We love taking the train. There is nothing better than watching the countryside pass by as you relax in your compartment while getting to know your fellow passengers.
Dave and I regularly hop on the train to take the popular Toronto/Montreal route. It’s the perfect long weekend getaway. There’s no better way to avoid the heavy traffic on the 401 and travel from downtown to downtown.
The best thing about train travel is that Via Rail now has free wifi. How times have changed since my first trip with my parents when I was just a little rugrat. Riding the train was a rare event I felt like we were going on a great adventure.
Today, when people take the train, they are watching movies and chatting on facebook as they sip a fresh and delicious coffee from the snack cart. It is still a great adventure, the trip itself is just a lot more luxurious and comfortable. We all travel to our destination without a care in the world feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy our destination. In Canada our trains are pristine and clean, quiet and safe. There is no better way to see the country than to ride the rails and explore the beautiful countryside.
As the Shredded Wheat resident travel experts we are excited to share our favourite train Journeys from Around the World to inspire you to get out there and ride the rails. There is nothing like it!
No country travels by train like India. It is a crazy experience. Trains are booked weeks in advance, trying to figure out how to buy a ticket or book a seat is a confusing experience and standing on the platform with thousands of other people waiting for the train to arrive is down right terrifying. Once it does arrive, you better hurry because people will push and shove their way through to the front of the line leaving you in the dust and stranded on the platform after the door closes. But if you make it on the train, it is an experience you’ll never forget. Chai Wallah’s walk through the cars ready to sell you a cheap hot cup, but make sure that you don’t pass up the tomato soup. It was my favourite snack on the long train journeys through this immense country.
Taking the Vista Dome from Cusco to Aguas Callientas was an outstanding experience. We booked a last minute trip to Peru when we decided to visit Machu Picchu so we couldn’t get ourselves a permit to hike the famous Inca Trail. No matter, we managed to hike many an ancient trail in the surrounding Sacred Valley and it gave us the opportunity to enjoy the magnificent views through our glass roof of the Andes of Peru. We even had ourselves a fashion show on the way back!
Snowboarding in Switzerland was on our bucket list and we had the chance to fulfill that dream early in our lives. It was nearly a decade ago that we skiid it’s slopes in Gstaad and one of the most vivid memories we had was taking the train through the Alps to all of the different ski areas and surrounding villages. It was some of the most stunning scenery we have ever seen.
4. Sri Lanka
The country is small and the train routes are short, but in the few hours that we spent on the train between villages in Sri Lanka we witnessed incredible views of tea terraces and mountains, enjoyed conversations with friendly locals, bought cheap snacks from the vendors that walked through the cars and held on to the handrail as we hung outside the train to look at the view ahead and feel the wind on our face.
The overnight train from Hanoi to Sapa was one of the most exciting trips of our lives. It was 2004 and we boarded the platform late at night. People in conical hats were huddling by fires and smoke and steam were billowing off into the night sky. The air was chilled and it felt as if we had stepped back to 1969. We hadn’t been to China at this point in our lives so we were excited because we were heading towards the Chinese border to witness to this date, the most breath taking rice terraces on earth.
Speaking of China, we finally made it there last December. We loved every minute of that country and we were amazed by the train travel there. It is so efficient, clean and organized. It is a country of 1.5 billion people and yet we never felt like we were in crowd. In India, we fought crowds every day on the train, in China we stood in crowds but never fought. The trains were fast and modern and our compartments were clean and ornate. Hot water was provided for our tea and we had a wake up call with fresh coffee in the morning. It was the most pleasant experiences we have ever had on the train.
Who hasn’t taken the train in Thailand? It was one of the first overnight trains we ever took and we still love hopping on a second class sleeper when we’re there. we’ve taken it from Chiang mai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Singapore and back again. It is so much fun to have a Chiang Beer while looking out the window before setting up your bed to be lulled asleep by the rocking of the train.