Trade a plane for a train, and experience genuine luxury. Hitting the rails in style has been gaining steam around the world, according to the Wall Street Journal, in Asia, Europe, Russia and Africa. In a sense, this is becoming the new “cruise,” without the worry of being pinned on a boat by that insurance salesman who’s intent on saving your financial life.
Many of the luxury train excursions seek to offer upscale accommodations with incredible cuisine and constantly changing scenery. Here a few ideas to get you started.
The Ghan (Platinum Service) connects Adelaide and Alice Springs in Australia and is named for the camel drivers that once used the same route (the rail service was extended to Darwin five years ago). In September, the upscale version of the trek was offered. You’ll have plenty of elbow room and privacy, but it will set you back close to $4,000 for three days. And, you have to get yourself to Australia to take the trip.
On the Thai Explorer, a route of the Eastern & Oriental Express, you can relax in a Presidential Suite or the lesser but still comfy State Compartments, or enjoy the open air section of the observation car at the end of the train. You’ll track through northern Thailand, with plenty of time to explore the stops along the way, but you’ll pay for the privilege. Four days for two guests in the state department costs $5,120.
If driving in India’s Karnataka state intimidates you (and it should), give the Golden Chariot a try. You can ride the train from Bangalore to the beaches of Goa. Launched early in 2008, this luxury rail alternative features massage rooms, gyms, comfortable beds and wireless internet access. Of all the alternatives reviewed by WSJ, this is the most cost-effective. Eight days costs approximately $4,000.
[Via Wall Street Journal]