Trains are a wonderful way to experience a country, and for railroad buffs, the only way. The degree of comfort and survivability will vary in different countries. In Europe, rail travel is comfortable, economical and a good way to get around. Western Europe is the best, but standards on the east side of the Europe are quickly improving.
In Asia, Africa and South America, riding the rails is always an adventure that will keep you writing about the experience in your journal for hours. Never will you be in want of food; at every stop each cabin is immediately transformed into an impromptu buffet as children clamber through windows and pounce through doors with bowls of every imaginable fruit and vegetable, cooked meals and even tea or coffee.
Trains in India range from first class, which is the Raja form of travel and is more expensive than flying, to third class which is similar to riding in a cattle car – no seats or windows, people crammed into every available space.
The train from Bangkok to Singapore is in a really good shape and quite interesting to ride. In Peru, from Cusco to Machu Picchu, the journey by train is perhaps the most memorable in the world. And for the mother of all rattles, there is the Trans-Siberian.
The Trans-Siberian has several route possibilities and now that the Soviet Union is history, there are more chances to get off and explore along the way. Great deals on the route eastward can still be found in Budapest. When traveling westward, check around in Hong Kong for good deals. If you wait until you get to Beijing, you may have to pay more money.
In Africa, depending on where you travel, the journey by train can be an endurance test. It also can be the only way to get to where you want to go. The trip from Dakar, Senegal to Bamako, Mali is a trip that defies imagination. The tip in the Sudan from Wadi Halfa to Khartoum carries passengers across the Nubian Desert, and most of them ride on the roof.
Egyptian trains are usually quite comfortable, provided you ride in second or first class, but third class is where the adventures is found. Kenya’s trains are comparable to those in Europe.
Anywhere you plan to travel by train, you can usually purchase your tickets just before departure. If you are in a country with a lot of people, and especially if you are traveling anytime near a major holiday or celebration, make reservations and get your tickets ahead of time. Doing this can sometimes guarantee you a seat, and assure you of a more comfortable journey.
If you are planning an extensive tour of the European continent, a Eurail pass is the way to go. There are many types of passes designed to fit every schedule and budget. All Eurail passes provide unlimited travel on Europe’s 100,000 miles of railroad in 21 countries. Travel is in first class. Youth passes are available if you are under 26 years of age, and are good for travel only in second class. Cost for the Eurail pass is anywhere from $165 for three to ten days travel to $470 for up to one month in first class.
If you plan to travel only in Great Britain, there is Britrail pass. There are other similar passes available for specific European countries including Scanrail Pass, the Swiss Pass, the German Railpass, the Spain Railpass, the Benelux Tourail Pass (for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), the Emeral Isle Pass (for Ireland), Austria’s Rabbit Card, the Italian State Railway Pass and the European East Pass for Eastern Europe. For more information, ask your travel agent or use internet search tools.
Find a Review
- How to Prepare Finances for a Summer Vacation
- Arcata and Euroka
- Zanzibar, Tanzania
- Visiting China
- What to do in Amsterdam
- Italy without a car
- Visiting Napoli, Italy
- Sailing holidays in Greece and Turkey
- Discover the Secrets of Seattle
- The Best Place to Vacation in Alaska
- Mount Dora, FL – A Romantic Getaway
- Puerto Rico
- Less Touristy Things to do in San Francisco
- Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa
- My Travel Advice for Mexico
- Big Island Hawaii
- New Zealand travel
- Our New Zealand Trip
- Krystal Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta