Seven underrated train journeys in Asia

From Shimla to Mumbai, we bring you seven amazing train journeys in Asia that people will love. Does your commute to work compare?

There’s little excuse for not taking the train when it’s (usually) cheaper and more comfortable than flying. But several train journeys across Asia regularly rack up the accolades from transport enthusiasts. And the more cultural they are, the more a train journey makes sense. So here are seven that will entice you and your date.

Shimla to Delhi- Chandigarh: 325km

Delhi’s swanky Metro connects the world-famous Taj Mahal with central India’s famous monuments. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia/Getty Images

For spectacular scenery and fun, you and your beau could also try Mumbai-Chandigarh and Shimla-Delhi. This trip takes you from London to Delhi by diesel train, stopping off in one of India’s most picturesque cities. This adventure gets you almost as close to the Taj Mahal as you’ll ever get. By contrast, Mumbai to Chandigarh is equally as picturesque but you get to travel by speedy bullet train.

Trip is from £82.08

Chalambray hills with forested pastureland in northern India. Photograph: Alamy

Varanasi to Agra: over 1,000km

Agra, a gateway to Hinduism, offers an incredible view of the Taj Mahal. Photograph: mollycarr.co.uk

Varanasi lies at the confluence of three rivers in western India, a great destination for trekkers. If you’ve got time, that is, because this long and winding journey takes in a distillery and a tea plantation. From the train you’ll pass by Agra, the gateway to Hinduism, and enter the city’s Rajput-era market, where you can pick up souvenirs and interesting souvenirs. Time to rest up and stock up on beer.

Trip is from £229.90

Indore to Jaipur: over 600km

Ahul, the Taj Mahal’s blue and yellow colours, which won it UNESCO world heritage status. Photograph: Trevor Maynard/AFP/Getty Images

Yoga, too. Not only is a journey by train to the stunning Green Fort and Rajasthan’s verdant Kutch river valley relaxing, it’s more affordable, too. During this ride, stop off at many beautiful temples as well as the Taj Mahal, the world’s most celebrated monument of love.

Trip is from £207.99

Khasi people, Udaipur. Photograph: Alamy

Udaipur to Chittagong: nearly 1,000km

Chittagong’s Shri Mahal, or ‘resting place’, built between 1220 and 1180. Photograph: Sanjyoti Dutta/Getty Images

Udaipur and Chittagong offer wide views of the Indian subcontinent. You can expect to spend hours gawking at them. Up close, you’ll see a fascinating mixture of hill people (historians call them Khasi) and Srivijaya society (read: the Rajputs). Dining along the way is sublime – the food served on deck chairs next to rocky banks is packed with delicious surprises.

Trip is from £243.98

Tibet’s Amma and the 6 Gyalts. Photograph: Alan Gibbons/Alamy

Khorlun to Shenyang: over 2,000km

These arching mountains are one of Central Asia’s most dramatic scenery. Photograph: Chris Dunn/Getty Images

Khorlun is one of Central Asia’s most dramatic landscapes. Its wooden villages are blanketed in heaps of heather and driftwood. It’s the terrain that means you will be perfectly primed for the beauty of Shenyang. A day there will see you at the base of the Tangjiashan Mountain. If you want to take in more of China, however, you can also do a 15-hour drive to the Cultural Capital of Canton, Hangzhou.

Trip is from £976.76

Saint Helena to Mauritius: just 0.097miles

Saint Helena is a remote island in the middle of the South Atlantic. Photograph: Ben Morgan/Corbis via Getty Images

The island of Saint Helena is an abandoned British base in the middle of the South Atlantic. It is much less than the usual commuter trip to the Caribbean coast, but it can be a bit of a long way to come to a meeting with your beau. However, if you get down there early enough, you will find that Mauritius is right on the Indian Ocean. With each day you have a new view of the volcano-covered island (

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