Top 10 Rail Journeys Around The World
Spectacular scenery, luxury accommodation and epic long-distance journeys, whether you’re seeking a whimsical romantic ride or a super-speedy adventure, there is no better way to see the world than from the window of a railway carriage. Here is our pick of the world’s Top 10 rail journeys.
The Ghan, Australia
Offering so much more than just an extended train ride (private cabins and world-class dining, for example), the luxury four-day, 2979-kilometre Ghan Expedition promises a journey deep into the heart of Australia. Departing from Adelaide, you’ll explore spiritual Nitmiluk Gorge, enjoy an optional flight over awe-inspiring Uluru and Kata Tjuta in Alice Springs, and venture into the mesmerizing caves and outback moonscapes of Coober Pedy, before arriving in tropical Darwin.
Venice Simplon-Orient Express, Europe
Immortalised in movies and murder mysteries, this legendary train has been the historical transportation of choice for royalty, diplomats and dignitaries alike. With its plush décor, old-world charm and impeccable service, a trip aboard the Orient-Express offers a romantic railway experience like no other.
With a variety of different departure points visiting a myriad of destinations, passengers can choose from comparatively short journeys or an endlessly adventurous trip across Europe’s great expanse. Venetian canals?
French countryside? Turkish palaces? Why not experience all three?
Glacier Express, Switzerland
Covering almost 290 kilometres in seven and a half hours, the Glacier Express leisurely clanks its way through more than 90 tunnels and across 290 bridges. Which is actually not a bad thing, as it will give you ample time to view the stunning scenery and natural majesty of the world-famous Swiss Alps.
Crossing through the 2100-metre-high Oberalp Pass, you’ll view soaring peaks, plunging valleys and icicle-draped winter forests, while enjoying freshly prepared delicacies in the train’s cozy galley.
Eastern & Oriental Express, South-East Asia
Take a 1900-kilometre journey from Singapore to Bangkok on the elegant Eastern & Oriental Express and you’ll experience luxurious cabin accommodation and chef-prepared meals, as you’re whisked through the lush, verdant countryside of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
View impossibly green mountains, endless expanses of rice paddies and ocean glimpses that stretch in every direction from beyond its panoramic windows, and you’ll wonder if you’ll ever consider flying again.
Bullet Trains, Japan
China’s trains may be the world’s fastest, but Japan’s Shinkansen or ‘bullet trains’ certainly claim the gold standard for comfort, safety and punctuality. Travelling up to 320 kilometres an hour, the experience is best enjoyed on the Tokyo-Kyoto run past 3776-metre-high Mount Fuji, the country’s tallest peak. Not fast enough for you? High-speed aficionados can also look forward to Japan’s next-generation magnetic levitation floating trains, which are due for release in 2027.
Palace on Wheels, India
A quintessential Indian experience, the Palace on Wheels features ornate textiles and enchanting fittings, where you’ll be served sumptuous cuisine by attentive staff decked out in turbans and immaculate white tunics.
A round trip from Delhi takes in top Indian sights, including the desert cities of the northern region of Rajasthan and the tiger-filled Ranthambore National Park. Expand your trip over eight or so days and you can experience lunch at the Lake Palace in Udaipur, an elephant welcome in Jaipur, and a fascinating tour of the breathtaking Taj Mahal.
Rovos Rail, Africa
Offering a range of routes around South Africa, the ultimate experience for passengers has to be Rovos Rail’s 14-day epic from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam. This exclusive journey offers 24-hour service and suites feature Victorian-style bathrooms and private wood-panelled lounges.
Beginning in Cape Town, you’ll visit historic Matjiesfontein, bustling Pretoria and the Madikwe Game Reserve, before crossing the border into Botswana and travelling onto Zimbabwe and magnificent Victoria Falls. You’ll cross the famed Zambezi River, pass through Zambia and descend into Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley, before arriving at the coastal town of Dar es Salaam – the gateway to Zanzibar and beyond.
The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
Truly one of the most spectacular train trips in the world, a journey on the Rocky Mountaineer offers four different routes through the towering Rockies bypassing glacier-fed lakes, tumbling waterfalls and jagged snow-capped mountains.
Fans of old North American trains can book a Gold Leaf ticket where you can ride and dine in traditional-style dome cars, or undertake a four-day, cross-continent journey which will take you between Toronto and Vancouver. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a fleeting glimpse of some local bear-life along the way.
Hiram Bingham Express, Peru
South America’s best rail journey navigates amazing scenery between Poroy and Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, and one of the world’s most famous examples of Inca architecture. Believed to have been built in the mid-15 century, it was not discovered until 1911 by American explorer, Hiram Bingham, hence the name.
Your trip offers unsurpassed views of the Andes and the wild Urumbamba River, and facilities on-board include 1920’s style Pullman carriages and four-course Andean-inspired menus.
The Trans-Siberian, Russia
Arguably the world’s most famous railway experience, this epic train offers two six-night Moscow to Beijing routes, the second of which crosses Mongolia via the Gobi Desert.
Like a challenge? Then you should consider a third option – the epic Moscow to Vladivostock route, which crosses seven time zones, covers almost 10,000 kilometres, and has you chugging your way through a plethora of soaring mountains and the vastness of the Siberian tundra.
Orbit World Travel can help you fine-tune your rail journey with a range of packages and airfares that will guarantee you make the most out of your global, track-filled adventure.
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