Asia by rail: the greatest journeys across the continent

If you’re keen to explore the diverse, intriguing and beguiling continent of Asia, travelling by rail may be an excellent option. If you’re eager to get out and about and see the sights on your personalised Thailand holiday or you’re planning adventures in India, Singapore, China, Vietnam or Malaysia, here are some of the greatest train journeys you can take.

The Eastern & Oriental Express

If travelling in style is your cup of tea, you’ll go far to beat the iconic Eastern & Oriental Express. You can hop on this luxurious train at Bangkok and travel down to Singapore, watching the world go by surrounded by all the creature comforts you could possibly wish for. Even the most basic rooms feature en suite bathrooms and sleeping quarters are reminiscent of boudoirs reserved for the gentry in times gone by. You can indulge in fine food and enjoy spectacular views of the green jungle canopies and the vivid blue waves.

The Jungle Train

The Jungle Train isn’t a 5-star experience, but it’s perfectly comfortable and the tracks it winds down will treat you to truly stunning views. Built by the British, this 300-mile route will take you through verdant plantations and skirt around the edges of disused mines as well as affording you views of the jungle forests, which feature towering cliffs that plunge into rumbling river waters below.

Kunming to Hanoi

This mountainous route, which stretches more than 500 kilometres, will take you from Kunming in China to the enigmatic Vietnamese city of Hanoi. You can travel the entire distance in 16 hours, but it’s worth breaking up your journey with magical excursions along the way. Highlights include the Tiger Leaping Gorge and the Stone Forest in China, and the rice terraces of Sapa in Vietnam.

Beijing to Shanghai

If you’re keen to city hop on your travels in China, taking the train is a great option, as you can benefit from the world’s fastest passenger service. The train covers 819 miles in just 4.5 hours. If you consider that the distance is twice that of Glasgow to London, this should give you a better idea of just how rapidly you’ll be tearing along those tracks. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for misty mountain peaks and rolling hills before you enter the futuristic urban maze of Beijing. If you fancy a touch of luxury, you can indulge in fold-out seats that turn into plush beds in seconds.