On my travels around the world I loved getting trains and you might have read about my ex-boyfriend Jonny Blair and I how we backpacked many borders together by train. I thought I would put together a selection of my top 5 train journeys and hope they inspire you to get out there and see the world too – by train! Here is my list which is just a quick guide today as I plan my next backpacking trip.
1.Georgia to Azerbaijan
The Georgia to Azerbaijan train was a fantastic experience in 2013. We booked our tickets one day in advance and it was a cool night train. We started off in the Georgian capital city of Tblisi and got a night train to Baku in Azerbaijan.
2.Trans-Siberian Russia, Mongolia, China
Every travellers dream when they think of train travel is the Trans-Siberian train. It goes from Moscow through Russia all the way to Vladivostock. You have many options in between though, which include also a stop over in cities so cool and mighty like Irkutsk. There you can see the incredible Lake Baikal, meet the Shamans in the wild and do a tour to Olkhon Island. The best thing it to book some Trans-Siberian railway tours and work out the rest as you go. I simply loved it!
3.North Korea to China train
I loved my 2013 adventure to North Korea with the cool group Young Pioneer Tours. It was a real way to see North Korea and also have fun, with the added bonus of a train out of the country! We boarded that train in the North Korean capital city, Pyongyang and it headed north. We had our passports and visas checked at the border. Then we headed back into China at the city of Dandong. This was a truly memorable train journey and was documented before by my ex-boyfriend on the North Korea to China train article he wrote.
4.Northern Ireland to Republic of Ireland border train
Some naive tourists and those who are simply not well travelled might mistake Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as one country. The fact remains that the island of Ireland has been segregated since 1921 and there is a really cheap and easy border train you can get from Belfast in Northern Ireland all the way down south into Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. When I backpacked on this train in 2012 we didn’t even have our passports checked or stamped. I remember the countryside was just amazing and I recommend it for any tourists. It was magical and wonderful and I loved my two trips to Northern Ireland.
5. Iran – Tehran to Mashhad Night train
Our overland trip in Iran in 2013 was sensational. We met a local couple on the night train from Tehran to Mashhad and it was marvellous! The beds were cosy and we also had free tea and coffee. At the end of the train, the amazing Imam Reza Shrine was waiting for us.