ASEAN by Train Travel: Meet Eton, Who Has Travelled To 11 Different ASEAN Countries Via Trains


Noor Aishah Karim •  Aug 29, 2023

In a world where most rush from one destination to another, Eton chose a different path – or rather, a different track. Eton's love affair with train journeys began after she completed her degree. However, it wasn't just the destinations that caught her attention; it was the journeys themselves. Through her platform, she started sharing her train travel experiences, capturing not only the picturesque landscapes but also the essence of the voyage.

Credit: @by.eton

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, Eton found herself in Indonesia. Amid the uncertainty, she discovered a silver lining – a trove of photos and videos from her past train journeys. These memories fueled her passion and inspired her to dive even deeper into the world of train travel.

Contrary to the conventional approach of focusing on the final destination, Eton sees the magic in the journey. She shared, "It's not just about reaching a place; it's about the experiences you gather along the way." One incident that truly shaped her perspective was when someone asked her why she travelled to Myanmar. Her response was simple yet profound – she would explore the trains. Myanmar marked the beginning of her train-centric travel adventures.

Based in Malaysia, Eton had heard whispers from friends about the diverse range of trains, classes, and experiences across different countries. Intrigued by the variety, she embarked on a journey that would soon become her favourite – exploring Indonesia by rail. The Jakarta to Bandung route is a beautiful experience she recommends to fellow travellers.

Credit: @by.eton

Eton's philosophy regarding travel is beautifully encapsulated in her words: "When I'm tired after a journey, it's an indication that I truly enjoyed myself." These train journeys give her a unique opportunity to reflect on her own life, allowing her thoughts to meander as the landscape passes by the window.

For Eton, thoughtful travel is a personal journey towards becoming a better individual. She encourages travellers to carefully choose their destinations, envisioning the scenery and the experiences they seek along the way. Eton's approach involves seeking out routes that allow her to connect between different trains, maximising the variety of experiences. She suggests beginning in a bustling city and gradually transitioning to smaller towns, offering a well-rounded perspective of the region.

Credit: @by.eton

Among her cherished memories is a train journey in Myanmar that took her over a stunning bridge. This nine-hour ride was challenging and enlightening, immersing her in local culture and providing her with an entirely new set of experiences. The journey left her feeling like a part of the community and unveiled a fresh perspective on the world.

Eton's train journeys are a testament to the idea that travel is not just about reaching a destination; it's about the stories woven along the way. She has found her calling in exploring the world by rail, savouring the diverse landscapes, cultures, and connections that come with each journey. In a world that often hurries to its endpoints, Eton has taught us the value of slowing down, embracing the present, and finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Credit: @by.eton

Looking to follow in the footsteps of Eton? Here are some tips for you

  1. Embrace the Journey: Focus on the experience of the journey itself, relishing the landscapes, interactions, and moments that unfold along the way. Let go of rushing to the destination and find joy in every voyage step.
  2. Thoughtful Planning: Research your train routes, durations, and options in advance. Opt for more comfortable trains on longer journeys to ensure a pleasant travel experience. Consider connecting between trains to diversify your adventure. Research is at the heart of Eton's travel strategy. She delves into the intricacies of train journeys, considering factors such as duration and comfort. If a journey spans a significant time, like 19 hours, she advises opting for a more comfortable train to enhance the overall experience. Eton also finds that overnight trains are not only budget-friendly but also a clever way to save on accommodation costs.
  3. Capture and Reflect: Document your train journey with photos and videos to create lasting memories. Use the slower pace of train travel to meditate, reflect, and appreciate the world passing by outside your window.