Things we like - culture

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 March, 2013, 9:30am

Southeast Asian excursion
Recapture a forgotten era of opulence while journeying on the Eastern & Oriental Express, Asia's most exclusive train. Passengers can discover the authentic culture and beauty of countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. Itineraries this year include classic two- and three-night Singapore to Bangkok journeys (or vice versa) or a more leisurely Chronicles of Southeast Asia tour, which is limited to 60 guests staying in spacious state and presidential cabins. Guests on this trip can immerse themselves in these fascinating countries and discover new locations.

Included are overnight off-train stays and insights from guest lecturers aboard the train.

Colonial KL charm
The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur is like a portal back to the early British colonial days, with doormen dressed in starched white shirts and shorts, knee-high socks and pith helmets. It's not a coincidence, because part of the hotel was the former Majestic Hotel, a national heritage site from that era. The refurbished hotel was reopened last December with a new façade and new wing, and a significant upgrade in status. It has retained much of the rustic charm of the old days, complete with afternoon teas in the chamber-like Colonial Café, or a game of pool in the Drawing Room. It's just like living in an old British estate.

Panoramic Paris
For a perfect view of Paris, the panoramic terrace at the Pompidou Centre is not as busy as the well-known Eiffel Tower. The glass and metal exterior distinguishes the 1970s building, which is known locally as Beaubourg.

A cultural hub, the Pompidou Centre houses one of the world's best and most famous museums of modern art, the MNAM, with a permanent collection of works from artists such as Matisse, Kadinsky, Miro and Picasso on the fourth floor, and post-1965 pop art on the fifth. The building also houses a movie theatre, library and bookshop. Vibrant Place Beaubourg, outside the iconic building, attracts street entertainers such as mimes and jugglers. In the spring, small carnivals are temporarily installed with attractions such as bands and sketch artists.