This ain't no backpacker cattle car. Bearing the Orient-Express's elegant pedigree, the E&O celebrates its 12th anniversary this year as the only luxury train in Southeast Asia, taking passengers on a three-day jaunt from Singapore north through the Malay Peninsula to Bangkok, Thailand. Far-flung spots include the island of Penang, Malaysia (where you can take a rickshaw past historic Hindu and Chinese temples), and Thailand's infamous River Kwai. Train cabins are outfitted in embroidered linens, intricate Thai carvings, and polished brasswork; even standard Pullman compartments have convertible seat-beds, private showers, and panoramic windows; and in the restaurant cars, you'll chow down on Malay curries and mango-filled samosas. Tack the three-day Thai Explorer itineraryintroduced last yearon to the end of your trip and you'll get to check out silk artisans at work in Chiang Mai and hike among Ayutthaya's crumbling temple ruins.
ACCESS + RESOURCES
» SOUTHEAST ASIA: Run by Orient-Express, the Eastern & Oriental Express (800-524-2420, www.orient-express.com) travels twice a month between Singapore and Bangkok; from $1,730 per person one-way, including all meals, bunk-bed-style accommodations, and tours. Fares on the Thai Explorer begin at $1,360.