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Great Train Journeys of Asia

| Words by Ashley Diterlizzi |

One of the most efficient and scenic ways to travel across Asia is by train. Whether it’s a journey from one country to another or it’s completely domestic, there are plenty of adventures to be had. Chug through Asia’s greatest train journeys.

Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka

Journey: Roughly 4.5 hours

Travel by train from Sri Lanka’s cultural and religious heart in Kandy and journey through greenery to colonial tea center, Nuwara Eliya. Built by the British in 1864 as a means to transport tea and coffee, much of the train and its stations look as they did 150 years ago. Chug through scenic fields of sugar, tea estates and waterfalls.

Thailand countryside

Eastern and Oriental Express

Journey: 4 days, 3 nights

Southeast Asia offers jungle landscapes, rice paddies and rivers, all of which can be experienced on a train journey through Malaysia and Thailand. Linking Singapore to Bangkok, the four-day Eastern and Oriental Express passes through panoramic views of the Malay Peninsula, cultural Penang and the colorful and colonial sites of Georgetown. See the best of Southeast Asia through panoramic windows in comfortable and elegant lounges and suites.

Aravalli Hills train

Palace on Wheels, India

Journey: 7 days

Experience the bygone era of India’s Maharajas on a royal and enchanting journey. The adventure begins in New Delhi before arriving in India’s pink city, Jaipur. Continue on to Jodhpur before finishing the tour in Agra, home of the famed Taj Mahal. Exclusive cabins offer a luxurious retreat on board one of India’s most popular trains.

Bullet train passes before Mount Fuji

Kyoto to Tokyo, Japan

Journey: Just over 2 hours

See the iconic Mount Fuji on a high-speed journey from Japan’s capital city to the country’s former imperial capital. Known as the Shinkansen, the bullet train journey takes just over two hours. Despite the occurrence of typhoons and earthquakes, Japan’s bullet trains continue to lead the world in safety and punctuality. Running at speeds of up to 320km/h, the trains offer seats in two classes, ordinary and green or business class. Japan Rail Pass holders can make seat reservations for free.

train journey through Mongolia

Trans Mongolian Express

Journey: 6 nights

The Trans Mongolian Express follows an ancient tea-caravan route, 1,400 miles long, and connects Beijing in China with Moscow in Russia. One train a week crosses through the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, offering views of sun-scorched valleys and rural Mongolia. Train bogies need to be changed at the Russian-Chinese and the Mongolian-Chinese borders where the track gauge changes.

China Qingzang Railway

Journey: 2 days

The highest train journey in the world connects China to Tibet at 4,000 meters above sea level. The sky road, as it is known locally, passes through breathtaking mountainous scenery. Each passenger carriage has oxygen supplies and a doctor on board, however it is advised that passengers are aware of the risks when acclimatizing to the high altitude.

Discover Asia by train and plan your own private tour today.