The Ancient Kingdom of Lanna
Bangkok > Chiang Mai > Bangkok
Recapture the magic of the historic Kingdom of Lanna with an unforgettable journey through northern Thailand.
The majesty and splendour of the Eastern & Oriental Express, with its comfortable and elegant compartments, delicious cuisine and superb service, combined with the adventure of a journey through the heart of Asia, is a truly unique way to experience the full wonder of this remarkable region. A quarter of a mile in length, the air-conditioned gleaming green and cream carriages evoke the great age of luxury train travel and are a world of opulence and fine craftsmanship. In the Dining Cars, waiters present gourmet Asian and European dishes and fine wines in gleaming crystal and silverware. The Bar Car with its resident pianist and variety of local entertainment provides a special opportunity to meet follow travellers. In the Saloon Car, the Boutique sells a range of exclusive Eastern & Oriental Express merchandise, and there is also a reading room with a varied library. The most popular place on board however, is the open decked Observation Car, which provides an unbeatable opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery. The Eastern & Oriental Express accommodates 132 passengers in 66 air-conditioned cabins, all furnished with beautiful fabrics, fine linens and soft towels, and a friendly room service is available 24 hours a day.
Day 1: Bangkok (D) Check-in at the Hualampong station to begin your journey on the Eastern & Oriental Express. Stewards in exquisite Thai uniforms await to welcome you to board the train, their hands pressed together in a gracious wai gesture - a promise of the memorable journey to come. Settle into your private cabin and enjoy a refreshing afternoon tea as the train travels out of Bangkok and heads north. As the sun sets, dress up for dinner, then make your way to the Bar car for cocktails before proceeding to the Restaurant car to savour the delightful meal presented by the team of chefs.
Day 2: Lampang > Chiang Mai (B,L,D) After breakfast we arrive in Lampang, a northern Thai city rich in history and culture. Disembark from the train and begin your excursion of the city by riding in its trademark horse-drawn 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 brings you to Ban Sao Nak - House of Many Pillars - which was built in 1895 by a prosperous teak merchant. A distinguishing feature of the house is that it is raised on a base of 116 pillars. It is now a museum and is a remarkably well-preserved structure of Burmese and Lanna architectural styles. At the front and on the lawn, stands a huge 133-year-old Sarapee (Ochocarpus Siamensis) tree. Tour the house and enjoy a morning tea break before returning to the train in the late morning.
Brunch is served on the E&O as we continue onwards to our next destination of Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai was the capital of the northern Thai kingdom of Lanna from 1296-1939, and attained the height of its golden age in the 15th century. Today this charming and attractive city bears the remnants of the historical architecture, and sections of the original great brick walls and towering gates which protected the city from invading armies over 700 years ago. Upon arrival in the central city you will proceed on the tour of your choice.
Option 1: Discover the essence of Chiang Mai with a drive through the old town to view the four bastions of the original walls surrounded by the moat, including a stop for a traditional monk's blessing ceremony followed by a guided stroll through a quaint residential soi. A stop at a market will reveal a treasure trove for all things local, and where you will be met by the owner of a famous dessert salon who will escort you around the myriad stalls displaying fresh and dried foods, and introduce you to the unique ingredients that make Thai cuisine so special. You will then continue on to the Wanlamun house for refreshments and a culinary presentation of yum sum-o from a family recipe handed through the generations for this authentic pomelo salad before you savour its delicious and distinctive taste. Afterwards, whizz through the streets on a song thaew to return to the railway station.
Option 2: Alternatively, indulge in an afternoon of shopping with visits to a selection of Chiang Mai's many cottage industries, with its sheer variety of ethnic handicraft that will make 'treasure' hunting in this pre-eminent centre of arts and crafts a never-ending yet fulfilling attraction. Your shopping tour will reveal the varied creations of the famous local artefacts and decorative souvenirs that represent Chiang Mai's Lanna heritage and the identity of the people. At the umbrella village workshops, you will see the step-by-step processes of these mulberry-paper parasols being crafted and elaborately decorated - each piece a unique work of art. The traditional methods of wood-ash glazed celadon pottery can be observed next, with the resultant array of pieces showcasing the delicate painting and carving of lively designs that characterise Thai arts and culture. Wonderfully lustrous silk threads are produced in a laborious process from silk worm to thread-colouring and weaving, and this time-honoured craft produces the stunning selection of fabrics at the silk centre.
A visit to the Dhara Dhevi Tea House follows, and you have the option to relax here or continue on the shopping trail and visit the Lanna-style Kad Dhara village. After a day of taking in the sights and sounds of Chiang Mai, you will return to the train in the late afternoon.
Once again, greeted by your steward as you board the train, relax and look forward to a sumptuous dinner followed by an aperitif in the Bar to share your day's encounters with your fellow travelers.
Day 3: Bangkok (B,L) Spend a leisurely morning onboard the train, and enjoy breakfast as the train travels toward Bangkok. Lunch is served as you view the passing scenery and complete your final packing before arrival and disembarkation. Step off the train and wave to the E&O staff as they wish you a safe and pleasant onward journey.
•All table d'hote meals on board Eastern & Oriental Express •Complimentary tea and coffee in your compartment •Sightseeing and excursions
Pricing (per person) $AUD
Booking conditions Single prices for solo use of cabins are available on request. SAVE 15% on combined Belmond journeys
Combine a Eastern & Oriental Express train journey with a Myanamar Road to Mandalay or Orcaella cruise, and receive a 15% discount. Prices are per person in Australian Dollars, double/twin occupancy. Please contact World Journeys for the updated AUD exchange rate to convert to New Zealand Dollars.
Single prices for solo use of cabins are available on request.
SAVE 15% on combined Belmond journeys Combine a Eastern & Oriental Express train journey with a Myanamar Road to Mandalay or Orcaella cruise, and receive a 15% discount.
Prices are per person in Australian Dollars, double/twin occupancy. Please contact World Journeys for the updated AUD exchange rate to convert to New Zealand Dollars.
Gratuity Gratuities for staff and guides are at the passengers discretion.
Gratuities for staff and guides are at the passengers discretion.