Friday, December 24, 2021

Vietnam's train is in the top 6 for Asian railway experiences

Vietnam's luxury train The Vietage is one of the best train routes in Asia for culinary experiences, cultural explorations, and natural landscapes admiration.

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American Express Company (USA) conducted the Global Travel Trends survey in 2021 with 8,000 travelers worldwide. According to survey results, 68% of visitors expressed interest in sustainable tourism. 78% of people said they were looking for travel experiences to relieve stress. In addition, 61% of them want to take longer and more leisurely trips than before.

CNN suggests a train journey to discover Asia could be an interesting option for travelers in 2022.

The Vietage, Vietnam

The 1,700 km long Reunification Railway connecting Ho Chi Minh City with Hanoi is a train journey known to many domestic and foreign tourists. With 30 hours by train, visitors can admire the beautiful natural scenery at Hai Van Pass, Lang Co beach and rice fields...

However, this route does not have trains that offer high-class amenities. Therefore, travelers who want a more comfortable experience can choose The Vietage, a unit that provides luxury train service.

Opened in 2020, the train lasts 6 hours, carrying no more than 12 passengers, experiencing the journey across the Central region, from Da Nang to Quy Nhon.

The train carried only 12 passengers on a 6-hour journey through the central provinces of Vietnam. Photo: The Vietage.

The space inside the train includes a luxurious interior with marble tables, large windows and private service counters, evoking the romance of classic rail travel. Visitors can experience this train for $350 per person one way. The ticket also includes a 3-course French meal, complimentary wine and beer, plus massage services.

Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express, Bangkok (Thailand) to Singapore

The Orient Express is a romantic long-distance train route between Paris (France) and Istanbul (Turkey), running since 1883. After this train stopped working in 2009, the Belmond hotel group bought the carriages back and built a trip route in Asia called the Eastern and Oriental Express.

This train has a 4-day journey from Bangkok to Singapore with stops at River Kwai, Kanchanaburi (Thailand) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

Bringing the feeling of a mobile hotel, guests can experience high-class cuisine, enjoy the scenery through the large windows or the observation car behind the train. Besides, afternoon teas, cocktail hour with live music and luxurious dinners, evoke the romance of the original Oriental Express train.
Belmond Eastern and Oriental Express passengers enjoy a premium experience. Photo: Emporium Travel.
The journey also weaves many cultural experiences. The day before, passengers were admiring the Peranakan architecture in George Town (Malaysia). The next day, they can experience growing bananas or cycling through the rice fields of Thailand.

Seven Stars, Kyushu, Japan

Unlike Japan's famous bullet trains, Seven Stars has a slower speed, gently gliding through the 7 prefectures of the Kyushu region so passengers can enjoy peaceful mountain and ocean views.

Seven Stars train is wine red, has 12 suites in 5 carriages, serving up to 26 passengers per journey. With a distinctive Japanese style, the ship is like a living museum of art and tradition with kumiko wood furniture, aritayaki porcelain...
The interior style of the Seven Stars is boldly Japanese. Photo: Jurriaan Teulings.

The island of Kyushu located in the southern part of Japan, hides its natural and cultural beauty. During the 4-day cruise of Seven Stars, visitors will enjoy hot spring baths in Beppu, stay at a 5-star ryokan (Japanese-style inn), learn about the local crafts of Oita city...

Sri Lanka Main Line, Kandy to Ella

The train that connects the ancient kingdom of Kandy with the famous mountain village of Ella is a fascinating experience for visitors to Sri Lanka.

The first-class cabin on the blue ship has air conditioning and large windows to give passengers panoramic views of rolling hills, dense forests, stone bridges, cliffs and great estates. In the second and third class cabins, guests can feel the cool breeze through the windows.
The best way for tourists to explore the hilly areas of Sri Lanka is by train. Photo: The Common Wanderer.
Along the journey, street vendors jostle through the crowds, offering a range of local treats like samosas, scones and tea. The trip lasts 7-9 hours and the price ranges from 0.80-20 USD, depending on ticket class.

Palace on Wheels, Rajasthan, India

Palace on Wheels is a luxury cruise train that runs throughout the Northern states of India, providing a rare experience for visitors. Launched in 1982, the train was refurbished and returned to service in August 2009 with a new decor, itinerary and cuisine.

The carriages have regal interiors such as chandeliers, oil paintings, handicrafts, fine silverware... Most cabins have 2 single beds, while the Super Deluxe cabins are equipped with queen size beds. The train also has a common area consisting of 2 dedicated dining cars, a Royal spa, bar and lobby offering a luxurious experience.
The Palace on Wheels train offers an 8-day exploration of Northern India. Photo: Mike Bibby.

Operating from September to April every year, this eight-day rail journey begins in Delhi and travels to northwest India, home to historic forts, palaces, markets, world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO and extensive national parks.

The train has been suspended since March 2020 due to Covid-19, but is expected to undergo a large-scale renovation in May 2022 and return to regular operation in September 2022.

Alishan Forest Railway, Central Taiwan

Rail journeys have long been a trademark in Taiwan (China), which has a beautiful blend of forest, mountain and ocean landscapes. One of the most beautiful routes here is the centuries-old Alishan Forest Railway. The transport route was originally used by the logging industry but was reactivated as a tourist experience in 1933.

Historic diesel locomotives run from Chiayi City to the mountains of Alishan, home to the highest station on the island. During the 3-hour journey, passengers will pass through more than 50 tunnels, 75 bridges and various natural areas, from rivers and waterfalls to dense cypress forests, misty mountain peaks...
Alishan Forest Railway goes to Taiwan's highest train station. Photo:

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