Who Likes Train Travel?

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.

via-rail-train-travel-canada

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!

1. India

train plantform in india

A Not so busy Platform in India

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.

2. Peru
machu-picchu-vista-dome-train-by-peru-rail

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!

3. Switzerland

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.

5. Vietnam

rice-terraces-vietnam-sapaThe 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.

6. China

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.

7. Thailand

Train Travel Thailand

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.

 

You may also like

From our partners
Leave a comment

6 Comments

    1. davendeb

      That is a great point Shirlene. You can save on a night’s accommodation when taking the overnight train. You get to your destination early and just saved a night at a hotel.

    1. davendeb

      Hi Travel Thailand, are you talking about India or China. We felt crowded in India, but China was very orderly and we didn’t feel over crowder there either.

  1. Farang

    China?..really? China is a madhouse when it comes to trains! You can’t wait on the platform and when the train is announced you have about five minutes to get your ticket checked and down to the platform or you can’t board. Everyone rushes and jockeys in line for the train despite the fact that there is assigned seating. When the doors open the people on the platform immediately try to cram in the train without waiting for people to get off first and you end up with people pushing violently in both directions (on the subways). On the express trains people eat vigorously and throw trash like chicken bones and half-eaten pork buns right on the car floor. Buying tickets is an exercise of patience of an inefficient system – on a return to Shanghai it took 1.5 hours of waiting in line to get a ticket! If you want to see clean, polite, and efficient look to Japan. China South Car actually stole the technology from Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries so the trains are very similar, however I have yet to see them import the Japanese’ efficient system and awareness of public manner.

    1. debndave Post author

      It sounds more like you are describing India train travel to me. We had very different experiences in China on all transit. Subway and trains. When was the last time you were there? Everything is very orderly and organized. We took trains from Hong Kong to Yangshou then Chengdu all the way up to Beijing with stops along the way. It was great.

Comments are closed.