Most travel writers can list multiple travel websites, but far fewer can name half a dozen. Travelling the globe by train can be less intimidating than a two-hour trek through heavy rain, especially when you have direct access to places nobody else has and surroundings that are spectacularly simple.
Transporting passengers from one city to another can be more like an endurance race, with perimetres of needlessly parked wagons and better-funded competitor eateries vying for your attention. Fortunately, there are plenty of great train journeys to choose from throughout Asia. The Asia section of the travel website MagpieGuide.com features detailed reviews of the best rail journeys around the continent and also highlights selected trip details to help find where your train is going next.
Some of the journeys on this list are classic pieces of Asia heritage, existing in one form or another in hundreds of different countries and forming a series of interconnected cultural and social histories across Asia that have been passed down over generations. Others are showcases of the wealth of trains still in service and the high quality of the dining options you can enjoy, and a few are down to humble North Asian heritage, distinguished by their individual flavors and remarkable longevity. You might also be pleasantly surprised to discover that more than some of these journeys are direct from China or India.
Below is a selection of best rail journeys in Asia, from one of the world’s most high-end train travel destinations to more budget-friendly sleeper options through the new and most exciting cities of the region.