Singapore, Worth Exploring

Sunday 22 March 2009 | By Stephanie Harms |

Mandarin Oriental Hotel

The hotel is approximately 30 minutes from Changi Airport. It is situated opposite Singapore harbour and is linked to Marina Square Shopping Mail. The new Suntec Singapore and Esplanade are within a few minutes’ walk. The Singapore flyer (equivalent of the London Eye) is 10 minutes stroll and an excellent place to view the amazing city of Singapore and its harbour. Raffles is also only 10 minutes away.

The hotel is modern and stylish yet has a strong Oriental feel to its design. There are 449 luxurious rooms and 78 suites. All rooms are equipped with plasma TV and cable channels, mini bar, DVD player, CD and high speed wired and wireless internet. It has 5 restaurants and an amazing 25 meter pool, fitness centre and of course spa. Everything you would expect and more from a 5 star hotel. The rooms are huge and luxurious and the location is great.

Singapore City

Singapore itself is a vibrant and buzzing city. Definitely a place to explore. Taxis are frequent and reasonable. There are many city tours available which will show you China town including a Chinese temple, Little India, and of course the National Museum of Singapore. If travelling with children the Botanical gardens and the Singapore Zoo offers a great night safari. Sentosa Island offers a beach resort, Universal Studios and the Aquarium is one of the largest in Asia.

Evening: Restaurants and NightlifeThe main areas to head for are Clarkes Quay where you will find the harbour edge lined with an extensive variety of restaurants. There are also music bars and nightclubs. You can also visit the street vendors for a taste of local flavour. Another popular location is Chijmes which is a converted convent school with a great selection of various restaurants in a central outdoor location. For a slightly more exclusive evening you could head for ’Oosh’ for great Japanese or Malaysian cuisine in a lush outdoor setting and private dining. All of these locations can be reached by taxi in approximately 10 minutes. Singapore is very accessible and offers something for everyone  and is a great stop-over destination.

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!  

Eastern and Oriental Express

Sunday 22 March 2009 | By Stephanie Harms |

Choo, Choo, Chugga, Chugga. 

The train is as you would imagine with beautiful wood panelling and crisp linen table clothes with beautiful crystal glasses and fine china. There is also a bar car where in the evening a pianist will play or Thai dancers will perform. At the back of the train is the Observation Car which is partially open air to enable you to take in and view the passing scenery to its best potential.

 There are three cabin types. Each cabin has a private ensuite and is equipped with air conditioning, a hairdryer and safe. 

The Pullman:There are 30 Pullman compartments which are approx 62 squared feet. During the daytime the compartment is a private lounge provided by banquette style sofa. At night the seating converts to an upper and lower bed. A separate en suite shower, washbasin and WC is provided.

The State Cabin:

There are 28 state cabins which measure 84 square feet. A private lounge during the day with a banquette style sofa and fixed chair, and one moveable chair. Fixed daytime seating converts to two single beds at night. There is a separate en suite shower, washbasin and WC.

The Presidential Suite :Each Presidential Suite measures 125 square feet . The cabins are styled as a private lounge during the day with banquette style sofa and fixed chair, and two moveable chairs. Fixed daytime seating converts to two single beds at night. There is also the separate en suite shower, washbasin and WC. The extra facilities include an Ipod docking station and CD player. Guests in Presidential Suites enjoy the additional benefit of a complimentary bar in their cabin.

There are two sittings for lunch and dinner and there are 2 dining carriages where your table will be prebooked for you alternating between the two carriages to ensure you experience both carriages . You can dine on a table of 4 or a table of 2. If you are travelling as a party of 2 but wish to dine with other passengers this can also be arranged for you. 

Your Journey Begins
Day One
The Orient Express departs from Keppel Road Station where you will find the Orient Express check in desk and departure lounge. Your journey begins with a late morning departure. Your bags are brought to your cabin where your Steward offers you a warm welcome and explains all the services available to you. The train crosses into the peninsular of Malaysia via the causeway of the straits of Johor and the journey continues north whilst you savour your 3 course lunch. The passing scenery is vast oil-palms and rubber plantations and rural settlements.

Afternoon tea is served in your cabin, whilst cocktails are served in the bar or observation car. Your 4 course evening meal is a true delight with a beautiful menu, offering the most amazing western and eastern cuisine. Whilst you are having your evening meal your steward is transforming your compartment into a cosy bedroom.

After dinner the train stops at Kuala Lumpur railway station where you will disembark for a stroll along the platform.

Day 2
Through the night the train continues its journey through lush forest and rural west-cost towns of Malaysia. Breakfast is served in your compartment. At nine o’clock the train arrives at Butterworth station where you disembark for the ferry crossing to Penang and a guided introductory tour of Georgetown. Here you will walk through the local markets and jump on a tuk-tuk to explore the mosques, temples, churches, bazaars and colourful shophouses. You rejoin the train for lunch and afternoon tea. The train crosses into Thailand and the scenery changes to include Thai temples and bustling stations.

The evening is truly a chance to be wined and dined by the best chefs and attentive waiters. As you prepare for your last night on board.

Day 3
After breakfast in your compartment you disembark to see the famous River Kwai Bridge before cruising on the river. You are given the opportunity to photograph the Orient Express crossing the Bridge. There waiting for you is a local historian who is the creator of the museum who provides a very interesting overview of the railway and the bridge. At the landing point you travel by motor coach to the Thailand-Burma railway museum and the Don Rak war cemetery. It is truly an interesting and moving experience and extremely informative.

When you arrive back on the train there is time for one more delicious three course lunch as the train proceeds towards Bangkok arriving in the afternoon at Bangkok Hualampong Station.

Porters will take your luggage for you and on the platform, arrange for it to be taken to your taxi or next form of transport.

May we suggest continuing on your journey as we did and heading on to the amazing Oriental Hotel in Bangkok.  

For more information on any of the areas featured in this blog, contact World Travel Professionals to speak with one of our consultants. We encourage and welcome all user comments and aim to use our blog to interact with our interested readers!