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Home Malaysia Singapore to Chiang Mai ⇒ Eastern & Oriental Express

Singapore to Chiang Mai by Train

2The Eastern & Oriental Express

An option for those who have the money to spend is The Eastern & Oriental Express. This luxury train brings back the golden age of rail travel and is first class only. The green-liveried carriages have private compartments with dining cars that are right out of Agatha Christie. Passengers are expected to dress for dinner while the lounge car features a real live piano player.

The train stops at Penang and Kanchanaburi amongst other places, allowing passengers to get off and spend the morning exploring. Chiang Mai to Singapore takes a leisurely seven days with plenty of stops giving you a half day tour of River Kwai and Penang for example. It costs around £1540 (US$3,000) per person, including all meals so it’s not outrageously expensive by any means.

If you prefer a more grass-roots approach to travelling, the other option is to take the same trains as everyone else. After all, you aren’t going to meet many Malaysian students or Thai families on the E. & O.

Koh Samet, a Thai tropical island
Get back to nature
on a tropical island.

For a really basic travel experience, try third class in Thailand. Sitting on swaying hard wooden benches in 90 degree heat can be a real test of endurance and trying to sleep on them a feat of desperation. I’d recommend sleeping under them on the floor as at least you get to stretch your legs. Mind you, the only time I tried this I also got lice! If you join an express train at a minor station in Thailand without an advance booking you probably won’t get anything other than a third class seat at the best of times.

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