DAY ONE - Bangkok
The gleaming green carriages of the Eastern & Oriental Express await you at Bangkok's central station. As you arrive you will be welcomed by stewards in exquisite Thai uniforms with their hands pressed together in a gracious “wai”.
A cool drink is served as you settle into your luxurious cabin. The whistle blows and the train sets off through the city, and out into the glorious countryside beyond. Make your way to the Bar Car for a "welcome" cocktail reception hosted by the Train Manager and the chance to meet other guests. Enjoy dinner in one of the opulent dining cars then perhaps have your fortune told by the on board astrologer and listen to the resident pianist playing nostalgic melodies in the Bar Car.
DAY TWO - Isan - Village Life & Prasat Sikhoraphum
Following breakfast, you will be escorted to a traditional Isan village where you will take a walking tour and meet the residents. Our expert guides will explain Isan customs and how to show respect. Walking through the village, you will visit the local temple and school, and see women weaving "matmee" cloth (silk or cotton) or bamboo mats on home looms. Explore and learn about the complex system of rice cultivation and enjoy a walk through the verdant rice paddies.
During your time in the village you will be invited to participate in the bai sii (sacred thread) ceremony performed by the village elders, when sacred threads are tied around the wrist to offer protection for a journey. This ritual also symbolises a renewal of friendship. It is a very moving experience and one of the most memorable Thai rituals. Following the ceremony guests return to the E&O. Lunch is served on board as the train continues its journey through rural landscapes.
In the late afternoon the E&O arrives at the small town of Sikhoraphum where you disembark for a visit to Prasat Sikhoraphum, a beautifully-restored 12th century Khmer temple. Situated off the beaten track, Prasat Sikhoraphum rarely receives international visitors. Lovely views can be enjoyed across the countryside surrounding this tranquil place—the perfect setting for a sunset cocktail reception.
After this exhilarating day, it is time to return to the train and to relax in one’s cabin before moving to the dining car for a casual dinner.
DAY THREE - Phanom Rung
This morning brings a visit to Phanom Rung, another majestic and highly revered 12th century Khmer temple, which has been nominated for World Heritage status.
After exploring this magnificent complex, with its intricate stone carvings of ancient legends, visit a nearby village famous for its silk weavers and observe them at their work. Return to the E&O late morning where the rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure, watching the scenes of rural Thailand pass by as the train travels towards Chiang Mai. Lunch is served as the train traverses vast, open plains. Enjoy on board entertainment and glimpse scenes of rural life through the windows. As evening turns into night, a delightful dinner based on the produce of this region will be served in the restaurant cars.
DAY FOUR - Chiang Mai
Today you discover the northern province of Chiang Mai, the ancient Lanna Kingdom. This fascinating region pre-dates the Siamese settlements further south, such as Sukhothai and Bangkok, by several hundred years.
Here you have a choice of excursions. You may decide to visit to an elephant camp, where you see the animals at work and may even have the chance to ride them. Or take a tour of one of Chiang Mai's most revered Buddhist temples. Alternatively, spend a relaxed afternoon shopping at some of the city's best boutiques: Chiang Mai is renowned for its crafts, which range from the traditional to the cutting-edge All excursions include a memorable Lanna-style lunch. Further information on the available excursions is provided on board. Return to the train in the late afternoon and enjoy dinner as the train glides along.
DAY FIVE - Lampang
After breakfast you arrive in Lampang, another northern Thai city rich in history and culture.
You will have the opportunity to explore the city in its trademark pony carriages. These delightful carts were originally imported from England for use by Thai nobility in Bangkok, but with the introduction of the automobile, were sent to the provinces. The leisurely carriage ride concludes at Ban Sao Nak (House of Many Pillars). Built in 1895 on 116 pillars by a local resident, this house is now a museum. In front stands a huge 133-year-old Sarapee (Ochocarpus Siamensis) tree.
Take a tour of the house and garden and enjoy morning tea on the lawn before returning to E&O. Lunch is served on board, as you travel through the breathtaking countryside. Enjoy the vistas from the open air Observation Car, order a sunset cocktail and move on to the restaurant car for dinner on board.
DAY SIX - Khao Yai National Park
Today begins with an early morning visit to Khao Yai National Park, Thailand’s oldest such reserve.
With an expert naturalist to guide you, explore the park and - with luck - observe wildlife such as elephants, deer and gibbons, birds and lizards, in their natural habitat. This excursion includes a comfortable hike along one of the park's leafy walking trails for a close up view of unique plants and flowers.
After enjoying the morning in the park, you will travel by coach to Gran Monte - one of the country's most celebrated vineyards. Gran Monte bottles its own wine under the direction of Thailand’s first female oenologist, Ms. Nikki Visootha Lohitnavy. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the vineyard's renowned restaurant and sample a selection of wines, followed by a walking tour among the vines.
Return to E&O in the late afternoon and mark the end of an unforgettable journey around Thailand’s lesser-known destinations by joining new-found friends at our “farewell” cocktail party.
DAY SEVEN – Bangkok
Arrive at 09:30am and disembark in Bangkok as the on board team wave goodbye and wish you a pleasant onward journey.