Top 5 Railways of Southeast Asia
Thailand 11.08.2016 Gary
In these days of constant flights and ultra-fast technology, take the chance to slow down and experience the golden age of travel. Southeast Asia has an abundance of breath-taking scenery and sitting aboard a train is the perfect way to appreciate the uniqueness of each region.
Hanoi to Sapa Express, Vietnam
An irreplaceable memory of visiting Vietnam is sleeping aboard a train as it trundles through the midnight countryside. The finest way to experience this delight is the overnight trains running between the capital city Hanoi and the rice terraces of Sapa. Various train companies offer the exciting ride, as you depart the city around ten pm and slowly proceed into the open landscape of North Vietnam, arriving at around six the next morning. Travel in premium luxury style, by relaxing aboard the elegant Victoria Express reserved exclusively for the guests of the Victoria Hotel in Sapa.
Gokteik Viaduct, Myanmar
Due to the under-developed roads in Myanmar, a train ride offers you mesmerising views of this beautiful country, otherwise missed whilst flying. The most outstanding of railway journeys begins in Pyin Oo Lwin, a delightful colonial town two hours from Mandalay, its highlight being the botanical gardens designed by Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe (who created Kew Gardens in London). Travelling for almost five hours through rich green foliage and brilliant rock overhangs, the pinnacle of the ride is rattling over the Gokteik Viaduct. The dramatic architectural construction was built over 100 years ago by the Pennsylvania Steel Company, at time of completion it was the second highest railway bridge in the world.
North Borneo Railway, Malaysia
If you find yourself in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, then you’ll mostly likely be here to visit the magnificent orangutans and adorable sun bears. Kota Kinabalu is the arrival gateway on the island from the Malay Peninsula. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning, a delightfully slow-paced ride lasting around four hours takes passengers from the city out to off the beaten track villages and temples before returning in the early afternoon. The renovated traditional carriages are a perfect setting as you’re served breakfast and tiffin set lunch along the route.
Eastern & Oriental Express, Thailand & Singapore
One of the World’s most luxurious trains, the classic route from energetic Bangkok down to dazzling Singapore, or vice versa. During the day, relax in the reading room or observation car as you pass by the beauty of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. You’ll have daily opportunities to take a break from the train by exploring such significant places as the Bridge over the River Kwai. As the sun sets, enjoy an exquisite dinner in one of the fine restaurant cars before ending the evening with a cocktail in the onboard piano bar.
Bamboo Train, Cambodia
For a completely unique railway experience, head to the small town of Battambang, around a three and half hour drive from Siem Reap. Here, you will find the ‘train’, a bamboo platform powered by a small motor. Travelling on a one-track railway through the untamed countryside, at times, you’ll meet with a returning train; this involves the driver dismantling your vehicle by hand and lifting it off the tracks to allow the other to pass. An exceptional and fun way to appreciate the Cambodian scenery.