SINGAPORE (AP) _ Passengers sipped champagne and the Singapore Police band played ''Col. Bogey'' as the Eastern and Oriental Express pulled out of Singapore on Sunday on its inaugural run to Bangkok, Thailand.

In evoking the colonial past, the luxury train is designed to emulate the mystique and romance of its European sister, the Orient-Express, which runs between London and Venice, Italy.

After rolling through the rubber plantations, rice paddies and jungles of Malaysia and southern Thailand, the train is due Tuesday in Bangkok, 1,200 miles north of here.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir was to board in his capital, Kuala Lumpur, for a ride to Alor Star in northern Malaysia.

Britain's Princess and Prince Michael of Kent were among the 120 passengers who left from Singapore.

Not designed as basic transportation in the era of fast jets, the green and yellow cars of the Eastern and Oriental are targeted at well-heeled U.S. and European tourists with a taste for exotic Southeast Asia.

They will get a sanitized version of it in pampered comfort as they ride from Singapore to the Thai capital. It leaves Bangkok on the return leg Wednesday.

The one-way fare is $2,300 for a standard compartment. The same trip on the best available ordinary train costs about $300, but this train is the first direct rail link between Singapore and Bangkok without changing trains.