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A picturesque view from a train cabin window.

Adventurous New Ways to
Travel by Rail

By Paula Morzenti

There is an enchanted feeling to riding the rails. No wonder train travel is featured in countless books and movies, not to mention songs. Add traveling in foreign a destination and you may find yourself hooked on steel wheels forever! At the very least you'll have memories and stories to last a lifetime. Most first time visitors to Europe do so with a Euro Rail Pass. It is almost a right of passage.

In recent years an increase in rail travel has occurred for many different reasons. For many, traveling by train evokes a spirit of nostalgia; passengers reminisce of big engine trains and unknown destinations. Even those who have yet to board will have déja vu. Train travel is just plain civilized. Rail riding has also become extremely affordable because many countries have developed their infrastructures, thus allowing access to parts of the world that were nearly impossible to reach in the past.

Through the Scenery

There are many advantages to trains which are often overlooked by our quick fix attitude. Although it may take longer to go by rail, taking a train, as opposed to a plane, can be very rewarding, not to mention it becomes part of the trip. Instead of flying over scenery, a train passes directly through it. On no other transportation mode can a cheap wine taste exquisite or bread indescribable.

Also, travelers can truly embrace local cultures by interacting with other passengers. For that matter valuable travel info is often the fodder for late night gabfests. According to veteran train traveler Risa King, " Rail travel is very relaxed and comfortable. Sleeping and waking up on a train is awesome! You get to see as much as coach or truck travel without experiencing bumpy roads or traffic."

But with so many destinations to choose from, combined with a lack of knowledge of train travel, this mode of transportation can seem overwhelming and possibly not worth the time. However, because of the immergence of train touring companies, such as Adventure Center, attitudes are changing towards rail riding.

Leave the Worries to Them

Fortunately, the days of carrying books of train schedules and connections are over. Several tour companies such as Adventure Center make train spotting spotless. Especially for those whose Euro Rail, summers abroad days are past. Today's Nomad is traveling further afield and with less time to plan. It makes sense and saves dollars letting experts do the planning.

Adventure Center is a company which specializes in over thirty different rail destinations. Whether you're interested in traveling on the famous and popular Trans Mongolian Railway or you want to explore Moorish Spain and Marrakech, there is a specific tour designed for everyone.

Locals and tourists boarding the Trans Siberian Railway."This company was created to make rail travel accessible to even the busiest kinds of people," Trevor Saxty, President of Adventure Center noted. "For those with limited time it's hard to beat a pre-arranged journey where the logistics are taken care of in advance, leaving travelers free to experience the trip without worrying about the details."

So as Trevor said, leave the logistics to them. Adventure Center's small group rail journeys include a guide, accommodations, some meals and sightseeing, plus train tickets. The groups are very small to ensure a more personalized trip without the commotion created when traveling in larger groups. Besides, train travel insures immersion .

Freedom of Choice

For some, the idea of traveling on a set schedule may seem unappealing. However, while Adventure Center ensures structure to your travel plans, it also provides travelers with freedom of choice. While commenting on the Trans Mongolian journey, Risa King remarked that, "the itinerary was somewhat set because we had to make the trains that were set in the schedule, yet there was a certain amount of sightseeing included. But there was plenty of free time, total flexibility with meals, and evenings were totally unstructured."

A Few Adventure Center Options

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.One of the most popular trips offered by Adventure Center is the Trans Mongolian Railway. With over thirty annual departures between March and December, this journey promises to be exotic and rewarding. Begin your adventure in China 's "Imperial City" of Beijing and then board a train traveling through the Gobi Desert and into the grasslands of Mongolia . End your trip in Russia by traveling to Moscow and St. Petersburg . This three week journey across Asia is completely unique and offers travelers a different perspective of this entire area.

For Risa King this trip proved to be extremely memorable. Her fondest memories included her experiences on the Mongolian steppes, sleeping in a ger, her unforgettable traveling companions, and sampling the local Russian vodka. Risa noted that the most impressive sights along the trip were Lake Baikal (the largest lake in the world) half frozen and breaking up, the entire city of Moscow, the Red Square, the armory in Moscow, the Hermitage, and the "amazing, amazing churches and cathedrals too numerous to remember."

Trans Siberian Railway

Another popular choice is the Trans Siberian Railway. This is considered by many to be the original and classic Great Rail journey because it crosses the world's largest country and is the world's longest railway. Travel from the Far East to Europe while passing over seven time zones and covering over 10,000 kilometers in less then two weeks. While on this tour, the rail goes through nearly every type of terrain, from plains, to vast mountains, over large rivers, and around magnificent lakes. Begin your journey in Vladivostok and end in Moscow after experiencing many of the wonderful sights in between.

Adventure center also offers the very exotic journey from Chiang Mai to Singapore. With four departures planned each year this trip lasts less then three weeks and encompasses the entire country of Thailand plus Malaysia. The journey begins at the most northern part of Thailand and gradually weaves the whole length of the country and Malaysia, before ending in Singapore. Along the way guests can expect to visit ancient cities, bustling capitals, rain forests, tropical beaches, and experience a variety of local cultures.

New Rail Adventures from Adventure Center

One of the latest tours presented by Adventure Center is the Krakow, Crimea, and Kiev Rail Tour. This journey through Eastern Europe provides travelers with a glimpse of many of the areas most well known cities and some of lesser known ones. Travel by rail for fifteen days and experience monasteries, palaces, waterfalls, beautiful cities, the Black Sea, and guided walks. There are only ten departures a year and spaces are very limited. Visit website.

Make a journey from Moorish Spain to Marrakech aboard another new Adventure Center trip. Travel by rail for nine days through Andalucian hill villages and end in Morocco while absorbing the unique and exotic area.

Advice from Expert Travelers

The Trans Mongolian railway at sunset.Take the advice from expert travelers like Risa King and fully embrace the possibilities of Adventure Center and rail travel in general. Because as she said herself, "I would say it was an advantage to travel this way. No worries with transportation, hotel reservations, customs, or any other travel bureaucracy problems. I am very enthusiastic about this style of travel. I loved this trip!"

Visit Adventure Center at adventurecenter.com

Read more about train travel on GoNOMAD.com:

Rail travel and train schedules
Mini guide to Rail passes
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Afraid of Flying? Take the train!
Africa Tours Picks


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