thailand where guests will be invited to participate in the Bai Sii Su Kwan (sacred threads) ceremony Ė among the most significant and touching of Thai customs. Other highlights include a full day in the culture-rich city of Chiang Mai and a visit to the Khao Yai National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to wild elephants, gibbons and birds as well as a visit to an elephant camp where guests will have a chance to see the elephants at work. In the scenic Asoke Valley a visit is made to the family-owned Gran Monte Vineyard for a relaxing lunch and wine tasting session led by Thailandís first female oenologist.

The story ends with the final chapter, Tales of Laos, which sees the train once again on a grand exploration, crossing borders. This is a three-night passage of discovery through the vast fields of northeast Thailand and across the Friendship Bridge over the mighty Mekong River. It continues along the first railway into Laos that leads to the capital, Vientiane. Guests onboard on the train are among the few overseas visitors to travel along this route, crossing borders between two beautiful countries and discovering a country largely undiscovered by foreign visitors.

Departures and Prices

Legends of the Peninsula: A six-night land voyage through Asia from colourful Bangkok, to the tranquil beaches of Trang and the colonial architecture of Kuala Lumpur and onto cosmopolitan Singapore.

Highlights include: Tham Kasae Viaduct, River Kwai, Trang (overnight), Penang, and Kuala Lumpur.
Departures: November 30th 2010, March 20th, November 27th 2011
Price: starts from £5,500 per person in a State cabin

Fables of the Hills: A six-night experience taking guests north from Singapore through the cool hill country of the Cameron Highlands to Bangkok.
Highlights include: Visits to Kuala Lumpur, Cameron Highlands (overnight), Penang, Tham Kasae Viaduct and River Kwai.
Departures: January 16th, October 2nd 2011
Price: starts from £5,500 per person in a State cabin

Epic Thailand: A six-night journey of pure adventure to hidden treasures in remote Northeastern Thailand that very few foreign visitors reach.

Highlights include: Isan Village Life, Khmer ruins at Prasat Sikhoraphum and Phanom Rung, Chiang Mai, Khao Yai National Park.
Departures: February 20th, October 30th 2011
Price: starts from £5,500 per person in a State cabin

Tales of Laos: A wonderfully evocative way to discover a unique route and country once part of old Indochina and sealed off from the rest of Asia. This is a three night journey departing from Bangkok and highlights include: Khmer ruins at Phimai, Khao Yai National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and crossing the Friendship Bridge over the Mekong.
Departures: February 1st 2011
Price: starts from £2,400 per person in a State cabin

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