There is an inherent romance to travelling by rail. A hangover from the lauded golden age in the early 20th century? Maybe, or perhaps there is just something about the meditative rhythmic sway and scenery flashing past the windows that taps right into that feeling that there are endless possibilities for adventures to be had.
Feelings aside, there are many advantages to travelling by train when compared to road and air. In logistical terms there is no waiting in long queues at security and, generally, you depart from one city centre and arrive in another. Trains are more comfortable, with space to move around and stretch your legs, which in turn also makes them more social, if you want them to be, with opportunities to chat with your fellow travellers. Train tracks can also traverse landscapes that other vehicles don’t or can’t, giving you the chance to glimpse countryside you wouldn’t normally see, while at the same time, trains are much better for said scenery in terms of environmental impact. Train travel is also, generally, less complicated and more relaxed than other transport – it really does make the journey part of the adventure.
Japan by Rail
19,026 miles of train track
18.5 million passengers yearly
25,000 trains run a day
Longest rail journey: 419 miles (Tokyo to Aomori)
Comfortable, reliable, efficient, punctual and fast, Japan’s extensive rail network is world renowned for all the right reasons. This includes the famous bullet train, known as shinkansen locally, on which passengers can travel up to 320 kilometres an hour between major cities. With access to such an excellent transport option, it’s only right to give our customers the option to make full use of Japan’s trains, so we put together our Japan by rail tour.
Travelling mostly by shinkansen, this tour takes in the highlights of three of Japan’s islands – Kyushu, Honshu and Hokkaido.
Starting in Fukuoka on Kyushu, you’ll take in the sights of Nagasaki before hopping on the train over to Honshu, where your explorations will begin in Hiroshima and the holy island of Miyajima. Over the coming days you’ll visit the magnificent Himeji Castle, the vibrant city of Osaka and ancient Nara before pausing to soak up the timeless charms of Kyoto.
A sojourn into the countryside comes after Kanazawa with Shirakawado village, Takayama and a search for snow monkeys on the itinerary. Then, a trip highlight, the graceful sweep of Mount Fuji, which you’ll spend the day up and around, admiring it from every angle.
Back on the train, you’ll pull into the bright lights of Tokyo to discover this vivacious metropolis. Journey up north to Sendai and cross over to Hokkaido and the city of Hakodate, before terminating in the charming Sapporo.
Cultural Experiences on Japan by Rail
Alongside the joy of exploring Japan by rail, as with all Wendy Wu tours, this one is also packed with plenty of wonderful cultural experiences:
- Momiji manju making in Miyajima
- Ink making and calligraphy in Nara
- Tea ceremony and fan painting in Kyoto
- Wooden sake cup making in Takayama
- Wasabi farm and miso house visit in Matsumoto
- Sushi making class in Tokyo
- Whisky tasting in Sendai
China by Rail
96,000 miles of train track
2.6 billion passengers yearly
33,221 trains run a day
Longest rail journey: 3,090 miles (Guangzhou to Lhasa)
China is a country made for rail travel, in fact travelling by train here is an experience in itself so putting together our China by Rail tour was a must. With one of the world’s biggest and busiest rail networks, and the longest high-speed network, trains can deliver you right into the hidden corners of this vast nation. Modern and comfortable, travelling by train gives more opportunity to see some of the huge variety of landscapes that China boasts and to interact with locals and fellow travellers alike.
Traversing the country by high-speed train this tour is an all-encompassing exploration of China’s show-stopper sights plus a few hidden gems.
Starting in Shanghai you’ll explore the fascinating fusion of old and new before taking a train to Tunxi. The gateway to Mt Huang, the Yellow Mountain, you’ll spend two nights here, discovering a spectacular area immortalised by artists and writers for centuries. Travel on to Changsha and Orange Island before boarding the train to Guilin and the karst landscapes of the Li River, best enjoyed by a cruise to the charming Yangshuo.
Strike west across the country to Kunming and the highlights of Yunnan province, including Dali, Lijiang and Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Then it’s time for a favourite attraction – pandas! Stop at Chengdu Panda Centre for a visit with an expert. Back on the train travel over to Xian to stand before the impressive ranks of Terracotta Warriors before ending with three nights in magnificent capital Beijing, with visits to the Great Wall and Forbidden City.
Cultural Experiences on China by Rail
Alongside the joy of exploring China by rail, as with all Wendy Wu tours, this one is also packed with plenty of wonderful cultural experiences:
- Ride the Maglev train in Shanghai
- Sample the foodie delights at Changsha’s night market
- Watch Yangshuo’s magical Sanjie Liu night show
- Taste Yunnan speciality, Across the Bridge Noodles
- Visit the Yan family home and watch a tie-dye demonstration
- See the Baisha frescoes
- Enjoy a talk from an expert at the Panda Centre in Chengdu
- Dine of dumplings and watch a dance spectacular based on the Tang Dynasty
- Sample delicious Peking Duck
Our China 2024/2025 brochure will be available from 18 October.
India by Rail
42,280 miles of train track
8 billion passengers yearly
13,169 trains ran a day
Longest rail journey: 2,621 miles (Dibrugarh in Assam to Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu)
Travelling by rail in India doesn’t need to be the over-crowded affair that we see on the TV; the trains are comfortable and safe, offering a window into life on the subcontinent that you wouldn’t otherwise glimpse. Although not known for their punctuality, India’s trains remain the country’s life blood, connecting people in the farthest reaches with cities and services. They will always offer an element of adventure and that’s why we’ve created this India by Rail tour.
Taking the train is a quintessentially Indian experience – journey scenic routes between cities and sights on this memorable adventure, soaking up the culture and history as you go.
Landing in Delhi, you’ll have a day to explore the sights and sounds of India’s rambunctious capital before travelling north to Amritsar, to visit the beautiful Golden Temple, the most sacred pilgrimage site in Sikhism. Board a morning train to Shimla, high in the mountains where you’ll soak in the glorious views and ride on the famous toy train. Over the next few days, you’ll take in the iconic sights of the Golden Triangle, stopping in Agra to admire the spectacular Taj Mahal, and exploring the highlights of the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Then, it’s on to the ancient and atmospheric city of Varanasi on the banks of the River Ganges, finishing off with a final night in the vibrancy of Delhi before heading home.
Cultural Experiences on India by Rail
Alongside the joy of exploring India by rail, as with all Wendy Wu tours, this one is also packed with plenty of wonderful cultural experiences:
- Witness the ceremonial flag lowering ceremony at the Wagah border
- See the Taj Mahal at sunrise
- Visit an artisan marble workshop in Agra
- Try traditional crafts like block painting and carpet weaving in Jaipur
- Soak up the atmosphere at a twilight Ganga Aarti ceremony by the Ganges
- Take a dawn cruise on the River Ganges