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The Sunday Times Travel writers Mark Hodson and David Wickers



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Luxury rail journeys

Mark and David's verdict:

Settle down for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on one of the world's most lavish trains. Not only will you be pampered silly with white-glove service, you'll also be stopping off to visit spectacular sights, from the Taj Mahal in India to Iran's Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire.

Recommended tour operator: TransIndus

TransIndus says

There’s something incredibly special about a leisurely rail journey, especially when it’s on board a luxury train travelling through exotic destinations such as India, Iran, Thailand and Japan. The on-board experience is as entrancing and memorable as the iconic sites you visit en route.

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You don’t have to be celebrating a special occasion but we can think of no better way to do so than on board one of these sumptuous trains – not least the joy of covering vast distances while you sleep in your luxurious cabin, without having to pack and unpack luggage.

The Maharajas’ Express in India boasts luxurious carriages with fabulous cabins and suites. Two fine-dining restaurants and two bars, including the atmospheric Raja Club, add to the sense of pampering. Some of India’s most iconic sights await each day, depending on which trip you choose – the Taj Mahal, Ranthambore National Park, Jodhpur, Varanasi, the Khajuraho temples, for example.

India’s Deccan Odyssey ramps up the luxury quotient even higher – this train even has its own onboard spa. Now that’s special!

Other rail options in India include Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, Palace on Wheels and the more adventurous Sikkim and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

Further east, there’s the Eastern & Oriental Express, which runs between Singapore and Bangkok. It’s a stunning three-night journey, the perfect add-on to any holiday in the region. There’s also an extended seven-night option taking in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands.

Located on Kyushu island, Japan’s first luxury sleeper train, the Seven Stars Cruise Train, is exceptional. We can arrange a three-night journey as part of a longer private or group tour of Japan. Currently, it’s so popular that you’ll need to book two years ahead.

In Iran, one of our fastest-growing destinations, we can arrange for you to experience the Persian Odyssey luxury train.

Whilst in Vietnam, you can take the luxury Victoria Express overnight from Hanoi to Sapa.

Our expert team will be able to create your perfect holiday to include one of these iconic rail journeys – or an entire trip exploring from the comfort of a train. Discover our full range of luxury train journeys and download a brochure.

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