1. The Maharajas' Express, India
Journey through some of the most exotic locales in India, as you board the Maharajas’ Express, which has often been called, ‘the Orient Express of the Orient.’ Started in 2010, it is a fairly-recent entrant to the luxury train market. It has recreated the colonial splendour in its extravagantly designed carriages that have been done up with miniature paintings, and posh furnishings and upholstery—exuding an aura of royalty. The decor is straight from the days of the Raj when Maharajas travelled in such opulent carriages.
The train is equipped with fine-dining restaurant cars that serve different Indian cuisines and bar cars for lounging. There are plenty of reasons to disembark too: The train stops at Varanasi, where you can take part in the evening aarti by The Ganges; it will then take you to Jaipur for an elephant polo match and to the beaches of Goa.
The package starts from: $3,850 per person; book 4 or 8 night tailored-circuits depending on what you want to cover in your trip.
2. The Golden Eagle, Trans Siberia
There is no better way to see Siberia than on a plush train journey aboard The Golden Eagle that lets you soak in the scenic beauty of this expansive terrain. For the two-week Trans Siberian tour, you can book an imperial suite or the gold and silver class cabins, where you are treated to complimentary Dom Perignon champagne, a king-sized bed, and a lounge area with a dedicated dressing room. The train’s two restaurants serve up to 64 guests—so good food is a guarantee! Each carriage on the train has a provodnik or provodnitsa (Russian for guide) to assist you at all times.
It is an unparalleled travelling experience that spans a whopping eight time zones. The two-week journey covers nearly 11,000 km from Moscow to Vladivostok in Russia over the Ural mountains with significant halts at Lake Baikal; the countryside of Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia; Yekaterinburg—the border town between Asia and Europe and the unexplored interiors of Siberia.
Package starts from: $15,895 per person
3. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Europe
The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express will evoke a sense of romance and adventure, quite like the Agatha Christie novel ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ based on the same train. Its restored, 1920s-vintage cars have an Art Deco glamour with handcrafted Venetian glass, Parisian furnishings and embossed leather from Istanbul. The train traverses through European gems such as Budapest, Paris, London, Prague and Vienna.
The train departs from the romantic City of Water—Venice to Budapest, where it halts for two nights; the journey concludes on the fifth day in Paris.
Package starts from: $8,300 per person
4. The Rocky Mountaineer, Canada
The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the most highly-awarded luxury trains, and rightly so. It’s among the very few that offers five-star rail experiences across North America.
You will be welcomed onboard to custom-built glass dome coaches that let you enjoy five-star dining and a range of other posh experiences and services. If you like a wind-in-the-face experience, the open air vestibule lets you breathe in the lovely, crisp mountain air.
Explore the natural beauty of western Canada on the Vancouver-Calgary route.
The train cruises along the Canadian Rockies with pit stops for guided hiking in Jasper, rafting on the Bow River, canoeing on Lake Louise, and much more. Among the magnificently diverse landscape that you will witness en route, the highlight is the majestic Mount Robson—the highest peak in the Rockies. The best time to travel on this route is between September and October, when fresh snow starts to settle on the mountaintops, and the leaves take on lovely autumn hues.
Package starts from: $3,850 per person
5. Rovos Rail, South Africa
The Rovos Rail lets you discover South Africa in a wood-panelled, gleaming five-star luxury locomotive of a bygone era. Its cars are designed in a Victorian setting elegantly blended with modern conveniences such as air-conditioned suites and a 24X7 room service, and the marvellous South African wines.
The three-day safari between Pretoria and Durban goes through an incredible biodiversity that includes the savannah grasslands and tall acacia trees that are home to rare species of birds and wildlife. The slow moving train doesn’t go upwards of 60 kmph so passengers can open their windows to take in fresh air and photograph the breathtaking landscape.
Package starts from: $1,088 per person