All right, I admit it – if you want to travel thousands of miles from A to B, flying is probably the sensible option. But if you’re travelling to see the world – rail travel just can’t be beat.
You could walk, cycle or hitch-hike around the world; you could go on a pogo stick if you’re desperate for media attention or if you’re on some spurious charity sponsorship but if it’s you and the world that’s of interest – take the train.
Whenever flying I’m invariably craning my neck from the window and straining to catch a glimpse of some exotic sounding land, so tantalisingly out of sight. On a train a simple glance out of the window can persuade me to get off whenever the fancy takes me.
That’s why on my recent trip to Australia I decided to go by train. There’s more than one route; I choose one going through the least problematic countries with the most reliable services and were places I wanted to go. 20,000 miles, 15 countries and my propensity for getting off extended the trip to three months.
I took more than a dozen trains crossing Europe, Russia, Mongolia, China, Southeast Asia and Australia, some were luxurious like the Eastern & Oriental Express and others were crowded compartments like the Reunification Express in Vietnam. Accommodation similarly varied from the luxurious Raffles in Singapore to a bug-infested fleapit in Bangkok.
01 March 2014