We may be partial but oM firmly believes one of the best ways to explore the beauty of our planet is by train. Train journeys offer a chance to see some of the most spectacular, historic and rustic scenery the world has to offer. Here are oM’s top five train journeys of 2018 that offer unforgettable experiences as you ride along the tracks.
#1: Switzerland – The Glacier Express
If you want to experience the wonders of the Swiss Alps there is not a better way to do it than taking the Glacier Express train on an 180-mile journey through the mountains. Traversing 291 bridges and 91 tunnels, the Glacier Express climbs up to almost 7,000 ft and crosses over the scenic Oberalp Pass. If you love open meadows, mountain forests, clear streams and expansive valleys, this seven and a half hour journey needs to be added to your bucket list.
#2: Russia – Trans-Siberian Railway
No list for the world’s best train journeys would be complete without including the world’s longest railway: the Trans-Siberian. You can choose one of three routes to take from Moscow, two of which head to Beijing crossing through Mongolia on the way. The ultimate train journey, however, traverses the majority of Russia, heading east all the way to the coastal city of Vladivostok. Then after crossing an amazing 7 different time zones you can hop on a ferry to Japan or South Korea. Remember that this journey requires more than a train ticket, Russia requires U.S. citizens to have a visa for this 6,000-mile trip.
#3: Europe – Orient Express
If you have a big budget and want to experience traveling around Europe in luxury try the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. Choose your stops from a list of European hotspots including, Rome, Venice, Paris, London, Budapest Istanbul or Bucharest. Between your exploratory stops, relax in magnificent carriages and enjoy luxury meals. There are 9 different routes to choose from so if you have the budget and time, it will take you a while to run out of options.
#4: Kenya – Madaraka Express Train
On the other end of the budgetary spectrum try Kenya’s new Madaraka Express train connecting Mombasa to Nairobi in just five hours. On this modern train, you’ll see the amazing expanses of African countryside, rural villages, and some of the country’s exotic wildlife (think: zebras and ostriches). The train journey is available multiple times each week and is an example of the way to travel in the future. This line has already revolutionized a journey that previously took over 11 hours by bus and there are even plans to expand the line into Uganda.
#5: India – Palace on Wheels
If you’re looking to explore India in style (and by train) hop on the Indian Railway’s Palace on Wheels. The train is packed with ornate textiles showcasing the country’s bright exuberant culture and luxuries ranging from showers to air conditioning. Pick one of the various eight-day routes and head to Taj Mahal or on a camel safari to hit the most popular destination’s in the country.