I have always wanted to go on the Orient Express and given my love of Asia chose to do the 3 night trip from Bangkok to Singapore to celebrate my Birthday and it was truly spectacular. We decided to opt for a State Cabin as there was a special offer on at the time of booking, which meant it cost us a similar price to a full price Pullman cabin. I would thoroughly recommend going for the slightly larger cabin if you can afford to, you spend a lot of time in your cabin and the extra space really does make a difference.
The food was truly spectacular, how they manage to prepare it to such a high standard in such a small space is beyond me. You have to choose dinner seating before you board the train and we opted for the later sitting at 9pm, we felt this was better given you have a full lunch and afternoon tea as well, eating at 6.30 would have been too much. You also need to agree if you are happy to share tables as there are not enough tables for everyone to sit as couples, we were a bit reluctant as we didn't want to sit with others for my Birthday dinner, the staff were great and we ended up sharing with others for lunch but being seated as a couple for dinner which worked perfectly for us. The drinks/wine were quite expensive (as you would expect) probably comparable to a 5 star hotel, but the staff are happy to put your wine to one side for your next meal if you don't finish it all in one sitting.
Sleeping is difficult, particularly on the first night and I would definitely recommend earplugs! You do however start to get used to it. It is definitely worth the early start to enjoy the view of viaduct and see all the way to the back of the train. We also enjoyed the River Kwai and Penang excursions which were excellently organised. We were also one of 4 couples who stayed up in the bar car to see the train pull in to Kuala Lumpur which was about 1am on the last night, but was a great way to end the last evening on the train and see the Petronus Towers.
My only slight grumble was we felt the dress code should have been enforced more, the train does lend itself to glamour (which is also the terminology used in their itinerary) but we did feel this was lacking and the staff could have done more to try and encourage guests to adhere to the policy.
The staff are amazing and so incredibly attentive, they caught my taking a photo of the menu on the first night at dinner and told me I didn't need to do that as they would give me a copy - sure enough at the end of the trip I was presented with all the menus from the trip. The staff also went above and beyond to make sure my Birthday was special, with cards & cakes, as well as surprising me with a song in the bar car. Thank you to Woody and all the waiters and bar staff who made the trip truly special.
Overall it is an amazing experience, truly once in a lifetime and a great thing to do to celebrate a special occasion - it has definitely made us want to do the London-Venice trip, so we'd better start saving again!
If you own or manage Venice Simplon-Orient-Express: Day Trips, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.