If you’ve dreamed of “something different” a journey on the Eastern Oriental Express is special, memorable, unique and wonderful. There are not enough superlatives to describe my recent journey through Thailand on the world’s most famous train.

We left Bangkok, amidst noise and confusion, a busy and bustling station, but were welcomed on board by Woody, who looked after our every comfort, and a chilled bottle of champagne ‘ a nice touch from Leesa. And soon we were slowly leaving the city and the suburbs of Bangkok behind. If you need entertainment there was a gathering in the lounge for a tropical fruit demonstration (and a taste), or an audience with a guest speaker, Bill Warren, telling us all about Jim Thomson the founder of the famous Thai Silk Company.

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Leaving the city far behind, we dressed in our fineries and made our way to an early sitting for dinner’.crystal, silver and the best wine’.all set for us at our cosy table for two. Talk about romantic!! After a nightcap we returned to our cabin which Woody had turned into a sumptuous bedroom, and we settled down for the night…but I was much too excited to sleep and I sat up in bed at the window as we wound our way through the countryside passing tiny villages and remote stations. I must have dozed off because I woke to see the dawn and we were in the middle of the rainforest ‘ misty and much cooler.

I spent the next hour in the open air observation deck, with a steaming mug of tea! Lots of guests were around too, and we all drank in the fresh morning air, chattering and excited. Again, as if by magic, Woody had transformed our bedroom and served a hot breakfast’..croissants, muffins and coffee!

After a hot shower in our en-suite, and a change of clothes, we were all too soon, pulling into Chiang Mai. Woody had helped us pack, and waved a fond farewell to us on the platform. With pangs of sadness I said goodbye’..but the next part of my adventure in Thailand was about to unfold!

This turned out to be the perfect family day with Elephants!

This full day tour is all about elephants! interact, feed and touch the elephants and discover how their poop is used to make beautiful paper products.

In the morning depart from any hotel in Chiang Mai into the countryside of Mae Sa to a very special home for elderly elephants. In the lush countryside is the Thai Elephant Care Centre, set up to provide care for elephants who have retired from working in the logging camps and elephant shows. The centre offers a better life and a loving home for elderly elephants that are not able to look after themselves. Spend time lavishing much-deserved affection on these gentle giants. Help to prepare their food, and after feeding them, walk together into the jungle and treat them to a delicious mud bath.

After saying goodbye to your four-legged friends, drive to Mon Cham, located high up on the ridge of a small mountain. This is the perfect spot from which view the Royal Project farms and rural villages scattered amongst the distant hills and lush valleys and have lunch at Mon Jam.

After a Thai lunch visit the unique and eco-friendly Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park. This is very enterprising outdoor museum produces colourful paper products from elephant poop fibres! Take a walk through the fun and interactive stations to learn the history and see all the stages of the paper production. After shopping for unusual souvenirs in the ‘Poop-tique’ gift shop, return to your hotel.

If you’d like to know more email me: charmaine@hallmarktravel.com

Meet me in the gallery!