Sure, flying is may be faster, but taking the train affords a much more romantic and memorable experience. In Asia, speed is sometimes prized, but many train routes still take their sweet time, allowing travellers to relax, take in the scenery and enjoy the ride...
Eastern And Oriental Express
The Eastern and Oriental Express is by far Asia's most popular train ride. It runs from Singapore through Malaysia all the way to Bangkok passing through lush rain forests, snow-capped mountains, ancient temples and remote villages over the course of three days.
This train is also one of the world's most luxurious trains. It offers two dining cars with world class cuisine, two bar cars, a saloon, a library and an open-air viewing platform.
Xi'an to Chengdu
Despite the advances made to China's domestic airlines, train travel is still the preferred method of travel. Though high speed train travel is on the increase, there is nothing more scenic that a slow train chugging its way along. The Xi'an to Chengdu train route essentially connects two of China's most famous tourist attractions -- the terracotta warriors and the panda reserves. In between, riders are treated to the rich farmland of the Sichuan river valleys.
Beijing to Kowloon
Spanning 2,475 kilometres, this Chinese train route spans almost two-thirds of the entire country.
If you want to see China and do not have much time, this is the way to do it. From the windows, visitors are treated to the nation's majesty, landscapes and culture.
Though it would be quicker to fly, visitors with a bit more time can get off at stops at Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Anhui, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guangdong to explore the unique culture.
Since the Maharajas' Express began running in 2010, it has become India's most expensive and luxurious train.
This isn't a passenger train, but rather a tour train that schedules tours that either begin or end in Delhi and take visitors all around the massive sub-continent. Visitors can schedule to ride the train anywhere for three to eight nights. Every day the train stops for off-train excursions like visiting the Taj Mahal or tiger safaris.
This train provides guests with internet, LCD TVs and even suites with private bathrooms and butlers. With a limited guest capacity, the Maharajas' Express found a way to redefine the term luxury while travelling on a train.
The Jungle Railway
The Jungle Railway runs through the centre of Malaysia from the port town of Tumpat all the way to Singapore. However, many travellers do not often ride the entire line, most use the Jungle Railway to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. In doing so, they are missing the best part of the trip -- the part in which gives the railway its name.
As it traverses through Malaysia, the train runs almost entirely through lush jungle and rain forest. Riders can hang their heads out the window and feel the moist humidity on their faces, as well as seeing all manner of jungle creatures.
The Thailand Overnight Train
This isn't just one train; there are dozens of overnight trains that run in Thailand. These trains are a quick way to get all over the country without wasting any time, but because they run during the night, there is not much in the way of scenery.
With beds, dining cars and bar cars it has everything one needs while on their non-stop trip. However, what makes the overnight trains in Thailand so very special is the people aboard them. People of all ages come to the country to indulge and party. At night the bar car opens and attracts all manner of rowdy drinkers, and after dinner the dining cars can turn into impromptu karaoke lounges in the blink of an eye. Some trips may be dull as a doorknob, but just sometimes, it can turn into one of the best experiences you can have in the country.
Qinghai Tibet Railway
The Qinghai Tibet Railway offers one of the most scenic trips in Asia. It runs in between the booming town of Guangzhou all the way to the Tibetan city of Lhasa. It takes approximately two and a half days to travel in between these towns, but it passes China's most scenic landscapes at a brisk pace.
Visitors watch the lush and mountainous area of Southern and Central China transform into the picturesque high plateaus of Tibet, giving glances of the foothills of the Himalayas in the distance. Once the track reaches Tibet it rises more than 4,800 metres above sea level, making it one of the highest train tracks in the world.
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Vietnam's 1,600-kilometre-long North to South Railway provides the tracks for what has been named the Reunification Express. This train runs in between the city of Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the two capitals of North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
As this train runs nearly the entire length of the country, it provides a great opportunity for visitors who want to see both cities and all the landscape in between. For those craving to see some of those cities in between, the Reunification Express makes stops in Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phan Thiet.
Surabaya to Jakarta
Like in many Asian countries, the train is still the favourite mode for long distance transportation in Indonesia. Train tracks run the lengths of both the islands of Java and Sumatra, but because of the water in between, they do not connect the islands.
Taking the train that runs 725 kilometres in between Indonesia's capital of Jakarta to the city of Surabaya showcases the amazing scenery and small towns on the island of Java. From Jakarta, there are a great number of ferries that can take visitors to the island of Sumatra so that they can enjoy a train ride there.
The Shinkansen, or Bullet Train, is one of the fastest trains in the world. The Nozomi model can run the 378 kilometere in between Tokyo and Kyoto in just two short hours, making this Japanese train more like a rocket.
The train runs at speeds up to 300 kilometres per hour, but can go faster. Japan is even considering raising the speed limit to 350 kilometres per hour. There are several bullet train lines that operate around the country, so it doesn't matter much where visitors want to go. The Shinkansen isn't a sightseeing train, it goes far too fast. However, it is a modern adrenaline rush.
The Deccan Odyssey
The Deccan Odyssey was created to boost tourism along Indian Railway's Konkan route. This train reaches back to the finery of the days of British Occupation. This model of elegance runs from Mumbai to Sindhudurg, Goa, Kolhapur, Daulatabad, Ajanta Caves, Nasik and then back around to Mumbai. With meals served with authentic polished silver, rich textiles everywhere and the finest amenities, the Deccan Odyssey is one of the best luxury train rides in the world.
Taiwan's Slow Train
Taiwan has dedicated a train to taking it slow so that visitors can take in the sights of their island. This Slow Train takes visitors at a leisurely pace from Taipei all around the island, stopping at beautiful little towns and seaside resorts. Not many locals ride this train, so visitors to Taiwan will find quite a lot of other foreigners onboard.
The Trans-Mongolian Railway runs 2,250 kilometres -- connecting Ulan Ude on the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia with the Chinese city of Jining.
As riders on the train chug through the interior of Mongolia they will ride past sublime landscapes and remote village, as well as through the cities of Ulan Bator, Sukhbaatar, Darkhan, Choir and Zamyn-Uud.
Korea Train Express
The Korea Train Express is Korea's premiere high speed railway. Much like Japan's Shinkansen, it can travel up to 300 kilometres per hour. Originally it ran from Seoul to Busan, but routes have been added to many cities in South Korea. However, the original route is still the best way to see the country, if you can keep up with the speed. At very least, it is a quick way to get from place to place and get a taste of what is in between.