There’s nothing quite like long-distance train travel – the thrill of embarkation, the unparalleled chance for meeting locals, the views across plains and mountains in the twilight and the carriage’s sway as you sleep.
Our new overland trips are classics – Istanbul to Beijing, Tashkent to Beijing, St Petersburg to Beijing and the Trans-Tibetan Railway, each delivering striking sights and unforgettable experiences, both on and off the rails
Istanbul to Beijing Overland is an epic transcontinental adventure that rolls east through the heart of Central Asia and its great cities of the Silk Road like Esfahan and Bukhara. Rolling out at midnight from Istanbul’s Haydarpasa Station, and knowing what lies ahead,is a spine-tingling thrill. Six countries in 38 days: expect buzzing bazaars, gorgeous mountain scenery and true cultural immersion en route to the Chinese capital.
Tashkent to Beijing Overland, departing from the Uzbek capital and covering scenic wonders like Heavenly Lake and Kazakhstan’s Aksu-Dzhabagly Nature Reserve as well as man-made marvels including Zenkov Cathedral and the Terracotta Warriors, also makes for a fascinating adventure.
From the Russian majesty of the Hermitage Museum and Red Square, the 32-day St Petersburg to Beijing Overland leaves the more frequently trodden trans-Mongolian rail route to head southeast, exploring the jewels of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Samarkand, Bukhara, Almaty… lively, entrancing cities sited near spectacular scenery. We see it all then move east, where Xi’an, Heavenly Lake and the Great Wall all await – from Europe to Central Asia into China, this is a journey of profoundly beautiful moments.
The world’s highest rail track with lines that run over hundreds of bridges and across permafrost, and cabins that pump in additional oxygen – the Trans-Tibetan Railway is a journey like no other. Riding the rails to Lhasa takes you past craggy peaks, grazing yaks and frozen tundra – and that’s just the beginning. From the Tibetan capital, we dive further into the Himalaya, negotiating remote high passes, visiting monasteries, and exploring Everest’s Base Camp, all spectacular stops en route to our final destination, Kathmandu.