Travelling by train may not be the fastest mode of transport, but it certainly is the most charming way. There is something visceral about train journeys that add to your overall travel experience. Read on to discover 5 Train Journeys so diverse in their offerings and so far apart on the map, yet so similar in their promise to amaze.
Rovos Rail – South Africa
This 1600-kilometer saunter is a perfect illustration of South Africa being an entire world in one country. Start the journey at Rovos Rail Station, Pretoria and traverse the spectacular mountain ranges and scenic wine lands of the Cape. Trundle through native marvels like the Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, the historic village of Matjiesfontein; a pristinely preserved Victorian Village founded as a refreshment stop in the 1800’s, as well as the Diamond Mine Museum and the world’s largest man-made excavation, the Big Hole.
Belmond British Pullman – London, United Kingdom
Straight out of Downtown Abbey, experience luxury rail travel at its very best aboard the Belmond British Pullman train and journey back in time to the golden era of travel. Sip champagne, savour breathtaking landscapes and take the time to admire the magnificent steam locomotive itself. This 1920’s escape includes a steam-hauled round-trip journey aboard the train, a five-course lunch with Laurent-Perrier champagne and half a bottle of wine per person. There are elegant carriages, glamorous hosts, fine food, and countryside straight out of a postcard.
Eastern and Oriental Express – South East Asia
In contrast to its predecessor, this train journey is ‘your passport to the exotic and sophisticated’. The two juxtaposed cities of Singapore and Bangkok symbolise the intrigue and diversity of Asian metropolitan life. The ultimate way to discover these iconic cities is to journey between them aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, through sequentially unfolding rural landscapes, past temples, tea plantations, colonial cities and friendly natives, who’ll wave at you and chase the train with gleeful smiles.
Rocky Mountaineer – Canada
There are opulent carriages to take you through two days of exquisite travel through the Canadian Rockies- replete with the height and snow and proximity to the skies- and the country’s first national park, Banff, with overnighting options in Vancouver, Calgary, and Kamloops. The Rocky Mountaineer’s patented ‘Gold Leaf Service’ gives you custom-designed, bi-level, glass-domed coaches that gives you awe-inspiring sceneries of the Canadian Rockies. You spend the sunny hours soaking in the majestic mountains from your panoramic-windowed domed observation car and enjoying a delectable meal of slow-cooked Alberta beef short ribs and tiger prawns simmered in a West Coast bouillabaisse.
The Ghan – Australia
Ever since it’s inception in 1929, the Ghan has been widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest rail journeys and a true national treasure and for good reason! It travels coast to coast, through the fiery red centre, from Darwin to Adelaide, and offers a unique chance to experience the various landscapes that make Australia befitting of the title of ‘the only country to be a continent’. It’s the perfect combination of comfort (complimentary nightcaps, 24 hour steward service), adventure (guided off-train excursions like helicopter tours and gorge cruises, wild animal sightings) and photo opportunities so compelling you’re going to need an external power source for your phone/camera.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller