Great Railway Journeys - Series 4 - Singapore to Bangkok

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Actor Stephen Tompkinson relives the gracious days of colonial train travel as a pampered passenger on the Eastern and Oriental Express. Fortified with Singapore Slings in the Raffles Hotel and by a quick game of cricket in the middle of town, Stephen boards the E&O for an unhurried trip through Malaysia's rubber and tea plantations. After some difficulty with his dress sense, Stephen settles down to a life of unashamed luxury. Having been told that the Malaysians are world champion eaters, Stephen shows his own prowess in the gluttony stakes by eating his way around Penang's food market. Later, in Thailand, he visits Kanchanaburi, the site of the Death Railway and the infamous bridge over the River Kwai, and enters a Buddhist temple where he learns to meditate. The impact of commercialism on the spiritual world of Buddhism is particularly noticeable in Bangkok, where there are temples on traffic islands, and believers are encouraged to buy caged birds, because the act of releasing them can lead to a higher level of reincarnation.