The Once Upon a time on the Orient Express Exhibition rolled into town in December 2020, extending its time in Singapore until September 2021. So if you thought you missed the boat (well, in this instance, the train!”), then you are mistaken! The Orient Express exhibition has opened its doors outside of France for the first time, and we have been the lucky ones here in Singapore to have been graced by its presence.
When I think of The Orient Express, I am reminded of times long ago in movies like James Bond’s “From Russia with love” and Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express”. This exhibition brings back thoughts of nostalgia and old-world glamour.
The Orient Express History
In 1883 the original Orient Express, the “Express d’Orient”, left Paris for the first time on its journey to Vienna. Later changing its name to the “Orient Express” in 1891. Eventually, running from Paris to Romania, with an extension to Bulgaria via the Danube river. Several months later, the journey would take wanted passengers all the way to Turkey.
The Orient Express changed its name and routes many times over the years, eventually carrying its passengers, film crew, movie stars, authors, socialites and Royalty between Paris and Istanbul until 2009.
Today this luxury service is run by Venice Simplon-Orient-Express (VSOE) Limited, part of Belmond (who offer other luxury transport services worldwide).
The Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express Exhibition
Book your tickets online here, remembering that you must make your reservation at the Orient Express Restaurant separately here. The cost of tickets is from $25 for a standard ticket, $35 for a standard ticket with a booklet and starting at $88 for a family bundle which contains two adults and two children (Free admission for children under the age of 3) and $80 for a fast track/VIP ticket.
- Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays are open from 10 am to 9 pm.
- Wednesdays and Thursdays are open from 10 am to 7 pm.
- Saturdays are open from 10 am to 10 pm.
How to get to the Orient Express Exhibition in Singapore
The exact address is Gardens by the Bay, West Lawn, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Ensure you mention Bayfront Pavilion drop-off when organising a taxi or hire car.
From here, you can either catch a buggy from Bayfront Pavilion drop off at the “Once Upon A Time on the Orient Express” pop-up attraction (there is a phone at the stop); the cost is $5 per person. Advisable if it is raining as there is no shelter to and from the exhibition. Alternatively, you can walk it (there are signs to follow when you arrive), which will take about 5-10 minutes.
If you have decided to drive yourself, you can park at the Bayfront Plaza Carpark for a fee.
Walking from Marina Bay Sands is easy and should take approximately 15-20 minutes.
The closest MTR is at Bayfront station. Take Exit B and follow the underground linkway exit, which will take you all the way to Gardens By The Bay; the approximate walking time from here is about 15 minutes.
What you will find at the Orient Express Exhibition
Wander through the train carriages and be transported back into time. The experience will have you feeling like you have entered a movie lot with the carriages dressed as impressed as they were back in its heyday. Along with movie memorabilia, the carriages have many artefacts from the original orient express. After taking enough photos and reading all on offer, head out through the second carriage to the pop-up museum.
You will love this exhibition if you are anything like me and find history exciting and intriguing. There is plenty to watch, read and enjoy (it does get cold inside, so you may need to bring a jumper).
The Orient Express Souvenir shop
At the end of the Orient Express exhibition, the souvenir shop has everything from children’s books to keepsake souvenirs. All products can be bought online as an alternative. Opening hours are the same as the exhibition.
The Orient Express Cafe
If your journey ends here and you have chosen not to make a booking at the Orient Express Restaurant, then The Orient Express Cafe is a great alternative. With coffee, icecreams, drinks, cakes and sandwiches, there is plenty of choices here.
The Orient Express Restaurant
A dress code is required in this gorgeous replica of The Orient Express Train. The dining times are strictly 1 hour and 30 minutes, so try not to be late for your allocated reservation. Menus are subject to change due to seasonal ingredients, so check out the menu before you go; there is only a vegetarian option available as an alternative to French Michelin star chef Yannick Alléno’s delicious menu.
Lunch – From $188 ++ From 12 pm – 2 pm (Monday to Saturday)
Brunch – $250 ++ From 11.30 pm – 2.30 pm (Sunday)
Afternoon Tea – $88++ From 3 pm – 5 pm (Monday – Sunday)
Dinner – From $299++ 6 pm – 7:30 pm and 8 pm – 10:30 pm (daily)
Chef Dinner From $398 ++ 6 pm – 7:30 pm and 8 pm – 10:30 pm (daily)
Other things you need to know
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2 thoughts on “The Orient Express Singapore review”
Extremely unpleasant experience with the customer service. I booked way back in June and when the government imposed dining restrictions, I emailed to ask for updates and didn’t receive any information until the dining restrictions were lifted. Even then, the email sent on 5 July was merely to inform me that the restaurant decided to postpone their opening in view of the lack of economies of scale associated with the dining restrictions (dining in groups of 2 and limited capacity etc).
Whilst I was given alternate dates for reschedule, I previously booked tickets to the museum to coincide with the dining experience and have already visited the museum. But we were keen on the dining experience and I made a request via a reply to their email on 13 July to have our date rescheduled to 1 August. Disappointingly, I still did not hear back and emailed them on 25 July to ask on the update of the reschedule as it was only a few days short of 1 August. I also called on numerous occasions but no one picked up the call.
Following my email, I received the following response on 26 July:
“In accordance with the latest government regulations dated 20th July
2021, we are reaching out to inform you that the restaurant will be
closed for dining in from the 22nd of July to the 18th of August.” Why does the team not think it fitting to respond to emails for rescheduling done on their request and only revert when asked for a followup?
Given my experience thus far, I decided to request for a refund and informed them as such via email on 29 July since no one was picking up my calls nor responding to my WhatsApp messages. My request for cancellation was acknowledged in their email reply on 3 August in which their finance department was also on the cc list. Thereafter there has been no response despite an email from me on 27 August requesting for an update.
It has been more than 1.5 months since the request for refund was acknowledged but no response was received nor was the refund made.
Such a shame your experience was not a pleasant one.