Asia is famous for its many rail journeys – from speedy bullet trains in Japan and China to slower, more historic routes in South East Asia. Wherever you are travelling, don’t miss the chance to experience one of these Great Asian Rail Journeys. All can be done in less than 24 hours, which is perfect if you’re on a tight schedule
Bangkok to Nam Tok (Death Railway)
One of the greatest Asian rail journeys, this heritage rail route in Thailand, journeys from Bangkok to northern Nam Tok via the famous Bridge on the River Kwai and takes 4 hours, 30 minutes. The railway gets its name for the tragic circumstances in which it was built, constructed by the Empire of Japan during WWII using allied prisoners of war and other slave labourers. See more here.
Beijing to Shanghai High Speed Railway
Passengers on the Beijing–Shanghai high-speed railway can enjoy the trip of a lifetime on the world’s fastest passenger train. Travelling at an astonishing speed of 350 km/h (217 mph) and travelling for 1,318 kilometres (819 miles), you will be transported between Beijing and Shanghai in a speedy 4 hours and 18 minutes. See more on Railway Traveller.
Hong Kong to Beijing High Speed Train
Travelling between Hong Kong and Beijing is easy thanks to a pair of modern and efficient high-speed trains that connect Hong Kong West Kowloon Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station (and vice versa). The journey takes approximately 9 hours on a fast bullet train or you can take a slower train overnight on the same route. The trains are modern and comfortable, and you’ll get to see a lot of impressively designed Chinese cities on the way. See more here.
For years travelling to Tibet was a stretch for even the most hardened of explorers. Then everything changed in 2006 when the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was built. Reaching altitudes of over 5,000 metres, this incredible line connects Tibet with China on a 1,215-mile journey, and proudly boasts that it’s the world’s highest train route. Fondly known as the ‘sky road’, on an epic 20-hour, 55-minute journey it crosses from the high mountains of Qinghai to remote and untouristed Tibet where you’ll see glaciers, yaks, gold-topped temples and vast salt lakes. It’s an epic journey and should be in the top ten on any railway traveller’s bucket list. See more at Railway Traveller.
The Sanyo Shinkansen High Speed Rail Line
High speed rail fans will love the journey on the Sanyo Shinkansen trains that travel between the two largest cities in western Japan, Osaka and Fukuoka. Trains run regularly throughout the day on this busy 483-kilometre-long line with journey times varying between two hours and 20 minutes and two hours and 40 minutes, depending on which train you take. This popular journey is operated by the West Japan Railway Company and is their most profitable line with some trains reaching dizzying speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph). See more here.