Written by by Staff Writer
Asia may be a land of skyscrapers and malls, but there’s also a huge amount of railway travel. Not just trains in Japan, but also trains in China, South Korea, Singapore, India and more.
From luxurious overnight journeys, to cheap singles that don’t last more than an hour, train travel in Asia offers a unique experience with luxury accommodations, long aisle seats and food to match.
But you’d be lucky to find all of these options in one piece. Whether you’re traveling on your own, or part of a train trip, this report will help you choose the train with the most luxurious elements.
1. Japan and the Kawasaki Shinkansen
One of the best-known train journeys in the world is the network of bullet trains, which circles Japan . The famous Shinkansen often has extras, such as sushi chef meals, wrapped train tickets and snacks that can be consumed between trains. An overnight journey on the Shinkansen will set you back around the $500-600 per person mark depending on the length of the journey.
1 / 8 Masaya Deluxe, Japan’s great sleeper trains offer pampering without the night spent on a platform. This Miyako sleeper made famous by chefs including Hideo Ito, Masaya Makino and Tatsuo Murai.
Overnight train from Tokyo to Nagoya is comparatively more affordable, with an overnight price from around $300 on the Japan Shinkansen.
The fastest train in the world travels between Tokyo and Osaka in just five hours. Expect the outside of the train to be sparse or constructed of large plastic tubes, and the entire ticket to be limited to 40 pages.
If you’ve got some time to kill, you can take a Shinkansen to Okinawa, a place considered the home of sushi in Japan.
2. Singapore Sling, China Shanghainese
For the short jaunt between Hong Kong and Beijing, trains are not the only way to get from one city to the other.
A line of overnight trains that travels between Hong Kong and Shenzhen runs through Dongman Qiao and Dongchuan, across many national parks, to Singapore. The boats that take tourists to these parks are also included in ticket prices.
For a long night travel, grab a sleeper car on the Singapore Sling train that connects Beijing to Hong Kong. Over four years, it has been placed among the highest accolades in both Asian and Western Rail Awards for its luxurious accommodations and food. From $315, prices can rise up to around $350 for VIP accommodation, depending on your package choices.
3. Tempo India
Passengers take a scenic ride on a metro train in Delhi.
The Indian Railways hosts an annual Great Indian Rail Journey, called India Tempo, which brings tourists to various parts of the country through more than a dozen trains. The voyages take visitors from the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, across deserts and sub-continent, all the way to the southern tip of the country by train.
In Delhi , once the capital of north India and one of the largest cities in the country, people travel on Metro rail every day.
Once you’ve reached the end of this journey, there are many different tours and activities to keep you busy. The Easy Travel Travel Guide recommends staying on Delhi Metro for a short visit before travelling on the Great Indian Rail Journey. It contains plenty of information to explore the city.
4. Singapore Intercity
From Singapore to Japan, trains are passing through scenic parts of Asia.
The Intercity Singapore train operates services to and from multiple locations within Singapore. While most of the train’s stops see passing day tourists, there are also a number of stops on the service that special guests may experience, such as the presidential suite. Prices for overnight trips range from $50-100.
5. Tokyo to Hong Kong
If the journey across North and South Korea is your idea of a good time, check out a trip on the Hong Kong-Hong Kong Express
Despite the outwardly relatively short distance from Japan to Hong Kong, there are several stops along the way that require a stop in either Korea or China. A full night’s sleep is possible on an overnight train, but the Hong Kong-Japan Express train is possibly the best bet when it comes to sleeping accommodations.
The train will be stopping in both Kunsan and Wonsan along the way, and the sleepers are comfortable enough to serve as a place of rest for 2.5 or 3 nights. The price varies depending on your itinerary options, but the Hong Kong-South Korea Express train will set you back around $325.