Published On: Sun, Mar 10th, 2024

The world’s longest train ride through 13 countries that costs the same as a plane ticket | World | News

“I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it,” wrote Paul Theroux in his seminal work of travel literature, The Great Railway Bazaar.

It is a feeling shared by many around the world: there is something hypnotic about the slow, rhythmic chugging motion a locomotive provides.

Such is its pull that travellers for many years have planned entire trips based on how many slow trains they can take from Point A to Point B.

Bucket lists are filled with the journeys: the Reunification Express, the Lake Titicaca Train, and the Trans-Siberian Express, to name a few, each holds its own special mythology and lore.

Now, train travel enthusiasts have yet another mammoth journey they can look forward to, tipped to be the world’s longest, that takes revellers from Portugal all the way to Singapore.

The loose itinerary estimates that the journey takes around 21 days, but when timetables and disruptions are taken into consideration, coupled with stop-offs in cities and towns along the way, the real journey would likely take months.

At 18,755 kilometres in length, the journey crosses Europe, Siberia, and Asia.

With the onset of war in Ukraine, the journey is now unfortunately hypothetical as all train journeys from inside the EU to Russia have been suspended.

However, it is a completely feasible route and one that will hopefully reopen in the future.

It has only recently been made possible with the opening of the new Chinese-built £4.7billion Boten-Vientiane railway in Laos that connects China to Southeast Asia.

The journey begins in southernmost Portugal in the port town of Lagos and snakes its way north through Spain and on to Paris.

After Paris, a connection takes travellers west through Europe until reaching Moscow.

This is when the Trans-Siberian railway line comes into the mix, which takes a meagre six nights to reach Beijing.

A long journey south through China will take you to the new Boten to Vientiane line can be taken and from Vientiane, the travellers will reach Bangkok, from where the last leg of the journey through Malaysia and eventually into Singapore, the final destination.

Train travel boffins estimate that a base cost of the trip would come in at around $1,200 (£946.21), around the same amount of money it would cost to fly directly to Singapore from the UK.

The journey is littered with sites of culture and historical significance, not to mention a handful of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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