Embrace the slow life… Watch the world go past your window from the comfort of one of these glamorous train carriages
Scenic Journey #1: Tren a las nubes, Argentina
The Train to the Skies is the third highest train line in the world. It starts its journey in the Argentine city of Salta, winding its way across striking viaducts and bridges before reaching its final destination, Puna at 4,200 metres. Be wowed by the green hills of Lerma Valley, the high peaks of Cordilerra de los Andes before reaching the salt flats of Puna.
Set aside: 7 hours
Scenic Journey #2: Trans-Siberian Express
This network of railways that stretches from Moscow over Russia will take you as far as Mongolia and Beijing. As the longest railway line in the world, the Trans-Siberian Express ranks among the legendary train journeys. The landscape ranges from forest to mountain to desert to steppe, and will utterly delight nature lovers.
Set aside: up to 7 days
Scenic Journey #3: The Eastern and Oriental Express
Tour Southeast Asia in style. Catch The Eastern and Oriental Express, which takes you from Singapore to Bangkok via the picturesque island of Penang. The Eastern and Oriental Express offers first class facilities with refined touches. The Observation Deck is splendid for watching the landscape as they train meanders past buffalos and rice paddies.
Set aside: 3 days
Scenic Journey #4: Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
The Venice Simplon-Orient Express is synonymous with luxury travel. After halting service briefly in 1970s, the carriages were lovingly restored to their former glory and relaunched in 1982, so a new generation of travellers could experience train travel at its best. Guests travelling through the beautiful European cities of Budapest, Istanbul, London, Paris, Prague, Venice and Vienna can now dine in one of three restaurants, relax in the glamorous carriages and expect steward service 24 hours a day. Iconic, indulgent and very romantic, this is one of our favourites.
Set aside: up to 6 days
Scenic Journey #5: The Blue Train, South Africa
Commuting in South Africa is no easy feat, yet The Blue Train provides an easy and comfortable way to discover the diverse regions that make up this beautiful country. Taking you from Pretoria all the way to Cape Town, the journey also includes a stop at Kimberly, a diamond-mining town, as well as Matjiesfontein, a preserved colonial outpost. Kings, presidents and celebrities have journeyed on this five-star hotel on wheels, renowned for its unparalleled service.
Set aside: 27 hours
Scenic Journey #6: Royal Canadian Pacific, Canada
Stepping on board the Royal Canadian Pacific, which takes you from the beautiful Canadian city of Calgary to Vancover, is akin to stepping back in time. This glamorous train will whisk you through Banff National Park and on to Yoho National Park (the word yoho translates into ‘amazement’ in American Cree – fitting!). And if the sight of bears and moose don’t thrill you, the stunning peaks and valleys of Craigellachie and Roger’s Pass will.
Set aside: 5 days
Scenic Journey #7: Glacier Express, Switzerland
Express is perhaps not an appropriate word to describe the Glacier Express… Indeed, the train, which links Switzerland’s two major mountain resorts – St. Moritz and Zermatt – is actually the slowest express train in the world! The seven-and-a-half hour railway journey takes you over 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels, and the Oberalp Pass (at 2,033m altitude). Make sure to have your camera close by on this journey so that you can snap the alpine meadows, mountain brooks, glaciers and the single gauge Albula Railway (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Set aside: 7.5 hours
Scenic Journey #8: The Ghan, Australia
During your three-day journey aboard The Ghan, which runs from North to South Australia, you will dive deep into the country’s red centre and see the Australian Outback at its best. For an extra treat, make sure you book the Gold Service Twin Cabin for your trip. This three-seater lounge that converts into upper and lower sleeping berths come nightfall. Or if you want to splash out a little more, there’s the Platinum Service that offers a full-size bedroom, with picture windows that offer views from both sides of the train (and they even throw in a set of binoculars to help you spot the wildlife as the train zips along.)
Set aside: 3 days
Scenic Journey #9: Colombo to Ella, Sri Lanka
Launched by the British colonial government in 1864, Sri Lanka’s rail network is one of the best ways to see the country. Winding its way through some of the island’s most scenic landscapes, the train traverses craggy peaks, thick forest, and picturesque waterfalls. Look out over the misty tea plantations as the train takes you from Colombo to Badulla. Ella is a little hill town about 5 hours from Colombo, which has remained largely untouched from the mass tourism that is evident in the south, and is a recommended stopping off point – quaint, quiet and very beautiful.
Set aside: 5 hours
Scenic Journey #10: Trans Alpine, New Zealand
Zig-zagging through the South Island’s fertile farmlands and the Canterbury Plains, the Trans Alpine journeys from Christchurch to Greymouth in less than five hours and showcases the best of New Zealand – it’s truly breath-taking scenery. An open air viewing carriage makes photo ops more natural and allows you to breathe in that crisp New Zealand air. The journey doesn’t stop once you get off the train however, pick up your car and continue down the West Coast towards the Franz Josef Glacier or upwards to Punakaiki for its famous pancake rocks.
Set aside: 4.5 hours