Asia is a vast land, and to say that the continent is a traveller’s paradise is no overstatement. There’s culture, incredible architecture, world-class cities, amazing beaches and absolutely everything in between. It also has some of the world’s greatest train rides – rail journeys that are more than just transportation, they are travel experiences themselves. Here are three of the best.
Ella to Kandy, Sri Lanka
This is THE quintessential Asian train journey.
Although only a small island in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is home to an abundance of gorgeous natural scenery, and one of the best ways to experience a slice of this is by taking the train from Ella to Kandy. This seven-hour train journey will take you through stunning landscapes of green, lush tea plantations and serves up incredible mountain views along the way.
Despite being only being around 65 kilometres apart, the journey takes so long as the train moves at such a slow place. This affords the brave plenty of opportunity to get that iconic shot, hanging out the train door or letting your legs dangle above the track as the train passes along.
Hanoi to Hue, Vietnam
The sleeper train from Hanoi to Hue is another iconic Asian train ride and that particular stretch of rail is the vein that connects the capital of Hanoi in the north with central Vietnam and, specifically, Hue. Hue is the former capital city of Vietnam and its walled imperial city draws visitors from all over the world. It also played a significant role in the Vietnam War, and was the site of one of the longest and bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.
One of the most comfortable ways to travel from Hanoi to Hue is by train, and in addition to eight day trains there is also an overnight one. You’ll be able to book a cabin berth with a bed, and food and drink is available to purchase onboard.
Travelling Tom tip: This rail journey is a popular one, so make sure you book your Hanoi to Hue train in advance to secure your seat.
Tokyo to Kyoto, Japan
The Tokyo to Kyoto train journey is great for multiple reasons. The first, is because you’ll get to travel on the Shinkansen – Japan’s famous bullet train. This high-speed rail journey works on magnets and is one of the fastest train systems in the world, making for a breathtaking journey.
The second is that you’ll be treated to the famous bullet train side view of Mount Fuji right from your seat. If you’re heading south to Kyoto, the mountain will appear on the right side of the train, but if you’re going north towards Tokyo then it will be on the right. Make sure you plan your seating according to your destination so you don’t miss out on this amazing viewing opportunity!