Top 5 dazzling train journeys of Asia

Forget those rickety old buses and dodgy taxis, and don’t worry about your fear of flying. Why not save your money to experience travel by train in some of the finest places?


5. The Sri Lankan Coastal Line begins at Maradana Station and runs west towards Colombo Fort. It then turns south and runs through much of Colombo parallel to the beaches on the city’s west coast, passing many commuter rail stations, such as Slave Island. It passes Panadura before reaching Kalutara. The commuter rail services end as the line continues south along the coast towards Galle. This is one of the busiest and fastest train services in Sri Lanka and the views are astounding for the passengers.


4. The Shinkansen is the famous Japanese bullet train that now has services all over the country. The busiest section of track is between Tokyo and Osaka. Reaching top speeds of over 320kph, nothing beats the view out of the right hand side as you pass a snow-capped Mount Fuji. To enable high-speed operation, Shinkansen uses a range of advanced technology compared with conventional rail, and it achieved not only high speed but also a high standard of safety and comfort. Its success has influenced other railways in the world and the importance and advantage of high-speed rail has consequently been re-valued.


3. The Jungle Railway runs through the centre of Malaysia from Tumpat, near Kota Bahru on the East Coast, to the junction with the country’s main line at Gemas. Officially known as the East Coast line, this railway is an interesting way to get from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore to the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It can form a more adventurous alternative to the mainline for an overland trip between Singapore and Bangkok. It offers an insight to the life of the hinterland of the more rural East Coast states. While the name evokes a journey through thick rainforest, the reality is that the forests of Peninsular Malaysia are disappearing to be replaced with oil palm and rubber plantations. However, the terrain, rivers and patches of remaining jungle are impressive.


2. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is a high-elevation railway that connects Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, in the People’s Republic of China. This railway is the first to connect Tibet to other Chinese provinces, and trains run to and from cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. The line includes the “Tanggula Pass”, which, at 5,072m above sea level, contains the world’s highest railway track. The passenger carriages used on these trains are specially built and have an oxygen supply for each passenger, as well as a doctor onboard.


1. The Maharajas’ Express is the most expensive luxury train in the world. It runs on 5 circuits covering more than 12 destinations across North-West and Central India, mainly centred on Rajasthan, although one circuit does as far south as Mumbai. The Maharajas’ Express train has been equipped with modern amenities to offer comfortable on board experiences to the guest, such as pneumatic suspension, live television, wifi, attached bathroom, dining cars, bar, lounge, and souvenir shop. Larger cabins have roll-top baths and spacious sitting rooms. It is simply the finest train journey in the world, and by far the ultimate way to explore India!

Have you been lucky enough to travel on any of these dazzling train journeys, and if not, then which one would like to experience in the future?


10 thoughts on “Top 5 dazzling train journeys of Asia

  1. I always enjoy the train trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Overnight, and sit in the bar car with the other travelers. The Thai staff really makes it fun! Laid back with a beer Leo and Thai music…Cheers!


    1. Shinkansen always a joy, but nowadays China and Korea have got their own high speed rail…never tried them though. Not yet 😉 And the Maharajas would be incredible from Delhi to Mumbai, stopping at Jaipur, Agra, Udaipur, Varanasi… I want to check the prices now 😀


  2. I thought you were to invlude the Eastern & Oriental Express which runs from Singapore to Bangkok? Anyways, It was a pleasure reading it… 🙂


    1. Aha, I thought about it, but the reason I didn’t include it is because travel from Singapore to Bangkok is more fun on a budget, rather than a luxury train (£1500+) one way. The Jungle Railway can be done cheaper and is more interesting IMO 🙂


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