This weekend I’m going to visit my friend in Johannesburg. My plan was to take the train from Cape Town to Johannesburg on Thursday and to fly back on Sunday. Unfortunately, all the train tickets for this weekend was sold out! So, instead of writing a post about South African railroads I’ll give you a list of sites that will inspire you to pack a bag and hop on a train.
Best Train Journey Resource of All Times: The Man in Seat 61
Mark Smith has compiled the most comprehensive train website in existence. His website name – seat61.com – refers to his habit or requesting seat 61 on the Eurostar. The aim of his site is to inspire travelers to throw away their plane tickets and hop on trains instead. He explains in meticulous detail how to do all the big journeys across the world, such as the Trans-Siberian Railway. If you want to travel by train, seat61 should be your first destination.
Trains and Travels with Jim Loomis
Jim Loomis’ Trains and Travels site is an excellent blog on train travel around the world. He mostly specializes in North American train travel, so if you want an unbiased opinion on Amtrak rail travel from a real rail enthusiast – this is the place to go. When Jim’s convinced you that train travel is for you- head down to Amtrak – the national train network in the United States. With interactive route maps and a killer mobile app it’s super easy to plan your route. On Amtrak trains you can book a base fair which gives you a lounge car seat – which is very comfortable and the equivalent of a business class seat on an airplane. If you’re planning a cross county journey, such as riding the California Zypher from end-to-end, you can add as sleeper compartment for an additional fee.
The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide To Train Travel In Europe
The Savvy Backpackers, James and Susan, believes that traveling in Europe should not break the bank. They have posted a comprehensive list of pro’s and con’s to train travel in Europe as well as a very detailed section on getting and using train tickets.
Train Travel in Sri-Lanka by Nerd Nomads
Espen and Maria shared their off-the-beaten rail journey from Ella to Kandy in Sri Lanka on their website – nerdnomads.com. The article features photos of the beautiful scenery, interesting historical facts and important practical information.
Thailand by Train
A Train-Lover’s Guide to Thailand is a short, but entertaining piece on train travel in Thailand brought to you by Budget Travel and Tucan Travel. It describes the train riding experience, details around ticketing, popular routes and interesting routes like the Death Railway (Thailand-Burma) build by Asian and Allied prisoners of war during WWII.
Six of the Best by G-Adventures
A summary of the six most iconic train journeys in the world with links to G-Adventures tour packages, of course.They basically listed my bucket list along with dangling carrots:
- Toy Train (Siliguri to Darjeeling, India)
- Trans-Siberian (Moscow to Vladivostok)
- Trans-Asia Express (Budapest to Tehran)
- Trans-Karoo (Cape Town to Jo’burg, South Africa)
- Orient Express (Paris to Istanbul, Europe)
- Glacier Express (Zermatt to St. Moritz, Switzerland)
Even though I prefer independent travel, I’ve traveled with G-Adventures twice now and wouldn’t hesitate to travel with them again.
The Rovos Rail
The most iconic train in Africa – a perfect symbol of colonial style and ultimate luxury. Recently, I went to Matjiesfontein and the train was stationed there. I was lucky enough to get a tour of the train – it is beyond beautiful. There are several routes, but the iconic route is Cape Town to Dar Es Salaam.
Life List Entry: Traveled by train (Trans-Mongolian; California Zypher; Paris to Prague)