Seeing as travelling isn't a thing and won't be for a while, any new thing to do in Singapore is extra exciting. The latest attraction is a pop-up exhibition at Gardens by the Bay that opens tomorrow, 12 December 2020: Once Upon a Time on the Orient Express.
Keep reading to find out more!
Located a short walk from Bayfront MRT station exit B, the exhibition is located at the West Lawn of Gardens by the Bay. Look out for a white tent and a giant green train locomotive.
Orient Express train
The exhibition has two actual Orient Express train carriages and over 300 artefacts brought from France.
"Boarding" the train carriage feels like stepping into a period film set or going back in time to a bygone era. The trains have distinctly aged and authentic look with intricate, lavish details that are completely unlike modern trains - even the luxurious ones. The train is constructed with Cordoba embossed leather ceilings and decorated with Lalique crystal bas-reliefs Gobelins tapestries, velvet curtains from Genoa, silverware, precious tablecloths and crystal fine glasses.
On the tables are one-of-a-kind artefacts that give clues on what the Orient Express passengers were like in the past.
Unfortunately, you can't sit and pose in those cosy-looking armchairs. Guests are advised not to touch anything so as to keep the train and artefacts preserved in their best condition. Here's a photo suggestion: stand by the iconic oval window and pretend you're travelling on the original Orient Express.
At the end of the train is a display of décor including historical Louis Vuitton trunks and garment hangers once used by travellers, displayed in giant trunks.
You'll also find displays on Agatha Christie, the author of the famed novel on the Orient Express.
The next section is an interactive exhibition filled with a collection of pieces and historical facts on the history of the Orient Express and how it linked Europe and the Orient. On display are posters, menus, crockery, cutlery, suitcases, stained glass windows and furniture, giving an insight on what luxury train travel was like back then.
This section of the exhibition is a paradise for train fanatics and a fascinating learning experience for the casual visitor.
Of course, there's plenty of Orient Express-themed merchandise to bring home including notebooks, teacups, water bottles and toy trains.
Orient Express Road Café
Once your legs have tired out and your stomach starts growling, you can rest and take a bite from the Orient Express Road Café. It’s also open to the general public so you can keep it in mind as a dining spot even if you're just visiting the rest of Gardens by the Bay.
Helmed by Chef Alléno, the cafe will offer a selection of dishes aligned with the road map concept. You can also enjoy coffee blends that were discovered and made famous by the many stops along the Orient Express route such as Paris, Venice, Vienna and Istanbul.
For something more extravagant, pamper yourself to a fancy dinner at the pop-up restaurant that's a replica of the Orient Express train carriage. Don't be fooled by the novelty of the ambience, the restaurant team is led by a Michelin-starred chef and the menu is specially curated for this showcase to reflect the exquisite cuisine of that era.
Some items on the Dinner Set (from $298++) menu are King Crab and Wagyu Grade 5 while the Lunch Set ($188++) has dishes like Spicy Aubergine and Slow-cooked Cod. They also serve Brunch ($250++) and Hi Tea($78++).
Entry to this restaurant is separate from the exhibition, with reservations required and catering to diners aged 12 and above. Seats are running out fast so make sure to make your reservations if you're keen on the dining experience. Each reservation is allowed a 1 hour 30 minute dine-in time for Lunch, Hi-Tea and First seating dinner, and 2 hour dine-in time for Second seating dinner. Seats are fixed to groups of 2 and 4 respectively.
Once Upon A Time On The Orient Express
- By MRT: Alight at Bayfront station, take Exit B and then walk along the underground linkway. Thereafter, you may cross either the Dragonfly Bridge or Meadow Bridge into GBTB.
- By Grab or taxi: Walk from the closest drop-off point - Bayfront Pavilion drop off point A.
- By car: Walk from the nearest carpark - Bayfront Plaza Open Air Carpark.
Address: Gardens by the Bay (West Lawn), 18 Marina Gardens Dr, Singapore 018953
Opening hours: 12 Dec 2020 - 13 June 2021. Mon, Tue, Fri, Sun: 10am to 9pm; Wed, Thurs: 10am to 7pm; Sat: 10am to 10pm.
Tickets: sistic.com.sg ($25 each or $88 for 2 adults + 2 children)
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Text by: GirlStyle SG