5 Amazing Train Journeys to Consider Taking in Your Life

  • Copy by: Reema Desai

There is something inherently glamorous and romantic about train travel. Something about the idea of taking your time on a journey, and opting for the slow, relaxed approach over the frenzy of air travel is the type of travel we all need a little more of. Ditch the cramped airline seats and long security lines, and opt for one of these five amazing train journeys.

1. The Maharajas’ Express

Source: The English Travelers

The Maharajas’ Express is without a doubt, one of the most luxurious ways to travel throughout India. Taking you through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the entire country, the train has five different routes to choose from, each varying in stops, price point and length. The Heritage of India route is a favorite, stopping in Mumbai, Jaipur, Delhi and Agra just to name a few; however the options vary depending on what part of the country you’re hoping to visit. Seeing the Taj Mahal during the day, and tucking into a gourmet meal by night as you travel to your next destination doesn’t seem like a bad plan to us! You’ll experience a guided tour at each of your stops, and the train operators make it a point to allow for cultural emersion as much as possible.

Regardless of which route you go for, you’ll find impeccable service on board from the moment you arrive. The dining cars and lounges are fit for royalty, and every detail is meticulously well thought out. Though a ride on the train isn’t necessarily cheap, this is definitely one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences that is worth the splurge.

2. The Trans-Siberian Railway

Source: Russia Trek

The Trans-Siberian Railway is widely considered to be the ultimate train journey, and with good reason. It is the longest railway line on the planet, spanning clear across Russia, and connecting the European rail networks all the way to Vladivostok and the Chinese rail networks. A ride on the railway means a journey through a part of the world that even the most seasoned travelers often don’t get to visit. Depending on how you plan your trip, you can experience Mongolia, the Balkans, Persia, and so much more. The possibilities are pretty incredible (like a trip from London to Beijing, hello!), but this map is a good starting point if you’re planning your journey. You can easily plan to make stops along the way, and cater the trip according to the places you’re most interested in.

Summer months (from May through September) are typically the most popular due to weather and the abundance of daylight hours. Though you can book your journey yourself, the easiest route is to have an agency assist you so that all of your visa paperwork is covered. If you really want to splurge, there are also luxury private trains that travel the railway.

3. The Glacier Express

Source: Miroslav Volek

Train travel in Europe is generally pretty wonderful, but the Glacier Express definitely steals the show with some of the most beautiful scenery of the Swiss Alps imaginable. Your journey will take you from Zermatt, located at the summit of the Matterhorn to St. Moritz, in just under eight hours. Once you’re on the train, you’ll pass by gorges, castles, UNESCO World Heritage sites, small alpine towns, lakes, and of course, snow capped mountains.

Though the journey is relatively short compared to others on the list, there is no shortage of action. Though the trip can be completed in under a day, you’ll travel through 91 tunnels and cross 291 bridges while on the Glacier Express. You can order food and drinks straight to your seat, and opt to listen to an audio guide that will point out different areas of interest as you pass them.

4. The Eastern & Oriental Express

Source: Simon Pielow

The journey from Bangkok to Singapore is an undeniably gorgeous one, taking you through the lush landscape of Southeast Asia. Though the train operator offers other routes, the journey from Bangkok to Singapore (or vice-versa) is a classic that can’t be missed. There is an open-air observation car, on-board entertainment, and cabins that rival any five star hotel.

As you may have already gathered, the E&O Express is not the most budget-friendly offering out there. If you’re keen on making this journey, but don’t want to break the bank, you have other options as well. You can easily get a regular overnight sleeper train, and while accommodations won’t be as lux, you’ll still get a chance to travel through the Southeast Asia countryside. The scenery is worth doing the journey at least once.

5. The California Zephyr

Source: RailPictures

Many Americans may not realize that there’s still a train out there that can take you clear across the country. The Zephyr runs from Chicago to San Francisco daily, making for one of the most picturesque train rides in North America. The train takes you through some of the most famous sites in the U.S. including the Sierra Nevadas, the Rocky Mountains, and the Colorado River.  Most Americans don’t ever get to see this much of the country, and aside from a cross-country road trip, this is perhaps one of the only ways to see so much in such a short amount of time.

You can do this journey on a budget for a few hundred bucks if you don’t mind doing without a sleeper cabin. There are also options to reserve a roomette or bedroom in a sleeper cabin if that’s more your speed.

Have you taken an extended journey via train? Where did you go?