The Orient Express. The name conjures up images of luxury, decadence, adventure, mystic, unabashed hedonism and, well, murder.
If not for the worldwide travel restrictions still in place, the name would have also prompted a reckless (but worthy) booking for one of Belmond’s luxury train journeys — the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in particular. Imagine slurping oysters and drinking champagne at all hours in the storied Art Deco carriages of the world’s most opulent train from the Golden Age.
Until the world emerges from this torpor, the next best thing is a pop-up attraction coming to a garden near you. Thanks to the Arab World Institute, the Orient Express will arrive in Singapore this December 2020 at the West Lawn of Gardens by the Bay. Titled Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express, the six-month-long exhibition presents “a fairytale universe related to travel, culture and gastronomy”.
Two original 1930 train carriages and a 158-year-old locomotive have been painstakingly restored to their former glory and will be shipped from France, housing around 300 objects and documents (posters, menus, crockery, trunks, and more) that retraces the centuries-old legacy of the famous train.
Visitors will also discover the routes and landscapes that nobles, explorers and diplomats had travelled on through documentaries, newsreels and film clips. Better yet, immerse yourself in the romance of a bygone era dining in the replica restaurant car or play Hercule Poirot and solve a detective case in the escape room a la Murder on The Orient Express. Time travel never sounded so good.
Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express will take place from December 12, 2020 to June 13, 2021. Tickets will be available for sale from 2 October 2020 on SISTIC.
This article was first published on Prestige Singapore. (All images courtesy of The Orient Express)